The Clothes We Wear

Courtesy of Samantha Palmeri

Courtesy of Samantha Palmeri

“What’s the saying, the clothes make the man?” The saying refers to what others will think about you based on what you’re wearing, but in this case, I’m talking about the clothes actually causing one to act differently, making the man, or for me, the woman.


A few years ago I purchased my first workman’s coveralls for painting in my studio. At the time I was sick of ruining all my clothes with oil paint. I’d go into the studio at night just to sit and look at the day’s work, and I’d get up with paint all over my pants. At one point I couldn’t even enter my studio unless I put on my studio slippers because the floor was so filled with splattered paint. More importantly than the mess though, I was starting to realize that unless I had the proper attire on, it was harder for me to get to work.

What you’re wearing effects your state of mind.

Courtesy of Samantha Palmeri

Courtesy of Samantha Palmeri


Slipping this heavy dark blue suit over my clothes and zipping it up is a remarkable transformative experience. It all of a sudden transforms me into a painter again, no matter what I’m doing. I love the fact that the Dickies brand I purchased can be found at a web site called ‘tough weld’. It adds to that indestructible feeling I get when I’m wearing them.

Changing outfits throughout my day has become a necessary habit. I need the right get-up for everything now.

Like this morning I had to drive my daughter to the bus stop. So I’m dressed and ready for the day, which is great, but if I want to exercise now I have to get undressed, put my exercise clothes on, take a shower and get dressed all over again. If I take a shower I’m not going to want to put a dirty paint filled smock on afterward to go in the studio and work. So at this point there’s a good chance that I may not get any work done at all, all because I’m wearing the wrong clothes.

That’s what I mean by art wrestling. I am compelled to do my work the way I am compelled to eat and sleep, yet it takes an enormous amount of discipline and will power. And with all the things in life, like…getting dressed in the morning, I am so easily distracted. 

Do the clothes really make the woman? I think most artists are quite clever in finding little tricks to keep themselves motivated, and this is no exception. My coveralls are hung on my studio door ready to go, and yes, I do find that I end up in the studio more often. After all, us artists are a resilient bunch!

Thank to Samantha Palmeri who contributed this post to MDSamantha has her own blog about art and life called art wrestler. Please visit her blog at


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