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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in October

Photo: Courtesy of the vendors

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 October.

Anthony Rotunno, senior editor

I didn’t buy a ton of new things beyond the norm this month, given I’m still paying off everything my husband and I bought in China last month. However, I did get an Amazon gift card as part of a groomsmen gift from my brother-in-law, which I used toward a not so fun but necessary upgrade of our food-storage container situation. After reading up on the Strategist’s coverage, I went for this set of locking rectangular shaped containers from Rubbermaid and a larger set of similar-looking ones from AmazonBasics. The Rubbermaid ones are by far superior, locking seamlessly and securely, easy to clean, and sturdy but not heavy. I considered getting glass storage, but it just seemed less convenient for something I’d be commuting with regularly. Reviewers describe these as “glasslike,” which I would agree with, and both the vessels and lids are BPA-free, according to the brand.

I also used the gift card to buy this hand-painted pear made of alabaster. It was among the decorative stone fruits I recently found on Amazon, and honestly is as nice-looking as any other hand-painted stone fruits I’ve inherited from my mother-in-law or bought at John Derian, my favorite seller of beautiful things I never need but always want. The pear isn’t huge, but tossing it in a small bowl with a couple other fruits would make for a nice year-round centerpiece. And you can always add it to a bowl filled with actual fruit, too, until you’ve collected enough fakes for their own display.

I am a sucker for the New York City merchandise from streetwear brand OnlyNY (which has also produced limited-edition collaborations with New York Magazine). So when I saw that they released these tall socks sporting the MTA logo, I had to click buy. I can only hope that whatever money the MTA is getting from the deal is going toward fixing the subway.

Peter Martin, senior editor

I’ve only been on staff for a few weeks. My last job was at a real jeans-and-a-plaid-shirt kind of place, where work sometimes meant taking breaks from editing to play with an angle grinder in the workshop. Real durable-casual vibes. I was worried that wouldn’t fly here, so I did some preparatory shopping. Like back-to-school shopping, but swap the excited kid for a nervous adult man. One of my favorite things I found were these pants, which fit like jeans and match nearly everything like jeans, but unlike jeans, feel like I’m making an effort.

My nephew turned 7 this month. Aside from police cars, ambulances, and spicy noodles, there’s nothing he loves more than the military. At his birthday party, the cake was in the shape of a F-14 jet. When guests arrived, they were handed dog tags with cute ranks and titles. So I was pretty sure he’d like what we found for him: A kids’ version of the jacket pilots have worn since the 1950s, complete with patches. He was so excited to wear it to school the next day that he put it on over just his underwear as soon as he woke up. (He did eventually add a T-shirt and pants underneath.)

Lauren Ro, writer

Until someone invents baby socks that actually stay on, these little soft booties are the next best thing, apparently! My nanny told me about them, and then I started seeing them on every child under 1-year-old. They come in all kinds of colors and are great for keeping tiny toes toasty and protected. My 8-month-old doesn’t seem to mind them. Although, when I first put them on him, he kicked his feet up like a dog wearing shoes for the first time.

I’ve had my eye on this “chubby” lamp ever since a designer recommended it for a roundup I did on table lamps last year. Being on the smaller side, it was just a tad too expensive, though, so I waited, hoping it would go on sale. More than a year later, I finally took the plunge, when Anthropologie had a 25 percent off everything sale a couple of weeks ago. It’s now on sale again for a “limited time,” according to Anthropologie, making it a great opportunity for others to scoop the lamp up. Mine hasn’t arrived yet, but I’m looking forward to putting the blobby, vaguely Western-style ceramic guy on my bedside table to replace an old Ikea lamp.

After I found my perfect everyday jeans, I was ready to experiment with more interesting shapes. These Uniqlo pants are kind of the opposite of my straight-leg GRLFRNDs — they’re wide-legged and curved in a raw denim finish — so naturally, I had to try them. They’re really long, so I do have to get them hemmed, but they’re surprisingly flattering and actually lengthen my legs, just as the product description claims. And you can’t beat the $40 price tag.

Alexis Swerdloff, Strategist editor

Levi’s Ribcage Ankle Jeans
From $70
From $70
Photo: Courtesy of the retailer

I bought these jeans on a bit of a whim during Shopbop’s “event of the season” sale, and have hardly taken them off since. They’re stiff without being too constricting (they have a little bit of stretch), they’re just the right amount of flared, and have a worn-in without trying too hard wash. I’ve paired them with flats, sneakers, and look forward to trying them with a boot.

I decided to finally join New York Magazine’s unofficial Everlane Oversized Alpaca Crew Club (so many women here have this in various neutral shades). On the advice of a colleague, I got the brown. I think it’ll look nice paired with the aforementioned jeans.

More often than not, if I’m leaving the house with my son, I have neither the time nor strength to tie my shoes, and would always rather just slip into a pair of sneakers. I wore my Ace & Jig x Keds slip-ons to the ground, and was long overdue for a new pair. I have quite a few white sneakers and wanted something all-black — these Vans felt dramatic and a little fashion. I actually got them on Poshmark for $20 because I am now a Poshmark addict!

I found myself confronted with a rather unsexy shopping conundrum earlier this month. We needed a new doormat, but it had to be shallow; our apartment is at the end of the hall with an apartment entrance directly around the corner so anything too long would impede on our neighbor’s front-of-door space. There are very few stout doormats out there that don’t say “home” in cursive or are adorned with pineapples, but after hunting around I finally found this scruffy guy. It feels a little English Country Home.

Lastly, a friend of mine posted a photo of her son wearing a Carhartt beanie and I immediately had to get one for my 13-month-old. He took it off and threw it on the ground about 30 seconds after we put it on him, but he looked very cute for those 30 seconds!

Liza Corsillo, writer

While investigating the Venn diagram of people who swear by Calzuro clogs (it includes surgeons, nurses, cheese-makers, artists, and one waiter who declined to comment), I realized I could use another pair. They truly are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn; I keep them by the door so I can slip into them on my way out to walk my dog. My first pair of Calzuros have ventilation holes in the top, something I loved this summer. But now that it’s getting chilly, I wanted a pair without those holes. My second pair of Calzuros brings the number of plastic medical clogs I own up to three: Two black Calzuros, and one dark-green pair from a brand called PLOGS that I found at a thrift store.

It makes me exceedingly happy to see friends of mine doing cool things in the world, and this book by Anna Hezel and the editors of Taste is a perfect example. It’s beautiful, funny, cozy to look at, and very well-researched. Hezel and her team spent six months testing every iteration of lasagna imaginable (as well as some baked pastas and lasagna-adjacent desserts) to bring this charming cookbook into the world. They even got Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield, to write a blurb! In my opinion, it’s a perfect dad gift — and not just because my dad is an Italian-American man obsessed with pasta.

Hilary Reid, writer

My most exciting purchases this month happened mostly on eBay (a micro-houndstooth Agnès B. coat and some square-toed Bally boots) but one did happen at the 34th Street Uniqlo: this beige crewneck. A neutral-colored sweater might not sound like much of a thrill, but the cut of the sleeves is particularly good on this one. They’re not oversize, but they comfortably accommodate the long sleeves of a turtleneck or button-down worn underneath without feeling restrictive — a surprisingly hard thing to find! I’m thinking of getting it in gray and navy too.

I picked up some of this Everyday Oil, which I’d been seeing everywhere and finally bought. It has an herbal-medicinal smell that’s pleasantly autumnal, and works well on the dry ends of my hair and as a nighttime face oil. It’s actually moisturizing enough to use instead of body lotion too. It reminds me a lot of this Aesop cleansing oil that I use and love, but with more uses and at a much lower price.

I bought both Ben Lerner’s new book and Dracula this month — a weird pairing for sure, but I’ve been reading them simultaneously, and so far both are great. Honestly, I thought The Topeka School was going to be the one I would end up discussing with friends, but surprisingly a few have also been reading (or recently read) Dracula, so that’s been the one to talk about.

Katy Schneider, editor

I snagged these black pants during Need Supply’s giant sale a couple of weeks ago (I got them for $100; sadly, they are now back to $175). And they’re great! They’re really stiff, which I love, and very, very flattering. Plus, the ankle is perfect (neither cropped, nor too long), as is the rise (high, but not too high). Goldilocks pants!

Photo: Courtesy of the retailer

I also bought a new pair of black boots. After much deliberation (No 6 Crepe Soles? The very, very, very chunky Eytys pair I saw at Assembly?), I went with Rachel Comey’s slightly chunky, but classic, Plank boots. They look great with practically everything, and I’ve hardly taken them off since I bought them.

Sandeep Salter’s shop Salter House has the most beautiful things — floaty, dreamy nightgowns, lavender spoons, rattan carpet beaters. Hilary and I had been completely obsessing over her newest addition — these perfect, speckled French clogs made out of hemp plastic — for months, and after I told Sandeep how much we loved them, she made our month and surprised us each with a pair (I swear, this wasn’t a quid pro quo situation — I would have bought them had they not appeared in my mailbox first). We love them so much. They remind me of something my mother would have worn gardening in the ’90s, and they’re just really pretty and unusual and perfect.

Jenna Milliner-Waddell, junior writer

Brunch one Saturday this month turned into a walk around Soho, which turned into hundreds of dollars spent very quickly. In addition to a Tumi tote I scored at a discount at the new T.J.Maxx and a CB2 pillow, I also bought this jacket. After looking it up and finding that it’s actually called a cardigan, I realized I may have been off base in thinking it would suffice as a fall jacket. Still, I have no regrets. With a turtleneck underneath, it’s been perfect on breezy 60-degree days. I guess my next purchase will be an actual coat that fits over it, so I can still wear the cardigan through the winter.

My newish apartment is still half empty, but this rug is one thing I did buy to make it feel a little more like a home. I have to admit I was nervous about buying a rug from Urban Outfitters; I worried it would have the plushness of a worn-out bath towel. But to my surprise, the rug arrived in packaging that noted it was actually made by nuLOOM, a company whose rugs we’ve written about before. That definitely soothed my fears. I am very happy with the quality, and the colors seem to look more vibrant every day.

Maxine Builder, managing editor

Levi’s Ribcage Ankle Jeans
From $70
From $70
Photo: Courtesy of the retailer

All of my co-workers take their denim seriously, so when we described these Levi’s as the “Goldilocks of jeans” in a sales post on September 27, I should’ve known it’d only be a matter of time before I picked up my own pair. In fact, it was about a week, according to my receipt from Levi’s, dated October 6. And I’ve been reaching for these jeans nearly every day since. The high-rise is deliriously high, easily clearing my belly button, but it doesn’t cut me off or feel uncomfortable when I sit. The wash is dark enough to wear to the office and look neat, but they still look a little worn-in. I also spotted Alexis sporting the same jeans the other day, so I feel like we’re onto something, and when these Ribcage jeans become the new Wedgies, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I’m also willing it to get cold so I can wear this very soft turtleneck sweater from J.Crew that I bought on sale and, incidentally, looks great when paired with my Ribcage jeans.

Another thing I bought this month that looks great with my Ribcage jeans are these Nikes. I’ve long coveted a pair of ugly-cute chunky sneakers, but it’s taken me a while to work up the courage and find a pair that I actually liked. That means not too colorful and not too orthopedic, and somehow, in some online-shopping fever dream, I came across the Air Max 270 React on the Nike website, and they’ve exceeded all my expectations. They’re super springy and comfortable to wear. I get compliments whenever I have them on, and I love how they look when paired with the cropped-but-straight Ribcage jeans. (I feel very long when I wear the two in combination, like I’ve suddenly gained six inches of height.) The exact colorway I own — mostly white with tan and pastel accents, almost like an upside down ice-cream cone with sprinkles — is no longer available, but I also really like these.

Chloe Anello, junior writer

Maxine wrote about this thermometer long before I even worked at the Strategist. I remember reading the article last year and thinking, “That would be a great gift for my dad.” Now, nearly a year after she published her original story, I bought it as a birthday present for my dad.

I just started using Blueland’s cleaning products, and it felt a little contradictory to use paper towels when I’m using an ecofriendly cleaner. So I got some of these after we published an ode to them earlier this month. So far, they’ve lived up to the hype.

At the beginning of the month, I got caught in the rain, and even with an umbrella, I was completely soaked. I couldn’t bear the thought of braving my two-hour commute in wet clothes; I can barely stand it dry. So I popped into Uniqlo and swiped up the first sweatpants and sweater I set my eyes on (and actually liked). These originally emergency pieces turned into clothes I’ve been wearing nonstop all month. I never bought anything from Uniqlo before that night, but now I’ll be a recurring shopper.

I recently got an email about the brand Farm Rio, so I checked it out and fell in love with this sweatshirt as soon as I saw it. I can throw it on with jeans and boots and look like I put a lot of thought into my outfit when I absolutely did not. I’d say it even rivals my Champion hoodie for comfort.

Karen Iorio Adelson, senior writer

I’m a sucker for a flannel. So when Madewell was having a big sale earlier this month, picking this one up was a no-brainer. It’s warm, cozy, and neutral-hued, so I can dress it up a little more than a plaid flannel. I’ve worn it as a light jacket on some chilly-but-not-cold days and, best of all, it has hidden side pockets.

You know how you have that special shirt that you’re always a little excited to wear? (On Seinfeld, Jerry called his “Golden Boy.”) I’ve only had this long-sleeve tee for a few weeks, and it’s already become my favorite. The forest-green stripes feel more unique than navy, I can wear it with jeans or leggings, and it’s just so soft. I’m not great at laundry so my T-shirts usually come out of the dryer with twisted, wrinkled collars and hems, but this one always holds its shape.

I’ve had the same winter coat for nearly a decade, so I was in the market for a new one this year. At first I wanted something a little more stylish, but I soon realized that, come the frigid days of winter, I’m going to appreciate a coat that’s basically a sleeping bag. This one hits me mid-calf and I’m confident it’ll keep me warm when it’s freezing out. I’m telling myself that the faux-fur trim on the hood and non-quilted design make it more fashion-y than your standard puffer, but at the end of the day it’s a big, puffy coat that’ll make winter more bearable, which is what I really need.

Rio Viera-Newton, writer

It’s the time of year where I aggressively search for pretty colored turtlenecks to spice up my boring, predictable, winter outfits. This lovely, mustard turtleneck from Leset is perfect for this transitional, October-to-November period. It’s super cozy (not too thin but not too thick), fits like a glove, and just so happens to be the perfect, seasonally appropriate color. I love pairing it with dark-blue 501s and a brown trench.

I love cooking cozy, hearty dinners — especially when it’s rainy and cold out. But like most New Yorkers, my tiny kitchen doesn’t allow for a ton of cookware. Lately, I’ve been looking for a medium-size, deep sauté pan that isn’t too large but that I could rely on for making creamy or tomato sauces, garlicky black beans, or wild rice pilaf. This pan is the best! It’s the perfect size, it’s super easy to clean, and even has a little pouring spout. I’m obsessed.

My bathroom is my happy place and this cute, papaya bath mat has brought a lot of joy into my life. It’s cheery, colorful, soft, and the perfect size for my tiny bathroom. It’s somehow made getting the shower in the morning a little less painful.

David Notis, writer

I went home to Boston a couple weeks ago to visit my parents, and we stopped by Formaggio in Cambridge, which is one of my favorite specialty-food stores. They carry all sorts of unique and hard-to-find things, and they also have a lot of stuff made by local companies. That’s where these caramels enter the story. I had never heard of the company before, but it’s based in Boston. I sort of quietly put them on the counter when my parents were checking out. They are so, so good and taste super fresh and buttery. Honestly, unlike any caramels I have ever tried. And they have black-lava sea salt, which sounds fancy, but more importantly, is salt, and I think most of us now know that salt goes well with caramel. I started eating them on the train back to New York, and polished them off within a few days.

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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in October