Former Rich Guys' Wives "Confess" (To What? Being Less Rich?)

Inquiring minds want to know: what are hedge fund wives wearing in the long morning after that is reality!!!???

Having been shamed, pilloried, mocked, rich guys' wives are rallying. Some are cashing in. Some are confessing. And all of them are dressing for a new world.

Writing about her book tour
for the upcoming Hedge Fund Wives, Tatiana Boncampagni, in this weekend's Financial Times, says, "Most of the women I know whose husbands or boyfriends work in the industry have become sudden acolytes of internet shopping and J Crew; and black blazers, white blouses, and two-toned ballet flats are proliferating. Think Michelle Obama, minus the Thakoon."

"Confesses" some TARP wife to Portfolio last month:

I haven't even looked at spring clothes; God forbid someone catches me out in something new. Keeping up with fashion seems somehow decadent in this new era, like getting Botox injections or catered dinners. Like so many others, I'm shopping in my closet. I've bought exactly two things this year-makeup and panty hose. If I buy a present for someone, I have the package sent to their home. I don't want to be spotted climbing into a taxi, laden with Bergdorf Goodman shopping bags.

The formula, it's clear, is one part social conscience, one part keeping up appearances, one part somber mourning dress, and two parts valiant remorse. And of course, there's a big dose of old-fashioned Wife in the mix. Says TARP wife (she of the "confession"): "I'm trying to buck him up and not complicate his life. The last thing he needs is unpleasant publicity, so I'm learning to fly so far below the radar that I have perpetually skinned knees." Adds a Texas doyenne, " "Mainly it starts with the husbands," who have made it known, "If you can't eat it, don't buy it."

While downgrading from exorbitant to expensive - Chanel to Tory Burch, Cafe Boulud rather than Daniel - doesn't win a lot of sympathy from us rank and file, we can imagine the shared guilt of a government bailout and involvement in a national free fall is more galling than the classic Hard Times of depression-era legend. Resentment and schadenfreude don't make giving up those opera tickets any easier. But it's also true that an essay like this one is a far cry from bootstrap-pulling, and living off the fat of the land even in lean times can only garner so much sympathy.

My family has friends who've been cleaned out, and both husband and wife, who had not had to really work before, have found work at, respectively, a non-profit and an Eileen Fisher... and feel very lucky to have done so. They are in their late 60s. This kind of thing is not uncommon either, I'm guessing - we all have a lot of friends who have taken the recent hardships on the chin - but to carry on requires regarding one's life not as bathed in pathos and drama - or, necessarily as a professional "Wife" of any description - but as a series of matter-of-fact challenges that must be mastered. And if you don't view yourself as a victim, the telling doesn't make for much melodrama. Or, sorry, the "confession." Even if getting dressed is a lot easier.

What A Hedge Fund Wife Looks Like These Days [FT]
Confessions Of A TARP Wife [Portfolio]
Former Rich Lady Gets Deal to Write Enraging Book [Gawker]

Earlier: How To Dig Gold & Infuriate People: DABAs Get A Book Deal?