Dressing to impress: How what a woman wears can reveal more than she ever intended about her personality
23:21 GMT, 25 March 2012
It has long been said that clothes maketh the man.
But it seems that what women wear can give a powerful insight into who they are too.
Clinical psychologist Dr Jennifer Baumgartner has claimed our wardrobe decisions tell others about the secret desires that we are trying to hide.
Too much cleavage suggests you are power hungry and keen for control while over-the-top jewellery implies you are insecure and may have financial difficulties.
In charge: Corrie star Helen Flanagan, left, and actress Christina Hendricks, right, are telling observers they are power hungry and want to take control, according to Dr Baumgartner
Dr Baumgartner, who is based in the U.S., said: ‘Your clothes reveal what is really going on internally. Your thoughts and feelings are laid bare in the closet – you just have to look for them.’
In her book, the 34-year-old, who is also a wardrobe consultant, describes the errors women typically make when buying clothes.
Many fall into the trap of only buying designer labels, wearing office clothes all the time or simply buying too much.
Another typical problem is getting stuck in a style rut, defined as having not changed your look for the past five years.
Meanwhile, wearing too much jewellery could be an attempt to tell others you are rich, but actually implies that you are having money problems.
Cleavage-exposing clothes, such as those
favoured by actress Christina Hendricks, are about feeling powerful and
in control and – perhaps unsurprisingly – ‘knowing people will be
looking at you’.
Power: /03/25/article-2120233-1217597A000005DC-135_306x654.jpg” width=”306″ height=”654″ alt=”Suppressed feelings: Instead of identifying with motherhood, opting for the comfort clothes, like Helena Bonham Carter seen dressing down, can be a sign of guilt or exhaustion” class=”blkBorder” />
Suppressed feelings: Instead of identifying with motherhood, opting for the comfort clothes, like Helena Bonham Carter seen dressing down, can be a sign of guilt or exhaustion
And if you often find yourself in jeans and trainers with unkempt hair, beware.
Far from enjoying some downtime, you may be ‘overly identifying with motherhood and suppressing other parts of yourself, possibly out of guilt or exhaustion’.
A young girl choosing a short skirt could be an attention seeker, while an older woman doing the same is having difficulty accepting that she is a grown-up.
Dr Baumgartner said: ‘All of our behaviours, from the food we eat to the men we date, are motivated by internal factors. Why is it any different with the clothes we buy and the way we buy them All you need to do is track your shopping habits, or note the styles in your wardrobe to identify the patterns.
‘It is then that you can make real change, and find a wardrobe to match the new and improved you.’
Her book, You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal About You, which is released in the U.S. this week, also reveals ways to get yourself out of a fashion rut.
To mix things up she recommends introducing contrasts, such as a gold belt for an all-black outfit, or something that ‘makes a statement’, such as bright heels.
Dr Baumgartner also revealed that she tells clients to go on a ‘media diet’ to restrict their exposure to images that damage their self-esteem.
Out go fashion magazines with pictures of airbrushed, size-zero models which tell them ‘you’re not good enough’.
Women are then encouraged to buy the clothes they love, and told to choose a famous role model and observe how they dress.