Trend Watch: How to Steal With Style


As pop culture fans, we have many things to thank Winona Ryder for: showing us that bitchiness can be cool in Heathers; proving that a deep brunette will never really look convincing as a blonde in Edward Scissorhands; inspiring the most creative amendment to a tattoo we’ve ever seen. Yet what we really should be applauding Ms. Ryder for, are her trendsetting ways of 2001.

Yes, when Winona appeared in court following the accusation that she stole $5,500 worth of clothes and accessories from Saks Fifth Avenue, she truly set the ball rolling. The image of her waif-like, demure figure attending the hearing is a powerful one: her’s was the face that launched a thousand celebrity and layperson imitations, and that set off over a thousand security alarms nationwide. Ladies and gentlemen, please put your purses away and sew false bottoms into the pockets of your jeans as we prepare for the latest trend to sweep the globe — shoplifting.

You may argue that this trend is nothing new — the fact that God even thought to put a rule against it in the Ten Commandments is surely proof that societies have always stolen, as well as coveting each other’s oxen and swearing? Yet, with news this week that shoplifting is becoming an epidemic and reports that Lindsay Lohan has thiefed a leaf out of Winona’s book and stolen jewelry from a photoshoot, we’re seeing what was once a condemned and rather secretive practice becoming a high profile pastime.

The Guardian point the finger at our insatiable consumer society, claiming that compulsive and relentless shopping is encouraged to stimulate the economy and that we are always encouraged to want more than we have. And they’d be right — there’s always another great find out there on the shop floor, and no reason why you shouldn’t have it. Financial circumstances and law-breaking be damned, this is one trend we are *fulling getting on board with. From our knowledge of celebrity thieves and the testimonials of reformed kleptomaniacs, we’ve compiled our guide to getting away with stealing in style.

1. Get The Look

By far and away the most important aspect of stealing in style is appropriating an appropriate appearance. Try to look confident, poised and entitled — you DESERVE to be in this store, and the customer is always right, even if she’s stuffing Bulgari jewelry down her bra. If you really want to go the whole hog, borrow a style tip from Winona and rock an innocent, butter-wouldn’t-melt Alice band in your hair to utterly convince the security guard that you couldn’t possibly be a criminal.

2. Engage the Staff

One of the most frequently cited errors in a successful shoplift is when a potential thief enters the shop, looks around shiftily, grabs an item, and then runs out of the store without so much as a “thank you” to the retail staff. Make sure to greet anyone working at the store, to ask questions about items (though we recommend that you don’t ask anything about that which you intend to steal) and thank them for their time. If you’re really serious about your career as a small-time crook, become a regular customer and establish relationships with the staff. This means that even if they see you steal, they’ll be way too embarrassed to do anything about it — you’re best buddies after all. As they say, keep your friends close, your enemies closer, and the victims of your crime closest of all.

3. Buy Something

This may seem counter-intuitive, but believe us, it’s the most effective way of gaining the trust of the staff. Buying another item also has the added advantage that, should you be foolish enough to get caught, you can chalk it up as a simple mistake: after all, you paid for the Prada keyring, why would you possibly be trying to steal the dress, shoes and handbag?

4. Home Run

As you leave the store, stolen good in handbag, make sure to walk leisurely and with confidence. Fervently scuttling away is not the walk of a victor.

* Just in case you need a disclaimer, here it is. Flavorpill does not really endorse shoplifting. But we do endorse Winona. Thank you.