Why I Broke My Conscious Spending Streak for a Pair of American Eagle Sunglasses

Finding quirky accessories in unexpected places.


Playing dress-up at American Eagle. (I did not get that tired-looking flower crown because sometimes less is more. Or so I hear.) 

I hadn’t stepped foot into an American Eagle for approximately 15 years until about three weeks ago, when I stopped in with my younger sister. I expected graphic surfer tees and distressed denim shorts with a two-inch inseam, maybe a few slim-fit hoodies and a crocheted dress or two — and, well, that’s pretty much what I found. But sprinkled among the Coachella-on-crack accessories (fake flower crowns, a weird feather headband thing too-bright turquoise) and boho dresses were chunky silver rings, a bolo necklace (!), and gloriously kooky sunglasses.

I tried on a pair of heart-shaped sunglasses, and then some aviators embellished with a trio of plastic daisies. Both were silly, twee … and $15.99 (buy one pair, get the second half-off!). It was then that I decided I might have to veer slightly off my conscious-spending course. 

After a year of tracking my fashion purchases and buying smart (no fast fashion, nothing I didn’t absolutely adore), I’d found a chink in my armor. At American Eagle. I felt a little bit guilty. Especially because they’re probably more appropriate for a 14-year-old, and because they are, at best, a very, very, very scaled-down/cheap version of Dolce & Gabbana’s gloriously luxurious flower-encrusted sunnies.

But they make me smile. And isn’t that the point of fashion? I think of them as candy — a bit of junk food to offset my otherwise curated closet. Plus, it’s way more fun to tell people you found something at American Eagle than it is to confess you paid $970 for a pair of sunglasses. I’m back on track now, but I guess I’ve proven what I always know: Diets are made to be broken.