Right now the name of the game is Recession Chic and no one knows more about getting the most fashionable bang for your buck than the The Budget Fashionista herself…

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Kathryn Finney!
With appearances everywhere, including the TODAY Show, E! News, CNN, InStyle, The New York Times, Essence, and People, Kathryn is a national force and one of the first fashion bloggers to break ground on the Internet.

I recently interviewed Kathryn to ask her about how she got her start and also get some tips on how to stay stylish in these lean times! She says, “I started The Budget Fashionista in the summer of 2003 from a love of fashion but a lack of cash. There were very few women-centered blogs–yet alone fashion blogs–at that time and no one was making money. It was a fun hobby and great way to keep up with friends.”What began as a personal passion blossomed into a new media empire, as The Budget Fashionista became the #1 independent fashion blog on the Internet with over 2 million hits per month, and spawned TV appearances, spokesperson gigs with T.J. Maxx (among many others), and even a book, How to Be a Budget Fashionista–The Ultimate Guide to Looking Fabulous For Less.On her keys to success, Kathryn advises, “Be yourself. Not Oprah. Not Puffy. Not me. Like Russell Simmons says, ‘Do You.’ It is much easier and sustainable than to try to be something you’re not. I would also say think about how much you want “it,” whatever “it” is to you. Are you willing to go broke? Work for free? It’s not an easy path, but if you focus on your goals and understand that everything has a path, then you can succeed.On weathering the weak economy stylishly, Kathryn offers some real talk for compulsive shoppers. “Look at the value of the item before you buy it and do what I call the Cost Per Wear (CPW), which is the price of the item divided by the number of times you think you’re going to wear it. The CPW forces you to focus on the value of the garment to your closet NOT just the price.” Smart!And what does this diva on a dime treasure most from her personal closet? “I love vintage coats, so I have this pink velvet coat with tiny silver stars that I got from a great vintage store called Polka Dots and Moonbeams in L.A. I love my black Cocoon jacket from the Norma Kamali line at Wal-Mart, and I live in my Assets (the cheaper hosiery line from Spanx) that I buy at Target!
Was I the only one not up on Assets?? Kathryn knows her game for real. Thank you, Miss Finney!
~Adri
*See more at The Budget Fashionista’s site!
*Also, because we love you so much, The Fashion Bomb and Kathryn are giving away a copy of How To Be a Budget Fashionista to the first reader who can e-mail us the name of the iconic model posing with Kathryn and Carson Kressley in one of the above pictures. E-mail thefashionbombintern@gmail.com with your guesses–first correct answer wins!

*Photos courtesy of Simply Good Media.