Day 263/366: Oniomania aka compulsive buying disorder

Falling off the clothes-buying-ban wagon in mid-August has led me to completely losing my self control.  Having discovered Lindy Bop and found that their lovely dresses were on sale it was like the brakes were off and I went careering downhill back into my clothes buying obsession. I would check the website every day for new sale stock and signed up for notifications when stock came back in.  I also joined two Lindy Bop selling pages on Facebook, and took my obsession to Ebay where I broke my Ebay clothes ban too.

Lindy Bop navy floral Audrey.  She is so pretty!

This spectacular failure was compounded by going to The Curve Fashion Festival in Liverpool ten days ago.  This plus-size fashion show included stands from amazing plus size retailers including some I’ve not come across before like Emmy Designs and Studio 8 as well as finding that Praslin were selling all their sample dresses for £5.

Yay – plus size bloggers represent!

It’s been an utter disaster for both my bank account and my mental health.  It would seem that I have an obsession.  There is even a medical term for it: Oniomania or compulsive buying disorder.

I love everything I have purchased.  The clothes are beautiful.  I want to wear them all, in fact I think this is part of it, I just want to Wear ALL the Nice Clothes.  It’s not even like I have anywhere to wear them to.

According to Shopaholics Anonymous, there are several different types of compulsive buyers.  I think I fit into at least three of these categories.

  • Compulsive shopaholics who shop when they are feeling emotional distress
  • Trophy shopaholics who are always shopping for the perfect item
  • Shopaholics who want the image of being a big spender and love flashy items
  • Bargain seekers who purchase items they don’t need because they are on sale
  • Bulimic shoppers who get caught in a vicious cycle of buying and returning
  • Collectors who don’t feel complete unless they have one item in each color or every piece of a set

I am definitely a trophy clothes shopper.  It’s always that the next dress will be perfect and will make me look amazing and everyone will love it.  But once it’s been worn once or twice, the excitement disappears and I’m looking for the next perfect dress.

I am also a sucker for a bargain.  Lady V London posted on Facebook today that all their sale dresses are now under £20.  I had one in my basket this afternoon despite the fact that last night I was nearly in tears about how full my wardrobe is.  But the dress was perfect and I must have it.

I saw someone wearing it at The Curve Fashion Festival and I thought it looked wonderful on her.  I want it.  I want to possess it.  I want to wear it because it will make me look beautiful.  I love the fabric.  And here I am, back to finding the Trophy dress.

I mean, how gorgeous is this dress?  It needs to be in my wardrobe

I shut the browser and went away and didn’t buy it.  But it was beautiful.

And this is where we come to the third compulsive shopping habit I have.  I’m a bulimic shopper.  I buy clothes and then send them back, or sell them on.  In the last month I have purchased 23 dresses 7 tops and a skirt from Lindy Bop or off Ebay.  Add to that 2 Praslin dresses, an Emmy dress (at huge expense), a Studio 8 dress (also at huge expense) and one from TKMaxx which to be fair is the only dress purchase I have made in an actual shop this year.  Not that it’s much consolation.

Emmy Designs make gorgeous reproduction vintage dresses handmade in Sweden and I wanted them all, I seriously, seriously wanted to buy four or five dresses. I really, nearly bought more than one, but the cost made me think “I could get 10 Lindy Bop dresses for the price of this” as if quantity outweighed quality.  My mind is seriously screwed up if that’s the way I’m thinking.

The utterly gorgeous Emmy dress I didn’t buy (and have non-buyers remorse oh so badly)

Of the Lindy Bop clothes, I have returned 11 and kept 12 dresses, returned 4 tops and kept 3 and returned the skirt.  Looking at this list makes me feel incredibly ashamed of myself. WHY do I feel the need to keep buying and buying.  Why am I not happy with the lovely clothes that I have got.  What on earth is my problem?


Above you can see just some of the clothes I bought from Lindy Bop. They are all pretty. I don’t want to part with any of them.

All the good work I have done since January has been undone in one month of completely uncontrolled binge-buying.  When I dieted, I used to be like this, good for weeks and weeks and then all of a sudden would completely lose control.  It’s the reason I stopped dieting because it made me so very unhappy.

How do I start again and get back on an even keel?  How can I train my brain to stop wanting all the pretties because I already have a lot of pretties.  Where does this void that needs to be filled with pretty dresses come from?  I think I need help….


12 thoughts on “Day 263/366: Oniomania aka compulsive buying disorder

  1. I too saw a parallel with the binge/denial mindset of dieting – when you fall off the wagon you want to eat aaaallllll the chocolate biscuits before relinquishing them FOREVER. However the plus-size shopping experience is tempered by the fact the manufacturers genuinely might take it all away again, given the historical and comparative lack of options.

    I also relate to the point you make about the magic wearing off a new frock once you’ve worn it a couple of times. The problem with thinking like that is that sometimes I end up not wearing something for just that reason. I recently wore a dress I’ve had for four years for the first time. I did feel amazing in it mind so at least the magic hadn’t worn off in the mean time.


    1. You are so right about the possibility of them being taken away again!

      Another reason I didn’t really explore in tge blog was that I had such shit clothes in my teens and twenties and into my 30s. I never looked good, never felt pretty, never lived what I was wearing. Now I do love my clothes and get complements about how I dress and how I look which makes me feel wonderful. It’s still such a thrill to get a complement about my appearance, no wonder Im hooked on tge experience!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had some great clothes in my 20s but was only borderline plus size then. Once I hit size 20 in my mid/late 30s all bets were off. I looked like dreck for well over a decade. Well accessorised dreck admittedly, as accessories were pretty much all I could buy.


  2. It’s so hard not to fall victim to consumerism the way our society is set up. Especially when we struggle to find clothes that fit for so long makes it even more difficult to have self control once we find the right fit and brands for our body. BTW…you look fabulous! XOXO – Dasha


  3. Having been obsessive about a number of things in my life (eating and exercise among them), the only advice I can offer is that even though it may be painful to do so, continuing to interrogate your reasons for needing to buy may help you identify roots and triggers for it.

    Sometimes the cold turkey approach works, and other times the obsession comes back bigger and badder than before. I suspect it depends on a lot of variable factors!

    I think this is part of the reason that I have taken to trying any kind of cut-down in short periods which can then be extended as I work through the various thoughts they bring up. I’m currently not even halfway through a 40-day no buy and am shocked at how many times in that period I have wanted to buy things. I didn’t realise how often I compulsively shopped until I told myself not to.


    1. I think the cold turkey thing has been partly to blame. I have a tendency to binge on things (specific types of food I get obsessed with, shopping, perfumes, shoes, clothes) and I think that having been so restrained for so long, I went completely over the top, just like I did when dieting. I managed to sort out the food issues by eating what I wanted and I actually found that I didn’t want things after a while. There’s this whole diet mindset where people think if you stop controlling yourself then you’ll just end up eating cake, crisps and chips ten times a day when actually that gets boring after a couple of days! I trust my brain and my body around food, just not around clothes or perfume or jewellery right now.


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