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“This book is dedicated to those who have the courage to make their lives better one piece at a time.”
So begins the book You Are What You Wear by Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner, a clinical psychologist. She understands how our clothing communicates so much about who we are and what is going on inside. I hope to share with you tidbits from her pages over the next few posts, but I do recommend you pick this one up for an enlightening, informative read.
Let’s begin with wardrobe crafting, and learn how to stretch the basic workhorses we should all own. Baumgartner takes a typical woman and demonstrates how to place her wardrobe needs into categories which fit her own unique lifestyle. Her example, Tessa, lives in these worlds:
Level Four: Formal
Level 3: Night Out
Level 2: Office
Level 1: Weekend Casual
While it would be fun to attend a formal event, even once every two years, I do not need Level 4, but I do need to include in my Level 3 a desire to look stylish for fashion events I attend as a fashion journalist; styles I believe could also work for a night out.
However, I do not see a need in my life for four levels. My work level is changing and I will be open to how those changes might affect my clothing choices. Some work atmospheres are more relaxed than others.
The workhorses are our basics or the simple, classics which work over all levels. For many of us, they might be a perfect fit black pant, dark denim jeans, a neutral suit, a pencil skirt, and the classic white button down shirt. The book gives examples for Tessa’s life using the white blouse, and the examples reveal she is a young professional. So, I changed them a bit for our purposes:
Level 4: Formal: Wear the shirt with a tuxedo pant or long satin skirt, strappy shoes, a simple necklace or strand of pearls, and hair pulled back in a low chignon (bun)
Level 3: Night-out: Wear the shirt with a fitted skirt, or well-fit jeans or black pants, black leather flats, boots, beautiful sandal, or, better yet, leopard flats!
Level 2: Office: Wear the shirt with a neutral suit, classic pointed-toe smaller heel in red or a neutral. Keep accessories simple, but do not shy away from a color in the accessories.
Level 1: Weekend casual: Wear the shirt with leggings, skinny or boot cut jeans, consider a vest or even a boyfriend cut jacket or cardigan, and boots or flats in prints and colors.
These are just examples to show how a “workhorse” piece will literally work in any situation. To own and trust several of these garments in your closet, provides answers to appropriate looks every day. Baumgartner writes, “According to the Gestalt theory, the whole should be greater than the sum of its parts. Even if your closet includes fabulous pieces, the whole of your wardrobe will fail if the pieces are disjointed from each other.”
So, please allow me to ask, two questions:
- Can you place your lifestyle into levels? How many would you have?
- Do you have workhorse garments in your closet right now?
Please join in our conversation in the Joy Boutique…thanks for stopping by…and have a glorious day!