please advise

Ask Chris Black: What Can I Get to Make Working From Home More Fun?

Photo: Tom Emmerson

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? If you have a burning question about the next fanny pack or Noah rugby shirt, Chris Black is here to answer it in a regular column.

I am a young professional that is lucky enough to work from home full-time. Do you have suggestions for things that might make my WFH life a little more enjoyable and less dull?

Welcome to the good life, baby! Working from home sounds great, but it can get lonely and even a little boring. The first rule: Get dressed, you cannot sit in your pajamas all day.

It would be best if you bought yourself a really beautiful coffee maker. You need the caffeine, and brewing a nice bean at home will save you time and money. The expert-recommended Moccamaster KBG Coffee Brewer will keep you caffeinated but also cheer you up if you get it in a bright yellow.

While the Strategist has referred to the Moccamaster as no less than the Rolls Royce of coffee machines, it is expensive. So I am also including this less expensive machine that Mud Coffee’s co-owner says is basically a Moccamaster dupe. It doesn’t come in yellow, sadly, but is still nice to look at — and will deliver that caffeine.

Taking breaks is necessary. It would help if you walked around the block or did something physical to keep the blood flowing. These rotating push-up handles will make dropping down for a quick set of 50 push-ups easy and ensure that your form is tip top. You don’t get pecs from writing emails!

You need some footwear that stays inside the house. Something cool and comfortable to keep your feet protected while you pace from the kitchen to your desk on conference calls. If you close a big deal, get a pair of Loro Piana’s cashmere-lined slippers. Dress rich, feel rich, become rich. Say it with me!

If you close a moderate deal, Haflinger’s boiled-wool clog-slippers are a worthy budget-friendly choice for house footwear. I previously recommended them to a reader asking for my men’s slipper picks.

Recommendations for a simple, solid-colored zip hoodie?

Timely! I feel like the zip hoodie might be making a comeback! In my day, American Apparel was printing money outfitting people in ugly purple versions. Cobra Starship was also wildly popular. We can do better in 2020.

This one from Russell Athletic is as simple and classic as they come. It’s made with a mid-weight nine-ounce fleece, so you can layer without sweating profusely. It comes in a few colors (at slightly different price points), but I say go gray! Feel like Rocky!

Maybe you want your sweatshirt to feel more like a bulletproof vest. This one is from Los Angeles Apparel, which is basically American Apparel by another name, as they share a founder (but Los Angeles Apparel’s stuff is better quality than that of its predecessor). It is made in scenic downtown L.A. with 14-ounce fleece that’s 100 percent cotton and prewashed for that worn-in look.

As a treat … I’ll even suggest one with a little logo. Ben Davis (which I have recommended before) is timeless, cool, and not overdone like Carhartt. It only comes in black, which I love. This thing will last forever. Style it properly, though. You don’t want people thinking you are a bike messenger looking for a fight.

As a thank-you for taking me to Mexico for my birthday, I want to get my boyfriend a luggage tag. We are upwardly mobile 20-somethings, so I would say a medium-high price range is okay. Possibility for monogramming would be a plus! Would love to know what has the CB blessing.

The luggage tag, although mostly unnecessary in our modern era, is an excellent way to flex. Attach one to your tattered Rimowa, so everyone knows you are rich … in taste, at least. Good ones are hard to find! The crème de la crème is going to be Louis Vuitton, where they offer “hot stamping,” which is a kind of silly term they made up that means monogramming. Three initials and 18 colors (may I suggest “LOL” in a tasteful orange.) Weirdly, Vuitton doesn’t sell luggage tags on their own — you have to buy luggage — and the brand does not sell its pieces online. BUT my sources tell me that, if you go into a store and charm a sales associate, you might be able to obtain a luggage tag without buying the actual luggage. If you don’t want to do that, here a couple of less complicated suggestions.

Clare V., a brand I rarely think about, makes a classic one in a bunch of colors, and I love the way the custom monogram they offer (for an extra $30) looks hand done. It’s chic and colorful. Hopefully you can say the same about your boyfriend and his personality! :)

Smythson has a simple crocodile-embossed version in black and several other colors right now. It seems within your price range and is customizable (again, for a fee, depending on what you design). Croc is the best.

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 Do I Get to Make Working From Home More Fun?