please advise

What’s Your Take on Mock Necks, and Which Ones Should I Wear?

Photo: Samantha Parquette

If you’re looking for the most powerful hair dryer or the 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? Chris Black (he’s a partner at brand consultancy Public Announcement) is here to help in the form of 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 strategist@nymag.com.

What’s your take on mock necks? Which are good and which should I maybe avoid?

The mock neck is an advanced move. A style I equate with my dad’s ’90s cold-weather running looks and cool, young European shop assistants who listen to techno and do ketamine. But if you have the confidence, go for it.

Nike Men's Therma Long Sleeve Shirt

For a layering piece that strictly goes under something else, allowing the beloved mock neck to just peek out, we go tech. Advanced fabrics will keep you warm and achieve the look. This simple black Nike Men’s Therma shirt, which is moisture-wicking, will do the trick.

Uniqlo Heattech Stretch Fleece Mock Neck Long-sleeve T-shirt

Uniqlo’s fleece Heattech option comes in a myriad of colors and could be worn alone. In dark green, it’s particularly lovely. And right now, select sizes are $5 off.

Needles Black Mock Neck Long Sleeve T-Shirt

If you want to go upmarket, Needles has you covered. Its long-sleeve jersey mock neck is also minimal — but not too minimal, with the brand’s signature butterfly logo on the chest. You could layer it, but the logo is almost too good to hide.

What type of plant should the tasteful follower of yours rock in their new crib?

TBH, I used to have a Tumblr-worthy amount of cool plants, but I don’t have a single one in my current place. I don’t know; I just got tired of it. That being said, they look great and bring life into a room. I should probably revisit.

The Sill Parlor Palm

We all need to breathe CLEAN AIR. Especially at home, the easy-to-care-for parlor palm will encourage just that. When you are having a meltdown, your deep-breathing exercises will work better. This plant is basically going to save your life. And for the price, the Sill’s mini parlor palm can’t be beat — especially because it comes with the ceramic pot, which you can get in three other colors in addition to this festive mint. If something a little bigger better suits your space, you can get a parlor palm in the next size up for a not unreasonable $31 (it also comes potted).

Hirt's Gardens Split Leaf Monstera 6" Pot

My personal fave, though, is the monstera. It’s gotten trendy and is now printed on tea towels and wallpaper. But nothing beats the real thing. Treat this baby right, and it will grow nice and tall. Like humans, it will require a mix of sun and shade. You can find them for a range of prices; at the less expensive end, Amazon has this smaller guy in a basic planter’s pot. It’s not available via Prime, but it does ship for free.

The Sill Large Monstera

At the more expensive end is the Sill’s large monstera, which comes in the fancier ceramic pot.

Costa Farms Money Tree in Ceramic Planter, 16-Inches Tall

A money tree for your desk or home workspace is a good omen. It doesn’t require much care, and the braided trunk is fun! This 16-inch one from Amazon comes with the ceramic pot.

The Sill Small Money Tree

The Sill also sells a desk-worthy money tree. It’s seven dollars more than the above but, like with the parlor palm, you can choose from four colors for the pot — it comes in mint, black, and white in addition to this easy-on-the-eyes blush.

I was wondering if you had any gift ideas for fashion-conscious boyfriends — especially those who are into Japanese street style. My boyfriend loves clothing from Kaptial, Visvim, and Yohji Yamamoto, but I’m never sure exactly what to get him. Additionally, I am a broke college student

At least your man has good taste — expensive, but good! I dug a little deeper and found a few appropriate gifts for the fashion conscious Japanophile in your life.

Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style by W. David Marx

Maybe he would like to educate himself a bit more? Marx’s Ametora traces the craze for American fashion in Japan after World War II. It’s a fascinating look at how the countries’ fashion, culture, and history converge.

Postalco Notebook A5

Postcalco, a Japanese brand, makes some of the best notebooks in the game (it took spot No. 37 in the Strategist’s ranking of 100 notebooks). The brand’s full range features water-resistant cotton covers and a great selection of colors, sizes, and papers. I am partial to the large A5 size in dark blue, but the Wallpaper Store has several sizes in various colors depending on your boyfriend’s preferences. Happy scribbling!

Porter-Yoshida & Co. Tanker Shell Briefcase

I know you said you’re broke, but I could not provide a well-rounded selection without including one splurge-worthy suggestion. A tanker shell briefcase from Porter-Yoshida & Co. will look great with your boyfriend’s Ring Jacket suit or casual orSlow gardening look. Made in Japan, the bag will only get better-looking with age and has a bright-orange lining that contrasts nicely with its austere exterior. And it has plenty of space for a laptop and all his anime.

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.

What’s Your Take on Mock Necks, and Which Should I Wear?