sunday circular

11 Things That Delighted Us Last Week: From Dollar-Store Shorts to Tennis Dresses

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

We write about hundreds of products every week. Here, in our version of the Sunday circular, we’ve plucked some of our recent favorites: expert-recommended essentials, life-changing stuff you didn’t know you needed, newly launched gizmos, and very good deals we uncovered while trawling the vast online-shopping universe — including Audrey Gelman’s “perfect” coffee blend (with artwork from an unlikely source), the best blister-free socks from the last place you’d expect, and our top picks from Tennis Week, tested and recommended by pros, coaches, tennis obsessives, and more.

Shoes for sliding on the West Side Tennis Club courts

It was Tennis Week at the Strategist, and writer Kitty Guo tracked down members of the notoriously press-shy historic private club in Queens to find out what the West Siders are wearing. She learned that Asics are widely beloved, with members David Chan and Robby Doyle naming their Court FF3s. Chan says he likes that they have an interior that feels like a sock “so you’re very stable and locked in when you’re playing, but it’s also flexible for you to move around,” while Doyle says the balanced traction means you can also slide in them. For more highly vetted footwear suggestions, see our guides to the best men’s and women’s tennis shoes.

A breathable tennis dress with coverage (and a classic look)

Athleta Fairway Dress

With non-players and professional athletes alike wearing tennis dresses on and off the court, Strategist contributor Chloe Anello did some digging on the evolution of today’s favorite exercise fit. If you’re looking for a style with the breathability of Outdoor Voices or Alo but with a more traditional look, try Athleta’s Fairway. Former runway model and devoted player Susan Bloch says she likes the dress for its modest design and tall sizing. It also has mesh inserts to provide further ventilation.

Cropped sweater vests and square-cut shorts for … squaring off in

And because we can’t get enough of tennis-core, we also chatted with pros, coaches, and other tennis obsessives to get the nitty-gritty on the items they swear by. This Fila V-neck sweater vest comes recommended by Racquet magazine CEO Caitlin Thompson, who says the knit looks great on most women, thanks to the short sleeves and cropped fit. And for guys, tennis journalist and brand consultant Robert Cordero says Nike’s Rafa (as in Nadal) shorts have an ideal boxy-yet-short fit.

[Editor’s note: the Fila cropped sweater vest is currently out of stock.]

Aryna Sabalenka’s favorite stainless-steel water bottle (that’s not a Hydro Flask)

Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka says she uses this double-walled Waterdrop bottle to keep her sports drinks “very cold” while training in Miami. The stainless-steel container is reusable, says Sabalenka, who uses it as often as she can to stay hydrated. She also likes the brand’s flavored cubes, which she says are “really delicious” and help her drink more water throughout the day.

A “perfect” cup of coffee with equally perfect (and surprising) artwork

While at the supermarket, country-store owner and Strategist contributor Audrey Gelman spotted Sandra Boynton’s unmistakable animal art on a coffee bag. She bought it for the design but stayed for the blend. “It tasted like I’d gone to heaven and heaven turned out to be a diner,” she says. “It was a normal cup of coffee in the best sense. It was perfect.” Upon visiting Winchell Mountain Roastery, where the blend is produced, Gelman learned that each bean is roasted by hand in a Probat drum from 1957.

The iconic board shirts that define Sen Dog’s L.A. look

When we asked Sen Dog what he can’t live without, the rapper stayed true to his L.A. roots and named Vans, Greenspan’s vintage tees, and Porto’s Bakery among his favorites (along with a shoutout to California’s weed). But perhaps the most notable item in the lineup is this Pendleton plaid wool shirt, which he says is key to his look as Sen Dog the character. The classic button-up “helped us stand out from a lot of other hip-hop acts at the time,” he says. “I own maybe around 40 or 50 of them. It’s stylish and gangster all in one.”

Carrie Bradshaw–inspired dollar-store shorts

Curbed senior editor and Strategist contributor Katie McDonough says she’s worn these dollar-store dolphin shorts everywhere — at the playground, afternoon yoga, seeing friends, and even during her third trimester. And after two years, she says the stretchy-yet-sturdy poly-blend material has remained nearly unchanged. “They still fit throughout my first postpartum summer, and still fit now,” she says. McDonough says she likes that they have a Carrie Bradshaw–esque, “casually hot” look, but she says they’re long enough “to bend down to pick up my kid’s discarded scooter helmet without accidentally exposing myself.”

Not-too-thick socks you can find next to the screwdrivers and chainsaws

The hardware store might not be the first place you’d think of when shopping for basics, but Strategist contributor Daisy Jones picked up the habit from her girlfriend and now buys all her socks there. She says this Caterpillar pair is her favorite for its soft feel and the “CAT” logo that flashes just above her Salomons. “They’re the perfect thickness, not overly sweaty, but definitely protective,” she says. Jones says it pains her to pass on her best-kept secret, but she knows she must “do for you what my partner has done for me, which is bequeath you with the gift of blister-free heels for a mere $24.50 for six pairs,” she says.

The most flattering bike shorts for sweat-free nether regions

To find the best bike shorts, Strategist contributor Maggie Slepian asked athletes, stylists, and fashion editors about their preferred pairs. We named this eight-inch short from Anti x Proof the most flattering, as stylist Alison Deyette says it has a compressive high waist that smoothes the midsection. It also has a moisture-wicking crotch panel and a waterproof liner so “on hot, sweaty days, your private parts will stay dryer,” she says. The shorts come in three colors and are more than half off right now.

A “mystic” cocktail glass from Anthropologie’s debut Halloween shop

This year’s best-selling Halloween item might not be Home Depot’s giant 12-foot skeleton, as Anthropologie has entered the spooky scene with its first-ever Halloween shop. It includes a collaboration with artist Lauren McIntosh, whose popular juice glasses have been given a “mystic” treatment with ghost, pumpkin, and cat motifs (that are already going fast). Kristen Moonjian, director of home and lifestyle at trend forecasting firm Fashion Snoops, says they’re the hottest Halloween item she’s been following this season, so don’t delay if you’re keen on taking a tumbler home.

The Parisian linens stealing the spotlight in Passages

As the Strategist’s de facto bedding expert and a former film-industry person, writer Lauren Ro had to ID the “sumptuous” linens in Passages, the new movie by Ira Sachs that takes place largely in the bedroom. Ro called production designer Pascale Consigny, which told her that the soft set is from Parisian concept boutique Merci. “I didn’t buy them for the film,” he says. “They’re my own, and I’ve had them for a very long time. I use them all the time.” Ro says she likes that the celadon-green color seems to change from scene to scene in the movie, depending on the time of day. We’re eyeing these pillowcases, which come in four sizes, but you can also buy the whole set.

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.

11 Things We Loved: Dollar-Store Shorts and Tennis Dresses