Zen* and the art of shopping / by Vanessa Fiola

**The next 14 days I'll be posting 500 words a day as part of a creative writing challenge. You can join the FB group here.**

Building on yesterday’s post in which I explored an existential panic attack set off by an eavesdropped conversation between two friends talking about shopping, I thought I would disclose that I am a skilled shopper.

What I lack in patience I make up for in an ability to see an article and visualize it transformed, paired and highlighted. I favor old with new, nice with Forever 21. Unexpected details and fine craft make me swoon. In another life, I am a stylist. The only thing that prevents me from being a stylist in this life is that I just can’t. Also, now that I’m a mom, my sixth sense has dulled a little.

I thought I was busy until I had a kid. Then I became hella busy. I am not glorifying busy as that movement might shriek—it is simply fact. Thus, these days many of my clothes are purchased online.

I am generally averse to buying vintage unless someone buys it for me or an item is at least 50 years old. Recently I was looking for vintage concert tees. I never saved any, (though Billy Joel doesn’t scream swag anyway), but I need something to throw over my sequined pencil skirt in one of those I-woke-up-like-this-but-fresh-lipstick looks.  This is my entire approach to fashion in a nutshell.

First I went on Nasty Gal, and then Etsy. I would have checked out eBay but I am banned from the site since I accidentally drunk-won a chair once that, turns out, had to be picked up in Northern California. The seller was gracious, but eBay was not. I backed out when I sobered up, and now I have to beg Ryan to shop for me. Anyway, the problem with a used concert tee is that its original owner is likely still out there alive somewhere, and I don’t want to feel what that shirt has seen. Like, the energy is still palpable somehow.

I broke my own rule when I was in Nashville last summer. I found a pair of faded Lee overalls at a cute mercantile store and promptly cut them at the mid-shin for culottes. This turned out to be a poor investment for three reasons: first, they looked better in my mind; second, the only way to make my legs appear stumpier is to wear mid-shin pants; third, every time I put them on I couldn’t help but feel like they weren’t mine. If energy is trapped in clothing, the energy of a twenty-something auto-mechanic was trapped in mine. He wasn’t even hot.

There was a time, after the fact of course, that I would proudly offer how my mom would fill out my closet with thrifted items. But the truth is, I never liked the smell; I really only liked the idea of it.  

* There is nothing Zen about this.