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Sale alert! Make way for the frugal fashionistas. Photo: Davis McCardle, Getty Images

As much as luxury retailers and marketers want it to be false, consumers are not shopping the way they did pre-2008 market meltdown, and they may never embrace luxury in the same wholehearted way.

Instead, the radical readjustment of the consumer attitude, through financial necessity or a reevaluation of priorities, has changed the way she shops, even if she has money to spend.

"During 2008, the shopper eliminated words like 'it' and 'must-have' from her vocabulary," Tom Julian, president of Tom Julian Group, a retail/brand consultancy, tells StyleList.

"In 2010, that same shopper has added 'value' and 'necessity,'" when determining her purchases.

"We're now living in an era of what I call calculated consumption," Marshal Cohen, chief fashion analyst for the NPD Group, told StyleList.

"When a consumer is going to buy something, she asks herself two or three questions: Do I need it? Do I really want it? Can I get it somewhere else cheaper? They will not buy it now and use it later."

And, he added, this readjustment is here to stay.

"This will not go away. A recession hits like a rock falling from the sky, and it takes five or six years to recover with one step forward and two steps back sometimes."

What will return, Cohen said, is brand loyalty, particularly to brands that provide quality and value.

"I'm predicting a brand renaissance in 2011," he said. "The consumer will want to go back to her brands again – she's missed the better products. She wants the brands she's familiar with, but also wants fair value. She will shop at the stores that offer the bigger, better brands at a value," including Target, Kohl's, JCPenney, and the outlet versions of department stores.

In related news, check out which trendy European brand will be hitting the floors of JCPenney any minute.