"Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping."- Bo Derek
recessionista (noun) a term originating in the U.S. during the economic difficulties of 2008. Combining the words recession and fashionista; it is the new name for the style maven who strives to remain fashionable on a budget. Predecessor to the depressionista.
Every fashion website I visit or magazine I receive in the mail all want to show me how to be a recessionista. Words like "luxe" and "glam" have been replaced with "frugal", "penny-pinching" and "recession chic". With today's "new economy" and an uncertain outlook, the fashion world has quickly picked up that hard times needed to be spun into a trend. And it seems to have worked.
Recession chic has become such a huge trend that even the bible of luxury Vogue Magazine declared this summer (through their website style.com), "You should know that while the fashionista may have locked herself in the vault with her tiaras, her younger, hipper sister—recessonista—is at the mall finding designer threads (or diffusion designer threads) at discount prices. Look for her at Target, Uniqlo, Payless or Kohl's, all of whom have inked deals with designers recently. That's because recessionistas aren't letting a little thing like falling stock prices and rising gas bills get in the way of their wardrobe."
Is the trend of recession chic a way to cope with the economy or simply a way to keep fashionistas buying in a tough time? You decide. According to A Label for a Pleather Economy in the New York Times, "the word reflects the efforts of fashion and beauty publicists to spin the economic downturn as an attractive retail trend." and the word recessionista is "making light of a situation that isn't so favorable for the consumer driven industries of our nation" and "carries an upbeat tone."
Trend or marketing ploy, there is no denying being a recessionista is all the buzz. A quick google search will present you with hundred of blogs and articles on the subject. So, with such an abundance of information and tips being thrown out on being recession chic, I sorted through them to find the most helpful ones. Many are (not surprisingly) common sense tips that we should be doing all the time. But quite a few serve as a great reminders on how to save a few pennies as the economy unravels faster than a Forever 21 sweater. Here are the best of the bunch:
Common Sense: Never pay full price. Even the ladies that lunch scope out their favorite pieces at the beginning of the season and wait for a discount later.
Recessionista tip: Big items like designer purses can be purchased at online sample sales on sites like Gilt Groupe for big markdowns or at sample sales around the nation. The PR gals keep up with sample sales in Texas with Daily Candy's listing of sample sales. Also, a big theme in the recessionista world is that tough times do not mean abandoning big labels all together. Almost every discount chain it seems has signed designers to make lines for their stores. A PR favorite is of course Target's designer collection. The latest from Target is the famed designer Thakoon.
Common Sense: Eat in. Fairly simple, right? Try fun recipes like the ones featured in Foodie Corner.
Recessionista tip: At high-end restaurants (like Philadelphia's Le Bec-Fin), a five course lunch tasting is almost the third of the price of a six-course dinner (From Glamour's Penny-Pinching Strategies)
Common Sense:Cut back on extra beauty services.That blow-out may just need to be reserved for a special occasion.
Recessionista tip:When do you still want to indulge in that massage, pedicure or manicure (I mean come on, being a recessionista can get stressful), head to schools. Beauty and massage schools offer services and treatments for a fraction of salon and spa prices. (From Tips from a Recessionista)
Common Sense: Work with what you have in your closet and play it up with new accessories. Try accessories from bargain outlets like Charming Charlie or a unique find from flea markets. Or find a whole new outfit in a friend's closet, by hosting a clothes swap with girlfriends. The old Theory jacket you don't wear anymore might be the perfect trade for your friend's Marc Jacobs top.
Recessioniata tip: Get extra creative. If you're feeling uninspired, Anthropologie is launching styling workshops to help women get the most of their existing wardrobes. The classes will run at selected stores throughout the year. (Just fight the urge to pick up a new dress while you're there.) Also, if you're feeling crafty, blogs and magazines have increased the number of DIY projects for making jewelry and even dresses. Case and point, I recently spotted on Slaves to Fashion, a great and super easy DIY necklace. Take four or five different pearl necklaces to layer. Add a brooch to one of them, and you end up with a great recession chic necklace.
image source: cartoon: Glamour Magazine (February 2009) print edition, necklace: glamour.com