Our closets are windows into our internal selves - an interview with Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner about our inside out connection with clothing
Today we are going to present you Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner (Dr. B) - a psychologist who analyzes dress behaviors + trends. She runs her wardrobe consulting business, InsideOut, and specializes in the treatment of mood, anxiety, substance and eating disorders. She works with popular media outlets, including radio, print, and television, offering information to improve wellness.
- Dr. Baumgartner, would you please introduce yourself to our readers?
- For my patients, I am a clinical psychologist who treats mood, anxiety, substance and psychotic disorders. For my clients, I am a wardrobe consultant who examines the internal reasons for external dress behaviors. I analyze why people acquire, assemble, and store/organize clothes in order to learn more about them. For my business, InsideOut, I help individuals, the media, and brands understand why people do what they do with their clothing.
- You have a book named You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal About You. Please, tell us more about the whole idea and the conclusions you made.
- Based on my experience, I identified 9 major dress difficulties, the possible internal reasons for them, and the techniques to treat them from the inside out. Often our dress behaviors are rooted in something far deeper than what we initially believe and if we can identify the psychological components, we can create change in both the wardrobe and the life.
- You say 'your clothes reveal more about your internal life than you may realize'. Do you think people understand this?
- I think people are often very psychologically savvy and realize that all behaviors from sleeping, eating, exercising, dressing, etc. often have deeper roots than what we can see on the surface.
- Do you think that the look is as important for a man as for a woman?
- Yes, both men and women can benefit from dressing well.
- How can gentlemen be sure that they have found their own best look?
- It starts with an internal confidence in his look. I also always encourage people to choose looks from a healthy psychological place rather than fighting against or trying to hide something. For example, buy clothes that work for your body, your budget, your lifestyle, your preference, and your happiness rather for someone else's.
- In men's fashion the made-to-measure trend is very popular recently. Do you think more men have started dressing better because of this trend?
- First, I think that this trend has allowed men to take more creative control over what they are wearing. They are enjoying the process of dress and are getting an item that they won't see everyone else in. Second, since the advent of fast fashion, where trendy poorly made clothes are churned out in a rapid pace and high volume only to be discarded by the wearer soon after purchase, consumers are interested in high quality and highly personalized pieces.
- What do you think about the Fast fashion and the opportunities it offers to both manufacturers and customers?
- On the one hand, consumers are able to buy trendy pieces quickly and inexpensively. On the other hand, the items are of poor quality and are discarded more rapidly than our ability to find a second home for them.
- What advice would you give to fashion students and young designers in order to be more successful in the fashion business?
- Do your research and find out what the consumer wants then use your creativity and passion to give us something that has your signature look and creative stamp. I find that most people want quality items that fit their lifestyle but will not make them look like everyone else. We are craving ingenuity that will last not trends that are fleeting!
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