If you’re looking for the most powerful hair dryer or handiest chef’s knife, those things can be easy enough to find. Other objects of desire are a little more taste-based. What’s the next status water bottle or hand wash, for instance? Regular readers of the Strategist will know that we’ve previously turned to resident Cool Guy Chris Black (he’s a partner at brand consultancy Public Announcement) to help us answer both of those questions, and to get more of Chris’s advice, he’s now answering reader questions for us in a regular column. If you have a burning question about the next fanny pack or Noah rugby shirt, drop us an email with the subject line “Ask Chris” at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With spring’s arrival, what are your sunglasses of choice?
As a prescription glasses wearer, this is a loaded question. My desire to switch out eyewear like my hero Elton John is limited by my poor vision and budget. When the sun is shining, I wear a clear pair of Moscot Lemtosh frames with prescription lenses (I don’t wear contacts, it’s a long story).
If you can pull off a circular frame, these from the Row x Oliver Peoples collaboration will look amazing as the wind blows through your hair on the PCH. Live a little! If you feel compelled, get tinted lenses in Coke-bottle green or a nice soft pink.
In the market for a new belt! What should be my go-to “goes with everything” belt? Gucci and Louis are probably out of the question.
Logo-heavy designer belts are basically a status symbol for broke boys. It’s one of the cheapest (and tackiest) things you can buy in a high-end store. A belt is a hard wearing accessory whose only job is to secure your pants to your waist. I am not spending $500 on a piece of leather with a snake printed on it to hold up my $75 Levi’s 501s. Maximum Henry, a New York–based brand, makes classic belts in a myriad of colors and styles that all come in around $200.
If you must have some flare around your waist, this light-pink snakeskin-printed strap from Très Bien is a nice look. Keep your pants up, but don’t break the bank, spend that money on literally anything else.
I’ve been a strict no-phone-case guy for years, but in the last three months I have gone through three iPhones due to drops, etc. What is an iPhone case I can cop and also not look like an asshole?
The best phone of all time was the BlackBerry 8700. A solid hunk of purplish blue plastic with that exceptional QWERTY keyboard and the infamous side-scroll mechanism. A telephone so well made a case was not even a thought. Unfortunately, the culture moved on to the delicate, basically glass, iPhone. The iPhone, as an object, is beautiful and sleek, but when you add a bulky and unsightly case, it ruins the integrity of the design. Yes, the photos are crisp, but if the device takes a tumble, you are walking around with a cracked screen, which for me, is off-brand. But when you are spending $1,000 to browse memes, send texts, and ask for nudes, you need to protect your investment. Enter Peel, the only case I can possibly recommend. It is so minimal that people don’t notice it, but it does the job well. I buy a few at once, that way if one gets dinged up I can replace it. My iPhone is protected, but it still doesn’t have BBM.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.