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Consumer Culture

Remember way back — at least several weeks ago — when Atlanta was suffering from a (gasp!) recession? Thank God that’s over. In the midst of the dreaded R-word, we had to confront a sobering question: Will it still be fun to shop if we can’t drop a decent wad of cash? Let’s face it: We’d gotten a bit spoiled, what with the Scottish cashmere and Filson luggage at Westside men’s shop Sid Mashburn; the Manolos, Prada and YSL at Buckhead’s frighteningly fashionable Jeffrey; and the triple-oxygen facials and hot cream manicures at the W hotel’s super-orgasmic Bliss.

Of course, we did learn a few things when we were forced, embarrassingly enough, to curb our spending. What did the recession teach us? We found that we didn’t have to abandon designer threads, thanks to the impressive stock of consigned labels at the Nearly New Shop. With the help of Alexis’ Suitcase consignment boutique, we could still traipse about town in Jimmy Choo’s. Nor did we have to sacrifice our routine spa-going, once we discovered Duluth’s surreal yet seductive JeJu Sauna. Basically, it’s not so bad being financially strained — as long as you know where to look.

— Mara Shalhoup

Best $25 spa day

JeJu Sauna

If you’re looking to release some tension without releasing the contents of your wallet, the lovely and surreal JEJU SAUNA is the just the space. »more

Best $500 spa day

Bliss Spa

Yeah, that’s a lot of money — especially in these bank-account-depleted days. But at BLISS SPA, $500 goes really, really far. The venerable skincare line »more

Best affordable caterer for impressing your foodie friends

Endive Fine Catering

If you’re looking for a spread that’s beautifully presented and masterfully executed yet doesn’t break the bank, you can’t go wrong with ENDIVE FINE CATERING. »more

Best approachable bling

Solomon Brothers Fine Jewelry

Anyone who’s ever shopped for diamonds knows about the four C’s: cut, clarity, carat and color. But what about the long-lost fifth C: cost. Can »more

Best Bentley rental

Wedding Trans

Sure, there are plenty of limousine services in Atlanta offering stretch Lincolns and Cadillacs with uniformed drivers, moon roofs and wet bars. But what if »more

Best boutique for dropping obscene amounts of cash

Jeffrey Atlanta

Its sister store in Manhattan is such a landmark of trendiness that it’s been lauded by Time Out and lampooned on “SNL,” but JEFFREY ATLANTA »more

Best designer bridal gowns you can afford

Le Dress Boutique

If you’ve got anywhere from $200 to $2,000 to drop on a wedding dress, those dollars will go far at LE DRESS BOUTIQUE. Carrying once »more

Best designer shoes for a steal

Alexis' Suitcase Consignment Boutique

When you’re a label-lover without the salary of a CEO, finding deals on designer kicks can be a challenge. To help with the dilemmas of »more

Best excuse to get all dolled up

PinUp Girl! Cosmetics

You’ll find more than mere makeup at PINUP GIRL! COSMETICS. We’re talking salon services, full-scale makeovers, corsets, nipple tassels — even the means to host »more

Best furniture for hip trust-funders

City Issue

If you get ditzy for Danish Modern or go nuts for Knoll, then CITY ISSUE is your one-stop shop for furnishing your loft with a »more

Best furniture on a budget

Kudzu Antique Market

With more than 100 dealer stalls and an emphasis on affordability, KUDZU ANTIQUE MARKET is likely to have several versions of whatever it is you’re »more

Best pawnshop

Jason's Pawn Shop

It’s ironic that, at a time when pawnshops have become more popular with the cash-strapped masses, the merchandise they typically carry is less interesting than »more

Best place for bargain Berettas and fully loaded Glocks

B&B Outdoors

he Internet says President Obama plans to use one of his Muslim lock-picking prayers to break into the National Archives, Sharpie the Second Amendment out »more

Best place for collectors-edition vinyl

Criminal Records

After years of supplying CDs to hipsters, CRIMINAL RECORDS has lived up to its name and become a full-fledged record store. In addition to vintage »more

Best place to get champagne out of your silk suit

Modern Specialty Dry Cleaning

Let’s get one thing straight: MODERN SPECIALTY DRY CLEANING is not the place to take your everyday work shirts and barely soiled blouses. Your corner »more

Best place to make yourself look rich for cheap

T.J. Maxx

Known for carrying high-end brands at low-end prices, T.J. MAXX should be on every bargain-hunting fashionista’s hit list. The designer-label section is stocked with A-list »more

Best repair shop to get you back on two wheels

No Brakes

Don’t know the difference between a derailleur and a crankset? That’s fine, because NO BRAKES will set you up with a bike that doesn’t have »more

Best wine shop

Cellar 13

It’s rare to put the terms “wine geek,” “Francophile” and “unpretentious” is the same sentence, but those are the words we’d use to describe CELLAR »more

Filthy pick: Best bins for bargain-hunting

Nearly New Shop

Not all thrift stores are created equal. Some are basically indoor flea markets with dozens of shoppers picking through crowded racks and overflowing shelves. We »more

Rich pick: Best place to get outfitted for your GQ photo shoot

Sid Mashburn

We mean this literally, since SID MASHBURN and his trio of young haberdashers were featured among GQ’s “Best Dressed Men in America” earlier this year. »more

Best $25 spa day

JeJu Sauna

If you’re looking to release some tension without releasing the contents of your wallet, the lovely and surreal JEJU SAUNA is the just the space. »more

Best $500 spa day

Bliss Spa

Yeah, that’s a lot of money — especially in these bank-account-depleted days. But at BLISS SPA, $500 goes really, really far. The venerable skincare line »more

Best affordable caterer for impressing your foodie friends

Endive Fine Catering

If you’re looking for a spread that’s beautifully presented and masterfully executed yet doesn’t break the bank, you can’t go wrong with ENDIVE FINE CATERING. »more

Best approachable bling

Solomon Brothers Fine Jewelry

Anyone who’s ever shopped for diamonds knows about the four C’s: cut, clarity, carat and color. But what about the long-lost fifth C: cost. Can »more

Best Bentley rental

Wedding Trans

Sure, there are plenty of limousine services in Atlanta offering stretch Lincolns and Cadillacs with uniformed drivers, moon roofs and wet bars. But what if »more

Best boutique for dropping obscene amounts of cash

Jeffrey Atlanta

Its sister store in Manhattan is such a landmark of trendiness that it’s been lauded by Time Out and lampooned on “SNL,” but JEFFREY ATLANTA »more

Best designer bridal gowns you can afford

Le Dress Boutique

If you’ve got anywhere from $200 to $2,000 to drop on a wedding dress, those dollars will go far at LE DRESS BOUTIQUE. Carrying once »more

Best designer shoes for a steal

Alexis' Suitcase Consignment Boutique

When you’re a label-lover without the salary of a CEO, finding deals on designer kicks can be a challenge. To help with the dilemmas of »more

Best excuse to get all dolled up

PinUp Girl! Cosmetics

You’ll find more than mere makeup at PINUP GIRL! COSMETICS. We’re talking salon services, full-scale makeovers, corsets, nipple tassels — even the means to host »more

Best furniture for hip trust-funders

City Issue

If you get ditzy for Danish Modern or go nuts for Knoll, then CITY ISSUE is your one-stop shop for furnishing your loft with a »more

Best furniture on a budget

Kudzu Antique Market

With more than 100 dealer stalls and an emphasis on affordability, KUDZU ANTIQUE MARKET is likely to have several versions of whatever it is you’re »more

Best pawnshop

Jason's Pawn Shop

It’s ironic that, at a time when pawnshops have become more popular with the cash-strapped masses, the merchandise they typically carry is less interesting than »more

Best place for bargain Berettas and fully loaded Glocks

B&B Outdoors

he Internet says President Obama plans to use one of his Muslim lock-picking prayers to break into the National Archives, Sharpie the Second Amendment out »more

Best place for collectors-edition vinyl

Criminal Records

After years of supplying CDs to hipsters, CRIMINAL RECORDS has lived up to its name and become a full-fledged record store. In addition to vintage »more

Best place to get champagne out of your silk suit

Modern Specialty Dry Cleaning

Let’s get one thing straight: MODERN SPECIALTY DRY CLEANING is not the place to take your everyday work shirts and barely soiled blouses. Your corner »more

Best place to make yourself look rich for cheap

T.J. Maxx

Known for carrying high-end brands at low-end prices, T.J. MAXX should be on every bargain-hunting fashionista’s hit list. The designer-label section is stocked with A-list »more

Best repair shop to get you back on two wheels

No Brakes

Don’t know the difference between a derailleur and a crankset? That’s fine, because NO BRAKES will set you up with a bike that doesn’t have »more

Best wine shop

Cellar 13

It’s rare to put the terms “wine geek,” “Francophile” and “unpretentious” is the same sentence, but those are the words we’d use to describe CELLAR »more

Filthy pick: Best bins for bargain-hunting

Nearly New Shop

Not all thrift stores are created equal. Some are basically indoor flea markets with dozens of shoppers picking through crowded racks and overflowing shelves. We »more

Rich pick: Best place to get outfitted for your GQ photo shoot

Sid Mashburn

We mean this literally, since SID MASHBURN and his trio of young haberdashers were featured among GQ’s “Best Dressed Men in America” earlier this year. »more

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