Lockdown Shopping pt.2 | The Blue Balls Of The Browser

By Lucy Harbron - 17:49

I’m starting to realise I like the idea of shopping far more than the real thing. Lately, I’ve been losing hours to the ASOS app, scrolling and tapping the little heart on anything that catches my eye, adding it to my thousands of lost likes that for a brief moment I thought might make it to the bag. Sometimes they do; I teased those gingham trousers, brought them so close to the edge with my finger hovering over the buy button. They heard me inhale, getting closer and closer… only to close the app and give in. The blue balls of the browser, nothing is satisfying me lately.

It’s my own fault really, I know I need to stop treating shopping apps like they’re Pinterest, but I like the power. While Pinterest teases me with outfits in outdoor spaces, girls in beautiful trousers sat on uncomfortable café seats or taking power stances in galleries, ASOS offers me a big question mark that is still so appealing in its cruelty. I browse and try to dream up days to come, racking my brain for places I used to go and things we as humans used to do; trying to find the appropriate skirt to wear to the party called life where the invite has no date and no location. But it makes inspiration run dry pretty quick when all these things feel too nice for my living room. They deserve better, we would only disappoint each other.

My last victim stares at me as I write this, a flash of denim hanging limp out of my wardrobe. It turns out, if you buy a fancy dress and only wear it once to drink alone in the kitchen on your birthday, it’ll lose its sparkle. I wrote about it back in August, the way my new House of Sunny dream dress felt trapped in that ‘new-outfit-insecurity feeling’, and as it transpires that feeling is only stage one, succeeded by the avoidance phase, then an overwhelming sense of ‘why the fuck do I own this?’, and then finally acceptance. I put the dress on Depop, it spends all day shooting cutting glances at me.

But it just felt so unfulfilled, months later when all my hopes of meals out and occasions were still empty, the dress felt odd. Stuck in the middle between the reality we’re living and the reality we normally know, so many of my clothes and all the ones left unbought in my ASOS list, lack any context. New clothes still feel coded with the idea of new places, usually always tied to the concrete image of a particular day or plan, and each time when my parcel can’t deliver me that, their contents start to look like my disappointment. The knee-high boots that only ever shuffled down the road and back look stupid in their hope of a party, a new vintage handbag hangs like a relic of a past life that turned out to be fake all along. Clothes have always been so tightly tied to memories for me with my favourite pieces almost always being worn on a particularly good day. So at a time when there are no memories to be made, nothing feels all that special.

The only thing that feels contextualised and right at the moment is loungewear and soft cardigans. But I hate how joggers make me look and another piece of knitwear would be one too many, and god I miss slipping into something uncomfortable.  I miss tiny tight skirts and feeling them dig into my tummy when I sit down at a bar, I miss feeling my heels hurt, I miss wearing layers of jewellery and not being bothered by it clicking together or making my collarbone cold, I miss buying something daring last minute for an event and wearing it before I have a chance to second guess myself. I think mostly I miss buying things with a guarantee that I’ll be seen somewhere in them, a vain thing to long for but I miss my purchases being perceived.

But still, my fingers itch towards the apps, adding more things to the list of unfulfilled wants. I want floral trousers worn in spring outside a coffee shop. I want heeled loafers that click on wooden pub floors in the middle of the day on a weekend. I want star print tights that rip midway through a night out and I won’t care. I want a fully pink outfit with a fluffy jumper that feels soft and comforting on the train somewhere new. But ASOS doesn’t offer those deals, so I just won’t buy it.

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