Dressing for Yourself, Part Two

Back when I started this site, my belief was that we each had a combination of lines and coloring (our “syntax”), and then we could personalize our look within these boundaries (“style”). At the time, the conventional wisdom within the nascent color and style community was that your lines would be determined by your Kibbe “archetype,” and then your true coloring would be revealed through a Sci\ART draping.

But as the years have worn on, I have seen color gurus of equal respectability give completely different palettes to the same person. Even people trained in the same system can see different things in a single individual. As such, I no longer believe that there is one true answer for either aspect.

What I think matters most is how you feel. Do you love your style? Do you love the fact that you get to wake up and wear your lines and colors and express yourself?

I can say that when my color journey led me to Dark Autumn and then four-season Autumn and Spring, I didn’t feel that way. Everything was just okay. I always felt like I was holding myself back from what I actually wished I could wear.

So when I had the realization I was actually a Type Four (update since that post: I have since realized I am a 4/3), I was a little afraid. Type Four’s colors were the colors I had told myself were off-limits to me. At first, I thought I would just do it some of the time, and have a wardrobe with different outfits for different moods.

But I also realized as a Type Four, I don’t really have that in my personality. I’m more constant. It just doesn’t happen that I’d rather wear Spring or Autumn colors over bold hues, neon, and black and white. I don’t need the choice. I need to allow myself to be myself.

So if you have conflicting results in different style systems–that’s okay. You may not even be happiest in the one that is “objectively the best” on you. Go with what makes you the happiest to get dressed in the morning. For me, letting go of forcing myself to choose made it very clear which one I actually liked best. You may, in fact, like having choice, and always have a wardrobe with different “moods.” This is also fine! Let you wardrobe serve you, and don’t feel like you have to restrict yourself to some edict that comes from outside of you.

Should You Pay Someone to Tell You Your “Kibbe Type”?

This is something I see a lot, in the comments here and elsewhere: people say that they were analyzed in Kibbe by someone. Sometimes, I even get emails asking me to do this, although of course I never agree to do so.

The fact is, however, that there is only one person you can pay to find out your Kibbe Image ID: David Kibbe. Anybody claiming to have been trained by him, or posing as an expert, or even, in some cases, offering courses that teach you how to “type” people in Kibbe will bring you no closer to knowing what David Kibbe would type you as if you went to see him.

I have never seen anyone who claims to type people in Kibbe actually possess an understanding of yin and yang the way David uses it. I used to say that an analyst claiming to type people in Kibbe has a one-in-ten chance in getting it right (since there are ten Image IDs), but now I believe that their chances of getting it correct are even lower, because they are not applying yin and yang correctly.

There are only two ways to figure out your Image ID: going to see David, or doing the work yourself. Kibbe’s system isn’t a checklist of body parts. The quiz is meant to give a general idea, but you can’t use it as a checklist, or assign each question a point value (the way some people who take money for this do). My belief is that we all can read David’s work and intrinsically know who we are, but we have resistance that keeps us from allowing ourselves to see it. I have always understood what kind of woman I am, physically, but when I discovered Kibbe, I thought I could magically be something different and looked at SN, SD, TR, etc. But living in my body my entire life, knowing what worked for me, and knowing what women on screen and in magazines “felt like me” and which seemed “different”–there is nothing I could be apart from one of the Gamines. And I think for most people, it’s the same. We know who we are.

The point of David’s work isn’t to give you a box to fit into, with a prescription of clothing to wear–especially now that clothes have stretch and fit around the body, rather than imposing a shape onto the body. It is to enable you to let go of what you are not and accept and love who you are.

Putting you into something that isn’t what you are and giving you a list of clothes to wear accomplishes the opposite of what David does. It puts you into a box that isn’t even your own. David’s work is supposed to set you free, not cage you.

So if you see someone offering a shortcut to finding your Kibbe “type,” don’t fall for it. You don’t need them to tell you who you are! And they will just get it wrong anyway.

Why Each System Must Be Considered in Isolation

I will admit, in the early days of this site, I thought that data from one system could help you understand what you are in the next. There are many people who think this way. But I have come to understand that when systems are looking at different things, you cannot use what you are in one to understand what you are in another.

I’m going to use the three main systems I consider in this blog: David Kibbe’s Metamorphosis, Carol Tuttle’s Dressing Your Truth, and David Zyla’s system.

DK prioritizes the yin/yang balance in the body. Clothes go on the body, not the face or hands or feet. Shirley MacLaine may have a cute, pixie-ish face that would lead some people who don’t understand his system well to put her somewhere else, but her body is all FN, so that is what she is.

Carol looks at the face. Your face will reflect your energy type. Your body type doesn’t matter. You will not always look great in the same things as your sister in the same energy type as you. You will share a color palette and some general preferences, but the exact perfect style for you is individual.

DZ looks at coloring, voice, and all-over vibe (???). His system is the hardest to DIY. Everyone gets their own set of recommendations. It is more like a common thread running through everyone in a certain archetype, and more broadly, a season.

Let’s look at Audrey Hepburn. She is a Flamboyant Gamine, 4/1, Playful Winter.

Does this mean that every 4/1 is also a FG and a Playful Winter? Of course not. It means that she has the body of a Flamboyant Gamine, the face of a 4/1 (reflecting her energy profile overall), and the combination of coloring/voice/anything else that makes David Zyla see Playful Winter for her. You can be a 4/1 and a completely different Kibbe Image ID and Zyla archetype. They are all using different criteria for assessment, and your unique combination of types across different systems is part of what makes you a unique individual.

So keep an open mind, and don’t try to make correlations across systems! Follow the unique process for each system that their creators have provided.

Dressing For Yourself

I am still firmly entrenched in my Dressing Your Truth experience. Being a 4/3 is natural and effortless for me. There is still some conflict, however.

I still love Kibbe’s work, and remain actively involved in it. I know, however, that he would never place me in a season that gets black and white. The crux of David’s work is to look at yourself with enlightened subjectivity, and to accept yourself as you are. It is easy for me to accept myself as a Flamboyant Gamine. My coloring, however, is a little more complicated in that regard.

I know that based on online photos, he sees me as a Spring or Autumn. In real life, he may switch to Summer, but Winter would just never happen, based on his color theory. But shopping for Spring and Autumn clothes, I’ve discovered, just does not bring me the joy that the T4 saturated hues do. I am happy to open my closet and see bold, high contrast colors.

So here is the conundrum: is it lacking self-acceptance to not wear the season your coloring dictates, or is better to match your inner self, which DYT T4 does for me? With style, it is easy: once you accept your Image ID, you can now express yourself in any way you’d like. But with color, it doesn’t really work that way. You can express a certain mood with any of the palettes, but some things will just not exist for you–like black for anyone but a Winter.

While the T4 palette also limits what is available, it limits to me what is already speaking to me. It expresses my inner self.

So there is a conflict here between what my coloring is dictating, at least according to David’s theory, and what my inner self is satisfied by. So far, the inner self is winning out, because it is just so much more fun for me to dress in T4 colors every day. But again, I have to wonder if it is the best presentation of my physical self.

How do you deal with conflicts in different systems? In the meantime, I have these VERY 4/3 glasses on my wishlist!

DYT Update

It has been a while and I have not yet gotten around to the historical project I started, because I had too much freelance work and then school started up again. But I have also spent a lot of time really delving into Dressing Your Truth.

I have a long history with this system. It may even be the first system I came across when I began this whole process. For a long time, I kind of dismissed it as a style system that was lacking, or more of a “starter system” compared to others. But I think part of that was that I had placed myself incorrectly, so of course the style component didn’t work for me, and since I first discovered it, the team behind it has made real headway in developing new ways to use the information.

To quickly summarize my journey, when I discovered the system, I decided I was a 3/4, since I couldn’t see T4 perfection in my features, and I related a lot to both descriptions. I never liked the T3 clothes on me–too substantial, too heavy, not enough structure. I generally stuck to the colors, because they aligned well with where I had placed myself in Sci\ART, but I never wore the clothes in any real way. Over the course of the years I believed I was a 3/4, I never did a 30-day challenge, for instance.

Then out of the blue, I saw the T4 in my face. I assumed I was a 4/1, because there is a video about how 4/1s and 1/4s can mistake themselves for T3, and somehow that more convoluted explanation made more sense to me than the simple idea of having simply reversed my dominant and secondary.

But after going back recently and watching videos on their website about the yin/yang balance and energy levels of different types, and how to make your T4 style true to you by incorporating your secondary–I realized that an S1 didn’t make sense for me at all. My style instincts were clearly pointing in the direction of an S3, and so was my movement.

Since realizing I’m a 4/3, I have enjoyed shopping so much more. It feels almost full-circle in a way, because 4/3 is fairly close to how I dressed before I ever got into style systems. 4/3 means getting to wear all the things I love, and not feeling like I’m limiting or depriving myself. I still love Flamboyant Gamine, and that is still incredibly informative for the yin/yang balance of my lines. I know how to make things work on me and how to combine them. But 4/3 gives me a different kind of yin/yang balance, the yin/yang balance of how I move through life, and how to reflect that in my style.

The real conflict between the two systems is in color. Right now, I’m enjoying Type 4 colors, and I plan on focusing on them. But I will see how it feels to live in these colors for a longer period of time.

Do you do DYT? Have you tried it in the past? Have you ever mistyped yourself in a system for a long period of time?

How to Use The Looks Men Love

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In my last post, I introduced the latest entrant in my Historical series: The Looks Men Love by Vincent Roppatte. While the system is contemporaneous to Kibbe, it has a perspective that is outmoded in 2018, and there are things in it that I can’t really get behind. But it is a fun book with some new (to us) ideas that I think will prove useful to many. So first I am going to introduce the way Roppatte says to use his work, and then I will go into how I see it fitting in with the various other systems we all already use.

He suggests using the following three-step method:

1. Choose yourself.
Read through the descriptions of all the types (apart from the Fantasy Woman), their likes and dislikes, etc., and choose the one that sounds like you. You need to be careful of three things:

  1. The current look you may be wearing may not be best for your body type or the best expression of your personality.
  2. You may be more than one. You just can’t be two things at the same time. He gives the examples of Take Charge during the day and Cool Sophisticate at night, or someone who was a Gamine when young but grew into a Romantic (in this system, Gamine is reserved for the young, which definitely isn’t my favorite approach). I have noticed that whenever there is a possibility of mixing, people get very, very excited and tend to want to be a combo of many different things and few seem to want to stick to just one, so I would suggest seriously taking into consideration looking at this system with truly finding one type in mind. Roppatte thinks that a lot of Judy Garland’s internal turmoil came from trying to be Cool Sophisticate AND Gamine and Girl Next Door at the same time, so, keep that in mind.
  3. You need to be realistic. He says that someone “fifty-five, heavy, and intellectual” can’t possibly be a Gamine, and as I said, I don’t like defining these categories by weight or age, but I would think more about who you authentically are: I couldn’t realistically pull off Cool Sophisticate or Sensualist. I’m just not that kind of woman, and that’s okay.

2. Recognize your male counterpart.
“Read the profiles of the men who are attracted to each of the basic looks. You will probably recognize one of these men. He’s the guy you married, the guy with whom you’re having an affair, or the guy you’d really like to know.” (As you might be able to tell from this sentence, while this book is outdated, it’s not conservative and would not be a good book for people who subscribe to a conservative viewpoint and would like to see a return to traditional gender roles, etc.) If there i a mismatch between the men you’re attracted to and the men who are/who you would like to be attracted to you, go back to point one: there is a strong possibility you’ve mistyped yourself. And then of course, not all of my readers are cis and heterosexual, so again, that is why this book is historical. It mentions gay men in passing, but not the possibility that someone who identifies as a woman may not want to attract men at all. Roppatte’s major point here is don’t bother with thinking about opposites attract: it says that men “look for a female expression of their own needs–and tend to first identify her by her look.” So the men in the profiles aren’t looking for their opposite or someone like them, but someone who complements them, and I think if you seriously want to use the book this way and you’re interested in men, you can do the same thing.

3. Fulfill your promise.
Read the chapter pertaining to you and understand how to achieve your look. He again emphasizes how you can’t be more than two things at the same time: Shirley MacLaine is Take-Charge Chic, but can pull off Gamine (rare at 50, he notes!), but she doesn’t do both at the same time. Princess Grace of Monaco had an image and lifestyle to project, with no messiness or the “romantic hair of her youth,” so he came up with her sleek, pulled-back hairstyle. Liza Minnelli apparently once tired of being a Gamine and decided to get a body wave, “but her public was not at all happy.” If it works for you, keep it! Consistency is key, even if you, like Shirley, can flirt with something else at times.

Now, onto how I suggest using this information. You can use it exactly as he lays it out, if that fits your desires for your life. You can apply it as an addition to something like your Kibbe Image ID, since while there are some hard and fast rules (some types are taller or shorter, some types are restricted by weight and/or age, etc.), in terms of shape, there is actually a lot of leeway. You can use everything except for the men-centered part. Or you can just read it as a historical artifact. It’s up to you. I’m not going to editorialize the content, but present it as is, even when it comes off a little strangely to us in 2018.

Historical: The Looks Men Love by Vincent Roppatte

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I haven’t done a historical series in a while! I got The Looks Men Love recently and I’ve decided to feature at least the style types of this book, which I discovered via a friend’s Facebook post.

The Looks Men Love

This book’s title is off-putting, to say the least, in 2018. The point of view the book takes, the focus on what men want, is the main reason why this book is in the “historical” category for me. It was published in 1985, which makes it a contemporary to Kibbe’s book, but while Kibbe’s book focuses on being the star of your own life, this book’s focus is more on looking your best so you can attract the men you want and who would naturally be attracted to you… and this obviously immediately excludes the members of the book’s potential audience for whom whether or not men are attracted to them has zero relevance to their lives. And personally, even as someone who is attracted to men, men are not my focus when dressing. I take the point of view that if I dress to reveal my best self, whatever that is to me, being more attractive to people I’d be attracted to is more like a natural end result, rather than a goal. Also, he limits certain types by age and weight, which I don’t care for.

But this book is still interesting for a number of reasons. The first is that Vincent Roppatte, who passed away in 2016, worked with pretty much every prominent woman of at least the second half of the 20th century: Audrey. Liza. Jackie. Marilyn. Grace. Joan. Marlene. Oprah. The authors of the cover blurbs include Jamie Lee Curtis, Barbara Stanwyck, and Lee Radziwill.

The other reason is that, if you’re able to overlook the whole focusing-on-men thing, the book itself is fun. There are six types: Sensual, Romantic, Girl Next Door, Cool Sophisticate, Take Charge-Chic, and Gamine. It’s different enough for me to take the time to share the information with you all, plus there is a Fantasy Woman aspect that no other system I’ve seen has. He also talks about, say, what kind of food and music these different types like, in an amusing way. I was able to immediately place some of my color and style friends, and even if the presentation is dated, I think the information will still be of interest to many of you.

I hope to get all of these posts up in the coming weeks, while I’m on a break from grad school. I think you will all find it at least interesting, if not useful.

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Color Resistance

I didn’t really have any Image ID resistance to being a Flamboyant Gamine. Many people come to the system with a “grass is greener” attitude, and that’s what made it hard to see themselves. I came to it with, “It can’t really be that easy or what I want; it has to harder than that.” Perhaps it’s my Enneagram 4 coming out, but I enjoy being a type that is less common and that can be disruptive to traditional beauty standards.

I have to come realize that the resistance I do have, in terms of my yin/yang balance, is that I can tend to go too yang, which is something that David identifies in the book as a problem common to gamines–that we tend to accept our yang side more easily than our yin side. It is important for me to remember that I am not yang-dominant; I am yang and yin, in a juxtaposed and almost-equal combination.

Similarly, I have a tendency to go heavier in my colors than I actually am. And this is where I really have resistance. In my heart of hearts, I love the Winter palette. I appreciate DYT, because it gives me permission to explore this desire, but I know that I am actually have more warmth, less contrast, and more delicate coloring. I can dress up and carry the movement and energy, but it is not going to be the perfect harmonious match for me. (Carol herself mentioned in a video I watched that she was draped as a Winter in the 80s. I don’t think it’s uncommon for your DYT type to not be a good fit for where you would be based on coloring alone.)

While I still think my skin generally looks OK in Dark Autumn, I think the heaviness can overwhelm me–my natural coloring can’t really hold it up. I suppose it was a bit of compromise for me–some brightness and warmth, but still with Winter. I also looked for that in Bright Spring, but it wasn’t the right combination for me, either–I think some of the colors go too cool in a way I can’t handle.

After consulting some of my most trusted Color and Style friends, I purchased a True Spring fan. I think it is a good starting point, and I like just having a fan to look at–sounds weird, but it’s true. When I read Christine Scaman’s True Spring chapter, a lot of it resonated with me, from my coloring as a child to the finishes I prefer in my makeup, which is more translucent acrylic than the oil painting of Autumn.

I don’t think, however, that my feelings on Sci\ART have really changed: I still feel like the color spaces are too limiting. Maybe they’re your top colors in a four-season space, but this exact color setting of hue/temperature/chroma isn’t representative of your entire color space.

What I have come to is simply Four Season Spring. It feels right to me because:

  • These are the colors I have surrounded myself with when I look at my interior decorating choices (See Johannes Itten and students choosing the colors that suit them without being aware of it)
  • These are the colors that I get complimented on. I did not get compliments in Autumn colors for the most part, except for my style choices. I worked retail for a while, and I heard a lot of opinions on my own choices!

When looking at four seasons, it is understood that not every color in a palette will be good and some will be better than others. When pondering Spring and Autumn, I took the Color Me Beautiful palettes and crossed out all the colors that don’t work for me in Spring (the ones that bring out redness in my face) and the colors in Autumn that feel too heavy for me.

Spring

Rather than using a palette, however, I am just going to trust me own eye and go with colors that appear to be warm enough and clear enough. I have been doing this dressing T4 (since I feel that I still need red-orange and not fuchsia, for instance). My approach is to do both, sometimes separately, sometimes in combination, if there are colors that are warm enough for Spring but also pure enough for T4. This is made easier by David Kibbe’s philosophy of head-to-toe dressing, although he would not approve of anyone who is not a Winter wearing black! If I want to wear black and my silver jewelry, I can, in an outfit that is totally in line with the T4 pure hues; if I want to wear brown and my gold jewelry, I can, in an outfit that is all Kibbe/CMB Spring.

While this may seem like two wardrobes, I just think of Audrey Hepburn’s first wedding set, which was a stack of bands in gold, rose gold, and silver, because she was so into fashion and couldn’t be restricted to one metal. Rather than just choosing between two options, I want to have both options. Maybe one option will win out. Maybe I’ll just be happy to have options and wear whatever strikes my fancy on a particular day.

Are you dealing with two (or more!) color palettes/style philosophies? How do you handle it?

Why Did I Return to DYT?

Of course, the last post on this blog before my unintentional hiatus was Why I Stopped Dressing My Truth, Part 2. And of course I stopped, because what I thought was my Truth was not my truth–the post before that was perfectly 4/1 and I was talking about disobeying my recommendations.

So I left DYT because I was tired of trying to fit myself into Type 3, where the jewelry was too big and the clothes were too textured and heavy. I think some people do find that DYT just does not work for them, but in my case, it wasn’t working because I had placed myself incorrectly within the system. Once I realized that, though, it was like getting everything back that I loved after years of thinking that I just wasn’t bright enough to handle black and white and pure colors.

This began to change a little when I realized that all of David Kibbe’s palettes go pretty bright. He doesn’t seem to be much of a fan of things in the Soft range. Accepting David’s view of color, I gave myself permission to go brighter, especially as even DYT T3 seemed to be moving in a more vivid direction.

I pretty much rejected T3 style but kept the T3 colors, thinking of it as a four-season Autumn. But once I realized I was 4/1, it was basically just giving a name to what I was doing already, and giving myself permission to add black and white to my wardrobe, as well as some colors like non-peacock blue.

I don’t think that I would get black from David–only Winters get black in his world, and his Winters are very cool and high contrast. But I’m still enjoying allowing myself to express myself using the T4 palette, and I find that keeping 4/1 helps me get my FG yin/yang balance correct. Like many Gamines, I have a tendency to go entirely to the yang side, and T1 reminds me to add back in more yin.

Besides Kibbe, the only stylist I’d want to go see is David Zyla, but that is forever a puzzle to me. For now, using 4/1 to inform my FG expression feels right to me.

How have you found working with DYT, if you use it? Does it work with your other style system discoveries?

Finally Revealing My Truth: Why Did It Take Me So Long to See It?

It’s shocking to me that it took me so long to see that I was T4. I have heard from others who know me that it was fairly obvious. So why couldn’t I see it? I fell into some common traps.

1) Thinking I wasn’t perfect enough for T4.
Many T4s fall into this trap: our perfecting nature makes it so that we have a hard time seeing ourselves in T4’s symmetry and perfect posture, and/or feel like we don’t hit all the checkboxes. I don’t have perfect posture. Like anyone else, I can see where I have asymmetry in my face. My nose has long been a sore point for me in terms of my appearance, and when I read “lump of clay” for T3, I felt like I couldn’t be anything else in the system, especially not the “perfect” type.

2) Confusing “still + upward” with “push forward.”
T4s and T3s can both have what is considered to be a “strong” personality. I am definitely a bold person, and the S1 makes me a little more high energy than, say, a 4/2. Things that I had thought were an indicator of T3 actually were an indicator of being T4 and being my own authority and not being afraid to express my opinion.

There were a lot of things that should have clued me in:

1) My childhood behavior.
No one would have ever called me an “active” child. I was very still–you could place me in a chair and I would stay there, observing the world. I didn’t talk much. I enjoyed spending time alone, working on my own things. I didn’t have much use for other children. I never related to the ways that T3s are shamed as children because, well, I wasn’t that kid.

2) Never dressing T3.
Many people who have placed themselves in the wrong type will dress with all the other elements of their actual type, just in the colors of the type they think they are. My “T3” wardrobe was basically 4/1, just in the T3 colors. The T3 elements never felt right on me and never suited my taste–even when I would buy T3 jewelry from the DYT store, it would literally be too large for my ears or wrists, and I never took any of the clothes I bought from there out of the package.

So why didn’t I see these obvious things? I think it all goes back to #1: I just didn’t think I was “enough” for T4. I didn’t think my facial features would qualify. I had to see them from a different perspective (my license, with proper T4 hair because it worked better than T3 hair… another sign) in order to see myself as T4. And once I allowed myself to see myself as T4, I have been able to go back to what I love and what I feel expresses me. The Autumn colors never suited my personality, really. I am a bold person, and the clear, strong hues have always been what I have wanted to be in all of these systems.

Again, I don’t feel like I would drape into these colors in any of the color-based systems, but when everything is put together, it is what feels the most true to me. And in the end, I think that is what we all want: to feel like ourselves.

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