What’s your style?

Corcoran is a Times staff writer.

A true fashionista would rather bloat than be caught using last season’s prefix. Case in point: The frugalista is the new “it” -ista for the ultimate style maven. How to pick her out of a sample-sale lineup? “She is a woman trying to adjust to the troubled economy, but she’s not willing to sacrifice her personal style,” says Sarah Hilliard, associate editor at Oxford University Press, which recently named “frugalista” as a finalist for word of the year. The label originated in 2005 and the definition goes on to note that the frugalista swaps clothes and shops secondhand to maintain her voguish ways.

But frugalista isn’t the only new moniker for the passionately fashionable. The “recessionista” -- a term first coined by an economist in 2007 -- has edged its way into our new world disorder lexicon too. “The frugalista is forever, but the recessionista is going to start popping bottles of Champagne and spending all her money when times get better,” says Natalie McNeal, 32, who writes “The Frugalista Files” blog for the Miami Herald. And there will be plenty more istas riding out the storm. So far we’ve identified:


Don’t mention the dismal financial outlook to this retail vixen. That pesky hiccup isn’t about to squelch her splurges. She hates the words “out of stock” and she may be wholly responsible for the 4% increase Hermes saw in its third-quarter sales.



She can’t bear the thought of leaving the house if she can’t shop or afford the latest season’s looks. Sprawled on her sofa in ratty sweats, she obsessively ogles “Sex and the City” reruns and cries into her cosmo.


This crafty ista knows that it’s a buyer’s -- and a returner’s -- market. The National Retail Federation reports that exchanges are expected to rise 8.7% this year, and as a result, 11% of retailers plan to loosen their return policies. So the receiptista buys, she wears and she returns. Think of it as the catch-and-release approach to shopping.



Like Charlie Brown, Lisa Simpson or a Delta flight attendant, she wears the same outfit every single day. You laugh? Consider this: Einstein was known for wearing a baggy gray sweat shirt and cords almost every day for the last 20 years of his life.


She makes fast friends, based on their dress sizes, and never leaves home without a hanger. She’s the woman who begs, “Can I borrow that little black dress and, um, the clutch and pumps to match?” Her kind offer to cat-sit your diabetic tabby over the holidays is just an entree to your closet. Get a lock.