Hi, beautiful people!
Right now my virtual style analyses are booked out several months in advance.
I know how hard it is to wait when you're on the quest to understand your unique beauty, because I've been there. :-)
So I thought I would share some quick instructions for how to use the Style ID Calculator.
The Style ID Calculator can put you on the road to finding your style type. It's $14.99 and you can get it here.
I hope this tool helps you discover the true nature of your beauty. :-)
I was recently honored by an invitation to analyze the lovely Audrey Coyne. Many of you will know and love her from Instagram and YouTube.
Maybe you've wondered how my system differs from other style systems. Audrey has a new video revealing how four different style experts analyzed her, and in my opinion its's a great overview of how four different style analysts arrive at their conclusions. (I'm the last one.)
My "dress for your face" philosophy is unique among style analysts, and in my opinion you can see that in the result I got for Audrey's delicate beauty.
Check out the video. If you think my results for Audrey are accurate, try my Style ID Calculator! Or perhaps consider investing in a personal analysis like the one I did for Audrey. (I now include the full suite of style information guides as part of your analysis package!)
I hope you and yours are well right now. <3 <3
Hey, beautiful women. It's March 2020 as I write this. I'm stuck indoors right now, and I'm guessing a lot of you are as well.
Are you feeling nervous these days? I sure am! I am really appreciating activities that take my mind off of the scary stuff going on in the world right now.
I thought it would be nice to give you a chance to get the Style ID Calculator for a reduced price.
If you're stuck inside your house, this is a great time to finally figure out your style type.
And if you're worried about your finances right now, $9.99 hopefully won't break your bank.
This sale will eventually end. But the Style ID Calculator also comes with a discount code that never expires. Once you discover your style type, and you're feeling a little bit more confident about the future, use it to buy products for your style type. :-)
I'm scared too. But we;re going to get through this. <3 <3 <3
Many of us in the northern hemisphere are starting to think about swimsuits. If you find swimsuit shopping stressful, you're not alone! In this video, I talk about features of the best swimsuits for different style types.
Remember: Ignore all the advice about shopping for your body shape!
There's a reason you've never felt like it really worked: it DOESN'T work.
Dress for your face, not your body!
Scarlett Johansson, Renee Zellweger, Cynthia Erivo, Florence Pugh -- what did you think of their Oscar looks? Here, I share my thoughts about their color and style choices.
I made a video!
Watch as I evaluate different outfits and talk through the process I use to decide whether they are appropriate for Gamine style blends.
I'm looking forward to making more videos in the future!
An adult who seems always to have a youthful or childlike quality, regardless of age, likely has a strong dose of Ingenue or Gamine.
Big eyes, a large forehead, a small nose, and a round or square face all help to create an impression of youthfulness.
One way to think about the seven style types is to think about the words we use to describe the type of beauty each identity embodies.
Which isn't to say Gamines aren't incredibly attractive. They are incredibly attractive. Women who have a "yang" or masculine quality to their beauty are no less attractive than their more "yin" counterparts. They only appear unlovely when they're placed in a clothing context that's more stereotypically feminine than they are.
You can see the boyish quality of a Gamine in the following ways:
Which isn't to say that Gamines need little detail. They look great with a lot of detail in the clothing -- pockets, buttons, cuffs, etc. But the jewelry is best when it's minimal. A lot of jewelry reads as feminine, and feminine context around a Gamine will make her look masculine.
The effect of clothing context on our apparent masculinity or femininity is analogous to the effect of color on our skin.
The apparent color of your skin changes, for better or worse, depending on what color is next to it. That's because of simultaneous contrast.
And the apparent qualities of your face and figure, including the apparent masculinity or femininity, change depending on the context that surrounds it.
If almost everything in the frame reads as boyish, then the viewer mainly notices what's not boyish - and so the Gamine's feminine qualities actually stand out more.
The more boyish the context, the more beautiful Gamines look.
Surround them with traditionally female decoration like long locks, ruffles, and lavish jewelry, and they become less lovely.
(Dramatic color contrast feels serious or intense, not playful; playful color contrast is Gamine. The difference here is sometimes just the size of the color blocks. The lines of the overall garment can push the effect one way or the other -- intense or playful -- as well.)
Any head-to-toe monochromatic look generally reads as Dramatic.
A monochromatic look in one of your palette neutrals will feel particularly intense.
Even if you're a Light Season or a Soft Season, color blocking and monochromatic schemes will look Dramatic on you. The colors have their effect relative to each other and to your skin tone. :-)
Are you a Dramatic or a Dramatic blend? How have you combined your palette with your style type? Please share in the comments!
You'll want to do a Google image search, of course. Here are some specific search strings I suggest you use to find visual inspiration for your style type's best hair. I use some search operators in my search strings, such as - and OR , so try pasting the exact search string.
(Google recently removed some of its most helpful image search tools, such as the ability to get only faces as search results. To get this and other tools back, do an advanced image search here. )
hair glamorous long -wig -extensions
(The minus signs tell Google terms to exclude. If you're doing an advanced search, you can just type "wig" and "extensions" into the field for words you want to exclude.)
Other Romantic keywords to try: curls full sexy
hair neat curls medium "little girl" -frizz -wild
(I know it may seem odd, as an adult Ingenue, to search for pictures of little girls as hair inspiration. But many of the best pics online of Ingenue hair are pics of little girls.)
hair mature medium
Also, this one works well:
hair tv anchor
Other Classic keywords to try: elegant coiffed "first lady"
hair long layers shag OR wild
Other Natural keywords to try: natural mane messy
hair short boyish
You may have noticed that these search results are mostly white ladies. :-/ That's obviously not helpful if you're a WOC with a specific hair texture! If you want hair styles specifically for women of color with specific hair textures, try adding, for example, "african american" or "asian" to your search string.
If you're a blend of two or more core types, try searching for a few key terms from each core type.
For example, for Romantic-Dramatic-Classic, I used "glamorous" for Romantic, " sleek" for Dramatic, and "elegant for Classic. Here was my search string:
hair glamorous sleek elegant
I got some pretty good RDC ideas:
I'm an Ethereal Natural. When I combine Natural and Ethereal search terms, I get my favorite hair for myself:
hair layers long curls
My best hair has Ethereal's mermaid curls, but Natural's layers and wildness.
Tip: if your hair has a particular texture that's non-negotiable, try adding that to your search string. For example, if you're predominantly Ethereal but you have straight hair, try searching
straight hair long mermaid
(If you don't want all the dyed hair results for 'mermaid', try adding this to the end of the search string: -dye -ombre -pink -blue)
Do you know some search terms that have worked well for your style type? Please share them in the comments!
Not sure of your style type? Try the Style Identity Calculator, or consider a Virtual Analysis.
A version of this article was first posted in December of 2018.
Romantics, Ethereals, Classic, and Dramatics are each best in a head-to-toe look. If you think about it, this makes sense, because all four of these types are formal and grown-up in their own way: the Romantic is mature womanly sexiness, the Classic is a "ladylike" adult woman, the Dramatic is a powerful ruler, and the Ethereal is an immortal being. None of these pure types is youthful or casual enough to look her best in an obvious use of separates.
Creating a head-to-toe look can seem difficult, because pretty much everything in the stores these days is separates. You'll occasionally have opportunities to purchase items as a set, but they can be hard to find.
Often, the easiest way to create a head-to-toe look is to choose separates that are all the same color. When the color is a shocking hue, or pure white or pure black, this is an especially good look for Dramatics.
If you find it very difficult to create a head-to-toe look, the good news is that if even one of your essences is an essence that looks good in separates -- Natural, Ingenue, or Gamine -- you can bring in that essence through your use of separates. I'm an Ethereal Natural, and I tend to do this, because it's easy. I own a lot of very Ethereal separates, and when I throw them together casually, the effect reads as Natural.
Speaking of which: the message a Natural sends with her use of separates is, "I own nothing but separates, and I basically just throw them together because that's how confident I am, but the effect is never weird, because I can't be bothered to put in enough effort to make it deliberately weird, because that's how casual I am."
A Natural use of separates looks unplanned, but not attention-getting. If it were an attention-getting look, that would imply that a Natural cares what anyone thinks, and part of the Natural impression is the sense that she's not dressing for the viewer.
An Ingenue's use of separates says, "Because of my childlike quality, I own mostly separates, but I am careful to put them together in a way that is harmonious and lovely to the eye, because I want to look pretty and finished."
A Gamine's use of separates says, "I deliberately combine separates no one else would dare to put together, because that's how fun and quirky I am. I want you to notice!"
Like Naturals, Gamines don't aim to carefully coordinate separates. But unlike a Natural, a Gamine looks like she's definitely dressing for the viewer: she wants to make you smile and laugh. So the use of separates looks simultaneously carefully planned and really unusual.
If you're a blend of two or three types, as most women are, and you manifest Natural, Gamine, or Ingenue through your use of separates, you'll want to lean a bit more heavily on your other essence (or two) to balance the effect. So, for example, A Natural-Classic-Ingenue combining separates in a casual, Natural way would take extra care to bring in Classic and Ingenue in other aspects of her look.
If you're not sure of your style type, try the Style ID Calculator!
It may be the easiest type of visual feminine to spot, because it's the kind of feminine beauty hetero men are most interested in -- so it's a beauty we often see portrayed in popular culture.
Other systems call this type Sensuous, Soft, or Alluring. They're beating around the bush.
The straight truth is this: Romantic beauty is sexy beauty.
Of course, it could be argued that Style Type Analysis is inherently objectifying, because it analyzes women based purely on their physical qualities. I don't believe this is true, though. We're not ranking women, or judging their inherent worth, based on their appearance -- we're analyzing appearance for the purpose of helping all women have tools to feel simultaneously authentic and beautiful, if that's something they want. The point of Style Type Analysis is to empower women in their own authentic beauty.
Yet talking about Romantic women's appearance is difficult for me because, traditionally, all women have been judged by how well we conform to the standard of Romantic beauty. And we're all pretty sick of it, aren't we?
Even the Romantic women, who "win" in that system of judgment, are probably tired of being valued for their sexiness.
Is it possible for us to celebrate Romantic beauty without implying that Romantic women's worth lies in that beauty?
I believe it is. I hope it is.
Because there's no way around it: Romantic women embody sex appeal.
Romantic women tend to have sensuous mouths, smoldering eyes, narrow jaws, large foreheads, and full hair. A Romantic woman looks mature and powerful, not inappropriate, with boob and butt emphasis and a super-cinched waist.
Dark hair reads as Romantic because human hair naturally darkens with sexual maturity. (Just as light hair reads as youthful because prepubescent children tend to have lighter hair than adults.)
A flush in human skin is an indicator of sexual arousal. So palette-appropriate reds, which echo that flush, look perfect on Romantics.
Romantics look like themselves with half-closed eyes, a cocked eyebrow, and a knowing smile -- or no smile at all. This "come-hither" face is silly on pretty much everyone else, but on Romantics it's perfect. It looks wise and confident.
Romantics look great with the impression of cleavage, even if they're small-busted. (While some large-busted women, such as Gamines and Dramatics, look best with de-emphasized chests.)
Feminine beauty is defined by the curving line. Perhaps because a curved line is more visually complicated than a straight line, Ethereals and Romantics look great surrounded by a lot of detail. (While Naturals and Dramatics are unattractive in highly detailed contexts.) A Romantic looks gorgeous in ruffles, gathers, ruching, elaborate hair, and ornate jewelry.
Red roses symbolize romance and sexuality, and a Romantic woman is like a red rose: beautiful, delicate, detailed, and composed entirely of curving lines.
So you're a Romantic, but you don't want to be defined by your sexy appearance. As a woman, I completely get that.
But if you dress in a way that doesn't create an impression of softness, curves, and delicacy, the result will be that you look less dignified.
Honor your Romantic beauty by creating looks as feminine and sexy as you are. That reads as dignified and self-aware.
A version of this post was published in May 2015.
Constructed garments have a defined shape that's not simply the shape of the body underneath the garment. You can't easily ball up a constructed garment in your hand; it wants to hold a shape.
Manufacturers also use lining, padding or interfacing to make garments have a defined shape.
Dramatics and Gamines are flattered by sharp-cornered squares and rectangles. These aren't the shapes of the human body, so Dramatics and Gamines usually need constructed garments to create those shapes.
Classics are lovely with a few sharp corners, but they shouldn't overdo it. Classics represent the beauty of balance, moderation, and perfect proportion. This means they are gorgeous in clothes that fit them perfectly, with a lot of tailoring that's precise but not dramatic, and some draping that's feminine without feeling excessive.
It's not as easy to find constructed clothes as it was 100 years ago. As a society, we've all mostly agreed to dress like Naturals most of the time. Which is great for us Naturals, but a challenge for everyone else.
Garments that are tailored into defined shapes are usually more expensive than unconstructed garments, because that kind of sewing is labor-intensive. If your style type calls for construction, you may choose to spend the money on those more expensive items. You might also save some money by focusing on clothes that are stiff not because of their tailoring but because they're made from stiffer fabrics.
If you're willing to buy second-hand, you'll find that a lot of vintage clothes are more structured than what you typically see in stores today.
Also, consider using spray starch to give your garments more stiffness! You don't hear much about it these days, because fashion is mostly so unconstructed, but clothing starch is still a thing.
Often, but not always.
Do Soft Summers and Soft Autumns look "soft? Are they visually very low-contrast?
Often, but not always.
Let's think about Light Spring and Soft Autumn, which I discussed here.
The Light Spring palette is light, warm, and clear. The Soft Autumn palette is muted, warm, and medium-dark.
Ultimately, what determines your season is how your skin reacts to color, not what your skin, hair, and eyes look like. So it's not precisely true to say, for example, that a Light Spring is herself light, warm, and clear; instead, we say that her best colors are light, warm, and clear.
I'm a Soft Autumn. One could argue that my overall contrast level is higher then either of my kids', because I have fair skin but darker hair than either of them. Yet I know I'm a Soft Autumn because my best colors are Soft Autumn colors. I look my most lovely in warm, dusty rose, gentle olive, gentle yellow, muted turquoise, and dusty periwinkle.
You can absolutely be a Soft season even if you don't think you look low-contrast. Many Soft Summers and Soft Autums have fair skin and dark hair.
And you can be a Light season even if you have brown eyes, brown hair, and/or tan skin. (Think about it this way: both Light seasons have versions of brown in their palettes, right?) People with all three -- darker hair, eyes, and skin -- aren't usually Light seasons, but it does sometimes happen.
If you're not sure of your season, try the quiz!
From now through September 3rd (Tuesday), take 25% off every document on my site!
If you're a mom, you've probably spent a lot of money on your kids this month. I know I did. I wanted a treat for myself as well, so I got my nails done. :-)
If you want a treat for yourself too, consider trying the Style ID Calculator (now $11.25!) and determining your style type. Once you know your type, you start saving money on clothes.
Or if you already know (or suspect) your type, complete your collection of documents by picking up the Shopping Guide (now $19.50), the Visual Style Guide (now $11.99), the What Not to Wear (now $11.99), the Infinite Outfit Generator (now $8.99), or the Fragrance Guide (now $8,99).
If you know or even suspect your color season, try your season's Makeup Guide (now $11.99), which lists hundreds of products that will harmonize perfectly with your skin.
Or buy your mom, sister, or BFFL a gift card, and send it to her in an email that says, "This is that thing I've been telling you about!"
Use promo code LABORDAYTREAT.
Soft Autumn is the most faded Autumn palette, and it's the lightest as well. Soft Autumn colors are faded earth tones -- desert colors, or safari colors.
(If you know your coloring is warm and gentle, but you also look good in lime green, you're probably a Light Spring, not a Soft Autumn.)
If you're a Dark Autumn, you may be confused, because on the one hand you know you're best in rich earth tones, but on the other hand you seem to be able to wear black. That's correct -- Dark Autumn is the darkest Autumn palette, and also the most vivid. Dark Autumn is the only Autumn palette that includes black.
If you can rule out Dark Autumn (because you're overwhelmed by black) and Soft Autumn (because those colors are much too weak for you), then you're likely a True Autumn, also known as Warm Autumn.
True Autumn is one of the rarer seasons, so congratulations, unicorn! :-)
Your colors are the stereotypical Autumn foliage colors: very rich, very warm, neither super-light or particularly dark.
Are you an Autumn? How did you figure out your exact type? Share in the comments!
To cheer us all up, I'm discounting makeup lists 20% this week. :-)
If you're still not sure what your color season is, this is the perfect time to buy a seasonal list, Take it into Ulta or Sephora, and try some products. When you're using the list that is right for you, you'll see that product after product looks amazing on you.
Have I told you lately how powerful it is to own your seasonal makeup list?
Every one of the hundreds of products on the list matches one of the colors in your seasonal palette. That means every product is harmonious with your skin. Every lipstick and blush is one of your reds or pinks. Every eyeliner and eyeshadow is one of your greys or browns (or blues, or greens, or purples, if you feel like getting creative.)
It's been more than 10 years since I started using only makeup that matches the Soft Autumn palette. So that's ten years since I got off of the makeup merry-go-round.
Not once in the last ten years have I bought a lipstick because a magazine told me it was in style, or it was a "universally flattering" color. (There's no such thing!)
Not once in the last ten years have I bought an eyeshadow because I thought it looked awesome, only to have it look awful on my face.
I spend very, very little money on makeup now. I use every product until the pan or tube is empty, because everything I buy looks great on me. I have one extended-wear lipstick that's perfect for me, and I buy it in bulk on eBay. (I actually buy most of my makeup online; I just order from my list.) And I have one lippie I use for a fancy night out -- it's Soft Autumn's version of a deep red. (Dozens of products match this exact shade of red, but the one I use is Tarte Tarteist in Bling.)
Remember -- use SUMMERMAKEUP to get 20% off, this week only!
Personal color systems other than the 12-tone system usually rely on hair and eye color to determine your color palette. These systems tend to incorrectly type light-eyed, fair-haired women as Summers, even when they're not. And they tend to to ignore the possibility that women with darker hair and eyes can be Summers.
A quick glance through Elea Blake's True Summer album will give you a snapshot of what True Summers really look like. It's a varied picture!
You'll see loads of brunettes. You'll see women with red hair, brown eyes, freckles, and other features that you don't think of when you think of True Summer. You'll see women of color who would surely be mistyped as Dark Autumn or Dark Winter in most other color systems.
In the 12-tone system, all that matters is which colors best complement you-- and that's determined by your skin's undertones. That's the correct way to determine your best colors.
If you're not sure of your color season, consider trying the Truth is Beauty Color Analysis Quiz. When you know your color season, you can stop buying the wrong makeup because makeup that matches your color palette also complements your skin.
Here's to really seeing ourselves. Truth is beauty!
Bright Spring Colors
Bright Winter Colors
Color Analysis Theory
Dark Autumn Colors
Dark Winter Colors
Figuring Out Your Season
Light Spring Colors
Light Summer Colors
Soft Autumn Colors
Soft Summer Colors
True Autumn Colors
True Spring Colors
True Summer Colors
True Winter Colors