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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in July

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 you all are buying. Which led us to think that, as Strategist editors, we could turn the tables and highlight all the things we’ve been buying for ourselves. As you’ll notice, it’s both a blessing and a curse to be a Strategist 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 July.

Anthony Rotunno, senior editor

This past Fourth of July, I spent most of the holiday weekend holed up at my parents’ place in suburban New Jersey. It has central AC, a pool, and, minutes away, the Mall at Short Hills — one of the tri-state area’s finer, still-surviving shopping centers of its kind. While doing the rounds there, I picked up this pair of Adidas Adilette slides. (Strategist newsletter subscribers will know that the white and black was a color combo I hadn’t seen before.) Spiritually, they’re kind of like the sandal equivalent of my white and black Superstars, and I’ve taken to wearing them like I would those sneakers — meaning, with just about everything (tees, button-down shirts, jeans, shorts) … and, to my husband’s chagrin, even to work.

I stumbled upon this Himalayan-salt-lamp night-light (which also comes in a two-pack) while combing through home and furniture deals on Amazon during Prime Day. Honestly, it was one of the more interesting and unusual things I found during the sale. Technically, I did not buy it — a friend who was on a bit of a Prime Day binge bought the two-pack and gave me one as a sort of finder’s fee. I’ve written before about how I love a good night-light, and this one doesn’t disappoint. The salt crystal is surprisingly formidable and casts a nice pink-orange glow when on. And I suspect the crystal will last a while, because my light came with two light bulbs (which could also mean the bulbs suck, but I haven’t had any problems yet). It does requires some light assembly — screwing an included light bulb into the base, popping the crystal over it, and plugging it in.

Lauren Ro, writer

I’m still trying to figure out what works with my postpartum body, and thought I’d stick to elasticized skirts and pants until I get back into shape (if ever). Because my jeans don’t fit anymore, I turned to Nashville-based designer Elizabeth Suzann (whose linen shirts have become a staple in my closet since I bought my first ones last year) for a new pair of comfy but cool pants. This particular pair appealed to me because they are structured, yet still have an easygoing feel and the all-important stretchy waistband (plus some gigantic pockets). Because Suzann’s stuff is all made-to-order, you can specify length, so I went with short (I’m 5’2”). Alas, when they arrived, I discovered they were too small in the waist — which was my fault, not the brand’s, because I was maybe a little too ambitious about sizing (otherwise, the pants were exactly what I was hoping for). Luckily, returns (for store credit) are free, and I already received a voucher for my new size. I’ve still got a few more weeks before the new ones arrive, but I’m willing to wait for what I’m expecting be the perfect transitional pair of pants.

I was tired of all the water dripping out of our basic dish rack and spreading across the entire counter every time I did the dishes, so I decided to splurge on this rack from Simplehuman — and I’m so glad I did. It’s huge, and because it’s shaped like a box instead of having open sides, it can accommodate a bunch of stuff, no matter how high you pile everything. It even comes with a rack for wine glasses (although I would have preferred if there were more holders for regular cups). But the best, most ingenious part is its “innovative drainage system,” which catches the water by way of an adjustable tray on the bottom that also has a swivel spout, so you can direct excess water right into the sink.

Karen Iorio Adelson, senior writer

I set out to buy a fun, colorful dress for a few bridal and baby showers I have coming up, but wound up purchasing this black-and-white Eileen Fisher number. It’s less colorful than I originally wanted, but I couldn’t be happier, since it’s the rare tent-like dress that doesn’t look like a shapeless sack. That’s because the dress, which has high-cut armholes, is actually fitted on top before it flares out.

My best friend had a baby girl this month so I had to get her this status-y baby hat that’s a favorite among little Kardashians.

Fleishman Is in Trouble

I’m a big admirer of Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s journalism (that Gwyneth profile!), so I obviously had to read her first novel. It’s everything I wanted it to be and more: heartbreaking, hilarious, and fearless. I’ve already recommended it to everyone I know. It even made Chris Black’s summer reading list.

Maxine Builder, managing editor

I spent the Fourth of July in Maine, and on the drive back to New York, I stopped at the Patagonia outlet in Freeport. They were having a sale-on-sale, which is rare for anything Patagonia, and I picked up a few end-of-season swimsuits, including this bikini (though in a now out-of-stock black and white Batik-y pattern). I’ve yet to wear it in the water, but I’m stoked about the “nanogrip” lining, which is supposed to help keep these bottoms firmly on while I’m swimming.

I bought exactly one thing on Amazon Prime Day: this Supergoop mousse sunscreen, because sun protection is important to me, and I like to be well-stocked with SPF. Plus, this mousse formula is the easiest thing to apply. It’s lightweight, rubs in almost instantly, doesn’t stick to anything, and leaves no white cast.

Even though I’m obsessive about putting sunscreen on my face daily, I was terrified that I wasn’t taking care of my lips well enough after helping to edit this piece on the best lip balms with SPF, according to dermatologists. It’s not an expert-recommended pick, but this banana-scented lip balm with zinc is the best option they had in stock at the Whole Foods in Williamsburg. Surprisingly, I enjoy the scent, and now feel satisfied that my lips are protected, too.

Dominique Pariso, writer

This $5 lip balm is the best thing I’ve purchased all month. Like Maxine, I’d been neglecting to protect my lips from UV rays (especially during my long afternoon stretches at the beach). I find that a lot of SPF lip protectants are either too greasy (so they slide off immediately after applying) or too drying. Supergoop! Lip Shield is formulated with beeswax, as well as with coconut, avocado, and grape-seed oils, so it’s moisturizing while being waxy enough to stay put.

Since we are in peak thigh-chafe season, it was time to get serious about preventing chub-rub. The situation between my thighs had devolved into something I would describe as somewhere between “hell-fire” and “the pain of a thousand sunburns.” I was skeptical about this product: Isn’t it just rebranded deodorant in fancy packaging? I thought. But I was so, so wrong. When first applied, it does feel like deodorant, but then it dries down to form a magical barrier that lasts for hours. Buy this and thank me later.

Alexis Swerdloff, Strategist editor

While poking around H&M for some shorts for my son (I settled on these basic guys), I stumbled on this black denim jumpsuit that I am wearing right now as I type. It’s not a thick denim, and feels more like a soft black cotton, so it’s ideal for these sultry summer days. I think in the fall I’ll wear it with a T-shirt underneath.

The Need by Helen Phillips

One of my dear friends Helen Phillips’s book The Need came out this month, and I bought a copy at her release party at Greenlight. Without giving too much away, it’s an eerie, emotional page-turner about a paleobotanist/mother of two. I devoured it in a week.

This wasn’t on sale for Prime Day but was rather a Prime Day Launch — Hanna Andersson’s limited-edition collaboration with Amazon’s baby-clothes line Moon and Back. I snatched up this very soft short-sleeved romper set that my 10-month-old wears as PJs, but also occasionally wears during the day. A true day-to-night piece. Note: They run a little on the big side, which is not the case for regular Hanna Andersson.

New York’s fashion director Rebecca Ramsey inspired this purchase. It’s the perfect size for storing a couple bottles and various other perishable snacks on days when we’re mostly out and about with the baby. It has a ton of separate zip pouches, which is always helpful, and it’s a bit less bro-y and a lot cheaper (and a little more Cool Mom) than the Yeti.

Chloe Anello, junior writer

I rarely buy clothes specifically for summer, but during the heat wave we experienced midway through July, nothing in my closet filled with jeans and jackets worked to keep me cool. I begrudgingly went to Target to find inexpensive-but-attractive summer dresses and left with these two. They’re lightweight enough to keep me cool while walking outside, but I can also definitely see myself wearing them beyond the warmer months.

A few years ago, I threw out of all my mismatched, colorful socks and just started buying the same white Hanes socks. They do the job and can be found pretty much anywhere when it comes time to replace older, dingier pairs. Plus, I never have to deal with mismatched socks again (only wearing the same kind makes sorting laundry so much easier).

I commute in and out of New York City every day, so in order to fit in everything I want to do before work (work out, shower, eat breakfast), I have to wake up very early. This jumpsuit requires absolutely no effort to put on in the morning, saving me a lot of time and frustration (especially on those days I wake up particularly exhausted). The camel color I bought it in has since sold out, but this navy-blue version is just as wearable.

Simone Kitchens, senior editor

For the last month, this glycolic serum has been part of my evening routine. And from what I can tell, it’s working. The sweat-related forehead bumps that I would regularly wake up to in the morning have disappeared; the congested zone around my chin that flares up on a monthly basis has also cleared; and, most exciting, the cluster of pores that have long resided on either side of my nose—the ones resistant to every tightening clay mask and diligent face scrub—seemed to have blurred away. Instead of being excessively shiny when I wake up, my skin is balanced, hydrated, and continues to look poreless throughout these swampy July days.

I got this nicely discounted top from Ganni during the Net-a-Porter sale last week.

I also picked up a tube of this SPF that I know will never give me breakouts and or leave a whitish cast on my darker skin.

Hilary Reid, writer

My friend Jana Prikryl just published her second book of poetry, No Matter, so I was excited to pick up a copy. It’s a wonderful, smart, and dryly funny collection — it has New York poems, friendship poems, and a series of poems inspired by a book of early-20th-century photographs.

I’ve always liked the look of Salt-Water Sandals, but never tried them because I thought they’d be too flat for my problematic feet. I was wrong! These are insanely comfortable, haven’t hurt my feet at all, and I like that if I get caught in another flash flood I won’t have to worry about ruining them, since they’re made to wear in water. I packed them for a weekend on the North Fork, and they were perfect for wearing to the beach, a cookout, and a party on a farm. Someone even told me they look like “an Italian boy’s sandals,” which is high praise in my book.

Ever since my dentist used a piña colada-flavored numbing gel (why?) when I last had a cavity filled, I’ve had a pretty strong aversion to anything coconut scented. This lotion is apparently the exception — the scent is faint enough that it doesn’t give me flashbacks to the dentist’s chair, and its lightweight enough to really drench yourself in it after spending a day in the sun at the beach.

Liza Corsillo, writer

Around the third of July, I realized that I didn’t have any comfortable sandals. I was looking for multitaskers, something I could pack as my only shoes for a weekend away and wear for long dog walks in Prospect Park. Despite being a longtime fan, I never owned a pair of Birkenstocks — until this month, when I finally went ahead and bought a pair after work on my way to the subway. They’re not necessarily “sexy” sandals, but they do satisfy my desire for sleek yet solid footwear from a brand I can trust.

This Strat-approved bike rack was an impulse buy to solve the bicycle problem in my apartment — two bikes too many — which was driving me insane. Thankfully, it worked as promised, allowing me to easily transport those two bikes to my parents’ house in Connecticut.

The camp counselor in me can’t get enough of the current resurgence of everything tie-dye. So when I put together a quick and easy guide to tie-dye stuff on Amazon, I selfishly didn’t include this phenomenal Gildan tee, saving it for myself. I like the camo colors, which don’t look like most of the other tie-dye color palettes out there.

David Notis, writer

I’ve been a big fan of Corridor for a few years now. They’re a New York City–based company, their store is right in the middle of my walk between home and work, and they make great stuff. What’s not to love? My Corridor long-sleeve black flannel is one of my favorite shirts, but I can’t even think about wearing it right now, so when they sent me this short-sleeve shirt about a month ago, I was intrigued — even though, at first, I wasn’t so sure about it. It is very floral, and a bit louder than anything I would buy on my own. But after wearing it to a few occasions that called for a “fun” shirt, I quickly counted it among my favorite things to wear on superhot days. I always get compliments on it, and the fabric is really lightweight, which is great in the heat. Also the dark color helps hide sweat, which is appreciated. It also has a trimmer fit than my other short-sleeve button downs, so it feels a little dressier and more polished. Plus, Corridor is a pretty small company, so I’m not worried about running into someone else wearing the same shirt.

Jenna Milliner-Waddell, junior writer

After weeks of squeaking around the office in mules that were hanging on by whatever cheap shoes are strung together with, I decided it was time for a new pair of sandals. Luckily I didn’t have to search too hard, as Instagram provided me with an ad for a pair from Dolce Vita. This two-strap sandal has everything I was looking for — namely a white, manageable heel that wouldn’t require wearing a second shoe to commute in. They are also surprisingly comfortable, and the heel’s texture and unique round shape are an aesthetic bonus. I got them from Bloomingdale’s for the convenience of same day in-store pickup and Loyalist points, but you can find them at other retailers, too.

For as long as I can remember, my mother has been telling me to “put on a lip.” But no matter how hydrating or luxurious a lipstick claims to be, I hate wearing any. The matte lip-kit trend days were some of my darkest, but I started to see the light when gloss came back in vogue. I’ve tried many a gloss, from Dior to Fenty, but decided to boss up this month and buy Pat McGrath’s Lust Lip Gloss in Flesh 4. I’m mad at myself for not trying it out sooner. The shine on this thing really is blinding. My lips feel hydrated for hours, but I never get that sticky feeling. It also adds a nice subtle color, so I feel like I’m making mom proud.

I’m a little vain (I blame Instagram) so when I’m going on vacation I pack based on what I want to be photographed in during the inevitable photoshoot(s) that will take place. When I booked my trip to Los Angeles for the Fourth of July, I knew I needed a boater hat to complete one of my lewks, and luckily found this one on sale at Urban Outfitters two days before my trip. While strictly purchased for photo-taking, the hat has a wide brim and the straw is stitched very tight, so it fulfills a sun-protection purpose, too.

Katy Schneider, associate editor

All of my shopping money this month has gone toward making a late-July move slightly more bearable. To that end, I used Gorilla Bins, a service that drops off large, plastic cartons at the apartment you’re departing, then picks them up at your new place once you’ve unpacked. It was the best gift I’ve ever given myself: No taping up a million cardboard boxes, no breaking down a million cardboard boxes, and no cardboard boxes breaking or buckling under the weight of my million books halfway through the move.

Okay, not all of my shopping money: I also bought some Labucq leather slides, to ride out the rest of the summer in.

After I moved, I went to the store to stock up on “pantry essentials,” thinking I’d get some olive oil, new sponges, and a couple of rolls of paper towels and toilet paper. I walked away, instead, with three family-size bags of BjornQorn, which is absurdly expensive, coated in nutritional yeast, and easily the best-tasting food I know.

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.

The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in July