please advise

Ask Chris Black: What Are Your Top 5 Amazon Fashion Staples?

Photo: Yimmy Yayo

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 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

Question: What are your top five Amazon Fashion staples?

My favorites lean a little workwear, but this stuff might be more versatile than you think. (Getting navy blue Dickies delivered next-day is REAL luxury.) These are my top five.

One of my wardrobe staples. I always have a clean stack ready to go. A simple navy long-sleeved T-shirt looks good with almost anything: navy pants, Levi’s 501s, or even Patagonia 5-inch Baggies in the summer.

Blue Dickes are my go-to non-denim pant. Even though they are made for actual work, they can be dressed up easily with a little tailoring. No one will mistake them for Prada, but that is sort of the point.

A simple cotton sock that is perfect for the gym or daily wear. The logo is strategically placed under the toe so you can be discreet and comfortable.

Ben Davis is a (wildly underappreciated) San Francisco–based workwear brand that gained mainstream popularity with West Coast rappers, but also with bike messengers, chefs, and hardcore kids. The pocket T-shirt is heavyweight and keeps its shape — can’t go wrong with navy or safety orange.

Heavy-duty pants that I wear during the winter months. They are warm and rugged and, most importantly, look cool on men and women. I have had the same pair for five-plus years, and they just get better and better.

Question: What’s the best moisturizer for men?

Honestly, this is a tough one and not necessarily my specialty, but since we are all trying to age like Benjamin Button, I decided to take a stab at it.

In my bathroom, I use these three products. The La Mer was a gift from my friend Dana Veraldi and I use it sparingly — I tend to save it for those days when I am feeling extra dry. The Aesop is perfect for daily use after cleansing and toning. The Biologique Recherche is more serious; I use it before bed three times a week to get that newborn-baby feeling.

But I wanted a second opinion, so I got in touch with my friend Ian Bradley. Ian is a stylist I have worked with a lot over the years and no matter the conditions or the amount of sleep he has had the night before, his skin is luminous. He told me that the rose serum from Odièle gives him the dewy glow we are all after. I am going to take Ian’s advice. I want to glow too!

Question: I have followed you into the abyss of boutique fitness classes. Where can I acquire workout gear that makes me look like I belong but doesn’t bankrupt me?

First of all, welcome to the dark side. Boutique fitness, while amazingly gratifying, is also, well, costly. The protein powders, alkaline water, and supplements are the tip of the iceberg. My motto is PRO GEAR, PRO ATTITUDE. If you aren’t going for the dust fit, you should hit your local Nike outlet for well-priced simple shorts, shirts, and socks.

These are the things I will wear to a workout. The look works for running, lifting, yoga — I have even worn it to the rare barre class. If you aren’t close to an outlet (I like Woodbury Commons), shop online, or even go to TJ Maxx or Marshalls — the shopping experience will be lacking, but the prices on basic sweat-wicking materials will save you some cash so you can add that royal jelly and raw sprouted brown rice protein to your next smoothie.

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.

Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

Ask Chris Black: What Are Your Top 5 Amazon Fashion Staples?