The Farce of the Fancy Bathroom

If you’re the kind of person who spends more money on artisanal candles than accessories…


I will fight you over a stark white hand towel.

My best friends, bless them, are forbidden from using the good soap.

I used to chide my old roommate for lighting the nice candle on unceremonious weekdays.

My mom once came to stay with me and I invited her to bring her preferred conditioner.

This is all part of the Fancy Bathroom Farce, a combination of condition and compulsion where two realities exist in the same space that hosts your tub. The first reality is what one sees upon entering:

A collection of neatly folded fluffy towels in dangerous colors, like beige or cream. Possibly monogrammed.

A grouping of premium hair products — all the same brand, all fighting toward the same, inoffensive goal (“for luminous shine” as opposed to “great for itchy scalps”).

Lavender hand soap. The kind that betrays those who don’t use it because the scent stays with those who do.

The aforementioned “nice candle” (Cire Trudon, Diptyque, pick your waxy poison) posed next to a set of long, navy matches. Navy. That’s fucking chic.

There’s a natural loofa all fluffy and porous and plucked from the ocean. A wooden brush with ivory-colored bristles. There are lovely jars filled with luxurious creams and two palm-sized vats of imported sea salt. One is for soaking, the other for exfoliating. Body oil relaxes in glass viles.

And you, my friend…and my best friends and my mom and cousin and roommates, you are not allowed to use any of it.

But here comes the second reality — the part that makes this a farce: neither am I. The fancy bathroom is just for show.

We can use the old, dark blue towels. They’re great for concealing those mascara stains.

We can use Head & Shoulders, the on-sale body wash as shaving cream, the standard lotion, the drugstore version of Cetaphil, the q-tips and the light switch.

That’s about it.

No clue who I’m saving The Show for if not my friends or my family or myself. It’s the paradox of the Fancy Bathroom Farce: I mostly buy these things to indulge, to feel cozy, to nest. To appear adult. Actually using them, however, feels like eating pink birthday cake on a Tuesday: a little pointless. Wrong. It’s no different, really, than saving an expensive pair of shoes for grand occasions or a pink lip for a big night out. Don’t you treat certain earrings like treasures and have at least one clutch on display as opposed to in action? It’s the only way to keep something special.

I suppose if Michelle Obama came over and needed to wash up I’d let her use a monogrammed hand towel. At the very least, I’d like her to know I have excellent taste in soap.

Ok but, if you do prefer a fashion splurge…Amuze is giving away a $2,500 gift card.

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis at Crosby Street Hotel.


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  • corina

    I use all the fancy things in my bathroom.
    It always made my stomach kind of turn to see the dust collecting on beautiful things in other peoples’ bathrooms.
    It gives me joy and satisfaction to luxuriate in all of these carefully selected items in the bathroom, and then to refresh them often.

    • I kind of like the aesthetic of luxe stuff half used. Like, I want to see your expensive candle with its smoke stains, and your half empty $100 body oil placed teetering on your tub. Lazy luxe is my jam.

      • Melissa

        Yes to lazy luxe. Nonchalant luxe is my goal though. Oh you want to slather my Aesop soap and lotion all over your body? Sure. You spilled my Rodin face oil? No worries. You broke my Byredo candle? NBD, really. All casual like.

        • YES. Be that friend who says ‘Oh go ahead darling, try X, you’ll love it’ Thats true fancy.

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  • Cinamaron

    I like to do a halfway fancy bathroom- instead of Diptyque candle I get a Thymes or Voluspa, and my shelves are full of KBeauty products, which are fantastic and super pretty, especially for their price. I have been splurging on Davines hair products though, which is new for me because historically I’ve been semi-indifferent to haircare.

    Now all I need is for my actual bathroom to be fancy and I’ll be set!

    • Melissa

      Yes! Voluspa is my favorite brand of candles. I think Diptyque is, dare I say, overrated.

      • Amelia Diamond

        DON’T U DARE. (But also: a really great candle for $10 is Mrs Meyers Clean Day Lavender)

  • Yes! Absolutely 🙂 I mean: I haven’t turned my bathroom into a … two-tiered service and pleasure domain? yet, I always use the same soap because I couldn’t go without it for a day and also the same towels and stuff. But I do separate everyday and pleasureday stuff in other areas .. Jewellery (just sorted out my earrings today), bags, shoes, granny pants and daddy socks … Creating such contrasts gives me much pleasure, too.

    • Its so fun hearing you say that because I am completely the opposite! I feel I need to use everything as much as possible to get more utility out of it maybe? Haha.

      • Nothing against utility 🙂 Those things I (like to) use I also use as much as possible (heck, I even clean and polish my shoes quite often to make them last longer), but for some of them I feel they deserve to stay in their mint condition, at least for some time, for me to think lovingly of them, don’t know why. It is either good experience with using things or solely the idea of them that I crave: unspoilt cakes on one side and eating cakes on the other 🙂

  • Haha! Right on. (But you forgot the incense sticks. Or am I behind on bathroom styling trends already?)

    • Amelia Diamond

      I’m not an incense girl! Is that your jam?

  • Oh my! So so so cool!!

    Xx, Daria

  • My obsession with Diptyque candles is bordering on unhealthy these days.

    • Amelia Diamond

      fav flav?

      • Oh lord that’s tough…I’m going to say Oud…it’s such a popular scent in this country/region, but unlike so many of the Oud fragrances/candles sold here, Diptyque’s is not overpowering. Though I’m also hugely partial to Musc….oh and Rose….

  • Allie Fasanella

    god damn, i love this. this post IS my mother. also, i’ve never been so lit up by a slideshow. i can’t wait to have my OWN fancy-as-fuck bathroom one day, make is luxurious as hell, and then make people feel super uncomfortable when using it.

    • Amelia Diamond


  • Herd Nicholas

    reminds me of the plastic on old people’s sofas

    • Amelia Diamond

      hahah yes!

  • Melissa

    So uh… where I can get these chic navy matchsticks?

    • Amelia Diamond

      They came with a Diptyque candle that I once got as a gift and they are soooo perfect! (I think they sell them at the store?)

  • Marissa Dawson

    Lol I aspire to own this bathroom. I have fallen short with my cyan towels and bath and body works candles.

  • Savannah

    I have a big ass candle in my bathroom ‘because it looks nice’ and I only lit it once to show it’s not just there for show (losing that virgin white cord).
    How fucked up is that??

  • Alexandra

    OOOOH love this post and I absolutely love diptyque. I got a couple great candles on love the smell.

  • YOMama

    I buy the Aesop, I use the Aesop.

  • pem.g

    All I wanna know is, where the hell do I get a sink that shoots out glitter? Now that is fancy.

  • Carmelo Johnson

    Usually i don’t pay so much attention to my bathroom. You kust keep it clean and tidy…