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Ask Chris Black: Best Gear for Losing the Quarantine 30?

Photo: Roydian Chan

Chris Black has returned to the Strategist, now with a monthly column, to answer all your burning questions — from super-specific style predicaments and workout-and-tennis recs to foolproof host gift ideas that’ll get you invited back to the beach house.

Best products to help with weight loss after gaining the quarantine 30?

You are not alone. The first step to feeling better is getting all the right gear to make it fun and exciting to exercise again. As I always say: pro gear, pro attitude.

To kick this weight loss into gear, you will need to be doing some cardio. The simplest and most democratic form is running. You go outside and you do it; the simplicity is attractive and the feeling of accomplishment after you finish is second to none. For this you will need the right footwear — may I suggest the Kismet 8 from Newton. They are light, stable, and look cool. Lace them up and start moving.

A simple TRX system is really versatile and will make this journey a lot easier. Using your body weight to get fit is less intimidating and less expensive than a gym or personal trainer. TRX suspension training uses an approach based on seven simple movements: push, pull, plank, rotate, hinge, lunge, and squat. That’s all you need; leave the tire flipping for the bros.

This journey is going to require energy. Whether it is doing dips on the TRX system, running a few miles in the park, or making a smoothie in your Vitamix, you need to stay amped up. I suggest Ladder Pre-Workout. Look, this shit doesn’t taste like a chilled red on a hot day, but it gives you energy, delays fatigue, and enhances strength. All things you are going to need.

This could be the first time I have ever recommended something that is free; please don’t show my editor. But several people I know who have lost weight did so by tracking what they ate using this app. The interface is simple and the data is good. I have always been told abs are made in the kitchen and not the gym, and this helps prove that old proverb.

What’s a great slack for a guy who never wears slacks?

First of all, don’t say slacks. You sound like a narc. Let’s say pants or, if we must, trousers. Let me help you. I am a Levi’s 501 or Patagonia Baggies guy, but the trouser is a necessary piece of any well-dressed man’s arsenal. I will suggest some simple and wearable options to get you going, but the world of trousers is vast and exciting!

To ease you into this, I am going to suggest something that may seem strange: a pair of clean black pants with an elastic waist. This style from Stussy is slim but not skinny and has a proper zipper. They can be dressed up or down, and the price is definitely right.

Our Swedish friends at Acne do pants very well. This style is straight-leg and comes in both beige and navy. They feature a subtle flair at the hem, which allows you to pair it with a boot, loafer, or sneaker. Pick your poison.

Photo: Lucas Frisk Bergqvist /Tres Bien

This brown pair from another Swedish mainstay, Tres Bien, is made from Italian upcycled virgin wool fabric and feature a nice crease down the front of the leg. They’re well-priced and the brown is a chic option.

I’m going on a trip to Sea Ranch, and I need new sunglasses — what’s your pick?

Sea Ranch is a beautiful and unique place, a good choice. However, I am not sure what the purpose of this getaway is: exercise and meditation, writing, recipe development, binge-drinking alone. That being said, I will do my best to give you a selection of sunnies that work for any and all occasions.

DV makes my go-to shades for any athletic pursuit. They are made in Japan and are superlight, and the D+ lens technology is constructed from a proprietary form of polycarbonate, which is shatterproof and water- and oil-repellent. Of course, these take a little panache to pull off, but I have faith.

JMM is making the coolest sunglasses in the world right now. Based on classic shapes and silhouettes, they just don’t miss. Every pair is done in limited quantities, so if you like something, you must cop or forever live with regret. The Dealan sunglasses pay homage to the style Bob Dylan wore in the 1960s, with a square shape made in Japan from tortoiseshell-effect acetate. An unbeatable classic.

I cannot pull off a classic aviator, but I wish I could. A truly timeless style that works in any and alls. This pair from American Optical (it literally invented it) is well-priced and customizable. Choose your favorite frame style and lens color, and you will be good to go.

Oliver Peoples is the king of understated, simple eyewear. A simple round style looks good on most faces and can work for a quick drive to the Surf Market for supplies, a sunset stroll, or a morning run.

Most efficient, minimal, chic toiletry bags?

Filson luggage got blown out during the mid-aughts’ menswear boom, but the simple design and quality have it primed for a comeback. The big twill duffels look great after years of travel abuse. Sadly, the twill travel kit is backordered, but this ripstop version is a great option. The interior pockets keep things separated, and it has a hanging loop if that is your thing.

This might be a bit flashy for some, but I find it minimal and functional. Saint Laurent has done a croc-effect leather-wash bag in the original Dopp kit shape, which I am partial too. Sure, it is an investment; luckily the canvas lining will protect your wardrobe from any in-flight spills. I say live a little!

I love Hay; it makes smart, well-designed products for almost every facet of life. Its take on the wash bag is very affordable and fun. Normally, I would lean for a black or at least neutral, but these multicolored striped bags are made from recycled polypropylene with a sturdy zip fastening and easy-to-clean waterproof lining. They are giving “Italian holiday meets the legendary red-white-blue bag that originated in Hong Kong.”

I really tried my best to leave this out, but I just couldn’t. LV makes the best leather accessories, and this wash bag is no different. The double zipper is satisfying and practical, and this will age beautifully. Keep it in your carry-on; I don’t want you to look like an NBA benchwarmer in the tunnel when you are merely getting out of a cab at JFK to board that flight to Miami.

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.

Ask Chris Black: Best Gear for Losing the Quarantine 30?