Fashion & Finance — Confessions Of A Shopaholic (2009)
I will never want a pair of shoes this bad
This might get cut off in your email so the demand this week is to open in your browser, spread the word about my Substack, and then tell me why you think The Gap made me open a credit card when I worked there.
First things first
I’m the realest I do not like money. I’ve said it like a million times. I know we need it and I like having it to buy the things I want/need but like — I very much hate it. Maybe you’ll read this and be like “You’re only saying that ‘cos you aren’t rich” — fair. If I were, perhaps I’d like it a little more, but I really think I’d feel close to the same way.
I do not like money, but I do like clothes and I love writing. One of those things, gives me another one of those things, which I spend on the other one of those things. I was scrolling through and adding to my ASOS wishlist the other night while relaxing with my partner, mostly clicking the heart on various platform shoes that I’d like to purchase to wear when I go see Barbie/in the fall with socks and sweaters. I showed them a pair to get their opinion and they gave me the sweet compliment that they dig that I love those types of shoes.
I smiled and kept adding and for some reason decided to see what the total price would be if I moved a few pairs of shoes over to my cart. The total ended up being just over 200 American Doll Hairs.
I was not going to click check-out ‘cos I’m being extra smart about money right now while I look for a new gig. I’m taking more freelance work at the moment and really hopeful my Substack will continue to connect with folks so I can just extra be my own boss. But in between daydreaming about platforms and being mad that the part of the 90s where writers get 2$ a word isn’t coming back — I thought about a movie that brings writing, clothes, and money all together, Confessions of A Shopaholic.
Rebecca (Isla Fisher) is a shopaholic, like she’s got it bad. Like splitting a purchase of a beautiful $120 scarf between cash, 5 credit cards, check, and cutting it close for an interview at her dream magazine bad. Like many things…it comes from her childhood. She loved fashion but her mom (Joan Cusack) bought her things that were reliable instead of gorgeous and shopped discount instead of designer. So, because Rebecca never got the things she wanted, when she was older she got everything she never had — and used magic cards (credit cards) to buy it all. She’s a journalist in deep debt, working at a magazine she doesn’t wanna be at to make ends meet, and blowing every cent she has in the name of fashion. Obviously, it’s a romcom so a British man shows up, her bestie (THEE Krysten Ritter) tries to help her, and there is a lesson in it all.
I connected with her in a few ways as I watched the movie: she suddenly lost her main job, she loves fashion to the fullest, she’s a journalist, hates money at the moment, and has a deep love of mixing patterns in her outfits.
Although I dig Rebecca (Isla Fisher) I do not connect with her having 16 thousand dollars in credit card debt. I do have student loan debt (which I hope gets erased), but I hate owing anybody. I pay my credit cards off early as I can, I’d keep my money in the fridge Coyote Ugly style if it was acceptable, and the moment there is a hint of my money getting a little funny the purse strings get pulled and pinned, and I hit the ground running on my hustle.
I grew up with a mom like hers, she wasn’t frugal she was downright cheap and still is. A few weeks ago she told me if she won a fictional million dollars she would only give me 10k ‘cos “She has things to take care of”. She is retired and to my knowledge not in the mafia. She’s just scared of ever being broke or poor again and so even with fake money, she’s cheap.
I thought I grew up middle class but it wasn’t until I was older that I realized we were lower middle class, my parents just made sure we wanted for nothing. Unlike Rebecca, I didn’t become an adult and take a hard turn the other way. I kinda/sorta found a balance. I have never and will never live above my means because I’m not interested in keeping up with the Joneses to my detriment, but I will treat myself when the time is right.
That second bit comes from my dad. He has always believed money just comes and goes. “You can’t work hard and do all you can, can all you get, and then sit on the can!!”. He believes it’s meant to be spent. Sometimes it’s hard to know when the time is right to lean into his teaching or my mamas.
I don’t make a lot of money, I never really have. The industry I’m in is not one you go into if you’re looking for money to be a big part of it. Yes, it’s there — and by golly, I will get some of it — but right now money really isn’t the name of the game in media. I love connecting to my writing, I’m so successful at what I do because I write what I know and explore what I don’t. I find my greatest pieces are those where I am present in some way. It’s hard to figure out that percentage of personal to share and how to do it where it works — for instance in interviews learning how to focus on them but weave yourself in — and when Rebecca figures it out in the film, she has that shift.
She begins writing about money and fashion by using her own personal shit and feels the rush of getting that incredible piece out of you and onto the page. The one with light edits, the one where you read it over and over and find it flawless.
There is a lot more to Rebecca’s story as you watch, and there is a lot more left to mine too. I can’t wait to keep telling it and def still will, even if just for right now the dollars don’t make a whole lotta sense.
My Letterboxd is your new favorite place, but here are some other movies about money and clothes that I like:
Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitters Dead
The Devil Wears Prada
Most of the shoes are from a place called Daisy Street so if you have a connect/expired gift card let me know.
Patricia Field was the costume designer on this film and the amount of plaid mixing is a dead giveaway.
What I Watched
MY TWO FAVS HUNG OUT AND HAD COFFEE TOGETHER
I can no longer be on Team Jasmine and Gino ‘cos this past episode it went from “funny haha” toxic to “oh no scary toxic”
A Thousand and One, Marcella, The Year I Started Masturbating
And Just Like That
The callback to the dress was VV good, Che Diaz is a little less annoying, some of this storyline with Blackness is a little yikertons.
What I Re-Watched
Schitt’s Creek, Mad Men
Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga
My Week In Memes
What I Listened To
What I Read
Heather Hogan wrote about relationships on her Substackwhich you should def be supporting!
Over on Vogue, the homie Emma wrote about money and fashion this week too but in connection to one Miss Carrie Bradshaw — Emma has a substack too!
This article in The New York Times About Bylines which I have MANY MANY thoughts on
“They are here to save indie media” Two white women, who aren’t paying their writers (right now), have mostly white writers so far contribute, and a mostly white team are here to save indie media? Sure Jan
Anyone (and there have been many people) who disagrees with them or has thoughts on them doing things like not paying writers is then berated by their friends who have podcasts or social media followings.
This fucking bothers me for many reasons. You don’t save indie media by not paying folks. White people are already in media far more than anyone else so you’re def not saving it by creating a space that is mostly white and then “hiring” mostly white writers.
It is unfair that THIS is the type of shit that gets features and eyes on it instead of spots like Scalawag or Blavity who are then hyper scrutinized for their content while places like Byline get praised for theirs
Affirmative Action is over now so I guess racism is on its way out the door 🙄
Brittani Nichols talks about why queer fans should support the writer’s strike
PAPER magazine is being resurrected? I’m kindasortadef into it
I need a bit of a rest and I think next week I’ll rewatch Bridgerton and Queen Charlotte.
Should I read the books?
A Photo I Took
I have a Canon T50 Film Camera that I really love & these are some of the images that have come from it <3
Where I Ate
Went here for a little after Pride parade drink and snack and while the mac and cheese bites weren’t the best my pink drink was delish!
This week on the menu was matcha lemonade, Trader Joes snack, I think I had some vegetables and I know I had a sandwich!
This place is so good. I had it for the first time a few months ago when they first opened, the owner is from Dearborn! It’s Mediterranean food and I always get the 7 spice chicken with tabouli and extra toom on the side. It’s sooooo fucking delish and it is taking everything in me to not order it again and again and again.
I had a weird interaction about Southern roots with a Black Southerner and it actually made me furious — why are we girlkeeping and gatebossing heritage?
I went to the Pride parade and had so much fun this year!!!
You know it’s true love when they check if the wig is secure and also keep you in A/C.
I miss my mom.
Extra Etc. (AKA My answers to some questions that you asked other people on Autostraddle but weren’t answered so instead you’re asking me and my ex-co-workers which is fair ‘cos you’re confused but also this is still wild and a tiny bit triggering but I’m still furious and have gotten madder since that post so shall answer.)
Yes — I did read the Autostraddle post yesterday ‘cos yes readers are still confused about things and asking those of us who have been let go/left questions about things because Autostraddle and many senior editors are still not being transparent, are putting things behind a paywall, and also flat out lying. Even tho I/we have been fired/left many of us are still fielding questions including me. I have been wildly kind, professional, and downright ignoring a lot of the things being sent my way or asked because I high-key want to be done with this. This whole “When they go low you go high” shit is not always easy or fair. So here are a few answers I have.
First of all, my shit is behind a paywall because I am a writer who needs/want income — not a company that takes people’s money and twists the truth and am not interested in retaliation from the many cruel senior eds at that publication. Moving on:
This is trash. The only reason they don’t want to share which writers left is because it will lead to questions about why they did it and threads with the answers. Also, it’s a bad look to list them out because they are all either Black, brown, trans, or non-binary, and when a flood of marginalized folks leaves a site that claims to be welcoming and dope to all it looks really fucking bad, so why would they wanna talk about it. They have proven accountability/transparency is not what they are interested in. So here are the threads I could find from some of the writers who have quit if they posted about it: Niko / A.Tony / Shea / Dani / Meg / Lily
This is also trash and more importantly a lie.
During the time when the news came out about the subject editor role being eliminated, some members of the staff did not like that we tweeted about it and spiraled. Laneia especially. On top of veiled threats, she later locked the subject editors out of WordPress by changing our permissions on the backend of the website so we could not edit any remaining articles we had left or do much of anything really. This included being unable to edit the article of a first-time Black non-binary writer that I was working with. She did this without the knowledge of anyone on the team, then when it was found out sent me a personal text telling a really full lie that she did it by mistake and making light of it.
You cannot do this by mistake in WordPress, you have to manually change permissions and she did it as a retaliatory move and did not think of how it could affect others, let alone the writers we were working with. She also changed newsletter permissions. Then — she deleted all of her work from the site without telling anyone. I don’t know how they got it all back but they did just in time for Riese to write this comment. They are friends and she was covering for her friend in a few ways during this. Laneia was going through a lot of personal shit at the time but it is not an excuse for these things. If we wanna use that as an excuse — I too was going through some personal shit at the time, and also many other times while working there but I never used it as an excuse to do harm.
Also, she did all of this harm and was put on paid leave. PAID. LEAVE. and was only taken off paid leave when I got emotional in our Town Hall about how unfair it was that this person who was doing harm and making 2x a much as me was still being paid while I permanently lost income.
I kept all my work on the site with the exception of the interview with my parents and the story of my abortion. I did those two pieces at Autostraddle because at the time I thought I was working at a place that was safe for those two DEEPLY personal stories but now I know that it was not and they don’t get to treat me the way they did and continue to make money off me sharing such intimate personal stories — money that I will probably never see. So those two were removed with the help of one senior editor who has continued to go to bat for me.
It was written because of the negative response. I was one the subed who suggested a whole little rollout that they ignored and that is why we tweeted out our wildly professional threads about the roles ending. They didn’t have a plan, she won’t admit it, and that was clear to me by coming to us and letting us go but not being prepared at that moment to tell us exactly how and when they were going to let readers know, or with much of anything else.
LOLOLOLOL THIS IS NEWS TO ME THAT SHORTY KNEW BEFORE THE LAST FUNDRAISER! TALK ABOUT NEWS I COULD HAVE FUCKING USED.
Now — First of all I wanna say that I dig and am grateful to you all. Those who followed me here from my time at Autostraddle to continue to support my work. Free subscribers, paid subscribers, folks checking me out on a trial, and those who even just came here for gossip.
If you’re in the last group you’re probably mad ‘cos I haven’t talked about anything AS related since this time, but that is because I want to move on. I can’t control the things that they are going to say, they don’t want to do right by me and I can no longer care or hope that they will.
You sending me tweets, screenshots of folks asking about me in comments on posts over there, emailing me to let me know the Black content isn’t the same, etc, is all coming from a good place. I think it’s some of y’alls way of telling me you miss me or that maybe you’re still sad about how things went down. I am too but I’m officially and kindly asking you to stop.
I thought that if I asked you to stop you’d feel like I was unappreciative, or that I’d lose your support as a reader of my work, but those are risks I’m going to have to take. I don’t want to keep reliving the shit these people did to me because I am still feeling the effects from it.
If you miss me, I’m right here.
If you wanna support me, I’m right here.
If you want your friends to know about me, tell them to come here.
I’m not a drama girl and I’m not a gossip girl, sorry to disappoint. Soon you’ll see my response to the situation in ONE upcoming article that I gave comments to, but other than that I have nothing more to say.
So, if you’re giving your money to the folks over there I think you should cancel and subscribe to me instead. I’m cooler, hella talented, and the epitome of queer indie media. Plus it’s way fun over here!!
You won’t get gossip girl but be honest — it hasn’t been the same since Dan Humphrey left anyway.