best bets

From Stylish Shorts to Mario Lopez’s Hair Cream

Photo: Retailer

An all-over-the-place assortment of stood-behind products culled from this very website that appear in the August 28 issue of New York Magazine.

Best in Class

In the world of top-tier Dutch ovens, two brands obviously come to mind: Le Creuset and Staub. While they are similar— highly durable, enameled cast irons capable of searing meats and roasting whole chickens—our kitchen and dining writer, Emma Wartzman, found that the Staub is actually preferred by most of the chefs she spoke to. Its slight edge came down to two features. First, its lids are made with concentric dimples on the bottom that promote even condensation. “This keeps meat particularly tender,” says Meherwan Irani, owner of Chai Pani in North Carolina, “and prevents it from drying out.” (Colin Wyatt, executive chef at Twelve in Maine, agrees.) Second, and most important, the inside of Staub pots is black ;Le Creuset and most others are white. Tara O’Brady, a recipe developer, says this helps with her bread (“It gives the crust this chestnut-brown shade”) and ensures it looks better over time. “My Le Creuset eventually got a little brown and scratched,” says Wyatt. “Staub looks great with age.”

Celebrity Shopping

Hair is always a top priority. Any time I’m going to comb my hair, I use this. I’ve tried just about everything, and I found this stuff a couple years ago. It’s a matte paste, which I like because I want my product to hold, but I don’t want it looking too greasy or shiny. My son has even gotten into it. Whenever it’s missing, I know it’s in his room.”

“If you’re a touring artist, put T­-shirts on your rider. Doing that, I got to try all of these different shirts all over the country. I learned Goodfellow has the best white tees you’re going to get from a Target or Walmart. The collars are thick but not too thick. It’s not heavy, but it’s not too light. Also, I’m tall, and I get frustrated with XL shirts that are extremely long or not very large. Goodfellow is right in the middle.”

“I hate overhead lighting and just prefer a soft glow. I love that the new LED lightbulbs last forever, but they look like lights beaming down from a spaceship. These are $5 a bulb, which is a lot of money, but they last years and are just beautiful and cozy. When people come over, they don’t know specifically what’s going on, but they’re like, ‘Oh, it looks so good in here.’ And I know in my heart of hearts the lighting is a big part of it.”

Strategist Investigates

Recently, I ordered a pair of balloon-­leg pants with white daisies for my 4­year old from a children’s boutique called Playground Love. I had been under the impression that the clothes were original designs, but when the package arrived, I noticed the tag read “AD Baby.” Shortly after, I started seeing Instagram ads for the same daisy pants—but from different stores. Milk Teeth had them for $42, while Ri­Ri­-Ku’s were marked down to $28 from $45. Curious, I reverse­-Google­ image­-searched and found them on Etsy and AliExpress, too, where they were listed for a third of the price ($14 on sale). I ordered them, and they were the exact same as the ones I got from Playground Love. This is standard retail practice, of course: buying wholesale from a distributor, then marking up the price. But the lesson here is the next time I see something that doesn’t have a brand name, I might be inclined to do a reverse image search to compare prices. Lauren Ro

Packing List

Writer Ashlea Halpern recently took her 16 1⁄2­ month­-old son, whom she describes as “high drama, a contrarian Aquarius through and through,” on her honeymoon to the Faroe Islands. Below, a few of the items she brought along to help things run smoothly.

“This swaddling blanket was my son’s constant com­panion on this trip.
At 45­-by­-45 inches, it’s big enough to cover him when he’s napping but can also be tied into knots so he doesn’t trip on it when stumbling around like
a clumsy drunk.”

Gojmzo Busy Board

“I wouldn’t say this Montessori-­inspired ‘busy book’ is some kind of cure­-all for long plane rides, but it was sufficiently distracting in a pinch. It has buttons he can twiddle, zippers to drag, beads to slide, and Velcro­ tipped felt fingers to (accidentally?) make obscene gestures with.”

“The Getaway Bag from No Reception Club is tall and skinny and forces me to be militantly organized. It has customizable shelves for storing wipes and2 million snacks; ‘par­ent’ pockets for stashing a phone, earbuds, and passport; and a lined com­partment at the bottom for tossing dirty diapers.”

“This hiking carrier has a cult following and deservedly so. The pack has a zillion pockets for storing bottles, snacks, and sunblock; good ventila­tion; a kickstand for easier loading and unloading; and an optional shade to keep my vampirically pale offspring shielded from the sun.”

Ask a Cool Person

We asked a few people with excellent taste about their personal favorites. –By Diana Tsui

Mecca James-Williams, Stylist

“They remind me of gym shorts. I typically buy them in bright colors and pair them with white tank tops or a colorful crop top.”

Lauren Chan, Model

“My job requires me to be on set in complicated clothing, so when I’m home, I live in lounge shorts. I’ve tried them all, but these look the most elevated.”

Angela Koh, Market Editor

“YanYan makes bold knitwear with eclectic designs, and I love how eye­catching it is. These shorts are longer, offering more coverage, and I like them with a matching blue or fun yellow top.”

Marianna Hewitt, Beauty Business Founder

“I like to style them with a tank top or over a swimsuit, and I find they’re the perfect item to pack for a trip since you can wear them to dinner as well.”

Our Shopping Cart

I’ve been trying to figure out how to carry more stuff without needing
a bag and was inspired by the idea of fashion carabiners. (Kicking around in the back of my head was the Vetements ring belt that’s large enough to hold a jacket—maybe this fall.) I found this squiggly silver Opening Project carabiner at Seoul-based 8Division but ended up buying from another Korean store, Heights, for a better shipping price. (Shipping to the U.S. was about $27.) This carabiner is so beautiful that I gasped when I opened it. And it is the perfect size for holding keys or clipping to the back strap of a baseball cap.

Please Advise

In his latest column, Chris Black pointed one reader to some age­-appropriate shoes. “I don’t want to see a 40­-plus­-year-­old in Travis Scott Dunks,” he wrote. But “I also don’t want to see you in some cooked Hokas.” Below, his suggestions for something in between.

“I got a pair of these several years ago when they were reissued. They have since been given the Aimé Leon Dore treatment, but you should only wear this simple, original colorway. It’s the perfect early­-aughts running shoe; a classic, sporty color combo; and supercomfortable.”

“The Spezial is the underappreciated cousin of the more popular Samba and Gazelle. It has a ’70s feel, and nothing beats a gum sole. This colorway, a mix of blues, will work with anything.”

“This shoe has been overdone by the small-­shirt–big-­pants crowd, creative directors, and Berlin types, but it is still a comfortable classic. If you don’t fall into the previous categories, then
you can easily wear this all­-black version as a daily driver.”


Dimmable and non-dimmable column and arc lamps. –By Lauren Ro

Photo: Retailer

Column lamp, no dimmer.

Column lamp, dimmable.

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.

From Stylish Shorts to Mario Lopez’s Hair Cream