please advise

Ask Chris Black: What Are Your Storage Essentials for City Living?

Photo: Eric Chakeen

If you’re looking for the most powerful hair dryer or the handiest chef’s knife, those things can be easy enough to find. Other objects of desire are a little more taste-based. What’s the next status water bottle or hand wash, for instance? Chris Black (he’s a partner at brand consultancy Public Announcement) is here to help in the form of a regular column. If you have a burning question about the next fanny pack or Noah rugby shirt, drop us an email with the subject line “Ask Chris” at

I have recently moved from college into my first apartment. I read that you like to keep your T-shirts in your oven, do you have any other storage tips or essentials for city living?

Welcome to adulthood, it sucks! Lol, I am kidding. Hopefully, you are making some decent money so you can pack your tiny space with shit you do not need!

Your first purchase should be a set of bed risers. These, the top pair on the Strategist’s list of Amazon’s best-reviewed bed risers, are cheap and will create a plethora of space for storage. My tennis gear is neatly tucked under my bed, leaving a little more room in my already crammed closet. For a buck more, you can also get them in black.

If you are storing clothes under your bed, these canvas bags from the Laundress will protect them from moths, etc. You don’t want your designer knitwear holey!

If you are going to have a mirror above the bathroom sink, make sure it has hidden storage. It’s a must. This one from Ikea is minimal, affordable, and will conceal your retainer and Adderall from overnight guests.

You should also invest in a hook for your winter coats. This one from HAY is very chic and can hold more than you think. The sleek molded wood looks best in ash.

I want to upgrade my workwear for the workshop. I’ve got some Carhartt Duck and Dickies 874 pants, but am in need of some suggestions for the torso and head, especially now that it’s getting colder and colder. Carpentry and sculpting will fuck up anything over time, so it’s got to be something that’ll look sexier when distressed. Ideas?

A question from a REAL MAN who works with his hands. Sexy! It sounds like your bottom half is covered. Let’s take a look at hard-wearing options for that torso and noggin.

L.L. Bean’s thick 7.5-ounce navy flannel chamois shirt is warm and double stitched for toughness. You could even add a monogram!

Underneath, we must layer! I say go with a simple button-down Oxford in this classic fit from Brooks Brothers. The Madison’s roomier cut will allow for free movement, and it will age beautifully. For more Oxfords (including extra-thick ones) at a variety of price points, consult this list.

If it’s extra cold, throw on a simple heavyweight thermal. Keep it classic with gray or white, or go with safety orange to spice it up!

For the head, where most heat escapes, we’ve got to keep you warm so you don’t lose concentration. Maybe these sculptures are selling for BIG BUCKS! The answer is cashmere — specifically, this cashmere baseball cap from Loro Piana. So chic. For something less expensive, get a cashmere beanie from Uniqlo. Plenty of colors to choose from and at $30, you can get a few.

My brother is looking for a new pair of brown dress shoes he can wear to all the weddings and more dressy events on his calendar. I told him I’d get him a pair for Christmas and I’d like to spend about $200 or less. Any suggestions? (If it helps at all, he’s in his early 30s, works in tech in San Francisco, and has three suits: black, navy, and a dark forest green.)

If he is working in tech in San Francisco, he is probably spending $200 on lunch, but I get it. Don’t worry: We’ve got options, baby!

For your price range, the versatile Clarks Desert Boot in beeswax leather will work. He can wear them with suits or jeans. They will last forever, and the crêpe sole will provide some nice cushion when he is pounding the dance floor — or the pavement looking for that series B.

Also in your budget are another old standby of mine: Bass Weejuns. They slip on and off easily, and with proper care, they will last forever. (Right now, you can also get them for 20 percent off with the code CYBER). In them, your bro can not only bring a bit of East Coast preppy swag to his events, but also to his office full of dudes and dudettes wearing company-logo-branded vests and ill-fitting chinos. I consider that to be charity work, and the holidays are all about giving back.

They’re more expensive — though less so now that they’re on sale — but a leather monk-strap shoe is a classic that’s rarely seen in the land of Allbirds. These will get heads turning at his upcoming weddings and, again, his office (where even the coding nerds will take notice). The sale price shown reflects an extra 10 percent off that Brooks Brothers is currently offering upon checkout. Sizing is limited, so I’d act fast if you like them.

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: What Are Your Storage Essentials for City Living?