Bonomo: The Sophisticate



Merle Oberon

-Often a woman who has learned to live by her wits
-Has read the latest books, seen the latest plays, and heard the latest gossip
-Definitely clever and likely to be a career woman
-Nervously vivacious and in many cases a brilliant conversationalist
-Shock-proof and modern
-If you can get beneath her brittle exterior, you will probably find her honestly sympathetic and generous
-…But she is a merciless antagonist!
-While she is one of the best dressed types in the world, clothes are not her major interest

Physical Characteristics
-More likely to be striking than beautiful
-Always slender, frequently exaggeratedly so and is invariably groomed to within an inch of her life
-There is never a hair out of place in her coiffure

-Has made almost a religious study out of clothes and uses her knowledge with daring and drama
-Will be remarkable for the perfection of her dress… whether she has little or much to spend
-Her clothes will be simple by day and as elegant as her purse can buy at night
-Even if her budget is very limited, she will have more formal clothes than the average woman
-Has a preference for dressmaker suits and afternoon dresses
-Shuns the spectacular
-Her clothes flow over her with unaccented distinction
-Loves fine fabrics, rich, soft furs and genuine, even if needs be modest, jewels.
-Is partial to white evening frocks
-Her dresses and wraps will be of the moment but never outstanding

Pick up Bonomo Original Hollywood Beauty and Charm at Vintage Makeup Guides.

Previously: The Gamine
Next: Summary

Bonomo: The Gamine



Betty Hutton

-May be a wiry little elf of a grandmother who keeps her family on tenterhooks with her mischief…
-…But she is apt to be young.
-A bit breathtaking but she has a grand time in life
-If she is true to type, so do the people around her
-Gay, impudent, and up to no good… in an innocent, or not so innocent, way
-Rules and regulations mean little to her and she manages to break most of them with impunity and much satisfaction
-She is fundamentally honest and loads of fun

Physical Characteristics
-Certain to be slim
-Boyish in appearance
-Leggy and gracefully gawky in gait
-Apt to have unruly hair, which she tosses about to emphasize her big moments
-Not unfrequently has an upturned, tilted nose
-Even a scattering of freckles do her no harm

-Gives the effect of being carelessly casual in dress
-Affects sports clothes in and out of season
-The ideal sweater and skirt girl
-Will have neat little tailored suits or jaunty boleros, frequently with hats to match and varicolored blouses
-Can wear natty checks and daring plaids
-Berets, “beanies,” and boyish caps are made for her
-“Schoolgirl” clothes become her even when she well past schoolgirl age
-Like dirndls with big bright patterns on them, which she frequently supplements with a dainty little baby blouse frilled at the neck and at the edges of the little puffed sleeves
-In the country, you may come upon her racing her “bike” at breakneck speed, blue jeans rolled up to the knees, heavy socks crammed into well worn moccasins, shirt tail out, and log bob flying in the breeze
-But at night, like as not, she will float upon the scene a veritable fairy queen in a billowing frock of pastel tulle with a chaplet of flowers upon her head

Pick up Bonomo Original Hollywood Beauty and Charm at Vintage Makeup Guides.

Previously: The Outdoor Woman
Next: The Sophisticate

Bonomo: The Outdoor Woman


Katharine Hepburn

-May be anything from a wood nymph to a college champion
-Is in her element out of doors
-Slings a mean ball at tennis, but that is the only mean thing about her
-An expert at most games, but a swell loser
-A good companion as well as a good sport and has hosts of friends of both sexes
-Intelligent and well informed with a wide scope of interests
-…But too good-natured to be competitive
-Her disposition is 1A
-Invariably has an inseparable canine friend
-Views on life, marriage, and men are sane and satisfactory
-Respects her body and takes care of it
-Likes an effect of spaciousness in her home… windows with wide vistas and polished floors with warm rugs scattered over them… and flowers everywhere
-One of God’s best gifts to the 20th century

Physical Characteristics
-May be as slender as Katharine Hepburn or as lusciously developed as Betty Grable
-Her voice is pitched low, but is not “throaty”
-Has the build for slacks and sweaters
-Usually heavily tanned

-At her best in sports clothes
-Looks wonderful in tweeds, which need not, however, be of the mannish type but may be in lovely pastel tones of blues, rose, or gold.
-Wears slacks and sweaters indoors and out
-Many of her most attractive clothes are white (looks good due to her tan)
-Can wear a white evening gown to perfection, and in a white tennis frock or a dead white bathing suit she is a knockout
-Will have a well-cut, professionally made riding habit even if she has to concoct every other garment in her wardrobe with her own fair hands
-Her riding clothes will be strictly conventional in type, and all eccentricity in this kind of apparel she rejects with scorn
-She will be the pink of perfection when she goes for a canter, boots polished to within an inch of their lives, every hair of her head under control
-Likes cottons because they are crisp and tubbable (note: I think this means washable), and looks wonderful in them
-On warm days, wears a tailored suit of striped seersucker or a cotton plaid with a fresh blouse and a trim little hat to town… cool, competent, and refreshing to behold amid the hordes of wilted femininity
-Her preference for cotton extends even to her underthings and evening clothes
-Will have simple lingerie of lovely pale-toned batiste with a smartly done initial in a contrasting color
-Pique and organdy evening frocks are the delight of her heart and infinitely becoming to her type
-As a rule, she prefers a little precious jewelry to a lot of imitation stuff
-Strange to say, pearls are often her most flattering stone

Pick up Bonomo Original Hollywood Beauty and Charm at Vintage Makeup Guides.

Previously: The Exotic Woman
Next: The Gamine

Do We Sell Ourselves Short?

This post uses affiliate links.

As I’ve written about before, I have a lot of success finding the design elements I prefer in the athletic wear department: wilder patterns, more interesting details, etc.

I went to the Nike store the other day and picked up two things, One is a windbreaker that I won’t be able to wear for a few months, but that definitely fills the raincoat-sized hole in my wardrobe.

Nike Sportswear Bonded Women’s Parka

The color is a great fit for DA, falling between the medium and dark olive green on the 7 strip on the classic fan, for people keeping score at home. And the asymmetry and angles make it a good fit for FG.

I went to the Nike store specifically to pick up that parka, but I couldn’t help also getting something else, a sweatshirt. I loved the pattern, and it is really soft. The length and boxiness make it a great piece for winter layering.

Nike Sportswear Modern Women’s Crew

But of course, there is one glaring problem with it. It’s not a DA colorway at all. It definitely looks like some summer grays. I bought it cognizant of that fact. These colors don’t really do anything bad for my skin; they just don’t really do anything.

But we all know that color is really, really important, so I began to wonder, are we selling ourselves short by making exceptions for things that are okay in other ways, but just not our season? How bad is going outside of what you know is your best?

Part of the reason why this was on my mind is because lately, I’ve been watching a lot of the new Dressing Your Truth videos on Carol Tuttle’s Facebook page. DYT wasn’t a system I stuck with, but their new materials and palettes have intrigued me. They recently did a video series showing people in each type dressed in the wrong type, and the mention of how gray is strictly a Type 2 color in the Type 2 video got me thinking. DA would get a warm kind of gray, but gray is definitely a color that I tend to feel comfortable cheating with, even if it’s not DA gray exactly.

But this has made me wonder if I’m selling myself short. Black and gray aren’t terrible on me the way spring colors are, so I feel okay with cheating, or even dipping into the darker summer colors. But I know that they simply aren’t as good on me as a DA almost-black or one of my other neutrals. After spending several years in the color and style world, shouldn’t I be concentrating on having a wardrobe that only has Bests, no Just Okays? I should be in the mindset where every day, it is worth getting out of bed and putting on an outfit and doing my hair and makeup and accessorizing, and all of these things will be in harmony with me and present my best self. I haven’t gotten to that point yet. It’s not something I do even most days.

So while I will definitely wear this sweatshirt to death this fall and winter, because I still love it, I’m going to try to concentrate more on avoiding things that are the wrong color, and making an effort to find enough accessories so that my wardrobe is more complete. Going back to Dressing Your Truth, they suggest that people who are going through their course try doing full head-to-toe outfits in their type for 30 days, and I think I should probably try to do the same with my own amalgamation of style types and seasons. I identify with these types in theory, but I don’t always put forth the effort, in my closet or on my body, that I should–and that I deserve.

I did find on the Nike site that this particular sweatshirt also comes in that DA olive color, so I’ve ordered that too to put away for next year, when the one I have this season is worn out and I hopefully will have several months of dressing to my fullest under my belt.

Nike Sportwear Women’s Crew

Do you always dress in full head-to-toe outfits appropriate for your lines and your season? Or are you more like me, where you want to do that, but you fall short?

Bonomo: The Exotic Woman



Ilona Massey

-Before assigning yourself to this role, consider what you are letting yourself in for
-Stars of stage and screen, to which the best examples belong, only have to sustain it for two hours
-A haunting air of mystery about her
-Seems to spend a great deal of time in the distant depths of her being
-Quite a gal, and when successful, simply mows ‘em down
-May do deadly work over a luncheon table but her big moments are at night
-A difficult role to maintain, but amusing to assume from time to time

Physical Characteristics
-Truly beautiful or aesthetically unusual looking
-Makes a wonderful fashion model and is a wow at a night club
-Tall, slender, and remote
-Eyes are an important part of the picture
-Moves slowly with languid grace

-A very dramatic type that can go to great lengths with her clothes
-Her jewels may be as many as her purse can buy
-Has a strong sense of drama that expresses itself in her fashion
-Large drooping hats, diaphanous dresses of pale-toned chiffon and of lace as illusive as a cobweb create for her an aura of romance
-Classic drapery that falls in statuesque folds
-Illusive half-tones that make an artist reach for his palette
-One of the few types of women who can successfully wear old embroideries and brocades without looking “arty”
-May borrow many of her accessories from the past, such as antique beaded or jeweled bags, tiny spangled fans or hand-painted ones with which she stirs up clouds of fragrance from her draperies
-Perfume should be subtle and illusive, conjuring up images of strange tropical gardens or pungent Eastern bazaars
-May wear old jeweled lockets and rings and bracelets, elaborately set with real or imitation stones
-During the early hours of the day, wears flowing negligees heavy with patterned lace or embroidered housecoats in the tones on sees old paintings… Bronze, Titian red or deep, fragrant-looking violet

Pick up Bonomo Original Hollywood Beauty and Charm at Vintage Makeup Guides.

Previously: The Aristocrat
Next: The Outdoor Woman

Workbook Update and Coming Soon

I just updated the workbook with some minor updates, and I’d like to also talk about what’s coming up next.

First, there is the Three Levels of Dress workbook. This will expand upon the Three Levels of Dress concept introduced in the first workbook, and will build upon the work you did in the first workbook. So the first workbook will be considered a prerequisite for this new one, and I will be making it available to people who purchased the first workbook before it’s available to the general public, and during that time it will also be available at a discounted price. So if you’re not in the Facebook group, please email me at hello at if you’re interested. While the first workbook focuses on wardrobe rebuilding, this one focuses on wardrobe planning, developing your personal style in a deeper way, and being prepared for any occasion that life might throw at you.

The second workbook I’m working on is a mini-workbook based on the “create your own archetype” exercise. I’ve found that people have the most difficult time with this, so I’m going to go into more detail about it and offer some extra advice and direction to help people get to the point where they have an archetype that is perfect for them.

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments or email me at the address above.

Bonomo: The Aristocrat



Joan Fontaine

-Of distinguished taste and mind
-May belong to any strata of society and live in any community
-Wealth, or the absence thereof, in no way affects her status
-Scrupulously careful about keeping her engagements and answering letters
-Often her handwriting is exaggeratedly large and angular
-Goes to great lengths to be courteous to those who serve her, both in shops and in her home
-Expects a great deal of others and herself
-Is a good citizen, and as a rule, a good, though severe, mother

Physical Characteristics
-May be slender or substantially stately
-Has good skin and beautifully cared for hair
-Coiffure shows the effects of professional fingers but is not severely sleek
-Is never spectacular, but is obviously and impressively “a lady”
-Speaks carefully in a modulated voice
-In extreme examples, there may be a slight affectation of speech

-Clothes are almost a career
-Up on all the latest whims of fashion
-Outfits will often obtain their effectiveness from one arresting decorative motif
-Combines a trained taste in dress with daring originality
-Loves tailored clothes, often compensating for their simplicity in line with unusual color
-Hats are neat and super smart, with lines calculated to emphasize her interesting face
-Veils are close
-Abhors anything that does not stay put
-Never an undisciplined hair in her coiffure
-Prefers cocktail suits to dinner dresses
-When she does go all out for formality, that is likely to be exactly what happens
-Decollete will be as low as the law allows, and her jewels many and significant
-If they are real… wonderful! If not, no one will be the wiser

Pick up Bonomo Original Hollywood Beauty and Charm at Vintage Makeup Guides.

Previously: The Womanly Woman
Next: The Exotic Woman

Bonomo: The Womanly Woman



Greer Garson

-100% feminine
-Takes the second role on the stage of life and stars in it
-Gentle, affectionate, and tender
-Home is the center of her interests, but not the circumfrence thereof
-First and foremost a wife and mother
-This is obvious from a casual glance, even when she is 16 years old
-Laughs readily and charmingly
-Fond of everything young: pigs, puppies, and babies–you will find a battered doll tucked away in her drawer until she can replace it with knitted booties
-No appeal to her sympathies, be it personal or civic, goes unheeded
-While she has her full quota of common sense, enjoys silly hats and sentimental novels
-Does not go in seriously for sports

Physical Characteristics
-Delightlyfully rounded facial features
-Lips with flower-like curves
-Voice is low with a lilting cadence

-Femininity in clothes
-Soft materials: soft wools, silks and rayons that fall into caressing lines of their own accord
-Laces, flowered chiffons, and sprigged cottons are among her best textures
-Softly flattering tones; petal coloring and flower motifs are becoming
-Will prefer a brow-bouquet to a hat and will wear one whenever the occasion permits
-Loves fashion and wears new styles with grace and appreciation, but will likely look like the Womanly Woman next door
-Country clothes will be simple frocks of the spectator sports variety in lovely colors, worn with pearls (real or synthetic) and feminine white sandals.

Pick up Bonomo Original Hollywood Beauty and Charm at Vintage Makeup Guides.

Next: The Aristocrat

Bonomo Original Hollywood Beauty and Charm

I’ve long been interested in exploring the origins of the systems we use today. I’ve summarized the materials by Belle Northrup and Harriet Tilden McJimsey, and have discussed the work of Grace Morton. I’m always on the lookout for new primary source materials that only provide a understanding of the predecessors of Kibbe, Kitchener, Zyla, and the like.

One of my favorite websites is Glamour Daze, which collects materials on fashion and beauty that have fallen out of copyright. They sell compendiums by decade on Vintage Makeup Guide. I bought the 1940s guide because it came with an extra book, a scan of a book on charm that I saw included dressing to certain types.

Something I’ve been trying to figure out is when exactly Northrup’s use of yin/yang to create a unique style identity morphed into McJimsey’s series of distinct types. Morton, for instance, changed “yin” and “yang” into masculine and feminine, but her book doesn’t have types.

So far, this book, which is from 1947, is the first book I’ve had come into my possession that has style types. I doubt it was the first, and it doesn’t make use of yin/yang, but it’s still interesting to look at.


This book seems to have been the accompanying materials for a course called the “Bonomo Original Hollywood ‘Success’ Course,” taught at the Bonomo Culture Institute. The materials date from 1947. Do not be fooled into thinking that the Bonomo Culture Insitute was some highbrow institution or a finishing school. It seems to have been something along the lines of the Barbizon courses or something like that, but what is really strange is that Joe Bonomo, who writes little explanatory letters throughout the book and claims to be the author of the whole thing, was actually a Hollywood stunt man/strongman. I guess that when he lost out on the role of Tarzan to Johnny Weissmuller, he turned to… Teaching women how to dress?

The book also has sections on things like diet and exercise and applying makeup to enhance your facial features, but we’re going to focus on just the style type and clothing sections. The types this book uses are: the Womanly Woman, the Aristocrat, the Exotic Woman, the Outdoor Woman, the Gamine, and the Sophisticate. This week, I will start putting up posts for each type.

Try and guess what each type is supposed to be in the comments, and I’ll be back tomorrow with an explanation of the Womanly Woman.

Zyla, Again

I’ve realized that back when I was trying to incorporate a Zyla archetype into my style, I was going about it all wrong. The thing is about Zyla is that he gives people style recommendations that are unique to them. I know people who received as recommendations things that are listed as “Avoids” in the book’s description of their archetype. It’s easy to see why trying to cobble something together out of various writeups of Zyla visits may not work, even if you got the archetype itself right. It just may not be how Zyla’s unique vision for you would be.

I have become more interested in seeing Zyla lately, though. I’ve never had a professional analysis, and I really like how he comes up with a special palette of colors for you that have certain purposes. Other colors may look good, but these colors have special effects. I’m curious to see whether the way I see myself is the way a professional sees me, and whether I’ve been “off” in any way, especially concerning colors. Style-wise, though, in particular, any sort of analysis about who I am and what suits me would be tested against my own conclusions and instincts.

After going back and reviewing the archetypes, it seems that the ones I have triedGamine Autumn and Mellow Autumn–are the ones that seem to be the most likely. Yes, I have dismissed these types before–but I was working with other peoples’ recommendations, not my own. It can be hard to tell what is important when considering your Zyla archetype. Some say color, some say personality/vibe, some say lines… It seems to depend on the person.

Regardless, I’ve come to realize that trying to DIY something as personal as Zyla doesn’t work–“personal” in the sense that it is his vision for you. So while I’ve been having fun thinking about Zyla again, I’m not going to start trying to incorporate touches of a Zyla archetype into my style. This fall and winter are going to be all about working with Woodland Puck and Flamboyant Gamine. But next year will be a year of transition for me, so I think getting input from Zyla for this new phase of my life will be invaluable.

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