Socialites Tighten Their Designer Belts In Vogue

So since our li'l economic crisis, Vogue went through some sensitivity training and decided to show us that cutting back isn't just for the huddled masses. It's also for Jessica Joffe and Plum Sykes!

This month, Joffe co-stars with socialites Maggie Betts and Poppy Delevingne (in a funny coincidence, also February Vogue's It Girl) in that staple of money-saving, fun-having belt-tightenry, the clothing swap party. And while you may know the clothing swap party as a place where a mountain of unflattering and unwanted garb collapses to form a black hole of self-loathing and veiled body snark, the Joffe-Betts-Delevingne edition is full of delicious, high-fashion fun. A Thakoon dress changes hands! A Lizzie Fortunato necklace! An Azrouel vest! Dinner is served — Joffe points out that "there aren't any boys coming — should we have garlic bread?" But these faux-recessionistas prudently eschew the extra carbs. Instead, they content themselves with their feelings of virtuousness, what stylist Sophia Hesketh calls "the economy and the ecology" of the swap party itself.

A few pages later, Plum Sykes details her response to the recession: building a "Forever wardrobe," starting with two outfits for . . .

the one weekend a year when my husband and I entertain. (Believe me, it is only once a year, downturn or not.) Every fall my husband takes a day's partridge shooting on gallerist Detmar Blow's Hilles estate in Gloucestershire, England [...] The dress code is nonnegotiable: tweeds for day and grand dress for dinner.

Sykes goes on to purchase a tweed suit and Giambattista Valli dress for a total of $8,515, or, converted to normal-people dollars, a "buttload." Still, there's something kind of endearing about the whole escapade. It's when really rich people economize (and yes, we do get that there's a difference between a $4,600 dress that you'll wear again and a $64,000 fur coat dipped in gold) that we see how very much they will never be like us. And how much Vogue, despite its (so far, sorta half-hearted) efforts, will never really be about normal people or their concerns. So happy shooting, Plum! We'd like to close with an observation by your buddy Gwyneth Paltrow, herself a noted supporter of the proletariat: "I find it hilarious that in America, at dinner in the country, you're in sweatpants and cashmere, but in England you bust out your couture." Gwyneth Paltrow, ladies and gentlemen: even in these trying times, she always knows how to make us laugh.