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Our Most Underappreciated Stories of the Year

Mom hair! Butt creams! Santana!

Girl in Balmain T-shirt reading on her phone
Photo: Joe Harper for Racked

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

We published a lot of things this year, and some of those things were read and watched more than others. Yes, we notice what hits and what doesn’t. And yes, sometimes our most favorite stories fall through the internet cracks. So in the spirit of self-promotion, and ending the year with a full and delightful reading list, we present to you the stuff our staff wish had gotten a little more love.

"Do I have mom hair?" is still a question I ask myself on a weekly, if not daily, basis. The fear is real, and I think that both moms and non-moms alike can benefit from my soul-searching here. (Please do not confuse my story with the New York Times version that came out a month later.) Cheryl Wischhover, senior beauty reporter

In May, I tinkered with some stunt journalism and tried on the the Rihanna 9-to-5 boots at the Manolo Blahnik store in New York. The boots themselves cost $4,000 and are basically denim chaps with a kind of cheap-feeling rhinestone belt at the top. The post did okay — people read it — but, to the best of my knowledge, Rihanna didn’t. My aunt did, though, and told me they made me look “wide in the middle,” so there’s that. Also, there was this thing about butt creams. —Tiffany Yannetta, shopping director

Do you know how long it takes to write a post about how hard it is to find a suitable and affordable T-shirt with the cover art of “Smooth” by Santana featuring Rob Thomas? Almost as long as it takes to find a suitable and affordable T-shirt with the cover art of “Smooth” by Santana featuring Rob Thomas. Which I still never found, by the way. But I guess that’s fine, because literally zero people read this post anyway.Rebecca Jennings, associate producer

My hard-hitting exposé of the corrupt world of dressing alike for bachelorette parties didn’t get a ton of clicks, but at least I know I was speaking truth to Big Bride. I can only assume it was because I cut my original lede, a totally-appropriate homage to Slaughterhouse Five. (“All this happened, more or less. The bachelorette party parts, anyway, are pretty much true… I’ve changed all their names.”) There were seriously fun interviews for this one, so at least I got to meet some cool women. —Meredith Haggerty, senior editor

As someone who writes about the entertainment industry for a living, I can wholeheartedly say that Ryan Lochte is one of the most entertaining people on earth. As such, I’ve followed his athletic career — and, more importantly, his dream of launching his own clothing line — with great interest since the 2012 London Olympics. In the days leading up to the Summer Games in Rio, I took a deep dive (pun intended) into Lochte’s decade-long plan to rebrand himself as a fashion designer, which involved studying every single interview, public statement, event appearance, and endorsement deal of Lochte’s since 2007. And I don’t regret a moment of that research, since it yielded this exhaustive timeline. Check it out — and then let’s discuss how the swimming star’s Rio robbery fiasco will affect his future fashion plans! Elana Fishman, entertainment editor

Cute boys in Sambas remain important to me, to the world, all these months later. I’m very much hoping for an end-of-year #sambawatch surge. Julia Rubin, executive editor

Earlier this year, Alexander Stutterheim, the founder of a popular Swedish raincoat brand, started a new line of beautiful, hand-knitted sweaters. In many ways, this is just another brand profile, but what’s unique about Stutterheim is how much heart and candor he puts into his work. He's more transparent about his process and mistakes than most publicists would advise, and he talks about not-so-happy feelings without reservation, a rarity in fashion.Eliza Brooke, senior reporter

In April, I interviewed Paula Wallace, the founder of the Savannah College of Art and Design, and pegged a Q&A to the release of her memoir, an incredibly sweet account of how she started SCAD. The interview didn't get much movement, but it was easily my favorite from 2016. Speaking with her left me feeling inspired and fascinated by the arts education system. —Chavie Lieber, senior reporter

I made a joke in an email, and a couple weeks later our editor-in-chief Britt asked if I would turn it into a full song. That’s how the weirdest thing I’ve ever written — a version of Little Mermaid’s “Part of Your World” run backwards through a Four Pins bot — got published. Not even sure if my mom read this one. Cam Wolf, menswear editor

I did not write or edit these but I did read and watch them voraciously (so you should, too): “Tyra’s Big Fierce Outrageous Goals” because Tyra + $$$ + Claire’s writing; “What Happened to Melania Trump’s Caviar Skincare Line?” because it’s basically a far-fetched novella but also because there’s proof that the next First Lady perjured herself; and this Racked Pack video — the first one! — featuring K$ace. It was the first video that really felt like the new Racked, and he’s a joy to watch. Britt Aboutaleb, editor-in-chief

Over the summer, I completely fell in love with the shopping scene in Philly when reporting this pretty in-depth travel guide to the shops, brands, and neighborhoods to check out in the city. Over two separate reporting trips (and then once more just for fun), I think I visited every single store in Philadelphia and then some. The vintage shopping there is awesome, the indie boutiques are awesome, and the people who own them are so damn cool, not to mention the local makers creating things sold in them. It's for these folks that I most want to resurface this little shopping trip agenda. Cory Baldwin, shopping editor