In her debut book You Are What You Wear – What Your Clothes Reveal About You, psychologist and wardrobe consultant Jennifer Baumgartner examines the link between our external appearance and inner emotional world. “Our clothing”, she says, “is a reflection of what we are thinking and feeling. Often clothing mishaps are simply our inner conflicts bubbling to the surface.”

Here at YLF we regularly talk about individual style and what we want our clothes to say about ourselves. As Angie always points out: “the way in which we present ourselves has the power to convey a great deal about our personality, outlook and self-image”. Plus, knowing that we look good can have a big impact on how we feel on the inside. Each day we see examples on the YLF forum of how finding one’s style groove has had a profoundly positive effect on our body image, self-confidence and the way we go about our day. 

Jennifer Baumgartner takes this approach a step further, suggesting that style is not only a means for self-expression, but that “every item in our closet and our fashion behaviour in general is the consequence of a deeper, unconscious choice”. Take for example a fifty-something woman who is still sporting the outfits she bought in her thirties. She may not want to look younger, but might be holding on to her past because she hasn’t accomplished her goals in the present. Therefore Dr. Baumgartner’s how-to style guide focusses on this “InsideOut connection”, showing readers how they can use fashion to resolve personal issues. The out part of the makeover looks at how successfully her clients shop, spend their fashion budget, how they wear and store purchased pieces, how appropriately they dress for various situations and how well their clothes match their lifestyle. The inside part includes identifying current distress, past trauma, internal need for growth and future goals. She then combines the insights derived from these two exercises into practical suggestions for improving both their look and their life.

Do you think the author is right when she says that you may find more than clothes lurking in your closet? Or in other words: to what extent do you believe the state of your closet reflects the state of your life?

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