Skip to main content

Simple Fashion

Lesson 25 from: How to Dress Better and Improve Your Life

Jennifer Baumgartner

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

25. Simple Fashion

Lesson Info

Simple Fashion

So, I did talk about, I'm working on another book. I'm examining consumer behaviors. Again, not consuming in terms of tangible, but both tangible and intangible. And one of the things I look at in the chapters is clothing. And, this is kind of something that I'm most passionate about. I think that fashion and dress behaviors will change as we increase our consciousness. The first topic I examine is minimalism. So, minimalism is simply having what you need and nothing more. The point is to make your life better. It's to decrease the time, the energy, your finances, and the environmental impact of what you buy. And it's really using your wardrobe to create your classics, not what we're told are classics. So, we're all told, a trench coat, a little black dress, a high heel and a suit are classics. But does that speak to your life? If it doesn't speak to your life, create your own classics to create a minimal wardrobe. I also think working with a capsule wardrobe. So, using those things, l...

ike we were talking about, those workhorse pieces, or I also call them the, "blank canvas pieces", and then, you can add things on and change the accessories to be trend, kind of, matched, versus the clear thing. So, that's kind of the minimal wardrobe, and I usually get queries a lot from the media about how to create wardrobes and how to shop all the time, I get more and more and more. And now I'm finding a shift within the last couple years. I'm getting questions about how to minimize, how to declutter, and how to create capsule wardrobes. So, it's very much a change in what readers are interested in looking at. And there's also some great information if you're interested. Okay, buying used things of any kind used to have a stigma attached to it. And now I think the stigma has gone, why not use things that somebody else has enjoyed and no longer is enjoying? Why not save yourself some money, save yourself some time, and save some of the environmental costs of making things new? So, we're looking at an interest in used clothing. Previously worn pieces have kind of decreased impact on all those parts of the life. And you can get used clothing in groups, through individuals. There are even things like websites like Buy Nothing, Craigslist, also kinda free exchanges within your neighborhood, your community. This is a great community where you can really find all of those options. In cities, we usually have these types of things because there are more people. When there's more people, there's more clothing, there's more options for used items. But now again, we could really do that internationally. I do not buy new jewelery, I do not buy new purses, I have started to buy used clothing now. It's harder with the fit, but things like accessories, like necklaces, shoes, there's usually a standard way it fits. So, you can't go wrong with buying used if it's in good condition. The next piece, is let's see, find it here. The next piece is the slow the slow fashion. So, there's fast fashion. Fast fashion is often very inexpensive, it's made and changes rapidly, usually of lower quality materials, and it's kind of a throw-away wardrobe. I argue that maybe we need to move towards slow fashion. Speaking of what you spoke of, pieces that are classic, that last a long time, that don't break down, that are actually saving you money in the long run, fewer repairs, fewer replacements. I also am a big believer in a slower life. So, when you're not spending your time acquiring your stuff, your fashion, and you're taking less time with that, you might find that you're doing that with other things. That you don't need to work as many hours, you may not need as many achievements, you may not need to be involved in as many activities, you may not need to spend as much time on social media, that you could slow down, but you can start with your wardrobe. And again, it's really making an investment in what you have, rather than just getting things just to have them. I think that customers are definitely returning to slow fashion. They're looking at things that they can create on their own, that takes a little more time, and that also is kinda better for you and the environment. So, they may look at ethical fashion. And then, this is kind of obvious, it's looking at pieces that are created with the intent of decreasing the negative impact on the environment. So, there are fewer pesticides used, better treatment of workers that are making your clothing, less depletion of natural resources, water is a resource that is often finite in certain areas, so making sure that the water that's being used to create your clothes is not in an area of the country, or the world, where there's already a depletion, and also fewer emissions that are made by your clothing. And, we talked about this before, you can find websites and stores that kind of have "green clothing". Make sure you know how that's defined though, because you could say anything is green, right? But you wanna make sure that it's really ethical treatment of workers, materials that don't release any toxins, and also they're made without toxins. So, there's a lot more information now than there was. Okay, and of course, the psychological. So, what is the psychology of simplicity, and in this case, simple fashion? I think there's kind of a paradox. There's too much to choose from, and we think that's a great thing. And when we have too much to choose from, we're overwhelmed, and we often end up choosing nothing. And if we do choose something, it's like, too much. So, there is a theory about the paradox of choice. They assessed people at a market, they had like six choices of jelly, or two. The people who bought from the two choices of jelly, purchased more and enjoy their purchase. Those who were presented with the six choices, purchased less and when they did purchase, they were regretful. Then there's another piece of this, kind of, slow fashion, getting rid of keeping up with the Joneses. The Joneses used to be the people in your neighborhood. Now, the Joneses are everybody all over the world, all over social media, all over reality television. We cannot keep up with the Joneses anymore. Let the Joneses go. And we also habituate to what is normal. It's not normal to have super expensive shoes for most people. It's not normal to wear designer clothes. It's not normal to have 20 houses, and a staff, and a million cars, but yet somehow, we've seen it so much that even though we may not ever be able to acquire it, we start to think, "Well this isn't so strange." You know, it actually becomes something that we can acquire, so, altering that. We also know from studies that when we look at, as we have more, when we look at the general domestic product, as things increase, our happiness levels off, and actually decreases. So, we know from statistics that happiness is not improved as we have more. Consuming is similar to a drug, right? We get anxious, we feel like we have to buy it, we buy it, we feel relief, it goes away, and then we need to do it again, and again, and again, and we need more, and more, and more. So, when you think about it, it's like, the withdrawal is happening, and then the tolerance, we need more to get the same effect. So, we do also know that decreasing consumption can increase how we feel. So, what are some tips here? Put thought in between the emotion, "I want", and the action, "I buy". Start thinking about why you wanna buy. What is it doing for you? What really might be going on, and are you better suited to do something else? Also, sit with the discomfort of not answering to the emotion. It's hard to look at something you want, and I know this one, you look at something you desperately want, and you wanna buy it, but rather than buying it, sit with the discomfort and say, "Why am I uncomfortable "and what does this discomfort feel like?" And allow yourself to feel the discomfort. And that's really mindfulness, it's examining your thoughts and feelings, and what your behaviors wanna be, and then seeing if you could just do nothing with it. So, some of the things I do, is to shop without, look at the store like an art gallery, rather than shop. Also, looking at, holding off on buying things before you do. Really noting what you already have and how you wear it. And then also keeping a little fashion file. Looking at things that keep coming up over and over in your wardrobe that really make you excited and happy. But finally, as with all of this information, making sure that you examine your wardrobe, and make sure that it's facilitating a better life. And really examining how the wardrobe will enhance your life, rather than looking at it as a kind of a separate piece that's just part of your life. If you can use your wardrobe strategically to get you want you want, like an actor uses a costume to convince himself and other people, then that's the best way to use your wardrobe. I'm gonna ask you one final question. Sure. Can you give us our ten thousand foot big picture, call-to-action, sending us off to head and get new clothes or- Or not get new clothes! Or not to... Well I think the biggest one is if you don't have an issue, you don't need to make a change. No matter what people say in terms of your fashion. I think the second piece is identifying what you have, and seeing if there is anything internal going there. Are there any things below the water that are really coming out in your dress behaviors. And the third piece is, if there are things going on, use the wardrobe to help alter those things below the water, and come up with action-oriented, specific behavioral goals for the life, using the wardrobe as a way to get you there.

Ratings and Reviews

Yolanda Azpiazu

Loved it! Incredible class, so interesting and filled with new concepts, I am a big fan of the author and I admire her for the way she suggests us to analyse things with curiosity and looking "bellow the water", rather than judgement. Thank you so much for this wonderful class Dr. Baumgartner.

a Creativelive Student

It's about how you dress, but really, it's about how to use the way you dress as a lens to better understand yourself. Packed with useful information and tips, highly recommend! Thanks Jenny!

Student Work