OMG Bathing Suit Shopping is the WORST

Either you are the kind of person who gets super excited to grab your sunglasses and tote and go bathing suit shopping, or you’re like the rest of us, groaning and rolling your eyes and wondering whether the suit you bought online half a decade ago and wore throughout your pregnancy will still somehow magically fit.

To make that silent, shuddering majority of us feel better about the upcoming necessities of beach-time, a plus-size retailer called Swimsuits for All — perhaps you remember them from last year’s “Oh dear, turns out we don’t have nearly enough inventory to meet demand” Fatkini scandal? — has put together a video history that celebrates the variety of bodies, each of which, it assures us, is “bikini-ready.” Yes, basically it’s one big fat advertorial, coming to us via Jezebel. It’s also kind of sweet, and heartening, and, when combined with a stiff drink, useful for preparing oneself to face the mirrors.

Do you have bathing suit shopping hacks that make this process more bearable? Is the answer to spend more, since you are destined to wear the stuffing out of whatever you buy regardless? What is the most you’d be willing to shell out to feel like you look good at the pool, remembering of course that true beauty comes from within?

Moving From Fast Fashion to a Few Quality Pieces

According to Quartz, we spend about 3 percent of our annual income on clothes (I expected it to be a little higher!). We also have five times the amount of clothes as we did in the first half of the 20th century, and it’s mostly due to the fact that overseas production has made clothes cheap to produce (low-cost fast fashion). But wages of workers overseas are slowly rising, and more consumers are considering the ethical dilemmas that come with cheap clothing. How will this affect the way we buy clothes in the future?

One option is to reconsider our approach to clothing by taking a cue from Europeans who have historically been more more focused on quality rather than quantity. Much of the cheap clothing we consume in droves is like our fast food diets—high in calories (quantity) but low in nutrition (quality). We are a culture that buys a lot of junk. Think about your own wardrobe—consider how many items of clothing you own and how often you wear each of those items. My guess is that most of us wear about 20% of our clothing 80% of the time. That is a lot of wasted space and wasted money.

In the past few years, I’ve changed the way I buy and wear clothes by going the uniform route, though I also like this European approach of buying classic, quality pieces that last a long time. One item that comes to mind is my peacoat—I’ve worn it every winter for the past 14 years or so.

Photo: Maegan Tintari

Purchases Made in Hope of Self-Improvement

Stuff I bought that I love.

Questions to Ask Yourself While Shopping

Youth Radio took on the question of: How do you know if you have a shopping problem?

The Costs of Things: Crop Tops!

Crop tops are back, and the New York Times is on it! In the most Style Section possible piece ever, the paper of record covered the phenomenon this weekend — and what the trend means, financially, for fashion-conscious consumers:

Midriffs are suddenly in America’s face — in a way not seen, perhaps, since a young Britney Spears was in regular gyration-rotation on VH1. Crop tops were all over the spring runways, from Proenza Schouler and Dolce & Gabbana to more moderately priced lines like Tibi and Alice & Olivia. They are stocked several racks deep at Zara, H&M and Forever 21. …

Mary Alice Stephenson, a fashion commentator, thinks the look now evokes refined elegance rather than the overt sexiness or exoticism it used to signal (see: “I Dream of Jeannie”). “The stomach is the new erogenous zone, but not in a vulgar sort of a way,” she said. “Yes, you can show your whole midsection in a bra top, but most of the styles only give you a peek. Regardless, it is making women frenzied about shaping up their abs.”

Now that we can actually and more easily Instagram our own belly buttons, it will add a new dimension to the term “navel gazing.” How exciting! But, for those of us daring to be fashion-forward, how expensive. The article goes on to list the lengths to which women are going to rock short shirts, including Pilates-type classes, ballet barre-type workouts, sessions with private trainers, and, DUH, plastic surgery:

’90s Cool Kids Clothing Not Selling Well Today

It's Fashion Week in NYC, and New York magazine issue is all about the things we wear and the businesses that sell them. One particularly interesting piece comes from Matthew Shaer, who reports about Abercrombie and Fitch's struggle to keep up in today's market where "fast fashion" sells.

Supermarket Tricks

Reader's Digest put together a list of supermarket tricks we all fall for (here is a link that will save you from having to click through a 50-slide slideshow), and a lot of it is interesting! I did not know the thing about the cakes, for example, and I've definitely bought cakes straight out of the display case many times. I have never ditched anything at the checkout lane though.

Daddy Bought a Gift for You

McSweeney's had a dark humor piece titled "Merry Christmas, Son. I Trampled A Man To Death To Buy You This Leappad Ultra Tablet," which spoke to me because I've been inundated in the last few days with PR emails about "Super Saturday Sales" and one-time deals, and I just can't wait until this shopping season is over.

What DON’T We Want Sent to Us Monthly in a Box?

Once you have a baby, you have a lot more dinner parties, or at least more nights spent in mismatched chairs around your kitchen table drinking leftover white wine and sake and eating take out with your friends. On one of these recent nights at my place, a friend brought up the now inescapable trend of Monthly Boxes o’ Stuff, like Birchbox and Ipsy (cosmetics), NatureBox (snacks), BarkBox (cosmetics AND snacks — for dogs!), and so on.

Wouldn’t it be great, I wondered, tipsy on half a glass of Riesling, to have a Period Box? Once a month, it would show up, much like your period itself, only helpfully, with rom coms, tearjerker books, dark chocolate, and the occasional pad / tampon / Diva cup / whatever? My friends cheered the idea, told me I should go ahead and make my fortune. But when I took the zillion dollar plan to social media, other friends dealt my dream a boot to the face. Apparently HelloFlo and Le Parcel have already cornered the menstrual market. (Though both services are awfully pastel; would anyone pay for a more punk rock version? Just asking.)

The Tricks Shoppers Pull

Reporters at the Los Angeles Times look at various tricks shoppers pull at department stores, and how retailers are addressing them.

How Much Am I Willing to Pay for Convenience?

After I got back from the holidays, I noticed that the park across the street had put up two ice rinks. Yay, free ice skating! And then I remembered that I don’t have skates that fit anymore. Here’s a timeline of my attempt to get used skates.

I Deserve It

I am built to think that I deserve things.