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 trawling through the vast online-shopping universe this past week, including a punchy-looking planner, hair-thickening shampoo, and fluffy earmuffs.
A wooden bath caddy to keep your book dry
There’s nothing quite so luxurious as relaxing in the bath with a good novel — which is why we included this bamboo bathtub caddy in our gift guide for book lovers. Strategist contributor Verena von Pfetten loves the simplistic wooden design, which she thinks has “the naturalistic appeal of an expandable Danish secretary desk.” Paris Close, founding editor of book blog Paperback Paris, thinks all his best reading is done in the tub and says “there’s honestly no better feeling than decompressing in a steamy lavender-oil bath with a good book — sans the anxiety of water damaging its pages.”
The best shampoo for boosting fine hair
For fine-haired folks who dream of volume, Fred Connors, the owner and creative director of FRED Salon, says this shampoo from R+Co is “perfect for anyone with fine hair who wants bombshell volume when they blow-dry.” It contains biotin to increase hair strength, vitamin B5 to add luster, and saw palmetto for extra body — and Connors says it not only “works magic” but “has a heavenly scent as well.”
Flannel pajamas for cozy nights in…
When it comes time for the family Christmas movie marathon, you could show up in the same T-shirt and sweatpants you’ve been wearing all year — or you could slip into a pair of much-more-festive flannel PJs. This Madewell set exudes coziness, and it’s 25 percent off; in an eye-catching pink-and-red plaid, it has holiday vibes, but isn’t so overtly Christmassy that you can’t still wear it in February.
… And fuzzy earmuffs for fun nights out
Over 3,000 Amazon reviewers love these “super soft and cute” faux-fur earmuffs. “They totally cover your ears. No problem there!” one writes, but unlike other earmuffs with too-tight headbands, they’re “loose fitting enough” to not cause headaches. Another reviewer who wore them outdoors all day reported that “the wind may have been blowing and it might have been chilly, but my ears were nice and toasty, and did not get sweaty either.” And a third reviewer who wears them daily to walk their dog declared the earmuffs “one of the best purchases of my life” because of how they fit on the back of your head, which helps “keep your neck warm too!”
Princess Mako’s sleek, stylish hangers
Of all the household items that former princess Mako of Japan recently picked up at Bed, Bath & Beyond for her new apartment in NYC — linens, paper towels, organizing bins — we were most excited to spot these Strat-approved ORG Slim Grips hangers. They feature nonslip padding and chrome-plated hooks that swivel for multidirectional hanging and can even hang damp clothes if you have laundry that needs to air-dry. Royalty or not, it seems Mako is just as concerned about conserving precious closet space as any other New Yorker.
See-through frames for super-cool people
Clear-framed glasses have been spotted on everyone from Gigi Hadid to Robert Downey Jr., and a bunch of cool people we surveyed specifically called out this Warby Parker pair as their go-to specs. Photographer Mei Tao loves the brand’s Chamberlain style for its low bridge fit, traditional rectangular shape, and crystal color, which “[goes] with anything I am wearing — and they’re not too overwhelming during a Zoom meeting,” she says. And Hailey Rizzo, founder of the blog Feeling Good As Hail, opts for the Chamberlain whenever she takes a break from her contact lenses, calling them “subtly bold.”
If you want to give your loved ones something fun to do that doesn’t require leaving the house, we’ve put together a gift guide for virtual, at-home experiences — like a doughnut-making class taught by Evan Feldman, founder of the New York–based shop Doughnuttery. For $69 per person, participants receive a DIY Doughnut Kit that contains one pound of doughnut mix, a reusable doughnut depositor, and four Doughnuttery doughnut sugars. (If you find yourself with a hankering for even more doughnuts after class, or if you’re feeling a bit of Zoom fatigue, you can also order the kit off Amazon.)
Paloma Elsesser’s secret source for perfect tanks
Model Paloma Elsesser can’t live without these Hanes Boys’ tanks, which she calls “a loophole I’ve been using since high school.” She says so many people have asked her where she finds “tanks with such a great cropped fit,” but really, it’s just the boys’ sizing: “It’s essentially a crop top on me without having to cut it or do anything. But they fit really well, so I’m not sacrificing tailoring either.” The fact that they’re “so affordable” is also a plus.
LEGO heads for your LEGOhead
We scoped out all the best stuff from LEGO’s new collaboration with Target, including these fun stackable storage bins, which can double as cheeky planters. This set of two comes with one large bin and one small bin (which can nest inside the larger one if you’re squeezed for space). We anticipate that this collection will be a hit among young and old LEGO fans alike, so if you want to snag something, don’t dillydally.
A planner to jot down New Year’s resolutions
If you’re still not sure what to buy for the teen girl in your life, our gift guide is full of ideas that come pre-selected by actual teen girls. 15-year-old Sam is a fan of this planner from Ban.do, a Strat-approved brand whose “particularly cute office supplies” are just a bit too expensive for her to buy herself. Each planner features a bright graphic design and comes with a pack of stickers — perfect for helping the high-school set get organized.
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.