Polite society dictates that money, as a topic of conversation, is strictly forbidden.
But that rule goes immediately out the window when it comes to gushing about that suede skirt you scored on eBay for next to nothing. And each subsequent time you venture out in your swingy number, you giddily think, “I am one savvy shopper!”
That little saving thrill may be why Kimberly Smith’s blog Penny Pincher Fashion is such an addictive read. She styles outfits that look like they’d break the bank but, after seeing the price tags, make you do a double take: “Wait, that dress is only how much?!”
High in style, low on spend, Smith’s wallet-friendly wardrobe is thoughtfully selected. She gravitates toward mix-and-match neutral-toned separates elevated by their rich textures. This classic foundation showcases the finer details that make her outfits look more luxe than they really are: faux-crocodile handbags, vintage costume jewelry and leopard-print ballet flats.
Smith also scours annual sales and zeroes in on closet staples (long coats, cashmere sweaters) that otherwise rarely go on sale. Of course, true to her blog name, even these expensive looking details are just that: expensive looking. (It is worth noting that Smith’s shopping prowess isn’t limited to her wardrobe alone; she also outfits her two children with the same consideration to both budget and style.)
We spoke with Smith to glean more of her shopping secrets and she surprised us with some red flags that will tip you off as to just why that blouse is such a steal.
Tell us about Penny Pincher Fashion.
I started my blog four-and-a-half years ago after friends and family encouraged me to. It began as a creative outlet and hobby that I never anticipated would end up being a full-time job. But I'm so grateful for the opportunities that have come my way. There's nothing better than getting to do what you love.
How would you describe your personal style?
Feminine with a modern twist. I like to balance classic styles with trends and offset girly pieces with a little edge.
Who are your style icons?
Olivia Palermo and Diane Kruger. They take risks but always manage to look effortlessly chic. I'm inspired by Olivia's mix-and-match bravery.
What are your top five tips on how to make affordable clothing look expensive?
1. Fit matters. I've had $15 thrift finds altered and they look like high-end designs because they are perfectly tailored to my body shape.
2. Pay attention to detail. Check to make sure the item is fully lined, seams are even and that the stitching lines up. Even these small things make a big difference in the overall appearance of a garment.
3. Mix high and low. There are certain pieces you can save on and no one will know the difference (like tees, button-down shirts and denim), but there are other items that are worth a little investment: comfortable shoes, leather bags and outerwear.
4. Swap out buttons. You can upgrade a blazer with a little needle and thread by ditching the plastic buttons and replacing them with something more luxe like metal or bone. I purchase mine at a local fabric shop and sew them on myself, but most dry cleaners or tailors will do it for you.
5. Keep it simple. Stick to solid neutral colors, jewel tones or classic prints like stripes. These will always look more expensive than florals or neons. Make sure your garments are freshly pressed or steamed and that you accessorize wisely.
What is the one piece of style advice you’d like to impart to your children?
I hope my kids will have fun with fashion, that they will stay true to what they love and not feel the need to copy others. I hope they won't be afraid to experiment a little and that, no matter what, they will have confidence in themselves and let their inner joy shine through.
Fast & Furious Fashion Quiz
Bikini or one-piece?
Neutral or red lip?
Beach or pool?
Red or white?
Body-con or boyfriend?
Skinnies or flares?
Night out or in?
Sweet or savory indulgence food?
Instagram or Snapchat?
Snapchat. I like how you see more of someone's real life, rather than a staged photo
Why did you choose the Vince Camuto Etilla D’Orsay flat?
I can't believe that I don't own a single pair of red shoes! I am in desperate need of more flats in my wardrobe and these are not only chic but so comfortable. Thanks to the pointed toe and d'Orsay shape, these will be easy to dress down with denim or to wear with cropped trousers, skirts and day dresses. I tend to fall into a rut of wearing black and white, so these red flats will provide the punch to my neutral outfits. I love the idea of a monochrome white look with these shoes as the focal point.