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How to Dress Better and Improve Your Life

Lesson 16 of 25

When You are Bored with Your Look

Jennifer Baumgartner

How to Dress Better and Improve Your Life

Jennifer Baumgartner

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Lesson Info

16. When You are Bored with Your Look

Lesson Info

When You are Bored with Your Look

The next, Somnambulist, a person who's like a sleep walker, somebody who falls asleep. When you are bored with your look, why would somebody dress in such a boring way? (Jennifer laughs) And this is not a fashion boring, right? 'Cause, you know, it's not that. It's not that we can objectively say, oh, this is not quite exciting in fashion terms. This is for you, that you're not happy with your look, but you're just like, whatever. I don't even wanna deal with it, I don't care. And you may, some reasons why people are dressed in this way, they don't like the way they dress, but they truly don't know how to dress in a different way. It's just like the nuts and bolts of dress. So they just have to be taught kind of a formula on how to dress that helps them. They also haven't identified what looks they like. So I'll either see people who have no idea what they wanna look like, or they have like, 800 different looks, and they just kinda don't know what to do with it. They also, a lot of tim...

es, people will dress in a certain way 'cause they're playing it safe. They don't wanna draw attention to the self, right? They don't wanna create a feeling that they don't feel comfortable with. When I first started out after college, I was a high school teacher. I was 21, but I looked really young. I looked as old or if not younger than my high school students. So I often would get called out and get detentions for not being in class, or go to dances and find out about all the high school parties, even though I was a teacher, because nobody believed I was my age. Now, as part of my objection to feeling this way, that I was not kind of really taken seriously 'cause I looked like my students, I started to dress like corporate Jenny, right, and I dressed far more corporate than I normally wanted to, but I wanted to be taken seriously. So I kind of took out all the personality in my wardrobe because I was afraid that I wouldn't be taken seriously. So that was my reason, wanting to play it safe and not draw criticism, but make people believe that I was something that I feared I was not. Another big one is stagnation. So, you know, a lot of times, people that work from home, that are not in the public, or mothers that are working hard or fathers that are working hard with their children at home, they might just get stuck in a rut, and this is what you might see. Obviously, there are clinical issues that create this. A lot of people have dysthymia, or a low-level depression or actual major depression. I usually will know when that's happening with my patients because they dress differently. I can usually see it coming. Okay, so these are the questions I ask to assess what might be going on with a client whose wardrobe I'm working in. Do you wear the same clothes every day? Does most of your wardrobe contain multiples of one item? When you go shopping, do you buy the same thing you already have or buy the same item over and over again? Do you buy clothes just so you have something to wear? Is shopping a task rather than a creative process? Do you find fashion frivolous? Do you wear the same clothes no matter the occasion? Do you find dressing in the morning uninspiring? Do you find dressing for going out dull? Does your wardrobe consist only of basic pieces? Are your clothes totally unadorned? Are most of your pieces in neutral colors? Are your shoes in basic silhouettes and colors? Do you own any jewelry? Do you find most people wear the same items that you do? Do you feel that you are just going through the motions when you get dressed? Do you find that most days just melt into the other in your life? Do you feel you have nothing exciting to look forward to? Would you like to make a change, but you just don't have the energy, or do you hope for a more exciting wardrobe, but you just can't seem to make the change? So obviously, I went from clothing to the life, and you'll usually see that that's happening. If you don't feel good about your life, why would you put any effort into your appearance? So, if you answered yes to these questions, both you and your wardrobe need to get a life. Learn how your clothes got to this state. Learn what to do to make it better, and find excitement for you and your clothes. So, does your wardrobe, does your wardrobe boredom match your life, for any of those in the audience? Do you feel like you've answered yes to most of these questions, and what problems have your wardrobe behaviors caused? Do you see any connection to this type, this difficulty? With me, gaining weight causes problem to my wardrobe; wardrobe doesn't cause problem to it. Right. And you say, you know, if you're uninspired, if you don't feel like doing it, it has to do with that. So I have a question for you. When you say you have multiple of the same item, different colors of the same type of thing considered same item? Yes. It does? Yeah, is that a problem? No, it's only if you say, I have an issue with this, like, why do I do this? I don't like this. This isn't working for me, but I just do it 'cause I don't know what else to do. There's a particular type of pants, for example, that's very comfortable that I wear to work. But I have like, three colors of 'em. No issues there. Okay, work. Now, if you said, I have them because like, I don't even know how to get something different, I can't find anything exciting, that's different. Again, it's always the internal motivation. You could have the same scenario, but because the internal motivation is different, one is an issue and one is not. I have 10 cream colored sweaters. I buy them 'cause I totally don't know what else to buy. This feels safe, this feels comfortable, but I wish I can get out of this rut. That's an issue. I have 10 cream colored sweaters. I love them. They make me feel good. I can buy 10 more. That's not; difference. I think somebody else. So, yeah, I find that I also grew up wearing a uniform at school, and I kind of liked it, actually, 'cause you know what to do first thing in the morning. So I created uniforms in my life going forward, which is good, but then I also think I bog myself down with that, and it just becomes a habit, and getting out of that habit. I've got other things there in my closet, but I do tend to, on a daily basis, unless it's a special occasion, kind of just grab the same things. And when you were talking earlier with Kat about exercising and exercise clothes, I'm black, black, black. I mean, I go to yoga almost every morning, and it's always everything is just, I have my uniform, and I do have multiples; I've found leggings I like. I've got four pairs of those. I've got tops I like. I've got the exact same ones. But it has been bugging me lately, so I think I need to maybe branch out a bit. It's time to find something sparkly. Think Richard Simmons. Richard Simmons is my absolute favorite human being in the world. You asked me yesterday, Jim, who I would have to do my biography, and I actually said Richard Simmons, because Richard Simmons, does he not embody, he's joyful inside and he's fully joyful on the outside, and he jumps around, and he's just, I think, the most wonderful human being in the world. And it's like, okay, you don't have to go to that extreme, but you get what I mean. Richard, I love you. (Jennifer laughs) All right, so, our treatments. We have this issue. What do we do? All right, so obviously, there's likely a rut going on internally, usually. Not always, but yes, often there is. So, our brain likes novel things. We get a, our brain actually seeks novelty. It rewards us with feel-good chemicals when we find novelty, and we also learn better when we're surrounded by novelty. So our brain likes new things. So if you're stuck in a rut and you go out and you buy Richard Simmons workout gear, Lisa, don't think of it as anything more than you're, you're just rewarding your brain. You're just making your brain feel better and work better. So that's number one. And I don't think that's just for our clothing. I just think for life in general, seeking out new things is just so important to kind of stimulate our brain, 'cause we do get stuck in a rut, and sometimes we don't even realize we're stuck in a rut until we do something totally new, and we're like, whoa, I like that. (Jennifer laughs) That works for me. Another one is a style file. You keep a style file. You may like things that you would normally never wear, but asking the question, well, why? Why wouldn't you wear this? Why don't you create opportunities to wear this? If you like cocktail dresses, that doesn't mean you have to go out and buy a million cocktail dresses, but maybe what you like about it is that there's an energy to it, a glamor, and maybe try to put that in some way in your life. And it doesn't have to cost you money. It could be something that's like a free show, something, or, you know, a free club, something like that where you can add that into your life. Change it up. Throw something in there. Mine was my romper. I just, I should have brought my romper. It was just like, colors, craziness. I never would buy that. I remember one day, I was like, forget it, I'll just buy this romper, and it really changed things, because it made me see myself differently. It had nothing to do with the romper. It was just like, it energized me. The one time I wore it, I think I danced like a total of five hours, so. (Jennifer laughs) Another one is just doing contrasts, so doing things that are visually interesting. We're seeing a lot of that in fashion. So we're seeing like the soft and the hard, so like a soft, especially the return of 90s fashion. The soft, flowery dresses with the hard leather jacket. So contrast in materials and colors and styles, just something to make us excited and to present our brain with novelty. Doing complementary things with our colors. Unfortunately, our color gal left, but, you know, I'll pick three colors, and they're often in here. There's gonna be like a blue, a cream, a tan, black, and white. Like, that's it for me. I don't go far beyond that. But I will throw in some little sparks. I will throw in reds. I will throw in like, fuchsias, more coral-y fuchsias. So there's things that I do to create, to make those colors have more energy. There's always a statement piece you can use, whether that's a necklace, whether it's the fabric is a statement, or maybe the color, or just something simple. For me, a statement piece is usually a belt. That's where I feel like, ooh, I'm so daring. I wore this belt. (Jennifer laughs) And even though, you know, to me it feels like I'm trying something new and exciting. Also looking at your designer brands. So your designer brands can really help you make a look. If you're unsure and you truly don't know how to put your looks together, and that's one of the reasons why you wear the same thing over and over again, there are now designer brand magazines. There are lifestyle, you know, online courses. There are ways. There are ways and things that you can use. If you have a brand loyalty, you look up the brand, and now, they're showing you actually how to put together outfits, create looks. So it's not just clothing anymore. It's like a lifestyle. Most brands are moving toward lifestyle brands. My favorite brand, and I worked for him, was Ralph Lauren. And it's interesting, 'cause one of the major things he talks about with fashion is creating like a movie, and the clothing is like part of the movie scene. And that resonates with me, because that helps me dress better. If I'm a Palm Beach princess, what would she wear? So then I could dress better than just saying, oh, I'm going to a summer party, what do I wear? So it helps me to understand that. Do I wanna look like I'm wearing a costume? No, but it helps me kind of figure out what's within the parameters of that look. You can also recreate a look that's seen on TV or on the internet. We have so much access now. There's so many outfits. Although there might be some decision fatigue 'cause there's just too many options, usually you'll find you're gravitating toward the same thing. So use that to guide you. Also, talk about wardrobe repeaters, finding the things you repeat. Find the best version of it and use that. Downgrading your items. So what you might wear to a grocery store, only wear when you're working out. What you might wear to work, maybe you wear to the grocery store. So things like that. Putting them down a notch, yep. Have you looked at any of these, there are these box companies that you subscribe to. They send in items every month, keep the ones you don't. There are different models of them. Have you tried any of those? Do you know any of them that you like? I have not. I think that if you really have issues with dress, they can be incredibly helpful, because it teaches you how to put them together, and you can learn something from them. I'm a fan actually of companies that do that with used clothing, because there's no waste there, and, you know, they're, you know, everything is used. I think also with new clothing, if you don't like them and you're not using them, somebody else, I'm assuming, can use them as well. But I think that if you have difficulty and you wanna see what somebody else, how somebody else might perceive what you wanna wear based on what you tell them, it might be a great experience for you. The biggest thing is not just the clothing, but is the clothing creating a lifestyle you want? And if that can help you with that, I think that's fantastic. Thank you. All right, so, there's also multifunctional pieces, pieces that can go anywhere all the time. I'm a big fan of that. You know, getting rid of your stuff. So the quality of your stuff versus the quantity. If we walked into a boutique, and the boutique had stuff all over, and it was crammed, and it was like, things thrown on the floor, do you wanna shop at the boutique? (Jennifer laughs) No. So, you have to have your closet like a boutique. Things that can be easily seen, things can be accessible so you can put together items that you like. And of course, you wanna make sure that you're making change and supporting your lifestyle with your clothing. So, adding in excitement and novelty to your life. You wanna make sure that your clothing matches the life that you want, not always the life that you have. Yes, you do need clothes to wear daily, but if you have these things that you wanna do like our previous audience member mentioned rock climbing. Well, maybe it does make sure, if she's really gonna do it, to not only put rock climbing on her calendar, but to actually get an outfit that would allow that.

Class Description

Every time we buy a piece of clothing and choose an outfit to wear, we’re saying something about who we are. Our dressing behaviors are like windows into our psyches, exposing our deepest feelings, desires, conflicts, and problems.

Author and clinical psychologist Dr. Jen Baumgartner will begin by looking at the general principles of psychology of dress and fashion, then dive into the nine most common dressing difficulties—from buying more than we need to being bored with our look to avoiding mirrors.

In this fascinating course, Dr. Baumgartner will not only help you examine your wardrobe and how it reflects your emotions, but will teach you how to modify your choices so you can make real improvements to your life—both inside and out.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Understand the principles of acquiring, assembling, storing, organizing, and removing.
  • Identify which of the nine dress difficulties applies to you.
  • Stop buying items that you don’t really need or want.
  • Avoid always being in work clothes or mom jeans.
  • Formulate a strategy for changing your behaviors and revamping your wardrobe.

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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!