Keeping up with the Joneses means downplaying wealth in the Hamptons this summer, Allen Salkin writes in the New York Times. Conspicuous consumption is out, conspicuous thrift is in as Hamptonites try very hard to match the economic malaise in the rest of the country. “Low-key” and “beachy” are the buzzwords, but make no mistake: Vacationers still pay top-dollar.
Boutiques have become “beach shacks,” nightclubs are “lounges,” and flip-flops are now welcome just about everywhere. But slacks still cost $200, dinner for two $150, and housing at least $50,000. Low-key doesn’t come cheap, but one restaurateur doesn’t believe the frugal hype will last: “Every year starts off that way. They just don’t end that way.”