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At the onset of quarantine in the middle of March, I made a half-hearted, not-at-all genuine promise to myself that maybe I would attempt to save money by not buying things from online. Thankfully, the nature of quarantine, and the fact of national economic uncertainty, made it so that I saved money by default—turns out never leaving your house and only going to the grocery store or to a Duane Reade is a great way to save! Greeted with what occasionally felt like a surplus of money, I did what I do best, which is spend it on stupid shit that I, unfortunately, now love.
Most, if not all of the purchases that I’ve made over the past few months have put money directly into the pockets of my bald demon king, Jeff Bezos. My Amazon Prime membership is shared by at least three other people —two of my three sisters, and an old roommate— and technically, it’s not even mine, it’s my dad’s. Because of this communal approach, the “save for later” section of my shopping cart is a real smorgasbord of items, but it’s also nice to see what my siblings and pals are up to. My former roommate’s dog just got a very nice outdoor bed and a collapsible water bowl, and my roommate just got herself some Crocs—nice. A light-up, LED cowboy hat is being delivered to my home at some point this week, for my sister/roommate’s 4th of July weekend, the theme of which I cannot decipher but have pinpointed to be something in and around “cowboy” and “space.” I’m happy for everyone involved, but when turning a closer eye to my own purchases, I feel nothing but neutral. Sifting through my purchases is not nearly as depressing as I thought; for every stupid thing I’ve purchased, there’s been at least one good item that I use regularly.
Though I nearly caved to Instagram’s algorithmic push towards expensive loungewear at various points over the past few months, it looks like most of the new indoor/outdoor clothing I’ve purchased has come from Amazon. I bought a pair of lilac workout leggings that are advertised as “grey” but are definitely purple; they are also insanely flattering, very comfortable, and do what they’re supposed to, which is stay on my body while I do squats. Before dumbbells went extinct, I bought a set of 8 lb babies that were too heavy at the beginning but now feel fine; if this means I am now buff, then that’s one point for me! These leopard-print Crocs are the only Crocs I’ve purchased, despite adding and removing the “viral” strawberry-print version to my cart multiple times. I also bought lavender Chacos, because it’s summer now.
For reasons that I will never quite be able to articulate, I am obsessed with finding the perfect pair of running shorts, not for sport, but for leisure. Maybe my early morning habit of perusing Who What Wear’s inane listicles has poisoned my brain and now I am convinced that my look for summer is camp counselor/dirtbag influencer. The first pair of running shorts I bought are these bad boys, which were perfect once I cut the lining out, but are now unsuitable for outdoor use because I spilled an entire bottle of nail polish directly on the crotch, resulting in a stain that looks like jizz. The loss was devastating, but instead of buying the $55 Patagonia Baggies that I really wanted, I turned back to the cold embrace of my bald king, and bought these shorts (too tight!) and then these shorts (they work!). I cut the weird underpant liner out of each pair and now I have shorts!! I love shorts!! I love shorts so much that I bought these bike shorts, which are too short to wear outside of the house but are great for inside. Other clothing purchases that are less exciting but still notable include a 3-pack of Hanes undershirts for men that I have turned into crop tops, and five tank tops from an Old Navy sale that was simply too good to pass up.
It was also time to upgrade my swim wardrobe, even though I cannot imagine I’ll be at the beach that much this summer? J. Crew had a sale, and I love a sale and so I bought four swim separates that I have worn to the roof multiple times and to the beach three times. If that’s all the use they get this summer, then you know what, I’ll take it.
Wait, there’s more, I’m sorry: this embroidery kit; an ineffectual “lap desk”; six reusable face masks for my father, who told me he was just using a mask he “found in the garage”; two masks that are cotton and somewhat “breathable”; cat food and cat litter; more embroidery things; the chair; Baby Foot “for men” which did NOT work on my feet; noise-cancelling headphones; and this gold “face massager” which is by FAR the best thing I have purchased of all! A perfect evening, to me, is getting high as a kite and pressing this bad boy into my cheekbones for an hour and change. There are countless other items sitting in various online shopping carts across this vast internet, and of the following list, I will probably buy at least one: this stupid dress; this bronzer (where the fuck am I going that I need bronzer?); various items from Glossier. Capitalism wins and I love it. —Megan Reynolds
This edition of Shit I Bought came about after Megan and I found ourselves comparing our pandemic outfits on Wednesday morning, two of the Jezebel staffers most invested in fashion and wearing cool outfits mutually admitting that our style has devolved into uniforms of sports gear for sports we are most definitely not playing. As I type, I am wearing a 10-year-old Nike racerback tank top (it’s cute though), a matching sports bra, and grey bike shorts, some variation of which is the only outfit I can tolerate these days, particularly considering the shit I did NOT buy: I still haven’t sucked it up and bought an air conditioner unit for my apartment, a decision I will regret in about three weeks as I do every year, when the July humidity hits suffocation levels and my notion that sweating is good for the pores is overtaken by extreme discomfort. (Ed. Note: PLEASE GET AN AIR CONDITIONER, I SWEAR TO GOD —Megan)
What I did buy, though, is more fucking bike shorts. I bought this three-pack of “Hi Clasmix” compression shorts for a cool $27, and while they haven’t yet been delivered, I am eager to discover whether the discreet pocket will “do” anything for me, and whether they are as “non-see-through” as advertised. Like Megan, I haven’t spent much money since self-isolating beyond rent, groceries, and whatever shit I pick up at Walgreens for fun when I get my prescription refilled—mainly nail polish (I really like Sally Hansen’s InstaDri in Petal Pusher, a super light pink), but I did buy a set of false eyelashes; fun fact, falsies have been on sale at Walgreens in New York for the duration of the pandemic. I’ve purchased a couple of handmade masks from Etsy—one in a serape pattern, which came with two filters, and another in a cool iridescent pink, which is ravey but also sort of reminds me of a sex thong. Both have obviously come in quite handy, stay safe out there people!
Beyond my unsinkable addiction to gelatinous footwear—hello to these super-fun Patrick Cox x Melissa sandals, as well as the rubber Opening Ceremony x Melissa shoe I purchased frantically in the last days of OC’s closing sale—I’m mostly dreaming of the items I bought online before the pandemic, which have been sitting in the Jezebel office mailroom for a full four months. (Lord willing, I will travel to Times Square and rescue my shit this weekend, but breaking the seal on riding the subway, which I have not done since March, is pretty intimidating.) Sometime in early Spring, a beautiful package of items from Brujita Skincare, a Latina-owned organic skincare line, landed at the office, and when I say my face and body desperately need the White Magic Facial Mask Set and Body Lotion (with a palo santo/jasmine scent, couldn’t you just scream!), I truly mean it. Nothing is worse than being both sweaty and dry, especially when it is ill-advised to leave your apartment.
Also in the mailroom, I will retrieve two shirts I bought from my favorite grime artist JME, which are now sold out—one promoting his latest album, Grime MC, which is phenomenal as usual, and another promoting the song “Issmad,” which simply says “ISSMAD.” I don’t really know why I bought the second shirt, other than the fact that I just love JME so much and want to support all he does. (The song “Issmad” includes the line “Young Adenuga/business man/shouts out to my dad.” If you don’t know JME but recognize the name “Adenuga,” he is indeed the brother of fellow grime artist Skepta and Beats 1 DJ Julie Adenuga.) Additonally, I bought a pair of red sunglasses and a pair of optical glasses in a Lilac Crystal colorway, which now seems like a questionable choice, from Privé Reveaux. The latter glasses are part of their Dove Cameron collection, which led to me figuring out who Dove Cameron is, which was a fun time since I am old and do not have children. (She was on the Disney Channel show Liv and Maddie, and she recently released a song with the boricua rapper BIA, who I do know, and which is fine.) But shit, if Lilac Crystal is good enough for Dove I can probably learn to rock with it. Who knows when I’ll be able to make it to my optometrist to get my prescription lenses put in them, though.
Finally, one more thing that I did have delivered to my home, which was a worthwhile expenditure and also important reminder of the moment in which we find ourselves: This incredible t-shirt of Naomi Campbell in full hazmat couture from the Flex Factory, a website/goods company run by the African-Australian writer and genius Lillian Ahenkan, also known as FlexMami. Her shirts are good as hell—look, you can get a custom rap shirt made for your freaking PET—but I would also be remiss if I did not inform you that I also purchased a giant (GIANT) hand-fan that says TURBO on it with some cherries. I didn’t need-need it, but it makes me incredibly happy to have—particularly because I haven’t gotten around to buying that stupid air conditioner, and fans are all I have at this juncture. One day, perhaps. —Julianne Escobedo Shepherd