What is a Recessionista

A recessionista is a person who can shop on a limited budget and still manage to be up to date on the most current fashions. In other words, times of economic hardship do not prevent them from remaining stylish. A recessionista does not let a bad economy, a bear market or inflation damage their wardrobe, and opts to instead search for sales and shop at thrifty discount stores.

BREAKING DOWN Recessionista

The term recessionista derives from a combination of the words recession and fashionista. It is used to make light of a bad situation and demonstrate how people can maintain their lifestyles in times of struggle.

Several macro-economic scenarios can impact the buying power of a consumer wishing to remain fashionable. A job loss or salary reduction resulting from an economy-wide recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, is one such example. There have been 10 recessions in the U.S. since World War II, a period that has generally coincided with the rise of the luxury retail market that is the purview of fashionistas. The last U.S. recession occurred between December 2007 and June 2009 and has been dubbed the Great Recession for its severity and particular impact on the housing market. Higher personal income tax rates, stagnant wages or a sharp rise in inflation for raw materials or in the general economy can also make goods such as clothing and footwear less affordable.

Evolution of Recessionista

In the workplace, which has been trending more casual in industries that tend to hire younger workers, recessionista is losing its validity. The resurgence of technology companies and related startups since the Great Recession and the rise of millennials in the workforce has made a t-shirt and jeans de rigueur. However, in the fashion and entertainment industries as well as law and investment banking, dressing fashionably during difficult economic times remains important.

The retail industry has evolved in ways that make being a recessionista easier. Brands considered designer or haute couture are now available at a fraction of their retail markup at a variety of outlet stores, consignment shops and second-hand clothing chains as well as flash sale websites. Traditional department stores and brick and mortar specialty retailers, facing increasing competition from Amazon.com and other retail websites, are taking markdowns on full-price merchandise at a faster pace than they have in the past, conditioning the American consumer to shop for sales at all times. When those markdown don’t produce sales, the inventory is bought off at a deep discount by jobbers who resell it to off-price retailers.