You've analyzed yourself with the Style Identity Calculator, or you've had a professional analysis. And you hate your answers.
You have Natural, but you hate jeans. You have Gamine, but Gamine's funkiness feels clownish. You have Ingenue, but the last thing you want to be is a little girl. You have Romantic, but you hate dressing like a sex object.
It's not the case that all of us are instinctively drawn to what looks good on us. Many of us are, but, for some of us, what visually flatters us the most just feels wrong.
What do you do?
Here are a couple of strategies I recommend:
1. Reconceptualize the Essence
For each of your essences, try using a thesaurus to identify keywords you're more comfortable with that you can substitute in for the essence.
For example, a synonym for "spunky" (Gamine) could be fearless or energetic; a synonym for "girlish" (Ingenue) could be fresh or pure; and a synonym for "relaxed" (Natural) could be peaceful or authentic. So, if you absolutely hate the idea of Natural-Gamine-Ingenue, you can rename it Fresh, Fearless and Authentic. A small change in the words can make a big change in how you feel about it.
2. Identify Elements You Are Willing to Accept
Another way to try to get comfortable with your identity is to identify a few elements from each essence that you are truly willing to do.
For Romantic, if you hate cleavage and butt emphasis, maybe you're willing to do blingy jewelry. For Dramatic, if you hate avant-garde looks, maybe you're willing to do monochromatic looks. For Classic, if you hate feeling like a First Lady, maybe you can tolerate pearl earrings and a designer handbag.
Just pick one or two elements that you can bring yourself to wear, and try putting them together. You might find a combination that feels like you.
3. Consider That You Might Be Wrong About What's "You"
Though style analysis feels for many people like coming home, there's a small but important group of people who get analysis after analysis and still don't feel satisfied. It's the same with personal color analysis.
When I encounter those people, I usually see their correct lines and colors among the many options they're tried and rejected.
I've come to understand that these seekers are waiting for a particular feeling of relief, or joy, or wholeness, that they believe will indicate a correct answer. When they don't get that feeling, they assume the answer is wrong.
In those cases, the feeling they are seeking won't be found in their correct colors and lines. It may be found somewhere else, but exactly where probably depends on the person.
If you see yourself in this description, it may be that what's going to fulfill you personally is still out there. If you can come to embrace your style identity, at least you'll look amazing when you finally find it. :-)
4. F*** It
Look: Style Identity Analysis is a very specific aesthetic. It's based on the idea when you dress like what you already look like, you'll look your best.
But you don't have to do this.
If you're an Ethereal Natural but you can't resist funky, spunky Gamine prints, give yourself permission to wear them! The whole point of this endeavor is to make yourself happy. Break your own rules; make yourself happy. If you're like me, you may find that you get it out of your system, and you're able to return to your style identity with a more peaceful heart.
(I'm that Ethereal Natural, by the way -- I am so drawn to Gamine elements! And when I give myself permission to include them, I actually get tired of them pretty quickly.)
If you're a Bright Spring or a Bright Winter, you've probably been advised to go for super-shiny finishes and sparkly jewelry.
But if your style identity consists only of Natural, Dramatic, and/or Gamine, you know that these masculine essences ask for matte finishes. (Sparkly and glittery finishes read as feminine.)
How do you reconcile these two realities?
Bright seasons need, above all, an overall impression of brightness and high contrast. Blingy jewelry is of course one way to achieve that, but it's not the only way – – otherwise Bright season men, who generally very very little jewelry, would never be able to fully manifest their Bright selves! Right?
You can stick with matte and enamel finishes in your jewelry and still look amazingly Bright by focusing on value contrast (light-dark contrast) and color contrast in your clothes and accessories.
Here are some examples of women and men in Bright-looking ensembles with little or no shiny jewelry. I hope they inspire you!
Not all Style Identities lend themselves equally well to very practical clothes, such as workout clothes. Natural and Gamine may be the only two identities with obvious options in this area. How to solve this problem for yourself?
My advice is this: divide the category of "workout clothes" into two or three main aspects, and assign each aspect to one of your identities.
So color is left for your Ethereal, Ingenue, or Romantic essence. The good news is that these days, workout clothes are available in pretty much every color.
There are other ways to bring each of the three elements into a workout ensemble -- you could do an uber-sleek ponytail to bring in Dramatic, for example., or a large floral pattern to bring in Romantic.
You also might not give a dang what you look like when you're working out. :-) I don't always care. But it's a fun challenge to try to manifest our Style Identities, isn't it?
This is an interesting issue that Bright Spring and Bright Winter women often discuss -- whether the makeup can possibly be right, translated literally from the palette to the face.
Women draped as Bright sometimes say the colors feel too saturated on the face. If this is you, I think there are a couple of things possibly going on:
1. A given color might be right in clothing, but not on a person's face.
How far does a color have to be from red for it to no longer be a lip or cheek color? Bright Spring and Bright Winter have a lot of reds and pinks. They also have many purply pinks and orangey-reds. For some women, some of the pinks and reds are so close to purple or orange that they're no longer good as lippies (though they'd be fine as shirt colors, for example.) You can't wear every single palette color on your lips. Goodness knows not all True Autumns can wear pumpkin orange in a blush.
2. For some Brights, the intensity of the color just feels weird, even if it's objectively flattering.
This is often true for women who are totally new to the palette. If you're accustomed to wearing very muted lippies, the reds and pinks of Bright Spring and Bright Winter might feel odd to you. The only cure for this is time. As weeks and months go by, you'll slowly grow accustomed to your palette, and you'll come to see how natural these supposedly bright colors look on you.
3. Unfortunately, some women draped as Bright aren't actually Bright.
Draping is an art, and analysts do get it wrong sometimes. If you're a Bright, your reds and pinks should look natural on your face. They shouldn't look startling.
I hate to sow the seeds of doubt! I know we are all looking for peace of mind. But if your reds and pinks consistently jump out of your face, that's not color harmony.
4. Some colors are too bright for anyone to wear as a lippie.
The colors in your Bright Winter and Bright Spring palette aren't the brightest possible colors. There's a limit, it seems, to how saturated human coloring can get. There are definitely lippies for sale that are brighter than any Bright Spring or Bright Winter color. They won't look harmonious on anyone. (Color harmony isn't everyone's aesthetic.)