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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in September

Photo: Courtesy of the retailers

If you follow our biweekly feature Your Shopping Cart, you know that we have some eerily good intel on what things you all are buying. It led us to think that, as Strategist editors, we could turn the tables and highlight all the things we’ve been buying ourselves. As you’ll notice, it’s both a blessing and a curse to be a Strat editor; we’re picky, but sometimes we just have to get on with it (it’s online-shopping expertise meets IRL needs). Below, what we all bought in September.

Simone Kitchens, senior editor

I have this wallet in brown. It’s my second, the first was actually a hand-me-down I got years ago from my sister when she decided it was too beat-looking to use anymore (I carried it for five more years until it officially unraveled). I was a little stumped on what to get her for her birthday earlier this month, so I decided to return the favor after all these years and got her one in black.

This book is about Oklahoma City, which is where I grew up. The author Sam Anderson, who used to be a book critic here, has managed to make a place that I’ve always been quite fond of, though never particularly good at selling, sound awfully compelling. First up was this excerpt we ran on the site last month. He has turned material that would otherwise be incredibly glaze-over-worthy (a land run!) into something shockingly interesting, but also just really funny. Then he did us one better, giving my hometown its very own Letter of Recommendation in the Times Magazine. I think it’s important to point out he’s definitely not from OKC, he just likes the place. As Anderson puts it: “Oklahoma City, it turned out, was the most secretly interesting place I had ever been. It was a pure distillation of our nation’s essential weirdness — a bouillon cube of America.”

Alexis and Katy have both talked about this tee. And I’ve wanted it forever, too. Of course it showed up in our white T-shirt roundup. But $78 for a repurposed Hanes? I probably would not have bought this without the gift card I found while deep-cleaning my apartment this weekend, but I will say I am very excited for how it will look with all my Levi’s.

Another white T-shirt I ordered.

Lori Keong, writer

One of my least regrettable impulse buys this month was a clear Otterbox phone case (in keeping with my pursuit of all things see-through). It’s the teeniest bit zany since it’s filled with glitter (I was worried it would be too much), but it’s very subtle in person — more like a light dusting — and extremely fetching on my cream-colored iPhone. My colleague Maxine tells me it’s very chic and I agree!

As New York weather goes, within a span of one week, I have gone from scouring the internet for saucy block-heel sandals on sale to block-heel boots on sale. I ended up with these. They are not on sale, sadly, but they do have a chunky heel for height and something of a latexy Catwoman air about them. They’re sock boot–esque — but not aggressively so — and I think they’ll fit my matchstick-thin ankles nicely.

My years-old nude bras were looking a little tired, so when a pitch for Harper Wilde (a buzzy new direct-to-consumer bra company that specializes in nudes specifically) came across my inbox, I was very eager to test one out. I can tell you that the fit on their “base bra” is great — just the right amount of body-hugging without any underboob or gaping in the cup area — with a barely detectable underwire. You wouldn’t think that front-adjusting straps were a big deal, either, until you realize how completely life-changing it is to not have to twist yourself like a pretzel just to tighten the thing.

Karen Iorio Adelson, writer

Yes, I bought a winter coat when it was still 90 degrees out, but in my defense, it was 40 percent off during J. Crew’s Labor Day sale. I have a similar coat in camel that’s a few years old and has gotten a little grody, so I’m looking forward to replacing it with this dark green version that probably won’t show dirt and stains as easily.

I’m going to Japan for two weeks and I plan on reading the English translation of this Japanese bestseller — that came out to a lot of buzz earlier this year — during my 14-hour flight. As the title implies, it’s about a woman working at a convenience store, and is also supposedly a commentary on late capitalism and the nation’s culture of conformity.

Maxine Builder, writer

Pretty much everything I’ve read about being a more productive person involves avoiding electronics around bedtime. So in an attempt to wean myself off my bad habit of scrolling through Instagram both right before I go to sleep and the second I wake up, I bought an analog alarm clock to replace my iPhone’s alarm. This one takes up virtually no space on my already-crowded nightstand. In fact, because it’s so tiny, I was a little worried it wouldn’t be loud enough to get me up, and so I kept my phone next to it with a backup alarm, just in case, for the first couple of nights. But it is plenty loud to get me up — though mostly without bothering my partner — so much so that I now confidently leave my phone in the living room, far away from my bed, before I go to sleep.

After updating this article about the best steam mops on Amazon, I became convinced I needed a steam mop from Amazon — so I bought this well-reviewed one from Shark and spent a Sunday afternoon deep-cleaning my hardwood floors for the first time since I moved in almost a year ago. All I want to say is that it turns out I really needed a steam mop, and I would definitely recommend this one to anyone who even dares to think their floors are grime-free.

Margaret Rhodes, senior editor

These days everyone swears that their natural deodorant is the best one, and I’m no exception. I’ve been using this brand for years. It’s made by a company and salon in Austin, where I grew up, and my mother first turned me on to it. At the time the only natural deodorants around were the ones you’d find at Whole Foods, like Tom’s, which I think must be for people who actually like a little bit of funk. The Milk and Honey deodorant worked so well it felt like a revelation. (Plus the scent was a coconut and lemongrass combination.) The catch is that it’s a paste deodorant that gets all over my fingers when I apply it. But they recently, finally, released this roll-on version, so I bought it as soon as my last paste jar ran out.

I took a fall cleaning inventory on my closet and realized that all my tees are in some sort of misshapen, lackluster condition. I’ve also decided recently that I only like ribbed tees. Luckily, Everlane has a bunch of them, including this nice one with a low neckline and elbow-length sleeves. And it’s a third of the price of the Baserange tee (that Katy owns) that I want. I bought this one in black, white, and in long-sleeved.

On my list for ages, this Eve Babitz book was reissued last year with what I’m pretty sure is a new cover design. In bad need of some fiction and escapism, I finally picked it up and devoured it and loved it. The cover inevitably makes everyone ask what it’s about (the type is like 200-point size). The best I could come up with is that it’s “like if Thomas Pynchon were a woman and made sense.”

Katy Schneider, associate editor

My black Converse are too tight and my bright orange Converse are a little … Halloween-y. So I gave in and bought a new “natural” colored pair for the fall. The purchase made me happy because a) I’m a little over my bulky, mean-looking Air Force 1s and b) a new pair of Converse reminds me of back-to-school shopping.

In other shoe news, I recently bought these purple velvet Naturalizer Mary Janes. I have three pairs of the Chinatown version my colleague Simone wrote about a couple months back and, while I love them, they aren’t great in the arch-support department. These are sturdier and fall-ier, and have put my Achilles heels in much better spirits.

Jason Chen, deputy editor

Photo: 18-02-06 Accessories PM1 B9 jentricolello M

I bit the bullet and got myself a fanny pack, one that’s basically my Dopp kit with straps. Naturally, I wear it off one shoulder like a messenger bag. I stupidly bought it before East Dane’s big sale and would urge anyone considering this thing not to make the same mistake because it is very expensive for a dinky little bag, and Want hardly ever goes on sale!


So many of the celebrities we’ve talked to have raved about this stuff that I had to get some, and what they say is true — it tastes disgusting, but it works better than the fizzy vitamin C tablets I’ve always relied on. Last week I downed two packets after feeling a throat tickle and body aches, and staved off whatever was coming on.

I bought one of our status hand washes, which looks great on the sink, and smells nice in an unplaceable way, but if I’m being honest, not so special that I’d spend $58 on another bottle. (I’ll probably just get the Le Labo next, in other words.)

Lauren Ro, writer

I’m four months pregnant, and as the weather turns, I’m no longer able to get away with wearing my big summer dresses. None of my pants fit anymore, so I’ve had to start the dreaded maternity shopping process. I found that buying regular clothes in bigger sizes doesn’t actually work, but I did come across this oversized jumpsuit at Zara the other day that just might. Although I need to add another button hole on each strap to bring the whole thing up a bit (to avoid sagging diaper butt), I’m hoping this will serve me for at least a month or two before I have to look into actual maternity clothes. And even though these overalls aren’t technically maternity, they are grouped within Zara’s new maternity “Corner Shop.”

I’ve also needed to get bigger, comfier bras, and this wireless one from Uniqlo does the trick. It’s supportive without being constricting, and the fact that it doesn’t have any hooks or adjusters makes it feel like a sports bra in the best way.

While I was at Uniqlo, I thought I’d give these briefs a shot. They’re surprisingly comfortable, but they are on the thicker side, which means that I probably won’t be wearing them under pants. I will definitely be buying more of these.

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.

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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in September