Can Shopping Make You Happy?

Me + shopping bag = smile!

Me + shopping bag = smile!

I know how shallow and materialist it is to admit to the world that I love to shop! But I do, I do, I just fucking do!

The sad thing is it doesn’t much matter what I buy. My husband marvels over how excited I get when I run to Amazon (my equivalent of running to a corner market for a loaf of bread) to buy Laffy Taffy and lunch bags, which thanks to Prime ships *Free* and arrives in two days. It literally is Christmas every day at our house, even when I’m ripping open a package to find aluminum foil and dental floss.

I can find something to buy anywhere, and I usually do.

Walgreens? Have you seen their selection of tabloids and old-school Brach’s Candy? (Including Circus Peanuts, my favorite.) And don’t get me started on their cosmetics and stationary aisles packed with Lip Smackers and glittery note books. I could get lost for days in there.

Shopping makes me happy!

Barney's New York shoe department,

Barney’s New York shoe department,

I mean look at that photo of me at the top of this post. Sure, I’m in Rome, which is enough to make anyone giddy. But when I visited my dear friend Luanne there a few years back and she asked what I wanted to do, my answer was this: “Eat, drink and shop, and if we pass the Vatican or happen upon some ruins, I’ll consider that a bonus.” I mean, when in Rome…

I know that shopping can get out of hand and become a problem, and that we, and especially I, don’t need a fraction of what I buy. And I know there is probably some massive hole in my soul I am filling up with shoes and Sharpies.

But the fact remains. Shopping rules.

Why does shopping make me happy? Why can it make YOU happy? Here are my ten reasons why:

Ichiban Kan, full of fun things you didn't know you needed.

Ichiban Kan, full of fun things you didn’t know you needed.

1) That surge of happiness you get from finding the perfect pair of pants? Increased levels of dopamine enhance our motivation, creativity and sexual desire.

2) Those butterflies I get, and hopefully you do too from ascending the stairs up to the Barney’s shoe department? When was the last time a man gave you those feelings? Yeah, I thought so.

3) The rush of discovering something new, whether it’s a new shop, like Patron of the New, a great eshop carrying some of my favorite edgy and independent designers like Gareth Pugh, Damir Doma and KTZ)

4) The rush of discovering something old in a vintage or thrift store, or on ebay like this vintage Lanvin dress.

5) Shopping bags are critical in corralling recycling and handy for transporting old clothes to the Good Will or consignment stores.

6) Many things we shop for make us look and feel good, whether it’s Bliss Body Butter (my favorite lotion, makes me smell of vanilla and flowers, and smooths my middle-aged dry skin likes no other) or the feel of faux fur against my newly lotioned arms. Heaven.

Complementary pop-over with strawberry butter, Neiman Marcus Rotunda.

Complementary pop-over with strawberry butter, Neiman Marcus Rotunda.

7) It won’t give you a hangover. Unless, of course, you combine shopping with a drink and or meal, which Jslow and I love to do at the Neiman Marcus Rotunda in San Francisco. It’s really a treat, what with the free pop-overs and strawberry butter that come with every meal, no matter how small.

8) It’s thrilling to find something in an unexpected place, especially when that thing is really inexpensive. I’ve become hooked on Ichiban Kan in Japantown for it’s aisles of  candy-colored plastic containers and J-pop magazines, and can walk out of there with loads of fun stuff for under $10.

9) It’s a great way to meet people. I’m going to dinner at Theresa’s house Saturday night, whom I met at one of my favorite boutiques, Susan, many years ago. I adore her, and would not have her in my life had it not been for, well, shopping.

10) And speaking of people, it was shopping that connected me to Jslow, my blog partner and dear friend. I’m sure you all have friendships that were forged over mutual loves of antiquing, hitting the Nordstrom Rack, or just window shopping after a cup of coffee.

We’d love to hear why shopping makes you happy. Not that we need more reasons to shop, but hey, more is more.


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