This Is What It Feels Like To Be An Obsessive Compulsive Shopper

February 18, 2016 by Jeanine Edwards
shefinds | Style

There is a rumor in my office that I never wear the same thing twice. It’s not true, obviously. I’m not some rich and famous celebrity who can afford to ditch clothing after a single wear. Heck, I’m not rich in any sense of the word. But I do shop a lot and unsurprisingly, I have a lot of clothes… shoes… and china. The list goes on.

I don’t just shop a lot, however. I shop compulsively. Once I’ve decided that I absolutely want or need something, I literally cannot rest until I own that item. Take my beloved Sandro coat, for example. I first spotted it on Instagram in February of 2014. Winter was almost over at that point, so I couldn’t justify buying it but I did screenshot a picture of it and keep it in my phone. And yes, I would look longingly at it from time to time. Fast forward to September when it was finally cold. I spotted the black version on and immediately added it my cart. I didn’t buy it, though. Instead I just kept it in my cart for weeks as I tried to justify spending so much on a coat. I basically tortured myself for a month because I knew that I wanted the coat, but I felt bad about buying it. As a result I would wake up multiple times in the middle of the night just to see if it was still in my cart or if someone had snatched it from under me. Finally, I went to the Bloomingdale’s store where they had the coat on sale because it was a floor sample. I bought it on the spot, no hesitation whatsoever. Do I regret it? Not at all. Do I sometimes feel guilty about having a $700 coat rather than having that money in my savings account? Yes.

At least I wear my Sandro coat, though. Another example of my compulsiveness is the much-buzzed about TOMS for Target poncho. As soon as I saw the thing at the sneak preview in September, I knew I wanted it. And even though I knew the collection wouldn’t hit until November, I still checked every single day for two months to see if they accidentally put it on the website. They didn’t, so when launch day arrived I made my boyfriend and 6-year-old daughter wake up at 7am on a Sunday to go to Target with me to get the poncho. It was all worth it because I got it, but have I worn it once in the three months that I’ve owned it? Not one single time. It’s just hanging on my closet door with the still tag on it, completely untouched. I justify that one to myself by saying at least someone in need got a blanket because I purchased the poncho.

I wish my compulsion ended there, but it doesn’t. Not only do I essentially stress myself sick over clothing and shoes that I honestly do not need, but oftentimes one isn’t even enough. If I’m totally honest, I have multiples of about one third of the items in my closet. The fact is I sometimes cannot resist the urge to buy doubles, and in some extreme cases up to five of the exact same item. Most recently, I bought five pairs of the exact same black fleece-lined tights because obviously I need one pair for each day of the workweek. I also usually buy white T-shirts from Gap or Forever 21 in fives and socks from J. Crew in fives. Buying multiples might be okay if everything were as cheap as those items I just named, but they’re not. I own 6 pairs of J Brand 811 jeans in different variations of dark blue, 4 pairs of Hudson Babara jeans and 4 pairs of Paige Edgemont jeans. I’ll let you Google how much denim from those three brands costs. It’s just as bad with shoes, too. When Isabel Marant wedge sneakers were all the rage, I bought a black pair and a blue pair. I just recently purchased these Sam Edelman lace-up booties in burgundy and it’s truly taking every shred of self-control I have not to buy them in black.

Don’t even get me started on a sale. I am definitely that person who will click through 57 pages of sale items just to find one hidden gem that I absolutely, categorically do not need. But it was on sale! I own 10 Mara Hoffman bathing suits for this very reason. Because I found them on sale for so cheap how could I possibly resist?

You’re probably wondering how in the hell I can afford all of this and the truth is I can’t. I have some credit card debt, but even worse I have way less in savings than I should. As I’ve previously revealed, my goal for 2015 is to get it under control and so far I’ve been doing okay. I consolidated my credit card debt and if I stick with my payment plan I’ll have it paid off by the end of the year. More importantly, I’m adding more to my savings account each month. Obviously, both of these things mean I have significantly less to spend on clothes and shoes.

We’re only two months into 2015 and I have to tell you, it’s already been very, very hard for me. I was doing well, resisting temptation at all of the good sales, even when I saw my favorite jeans for 60% off. I didn’t give in. But yesterday, I completely cracked. Not only did I buy a pair of Boden boots that I already own in a different color (they were on major sale, to my credit), but I also bought not one, but two pair of UGG boots at a Hautelook sale. And I don’t even like UGG boots like that! But before you get super judgy, they weren’t both for me. One pair was for my daughter–who just got a new pair of UGGs for Christmas. (Yes, the compulsion even spreads to shopping for my child.) Do I feel guilty about buying three pairs of boots in one freakin’ day? Only a little bit actually, because they were such a good deal! And therein lies the problem.

But today is a new day and I am committed to trying to resist my compulsive tendencies. Anyone who says shopping isn’t an addiction just like any other is either ignorant or completely delusional. I know it is, but the problem is I have no idea where or how to get help if help is even available. I am confident that I can get my finances in order by myself, but that doesn’t address the underlying issue of me becoming fixated on items and not being able to rest until I own them. Anyone else like me? We should start a support group! Share you craziest shopping stories and anything you’ve done to kick the habit in the comments.

PS: The object of my fixation at the moment? No. 6 Shearling Boots. I need them. I’ve already had two dreams about me wearing them, so that’s a sign right? I deserve to own them, no? #helpme



Vice President
Jeanine Edwards is a writer and editor covering fashion, beauty and shopping. She never misses a sale and is committed to good skincare. Prior to joining the SheFinds team, Jeanine worked at XO Group and InStyle. You can reach Jeanine at [email protected]

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