13 May 2015

You Are What You Wear

In my research about wardrobe psychology and style analysis (which I am thoroughly enjoying), I came across a great book called You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Say About You by Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner (Boston: Da Capo Press, 2012). I found this to be a fun and engaging read, with several clear chapters each addressing with a specific wardrobe ‘issue’. For example, there are chapters on buying too much, keeping too much, revealing too much, and so on. You can fid other examples of her writing at Psychology Today.

Dr Baumgartner is clearly well-educated and her writing style is very relatable and friendly. Her analysis of each of the style ‘ailments’ in the book is very clever and resonates with the reader. In my view, the tone of the author is crucial to the reader’s feeling of acceptance if they happen to be struggling with a particular wardrobe stumbling block. There are many anecdotes used throughout each book, which all serve to illustrate in real-life terms how a person might face an issue but then how than can be resolved and they then feel empowered for the future.

Another engaging aspect of the tone is that Dr Baumgartner relates her own personal experience in fashion and wardrobe-building, often admitting that she particularly likes shopping or that she appreciates fun, beautiful clothing. This is certainly a strong approach compared to what one might otherwise (pessimistically?) expect of someone with a doctorate in psychology: a dry and critical analysis of why we weak consumers are blinded by our own pain points and end up with a closet full of junk. I am so glad she did not take such an approach.

This book is clearly aimed at a female audience, which I think is fine considering that – to make a generalisation – it would be likely that more women than men would be likely to pick up this book in the first place. I enjoyed the book because it meets three of my key criteria: a) on a topic I’m interested in; b) intelligently written; c) fun! I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is at all interested and/or in need of help with their wardrobe situation. As I have experienced myself, having a cleared-out, organised and happy wardrobe feels good!

Feel free to let me know your thoughts on this book or any others in the 'fashion psychology' genre!

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