Gear Acquisition Syndrome (G.A.S.)

Gear Acquisition Syndrome (G.A.S.)
Written by: Geo Hagan Illustration by: Christine Mitchell (@neaststyle)

So what exactly is G.A.S.? Let’s start off with what it isn’t.

You know that temporary wave of vicious delirium that seizes fashion-obsessed women whenever there’s a Jimmy Choo or Louboutin sample sale? Those insane  moments when women lose all decorum and gouge each other’s eyes out for a pair of red suede pumps.

Yeah G.A.S. isn’t that. 

Or you might be aware of the term Retail Therapy.  This is when the only thing that lifts your spirits after hitting a rough patch in life is running through the Saks men’s department and swiping your card with reckless abandon. Take this scenario for example; you just gave the worst work presentation of your professional life, only to find out while licking your wounds that your girlfriend has been diligently banging your boss for the last several months. In times like this, a Retail Therapy splurge is highly encouraged.

This isn’t G.A.S. either. 

“Let’s not forget some of the worst G.A.S. culprits of all: the solitary online splurgers”

The Definition:

G.A.S. is when your shopping habit starts off as a little weekend addiction and explodes into a full-blown obsession. It’s when owning five or six gun-metal hued shirts is not enough, now you must have at least 30 (for no other reason than one cute girl at work said you wore the color well).

Or for you, two or three expensive  leather biker jackets with the exact same silhouette and similar detailing are not enough, you must own upwards of eight (your reason simply being the leather ages differently on each jacket).

Let’s not forget some of the worst G.A.S. culprits of them all: the solitary online splurgers.  For these e-commerce champions, a simple “New Arrivals” newsletter from can easily culminate in a checkout cart of three slim-cut Brioni suits, six Paul Smith pocket squares, and three pairs of burnished Berluti monk-strap shoes.

Don’t get us wrong, your excessive shopping will probably have you looking fresh as hell, but it will also get you to the point where the addiction overruns your entire life (look up the story of Friday Night Lights writer Buzz Bissinger).

If you think you have G.A.S., don’t fret, follow these simple steps and you’ll be just fine:

Curbing Your Addiction: 

Know the Signs: If your lunch breaks at work mostly end up being quick excursions to Bergdorfs, and you have to sneak your shopping bags back to your office, avoiding the glares of your office colleagues, then you might just be a G.A.S. sufferer. Or perhaps at home, you’ve somehow managed to turn the extra bedroom into a humidity-controlled space for your countless suede accessories. At this point, it’s fair to say you are seriously stricken with G.A.S.

Give it Away: The thing about storing excessive amounts of clothing is this: There’s no way you’re going to wear it all. Of course there will be some pieces with huge sentimental value that you’ll always want to keep, but for all the other stuff, just man up and give it away. You probably have a good friend with deplorable fashion style that could use a lot of it – trust us, he’ll appreciate the gesture. You could also familiarize yourself with consignment shops and websites that will take your lightly used clothes and give you back some cold green cash for your troubles. And there’s always the good ol’ Salvation Army – create some good karma for yourself by dropping off your clothes for people less fortunate than you.

Develop a Uniform: To counteract your shopping binges, develop a uniform-influenced style of dressing. There are all kinds of handsome, well-fitting clothes out there, but all of them are not the best look for you. Devote some time to find the staple pieces that really resonate with your character and look great on you. Afterwards, crafts your wardrobe around these pieces. This way you’ll be less prone to the flights of fancy, the heady rush of impulse buying, and less likely to amass pieces that will sit there and collect dust.

Defeating Gear Acquisition Syndrome is quite simple really. Implement some common sense thinking and self-control methods, and you’ll end up being a sharper dresser and a more confident gentleman.

Christine Mitchell is a talented illustrator based in Cambridge, MA – see more of her work at

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