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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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….

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Day 231/366 : Falling off the wagon

Well, it happened.  I totally fell off the new clothes buying ban wagon big-style and went mad in the Lindy Bop sale.

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This is the Twiggy shift dress. I absolutely love it.

I knew if a failure of willpower was going to happen in my year of no spending that it would be big, but perhaps not as big as it actually was. I bought six dresses, three cardigans and a top that I’m keeping and I’m sending back five dresses, 2 shrugs and a jacket because of fit issues.

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This is the Ariel, it’s got such an amazing shape

Up until now I’ve been SO good for the whole of this year about not browsing in shops that it’s become second nature not to head into the clothes section of supermarkets or just going into town on a Saturday afternoon for a mooch around to see what’s on the rails.

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The pattern of this fabric is so beautiful

I’ve been quite unwell since the start of August and have spent nearly three weeks at home off work, mostly in bed. Frustration and boredom has led to a spending spree starting with buying perfume, shoes and boots online along with various dresses from Facebook selling pages. I can’t stop and have gone well over what I should have spent.

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This is a lovely dress, really nice thick stretchy cotton

So this spree has ended (I hope) with me raiding the Lindy Bop sale.  I feel hugely disappointed with myself, but I also feel that I have picked up some really lovely dresses at bargain prices as the sales at Lindy Bop are known for large discounts – all my dresses were between £12 and £15 and the cardigans were £10 or less.

So there you go, I lasted 226 days of the 366 of 2016, pretty much 2/3 of the year which isn’t all that bad.  I’m not going to go back to buying new things though, although I’m giving myself a free pass for the Curve Fashion Festival in Liverpool on 10th September.

I’m hoping that once I feel better and I’m back at work and not frustrated and ill at home that I will be in a better place for both my head and for my wallet.  Keep your fingers crossed for me that I can scramble back onto the wagon and ride it until the end of the year.

Day 22/366: looking back at where it began

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Theme this month :

“Talk about how our teens/childhood influence our choices in clothes and things today”

I’m unofficially joining in with this Blog theme as it fits so well with what I have written.

This was a surprisingly difficult blog to write and it has brought up some really unpleasant memories.  But I think they need addressing as they are part of the root cause of my shopping issue.

For years as a teen and twenty something, I didn’t have any nice clothes.  I lived in ugly ill-fitting jeans, oversized men’s t-shirts and rugby shirts and fleeces.  This wasn’t actually because I wanted to dress like this, but was more that I did not fit into clothes sold in standard shops.  I was also terribly, horribly, awfully body conscious and thought that I didn’t deserve nice clothes.  I thought that I couldn’t possibly be attractive if I did wear pretty things, and that people would laugh at me trying to dress up, because of course I’d been told all my life that it wasn’t possible to be fat and look nice.

The photos above show me at three different parties at ages 18, 19 and 20.  The one on the right was taken at a Christmas dinner and all the other girls showed up in dresses.  But I was too self conscious to wear anything that would even slightly show my figure and also, it was almost impossible to buy pretty clothes in my size.  In the 1980s and 1990s, most clothing shops (suitable for a teenager!) went up to a 14.  16 if you were lucky.  This was the time of Small, Medium and Large equating to sizes 8, 10 and 12.  Dorothy Perkins only started carrying size 18 around 1994.

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The photo above was taken when I was 14 or 15.  The shirt I’m wearing is a Dorothy Perkins maternity shirt.  I remember the excruciating shame of the fact I had to buy maternity clothing to fit me because I wasn’t able to get into tops that fitted loosely enough to hide my body.

These two photos are me being as properly smart as I ever got.  On the left I was wearing this exceptionally ugly suit at a christening where I was a godmother. There are no words I can think of to express how awful I felt in it.  I knew I looked terrible, but I wasn’t able to find anything more suitable to wear that fit. The photo on the right was taken when I ended up wearing one of my Mum’s Laura Ashley dresses to the sixth form dinner.  I look more middle aged in this then than I do now.  It’s so sad to think how much I hated myself, how much I absorbed the jibes and bullying about my appearance.

I was so unhappy with the way I looked. I felt frumpy and horrible. And to be honest, I looked frumpy and far older than I actually was.  I was 32 in this picture, but I think I look older than I do now and that’s down to how I was dressed and how I comported myself.

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It wasn’t really until I was in my late 30s that I even started to consider that I could wear nice clothes.  I make a few forays into something different which included wearing tunics over jeans (I seemed to think that I couldn’t possibly not wear jeans or the world might end) and finding some interesting skirts.

I finally bought a couple of dresses which I didn’t wear often because I felt embarrassed despite the fact that I looked really good in them.

In 2006, I had started following Livejournal’s Fatshionista community which was so incredibly liberating to be a part of. It was radical fat acceptance at its very best, it was the start of a new online movement.  As the Fatosphere developed with blogs like Kate Harding’s Shapely Prose (The Fantasy of Being Thin is possibly the best post on diet culture I’ve ever read, seriously worth a read) Lesley Kinzel’s Two whole Cakes and Marianne Kirby’s The Rotund I discovered more and more amazing women talking about body image in a way I had never imagined possible.

I was obviously absorbing some of the amazingness of these wonderful women.  By 2010 I had started wearing skirts and dresses a lot more of the time, in fact I would wear them to go out and walk the dogs or go up to the allotment.  I had a slow revelation that I was so much more comfortable in skirts and dresses and that I found trousers and jeans so restricting.

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In 2010 I bought my first Beth Ditto dress which remains one of my favourites even now.  I was on a roll, I actually liked how I looked in this!

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I am so grateful to the fatshion, fat acceptance, health at every size blogs that I read over the past nine years.  I realise how far I have come in accepting who I am and how incredibly important and empowering it has been to be part of a community of supportive women.  I don’t love myself and sometimes I can’t even describe the feeling as “like”, but I no longer feel the crushing shame that I did all those years ago.  I don’t feel ashamed of my body for looking the way it does; most of the time I’m neutral about it which is a good place to be in compared to how I thought of it in the past.

But….. I’m fairly certain that this acceptance of myself for how I look and my sudden blossoming interest in clothes which are now actually available in my size has led to my shopping issues which I will talk about in another post.

 

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