I'm an Ethereal Natural. I love my style identity -- both halves of it.
Discovering you're strongly Natural can feel like a bummer, for a couple of reasons:
- Natural is a masculine essence, and we woman often feel that if we look "masculine," we're unpretty
- Natural feels so unexceptional. What's there to get excited about?
To the first point: Gisele Bundchen. Very strongly Natural, and stunning. Google her.
To the second point: Here are some of the reasons I love, love, love being a Natural...
This is the stuff I remind myself of if I ever find myself wishing I was a more "exciting" or "feminine" type.
But that doesn't happen too often, now that I've had several few years of practice being comfortable with who I am.
I want that feeling for you too! <3
I'm not always comfortable tooting my own horn, but this letter from a reader made me feel so proud of the work I do that I want to share it.
What she achieved is what I hope for all of you -- that you can use my tools and ideas to find your own authentic beauty. :-)
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About a year ago, I took a look in my closet and thought "What on earth is going on in here?" I owned nothing I liked, and nothing that suited me or my job. I decided that it was high time for me to "figure out my style." A bit of internet research and a free quiz or two later, I seemed to fit the profile of a Bright Winter Dramatic Classic. I had my doubts, but that sounded suitably corporate and bold. I attempted to dress as such. I spent a good bit of money on it, too. (Ugh.)
Except... it didn't feel right. So I tried messing around with Natural Dramatic... No. Soft Dramatic? Surely I had to be some kind of dramatic, since I'm tall and on the lean side. Every free quiz said that I had to be dramaticish. Fast forward to a few months later when someone snapped a picture of me. I had on a sharp black blazer, a severe platinum bob, and chunky jewelry. And I just looked lost in that outfit. I also looked old. Back to the internet I went, now a lot less confident in the entire style-analysis process.
I found your blog, Rachel, and each post seemed to click something into place. First up: dress for your face, you said. Well... yeah. That makes sense. Dramatic Classic clothes looked good on my body, but competed with my face. Then came your blog post about how ethereal elongation often gets mistaken for dramatic elongation. Light bulb moment for me. No wonder I look better in white linen than black pleather. I went on, using your explanation of color analysis and lipstick draping suggestions to find my right season (cool summer, so I wasn't that far off when I thought I was a winter). Armed with my 'right colors', I shocked my friends by dying my hair back to its original dark ash blonde. But then they all agreed it did look a lot better that way.
I then took the plunge and got your style ID calculator. I felt pretty nervous about it, since all those free calculators had pegged me so wrong. Now, in using it, I wasn't just pleasantly surprised. I was giddy.
First of all, I love the way it worked. It was a way to analyze myself against the clothes themselves - not against some standard set by the latest popular celebrities. I appreciated this, especially considering how so many celebs have had work done or are photoshopped or whatever. Further, I loved the lack of assumptions. Many other style calculators and blogs are western-centric, white-centric, and cis-gender-biased. Not only is that completely unhelpful and damaging for women who don't fit that stereotype, but it's not helpful for women who do. All my life I was told "Oh, well, you're tall and blonde, so you can wear anything." Only, I can't (and I'm not that blonde anyway) and I could never explain why I couldn't wear the 'in' clothes. I figured there must be something wrong with me - with my face and my body. But after using the style ID calculator, my view on that changed. There's nothing wrong with me. It was the clothes. Popular styles don't suit me at all - not when I was a kid and certainly not now. And without that knowledge, I didn't know how to describe what I needed.
I walked away from the calculator realizing that I am best flattered by a complicated blend of styles - and that's not only okay - it's awesome! I need something quite different from what's at the mall - something uniquely my own. I've since stopped shopping at my old haunts, and instead found ways to revamp my current clothes or order things from niche internet shops that I'd never even heard of before. My work wardrobe is slowly transforming from a dull, aging uniform into a blend of 'work appropriate' and my own quirky self. I love that.
Most of all, I've loved exploring your site. It's wonderful that you have a range of suggestions and insights for women of all body types, features, hair types and lengths, races, color seasons, and so on. This site didn't type me - it invited me to find myself.
So thank you, Rachel. You've made me feel a lot more beautiful. And that is, itself, beautiful.
If your Style Identity consists solely of Natural Dramatic, and/or Gamine, and you've purchased your What Not To Wear guide, you've probably seen that your skirt no-no section is really long.
If you think about it, it makes sense -- all three of these essences are masculine, and, in our culture, skirts are iconically feminine garments.
So what skirts do you get to wear?
What I'm going to say next may sound weird, but it's really good advice to understand which skirts will look best on you:
Anything skirt-like that a man could pull off will probably work for you.
All around the world, throughout history and continuing today, men do wear skirt-like garments -- and they make them work!
Dramatic, Natural, and Gamine women, men's skirt shapes are our skirt shapes.
Now, I know that this may be a difficult idea for some of us to accept, because we want to feel pretty, and we are invested in the idea that pretty = feminine.
But it's my goal to destigmatize "masculinity" for women, so that we can accurately acknowledge those features in ourselves.
In style analysis, see, "masculine" and "feminine" are not two discrete groups at opposite poles of a binary.
Instead, there are "masculine" features and "feminine" features.
Many, but not all, men have predominantly "masculine" features.
Many, but not all, women have predominantly "feminine" features.
Most of us have some of both. And we look awesome!
Check out models: the most gorgeous female models often have a lot of masculinity in their features, and the most gorgeous male models often have a lot of femininity.
If you're a strongly Natural, Dramatic, or Gamine woman, you have masculine elements in your appearance. Own it and love it! :-)
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Anyway... for us women with a lot of Natural, Dramatic, or Gamine, the skirts that complement "masculine" features are the skirts that will look great on us.
So, what features define "men's" skirts?
Masculine skirts are almost always very straight, sharp-cornered, and simple.
Masculine skirts are usually very long, which fits wiith the fact that Dramatic and Natural are elongated essences. They can occasionally be very short, and very short skirts work for both Naturals and Gamines.
The outline of a masculine skirt will always resemble a rectangle, square, or trapezoid.
If there is draping, it's elongated and subtle. If there are gathers, they are similarly subtle -- there's never a bouffant effect at the hips. And if there are pleats, they are large and sharp, like kilt pleats.
Masculine skirts are typically low in detail.
It seems clear to me that humans all over the earth independently arrived at the same conclusion: straight lines and minimalism flatter masculine features. Interesting, isn't it? I believe this aesthetic response is hard-wired.
Your season isn't about your eye color -- it's about your skin. Period.
Here are some beautiful examples of Summer and Winter (i.e., cool-toned) women with seemingly warm eyes. These pics are from Elea Blake's Facebook page. (Elea Blake's makeup quality is amazing, just FYI. I don't understand how a gloss can be glossy and still stick to my lips for so long!)
- Here's a True Summer with warm eyes...
- and another...
- and another! :-)
- a True Winter with warm eyes...
- and another...
- and another!
The only determinant of season is how the colors look with your skin.
If they are right for your skin, they will be right for your eyes too.
Not sure of your season? Try at-home draping!