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You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal About You Paperback – March 27, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


Phillip Bloch, fashion expert, author & TV personality
“If your wardrobe isn’t working for you, don't go off and buy another piece of clothing, buy this book! The answer to the age-old question ‘What should I wear?’ is right here. An insightful, informative, and relevant approach to dressing yourself when you just don’t have your own celebrity stylist.”

Dr. Robin Zasio, PsyD, featured doctor on the A&E hit series “Hoarders” and author of The Hoarder In You
“Dr. Baumgartner gives us a captivating look into the psychology of what we wear. Her perspective is insightful and relatable, offering a unique opportunity to unlock this complex relationship.”
Tamar Chansky, PhD, author of Freeing Yourself from Anxiety
“What a great book! Dr. Baumgartner’s wise guide teaches us not only what our clothes reveal about our shopping or hoarding tendencies, but about our dreams, memories, and emotions. A fascinating read with great practical advice.” 
Regina Leeds, New York Times bestselling author of One Year to an Organized Life
“I have long held the belief that going through a closet is like reading a short story. Your life is revealed through your clothing choices. Dr. Baumgartner holds your hand and gently leads you from confusion to clarity. After reading this book, you’ll never view ‘retail therapy’ in the same way.”
Heather K. Jones, RD, author of Drop 5 Lbs
“Learning the how and why behind your wardrobe will have a profound impact on how you dress! Dr. Baumgartner offers doable solutions to help you clean out your closet...and your life. You Are What You Wear is a must read for women of all ages!”, 3/27/12
“Baumgartner showcases many success stories in the book and with phrases like ‘closet constipation’ is often witty and fun. And in doing so, she fulfills the book jacket’s promise to help readers break out of fashion ruts, ‘look current at any age’ and ‘create a balanced, beautiful wardrobe.’”
Bookviews (blog), April 2012
“A book to help the fashion-challenged in time for the new spring line…For anyone who approaches the purchase of new clothes either buying and spending too much or with a certain sense of dread, this is definitely the book to read!”

Library Journal
, 4/1/12
“This fascinating book tells readers how to examine their wardrobe and their emotions and create harmony by reconciling the two…Recommended.”
Philadelphia Tribune, 3/23/12
“[A] fashion guide that is like no other.”, 3/27/12
“Just a quick skim or chapter of this relatable read and you’re bound to be overcome with an urge to purge your hangers, but better fitting jeans, and change the way you shop.”
San Francisco Book Review / Sacramento Book Review, 4/20
“Might nudge you to get rid of those hole-riddled stained sweatpants and opt for something that portrays you to the world in a more positive way.”
Bookworm Sez” nationally syndicated column, 4/30/12
“So your Dress for Success plan is coming unbuttoned? The look you thought was cool makes you look a fool? Then this book can help…Baumgartner does a thorough job in helping women (and men!) to understand what they need to do to find the look they need with maximum style and minimal cash outlay…If you’ve ever been told to tone your wardrobe down, spice it up, or update it, buckle down with this book.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer, 5/2/12
“Get ready to dive deep into your closet, and your psyche…It’s fascinating to read how much what we wear on the outside reflects who we are on the inside.”, 4/29/12
“Helps you uncover the real reasons behind our choices and the solutions to almost every woman’s fashion dilemmas…If you’re concerned about the state of your wardrobe or your closets, You Are What You Wear is definitely an eye opener.”, 5/3/12
“Baumgartner presents ‘the psychology of dress’ in an entertaining fashion…Her basic approach—which is, boiled down to its essence, to think about your clothes and be mindful of what they say and why you buy and wear them—is worthwhile…Baumgartner does a good…job of analyzing what different forms of clothing say about the women wearing them, and her positive reinforcement will be appreciated by women who genuinely want to change their look.”, 5/16/12
“Baumgartner gets to the issues underlying wardrobe woes…Part style guide, part psychological examination.”

Hutchinson Leader
, 6/14/12
“Lots of interesting insights.”

Curled Up with a Good Book, 6/22/12
“Baumgartner doesn’t sneer at our fashion flubs; her tone throughout the book is respectful, sympathetic, and nurturing…What Baumgartner helps us to understand is that clothing is an outward manifestation of some inner turmoil.”, 6/22/12
“Helpful in explaining why we do the things we do and how we can change our behaviors…While this book is not meant to take the place of professional counseling, the reader can learn general reasons for personal issues and how those manifest themselves in our clothing. Without being preachy or harsh, Dr. Baumgartner effectively shows readers that it’s possible to improve ourselves and have it show in how we dress. Entertaining and helpful, You Are What You Wear definitely gives some credence to retail therapy.”

Tucson Citizen
, 7/19/12
“[A] nifty new book…If you want to dress and feel better about yourself and how you look, this could be the guide you have been searching for.”

New York Times, 8/30/12
“[An] insightful book.”

Blog Business World, 8/25/12
“[An] insightful and transformational book…Jennifer Baumgartner understands that a person's clothing selections reflect much more about the individual's inner life than most people think…This book will help employment seekers, business and professional people, families, and anyone else put their best selves forward and show the world they are ready for success.”

Midwest Book Review, August 2012
“Provides fine insights into how wardrobe choices reflect life perspectives and inner emotions…Readers will find [it] insightful and engrossing.”

Portland Book Review, 5/16/12
“Somewhere on the occupational spectrum between a fashion stylist and a hoarding interventionist can be found clinical psychologist Jennifer Baumgartner…Baumgartner’s personable writing style and visible interest in the economic and emotional complications of fashion and clothing consumerism put an interesting spin on the problem of a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear.”

Notions, April 2013
“This author is a practicing clinical psychologist and also runs InsideOut, her own wardrobe consulting business—a killer combo.”

About the Author

Jennifer Baumgartner, PsyD, is a practicing clinical psychologist who also runs her own wardrobe consulting business, Inside Out. She lives in Potomac, Maryland.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books (March 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738215201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738215204
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Dr. B on March 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First off, I'm not the book author! To be honest,if I hadn't been a follower of Dr. B's Psychology Today blog, I would have thought this book was just like every other fluffy, superficial style guide. I don't buy style guides because as a busy mom with a limited budget, I feel like I'm n a different planet from those skinny toothpick gals in Prada you see on tv. But Dr. B is actually a psychologist, and this book is about so much more than clothes! Dr. B's whole point is that clothes and shopping behavior are just like any other behavior --they tell a lot about what is happening inside. This book is more about transformation than it is about clothes. I really could relate to the bit where she talks about her grandmother's button collection, because my grandmothers was that same generation, and had literally shelves and shelves of button boxes. If you are looking to understand your own shopping and dressing behavior and make positive changes, you'll find this book both fun and supportive. It leaves you feeling good and uplifted.
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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful By book maven on July 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If anything should be inherent in one's education besides reading, it's about what not to wear and the unintended messages our clothes do send. Oftentimes people don't understand why they are treated the way they are and why some situations just happen to occur over and over again. The answer, my friends, most certainly lies in our clothes and the stereotypes they are sending while we innocently walk about our business. It's like bad perfume! We don't know it, but our clothes reek verbs and adjectives while we all quietly sit and mind our businesses. A must read for everyone.
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on May 23, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book. It was entertaining to read, and the content was insightful and interesting and went beyond the kind of fluff you might expect from a book analyzing people's fashion choices. The author cites a wide variety of psychological research throughout the book and delves into the specifics of her own client's stories, so you're not just skimming along with generalizations the whole time. You get up-close and personal and gain real insights along the way into what causes people to wear what they wear and how they can use fashion to resolve personal issues and create the life they really want for themselves.

I always enjoyed watching the show "What Not to Wear." This book includes the same kind of specific fashion advice and a similar "wow effect" of seeing a transformed wardrobe, but it includes a whole other layer of juicy psychological insights that make it that much more fascinating. I was impressed by the way the author was able to help her clients better understand themselves and embrace positive changes. The only downside of this book was that it was missing a real sense of conclusion. But I really did enjoy every page.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Aisha Jones on January 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
When I originally saw the cover and read the summary of the book, I thought interesting concept and told my psyche "Buckle up!" because we are going to unearth some repressed memories. Am I going to find out that I have daddy issues? Will I uncover that I am over-eater who longs to be anorexic?

However upon reading the book, I discovered that she only deals with the six classic fashion cases: the compulsive buyer, the hoarder, people dealing with body dysmorphia, the inappropriate dresser for her age, the blah, and the woman that shows way too much skin.

I didn't fit into any of those categories, so the book did not really help me all that much. The book is littered with little helpful fashion tidbits that may introduce the uninitiated to basic fashion concepts such as capsule dressing.

The thing that I did love about the book is that it is a step towards linking psychology and fashion. Anyone who works in the world of beauty and fashion knows that these things can change people's lives and have seen it but there is very little study on the subject. In this way, I think she is a pioneer in the field.

If you fit into one of the six fashion cases mentioned above, this book is a good start. She also has some unexpected jokes mixed into the prose of the book. In my opinion it is not a fashion-must read, but I'm glad I read it and my neuroses breathed a huge sigh of relief.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Celine Derudder on August 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had fun reading this book, and I did purge my closet afterwards, although I thought I already had done a good job of that not so long ago, which just goes to show! The nagging voice of reason - or shall I say J. Baumgartner - was stronger. So, it works. There's even a 20-steps-to-purge-your-closet that's pretty perfect.

How the book is structured : the main eight or nine reasons why we find ourselves with too many/too small/ too "young" or "old" clothes... each have their own chapter.

Of course, the most popular/common reasons come first in the book, and they're also by far the biggest chapters (and let's face it, if you buy this book you're likely prey to the first reason - namely, buy too much stuff). Each is interesting and illustrated by the story of a certain client.
There were no real clichés, it was relevant and went to the bottom of the matter.

The only thing is out of the different reasons listed, only a couple will apply to you. So while the rest of the book is still very interesting and gives you the complete picture, some things won't be directly relevant for you. However, I certainly didn't mind, and I don't see any other way the book could have been written.
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