The Secret Life of a Clothing Shopaholic

Yes, I am a recovering clothing shopaholic. You might think that clothing shopaholics are just women who can’t control their urge to spend money on clothes. But that’s really not what addiction is all about. There is a huge misconception about clothing shopping addiction. So I’m going to tell you the truth and tell you all about the secret fantasy life of women who have it. You see, all female clothing shopaholics have one thing in common:


When we receive a compliment or admiring glance at our appearance, we feel great. And here’s another truth about our addiction: We all have an “evaluator.” An “appraiser” is the woman in our life who we always imagine she envies us and compliments us when we try on new clothes. She is the one we always wear new clothes to so that they evaluate us and congratulate us on how we look. She is the one who notices every new pair of shoes, every new piece of jewelry, if our hair looks particularly healthy and attractive that day, and every new piece of clothing we wear to the slightest degree. She physically dissects us; she is our soul to feel that we exist; looking at us, envying us and congratulating us; she makes us feel alive.

And we are also the appraiser of it. We notice every new item she wears and also comment on how great it looks. We often envy her looks and her new outfits. Our relationship is the mutual symbiotic feeding of our ego’s envy. Usually, our appraiser is our mother, sister, friend, or co-worker with whom we subconsciously compete and seek approval on our appearance. We always try to outshine her in appearance and make her envious of us; we always think about if what we buy will make her envy how we look before buying it and when she sees a new outfit on us and feel her envy (of course the ultimate high is when she asks us where we bought it) we have our latest addictive fix . We even look at how many people notice us more than her when we walk together in public, so we know we’re getting more attention than she does. Yes, it’s a “envy/disgust/need for approval” dynamic that we have with our rater (or multiple raters) on a complicated physical and emotional level.

When she was a clothing shopaholic, she lived for clothes, they were my life’s passion. I still love clothes. But I need less of the power they give me to be noticed, admired and envied. The urge to buy clothes and imagine wearing them and getting compliments from women when I wear them has taken over me. But there was a time when shopping for clothes was an essential part of my daily life because I lived for the attention and praise those new outfits brought me. I fantasized while trying them on in the store and imagined that my appraiser envied me when she wore them. And once I bought them, wearing them always made me feel special and alive when I received that attention, envy and compliments from my “appraiser”. He always needed to wear something new to get attention and that’s why he spent the money; continually having new clothes to wear to continually receive compliments and be noticed. When I wore that outfit for the second time, it wasn’t new anymore and I didn’t get compliments because I already got compliments when I first wore it. So that outfit no longer served its purpose for my addiction unless I wore it in front of a different appraiser that I had never seen before (I had 3 or more appraisers in my life sometimes). On days when I wore an outfit that I didn’t get attention for, I actually felt invisible and depressed. Sometimes just thinking about another new outfit to wear the next day and how great I would look and how envied I would be was all I thought about on those dreary days. It was the only thing that kept me going; imagining that outfit in my closet and the power it would give me to be noticed and praised… I would fantasize about the shoes I would wear with the outfit and how I would match my eyeshadow to it and the admiration I feel. d be receiving. Because I always knew exactly what to buy and wear that would make my appraiser envious and wish I had my clothes and the attention I was getting. And what a euphoric high that would give me; even thinking about that happening.