In the past few years, Buzz Bissinger spent $638,412.97 on high-end clothing, primarily leather products:
I bought at least a dozen items that cost over $5,000 each but did not fit, the hazard of online purchasing, since sizing by high-end retailers is often like Pin the Tail on the Donkey. I bought items I wore once, or never wore at all, the tags still hanging from the collar. Yet I returned very little: The more the closets in the house filled, the more discerning I became, the more expensive the items, the more I got off on what I had amassed.
Fallows calls Bissinger’s article “one of the most subtly skillful and elaborate April Fool’s Day hoaxes anyone has ever pulled off … or one of the most unintentionally embarrassing, you-have-to-turn-away-because-it’s-cruel-to-keep-watching acts of unaware self-humiliation anyone has ever committed.” Dodai Stewart notes how the piece upends gender roles:
“Shop til you drop” is assumed to be the battle cry of giggling gals; for every sneakerhead dude hellbent on acquiring Airforce Ones, there’s a Mariah or Kimora or Imelda Marcos with a truly obsessive collection. But of course men shop. And of course men shop to excess. But drop the phrases “shopaholic” or “shopping addict” in a conversation and the average person will assume said shopper is female.
Bissinger is not wrong to argue that there’s powerful, unexplored territory out there when it comes to men, fashion, and the presentation of their sexuality. He’s just missing the fact that it’s not just his personal style, but powerful business interests, that are going to push that discussion forward—and in ways that he and other men might find as difficult and uncomfortable as women have for years.