I’m currently in the midst of a style crisis: I think I have a sense of style (and stylish people confirm that I do), but I constantly struggle to match what I’m looking for (like, say, a one-piece that doesn’t make me look like a chunky baby) with what’s available (a sea of one-pieces that make me look like a chunky baby). Normally, the solution would be to simply buy nothing, starve the beast of capitalism of my hard-earned bucks, but unfortunately I’ve reached a do-or-die-or-go-naked moment. All of my clothes have been worn to a state of near ruin (blown-out crotches, stained or ripped t-shirts, etc.) so May has been the time to pony-up and refresh my very sad and tired wardrobe.
So, first, that hunt for a one-piece: If I was in the mood to hate myself, I’d refer to my body as “pear-shaped,” a loathsome term that should be put to rest immediately after this blog is published, but that refers to someone who’s wider at the hips than they are at the bust. My upper body is thin, my waist is small, and my butt and hips are BOI-OI-OI-OING. Because of that, one-pieces can be a kind of rough cut on me (do I get a small or a medium? What cut will fit my honkers and my lower half without making me look like a bowling pin?) But goddamnit, I want a one-piece anyway, which is why I’m thrilled to announce after a full year of searching, I finally found this Out From Under one at Urban Outfitters and—PRAISE BE TO POSEIDON—I love it.
The legs are high cut, but also the suit also provides the bare minimum of butt coverage that I need to feel comfortable and not like I’m hanging out of the damn thing. It’s also slutty enough that it doesn’t scream “J.Crew mom,” but conservative enough that I could wear it around my family. It’s also retro, which—style crisis aside—is very me.
Speaking of da beach: While I’ve never been bad about applying sunscreen, this year I’ve decided to become very good at it, which is why I got Supergoop’s Mini Defense Refresh Setting Mist With Rosemary, a SPF 50 that you apply on top of your daily makeup. Honestly, I’m pretty smitten with it because not only does it keep my makeup in check all day, it also protects my precious precious skin. Talk to me after pay day and you’ll likely find that I’ve ordered more Supergoop (not related to Gwyneth’s Goop) sunscreen products to keep me ghost white all summer.
A thing I decided after turning 30 earlier this year is that I want to start having fun with makeup—letting it be a form of self expression rather than just a mode of concealment. To that end, I bought two heavy pigment Sephora brand eyeshadows that I never would have worn before, one in a loud teal and another in gold (unfortunately the exact pigments aren’t on the Sephora website, so use your imagination). I would rate them as... okay? With makeup, you often get what you pay for and these—costing $10—are neither remarkably good nor awful.
But now back to clothes! It is very rare for me to find things I like in a store because I am too picky and I find most clothes too fussy, but did you know that there are companies that let you print anything you want on a sweatshirt? There are, which is why I made these Hers & Hers sweatshirt for my friend and me for said friend’s May birthday:
Truly, I have never gotten more compliments on a clothing item as I get when I walk around covered in Shannon Beador.
But because I can’t wear a Real Housewives of Orange County everyday, I also had to purchase some more practical clothing items, like, say pants. When I’m in a clothing rut, I do two things: first, I go to my clothing Pinterest board and try to find trends in the photos I’m saving. This year (like almost every other year), I’ve been drawn simplified versions of ‘70s silhouettes and lots of light and medium wash denim. And second, I text Jane Marie, friend of Jezebel, friend of mine and incredibly fashionable woman, and straight up ask her what to buy that will look good on me. She always delivers, which is why—on Jane’s recommendation—I bought an Anthropologie romper (on sale because I’m no fool) and a pair of red gingham cigarette pants from Madewell over Memorial Day weekend.
Also at Madewell, I bought a pair of overalls—something I never thought I’d write—all because I saw a friend of Julianne Escobedo Shepherd wearing them at a party and they looked SO cool and SO cute. (They even have a pinafore back!) So yes, maybe I’ll potentially get a yeast infection from the camel toe that often comes with jumpsuits, but you know what? I’m at peace with that. You should be, too. (None of these items have arrived yet, so I can’t give you my review. Maybe I’ll tell you about them someday.)
The other two things I bought this month were both Perfume Genius-related—his new album “No Shape” and a concert tee, which—don’t tell him—is the same concert tee that Bobby Finger bought. I tried to get a different one, I swear, but they didn’t have my size, so now Bobby and I finally get to be TWINS, just like we always hoped.
The album is sonically rich and gorgeous. The t-shirt is among the softest I’ve ever worn. 10/10 would recommend both.
May was a month that I definitely spent far more than what I typically would on clothes (again, I typically wear clothes into the ground), but there are times in life where ya gotta—and maybe even enjoy—sprucing up your old, threadbare wardrobe. Besides, next month I have to get Invisalign and my disposable income will all go to correcting my bite, a problem I assumed we fixed decades ago with my first set of braces, but I guess not. Lucky me!
I hate shopping right now. The optimistic side of me feels that this is just a phase, that sometimes stores go in and out of having what works for you, but the pessimistic side of me reminds myself that this has been going on for over a year. Perhaps it’s a transitional period between shopping at the cheapo stores of my youth and more consistently investing in more expensive pieces, but I’m struggling to find things I want to wear and that look good on me.
This is all to say that when Julianne asked if I would do this column I panicked because I have wandered in and out of multiple stores in the past month, tried things on, and not bought anything (even the jeans I normally buy in always the same size at Urban weren’t working). It’s not that all of it was egregiously hideous, but I’m in a space where I could convince myself that any reason is a good enough reason to not buy something. (“Do I like it enough to spend the money on it” has been the main one; the answer is usually “eh.”)
So the first things I bought that did not require commitment anxiety are therefore exceedingly boring: Lubriderm unscented, the only body lotion for me, Listerine in Cool Mint, and Colgate Total Advanced Deep Clean. Has anyone ever felt more commitment anxiety than standing in the toothpaste aisle? I haven’t. I’m trying to mitigate a cavity scare I had a few months ago and after staring at a lot of labels and feeling like they all seemed to say the same thing, this is what I went with. Hopefully it works.
Since these purchases were deeply mundane, I attempted to spice up my life by hitting up COS, which Julianne suggested might be the answer to my style worries because it “will make you look like you are deeply French.” I didn’t look vaguely French, but I did look like a Leftover, and not one who gets to fuck Justin Theroux.
I knew I had to buy something I liked (does, after extensive research, finally committing to a Neutrogena anti-aging night cream that my mom used for my entire childhood count?) and luckily, my good friend Madeleine took time out from her own style struggles to send me a link to the Flamingo shirt of my dreams from Topshop. A few months ago I passed on buying a flamingo jumpsuit from Anthropologie because I feared it would be too ‘mingo (and the reviews said it was very sheer), so this is a great bookend to that story, made even better by the fact that I found out that Kara coincidentally bought the same one. To quote Kara, can’t wait to match!
At this point, I felt like I just needed to bite the bullet; maybe it’s been the trying things on that has been deterring my from purchase, and ordering things online allows me to skip the questioning stage. Two other things that are now winging their way to me are almost identical articles of clothing from Everlane are the The Silk Square Shirt in black and white stripes, and The Silk Square Shirt Dress in navy. I only have a weekender bag from Everlane, but I love it, and so even though it’s possible that this sack dress is gonna give me a Leftovers 2 vibe, I’m going for it anyway.
Look at me go! (I’m trying, okay?)
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.