Fashionistas rethink shopping

By Julia Nauer

The ‘fashionista’ is dead. No longer is it cool to spend ridiculous amounts of money on… The ‘fashionista’ is dead. No longer is it cool to spend ridiculous amounts of money on frivolous seasonal buys, especially on high-ticket items. According to a New York Times article by Natasha Singer, ‘The free-spending style hounds formerly known as ‘fashionistas’ are rebranding themselves.’ Welcome to the era of the ‘recessionista.’ A term coined by various newspapers and Web sites to define the stylish woman on a budget, the word has been viewed as a public relations technique by some. However, the recessionista can teach us many important style lessons. And it might sound contradictory, but hard times make for good shopping ‘mdash; good, cheap shopping, that is. Jennifer Saranow and Christopher Lawton of the Wall Street Journal write that ‘sharp falloff in consumer spending that has forced full price stores to unload excess inventory’ is in your favor.’ This brings me to my first recessionista tip: Shop at discounters like Marshall’s, T.J. Maxx, Filene’s Basement, DSW shoe stores and other outlets. Shopping at these off-retail stores requires a good deal of picking through unwanted pieces and a plethora of patience, but it’s worth it.’ A lot of these stores carry top brands at steeply reduced prices, making it one of the easiest ways to get the real thing for a lot less. And don’t forget about just shopping the sale rack in your favorite full price stores. As new inventory comes in, and consumers haven’t bought up the old stuff, something has to be done to make room, so take advantage. Secondly, look for high-end brands with lower-end diffusion lines. Target is always the first retailer that comes to mind because of its partnerships with designer Isaac Mizrahi, handbag designer Anya Hindmarch, make-up artists Jemma Kidd and Sonia Kashuk and the GO International collections. Many other mass retailers offer the same kinds of lower-priced lines. Kohl’s features Vera Wang’s line Simply Vera, which retails for a fraction of the cost of her ready-to-wear lines but comes with the same signature style. And H’amp;M collaborates with a number of designers to produce limited edition collections, making high fashion affordable for all. Third, recessionistas know how to reduce, reuse and recycle. Go shopping in your own closet for pieces that can be worn in new ways. Sometimes all it takes is just a quick peek at everything you already have to get inspired. Pairing different pieces together also forces you to be creative with your clothes. Who knows what fabulous outfits you’ll come up with? And remember: You can always take pieces to be tailored if the fit is just a little out of date.’ Fourth, while you’re looking through your closet, I’m sure you’ll find at least one timeless piece of good quality clothing. Try to incorporate it into your wardrobe as much as you can. Good shoes can transform an old shirt, a nice bag can offset your tattered jeans, and a classic coat can hide everything underneath. Attempt to mix at least one good quality piece into each outfit, and it’s doubtful anyone will think that your cheap chic finds are cheap. Fifth, shop vintage. So many styles popular today are inspired by past decades, so why not go straight to the source? Instead of paying full price for something inspired by a trend from the ’50s, go out there and actually find something from the ’50s for half the price. And if you can’t find the perfect outfit, you can always fall back on your face. Apparently, as the economy plummets, cosmetic sales go through the roof. The New York Times said one item’s sales are up 40 percent: lipstick. Recessionistas everywhere must be smiling.