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 the “gooiest” pizza Lance Bass gifts, a hard-to-toss teething toy, and hand-dyed hoodies that give back.
Flattering flare loungewear
In our latest installment of Don’t DillyDally, we unearthed several excellent collaborations. Along with The North Face x Gucci boots and a Kacey Musgraves puzzle, there’s this limited-edition collection from Uniqlo and Japanese brand Mame Kurogouchi that includes “neutral-colored, loungey pieces that can be mixed, matched, and layered.” Everything is designed to “flatter the natural curve of the body. There’s cropped, ribbed flare pants, sweaters with flare sleeves, and cozy, longline cardigans that we think could be worn both at home and outside.”
Flatware that’s cheap but nice-looking
Flatware is an essential to any kitchen, but sometimes you don’t want to burn a hole in your pocket investing in a fancy set. We found a 16-piece set for just under $10 that reviewers rave about for being “actually pretty and not cheap-looking.” Another describes this as a “perfect set, good quality, and cheap price.” Because of its combination of low price and high quality, many reviewers like it for camping, dorm rooms, and small kitchens.
Giftable geriatric-millennial clogs
To find the most covetable items this gifting season, we turned to a panel of trend forecasters for their predictions. Hallie Spradlin, director of accessories at Fashion Snoops, mentioned Simon Miller’s Bubble Clogs. They’re “a quirky take on a familiar silhouette, with its chunky shape that further speaks to the ‘ugly chic’ or ‘grandmillennial’ trends that we’ve been tracking,” she says. What’s better is that this vegan-leather version will ship now (and comes in cheery cherry red and a muted mustard).
A hard-to-throw teething toy
Shopping for a 6-month-old can be tough with such a saturated market of baby toys, accessories, and books. To help guide you toward the very best baby gifts out there, we spoke to four child-development experts. Sarah MacLaughlin, a social worker and the author of What Not to Say: Tools for Talking With Young Children, recommends this teething mitt for babies who are teething and really like to throw their toys. “It can be nice to make sure the toys stay with the baby,” she explains, “and because they’re putting their hands into their mouths anyway, these funny little mittens could be a good solution.”
The only suitcase Cat Marnell travels with
In our latest edition of Steal My Vacation, How to Murder Your Life author Cat Marnell took us through a weeklong trip to Europe to celebrate her birthday. In addition to her detailed itinerary, she also gave us her packing list, which included her go-to suitcase. “I only use Samsonite Aeris, a hard-shell suitcase with buckles. Never, ever zippers. Buckles. Zippers are for, like … garments. Delicate things,” she writes. “A suitcase is a utilitarian item. It should be so lightweight that when it’s empty, you can easily lift it with one arm — and throw it across the room.”
A pocket-size first aid kit
Whether you’re traveling, hiking, or just at home, a first aid kit should always be readily available. To find the best first aid kits to meet a variety of needs and budgets, Strategist contributor Stacey Dee Woods spoke to six experts in disaster preparedness about their picks. John Ramey, founder and editor of the modern prepper website the Prepared, considers a lot of kits out there to be “almost always garbage,” but he does like some from specialty vendors like ITS (Imminent Threat Solutions) Tactical. This one has a clear, crushproof case, and it’s small enough to fit in your pocket.
Hand-dyed hoodies that give back
If you’re looking for a gift that also does good, we rounded up an assortment of over 40 gifts that give back to efforts including racial justice, food security, and women’s rights. A way to help protect and preserve public lands in the U.S. is by supporting the Parks Project, which donates and partners with a number of park conservancies to fund wildlife-restoration projects and visitor programs. It recently collaborated with “cult favorite Ursa Major and the Grateful Dead, but one of our favorites has to be this collection with the National Geographic Society,” we write. “Every purchase in the collection helps support the nonprofit, which offers grants to scientists, educators, and conservationists. Each hoodie is hand-dyed in Los Angeles, so no two are exactly alike.”
The “gooiest” pizza Lance Bass gifts
“I had a friend whose mother died of COVID, and I didn’t want to send flowers. It felt too clichéd,” former NSYNC member Lance Bass told us. “Growing up in the South, food was always comforting. It’s the proper way to show condolences, gratitude, celebration — for every occasion, really.” He found these Detroit-style pizzas, which “quickly became my favorite because it’s cut into these huge, deep squares with sauce and the gooiest yet crispiest cheese on the outside.” After gifting it to his grieving friend, he says “it was the first thing to bring a smile to her face during such a horrible time.” And since then, he’s gifted it to others. “Every single person has called me up and raved about it. Food can make you smile.”
A bodywash that wakes you up
This time of year is always a good one to refresh your or the man in your life’s Dopp kit. But with so many options now available, it can be overwhelming to know what grooming products to buy. We combed through our archive and gathered some new recommendations, including this eucalyptus-scented energizing bodywash. Strategist associate editor Daniel Varghese says it helps him feel less groggy while moisturizing his skin. “It’s so good my roommates always sneakily steal it. We went through the first bottle in, like, two weeks, which is crazy,” he says.
Astrology-themed (on-sale) laptop sleeves
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us, our deals writer Leah Muncy spotted plenty of lingering sales. Along with discounts on a chunky knit throw and an Instagrammable Scrabble board, she found that Baggu’s astrology-themed laptop sleeves are over 30 percent off at Urban Outfitters. She says they would make “an excellent gift for both the teen who loves to post their Co–Star horoscope and the friend whose office wants them back on January 2.”
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.