New words pop up all the time. They are a window into our culture and our times. Faith Dwight, the editor of Raleigh's skirt! magazine, sent me a news release she received that used the word recessionista. From the context of the release, I understood that a recessionista is a bargain hunter with style, a woman who wants to remain fashionable and well-groomed for less money in these tough economic times. It derives from fashionista, a word spawned in the 1990s to describe a person who is obsessively interested in fashion.
I checked our online archive and found recessionista in three stories since December. That led me to broaden my search. This Reuters report sent me to the Global Language Monitor, which listed recessionista a top 10 fashion buzz word. The Reuters report also referred to http://therecessionista.blogspot.com/, written by Mary Hall, a fashionista who likes bargains. Word Spy has more references to recessionista. Wiktionary offers a definition and citations.
This 1999 New York Times article about fashionista quotes an editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. Eleanor Rand said, "Etymologically, the suffix '-ista' derives from Spanish and is cognate with the English suffix '-ist,' designating a devotee, adherent or practitioner of the noun to which it is affixed." The terms Sandinista and Peronista come to mind from politics in the Spanish speaking world.
The -ista could be considered a pejorative suffix, one that attaches a negative connotation to the root word, as this Wikipedia article explains. The Times article refers to the negative connotations of fashionista, but I do believe the word has undergone an image makeover. And I think many recessionistas would consider that newer term a compliment.