You might not have heard, but there's a recession going on, which means that spending thousands upon thousands on designer clothes and show-offy accessories is suddenly and shamefully de trop. Drag! So Robert Burke, the luxury consultant and former fashion director at Bergdorf's, participated in a fun little game where he provided a list of purchases one would normally opt for—including, for men, an $8,375 Rolex steel-and-gold Oyster Perpetual Date watch and $520 Salvatore Ferragamo black lace-ups, and for women basic staples like a $995 Michael Kors black cotton zipper dress, a $995 David Yurman Cable Collection peace symbol necklace, and $330 Rock & Republic jeans—and challenged a couple of "avid shoppers" to find cheaper substitutes. Their discoveries will shock and amaze you!
Did you know, for example, that this brand Levi's makes jeans for under $100? As the male participant, an ad exec, said: "I don't see any reason to spend $200 to $300 on jeans when you've got a choice like this." Wow, let's not get carried away!
Even more revelatory: Apparently you can pick up a day dress for just $490, and the great thing is you don't even have to sacrifice fashion when you're grudgingly shopping on a budget. Instead of spending five grand on a Chanel jacket, why not go for a jacket by The Row, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's label, for just $1,550?
We know, it's a big adjustment to make, but according to Burke, everyone is getting with the program, and not just temporarily: "The world crisis has had a real sobering effect that has created a new, more discriminating luxury consumer. What will be long-lasting is the customer's scrutiny of price and value." Although given that both LVMH—which owns brands like Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, and Fendi—and Hermès are reporting that revenues are up, it seems as if plenty of people would sooner offend the entire population than relinquish the convenience of a purse that silently screams "I'm RICH!"