I just saw this article in the NY Times. It outlines two different plans for clothing oneself:
A) Don't buy new clothing for a year (with exceptions of socks and underwear)
B) Only wear six items from one's closet for a month. This will help compulsive shoppers realize that they don't need all the items they own and buy.
I am by no means a compulsive shopper, but I do enjoy purchasing new clothing. Since having a baby, I've been focusing on acquiring clothes for free or low cost (ie the clearance racks at Target or online from Land's End, from a friend's cast-offs, or by using gift cards from saved-up credit card points).
Some behaviors that have helped me stay under my clothing budget this year:
1) I leave the tags on as long as possible to determine if I really wanted the item or if I just wanted the experience of buying the item. If it is the latter, I return it.
2) I avoid buying clothing with prints. I'd rather purchase basic items. (I wear lots of black).
3) I don't buy things that need to be dry-cleaned. This eliminates a lot of clothing purchase options! (However, I don't work outside the home right now so I'm really not wearing suits or dresses which would likely require dry cleaning.)
4) Price adjustments at Target. Twice in the past 3 months have I purchased something and a week later it went on sale.
5) Asking myself, "Do I really need this?" Most often, the answer is "NO", so I keep my money. What a great way to be frugal!
6) Coupons! Target had a coupon in a magazine I frequently read...Famous Footwear had an online coupon I used...Macy's, Penney's and Kohls often have coupons. I save them in case I need them. Coupons are most useful when you can use them on clearance items.
7) Borrowing maternity clothing from friends. I also loaned out my maternity clothing to these same friends.