I Can't Stop Shopping for Joyful Things

Bright colors, whimsical details, and printed pieces are just what I want right now.

Shopping For Happy Fashion Items, Street Style, Hair Clips and Sunglasses
Photo: Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Over the past few months, many have turned to self-care as a way to decompress, giving their brains short yet necessary breaks from overwhelming thoughts and worries. Some go for walks or work out. Others try beauty treatments, complete a puzzle, or hop on a call with friends. Even baking bread is having a moment; anything to snap you out of doom-scrolling your way through insomnia, or to provide small joys in between getting, staying, and helping others become informed about everything else that urgently needs our attention right now.

My go-to, however, has been intense Google searches, shopping for very specific, cheerful items of clothing that I don't actually need (but also need, if you get what I'm saying).

I was hours into my quest for bright green pants when I realized what I was doing. I had an image of a blogger wearing something similar stuck in my head, and felt inspired, and then became obsessed with finding my own pair. The pants needed to be lime green, not mint, not forrest, not yellow-ish. I wanted them to be under a certain price point, and I repeatedly typed various terms into Etsy, hoping to find a vintage option. Ultimately, I sacrificed some of my paycheck on shiny green pants from Simon Miller ($258; shopbop.com), which fit most of the requirements (although, tbh, a bit beyond my original budget).

Each day, something new seems to be added to my personal must-have list, and my searches momentarily pull me out of that endless cycle of refreshing social media. For a decent chunk of time, I'm laser-focused on finding brightly colored, printed, or puffy-sleeved pieces, all of which provide me with small doses of happiness. My orders are something to look forward to, and, as I slowly add more dreamy, whimsical stuff to my closet, I can't help but smile.

Of course, I'm no billionaire. I know I need money to pay my overpriced rent, bills, and buy groceries, and I want to make sure I'm donating to worthy causes, too. But simply discovering that my query actually exists, adding it to cart, and waiting for the perfect checkout time gives me a welcomed rush. My mood is boosted just by looking at sparkles and vibrant shades, all mixed together.

On top of green pants, I've searched for an orange gingham dresses (Shop similar: $595; shopbop.com), matching cardigan sets, khaki shorts (Shop similar: $35; nordstrom.com), fancy nightgowns (Shop similar: $320; net-a-porter.com), and feel the urge to embrace all the daisy details, from prints to embellishments. I decided to purchase pink, comfy Cloud Socks from Brother Vellies ($35; brothervellies.com), which are basically a hug for your feet, and also found a ruffled pair ($10; freepeople.com) to add some flair to my summer outfits. I also am very into playful drop earrings; if it has fruit or a butterfly on it, I'm all in.

Shopping For Cheerful Fashion, Gingham Dress, Street Style, Puff Sleeve Dress
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

Not everything I'm into at the moment is necessarily on-trend, either. A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted a pair of sleek white gloves to style with my blanket dresses (another fashion spiral of mine), but once they arrived, I'd lost the vision.

Once quarantine is over, and we're back to sipping cocktails in bars and going to the office, I have a feeling I won't be the only one who will emerge with a new aesthetic. After spending weeks in sweatpants, it'll be a fun to get dressed up again, and I plan to go all out — green pants, fruity earrings, and all.

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