Hello! This is the monthly letter for the Cut Council, a community of our most dedicated readers. There’s a lot to be very angry and very sad about right now. We hope you and your loved ones are safe, wherever you are and wherever they are. And we hope this installment is a reprieve, however short-lived. Here’s what you’ll find inside: lots of autumnal goodness, including seasonally appropriate candles, outfits, movies, books, recipes, and more.
What We’ve Been Up to and Into This Month
Layering The time has come to break out my favorite cold-weather dressing trick: layering a breezy summer button-down over a turtleneck. A few years ago, I bought a brown-and-white-striped silk top from Ann Taylor in an attempt to re-create this Diane Keaton look from The Family Stone. Mission accomplished. I figured out the combo works as a formula: clingy turtleneck shirt + oversize men’s shirt = a pretty nice look. You can experiment with colors and patterns — my go-to right now is a forest-green Uniqlo turt with a blue-and-white-striped Brooks Brothers top. Tuck the whole contraption into some nice jeans and whip up a strata.—Danielle Cohen, staff writer
Reading This month, I read Parini Shroff’s debut novel, The Bandit Queens. When Geeta’s shitty husband walked out on her and disappeared without a trace, her entire village believed she killed him. She lets the rumor fly for five years and is seemingly content with her solitary life until other wives begin approaching her with a simple request: Can she help them kill their no-good husbands, too? What follows is a deliciously dark and funny tale about sisterhood, power, and second chances. —Andrea González-Ramírez, senior writer
I know everyone’s over it, but I have a book recommendation, and unfortunately it is the Oppenheimer biography American Prometheus, by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. Vomiting as I write this, but it’s a good and interesting book if you’re interested in history and war and gossip (though obsequious and biased and much too long). It also fleshed out the female characters of the film, revealing that Christopher Nolan totally shafted them. Jean Tatlock, for example, was a doctor and closeted lesbian; Kitty Oppenheimer was a botanist, not just an out-of-control lush. Maybe no one cares about any of this! But if you liked the movie and still have questions, read the book. —Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz, senior writer
I just started reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and while I cannot tell you too much about its plot/contents so far — I’m about two chapters in — vampires in general, and Nosferatu in particular, were my single-biggest childhood fear. I can recommend at least the novel’s first 25 pages, which have already introduced spooky atmospheric details such as disembodied howling wolves and villagers crossing themselves in a frenzy at any mention of the count. We will see next month how the rest plays out. —Claire Lampen, news editor
Skin-caring I’ve been working to learn more about my skin and what it needs to be happy after a horrific bout of adult acne (mortifying to be paying taxes and getting cystic zits) and have been trying out different facials and getting advice from aestheticians in the city. I recently tried a facial at Ställe Studios with Elizabeth Grace Hand and was in disbelief at how dewy I looked afterward, especially considering I had approximately two sips of water that entire day (sorry). Afterward, Elizabeth sent me a detailed list of how I should adjust my morning and nighttime routines and what products my skin would be happiest with, something I had been struggling to get answers to on my own. Highly recommend! —Danya Issawi, fashion news writer
Low-key Halloweening I’m not a big Halloween person and never have been really, but I do love Halloween movies. This Halloween, I plan to watch Twitches and bake Halloween-themed cookies. I must say I’m slightly more excited for the day after Halloween, because I’m ready to see more eggnog-flavored products and fewer pumpkin ones in the supermarket. —Asia Milia Ware, fashion and beauty writer
Seeing as my dog and I already attended a Halloween parade as Mario (him) and Luigi (me), I plan to spend actual Halloween evening relaxing with friends and a sheet tray of those classic Pillsbury pumpkin sugar cookies. You know the ones. —Bindu Bansinath, staff writer
This Halloween, I’m having my film-geek friend curate the night. He’s making spicy blood-orange margs, and we’re watching What Lies Beneath, which he describes as “a very fun supernatural thriller about a hot couple haunted by a hot ghost. A good fall movie with lots of leaves and nice kitchens.” Seems great to me. —Angelina Chapin, features writer
My Halloween plans, as ever, are trying to pull together a clever concept from nothing in the 24 hours before a friend’s annual costume party. Waiting until the last minute forces me to get very creative. My boyfriend and I went into a sorely depleted Spirit Halloween store the morning of the party last year, walked out with a blonde bobbed wig and a knight’s helmet (to which we hot-glued two full heads of lettuce and googly eyes), and showed up as Liz Truss and the leafy greens that outlasted her tenure as British prime minister. Who knows what we’ll come up with this weekend! —Catherine Thompson, features editor
I’m not a Halloween person by any means, but I do encourage shenanigans, so I will be partaking this weekend. My original plans were to attend my close friend’s chill party on Saturday, but they’ve since snowballed into a ticketed reggaetón party the Friday before, two house parties on Saturday, and what I’ve been looking forward to the most: attending Japanese Breakfast’s October 31 concert in Philadelphia. Once this long chain of events concludes, I’ll be returning to my winter hibernation, cooking for myself and friends and leaving the house exclusively to attend the rest of the concerts I have coming up this season. —Maridelis Morales Rosado, photo editor
I’m visiting my grandma in Croatia at the moment, and although Halloween has grown in popularity here, it’s not really a thing. Since I’ll be on a plane the next day, my Halloween plans include packing my trusty giant blue backpack, which I got a great deal on last year thanks to REI’s used-gear marketplace — would recommend. To keep me company, I’ll rewatch my favorite Halloween movie, Practical Magic. —Katja Vujić, social media editor
Our Shopping Cart
Below, the best stuff our team bought in the past month.
Bianca Nieves, senior shopping editor
I bought Nette the Magician Candle ($82) as a gift for a friend. Every time she would enter my apartment, she would compliment me on how great it smelled. I have my Magician candle over at the entrance, and the sandalwood, palo santo, and cardamom scent really carries throughout the 900 square feet of my place. The price tag is a bit hefty for a candle, but the vessel is microwave- and dishwasher-safe so you can reuse it once it’s finished burning.
Asia Milia Ware, fashion and beauty writer
There’s nothing I love more than the scent of pine during the holiday season, and Nest’s holiday candle ($48) is long-lasting and great for gifting.
I really wanted a classic tailored coat for fall, and I found the absolute perfect one on Aritzia. The hourglass shape of the Babaton Figure Coat ($450) is great for my curves — sometimes I feel like I can get lost in boxy coats. This will definitely be worn way too many times this season, and I have no shame.
Hanna Flanagan, shopping editor and writer
I don’t even really like apples, if I’m being honest. But I’ve become absolutely obsessed with this new perfume from Ellis Brooklyn ($110), which features notes of red apple, sugar cane, and vanilla Madagascar. The scent is fresh, crisp, and slightly sweet … ideal for frolicking among fall foliage!
Danya Issawi, fashion news writer
Now that it’s nearly winter, it makes very little sense to be baring our ankles (it’s chilly!), and yet here I am wearing an anklet for the first time since I was 14. I’ve been wearing this dainty girl ($110) from Ring Concierge. It’s fun and makes me feel kind of cute at Pilates.
I have never once put a sweater on and thought to myself, Actually, that looks kind of sexy, but it seems there’s a first time for everything. I recently acquired this sweater (€400) from By Malene Birger, and, yes, it’s pricey, but I put it on and felt … transformed. It was both formfitting and loose, slightly saucy but chic, and, to top it off, incredibly soft.
Noelle Lacombe, director of photography
I recently decided that I was going to become a claw-clip gym girl. I heard they were a little easier on your hair than the tight, slicked-back ponytails I was accustomed to. I’ve been in search of something chic and durable, and though there are many beautiful options out there, I wasn’t willing to cough up $35 to $100 per clip. I found this Amazon retailer Camila Paris, and it sells “made in France” claw clips that are about $12 each. They’re perfect!
Preeti Kinha, photo editor
I’ve been wearing a comfortable pair of sneakers for the last few months (Keds Triple Kick Leather Lace-ups), and they’re perfect in every regard except that they make my socks slide down after just a few steps. I refuse to buy new sneakers, so I turned to the latest in sock technology and bought old-man sock garter belts ($10). I can attach them to any pair of socks and adjust the band and voilà: My socks stay up all day, and I get cool indentations on my legs.
Chinea Rodriguez, shopping writer
At any given time, I have at least three lip products in my handbag. Usually, there’s Ami Colé, Dior Lip Glow, and Rhode, and now: e.l.f.’s lip oil ($8). This product was sent to me by the brand’s PR, but I like it a lot. It’s not an exact dupe of the Dior lip oil, but it’s pretty close, and at less than $10, you really can’t complain. It’s slightly less glossy unless you layer it on, but the texture is balmy and moisturizing, so it’s in my lip-oil–lip-liner–combo rotation. I like the shade “Jam Session.”