According to C.W. Park, a professor of marketing at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and an expert on consumer behavior, this clandestine activity for the sake of vanity is a time-honored tradition between husbands and wives. And as long as it’s not out of control, Park doesn’t feel there is cause for alarm. “Women, in particular, have certain motives to make themselves more beautiful, elegant and sophisticated,” he notes. “That desire isn’t simply for themselves, but also for the sake of their spouse.”
In other words, a power jaunt through Prada or Louis Vuitton can almost be viewed as a different type of couples therapy. “By enhancing their self-worth, women hope it can enhance their marital relationship,” Park says. “And in that sense they think it’s an investment. So for most secret spending, there are justifiable—or at least understandable—motives.”
The professor will get no argument from Lange, who now spends a sizable chunk of her time trolling for bits and baubles to feature on Shopafrolic, her lively new shopping blog. A shared project with Lange’s equally fashion-smitten sister, Jane Wagman, the site is both a place to showcase a killer pair of Chanel boots and a way to lift the world out of the financial doldrums. “There’s been so much bad news, and this is something that universally makes women happy,” Lange says. “And maybe it’s a way that, as a group of women, we can save the economy.” One sneakily stashed shopping bag at a time.