Monday, July 21, 2008

Book Review: How to be a budget fashionista

How to Be a Budget Fashionista by blogger extraordinaire Kathryn Finney of The Budget Fashionista is a fun little book on how to dress well without spending too much money. Targeted at young professional women, this book carries off it's casual, slightly irreverant tone without ever coming across as silly or offensive. Instead, it breaks down buying clothes to its most basic components so that the fashion-challenged (like me!) can learn to dress well for less.

Budget Fashionista is broken down into three parts: Know your budget, know your style, and know your bargains. It begins with a simple discussion of budgeting and ways to save and earn a little extra, to scrape up a good pot with which to update your wardrobe. While this may be useful for a lot of women, and while it was quite pleasant to read, I found it a little basic. The heart of the book is in the section on style. With lighthearted quizzes, descriptions, and exercises, Finney helps the reader to define her personal style and then gives recommendations of what to buy for each style type. This gets down to specifics (with a chapter called "Clumpy, Frumpy, and Lumpy: The importance of good undergarments" how can you go wrong?), explaining what articles of clothing are staples and what are just extras. The overall message is to invest in some good basic timeless articles and then to buy a few trendy items for fun, on clearance or deeply discounted, since these items are less likely to last in your wardrobe.

The third section on where and how to find bargains gets into the detail and nitty gritty about everything from sample sales to yard sales, and how to get the best deals at each. These are really practical tips, no hypotheticals just actionable points ("join the mailing list," "shop in the children's department").

I think this book would be particularly great for young women who are just out of college and trying to figure out how to wardrobe themselves for new professional jobs - without going into debt trying to do it. It's also got useful tips that just about anyone could use, along with fun tools, resources, and quizzes. It's a great, quick read for anyone who wants to know how to buy great clothes for less.