Every one of the 63 style identities can be manifested within every seasonal palette. (Though your coloring may play a small role in your style ID.)
The trick is to read each recommendation for your style identity's color schemes and adapt it by adding your color season's name somewhere in the sentence.
For example, I would recommend deep reds and purples to create a Romantic look; if you're a Dark Autumn Romantic, you would think to yourself, "Choose the deep reds and purples from my Dark Autumn palette."
To create a Classic look, head-to-toe-conservative neutrals is effective; in the case of a Dark Autumn, she would choose from the most conservative neutrals from her Dark Autumn palette.
You can find more information about your style identity's palette recommendations in the shopping guide for your type.
Why I Love Being a Natural
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
One Reader's Journey
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.
How Masculine Style IDs do Skirts
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.
Not sure of your style identity? Try the Style Identity Calculator, or consider a virtual analysis.
If you know your personal style identity, chances are you've bought the corresponding shopping guide.
(If you haven't, I recommend it! And if you don't know your style identity, try the Style Identity Calculator. Or consider a virtual analysis.)
I recommend using your shopping guide to create a Pinterest board. Doing this helps you really visualize the full extent of your wardrobe's potential.
I used my Ethereal Natural Shopping Guide to create a Pinterest board. I searched for individual items recommended on the list, and pinned those that conformed to other EN requirements laid out in the guide.
For example, I searched for "rolled sleeves," and pinned a pic of rolled sleeves that were cotton (Natural) and very light in color (Ethereal.)
Paging up and down through the board, letting my eyes float gently over all of the images, I get a strong, clear sense of the Ethereal Natural look. I feel like I'm seeing for the first time exactly how much the femininity of Ethereal and masculinity of Natural really contrast with each other. It's striking and beautiful. I feel inspired to stretch myself a bit more in my daily choices.
When you make your own board, pin items that only include the garment or accessory in question -- nothing else. Nonconforming items in the pictures will improperly influence your sense of your style identity.
You can see my Ethereal Natural boardhere.
"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation." - Audre Lorde
When the world wants to diminish you or make you feel less-than, taking care of yourself is a revolutionary act.
When you feel good about how you look -- when you know you're showing the world who you truly are -- you are stronger.
I want to make self-care a little easier for you right now.
Today, I'm offering 20% off every single product.
Every Makeup List
Every Style Identity Calculator
Every Home Draping Cards set
All Seasonal Color Cards
Every Shopping Guide
Every Visual Style Guide
Every Fragrance Guide
Every What Not To Wear
Use promo code TAKECAREOFYOU20.
Take care of yourselves today, beautiful women.
Fill yourselves back up, so you can get back out there and do what needs doing.
Promo ends Sunday, 11/13/16.
A few months ago, a reader asked about perfume recommendations for each of the style identities.
She pointed out that it was difficult to imagine an Ethereal wearing the same fragrance as a Dramatic or a Classic.
The idea fascinated me. In college, I went through a period of obsessing about fragrance -- fragrance families, fragrance notes, and so on. (Any attempt to organize and systematize an aesthetic experience is inherently appealing to me, I suppose! 4w5, anyone?)
I delved back into the world of fragrance and set about to identify perfect fragrances for each of the 63 style identities. I spent hours identifying the perfect fragrance families, notes, concentrations, and genders for each of the 63 style identities.
It was a delightful project, not least because scientists have actually researched how people respond to scent.
Did you know that, just as certain images read as masculine or feminine to our eyes, certain odors read as masculine or feminine to our noses? Odors can also read as light or heavy, sharp or dull, youthful or mature....
Do you see where this is going?
If a person looks like her best self in mature, feminine clothes, it stands to reason that she'll smell like her best self wearing a mature, feminine fragrance. Right?
I'm happy to now be able to offer you a Style Identity Fragrance Guide!
In the guide, you'll find
You may find your favorite fragrance on your list -- or be inspired to try one that's brand new to you.
But wait -- who says you have to smell like you look?
What if I'm an Ethereal Natural, but I want to smell like a Romantic Dramatic on date night? Or like a Classic for my job interview?
No problem! I'll buy a fragrance from the Romantic Dramatic guide or the Classic guide.
And if you know the style identity of friends and family, you can use the guides to buy fragrance gifts that will feel incredibly personal.
I hope you find as much pleasure using these docs as I found creating them.
1. It makes you feel better about yourself.
Your true physical self is very much part of who you are.
When you feel free to be your true physical self, you feel happy.
Mental health is in no small measure about feeling like we are free to be our true selves. Dressing as your true lines and colors is uplifting and freeing.
2. It gives you social power.
When other people can see that you look like yourself -- that you look how your natural lines and colors dictate you should look -- they unconsciously assumes that you are
a) highly self-aware, and
b) brave enough to be your natural self.
Both of those qualities -- self awareness and courage -- are impressive, even intimidating, to other people. And that gives you power in your social interactions.
Social interactions are largely about power; in almost any interaction, one person or the other has an upper hand.
Now, "power" isn't a bad word. Power doesn't mean hurting people. In fact, power is necessary to help people.
In order to parent effectively, to inspire, to lead, to change the world, you must be able to influence people. You must have power.
So you want power in your social interactions, always -- not to hurt or dominate, but to lead, teach, inspire.
And also just to get what you want, of course.
3. It helps you be a person of integrity.
Speaking of power: in social psych, I learned to define power as
the ability to influence others and to resist their influence on you.
That second part is interesting, right?
Consider a crying newborn: it's powerless, because although it has the power to affect others with its cries, it has no power to resist others' influence on it.
So, in order to have power, in addition to having influence, you must have integrity.
Integrity is about being whole, sound, undivided, the same through and through. Honesty. Consistency. Steadfastness.
A person of integrity -- a person firmly rooted in the truth of herself -- is easily able to resist others' influence on her.
Looking like yourself is about integrity.
When you dress yourself in a way that is visually consistent with the lines and colors nature gave you, you create a visual impression of integrity. This promotes the sense in the viewer that you are a person of integrity. And the viewer treats you as such.
And it promotes *your own* sense of yourself as a person of integrity, when you look in the mirror. Which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Bonus: as a person deeply rooted in the truth of your own colors and lines, you will be free of the fashion world's control over you.
I know I'm Ethereal Natural and a Soft Autumn; because of that, no magazine can ever convince me I should buy a crop top or a fuchsia lippie. I seek out the colors and lines that I know are right for me; I am completely unmoved by fads and trends.
Part of my mission is to bring DIY color analysis and style analysis to people who can't afford to pay "experts." Make today the day that you figure out your true colors and lines.
A huge portion of successful clothes shopping consists of knowing what to say No to.
I go into a store, and my eyes take in everything; I mentally reject most of what I see, and zero in on what remains.
I'm able to do this because I know I'm an Ethereal Natural, and I know what Ethereal Naturals shouldn't wear. From sleeve types to skirt shapes to fabrics to silhouettes, I know everything I should avoid.
I'd love for you to be able to do this too. So I've created What Not To Wear guides for each of the 63 Style Identities.
Your guide is a two-page document that identifies everything you should stay away from.
Instead of paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to shop with a stylist, pay $15 and take this list shopping with you. If it's on the list, don't buy it.
Use it to purge your closet, too. I anticipate "Ah-ha" moments when items on the list match the clothes in the back that you never wear.
If you don't yet know your Style Identity, but you have a pretty good idea of what looks good on you, try the Style Identity Calculator.
And if you're totally lost, invest in a virtual style analysis. Your What Not To Wear Guide is now free with your virtual analysis!
Shop What Not To Wear guides here.
New: Virtual Style Analysis
One of my missions is to make color and style analysis accessible to people at all income levels, in all locations.
Toward that end, I offer affordable home draping cards for color self-analysis, and the Style Identity Calculator for style self-analysis.
Most people find the color self-analysis pretty easy. But style self-analysis can be challenging for a woman who has absolutely no idea what looks good on her.
If you're that woman, Virtual Style Analysis is for you.
How it works:
With your answer, you will also receive the Visual Style Guide for your style identity.
The cost is $125. That's not cheap. But it's an investment. Over the long term, you'll save much more than that because you'll no longer buy clothes that are wrong for you. You will be off of the fashion merry-go-round. :-)
Click here to book your virtual style analysis.
I'm so excited to finally offer a tool that provides visual examples of how to wear your Style Identity!
The Style Identity Calculator helped you figure out your Style Identity.
But it can be difficult to know how to translate that Style ID into an ensemble each morning.
The new Visual Style Guides help solve that problem.
Each guide shows three different women dressed as your Style Identity. Annotations explain each element of the ensemble.
The guide is a one-page PDF, so you can print it and hang it in your dressing area, and also pull it up on your phone when you're shopping.
You deserve this!
(A thoughtful and affordable holiday gift idea: Analyze your loved ones with the Style Identity Calculator, and then surprise them with a Visual Style Guide.)
Style Identities: The INGENUE
Ingenue beauty is often what you're seeing if someone is clearly "pretty," but you'd feel uncomfortable styling her in overtly sexy clothes because she just looks too darn sweet.
The curving line is the defining line of all the feminine types, but Ingenue's circles are small and restrained, rather than large and lush.
Ingenues look appropriate, not ridiculous, in girlish details such as small bows, tiny flowers, headbands, simple lockets, and puffed sleeves.
The Ingenue face is quite round, with a tiny, tapered chin, a small, pert nose, round, wide-set eyes, a large forehead, round cheeks, and plump lips. Ingenues often have naturally curly hair; if they don't they are still flattered by curls. Overall, an Ingenue reads as girlish.
By contrast, they look silly -- like a kid playing dress-up -- in anything "sexy" or womanly, such as elaborate jewelry or a plunging neckline..
And of course, Ingenues are no less sexual than any other people. It's just that visually, they read as girlish rather than womanly.
Eyes that appear very light relative to the overall coloring read as youthful, and therefore Ingenue (or Gamine).
Note that this signifier should be interpreted relative to the overall coloring. On a pink-skinned, yellow-haired person, deep blue eyes probably won't read as Ingenue. On a brown-skinned person with black hair, caramel or light brown eyes will read as youthful.
Ingenues appear authentic and relaxed with sincere, joyful smiles.
Ingenues often hear "pretty," "cute," "sweet," and "adorable." They're not perceived by strangers as intimidating, mysterious, tough, or intense.
This can be frustrating to an Ingenue with a more assertive, competitive, or no-nonsense personality.
If that's you, my advice is to take advantage of the element of surprise that your innocent appearance grants you. They won't see you coming. :-)
Feminine Visual Beauty
Before discussing Romantic, Ingenue, and Ethereal types in detail, I want to generally discuss what feminine means in the Style Identity system.
Let me start by being clear that feminine beauty is not the only type of beauty. Dramatics, Naturals, and Gamines all embody beauty that isn't traditionally feminine, but is powerful nonetheless. And Classics are beautiful with a femininity that is subtle and restrained.
Before continuing, I should also let you know that right after this paragraph is a picture of a sculpture of a naked woman. Art, as far as I'm concerned, but probably NSFW for some people.
Pause, pause, pause...
OK, let's dive in. :-)
Feminine Visual Beauty
When we look at another human, we perceive their physical characteristics and make a judgment about their gender almost instantaneously.
This is usually an unconscious process. When it's not unconscious and not immediate, it surprises us -- hence our fascination with androgynous people.
Humans are not as sexually dimorphic as many primates. Average visual differences between women and men are objectively small. A visitor from another planet might not notice the differences.
But we humans are exquisitely sensitive to them.
Which makes sense from an evolutionary perspective: if an animal can't easily tell who's a potential mate, that animal might not pass on her genes.
Here are many of the ways in which men and women, on average, visually differ.
Descriptors of the masculine and feminine style identities derive from these differences.
For example, because narrow-seeming eyes are more characteristic of men than of women, they characterize the masculine (or "yang") style identities.
Because narrow chins are more characteristic of women than of men, they characterize the feminine (or "yin") style identities.
And so on.
The curving line.
Perhaps the defining element of visual femininity -- what immediately and strongly reads as feminine -- is the curving line.
Curved lines read as feminine because, from head to toe, the average human female has more obvious curving lines than the average human male -- in the curved hip, in the breast, in the apparently rounder eye, in the apparently rounder face, in the fuller lip, and so on.
All of the feminine style identities are defined by curving lines.
But the type of curving line depends on the style identity. More on that soon.
Categorizing the visual feminine: Romantic is not the only type of feminine beauty.
The Romantic type, which is present in all style systems that I know of, is defined by lush, round curves and mature, womanly femininity.
In many systems, Romantic --also called Alluring, Sensuous, Soft, or Sexy -- is the only type of feminine beauty.
Systems who conceptualize Romantic as the only type of feminine beauty are flawed, though, because people can read as beautiful and distinctly feminine without reading as va-va-voom.
Romantic does seem to be the variety of feminine beauty that men mainly notice -- which might explain why it's the only kind of visual feminine in some systems created by men.
But I agree with John Kitchener and others who believe that visual femininity can be fairly divided into three subcategories.
Romantic, Ingenue, and Ethereal.
All people who are discernibly female have some amount of Romantic, Ethereal, or Ingenue. These are the the three feminine style identities.
A woman without any amount of any of these would appear as a man, or completely androgynous.
If someone visually reads as distinctly feminine, you're seeing a rather large portion of Ingenue, Romantic, or Ethereal.
But which is it?
My next posts will be more detailed individual explorations of Romantics, Ingenues, and Ethereals, in that order.
I know many of you are like
The good news is, they're already partially drafted. :-))
A fun way to gauge your relative amounts of masculine beauty (Dramatic, Natural, and Gamine) and feminine beauty (Romantic, Ingenue, Ethereal) is to determine whether you'd be convincing in drag.
If you're a woman, could you pass as a man? If you're a man, could you pass as a woman?
Here, Glenn Close is pulling it off pretty well. There's no question she has a lot of Natural or Dramatic.
Hillary Swank -- Another beautiful woman with a lot of Natural or Dramatic.
Not even a Photoshopped beard can make Salma Hayek look masculine, though. She has too much Romantic.
Here's a man, Cillian Murphy, who makes a gorgeous woman. He's got a ton of Romantic or Ethereal.
Lee Pace has a lot of Ingenue, I'm thinking? Very believable.
Liev Schreiber, not so much. I'm thinking he's mostly Natural with some Classic and Gamine.
I want to introduce the seven pure style identities by starting with Dramatics.
People whose style identity is purely Dramatic create an overall visual impression of dignity, intensity, and theatricality.
They may remind us of big cats, or birds of prey.
The physical features in a woman that tend to create this impression include:
But don't get wrapped up in trying to figure out the style essence of each discrete body part.
In other words, it's not about whether or not your nose is Dramatic.
It's about whether your overall impression - the gestalt of your parts and manner - is unusual, intense, and even intimidating.
Dramatic energy is generally called "yang" energy. Belle Northrup originated this use in the 1930s, I suspect because she sensed women wouldn't want to identify with an energy described as "masculine."
But can we get real here and cut the euphemisms for a moment?
Dramatic women look masculine.
And they are stunning.
Dramatics look good in sharp-edged, man-tailored clothes because those clothes repeat the stunning masculine beauty of the physical appearance.
Now, Dramatic woman, this doesn't mean that your personality is masculine or theatrical or intense. The idea that appearance = personality is bull***.
Inside, you might be a wallflower, or a fairy princess, or a clown.
When there's a contrast between the truth of your exterior and the truth of your interior, the contradiction just makes getting to know you even more delightful.
* * * *
If you're a Dramatic, you probably look great with your hair pulled back severely from your incredible face.
If you're a Dramatic, you probably look great when you're not smiling.
If you're a Dramatic, we can probably see your cheekbones even when you're not smiling.
Pure Dramatics don't look innocent.
Pure Dramatics don't look traditionally sexy, though they are gorgeous. Their eyes don't say "Come hither;" they say "Watch out."
Pure Dramatics don't come across as approachable. (Though they might be the sweetest people you'll ever meet.)
Pure Dramatics are, by all accounts, rare. Please let me know if you can think of some.
Style Identities: The CLASSIC
Classics are so interesting to me.
If you're like me, you are accustomed to thinking about beautification as a process of adding things.
Add accessories, add makeup, add costume, add scenery, add hairstyle.
But Classics become more beautiful the more you remove.
Diane Kruger. The less detail she has near her face, the more beauty we see.
Classic beauty exists in the seemingly perfect balance and symmetry of the form and features. In a Classic face, no one feature jumps out. The nose, eyes, mouth, chin, and forehead aren't remarkably large, or remarkably small, or noticeably close together, or noticeably far apart.
Imagine you're a schoolyard bully: what nickname could you make up for that face? If you can't think of anything, you're likely looking at a Classic.
That impression of perfection can only be created when the form and features are all we see.
Add details to the image, and the perfection becomes harder to discern. The Classic fades into the background. She becomes merely pretty, or even boring-looking.
Classics can become visually forgettable if the chiseled perfection of their features is not highlighted by simple, carefully sculpted hair and the removal of all extraneous details.
Classic clothes are boring on everyone but a Classic. And attire that would be interesting on someone else overwhelms a Classic.
When people ask "Am I pulling this off?", they may be asking, "Are my features as complicated as this item I'm wearing?"
The answer to a Classic is usually "No."
If you're a Classic, you may have grown up hearing you were "pretty" - as opposed to cute, adorable, stunning, gorgeous or handsome.
In your self-critical moments, you may have seen yourself as plain or boring.
But would you call this ring boring?
A solitaire diamond engagement ring is a good metaphor for a Classic. The jewel's perfection is front and center when the setting is simple.
As a Classic, your seeming perfection will blow people away, if you allow it to be seen by keeping all of your lines simple and controlled.
All of the strategy of dressing faithfully to your Style Identity boils down to one idea: creating context for yourself.
The clothes and hair that you put on are your portable context.
When you choose clothing and hair that are congruent with your physical self, your physical self makes visual sense.
That's our goal here: to present ourselves in a way that says "I am real. My existence makes sense."
When we surround our physical selves with incompatible context, our physical selves don't make sense.
And we're signaling to anyone who looks, "I deny the reality of me."
If you compress soft, bountiful flesh into hard, unyielding fabric forms, you deny the reality of that soft flesh. (So, Romantics, no tailored suits in stiff fabrics.)
If you bind wide, muscular frames with constricting styles, you deny the reality of those big muscles and bones. (So, Naturals, no pencil skirts.)
If you surround a face and form that's perfect in its balance and simplicity with extravagant and outsize detail, you deny the reality of the simple perfection. (So, Classics, don't gild the lily.)
Style Identities: the NATURAL
Of the seven pure style identities, I believe Natural is the most common type - but perhaps the hardest to define.
The other types are exceptional by definition:
Dramatic are exceptionally imposing.
Romantics are exceptionally sexy.
Ethereals are exceptionally otherworldly.
Gamines and Ingenues stand out because of their seemingly eternal youthfulness and their small stature.
And Classics are unusually symmetrical and balanced.
Naturals, by contrast, are mostly defined by what they are not.
They are not visually extreme in any regard. Not extremely imposing, not extremely small, not extremely sexy, not extremely alien.
Naturals are just that - humans in their typical, average, natural state.
If Naturals get a superlative, it has to be "most friendly-looking." Even Natural supermodels look nice!
Naturals create an overall visual impression of being friendly, sturdy, and ordinary.
The attributes in a woman that tend to create this impression include:
Wait - go back a minute. Did she just call Naturals ordinary-looking?
Well, I did.
The ordinariness, the average-ness, is what makes them so appealing.
They feel familiar. We relate to them. We expect them to welcome us as fellow ordinary people.
Of course, since appearance =/= personality, a friendly-looking Natural may secretly be a right royal b****.
But that's part of the fun, isn't it?
If you're a Natural whose guileless exterior belies a devilish interior, you're twice as fascinating.
Regardless of whether or not you're the girl-next-door that you appear to be, your Natural form will be most flattered by Natural clothes: simple lines, comfortable fits, textured fabrics, functional accessories, and an overall informal vibe.
Natural or Dramatic?
Naturals can be confused with Dramatics. Both types can appear somewhat masculine. ("Yang," other writers say, but I'm trying to eschew those euphemisms.)
To distinguish between a Dramatic and a Natural, you might ask, "Does this face look friendly or threatening?"
Natural or Classic?
A Natural's ordinariness may cause her to be confused with a Classic.
An important difference between a Natural and a Classic is that Classics present an idealized version of the human average: moderate and balanced in every single dimension, without any asymmetry.
Naturals present the actual human average, which comes with asymmetries and lumps and bumps.
A test: Look at a person and imagine a cartoonist's caricature. If that's hard to do, you might be looking at a Classic. It's hard to caricature a Classic because nothing sticks out. But Naturals have plenty that sticks out.
This is why Naturals feel accessible and Classics feel aloof: Classics are so balanced that it feels almost inhuman. Naturals' "imbalances" are entirely human.
I've given copies of the tool to about a hundred people. I'm not giving away any more at this point; I need to take a day or two to read all of the excellent feedback I've received and use it to improve the tool.
I know a lot of people still want it! The good news is, I currently intend to offer it at a price point that most of you will find very reasonable.
I have been attempting to flesh out definable archetypes for three-way style identities.
Initially, I thought it would be impossible. But I'm actually finding it very doable.
For example, I'm thinking of Romantic-Ethereal-Classic as "Elegant Aphrodite."
Other examples of three-way combo archetypes in progress:
Romantic-Natural-Classic = "Alluring L.L. Bean."
Dramatic-Gamine-Ingenue = "Girlish Punk Rocker."
Classic-Gamine-Ingenue = "Darling Prep Schooler, a.k.a. Cher from 'Clueless.' "
My Pinterest boards for each three-way combo are still secret, but I aim to make them public soon. When I do, I'll add info about the trifold combos to this site.
In total, we'll have 63 style identity options:
7 pure essences + 21 doubles + 35 triples.
Do you have ideas about particular three-essence archetypes? Share them in the comments!
Edited to add:
I've made all of the above-mentioned Pinterest boards public. You can see them here:
This is an excellent tool if you already know what looks good on you, but you don't know how that translates into a coherent Style ID.
It's also great for analyzing friends, family, and celebs.
To use it, you'll need internet access and a PC with Microsoft Excel.
The Style ID Calculator was fantastic! Turns out I'm a Natural-Ingénue-Classic. - R.G.
I start with the idea that there are seven basic styles essences.
I continue by accepting that any individual might be one essence alone, or a mix of several essences.
I then suggest that for any person to combine more than two primary style essences into a coherent style identity without the help of a paid image consultant is difficult at best.
This is a problem!
My solution is the Truth is Beauty Style Identity System:
7 pure identities
21 possible two-identity combinations
I believe most people will be able to find themselves either within a pure style identity or within a two-style identity combination.
In upcoming posts I'll detail what I believe are the defining physical traits of each style identity, based on my study of the currently existing style systems.
I'll also provide the style recommendations I've deduced for each style identity.
In the meantime, here is my list of 28 style identities.
* * * * * * *
Many of you know the seven essential styles as well as (or better than!) I do.
With the exception of the Angelic style, which was first identified by John Kitchener and on which Ethereal is based, the style types go back decades.
So I would love to get your feedback, hear your ideas, see your Pinboards and Polyvores. Please contact me!
(Also, my decision about word order for each style identity was based simply on what sounded better. Disagree with my choice? Let me know!)
Just as personal color analysis identifies your authentic, most flattering colors, there are systems that aim to identify your authentic, most flattering lines.
Like many of you, I've spent a lot of time studying these systems.
David Kibbe describes five basic essences.
David Kibbe's system, as described in his book Metamorphosis, produces 13 distinct style identities by combining five pre-existing style essences:
I've discussed Kibbe's very helpful system before, so I won't go on about it at length here. If you believe you are some combination of these five essences, Kibbe's extremely detailed book is a must-read for you. No other articulation of these five essences is as specific or as complete.
And Kibbephiles who know their seasons now have an excellent new resource: Christine Scaman and Rachel Nachmias have adapted Kibbe's types into a system called Signature/STYLE, which combines body type with personal coloring. Ds, Rs, Cs, Ns and Gs will find Signature/STYLE incredibly helpful.
I'm passionate about helping people become their most authentic and beautiful selves.