Color of Money: When a $4,000 dress is a symbol of frugality

Michelle Singletary on

"That's what I can't stand about the internet," Haddish added. "It's messing with my fashion game. I feel like I should be able to wear what I want, when I want, however many times I want, as long as I Febreezed it. What!"

Love this woman.

Then came the story about the dress, which Haddish said her whole team warned her she couldn't wear again. Doing so wouldn't look good for her rising status.

"I don't give a dang about no taboo," Haddish said defiantly during the 'SNL' monologue. "I spent a lot of money on this dress. This dress cost way more than my mortgage. ... This is a $4,000 dress. I'm gonna wear this dress multiple times."

Watch the full monologue on YouTube (

I wanted to ask Haddish about her commitment to living below her means. Can she keep it going in the face of so much pressure to look the part of a successful entertainer?

In various interviews and in her book of personal essays called "The Last Black Unicorn," she candidly and hilariously talks about her financial struggles, including having to live in her car. But now that her star is rising and the money is coming in, I wanted to know what strategies she plans to use to stay financially grounded.

"I'm so sorry, but Tiffany is slammed and not available for an interview at this time," her representative emailed me.

That's OK, her actions speak volumes.

As an actress, there's an expectation that Haddish has to look the Hollywood part. You have to wear extravagant gowns. At awards time, major entertainers can get designers to lend them clothes and jewelry. But there is still the house, the impressive car and, of course, the entourage.

Even when you make millions, you can still go broke. Just recently, there have been news reports of a lawsuit involving Lisa Marie Presley and her former business manager, whom Presley has accused of mishandling her money. The manager says Presley, the only child of Elvis Presley, lost her fortune because of out-of-control spending.

Former managers of Johnny Depp claim he mismanaged his money, leading to financial troubles. Rapper 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis James Jackson III, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Movie mogul Francis Ford Coppola has filed for bankruptcy protection multiple times.

Although wearing the Alexander McQueen dress is now part of her shtick, Haddish continues to talk about watching her spending. She loves Groupon and, in fact, has become a spokeswoman for the company.

As absurd as it sounds, Haddish has turned a $4,000 dress into a symbol of thriftiness. Good for her. So, ladies, if you say yes to the dress, wear it multiple times!


Readers can write to Michelle Singletary c/o The Washington Post, 1301 K St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20071. Her email address is Follow her on Twitter (@SingletaryM) or Facebook ( Comments and questions are welcome, but due to the volume of mail, personal responses may not be possible. Please also note comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer's name, unless a specific request to do otherwise is indicated.

(c) 2018, Washington Post Writers Group


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