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What Strategist Readers Bought on Black Friday: Cashmere Sweaters and Crawl Tunnels

Photo-Illustration: retailer

Welcome back to Your Shopping Cart, where we break out the top ten products that you, devoted Strategist readers, all bought in droves. Think of this as the tl;dr of the Strategist. If your like-minded brethren are buying these items, maybe you’d like to, too.

Although Black Friday and Cyber Monday started innocently enough, in recent years, they’ve ballooned into a full season of discounts. This year’s sales were particularly vast, including retailers who have never held Black Friday sales before, perhaps because the pandemic has essentially eliminated in-person crowds that you might associate with the year’s biggest sales holiday. And we were curious to find out what our dear readers bought amid all of the sales chaos, so we sorted through your top purchases from the day before Thanksgiving through the Monday after the holiday, known around these parts as Cyber Week.

There were some notable similarities to last year’s Black Friday best sellers: Glossier’s cult-y lip balm and an expert-recommended electric toothbrush were both on the list again, as well as a toy for kids and some athleisure. But, of course, there were also some differences: Readers bought giftable cashmere sweaters and shirts in droves, along with robes and room décor (for more time spent indoors), and, in true 2020 fashion, disposable face masks topped the list (again). Although many of these items were on discount during Cyber Week, it’s worth noting that most (though not all) are back to full price.

Even during Cyber Week, disposable face masks topped our readers’ shopping carts for the third month in a row. But, for the first time, readers’ mask of choice was this 50-pack from Ecoguard — not because they were on sale, but because Strategist senior writer Karen Iorio Adelson, and writer Liza Corsillo, recommended them in their article about the best (expert-approved) disposable face masks, which we published the day before Thanksgiving. “These masks are very comfortable and fit pretty well without much need for adjustment” they write, adding that the three-ply masks pass the candle test with flying colors. Plus, these FDA registered masks are also EUA certified by the FDA, meaning that they’re certified for emergency use during the pandemic. Since mask wearing (and social distancing) remains a public-health imperative during the now-worsening pandemic, it seems that Strategist readers are taking their — and others’ — health seriously.

The first Cyber Week sale item in readers’ carts is this cashmere sweater tee, which was on discount during Everlane’s first-ever Black-Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Although Everlane is a perennial Strategist-favorite brand, this is the first time that any of their cashmere items have appeared on the list. We imagine that’s not a coincidence though, since during the past couple of months a bunch of cool men and women told us that the brand’s cashmere sweaters are some “of the best under $200” (as one streetwear influencer put it).

We’ve seen Parachute’s plush Classic Bathrobe on this list a handful of times before, but this is the first time that the brand’s waffle robe has made an appearance. Although both robes are made from 100 percent Turkish cotton, the waffle robe is much more lightweight, which (as we’ve pointed out) makes it a slightly sleeker gift option than other “overly fluffy, chintzy-looking” robes. It was also named the best waffle-weave bathrobe by a couple of cool women last month, and since we’ve been seeing a lot of waffle-knit on our feeds, we’d agree that it’s both comfortable and actually nice-looking.

Last Black Friday, Glossier’s cult-y Balm Dotcom topped your shopping carts, and this year the lip balm made another appearance — though this time, in fourth place. The “hydrating and long-lasting” lip balm is among the most beloved items of celebrities, cool teens, and our resident beauty expert, Rio Viera Newton, who uses it to achieve the (Zoom-appropriate) “elusive no-makeup makeup look.”

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We’ve suspected that readers are looking to get the teenage girl on their list a holiday gift she’ll actually want this year, since writer Jenna Milliner-Waddell’s piece about the best gifts for teenage girls (as recommended by teenage girls themselves) has been in our most read articles for the past several weeks. And, it seems that readers did so during Cyber Week, when they purchased these teenage-girl-approved photo clip string lights in droves. We’ve long known that string lights are one of the most beloved décor pieces in this age group, and with most teenage girls spending more time than usual in their rooms, we think this is a good gift idea, too.

Although this sweater was not on sale during Cyber Week, it was still a bestseller among Strategist readers, probably because it’s been described as somewhat of a sartorial white whale: An “affordable” and “high quality” all-cashmere sweater that comes in 14 colors, is available in sizes XXS to XXL, and barely pills. And if there’s a guy on your holiday list who also loves soft things, the same sweater is available (and highly recommended) for men, too.

In the month of September, after this shiatsu back and neck massager appeared on the list for the sixth consecutive month in a row, we predicted that it would remain here during the holidays, since it’s a giftable pick for anyone (read: everyone) who could use some stress relief right now. Although the massager wasn’t on this list last month, it still topped readers’ carts in October on Prime Day. And now, as we predicted, it’s back as your seventh-most purchased item during Cyber Week. As one of the 17,000-plus five-star Amazon reviewers puts it, we hope the warm back-and-neck kneading makes you (and those on your gift lists) feel as relaxed as a “noodle” after use.

This electric toothbrush has been a perennial favorite among readers ever since it debuted in your carts last summer. Since then it’s appeared on this list a whopping 17 times and was even crowned our overall bestselling products of last year. It’s also beloved by 15,000-plus five-star Amazon reviewers, and dentists, including one who says that the rotating, oscillating brush head causes “a lot of disruption of plaque.” When it went on sale during Cyber Week, we pointed out that this electric toothbrush would make a good holiday gift for the person on your list who deserves extremely clean teeth, and it seems that many of you agreed.

Over the summer, we noticed these “easy and breezy” Lululemon pants were 40 percent off. With a cute tie-waist in front, but an elastic band in back, we said the wide-leg, wrinkle-free pants are comfortable enough for WFH, but “just polished enough” to wear to an office (whenever that happens again). Clearly, lots of our readers agreed, and bought them during Lululemon’s Cyber Week sale. Best news of all: Though supplies are a bit limited, these pants are still a deeply-discounted 60 percent off.

For the second month in a row, an expert-recommended toy from our list of the best toys for 1-year-olds made it into readers’ carts in tenth place. We dubbed this under-$25 crawl tunnel an “educational and reasonably priced” pick, since it helps young kids learn about spatial awareness and object permanence, but is still a good active, indoor toy for older toddlers. In short, a gift that kids and their parents can appreciate.

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.

What Strategist Readers Bought on Black Friday