I call it the shopsies. The medical definition may simply be “shopping addiction,” but any way you swipe the credit card, it’s the insatiable itch to just go shopping. And I definitely have it.
Some days, the sensation will manifest itself in the form of scrolling for hours through the coveted “What's New” tab on Shopbop (for those without said shopsies, Shopbop updates that page on the daily—thank God). Other times, I find myself running out for oat milk and eggs only to mindlessly wander into a cute boutique. Needless to say, I don’t know why I’m ever surprised when I don’t have anything to eat in the morning.
The problem is that if I acted on my impulse to buy, buy, buy, well, I probably wouldn’t be able to make rent…or go on vacation…or splurge on dinner with my girlfriends (we’ll take two bottles of wine, thanks)—all things I love.
So to curb that urge to shop, I’ve discovered a tactic that works wonders for my wallet: Instead of “adding to cart” on Shopbop or other luxury sites, I simply head to my local vintage store. Here’s why I, a self-proclaimed fashionista, enjoy shopping pre-owned.
It Scratches the Itch
If you’re like me, you won’t be able to quash the desire to shop unless you emerge victorious with an item you absolutely adore and—most importantly—will actually wear. So head to a nearby secondhand shop or thrift store. (My preferred spot is Beacon’s Closet in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but any will do the trick.) Now, keep your eyes peeled for brands you already love. That could mean hidden gems, like in-season tank tops from The Row tucked into a selection of grungy T-shirts for $45 (a total steal from that brand) or mint-condition Miu Miu boots for less than $100. You could also find Zara, COS or other big-name brands with tags still on. The world is your oyster, for half the price.
Buying Vintage and Secondhand Is Sustainable Shopping
According to the luxury resale site the Real Real, a garbage-truck-sized amount of clothing is dumped in a landfill or burned every second, and 95 percent of clothing that is thrown out could actually be recycled or reused. Fashion is a notoriously dirty industry, due to extremely high carbon emissions and production by-products that introduce pollutants into the atmosphere and water supply. None of that is sexy…or good for the environment. But buying secondhand can be, especially when you consider that your finds aren’t encased in excess (and often unnecessary) plastic packaging. Further, pre-owned purchases are proven to save water since they require no additional production. According to Vogue, 279 liters of water are conserved through the consignment of one pair of jeans; buying a pre-worn silk dress saves 30 liters of H2O. A feel-good purchase that’s also cute? That’s truly the perfect find.
It’s Weirdly Meditative
I have an inkling that my cravings to shop are actually deeply rooted in boredom. Having a task at hand—to acquire something new and cute—quiets my mind and keeps me entertained. You could say it’s a shopaholic’s form of meditation. So take your time and enjoy the hunt. I’ve been known to spend up to two hours scouring my go-to thrift store, ending up with a pair of prime-condition Jimmy Choo sandals for $30 (uh, major score) and a Tory Burch patent-leather trench for $50 (yaaaas, please). And guess what? Both are currently in my regular wardrobe rotation.
That’s at least $300 saved and an afternoon well spent. My shopsies are cured…for now.