Daily Archives: June 16, 2009

How to be a Budget Fashionista – Review

Creating a fashionable style and even buying those high fashion design names can be achievable by the non-elite, the normal working class. Kathryn Finney, creator of the website www.budgetfashionista.com takes us through a detailed step by step guide towards revamping our wardrobe, finding fantastic deals and putting together a look that is unique, fashionable and usually under $100 dollars.

The book is broken into 3 steps:

Step 1: Know Your Budget. Finney does not condone blindly spending money on even sale items. She insists that you should know your income, set aside a specific clothing budget and shop below your means. She provides spreadsheets and tips on balancing the checkbook and understand your spending habits in order to reign it in.

Step 2: Know Your Style. Buying a designer clothing item for $10 isn’t worth it if it doesn’t fit you, or if you won’t wear it. Finney goes by one major commandment in the book. “Love what you Buy, and only Buy what you Love.” This is a trick I’ve had to implement often when shopping at high-price stores (my particular weakness is Anthropologie). I even put back a rare $20 shirt only because the fit wasn’t quite right and I didn’t see myself wearing it. In this step, Finney helps us determine our shape, our bra size, doing a closet inventory to see if we have the 10 essential items each girl should have (I have 4 of the ten).

Step 3: Know Your Bargains. In this section, Finney describes how to locate great finds at non-profits such as Salvation Army and Goodwill stores (for instance, you’ll be more likely to find nicer items in wealthier areas as opposed to low-income areas). She includes tips on shopping at Department stores, Outlets, etc.

Finney’s writing style is jovial and interactive, filled with a quiz and a few worksheets and assignments to follow as your read the book. I cheated and didn’t exactly do a closet inventory, but I have a small enough closet to know what I have and don’t have and what my general style is. I’m 25 and a librarian, so its doesn’t necessarily require a fashion-forward style, but I do need to dress professional to stand out.  This book was published in 2006, so keep in mind that many of the links and stores highlighted in this book may no longer be operable (ie Loehmanns). Don’t worry though, I did the leg work for you and nearly all of the links provided in the book are still up and running.

So, why should this book matter to you?

If you watch America’s Next Top Model, or Project Runway, if you flip through the pages of Vogue, Elle or Marie Claire coveting those outfits, then this book is for you. If you are a jeans and t-shirt type of girl, then this book probably isn’t what you need unless you want to redo your entire wardrobe. Finney even address this in her book, discussing which career field best benefit from fashionable looks and which professions benefit without. Whatever your situation, Finney provides excellent shopping tips that I plan on implementing on a trip up to Powell Street in San Francisco this week. =)

I read this book for my Dewey Decimal Challenge for the 600s.

How to be a Budget Fashionista
by Kathryn Finney
Ballatine Books, 2006
ISBN 0812975162
222 pages


Find this book at your local library