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Posts tagged ‘shopaholic’

how to lie about your shopping problem

When it comes to material goods, Tom’s needs are aggravatingly few. He saves the energy he might spend on coveting things for himself, on me. And by that, I’m not talking about him buying stuff for me. He hasn’t bought me a real gift since I lost the Hermes watch I scored for giving birth to his precious firstborn. No, I refer instead to his constant vigilance in spotting and calling out my new purchases.

“Is that new?” I have grown to hate and fear these three words. Usually when you hear them, they are asked by a friend who is about to validate your purchase by complimenting you. When Tom says the words, they come laden with innuendo, and enough guilt to kill.

I have four methods of dealing with this most annoying of questions. I’m not suggesting that these methods will work for you, but then again, they have served me well in the 15 years I have known my husband. So you might give them a go.


Your success with this method will vary, depending on your guy’s relative knowledge of fashion trends, and the strength of his memory. Also, your skill at lying. Basically what you have to do is convince the guy that he’s not really seeing what he’s actually seeing.

In this, you will be aided by the fact that most of what you buy looks a lot like something you already have sitting in your closet. So when Tom points to my new black sweater, made of the softest, loftiest merino wool and asks, “Is that new?,” I can look over his shoulder at the nasty old black merino sweater I bought last year, and say, “No, I’ve had this for a year.” The beauty of this method is that in that moment, the hypnosis is working its magic on both of us, because in my mind, the two sweaters really do become one. Then, when Tom’s gone, the one sweater magically separates into two sweaters again. So I’m not really even lying.

This method works especially well with jeans. I could be married to Tom Ford, not Tom Johnson, and he’d still have problems telling the difference between my three pairs of ink blue J Brand skinnies. I mean, sometimes have trouble telling the difference. But that doesn’t mean I don’t need all of them.


You can buy your husband’s silence by throwing him a bone, which for me usually involves stopping at H&M on my way out of Nordstrom, to buy a t-shirt that costs $9.90. L’Occitane soaps are also great for this. They cost ten bucks and have the added advantage of being soap, a product your man probably actually uses. And they smell really strong, which seems to have a mildly debilitating effect on my husband that allows me the 8 seconds I need to cram my shopping bags behind the laundry hamper in my closet.

If you’re shopping in the evening, treats work well. Tom gets so happy when I walk in the front door with an Oreo McFlurry that I could be dragging a new Lexus behind me and he wouldn’t notice.


Your success with this method will also vary, depending on your guy’s attention span and your proximity to a television. In my house, it works like this.

Tom: “Is that new?”

Yoona: “Is what new?”  (Reaching for remote).

Tom: “Is THAT new.”  (Pointing to new bag).

Yoona: “Is WHAT new?”  (Turns on TV, to Channel 735).

Tom: “Wait a second, is that the Pats game?”

Like taking candy from a baby.

Role Playing

Sometimes Tom actually gets angry about a purchase, and then I have to work extra hard to justify my decision. Last Friday he beat me home and opened a heavy Amazon box to find a new pair of Fryes. While generally clueless about the relative cost of women’s fashions, Tom knows enough about women’s clothes to know how much Frye boots cost. I mean, they cost as much as one pair of his dress shoes, but whenever I say that he lashes out that he buys one pair of shoes every year. Cruel words that always strike me as a non-sequitur.

Anyway, all he saw when he opened that box was a pair of boots. What he did not see was that the boots were the culmination of two years of me searching for the perfect flat black boot. TWO YEARS. He had no idea how many heavy boots I’d had to purchase, then return.

He also had no inkling of the pain and mental trauma I suffered each time that I tried on boots that were unflattering. If you’re a guy, you might think I’m exaggerating, but you can be damned sure that every woman reading this post knows how it feels to try on something that is so bad that it makes you re-evaluate your life and how you’ve been living it. There are certain things you have to be very careful about trying on. Bikinis, natch. Skinny jeans, of course. Crop tops. Puffy sweaters. FLAT BOOTS.

So anyway, I basically had to lay out this entire sob story for Tom until he felt what it was like to live the experience of my search for the perfect flat boot. By the end, I felt like he not only approved of my purchase, but that he wanted me to have them.  Needed me to have them.

And that’s why Tom, and my new boots, are awesome.


my boots, with the world’s cutest pregnant person

black september

Two months ago, my husband opened a couple bills and saw evidence of what I spend on clothes.  A black day for all involved.  Before that day, when we got bills, I paid them, and he was none the wiser.  Under that system, I had managed to successfully conceal my spending habits for the better part of our ten-year marriage.

Overnight, I was placed on a “suggested monthly budget” of $150.  As a bonus, the budget came with a lot of blame and acrimony from Tom, plus annoying and irrelevant commentary like “Yoona, the kids will need money someday for college.”  Don’t get me wrong, $150 is not an insignificant sum, but it’s downright insane when you have to buy shoes, workout clothing, socks, and underwear from the same pot.  Tom even had the balls to suggest with a straight face that the $150 should also cover my LUNCHES.  I remember pausing in the midst of my sobbing to feel genuine alarm that my husband was stuck, price-wise, in 1983.

I successfully kept to Tom’s suggested budget for exactly one pious month: September.  For the record, I’d like to note that the worst month of the year to be placed on a mandated clothing budget is September.  September is the beginning of sweater and boot season.  In today’s currency, $150 will buy you approximately one-half of a pair of boots.  Which is why, since October 1, I’ve been reduced to stealing from our joint checking account to make my fashion ends meet.  But, for better or worse, thanks to Tom’s intervention, I have become more mindful of overspending.

The benefits of my newfound enlightenment are many.  For starters, I don’t wake up in a cold sweat worrying about how to intercept my Amex bill in the mail before Tom makes it home.  I don’t spend as much time at the mall returning things.  Well, okay, in September I did a lot of returning, but only because Tom said any money I made on returns, I could add to my monthly budget.  But since October 1, I have spent far less time at the mall.

Pre-mindfulness, I could afford a shopping mistake or two.  Now, I get one shot.  Which means I only get one try to land that perfect pair of red pants that will take me through to the spring.  Red is a great color for fall.  It adds vibrancy and interest to the browns, greens, and denim we often wrap ourselves in when the weather gets cold.  But red is tricky too, because the wrong red will torture you like nothing else.  Too blue, and it won’t go with neutrals.  Too orange, and it can seem jokey.  Both pairs of red pants in the photo at top are red.  But I wish I’d saved my money and taken a pass on the pair on the left.  That shade of red, it turns out, doesn’t go with anything.  The pants on the right, on the other hand, go with all sorts of stuff, as evidenced below.  So, when shopping for reds, try taking the item home and pairing with different colors under different lights before you cut off the tags.

Below, a few ideas on what to pair with a good red.

Silk shirt, J. Crew ($58); skinny corduroy pant, J Brand Mid-Rise Skinny Style 811 (black cherry, $171) (same pair throughout post); faux suede wedge boots, ASOS ($48)

Red and magenta: a killer combo, unless you are a redhead. When the colors are this bright, balance things with a neutral, like olive.

Sometimes stores push a trend that seems generally ill-advised and flattering to no one, but refuses to die.  I’d put capes, leggings, and mid-calf boots in this category.  I fought fake fur for a couple years but finally gave into this number below a couple weeks ago, because it was on sale.  I’m now a believer.  It is soft, warm, and totally a blast to wear.  I’ve tried on a lot of fake fur vests, and the most flattering and seemingly versatile are the longer ones.  The volume and length of this particular vest also pairs well with maxi skirts, but keep the skirt tight on the hips so people can tell that there is indeed a body under your clothing.

Faux fur vest, Sanctuary (Nordstrom, $64.90, on sale); cotton burnout top with thumbholes, Juicy Couture ($60); leather clog boots, Hasbeens ($400, but mine were $149 on sale)

I have a soft spot for ugly sweaters that fit right.  I couldn’t resist the cheesy ladder sleeve on this cotton space-dyed number below.  I think of it as my Alexander Wang, except I got it on clearance last year from ASOS for $19.  Its price per wear at this point is probably something like six cents, a price that even Tom could probably live with.

I’d love to hear about 1) your favorite ways to wear red, and 2) how to conceal your spending habits from your husband.  Discuss.