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Guest Strategist Haul: What Buzz Bissinger Bought in April

Photo: Christian Anwander

Every month, the Strategist editors do their version of a haul blog, jibber-jabbering about their favorite purchases of the last four weeks. To get that same personality and taste insight (via receipts), we’re inviting interesting friends of the Strat to run down their own buys. For this installment of the Guest Strat HaulFriday Night Lights author (and admitted shopping addict) Buzz Bissinger told us about his purchases from April (he was traveling earlier this month, so there was a slight delay).

I have been a blue-striper most of my life, but recently the color began to depress me — dark sheets for a room too dark already. So I went to Bloomingdale’s where the selection, much like buying toothpaste at Duane Reade, is so overwhelming as to induce panic. But a kind salesperson helped steer me to a set of sheets made by Hudson Park. They are not Italian or Swiss luxe, but they feel nice on the skin and the pink color has definitely brightened things up.

I love applying serums and ointments and balms to my face. I like the pampering feel of it. I am also convinced that they work. I have no wrinkles, which at my age is wondrous. I tend to switch up my vanity desires, and I am a sucker for slick packaging, but C E Ferulic serum and La Mer moisturizing cream have become staples. I do feel invigorated and healthy.

The pro-collagen cleansing balm is used every night for cleansing: It feels a little bit like glue at first, but don’t despair, since it does come off easily.

I love leather and I love leggings. But finding a fashionable combination of the two can be tricky. They often fall too low on the waist. Or they stretch, which of course defeats the whole purpose. Faux leather keeps its shape and also looks sexier and shinier. As someone who has wasted tens of thousands of dollars on clothing virtually never worn, I also like the price. Spanx and I have had a tortured relationship: One area of the body gets sucked in, another area gets sucked out. Kind of like squeezing a plastic bag. But the company’s line of faux-leather leggings is divine, so much so that I started with the moto style, and then three days later bought black, gray, and wine.

Because I putz around online shopping sites way too much, I also found a pair of Commando faux-leather leggings. They, too, fit well, unlike many of the real leather ones that I have costing a thousand dollars or more. This could be the first time in my life that I have been fiscally responsible when it comes to clothing.

These are in the style of heavy metal, made by English person Janine Gibbons with an eclectic combination of faux leather and stretch spandex (the greatest invention ever) and studs and denim. New styles are sold online every two weeks at preselected times, so you need to be ready since demand is high and inventory low and nothing is mass-produced. I am something of a clothes exhibitionist, but I haven’t worn the skintight leggings outside yet. I do sometimes wear them after I get up in the morning, along with a pair of high-heeled boots and a ratty T-shirt. This particularly helps when I am writing and in need of some self-engineered excitement without channeling Gene Simmons.

Yes, I know, my dear wife Lisa. I don’t need another leather jacket. I already have 50, which is way too many. But I have a weakness for leather (okay, it’s a fetish), and I saw this style, falling just above the waist and not too fussy, and had to have it.

Photo: 18-01-26 Accessories AM1 B1 toddmaughan W

I bought these when I was picking up the leather jacket at the store. I don’t need them. I have no idea how much I will wear them. But there was this compulsion and impulsion to have them, which has made shopping so dangerous for me in the past. They didn’t cost a lot, a far cry from the days several years ago when I would walk into a store to buy a pair of boots and walk out with $50,000 worth of purchases. So my shopping addiction, which is real, has vastly improved. At least for now. Such designers as Gucci and Philipp Plein and Jitrois and YSL always beckon.

Inspired by the wonderful German series Babylon Berlin on Netflix, I decided to soak in even more of the Weimar era in the 1920s and 1930s. I wanted atmospherics, not dry history, which is why I turned to mystery writer Philip Kerr. You need a Ph.D. to keep up with some of the plots, but he is a wonderful writer and I love how he laces his books with fictionalizations of Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich as they rose up the chain of murder and madness. He makes them human, which only makes them more inhuman.

When the New York Times came out with a list of 15 books in March by women writers shaping the “new vanguard” of fiction, I found myself captivated by Parul Sehgal’s review of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels. I purchased the collection on Kindle and couldn’t stop, whizzing through 1,696 pages. The books trace the friendship of two women from young age through old, and the four-novel installment is a stunning meld of exterior portrait and interior monologue. The depiction of the neighborhood in Naples in which they grew up is the best depiction of life on the urban edge that I have ever read. The love, the friction, the simmering violence, the screaming insults, the complexity of complex lives too easily dismissed come out in rolling waves. The effect is a little dizzying at times — you have to pause to catch your breath — but also hypnotic.

This is the dullest purchase I have made in ten years, but my sublime dentist Robert Bentz insisted after discovering a pocket between two of my lower teeth that apparently contained several meals. It is not my style to get excited over oral hygiene, but the flosser works and feels great, and after a lousy day of writing, provides me with a surprising feeling of accomplishment.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatmentsrolling luggagepillows for side sleepersnatural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

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Guest Strategist Haul: What Buzz Bissinger Bought in April