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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in February

Photo: Courtesy of 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 February.

Tembe Denton-Hurst, staff writer

I, like many other Strategist staffers, have purchased these Wranglers at the convincing recommendation of Rio Viera-Newton. I’m curious about how they’ll fit my plus-size, thick-thighed frame (especially because they run notoriously small), but I’m excited about the prospect of adding cool-casual slacks to my wardrobe. I’ve already started dreaming up outfits.

I’ve loved Audre Lorde since college, and although I’ve read her other work, like Sister Outsider, I’ve been slow to dig into Zami, arguably one of her most popular books. It came up numerous times for a story I’m working on, and it feels like the right time to visit the text for myself.

Casey Lewis, senior editor


Winter has not been kind to my hair. If it’s not completely dry when I leave the house in the morning, my curls collapse, completely deflated by the cold. But my very old drugstore blow dryer wasn’t cutting it. Not only did it take forever, it was also actively damaging my hair. That’s the only way I can explain how, one night after work, I walked into Sephora, blacked out, and walked out with a Dyson in my hand. (Don’t worry — I paid for it, according to the receipt and my very sad bank statement.) It really is unbelievably pricey, but I regret nothing. It dries my hair so fast, even using the low setting and a diffuser, and I swear it looks healthier.

Or maybe it looks better because I switched up my hair products. I’m not sure what to think about the recent DevaCurl backlash, but it scared me enough that I bought the highly-recommended Aveda’s Be Curly curl enhancer. As Strategist writer Hilary Reid explained in her roundup of expert-recommended products for curly hair, “The expanding effect of wheat protein adds body and volume to hair, and because wheat protein easily absorbs into the hair shaft, it can help repair damage to the follicle, as well.” After using the stuff for almost a month, I believe it.

Maxine Builder, managing editor

Perhaps it is sacrilege for an editor at New York to have made this purchase. But I saw Luke O’Neil wearing a version of this Carhartt baseball cap when he was in town promoting his book Hell World, and I have not been able to stop thinking about it. He had the fitted version, and I went with the adjustable one, but in both cases, there’s something about the combination of the Red Sox logo on the front and the Carhartt tag on the back, all in that sturdy duck canvas, that’s so deeply and wholly New England, it sends shivers up my spine.

I don’t know what possessed me to buy a pair of Converse high-tops. Maybe it’s because my coworker said she was “kind of over” chunky sneakers, or maybe it’s because it feels like spring, or maybe it’s the fact that Green Day came out with a new album this month that I’ve been listening to compulsively, with the fervor of a teenager who carefully writes their favorite song lyrics on their sneakers in pen (one of my favorite pastimes back in the day). Whatever the case, I found these all-white ones at Journeys in SoHo, in case you needed more proof that I am 28 going on 14, and they scratched whatever itch I had. They’re admittedly hard to keep clean but have quickly become the only sneakers I want to wear because they work with everything, and I really like that they’re not broken up by the blue and red stripes.

Chloe Anello, junior writer

I’m planning on moving into my first apartment at some point this year, so whenever I see an excellent deal on a possible apartment essential, I buy it. These were 50 percent off at HomeGoods, and while I’m not necessarily a great cook (yet), I figured this was too good of a deal to pass up because they’re utensils I should be able to have long after my first apartment.

After lots of research on better reusable containers for lunches, I landed on S’well’s new eats containers, because they have two parts: an insulated bowl to keep everything warm and an interior, removable, microwave-safe prep bowl. It’s nice because I tend to take the same thing multiple days in a row, so now, instead of dividing them into containers each morning, I can do it all at once. Plus, they’re compact, so it doesn’t take up too much room in my already cluttered bag. I haven’t actually used them yet because I had to exchange this set for the larger size, because the smaller size is very small, so unless these are exclusively for snacks, opt for the larger size.

Karen Iorio Adelson, senior writer

Because of my below-average height (I’m 4’11”), shopping for pants is always a struggle. But I lucked out recently and found two pairs in petite-length from Madewell. Until I put on the Emmett pants, I assumed I’d just have to sit out the wide-leg crop trend since all of the pairs I tried before looked ridiculous on my short legs. These actually hit at the right spot — just above my ankle bone — and because they’re a “slim” wide-leg, they don’t overwhelm my small frame. As for the dark gray skinny jeans, they’re a perfectly fitting everyday staple.

Warm hats make my cold, winter morning runs much more bearable, but most of mine are several years old and looking a little worse for wear. I ordered a few replacements including this cozy (but still lightweight and moisture-wicking) Smartwool beanie. It covers my ears (a must), is super soft, and stays put while I’m running.

Dominique Pariso, writer

The problem with testing fancy jewelry for two weeks is that my neck started to feel a little bare once I had to return said fancy jewelry. I bought this Mejuri chain to replace the one I borrowed from the Last Line, and I am pleased to report that multiple people (including a few of my eagle-eyed coworkers) couldn’t tell the difference — for a tenth of the price.

I also bought the climate-change book that everyone’s talking about and tore through it during an unseasonably warm weekend. It’s a very meditative — and hilarious — tome of doom.

Jenna Milliner-Waddell, junior writer

I’m not really a T-shirt person, and I’m definitely not a graphic-tee person, but I came across this “Happy Endings” one from Ganni and couldn’t resist. I tossed it in my cart during one of the Outnet’s sales along with some super-sale Commando and Calvin Klein underwear. I’m happy with everything I received, but one thing that will always delight me the most about ordering from the Outnet is the quick delivery time. The free shipping option got my goodies to me in two days.

Anthony Rotunno, senior editor

Earlier this year, I swapped my iPhone SE for an iPhone 11. (I refuse to say “upgraded” because I’m not exactly sure that’s what it was.) Anyway, as of February 21, I’d yet to get a case for the new phone, so when I saw there was an under-$20 style of handykette — the crossbody phone case that our friends at the Strategist U.K. have spotted on a set of fashionable Europeans — it seemed novel and different and cheap enough to give it a try. I’ve only had it for a few days, so I really can’t speak to how strong or durable the case is. (And to be honest, I’ve only worn it outside of the house once.) But I did wear it while cooking dinner one night, and was totally taken by how, well, handy it was to have my phone (a.k.a. cookbook) at arm’s length without occupying space on my counter near water or spices or other stuff that could damage it. For that reason alone, I think it was worth the modest investment.