Faking It: Looking Rich When You’re Not

Girl Shopping for Makeup

I have a past of being continuously screwed over. I’m pretty sure my leech of an ex-boyfriend who still manages to interfere with my present-day life is why I have this pipe dream of being swept off my feet by a wealthy B-list celebrity or a rich finance dude. Until this fantasy comes to fruition, though, you can find me prepping myself for Daddy Warbucks with designer jeans, expensive perfumes, and high-dollar makeup fo’ CHEAP or fo’ FREE.

Smell good

I’ve been out of perfume for months now, but I can’t bring myself to pay over $70 for another bottle of Michael Kors Rose Gold when there is a Sephora virtually everywhere here. I just pop in and shamelessly help myself to a few big sprays of the sample bottle of my choice while the nearest sales associate has his or her back to me. And if a particularly persistent associate insists on trying to help me, I act super sweet and interested and usually nab a few free samples to take home with me. Win-win.

This strategy has worked perfectly for me so far. I take the L into Manhattan and get dumped off at Union Square, where there’s a Sephora waiting for me above ground. If I’m happy-hour-ing after work, there’s a Sephora just down the street from my office, so I can fragrance myself on the way to the bar. And if I just can’t get to a Sephora for some reason, then extra deodorant and conditioner it is.

Look like a lady

Woke up a little hungover or sleepy and didn’t quite pull yourself together enough for an impromptu meetup after work? Ran out of mascara, lost your lipstick, and need new foundation but your rent check ate up all your funds? No problem. Just use as much NARS and Laura Mercier as your heart desires for free using the testers at Sephora or any one of the stores nearby that have makeup counters. And no, this doesn’t have to be a disgusting germ swap with whoever used it last. These places have standards, and there’s always stuff available to sanitize pre- and post-application. Just take the alcohol that’s inevitably sitting next to all these testers, spray the lipstick (blush, eyeshadow, whatever) and gently wipe it, and you’re good to go. Even without de-germ-ing, it’s probably still more hygienic than riding the subway. I mean, really.

All this talk about mooching off Sephora and you’re probably thinking I’m as big of a leech as my aforementioned ex. Not quite. I actually recently forked over some money for Bobbi Brown makeup there, granted it was after I’d been sampling it for weeks. I’m sorry, but when a random woman feels compelled enough to stop you in the street and tell you that the coral lipstick you have on looks (and I quote) “amazing” on you, there’s nothing else to do but march back into the store and buy it (or just keep sampling it in perpetuity). Hey, I’m an informed buyer and really need to feel something out before dropping more than $20 on it. Exception: alcohol. But seriously, makeup counters that have tester products out are just begging you to use them. The key is not feeling ashamed in doing so.

Dress well

First of all, to look put together and appear not to be broke, you don’t have to wear designer clothes. That being said, if you still want to, it’s called buying second-hand.

The pair of J Brand jeans I have on? Definitely had to rip them away from some other poor (probably literally) girl at Buffalo Exchange ’cause god knows I could never afford those things at retail value (plus or minus $200). And I’m either wearing really old or really cheap heels, but the fact that there’s a few extra inches elongating my legs just makes me look and feel richer. Because it’s all about how you feel, right? Fake it ’til you make it and shit.

Moral of the story is, pretending to have money (or that you’re at least not broke) by doing things like wearing expensive perfume is the first step in attracting not-broke guys. I’m slowly learning these lessons because I’m sick of going dutch at dive bars and not bothering to put myself together because my date is so homely and Brooklyn-looking that I already know how much money I’ll be spending. And my goal here lately is none. It’s not gold digging if you’ve mommy-ed men in the past and have been sucked financially dry because you’re a nice person. I’m just trying to get what I deserve, yo. No bitterness whatsoever.

Photo credit: Charlottesville Makeup Artist

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About the author

Rene Beight - Femme Frugale

Yearbook/newspaper nerd turned marketing professional/freelance writer. Originally from San Diego, Rene now resides in Brooklyn's most hipster neighborhood, where the rent's not cheap, but the whiskey is (coincidence?). On weekends, you can find her wandering the flea (but buying nothing) and squandering away her late-night pizza to the stray cats next door. She's addicted to chocolate almonds, long runs in the City, apocalyptic thrillers, and nachos. Talents include belching at will.

One Comment

  1. Stefanie says:

    I am a repeat offender at Sephora- any time I need a make up or scent touch up I am there oversampling. I’ve even put my whole face on there on more than one emergency occasion. Love it!

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