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Recessionista Feeling Fancy: Glamor on a Budget

Updated on June 20, 2012
Livin' it up, yo.
Livin' it up, yo. | Source

'Cause who needs more of this?

No more snuggles?
No more snuggles? | Source

So you're getting sick of the couch?

Fair enough! But you don't want to go into debt over a dinner and dancing? No problem. All it takes is a little bit of that rusty childhood creativity and suspended disbelief to give you and your chosen fellow celebrator(s) an afternoon/evening/weekend of delight to last you all until the next time you realize you've spent three days in your pajamas. And then you just do it again! Although maybe it's best to go ahead and plan for monthly or bi-monthly glamorcutions, just to make sure it never comes to that.

I'll provide the music, but you have to dress yourself.


Go Get 'Em, Tiger

Two thumbs up!
Two thumbs up! | Source

Living within (or below) your means has never been so easy

First off, dress for success! Truth be told, that's usually the whole reason I want to do this to begin with. The work-from-home uniform gets old quickly and I have such lovely dresses. If you can, take some time to really get into it. Do all your personal grooming, whatever makes you feel special and pretty (or handsome, you dashing rogue you). This is the best way to get into the mood, too, so you're killing all kinds of birds with that one well-heeled stone.

If you're going Out out (i.e. not having a nice dinner in), and are going out with a group, don't underestimate the excellent of fun of raiding friends' wardrobes. It was fun in high school and it's still fun now. Embrace it!

And if you want to put a little bit of cash into it, lots of hairdressers will do fancy hair-drying stuff (without a cut) for super cheap - between 10 and 15 dollars. It's a sure-fire way to feel super hot without the full-on spa suck. Bonus: it could last all weekend!

Now isn't that nice?

I've found that opening the wine early really does make a difference. But I haven't yet been able to make myself say "Just a minute, dear. The wine is breathing."
I've found that opening the wine early really does make a difference. But I haven't yet been able to make myself say "Just a minute, dear. The wine is breathing." | Source

A Nice Dinner In

What to shoot for:

  • More than one course (salad, main, dessert is recommended, although you can skip the salad if you know your dinner partner finds the leafy stuff distasteful)
  • Wine (there is good research to back me up here: very very few people can tell the difference between a wikkid cheap bottle and the stuff your wealthy great uncle keeps in his basement.)
  • Table setting (I like tablecloths. A lot. But some people have nice tables and maybe would prefer runner or something. The point is just to make it look less like the table your cat sleeps on all day, and hopefully more like a special table where people who have multi-course meals would sit. Candles help with this, as does a proper place setting.)
  • A reasonably clean room. For me, that means Put The Vacuum Cleaner Away. For others, it might mean Get That Vacuum Cleaner Out...
  • A willingness to play the part. This is really important. If you're not into it, your dinner company will have a much harder time setting the mood. I find that the appropriate music and sartorial accompaniment are key. More on that later.

Exhibit A: art gallery, home of regular free wine and good conversation

x-ist gallery in Istanbul is one of many that hosts monthly openings.
x-ist gallery in Istanbul is one of many that hosts monthly openings. | Source

A Nice Night Out

Just a heads up, but if you aren't aware of the free drinks policy at gallery openings and other delightful arty happenings, your budget-conscious lifestyle is a mere shadow of what it should be. It's not too hard to find out about these things - in Istanbul, most of them have facebook pages (how unglamorous!) and e-mailings you can subscribe to. I imagine this is the case in most cities.

And if you live in New York, please get on the Cabinet (magazine) mailing list and go to some of the talks and performances and other rockin' things they put on. Free beer supplied by a local brewery.

Please excuse the boozy emphasis: it merely reflects the true-fact that the price of drinks is slightly prohibitive, and certainly against the whole 'Free Night Out' premise. But for those who just need a party, the same suggestions stand. Just ignore the trays of wine and pay more attention to the event. There's a good chance you're standing in a knot of reasonably interesting people who have had a glass or two of free wine and would very much like to tell you all about their take on life. Ta da! Your Life is Glamorous and no one cares that you barely make minimum wage.

Heaven is a place you have to leave on Monday

Srsly. | Source

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A Whole Glamorous Weekend

For marathon glamor, the emphasis remains on what makes (for example) this Sunday morning different. I'm a big believer in brunch, and pancakes - and helpfully, Husbee will easily sleep until 11 if no one sets the bed on fire - so if I'm so inclined it wouldn't be too difficult to make a quick brunch, do the table-setting thing again, and send the cat in to jump all over his face.

And after brunch? Nothing! There is literally nothing more glamorous than leisure time, and if your pay check is any indication, you are not a high-powered lawyer. So pick up a book, go for a walk, write each other love letters, make jello: just don't work, and for heaven's sake ban all things facebook/pinteresty.

Our go-to weekend music tends towards light and energetic, like Bach's French Suite no. 6 or the Italian Concerto, but with plenty of overlaps in the list that follows.

Some Good (mostly) Cheerful Mingling/Dinner Music

Just in case you don't have your own stand-bys, or are getting tired of them (heaven forbid!), I've found the following to be quite helpful in putting me (etc.) in the requisite mood. Like Tinkerbell dust: it's not always enough to think wonderful thoughts if you really want to get off the ground.

  • Look at What the Light Did Now; Let it Die (Feist)
  • Anchor (Mindy Gledhill)
  • Drums and Guns (Low)
  • Cowboys and Aliens (Kitchens of Distinction)
  • Blinking Lights and Other Revelations (Eels)
  • Ocean Songs (Dirty Three)
  • La Maison de Mon Reve (Cocorosie)
  • Benimle Oynar Misin? (Bülent Ortaçgil)
  • Full Hearts and Empty Rooms (Emma Louise)

And pretty much anything by Stars, Iron and Wine, Joni Mitchell...


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