Clothes shopping your downfall? Time to change the way you approach personal style!

When it comes to overspending, clothes are the downfall for many. We see an ensemble in a store window that we think we don’t already have in our closets, or justify our spending sprees because what we purchased was on sale or bought second-hand.

I’m Veronica Grace Taleon, Program Manager at Stopping Overshopping, and I wanted to share some interesting information with our community. An article in Darling Magazine took a new approach to the issue of filling our closets with unneeded materials. Rebecca Jacobs, who once claimed to have an unhealthy relationship with shopping, now helps women fight the urge to splurge as a “style coach and teacher.” Her philosophy is that our issues with overspending go so much deeper than seeing an item, coveting the item, and then purchasing the item.

Reforming our bad spending habits is important, but if we want to silence the temptation to buy something whenever we see it, we must reinvent the way we approach our own styles. In her article, Rebecca Jacobs gives three main tips:

If you go clothes shopping, think about how you want to feel in that piece of clothing. When you’re thinking about how you want to feel in your own skin and how you want to be perceived by others, focusing on an emotion that will last—such as self-assurance—will help ensure that the piece stays in your wardrobe longer than one season.

Next, you need to raise the bar on your standards, or what Rebecca Jacobs calls “our style zone of genius.” This does not mean that we need to spend an arm and a leg on only the top, trendiest pieces, but we do need to find a few favorite brands. Look in your wardrobe now and note the pieces that you love. What brand do they come from? Are they a certain color or style that you think is particularly flattering? This fashion research will help you find the pieces that suit you best. The next time you go shopping, keep these particular pieces in mind; you’ll ensure that you’re spending your money on something you know you’ll love, and you’ll be able to further define your style.

Finally, we need to love what we already have. If you followed the previous two steps, this will become easier as time goes on because by then you’ll have constructed a wardrobe filled with pieces you chose mindfully, that you feel confident in. Your closet may feel smaller than it did before, but don’t worry about running out of options; there are always to “expand” your closet without buying anything new. For instance, you can spend an hour one weekend afternoon sorting through what you already have, mixing and matching tops with bottoms and skirts you didn’t think about pairing up before.

So if you’re confronted with the urge to splurge, or are overwhelmed with the thought of throwing all bad shopping habits out the window, consider tackling the challenge with Rebecca Jacobs’ approach first. Don’t think about how each purchase will improve your wardrobe; think about how it will improve your style. Will it help you project the image you want it to? Are you settling for something you may not be happy with? And finally, have you considered creating “new” ensembles from the pieces you already love in your closet?

By Carrie Rattle

Carrie Rattle is a Principal at, a website for women focused on mind and money behaviors. She has worked in the financial services industry for 20+ years and hopes to inspire women to better prepare themselves for financial independence. Read More