Identifying Your Clothing Needs and Wants

Last week, we covered the beginning steps of your wardrobe refresh, including a thorough closet cleanout and the creation of your shopping list. Now, before you head to your favorite stores, we’ve got a bit more prep work to do! It’s time to divide your list into subcategories and identify your clothing needs and wants. 

Shopping List Subcategories

To start, take a look at your shopping list and sort your items into subcategories. Possible groups include:

  • Casual Clothes
  • Workout Clothes
  • Business Clothes
  • Lingerie
  • Pajamas + Nightgowns
  • Fancy Clothes
  • Date Night Outfits
  • Shoes + Boots
  • Handbags
  • Other Accessories

For MoneyGrit. users: I recommend that you personalize the subcategories under your main Clothing category. Name them based on items that resonate with you. Remember my gray fuzzy coat story? For many years, one of my subcategories was Warm Things. Additionally, there is a worksheet within MoneyGrit. titled Needs and Wants List.

Once your list is split into subcategories, review it again and determine what you consider a need and what you consider a want. If you can’t decide, include the item on both lists until it becomes clear to you. If you’re struggling to clearly distinguish between your needs and wants, it helps to think of them in this way: A need, when filled, sustains us. A want, when filled, entertains us. Attempting to substitute wants for needs eventually drains us. 

Now, add the expected cost next to each item. Total up the costs, and compare it to what you have to spend. You can never get enough of what you don't need, so it's important to learn to differentiate between wants and needs. Start with your needs and make sure the basics and the areas of deprivation are handled. As you continue to work with your spending plan, fit in some of the wants when you can.

Supporting Client Story and Research Study

When a past client and I created her Spending Plan together, I noticed that she only had one category of Clothing. I started a discussion with her about subcategories like Workout Clothes, Business Clothes, and Lingerie. She commented that she had never bought nice underwear for herself, and I encouraged her to do so. Several months later, she reported that, after she bought nice lingerie for herself, she was able to save $10,000 for the first time in her life. 

By addressing a need as simple as undergarments, she opened up the door of possibility. I’ve said it before, and it’s worth saying again: Your clothes matter. Invest in your wardrobe, and your future self will reap the benefits. 

If you need further proof, consider this study: Of 100 women interviewed, 96 percent “believed that what they wear affects how confident they feel.” Researchers further determined that there is a possibility that wearing certain clothes can impact our emotional state. “The strong link between clothing and mood suggests we should put on clothes that we associate with happiness, even when feeling low,” a news release revealed. 

“[The study results show] that clothes strongly impact how we feel and may also influence how we think,” Karen Pine, the author of the study, added. “It suggests we should give more thought to what we wear and even dress for happiness, irrespective of how we are feeling. If we knew more about which clothes could lift a person’s mood, perhaps there’d be less need for antidepressant medication.”

Visualization Exercise

To close, I want you to visualize a successful shopping trip. What does it look like to you? Where do you go? What do you purchase? How do your new items make you feel? 

Dig a little deeper. Think about the shift in your emotions, comparing the moment you walk into a store to the moment you leave with shopping bags in hand. Think about the feel of a silky dress between your fingertips, of what it will be like to wear it on your next date night. Think about the confidence as you will feel as you slip your feet into a new pair of heels and lead your next business meeting. Think about walking into your next spin class, wearing a new outfit -- the powerful strength that you will project to your peers. 

Happy shopping!


Next week, we’ll wrap up this blog series with a post that focuses on integrating your new clothes into your existing wardrobe. I'll also be hosting a Facebook Live about the impact of clothing deprivation and the power of a wardrobe refresh on Tuesday, July 27th at 1:30pm EST. I hope you'll join me!

Do you want to change your financial future and become a money coach? Sign up to learn more about my upcoming World Class Money Coach Training program!


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