This is a question that I was thinking of at the beginning of the week as I began the process of going through a new client’s closet.  As we worked through several sections of the existing wardrobe, I couldn’t help but think whether or not he’s being somewhat held hostage by his wardrobe.  It sure seemed so. And then, I thought this could make for a good blog topic.  Are you being held hostage by your wardrobe?

This may not exactly be an easy question to answer because, as I often find to be the case, you don’t necessarily realize how your wardrobe restricts or controls your sense of personal freedom.


I’m sure that the notion of having your personal freedom impacted by a wardrobe that doesn’t serve you well seems extreme.  But, being held hostage by your wardrobe is far more common than it might seem.

In the vast closet of this new client, I discovered that, from the sections we have reviewed so far, better than 90% of the items hanging needed to leave because they were holding him back in significant ways.

Clothes too small in the neck, making his neck appear even thicker, and his strong shoulders narrower.

Clothes were too roomy in the body, making it seem like he weighs maybe 40 pounds heavier than reality.

Clothes in dated “rinse and repeat” styles that he wore 10 years ago, and never evolved his style or look.

Clothes with holes, stains, and missing buttons that no one with any self-respect should wear.

Clothes too big that they fall below the placement of his underwear, rendering the “prison” effect.

Clothes in patterns that are so loud on him that they scream, which makes him look like a whisperer.

Clothes in colors that make him look weak and meek or overbearing. They’re not playing at his volume.

These cumulative rationales for why the clothing in his wardrobe isn’t serving any positive capacity is what really has him being held hostage by his wardrobe.

I’ve certainly seen this with many clients who are not dressing themselves to meet their personalities and goals.  This is something that I write about over and over again because it is the cornerstone to developing an on-brand personal style.

If your wardrobe is like this client’s, you are being held hostage by your wardrobe.  These clothes give you a false sense of security.  You feel like you’ve got plenty of clothes to wear.  But, when you go into the closet, you feel like you’re trapped in a vortex of “nothing-to-wear-ness.”  It’s hard to put a good outfit together.  Nothing really feels like it’s truly right on, or truly you.  The 80 or 90 percent of the wardrobe that you’d never admit to loving even eclipses the few good pieces that exist. None of it feels really good.

Being in a closet full of useless clothing, regardless of how large or small the wardrobe is, plays a lot of mind games on you.  And, if you’re choosing your clothes to wear first thing in the morning, this creates quite a mental mind game on you that carries with you throughout the day.  How awful this must be!

If you are being held hostage by your wardrobe, you’re not alone by any means.  This also means that you may need some expert help.  It’s not easy getting to a place of freedom when it comes to personal style.  But, when you get there, it’s like climbing to the top of a mountain and claiming the journey and the peak a great victory.

Joseph Rosenfeld helps successful Silicon Valley technology entrepreneurs and executives discover their personal brands and design their personal styles.  Get Joseph’s free report that helps you know “6 Secrets to Success in Silicon Valley”.  Need immediate and fast help? Learn about 1:1 private, intensive, and comprehensive 1-2 day VIP program designed to transform your personal brand and style in record time.