celebrity shopping

What Rhiannon Giddens Can’t Live Without

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: Ebru Yildiz

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the hair spray and the electric toothbrush. We asked Grammy-winning musician Rhiannon Giddens — who recently published a children’s picture book and will be performing at Carnegie Hall in the upcoming year— about the water bottle she’ll be gifting her kids, the camping underwear she takes on the road, and the yarn she uses to crochet amigurumi animals.

I’m a touring musician, so I’m always looking for things that will make my load lighter. You can literally wash these out in your hotel room and in a few hours they’re dry. I know they’re for camping, but I use them for touring and travel. You can’t overestimate the power of clean underwear on the road. I haven’t had to buy new ones because I bought like five pairs several years ago and they’re still going strong.

I always carry my water bottle with me. Yeti is just awesome because it stays hot or cold for a millennia. I have the Rambler and it’s really good quality. I’m actually going to order customized ones for my kids. You can go onto their website and put your name and some little pictures. It’s very cute.

Watercolor pencils are a really easy thing to travel with because you don’t have to carry paints. You just color with them and then you take a brush and some water and it turns into watercolor. You can get a cup of water anywhere, or you can get one of those brushes that has water in it.

Because I read fast and do a lot of research in my work life, I don’t usually look for really super heavy reads. I like buying books from Bookshop because it helps out the local bookstores. The last book I bought was How to Be a Tudor. It’s by this woman who’s done a lot of living history stuff, so she breaks down what it was like to live in Elizabethan England. Like, what did they wear? What did they eat? Did they take baths? It’s really interesting.

I use this set every day on tour. The people in my band are tired of hearing about it, but I’m always like, Got my cutlery! Even when I’m not on tour and I’m just out somewhere, I always have them with me because they’re always trying to give you plastic everything these days. I’m not really into coatings, cool as they are, so I just went for the stainless-steel one.

King Arthur is probably the best flour company in the States. They’re really invested in baking and helping people bake better, and they just have good quality products. You can’t go wrong with any of their flours. I use everything: Whole wheat, spelt, white, self-rising, bread, whatever. If I want to make some pasta and I can’t get straight Italian flour from Italy, they have an Italian 00 blend. All their products are great.

I like Italian cappuccinos, the small ones. We megasize them in the United States. They’ll give you a 16-ounce cappuccino and it’s very hard to get a smaller cappuccino than that. I have this KeepCup that’s small, 12 ounces. So I just give them my cup and they fill it to the top and it’s the perfect amount of milk. They can’t give me too much milk. Plus it means I’m not using a paper or plastic cup.

I bought a pair of these pajama pants years ago. I’ve gotten other flannel but it’s just not anything close to what the Vermont Flannel Company does. A lot of times they’re super thin, but these are thick and really durable. And they’re soft and warm, so they’re very comfortable to be in. They’re the top of the flannel heap.

Amigurumi [the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small creatures] keeps me sane on the road. I’ve made bunnies, a dragon, a penguin, a couple of dolls, a little bear. I just make them and give them away to people I know who are having kids or somebody who looks like they need a pick-me-up. There’s a really great yarn shop out of western Massachusetts called Webs. They’re my one-stop shop because they have everything and can always ship to me wherever I am. I get cotton yarn from the Dutch brand Scheepjes.

I realized when I bought one of these crochet hooks from the Japanese company Clover that the coating on here just makes everything so much better. You wouldn’t think like, oh, what’s the difference between this and another crochet hook? But this is a really well-made tool. So now I’ve bought one in all the sizes, and if I lose it, I’m destroyed. Because it really does make a difference in how my stitches look and the fun that I have making it.

I’m a big tea fan. I drink tea every day, multiple times a day. I bring tea with me when I’m on tour. Sometimes when I’m on a bus tour, I’ll bring a teapot and an electric kettle too, the whole nine yards. Taylors of Harrogate tea is really nice. I like the breakfast blend. They also have a decaf breakfast tea, which can be hard to find.

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.

What Rhiannon Giddens Can’t Live Without