But clothes aren't just made of color. What would it mean to wear the shapes and lines that are already in you? To repeat the geometry of your face and body in your garments?
Style experts like Imogen Lamport and Trinny and Susannah identify different body shapes and recommend clothing styles for each shape. We learn a lot from these women, and are grateful to them.
But perhaps you've had the experience of putting on something that's supposedly perfect for your body type, only to have it look dead wrong - in the mirror, and to everyone else.
That long, severe, angular gown, supposedly perfect for your Column/Ruler/Banana body, may have been an utter FAIL on you because it completely conflicted with the soft, romantic feeling of your big round cheeks, heart-shaped face, and huge saucer eyes. You dressed for your body, but it didn't harmonize with your face.
Your face is what the rest of us spend the most time looking at, and styles that flatter your body but clash with the lines and shapes of your face just aren't going to work.
Now, it is possible to dress in a way that beautifully unites the geometry of both your face and body.
How to do this is described in Metamorphosis by David Kibbe, a book first published in 1987 that has become sort of a cult classic among women interested in truth and beauty.
Kibbe assigns you to an "image identity" category, based on a detailed examination of your body and your facial features.
He starts with five main types.
- Dramatic bodies and faces are long and sharp;
- Natural bodies and faces are large and broad;
- Classic bodies and faces are proportionate and balanced;
- Romantic bodies and faces are delicate and curvy; and
- Gamine bodies and faces are petite and compact.
But many of us don't fit neatly into one of these five categories. So there are hybrids. That long, angular body with the lush face isn't a Dramatic; she's a Soft Dramatic, with her own very specific recommendations for shirts, pants, dresses, shoes, jewelry, and even makeup.
There are 13 categories in all.
Note: Since publishing his book, Kibbe has reduced the number of types from 13 to 10. Gamine, Classic and Natural are elimanted. Their subtypes remain.
While you're waiting for the book to arrive in the mail, begin your obsessive exploration of the types here and here.
Christine Scaman has several good articles; two are here and here.
Finally, explore my collections of Polyvore sets for each of the 13 types to get a feel for what the clothes look like. Here are the links:
Soft Dramatic clothes
Flamboyant Natural clothes
Soft Natural clothes
Dramatic Classic clothes
Soft Classic clothes
Theatrical Romantic clothes
Flamboyant Gamine clothes
Soft Gamine clothes