In the new issue of GQ, the married father of three, whose bestseller inspired a feature film and critically acclaimed TV series of the same name, reveals that he spent $587,412.97 on Gucci clothes between 2010 and 2012. His wardrobe includes 81 leather jackets, including an ostrich skin jacket that cost $13,900.
"I have an addiction," he says. "It started three years ago. I have never fully revealed it, and am only revealing it now in the hopes that my confession will incite a remission and perhaps help others of similar compulsion. If all I buy is Gucci, I will be fine.
"It has taken a while to figure out what works and what doesn't work," he continues. "But Gucci men's clothing best represents who I want to be and have become—rocker, edgy, tight, bad boy, hip, stylish, flamboyant, unafraid, raging against the conformity that submerges us into boredom and blandness and the sexless saggy sackcloths that most men walk around in like zombies without the cinematic excitement of engorging flesh."
Bissinger says his problem really started in 2009, when his wife moved 7,000 miles away to take a job in Abu Dhabi (Bissinger lives in Philadelphia) and his youngest son left for college. During a recent trip to Milan Fashion Week to check out Gucci's latest collection, Bissinger estimates he spent $51,000 in four days — almost the equivalent of a full year's tuition at his son's school.
Bissinger — who also reveals in the piece that he takes medication for mild bipolarity — says that "clothing became my shot glass, another round, Net-a-Porter. But too often hits wear off, and the laws of supply and demand for an addict are pretty simple: You replenish. And replenish. And replenish. You fool yourself at certain times into thinking that's it and you have quenched the beast. But the beast is never conquered, and you don't really want to conquer the beast anyway, until there is disaster."
Bissinger also says he believes he began replacing sex with clothes after he and his wife realized several years ago that they had "run our sexual course." He also discusses his brief dalliances into S&M sex and homosexuality and says he is now going to sex addiction therapy to deal with his shopping addiction. "Both my wife and my therapist have refused to let me pass the beast off any longer as some temporary compulsion. I have agreed to go to meetings for sex addiction, since clothing and sex for me have become one," he says. "But I am only going to stem the addiction, not change the way clothing makes me feel depending on how I want to feel on any particular day."