Fantastical Beauty: Woodland Puck

Last week, I wrote about how I probably need to add a Valkyrie lean to my Nymph/Puck mix. I was very fortunate today, because someone else commissioned a guide for Nymph Pucks. I purchased it, and I was happy to see that Puck fits perfectly and I don’t need a lean at all.

Characteristics of Woodland Puck, the Nymph-based Puck, include:

-a more boyish Nymph
-heavy use of black in color scheme
-punk rock vibes
-associations of: half-tamed, mischievous, bon vivant, odd knits, sheers, floral crowns, edgy, mixed media.

When you request a guide, if you’re not sure quite what subtype you need, you can tell Kati the things that are missing for you from the base and she can tell you where you’d fall, or whether that is possible with that base type at all. Boyish, black/dark color scheme, and punk rock vibes are exactly what I would have told her that I needed out of a Nymph subtype. (And what is spooky is that years ago, one of my style friends told me I was a “defiant woodland sprite”!)

So I’m very glad to see that there is such a perfect place for me in this system. If you can’t afford a full analysis, and there is a type that you think would work for you with some caveats, I would definitely suggest discussing what you need from a subtype with Kati and commissioning a guide. With a subtype you can go from this in the base type…

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…to this in a subtype:

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Have you ordered a subtype guide? What are you considering?

Fantastical Beauty: What I’ve Learned, Part 2

Today I found myself downtown with some time to kill, so I popped into Zara to see if I could find some hot-weather clothes. One thing I’ve noticed is that if my current style typing (Zyla, etc.) isn’t working for me, I find myself succumbing to shopping paralysis, and just nothing in the store feels right. After declaring myself Nymph and Puck in Fantastical Beauty, I found that I didn’t even know what to look for. I tried to make a secret pinboard for Nymph-Puck-Gamine Linear, but I just pinned a bunch of stuff from Kati’s pinboards for these types, and I wasn’t sure if the things I found on my own were “correct.”

After this experience at Zara, once I got to a computer, I took a look at the guides I had. I then looked at my personal style pinboard, and started adding and subtracting things. I thought about what the images meant together as a whole. I think they represent “me” and my aesthetic really well, and it reminded me of my personal style statement/archetypr, which I developed while creating my workbook.

My style statement is “Grown-up Punk,” which means that I retain both sophistication and edge at the same time, with a little bit of boyishness/youthfulness thrown in. One thing I noticed is that I have a lot of Alexander McQueen on the board.

This makes sense, because it’s a label with sophisticated designs, with motifs like skulls and moto added to give it some edge. For me, the “punk” part is easy. It is adding the “grown up,” the sophistication, that is hard.

Taken as a whole, my board to me means Puck Nymph Leaning Valkyrie. Maybe I can also pull from Nyx and Raven Rider at times, but this what feels essential. Nymph covers the “grown up,” Valkyrie the “edge,” and Puck partially the “edge” and wholly the “boyishness/youthfulness.” In addition, the Valkyrie color scheme of dark neutrals with “wildflower” pops of color works better for me than Nymph’s variations on browns and greens or what Puck’s color scheme seems to be, which is dark gray with pastel pink. But Nymph feels like the base to me and not Valkyrie, because the sophistication is what needs to remain front and center in my mind. The “punk” can always be added with accessories, but the main shape always has to remain firmly in Gamine Linear Nymph territory.

Fantastical Beauty: What I’ve Learned

Fantastical Beauty is a relatively new system that I’ve been exploring as a way to bring an expression of my inner self into my Kibbe type. I’ve written about it here before, and in my latest update, I was settled in a type called Fae and waiting for more information on the darker Nixie subtype. At first, I felt like Fae was really helping me, and leading me toward better choices in things like jewelry. But then I realized that the things I thought Fae was adding to my style were things that were already in Flamboyant Gamine and I just hadn’t been honoring.

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So I went back to the drawing board and made some collages and morphs using Snapchat (a very fun way to waste time, by the way). Many suggested Valkyrie for me, so I got the guide, and there a few things from Valkyrie I like, overall, it didn’t feel right. Fae is whimsical, Valkyrie is powerful, and neither of these attributes feel like my defining characteristic.

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One of the things I realized I was doing was that I was looking for the type most compatible with Flamboyant Gamine, rather than me. I already have a set of FG recs that work; I don’t need another style type that just repeats them. It needs to add something different that will help me express myself within the framework of the FG recommendations.

Nymph is the type I didn’t want to be when I first found out about the system. It seemed kind of dull and stuffy for whatever reason.

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But in Kati’s blog post on bathing suits, the Nymph suit is the only one I would even consider. So a seed was planted in my head.

After thinking about the little personality description and scenarios in the guides I have, I couldn’t see myself as anything of the “characters” Kati describes. Whatever worked stylistically, the imagery that the styles are meant to evoke didn’t fit me at all. I thought about how I would describe myself above all and what drives me in life. I think the first thing people that know me would describe me as is “smart,” and what I am driven to do is collect and disseminate knowledge. This is something the Flamboyant Gamine doesn’t exactly express, and I saw that this is what Nymph could add to my self-expression.

I finally bought the guide, and here I could see myself in the personality and characters she describes. There are also moments where she describes what works for Nymphs where I got the sneaking suspicion she had sneaked into my closet at night and spied on what I owned.

Kati also has a subtype called Puck that can be found in Nymph, which is more boyish and has funkier makeup. It adds a little edge that Nymph lacks, and I feel that together with FG, I can create something that expresses all the facets myself that I want to express.

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So if you are going backwards from other systems when trying to find your Fantastical Beauty type, I would recommend trying a different approach. Yes, you should understand your s-curve and facial features, but I think you also should have a look at what you actually want to express with your style.

Breakout Roles: Natalie Portman

Going off Kibbe’s statement that breakout roles are a good way to see what Image Identity a certain star is, I thought that it would be an interesting to experiment to take actresses whose Kibbe Image Identities are the subject of some controversy and try to decide where they fit based not on their physical features, but how they are cast and what roles made them stars.

The first star I thought of was Natalie Portman. Natalie is someone I’ve seen listed either as Soft Gamine or Soft Classic, and I can see the case for both. She looks great in short hair, and people will sometimes try to make a physical comparison between her and Audrey Hepburn.

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Classic comes in simply because she is just very pretty, and I could see casting her in a movie where she plays, say, a princess. (But of course, Audrey’s breakout role was Roman Holiday, so who says that the princess is always a classic Grace Kelly type?)

Like Mila Kunis, Natalie’s breakout role came very early in her life. She played Mathilde in Léon: The Professional at the age of 12. The Wikipedia article for the film describes her as “a twelve-year-old girl who is smoking a cigarette and sporting a black eye. Mathilda lives with her dysfunctional family in an apartment down the hall. Her abusive father and self-absorbed stepmother have not noticed that Mathilda stopped attending class at her school for troubled girls.”

Her next major role was as Queen Amidala in the Star Wars franchise. I think that outside of Star Wars fans, this isn’t really a signature role for her, but I think it presents an argument for Kibbe’s Gamine dichotomy: you aren’t sure whether they’re a waif under the bridge (her role in Léon) or a princess… In this case, a queen.

The role I think of when I think of Natalie Portman is Sam in Garden State, which is now a movie people make fun of (and she is kind of embarrassed by), but she basically plays the ultimate Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

I would say that this combination of roles early on in her career–the waif/princess dichotomy, the MPDG–puts her solidly as a Gamine base over a Classic one. And looking at her height and appearance, I’m going to go with the yin side of things.

Final Verdict: Soft Gamine

If there is another star you’d like me to look at, let me know!

The Importance of Casting in Kibbe: Breakout Roles

One of the most important things I’ve learned from David Kibbe is that when trying to apply his system, people often miss the forest for the trees. They focus on an analysis of body parts, rather than trying to understand how a person can present themselves to the world most effectively. David’s work is heavily influenced by the idea of the MGM “star factory,” which, if you’re interested, you can learn about from listening to the MGM episodes of You Must Remember This, for a start. David even namedrops Louis B. Mayer in Metamorphosis. The sum total of the features is not as important as whether the type that seems to make sense on paper will actually unleash your own special, unique star qualities.

Unfortunately, it seems like many who have not had the privilege of learning from David directly are still stuck in this old, analytical way of thinking. Recently, in a Kibbe group, I saw January Jones declared as a Natural. When questioned, the person who put her in that category said that her roles have given the false impression that she is Classic, and that there is a lot of Natural in her bone structure.

If a person’s career is made by a certain role, and this role is one that the person will have to overcome, typecasting-wise, for the rest of their career, unless they have one that is even more major and iconic, I don’t think we can say that she was miscast.

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Her role in Mad Men was to appear to be the ideal of the 1950s housewife, and later the late-60s Republican Political Wife. She is referred to as a “Grace Kelly type” by others in the show. (Kelly, by the way, also had clearly yang features, like her wide jaw.) She is never mentioned in the same sentence as Ingrid Bergman.

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Besides the fact that anyone who has seen January’s offscreen fashion choices can attest to the fact that uncontrolled styles do not highlight her beauty as much as controlled ones do, the fact that she was so successful as Betty Draper, to the point that “Betty Draper” has become a shorthand for a certain kind of woman, disproves the fact that it is only casting that has given us a Classic impression of January Jones. Now, David hasn’t confirmed her as far as I know, but both Jon Hamm and John Slattery are confirmed Classics, and I would be extremely surprised if January Jones were anything else. If she actually were a Natural, her Betty Draper styling would look a little odd and constricting. She simply wouldn’t have been cast in that role.

A Kibbe verification that threw people for a loop is Mila Kunis, who is a Theatrical Romantic. True, she doesn’t have the “wasp waist” associated with TRs.

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One piece of advice David gave when discussing Mila is to look at their breakout role–which applies to January obviously!–and for Mila, that was Jackie in That 70s Show, whom he called “the epitome of teenage TR.”

While this applies to what David refers to the “parlor game” of guessing celebrity types, I think we can apply it to ourselves as well. What would be your breakout role? What would cause your star power to be unleashed?

Capsules vs. Head to Toe

I think a lot of people come to these style systems in part because it simplifies your life. You can get rid of everything that doesn’t work, and have a carefully curated wardrobe that only has things you actually wear. Many want to create wardrobe capsules for their Kibbe type and season.

But there’s a problem with capsules, one I never really recognized until I started learning things from David Kibbe. In order to get a capsule wardrobe to all work together, it ends up being, well, boring. I got an email a few days ago from Net-a-Porter with a link to This page. All of the clothes in set are very well designed and expensive, but they’re all boring. This is what most capsule wardrobes on Pinterest look like. When you’re choosing items to match with a maximum amount of other items, it reasons to follow that nothing you choose can be all that interesting.

But this is the way most of us have been taught to shop. We are supposed to ask ourselves how many other things we can pair a potential new purchase with. David Kibbe, on the other hand, has an entirely different philosophy. He told us that we are supposed to shop in terms of “head to toe,” that we should buy an entire outfit at once. At first glance, this seems wasteful. But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. I often wear the same outfit over and over again. I don’t need everything to play well together. Perhaps instead of buying pieces, we would better served by buying things that create one special outfit. With a small wardrobe, you won’t necessarily get less wear out of a pair of pants that only works with a specific top if this is an outfit that you love and you’ll wear frequently.

I decided a while ago that I would write a sequel to the workbook focusing on the Three Levels of Dress. The reason why I have been a little quieter here lately is partially because I’ve been working on this new workbook. But it will also be a Head-to-Toe workbook that will take the wardrobe rebuilding idea from the original and expand it to something that will allow you to truly express yourself and your style.

Have you ever tried to create a capsule wardrobe? Have you tried head-to-toe dressing?

What I Use and Why

From time to time, I get comments asking my thoughts on a system that I don’t discuss on this blog. The reason why I don’t talk about all the systems out there is because I’m most interested in discussing and understanding the systems that I like. If a system doesn’t make sense for me or seem like it would add value to my style life, I simply don’t use it.

Now, I think style systems are a highly personal thing. What works for you depends on how your brain works. Some people just can never wrap their head around, say, Kibbe, and it becomes a point of difficulty for them, instead of something that helps them. So what works for me may not be what works for you, and vice versa. This is not intended as an indictment or an endorsement.

So here are my lists:

WHAT I USE:

1. Kibbe’s Metamorphosis
Hands down, my absolute favorite system. To me, it’s the most complete, and the one that, believe it or not, is easiest to DIY. It is a tool for self-acceptance as well as a style system. I do think it helps me, though, that there is a type that is so perfectly in line with my own tastes and personality. I don’t need to think about how to express my inner self through the limitations of my outer self, since Flamboyant Gamine expresses both with no modifications.

2. Sci\ART
Despite my recent posts, which are really more about how the system is currently practiced by second- and third-generation practitioners, rather than the system itself, I still think Sci\ART is the best option among the premade palettes. Each palette can express a wide range of styles and moods, and I do find that when you hit upon the right season, it works. I know that I can take out my Dark Autumn palette, and none of the colors that harmonize with it will do something really weird to my appearance.

3. Fantastical Beauty
I’ve found this system helpful for filling in a few gaps that the Flamboyant Gamine doesn’t cover in enough detail for me, like jewelry. And I can’t wait for the Nixie guide to come out. I think a lot of people also find this freeing because it’s highly flexible and personalizable, and focuses much less than on your outer appearance and shape than other systems.

WHAT I DON’T USE, BUT AM INTERESTED IN:

1. David Zyla
Zyla’s system is basically impossible to DIY. Even though he has a book where he tries to explain how to do it, it’s really about his singular vision. I found Zyla around the same time that I found Kibbe, and I’ve seen myself in archetypes in every season except Summer. I’m actually considering going to see him when it’s convenient and when I can afford it, mainly because I love his eye for color and I find the tight, specialized approach to color to be something that is highly appealing to me. I love the idea of having certain colors that support you for particular needs in your life.

2. Suzanne Caygill
Again, a Caygill palette and typing is something that has to be done in person. And her book is just too expensive to purchase.

3. Beauty Valued
I love Kathy’s work, and a Beauty Valued palette is right up there with Zyla in “services I would pay for.” (The magical powers of your Zyla colors are what pushes Zyla to the top of my wishlist.)

WHAT DOESN’T WORK FOR ME:

1. John Kitchener
I find the approach of splitting people up into parts to run counter to the goal of a cohesive style. What are you supposed to do with, say, 5% Natural, and how would that blend with the rest of you? Also the color palettes he gives are so extensive. Kitchener’s approach just gives you too much, in my opinion. Some people like having absolutely all the things they could ever do laid out for them, but I like having a general framework in my head and then running with it.

2. Dressing Your Truth
I really don’t see myself fully in any of the 4 Types. I used to think 3, but now I think it’d be too heavy. I think it’s a good system for women who are style lost and finding their way, and sometimes you do see really huge improvements, but overall, none of the types really connect with me, and I can’t imagine wearing any of them, at least not how they’re presented in their online store.

Which systems do you absolutely love, and which ones leave you cold?

Zyla Update: Goodbye Autumn, Hello Spring

The first exercise in the workbook is about how to combine your lines and your season. I thought that I could use Zyla to do it. I wrote about using Zyla to customize your Kibbe type, about how I was going to use Gamine Autumn to make Flamboyant Gamine more in line with what a Dark Autumn needs. Then I found that Gamine Autumn didn’t work and I just was either not shopping or not wearing what I bought, so I decided to try Mellow Autumn, which is a little more avant-garde and a lot less rustic.

But again, I was finding that it wasn’t working for me. I decided to put Zyla on the backburner for a while, and after discovering Fantastical Beauty, I realized that I needed sharpness, angularity, and lightness (in feeling, not color). I decided that I didn’t need Zyla at all anymore.

I think there’s some natural law where if Kibbe is easy for you, finding your place in Zyla will be impossible and vice versa. I just don’t really see myself in any of Zyla’s archetypes. They all seem either too girly or too mature for me. With Kibbe, Flamboyant Gamine got an immediate “this is everything I love in fashion and life” reaction, to the point that I didn’t think I could be FG, since no one could be so lucky as to get the type they want.

Zyla has been much harder. But there’s been a lot of people going to see him lately, and they come back with beautiful palettes. While I’ve long thought I’d go for Beauty Valued if I ever wanted to get my colors done professionally, now I’m thinking I might go for Zyla. I love his more minimal approach to a palette, where there may be other colors that look good, but these colors are magic for you, and can support you for specific purposes in your life.

I’ve come to realize that while I may be a Dark Autumn, I use the Dark Autumn palette more as a slightly toasted Spring palette. I try to focus my wardrobe on the brightest colors in the palette, and use the dark colors for things like pants and shoes. I don’t know if it’s my Image Identity or the fact that I’m so light appearing–Caygill people have told me I’d be some kind of muted Spring in that system–but the only things associated from autumn that I like are fur (leopard), leather, suede, and thick scarves.

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When I posted about my latest Zyla search, a lot of people brought up Tawny Spring for me. Tawny is too vintage-quirky for me. Mischievous is far too rustic. Early is too well-behaved. Buoyant seems the closest, but biker jackets are specifically called out in the book as a “no” for BS and the “too girly” problem rears its yang head. So after making a ton of collages for different Zyla types using his Pinterest, I decided to make a collage for me. I put things I own, things I want to own, places I could see myself living, art I like, a haircut I want, a celebrity whose style is an inspiration to me, and finally something from nature.

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When I posted it, it was pointed out to me that this was already a cohesive set of images. They share a certain color palette and particular visual features. I have created my own archetype, which I actually outlined how to do in my workbook anyway. I’m not sure where Zyla would put me, but I feel like unless it conformed to what I already see for myself, I would end up rejecting it. I think there’s a far higher chance of dissatisfaction with an analysis if you already have a clear vision of who and what you are.

So I don’t know. I love his palettes–but I want to be seen how I want to be seen. Keeping an open mind is difficult, and in the end, I suppose I just have to decide whether it’d be worth basically gambling with the cost of the analysis.

Sci\ART: Is the Bloom Off the Rose? Part Two

As a follow up to my last post, I’d like to discuss the following posts from Amelia Butler:

-Winter Is Coming… And Coming
-Subjective Timbre – Getting It Backwards
-The Blonde Winter

These posts are interesting because they say something that seems to not be popular among analysts who work with the 12 Sci\ART seasons. Amelia’s perspective is especially interesting to me because she was trained and mentored by Kathryn Kalisz herself.

After years of believing that your appearance alone gives no clues at all to your season… I’m starting to come around to the idea that visual harmony matters. It’s interesting that people are very open to seeing Winters of all stripes, but a Light Spring with dark hair and eyes would be much harder to believe.

I think the point that Amelia makes in her Blonde Winter post is important–the colors need to work on you without makeup. In your natural state, you need to need that much saturation as Winter seasons provide, and no one would tell a man that they need a lipstick to look good in the True Winter palette.

In her “Blonde” post, she is mainly talking about True Winter, so I’m curious to know if she thinks a Bright or Dark Winter could be a blonde. Perhaps it’s different when there is a spring or autumn influence affecting the colors, versus the purity of winter alone.

While I think there are still room for surprises in the draping process, I think that perhaps sometimes, it’s because the wrong colors are dulling your natural coloring and making you present differently than it is otherwise. I’m not sure if I believe anymore that you can see something really unusual, like a Light Spring with dark hair and eyes as I mentioned above.

Those of you who have read my blog before probably know I identify with the Dark Autumn season. As a natural blonde, if someone believes what Amelia is saying in these posts, then one might also come to the conclusion that a Dark Autumn coloring would unlikely. But I still find that I harmonize with the fan, when I look at it under my face. Unlike many others who are blonde into adulthood, I don’t find that mascara or filling in my brows makes any bigger of a difference on me than it does on brunettes. I will frequently just put on a DA lipstick, or wear no makeup at all. So there are still surprises, but maybe not just huge leaps…

What do you think of Amelia’s posts? Do you agree, or are you firmly in the “you know absolutely nothing until you’re under the lights and in the drapes” camp?

Sci\ART: Is the Bloom Off the Rose?

When I first discovered this style and color world, getting draped by a Sci\ART or 12 Blueprints analyst was seen a seen as the gold standard for seasonal analysis. There seemed to the perception that you will never been able to see your true beauty until it’s revealed by the drapes, which is still the position taken by said analysts.

Recently, however, I’ve noticed that there’s been some backlash. There are people who have had to be draped numerous times, despite the controlled and standardized process. Some people end up with “compromise” seasons, which usually seems to be Bright Winter for whatever reason. Some people get draped in Sci\ART, and then get custom palettes that are extremely different. I’ve seen who were draped Bright Winter get Soft Autumn-ish palettes from someone like Zyla, and then someone who wears Bright Winter colors beautifully in real life and gets a Bright Winter palette from Beauty Valued is draped Soft Summer.

Then there’s the issue of the lights. Full-spectrum lighting is supposed to replicate northern sunlight and be ideal for color-matching. Yet people have said that they felt like they were under stage lighting while being draped, and it had no relation to how they actually look in the lighting conditions that people live their lives in.

Another issue is that you’re paying to be put into a predetermined set of palettes. Some feel that they don’t fit well within one season at all. This last point came up recently when Christine Scaman’s prices were discussed. Right now, getting draped by her costs 734.50 CAD, or (as of today) 580.95 USD. Zyla’s price for the initial session, in comparison, costs $20 more, and you get a custom palette and style guidelines. Plus he has an Emmy and celebrity clients, and he goes on TV and hosts events–he’s definitely a man whose time in valuable.

Yet as someone who does a lot of freelance work myself, I think I have a little different take on this on most, as the consensus was pretty much outrage. As a freelancer, you charge what you think your time and services are worth, and what the market will support. Christine spends most of her time training new analysts and working on products like the makeup line and the luxury drapes. In fact, on her site, she says she only drapes clients immediately before and after a training course, so she doesn’t have many slots available. So I’d say she is fine with cutting her potential client base down to those who really want to be draped by her in particular and are willing to pay for it. Other analysts who pretty much exclusively drape clients can’t do that, because they need to have a full roster of clients to support themselves. So in and of itself, especially since most analysts seem to be sticking to the standard $350 range, this doesn’t really bother me.

But does that mean that I personally would pay $580.90 to be draped or, let’s be honest, even $350? Sometimes it surprises even me that I have never gone for any kind of analysis when I’ve spent so much time on all of this color and style stuff. Part of it is due to financial and logistical reasons, but the other part is that I’m so stubborn and have such a clear vision of myself that I no longer really want someone to tell me who or what I am. I’ve talked about it some in a prior post, but I have a feeling that the clearer the image of yourself is, and the happier you are with that image, the more likely you are to walk away unsatisfied.

I’m happy with Dark Autumn and the way I use that palette. I get positive feedback on the colors in clothing and on the makeup. My friends even tell me that it’s made them realize why this color nonsense I babble on about matters. I firmly believe that you can DIY your way to a palette that you’re satisfied with.

Will I ever have the “WOW” moment in front of the mirror and under the lights? At this point in time, it’s looking unlikely. I may one day invest in a Beauty Valued palette, but for now, I’m making use of what Kathryn Kalisz began in my own way, in a way that feels right to me.

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