This outfit was free: Marc by Marc Jacobs velvet jacket with sequined details I got from working at Lucky Shops, silk floral dress I got from working at Anna Sui, Christian Dior riding boots I got as a hand-me-down from Mrs. Shiah, vintage fur hat I got as a hand-me-down from my cousin Elaine, and necklace and ring I got from working at Gerard Yosca.
I'm sure all of you are getting sick of hearing the word "Recessionista" bandied about in the news media, alongside reports of consumer guilt and plummeting luxury sales. Still, while it's time for some to hide their outrageous spending habits, for me, a chronic thrift-minded, borderline cheapskate, it's finally socially acceptable, and even celebrated, to be frugal.
A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a copy of New York Magazine, where the cover story, "Live Cheap Without Giving Up Too Much," promised dozens of tips on how too save money and cut down on unnecessary expenses in this time of fiscal crisis. Always excited by the prospect of pinching a few pennies, I skimmed the article, only to find that I already did 90% of the things that they suggested, and often with even more cost-cutting tactics in place. For example, their suggestion to "Drink only at Dives." Well, I made a promise to myself a couple of years ago to never pay for a drink again in this city (not just to save money, but to prevent me from becoming a full blown alcoholic), and given my nightlife job as a hostess/promoter, I get to drink for free at least 2-3 times a week anyway. Plus, I also get to give all my friends free drinks (you can still share while remaining thrifty), and at the end of the night I get paid for it. In addition to spending less on drinks, the article also suggested "Be Your Own Restaurant" to cut on the cost of eating out. Luckily, I have my amazing live-in chef/husband, who manages to wrangle a weeks worth of groceries for $40 (that's just $20 a person!), and magically turn it into many, many restaurant quality meals. Now all I have to do is kick my Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate with a shot of espresso habit.
When it comes to Fashion, the article suggests several ways to save money: "Embrace Low Fashion," "Rent A Dress," and "Swap Clothes." Well, I already shop at H&M and Target, I would never pay money to rent an outfit, but we do occasionally borrow clothes from Screaming Mimi's for our parties gratis, thanks to Laura, and I already engage in trading clothing with friends. In fact, I have to say that around 50% of my wardrobe is free, whether it's been obtained from working at various fashion companies, it's a hand-me-down, it's been swapped for my unwanted duds with friends, or it's a 66S D.I.Y. project made for a minimal amount of money (sometimes reimbursed). The other 50% was purchased at Sample Sales or at equally high discounts, with a few vintage and thrift finds thrown in for good measure.
Anyway, this is an outfit I composed from some of the gratis clothing in my wardrobe, and now I'm off to see some museums with Jimmy, which I can still get into for free with my old I.D. from when I worked in The Whitney Museum Film Curatorial Department. That's the true lesson learned for saving yourself some money: always work somewhere where you can get good perks.