To peel back someone’s layers, tell them to keep their clothes on—
and take a peek inside their closet. Hung up (or lying in piles on the
floor) are our emotions, goals, dreams, and fears. Our clothing
choices can tell a story, says psychologist Jennifer Baumgartner,
Psy.D., author of You Are What You Wear. “Oftentimes, shopping
addictions or wardrobe ruts, for example, are symptoms of deeper
internal issues,” she says. But no matter how messy (literally) or
complicated your relationship with your closet, like any flame,
fling, or friendship, it can always be improved. Here’s how to work
through five common wardrobe hang-ups.
By Kristen Dold
1 / You rotate between black, white, and beige. And sometimes gray.
The diagnosis: This may reflect a fear of taking risks or that
you’re hoping to fade into the background or blend in with
the crowd. “It’s easier to make a fashion error while wearing
bold colors, so lots of women stick to neutrals for fear of
being criticized or bringing unwanted attention to their
body,” says psychologist Vivian Diller, Ph.D.
The Rx: If you favor black, start with softer charcoal or navy,
colors that are actually more flattering. Then add a small splash
of brightness via a tee or shoes. Still wary? “Colors that have
red and blue in them, like fuchsia and coral, tend to look good
on all skin tones,” says stylist Clinton Kelly, cohost of
TLC’s What Not to Wear and ABC’s The Chew .
from mags or
just as you’d
bring a photo
of a celeb’s cut
2 / You have dozens of cocktail dresses…and two work tops.
The diagnosis: You shop for your
fantasy life, as opposed to the one you
live Monday through Friday. “Very
rarely do women look at their lives in
categories of fashion—Date-Night
Jenny, Work Jenny, Play Jenny—and
shop accordingly,” says Baumgartner.
“But it’s important to acknowledge how
much time you spend in each mode.”
The Rx: “For every item, ask yourself,
Do I have t wo things I could wear with
this, and does it go with two aspects of
my life? ” says Kelly. Good investments
are pieces that can be worn in lots of
settings, like a wrap dress (perfect at the
office or a party, says Amy E. Goodman,
author of Wear This, Toss That! ).