In the '90s, Avis Cardella was a real-life Carrie Bradshaw: A freelance writer with fabulous clothes and an on-and-off romance with a wealthy businessman. But while Carrie's improbable wardrobe was provided by HBO, Cardella filled her closet during mad binges at Bergdorf and Barneys, where she'd go into a panicky trance and re-emerge hours later having done unspeakable things to her credit rating. In her memoir Spent, Cardella writes frankly about her shopping addiction, which she traces to deep-rooted emotional problems stemming from the death of her mother. Her 90's life sounds fabulous on the surface, but the guilt, unhappiness, and piles of debt she describes as side effects of her condition will make you (briefly) never want to enter a store again.
Nowadays, Cardella has recovered, but she was still willing to give us a list of her danger stores—the New York boutiques that wreaked the most havoc on her bank account. Some have closed; others, like Takashimaya, are on their way out. Still, proceed with caution: These places are pure trouble.Read More