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The Boston Globe



Does a clothing rut reveal deeper issues?


Can you call an intervention on yourself?

After seeing — but ignoring — yet another list of tips for achieving my “holiday look,” I realized that my so-called “holiday” look is identical to my work look, which overlaps uncomfortably with my weekend look, itself almost identical to my workout look.

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If the gym at the Globe throws a cocktail party, I’ll be perfectly dressed.

But as matters now stand, here’s the situation: At a party last weekend — in West Roxbury — another guest mentioned that I looked “ready for the ski slopes.” At work a few weeks prior, a colleague said, “You could be in Aspen.” Never mind that if I were in Aspen, I’m sure onlookers would be asking, “Coming from the office?”

With the holidays and their increased dressing obligations upon us, a call to a clinical psychologist who studies the intersection of dressing and psychology — life itself — seemed advisable.

Turns out my apparel issues reveal more about me than I realized. “The wardrobe is the microcosm for the greater life,” said Jennifer Baumgartner, the author of “You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal About You,” and a psychologist with a wardrobe-consulting firm on the side.

“Do you order the same thing when you go to a restaurant?” she asked. (So what if I ask for pasta pomodoro, even when it’s not on the menu.) “Choose the same piece of exercise equipment?” (But I like spinning!) “Where else are you repeating the same patterns?” (Can I hang up now?)

“You need to identify other areas that you stick to the same pattern and shift it,” she advised. “What you need is novelty. It’s good for the brain and it increases happiness.”

Is it just me, or does that sound like a doctor’s note to go shopping? I wonder if Nordstrom requires a copay?

Beth Teitell can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @bethteitell.

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