Shopping and women are like peanut butter and jelly, and Salt and Pepa, the rappers, not the seasoning.

It’s commonly believed women dress to catch a man, but that’s not so true. A dude may drive a Maybach or rock limited-edition sneakers to show the girl he wants he has the kind of coin to ball all the way out, science and the wise among of us really say women dress for other women.

According to a study, ‘The Rival Wears Prada,” led by Liselot Hudders of Ghent University, women engage in something called “intrasexual mate competition”.

Let’s make this loaded term plain:

By purchasing a pair of Jimmy Choos and other designer goodies or ‘humble bragging’ about lavish international vacations on Instagram, women give a version of the Batman signal, spotlighting their “mate value” to other women.

In other words, this is yet another way members of the same sex compete for limited resources, including mates.


Hudders, along with his colleagues, say women consume luxury goods to give off two types off signals:

First: using luxury consumption. It’s an intimidation tactic. Wealth and status are used as a warning for rival women they shouldn’t go for same potential mates.

Example: “Me and my croc Birkin say we can’t go for men in the same tax bracket.”


The next signal actually leverages those luxury items to upgrade their appearance to have an edge on female competitors in the dating market.

Example: “Oh girl, is that a Michael by Michael Kors you sport? Yea. You don’t even belong in the same room with me and my hot pink, patent-leather 3.5 Chanel.”

Makes sense or nah?

Loads of fashion publications and blogs exist to help women create less-expensive versions of looks their favorite celebrities wear.

But these days, “intrasexual mate competition” suggests you might actually need that Dior handbag Rihanna’s grasping in her historic campaign with the iconic fashion house.


We all get fashion tips from other women— friends, favorite celebs or bloggers. And also, for many of us, a compliment on our style coming from another girl often means way more than a second glance from a dude.

How’s that for irony?

In social settings—parties, after-work events and weddings, the first thing we do is peep the scene, head-to-toeing other women in the room for shoes they’re rocking and bags dangling on wrists.

It’s judgement on fleek and the shade of the world’s largest national park.

Could it also be a bit of insecurity?

And let’s not discuss the frenemy competitiveness that exists in our squads. Sadly many of us size up new friends based on their shoe closet rather than their LinkedIn profile.

Hudders’ research is spot on, whether we want to admit it, or not.

“Intrasexual mate competition”, and women’s need to have an edge on the next chick is arguably what fuels the retail industry.

Friendly competition never hurt anybody and it’s often what powers our growth and hustle.  But let’s not have “instrasexual mate competition” sending us packing back home to Mom. M’kay?

What do you think?

Home Team

Home Team

It's just us, the home team, ranting 'hard candy with multiple layers' style. Got tips? Got questions? Wanna join the team? Say hey at *winks*

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