Welcome to Shit I Bought, a column where we recap the life-changing beauty and fashion purchases of various staffers—and also just stuff we bought on a whim.

Phoebe Bradford

So my fellow Jez staffers figured out my dark secret: I buy a lot of shit. Shit I probably shouldn’t buy, but do anyway. The past couple of weeks have been particularly bad.

Literally every time the season changes I think to myself, “Finally, a season that will allow me to reach my fashion peak!” And then I discover that I still don’t actually want to wear anything I own. So, unfortunately, I heard about this store Berksha, which is essentially teen Zara, coming to the States for a pop-up. I went into the store one day after work looking for nothing and left with four things, naturally.

Yeah I can see how these are kind of the same thing now (Images via Berksha)

My two favorites are these culotte romper skort situation (a skorter?) and this vinyl miniskirt (above). The skorter (I’m just going with it) is shockingly comfortable for how polished it looks. Like PJ comfy. I got so many compliments when I wore it that I went back and got the same thing in black. It looks as good with bare legs as it does with tights. The vinyl mini makes me feel like a cool chick from the ’60s and it also has debuted with rave reviews. Guess I’m into the wrap bottom look right now, which is flattering on someone like me who has an ample bum. I also picked up this buttery soft chenille sweater I like burying my face and soul into and these kind of great chunky boots I told myself not to buy but did anyway. Please, please don’t let me go into this store again.

I got like 10 pairs of underwear for $30... how can I resist that? (Images via Aerie)

One thing that doesn’t help my love for shopping is the beauty channel in Slack at work where my coworkers periodically inform me about hard-to-pass-up deals. Namely—everytime Aerie has an insane underwear sale. Like, you always need more undies! Right? And the awesome red velvet bralet I got was just like… to get me to the shipping minimum, obviously.

(Images via The Ordinary and Ulta)

Another thing the beauty Slack does is make me aware of all the fun potions I can rub on my face in search of eternal youth. I still struggle with acne so the Instagram girl skincare moment is kryptonite for me. I re-upped on Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench moisturizer, which I swear makes my super sensitive skin so happy and healthy and baby smooth. Pricey, but fine just take my money. I’m also trying out The Ordinary’s AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution which I hear makes you look like you’re covered in blood, which is fun, but is considerably cheaper than Drunk Elephant. The whole Drunk Elephant collection is incredible, but I guess even I have my limits.

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The rest of my reckless spending is a bit random, but were all things I had, but needed to get better versions of. For about a year I have been using a regular sized mirror propped up on a chair as my “full length mirror.” This required a lot of embarrassing jumping around in order to fully see my outfits in the morning. Finally I got my ass to Ikea and got a beautiful mirror that I love in the way I think parents love children. It also has the benefit of making my room look one step closer to an aesthetically pleasing minimalist space Instagram tells me I desperately need.

Isn’t she a beaut? (Images via Ikea)

The gadgety thing I got is incredibly inexpensive, but if you’re a photographer like me it’s a massive game changer. Instead of emailing yourself photos or sync dropbox etc etc etc—you can just pop your SD card into a card reader that connects to your phone’s lightning port. It’s cool I swear.

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Just now I bought this mini steamer because the Jezebel staff was talking about them on Slack (thanks to this Racked post) and I think wrinkle-free clothing is something I should strive for now that I am attempting to convince people I’m an adult.

So useful! So boring! (Images via Apple and Bed Bath and Beyond)

And finally, I have a trusty leather backpack I adore, but it’s severely worn out and also I realized I have been going literally everywhere with a backpack for the past two or three years. So I walked into a Century 21 and saw this little guy calling my name and we’re very happy thank you for asking. I have never heard of the brand Violet Ray, but this thing was cheap and shockingly well made and had the benefit of looking kind of different than most cross body bags out there.

My new friend (Images via Tilly’s)

That’s it, I swear… but like catch me in two hours when I start convincing myself how much I need Pat McGrath lipsticks because Julianne totally sold them to me.


Rich Juzwiak

Keep in mind that I am a professional, not an expert, and, to borrow the words of Madonna after her Blond Ambition Tour was slammed by the Vatican, I do not endorse a way of life but describe one, and the audience is left to make its own decisions and judgments. This is what I consider freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of thought.

And so, for your perusing pleasure, here are some things I recently bought:

After I published an essay last year about the ways I drive myself crazy to stay young in the face, someone emailed me to ask if I was using a Japanese moisturizer. I didn’t know what that was, but I bought some anyway. I’ve used Hada Labo Rohto Hadalabo Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist almost everyday since.

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Confession: I still don’t know what it is. Somewhere between a toner and a gel, but maybe just straight-up slime, it feels nice on my face in the 20 or so seconds between getting out of the shower and applying my moisturizer/retinoid in the morning. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where I feel like an amphibian who’s rapidly drying out and hurtling toward death by suffocation if I don’t use it in that 20-second window so I guess now I’m just addicted to a weird slime that I never knew I needed and now can’t stand to be without.

On the sartorial end of things, the aesthetic I aspire to these days (when I’m not in jeans-and-T-shirt default mode) is futuristic cult member. But if I can’t strike that shiny/basic balance I’ll usually come down on the side of present-day (or past or even made-for-TV) cult member. Acne Studios’ simple and well-tailored apparel conveys a sort of standardization that I associate with cults. Of course, being a writer, I shouldn’t be able to afford Acne stuff and I can’t, but the store’s outlet at Woodbury Common (just north of New York City) slashes the prices of Acne shit in half, rendering it almost affordable. I bought some dress shirts you’d swear cost half as much as they did even at their discount prices (but they do fit particularly nicely), as well as the pants pictured on the right, the ‘Ryder’ Wool Pants, which are at the midpoint between a jogging pant and trousers. They are simultaneously comfortable and scratchy and make me want to lounge on a very expensive floor. “You can dress them up, dress them down, wear them with a dress shirt or a T-shirt!” the woman in thick glasses and a giant sweater told me in the Acne outlet. Yes please! Fuck me all up with your aggressive plainness, Acne.

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I also saw this color-block sweatshirt on Cross Colours’ Instagram, and I mean, how could I not? Since we can’t go back to the ‘90s, the best we can do is bring them to us. I bought the matching sweatpants, too, while I was at it. Why not? Make it a suit, I figure. I may wear this to our company’s upcoming holiday party.

It was recently my birthday, which meant I got a bunch of things that I was planning on buying, but did not have to thanks to my large family. I should add that while I did not have to buy these with my money, I feel that I have dutifully earned them, through love, time, and patience. Karma pays! My father bought me the Oral-B 7000 electric toothbrush, which among its several features has a timer to ensure you are evenly brushing your entire set of teeth over the recommended two minutes, a tongue-brushing setting (so now I am one of those people who brushes my tongue daily), and Bluetooth compatibility, which will give you feedback on your brushing via a downloadable app. I have never felt so accomplished lately than when receiving a gushing review of my oral hygiene at the dentist, so this is the kind of feedback I truly appreciate.

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My sister gave me Dalí: Les Dîners de Gala, a hardback reprint of Salvador Dalí’s infamous cookbook from 1973 featuring mind-bending illustrations and even weirder recipes (veal cutlets stuffed with snails??? toffee with pinecones?!?). Nothing quite as harrowing as a watercress smoothie is included, from what I can tell, but I do love the sense of humor about the intoxicating, frequently grotesque, nature of culinary adventuring.

And speaking of entertainment, after resisting it for so long, I finally broke down and bought a subscription to Spotify. I love it! I thought somehow having an entire world’s worth of music as available as water from a faucet would make me value it less, but it’s actually quite the contrary. I download a few albums at at time and listen to them, really sinking in and getting to love them. I now regularly feel like a teen who just bought a CD at Circuit City. Besides intense infatuation for recent releases by Majid Jordan and Fever Ray, I’ve discovered even more of the ambient music I now treasure way more than I ever would have thought even just a year ago. I’ll leave you with an offering for your meditative needs because my shit I bought is your shit I bought. Enjoy this mindfully:

This has been “Shit I Bought,” comprised of shit we actually bought. No company compelled us to write about it for any reason. We bought it all, for better and often for worse, with our own money and of our own free will.