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Shen Dove Style: Style Profile: Money Smart Fashion

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Style Profile: Money Smart Fashion

Money Smart Fashion - Style Profile 1
Photos courtesy of Grace of Money Smart Fashion

For this edition of Shen Style Profiles, Grace of Money Smart Fashion was kind enough to answer a few questions about her style and insight into her dual focus on fashion and personal finance. Grace is a fellow Philadelphian who proves that loving fashion doesn't mean you have to throw your personal finance goals out of the window. So let's get down to the questions!

Grace: First off, I want to say thank you Shen for featuring me on your blog! I’m so excited to be here! Since I’m not very good with small talk we’ll just dive right in…

Shen Dove: You're welcome Grace!  Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. So, what inspired you to start your blog and have a dual focus of fashion and personal finance?

Grace: I first started a blog when I moved from Michigan in 2007. My friends are scattered all over the country and I blogged as a means of keeping in touch. At first I would write about anything… clothes, crazy things that happened to me at work, and the perils of living with SSF. Whatever was on my mind. Then personal finance became a focus for me. I started Money Smart Fashion as a place to talk about personal finance, shopping, and style. I opted for the dual focus because I knew my story wasn’t unique. (girl meets credit card, girl uses credit card to fuel shopping addiction, girl finds herself up to her eyeballs in debt) and wanted to use that story to motivate others to stop the cycle, and get out from under their own debt. Now that I’ve paid off my credit cards it is about finding a balance. I love shopping but I know I can’t spend all of my discretionary income on clothes. How do I make it work? A question I haven’t really found the answer to.

Shen Dove: Do you think being budget conscious has impacted your personal style? Has it been a positive impact?

Grace: It has absolutely impacted my personal style. For a long time, basically my junior year of high school until when I finished college, I was high consumption. I turned over my closet so many times in a year I couldn’t even keep track. If I was ever bored with my clothes or wanted something new I just bought it without any regard to cost. It was great for my ever evolving style, but as you know, it put a real damper on my finances. I never learned to be creative, or to wear items in multiple ways. It’s sounds so basic but it’s true. Now that I don’t allow myself to shop constantly the game has changed. I’ve learned that remixing is not a dirty word. Personally, I think my style now is better than ever because it has consistency. My style has evolved from just a “style” to “my style.” I’ve also started to see my clothing as investments. I spend a lot of time weighing the pros and cons of a purchase more than I ever did.

Shen Dove: Do you have any people (they don't have to be bloggers) that inspire you style-wise? I'm also curious to know who inspires you in the personal financial sphere (again, they don't have to be bloggers)?

Grace: Well, the personal finance one is easy. My fiancé is the one person that inspires me to be better with my money. I want our life together to be amazing. I want to go on trips, live in a house we love, and raise kids. Unfortunately a closet full of clothes is not going to make that happen. It was for our future that I made the commitment to change my ways. I know it sounds cheesy but it’s true. The only thing I regret is waiting so long to think about my future. If you are in a similar situation do not wait as long as I did.

As far as style, my inspiration comes from everywhere. Magazines, people on the street, and of course other bloggers. I wouldn’t say there is one in particular, but of course there are bloggers that just resonate with you. Some of my favorites are Andrea, Tieka, Alyson, Kendi, and Taylor. These ladies have amazing style which tends to be very different from my own. They often inspire me to wear things I wouldn’t normally consider (like skirts and dresses).

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Shen Dove: Please name a film, song or piece of artwork that embodies your current personal style. Can you explain your choice? How have the cities/towns/burbs you've lived in influenced your style? How so?

Grace: I’m not so sure I can name a piece of artwork that embodies my style. Do you guys have any suggestions? As far as my environment I think it has definitely molded my style. I wouldn’t say where I’ve lived but more like the people that have surrounded me throughout my life. In high school I was a jock and hung out with lots of athletic girls. We dressed like tomboys for the most part. I am very good friends with most of those girls and the style I adopted with from being around them persists. I prefer pants to skirts or dresses, structured pieces to flowy, and have been known to steal from my fiance’s closet on occasion. Even now, working for a sports apparel company I’ve seen my style adapt to what I am around every day. I’ve started incorporating some of my work out clothes into everyday outfits.

Shen Dove: What items are you excited about wearing this Spring?

Grace: I don’t think there is necessarily one thing I’m looking forward to wearing but many things that embody spring. I am excited for layering, mixing textures like suede and khaki, and the color palette. I am so excited for the color palette. Have you looked through the April J.Crew catalog? It’s full of taupe, coral, blush, heather gray and earthy greens. I love it all.

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Shen Dove: I'll have to check the J.Crew catalog out!  I know that you are aware that looking your best doesn't necessarily mean spending your entire paycheck, do you have any tips for shopping on a budget? Do you have any favorite budget-friendly shops?

Grace: It’s funny you should ask this because just the other day I was thinking about how I never really give out “tips” for saving money. I’m actually curious as to how many people expect that of me, based on the title of my blog. Anyway, there is ton’s of advice out there about how to “save money on shopping” but to be fair the only way to save money is to not shop at all. We all know that’s not happening any time soon so I have three adages I try to stick by:

  1. Buy it on sale. This is not always the easiest rule to follow because it involves being patient. However you probably won’t have to wait that long. Retailers move through merchandise at break neck speeds. They plan items to” live” only certain amount of time on the floor. So chances are if you can wait 4-6 weeks, you can get it at a cheaper price.
  2. Choose quality over quantity for core items. Seriously, if you need a black cardigan, buy one in a quality fabric that will last you many seasons. It is just plain silly to keep buying black cardigans over and over again.
  3. Prioritize your wish list. Just like anything in life you have to know what you want more than anything. Where do you want to spend your money? For example, right now I am obsessed with cognac riding boots. So that is where I am focused. I’m not planning on buying any more shoes until I get those. If it doesn’t happen soon though I will be moving them down on the list until fall comes back around.

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Shen Dove: Do you have any style rules you live by? If so, what are they?

Grace: The only rule I really try to follow when it comes to style is “know your body”. For a long time I was in denial about my bust size. I tried to dress my 32DD as a 32 C or B. Trust me, it wasn’t pretty. Nothing ever looks quite right if it doesn’t flatter the body you have (instead of the body you wish you had). Also, if you are in a store, try it on! Make sure it fits before getting it home. (You are less likely to take it back once you’ve bought it) Ok so I guess that’s two rules, but two very important rules.

Shen Dove: Thanks for the interview lady! I'm definitely inspired to keep a closer eye on my finances this spring after learning more about you.

Be sure to check out Grace's unique take on style and finance on her blog!



At April 26, 2011 at 9:35 PM , Anonymous graceyloo said...

Thanks Shen! I had so much fun answerign your questions!

At April 27, 2011 at 6:53 AM , Anonymous ShenDove said...

No, thank you for agreeing to answer them Grace : )


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