We write about hundreds of products a week. Here, in our version of the Sunday circular, we’ve plucked out some of our favorites — expert-recommended essentials, life-changing stuff you didn’t know you needed, newly-launched gizmos, and the very good deals we uncovered while trolling through the vast online-shopping universe this past week, including a Dolly Parton–designed apron, the fabric face mask a mountain biker wears, and some cardboard cutouts for when you can’t get home for Thanksgiving.
A $75 cashmere sweater
With temperatures already dropping in some places and soon to drop in others, Strategist junior writer Chloe Anello recently surveyed a bunch of stylish ladies about their favorite cashmere sweaters. Of all the brands mentioned, Naadam came recommended the most, with many fans using the words “affordable” and “high quality” to describe its sweaters. This $75 sweater is Naadam’s most affordable — but it’s still made of 100 percent cashmere, which is probably why the fashion publicist who told us about it always “marvels at its softness.” That publicist adds you can’t beat the variety of this sweater, and we have to agree: It comes in a whopping 14 shades and sizes from XXS to XXL. What’s more, the sweater barely pills, a perk the publicist has two words for: “Dry-clean savings!”
A tiny treadmill you can walk and work and even jog on
“All the walking I did while commuting, picking up lunch, and meeting up with friends after work was my most regular form of exercise, and overnight, the five-plus miles I clocked daily plummeted to basically zero,” writes contributor (and New York Magazine copy editor) Brittany Brown of an all-too-true reality. To offset her sudden sedentary turn, Brown sought a tiny treadmill she could slip under her DIY standing desk, “zeroing in on brands that specifically made models for people, like me, who have no dedicated space in a living room or study for exercise gear — who, instead, need to easily stow it between uses.” She wound up testing two such mini under-desk treadmills — both of which take up no more real estate than a yoga mat. The WalkingPad, Brown writes, is ideal for the most space-starved, because you can fold it up to be half its length between uses. “At one mph, I could pretty much do any work task imaginable — I wrote with a pen and paper, typed emails, edited articles, and attended Zoom meetings. The hours just flew by without any sort of fatigue. When I upped the speed to two mph, I could still do some minimal typing; the fastest I went on this was five mph (I’m not much of a runner), and it felt good and sturdy, with enough room for me to jog without feeling like I was going to fall,” she writes.
Tallulah Willis’s favorite deodorant
Says Bruce Willis and Demi Moore’s youngest daughter of the deodorant she can’t live without: “I wanted a deodorant that actually works and does not have a light, airy, floral scent. This smells deeper, more grounded, woodsy — I almost wear it like I would perfume. I obsessively put it on because I love the smell so much.”
The ($20) purple fan that beguiled our design editor
“I am obsessed with that purple fan,” is what New York Magazine’s design editor Wendy Goodman said after we photographed musician Eleanor Friedberger and artist Michael Berryhill’s Ulster County home. The brightly colored box fan, notes Strategist writer Hilary Reid, fits right in with their “Yves Klein–blue kitchen, forest-green marble countertops, circular shelving niche packed with mismatched ceramics, and retro-flower-wallpapered bathroom with Pepto-pink tiles.” While Reid writes that the fan “looks like it could be from the MoMA Design Store,” Friedberger told her it has a much humbler origin — Walmart. “I spotted it in the display aisle. It was a Lasko, it turned out — I had one in white when I was in my 20s and didn’t have enough money for an air conditioner. When I saw the blades were purple, too, I thought, Wow, Lasko’s really doing something kind of special and cool here,” she says.
A good deal on a design-y puzzle
On sale for less than $20, this festive 500-piecer from Piecework, one of our favorite makers of sophisticated puzzles, is a good deal — especially when you consider how nice its completed image would look preserved and hung on a kitchen wall. As Strategist writer Nikita Richardson pointed out, it’s one of a handful of good-looking puzzles on sale at Urban Outfitters right now, just as “we’re slipping back into puzzle season.”
A Dolly Parton–designed apron
For those … cookin’ nine-to-five, the grand dame of quality kitchenware has teamed up with the grand dame of country music to release a limited-edition line of quite giftable products as we enter into the gifting season. In our latest edition of Don’t Dillydally, we note that the patchwork aprons from the collaboration are “made of sturdy cotton twill and have pockets big enough to hold tools and recipes both.” (There are sizes for adults and kids, both ideal for all the cookie baking to come.)
The fabric face mask a mountain biker wears
When Strategist writer Louis Cheslaw canvassed male and female cyclists about the best clothes for bicycling, one mountain biker told him she actually likes to wear this mask while riding. “The elastic ear loops are stretchy, soft, and don’t pinch my ears even after hours of use,” she says of the polyester-spandex mask that is “is constructed to fit over the shape of a face, so there’s no useless material.” Most importantly, she can “actually breathe with the mask on, even during intense rides.”
And some cardboard cutouts for when you can’t get home for Thanksgiving
Contributor (and New York Magazine art director) Stevie Remsberg’s solution to not being able to make her mom’s 75th birthday is one of those brilliantly simple, why-didn’t-I-think-of-that ideas: Surprise her with some lifelike cardboard cutouts of the whole family. The process, she explains, is super easy — though you might need someone close to whomever you’re surprising to pull it off. Remsberg recruited her dad and writes that “on the morning of my mom’s birthday, he put the cutouts up in the kitchen, where we knew she would see them when she went to make her coffee. She was thrilled — and did not, much to my relief, have a heart attack upon seeing four people standing motionless in her kitchen. She called us immediately and then proceeded to drag us all over the house, taking pictures of us in various locations where we would actually be.” In addition to brightening up a birthday (or holiday), Remsberg notes “these younger versions of us will serve as a relic of this deeply weird moment in time — and they’ll make for great pranks, too.”
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.