Every day I wake up and immediately power up my Mac. First I check my various emails…I have way too many addresses!!! Then I always go to Facebook. This morning while following my usual routine, I was pleasantly inspired by my always-clever friend Brendan’s Facebook Status. Today he claimed he was a “Recessionista”. Now, I am not sure if he meant this literally, but of course I want to share my interpretation of the word he so adeptly used to define his mood…
My entire business has been designed to assist the "Recessionista". As you know, one of the key services I provide is personal shopping and styling. I set myself apart from the other personal shoppers by focusing not only on the way my clients look, but also the way they think and feel…I also save them a lot of money through my brand relationships and I use high-low shopping as the key way to build a wardrobe. For those of you who don’t know, high-low is simply that I enhance my clients style by not only investing in timeless pieces, but by shopping at the myriad of lower price fashion outlets so prevalent today. I focus on value over conspicuous consumption…
A “Recessionista” is simply someone who deep down is a style-maven and loves high fashion, but who just wants to be smarter about how they spend their money, recession or no recession. This is where high-low shopping know-how is a must! Since it can be tricky to navigate the plethora of stores that do a good job at knocking off higher priced fashion, I am going to share some of my “low” go-tos.
The first, which I write about often, is J.Crew. For men this season it was genius. Not only did they hit all of the key trends in a masculine and wearable way, but they offered some of the most stylish basics that every man should own. There are too many great items to mention, so look at some of my earlier blog entries…I reference J.Crew a lot. For women, even my most-high fashion clients, I love their cashmere sweaters and basic long sleeve tee shirts to layer…their tees are the best in the market! Their fashion belts were also the perfect accessories to update any tired outfit. I particularly loved the leopard print and floral ribbon styles. All are under $50.
Another one of my favorites is Zara. You have to have a really great eye to buy intelligently at Zara, as let’s face it…sometimes inexpensive just means poor quality. I tend to stick to basics at Zara as sometimes their fashion pieces don’t look as well made. They make the best coats…always stylish and you can’t beat the selection! They are usually under $300, so if you just need a little outerwear update and don’t want to make a major investment this year, you will definitely be satisfied. Now here is a Zara dirty little secret…you can find great handbag knock-offs. I bought a metallic, ruched shopper 2 years ago and not only did a film crew ask to photograph it while I waited to get into the Rag & Bone show, but several publishing “Fashionistas” actually asked me if it was Prada…go figure!! This is not an insult, just a testament to how great the bag was.
Uniqlo for men is also one of the best bets. They have an entire side of the store devoted to cashmere sweaters in every color imaginable and they are under $100. Their pea coats and down jackets are also a must buy! At under $200, every man should own one of each. They also make great jeans. My good friend turned me on to them. He swears by them and he is one of the hippest guys I know. They are under $50 and look like you spent $300, the going rate for the best men's denim today.
H&M is hit or miss, but I have a few H&M finds that literally stumped the most discerning fashion-girls. My favorite is a camel cotton sundress with tiers of pressed pleats. If I had a penny for every time someone asked if it was Prada, I would be a very wealthy girl. It cost me $35. I also found another dress that women think is Chloe. That one broke my bank at about $45. H&M is better in the spring, as for some reason their fall clothes just look less expensive and rely on being overly trendy.
Now I don’t about you, but I can barely contain myself about Topshop opening in Soho in the spring. I was in London a few months ago and braved the Saturday madness at the Piccadilly Circus flagship. It is a “low” shoppers dream come true, however you really have to have a critical eye to make it work. It is also trend overload, so it is important to understand which trends will work for you. That being said, if you are just really dying to try plaid head-to-toe, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg if it turns out you made a massive mistake.
Finally, my favorite “low” go to and a personal passion is vintage and consignment shopping… It is the best way to get a designer fix, to add personality to your wardrobe and to find special pieces that are uniquely you! Since vintage and consignment shopping is one of my specialties, I will dedicate another entire entry to this very subject someday.
So it is actually quite easy to become a “Recessionista”! Smart, value-conscious shopping doesn’t mean you have to compromise style or quality…fine-tune your eye, build your basics wardrobe…experiment with trends and look for unique and special pieces that enhance your personality!