One of the perverse side effects of the recession is that not spending money has become trendy, even among those who still have piles of money to spend. In this weekend’s FT, Hedge Fund Wives author Tatiana Boncampagni reports on the cost-cutting measures taken by several socialites, among them Heather Mnuchin, wife of former Goldman Sachs vice-president and Indy Mac CEO Steve Mnuchin; Clo Cohen, wife of real-estate magnate Charles; Tina Craig, who is married to a Texas real-estate developer; and socialite Tinsley Mortimer.
“I’m really staying away from anything that appears decadent, because I think that comes off badly right now,” the Tins demurs. So is everyone. They just don’t feel right about spending money.
Craig says she and her friends are still buying their Hermès Birkins, but going to Target for more trendy fare … “You can get the latest looks, very acceptably made, in nice fabrics for very, very low prices,”says Cohen. “The economy is on everybody’s minds — all my girlfriends say that shopping just doesn’t even appeal to them right now,” she adds.
Now, perhaps you read this and were annoyed. Perhaps you thought, What kind of morons are these women for trumpeting their voluntary decisions to cut costs in an international business newspaper, when anyone with half a brain reading such a paper knows that what the economy needs most is for women like them to keep shopping?
But let’s be fair: These women’s hearts are in the right place. They have curbed their profligate spending in solidarity with us. They don’t want to make the little people feel bad, or at least not bad enough that anyone attacks them on the street and rips them Gucci-clad limb from limb. Because after all, they are good people. They have hearts. Hearts that, we shudder to think, are probably going to just break when someone tells them that the clothes they’re buying from Target are sewn by little children in windowless Chinese factories. The poor dears. We do look forward to reading the ensuing “Styles” section story, however, about how socialites are being forced — out of conscience — to go naked.