McJimsey’s Natural

Natural is a yang expression like Dramatic, but instead of angles and formality, the Natural is strength and informality. While the Dramatic is tall and thin, the Natural is more substantial. McJimsey chose the word “natural” to define this type because a Natural shuns artficiality and prefers to wear more natural-looking makeup and hair, and casual, comfortable clothes. Facial features are square and blunt; the smile and the eyes are friendly. She has a little bit of yin in her face, in contrast to the strictly yang Dramatic. A Natural can be either well-proportioned or stocky, and may be overweight. She usually has brown, auburn, or red hair, and a tan and freckles. McJimsey says that many yang types combine both of these types, and can adjust their look for the occasion, emphasizing one or the other, unless their figure limits their ability to wear high-fashion clothes. Again, while school age and college girls of above-average height may see themselves in the Natural type, especially since it is so informal, at that age, they will most likely be a Gamine/Natural hybrid. A Gamine Natural should look for simple clothes, and also clothes should have larger details than you would select for a pure Gamine.

McJimsey’s Naturals are Candace Bergen, Mary Lindsay, Ali McGraw, and Happy Rockefeller.

(Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4)

The Natural does not have the sophistication of the Dramatic. Her yang is expressed in bold simplicity, rather than the exotic or the extreme. She should look for comfort and informality. The fashions specifically mentioned include:

  • skirts with pleats or gores for movement
  • design interest should be limited to details like buttons, pockets, and seams
  • formal wear should be simple and made of beautiful fabrics like raw silk
  • large-wale corduroy for sports; pin-wale corduroy for formal wear (it was the 70s…)

    Fabrics include tweed, shantung, Irish linen, raw silks, homespun/handknitted textures, jerseys, doubleknits, and flannels. No shiny satin or crepe silk. Texture is emphasized, and good accessories include large, handcrafted wooden accessories; belts; bags; wooden, leather, or metal buttons; and novel cord fasteners (anyone know what that means?). The leather used in shoes and bags should not be shiny. Boots, oxfords, and stacked heels are what a Natural should look for. Handcrafted jewelry with uncut semiprecious stones, carved wooden beads, and coral necklaces make good jewelry for a Natural. Good patterns and details include peasant embroidery, large-scale plaids, abstract or geometric patterns, and prints that simulate textured weaves. Herringbone or silk scarves should be combined with textured knits. Necklines should be softened by collars. The shirt collar, sailor neckline, and square neckline are all good. Large bows and turtlenecks that are not too high or tight are also advised. Double-breasted coats are also good for balance. The favored neutral for a Natural is brown, and woodsy colors (forest green, dull gold, rust, dulled yellow-green), bright blues, greens, and reds. Purple and magenta seem too artificial for a Natural. She may wear a woolen cap or beret pushed back on her head, but Naturals usually prefer not to wear hats.

    (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  • 6 Comments on McJimsey’s Natural

    1. Caty
      March 4, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      you wrote that Mary Lindsay would be a Natural, but in McJimsey’s book she is listed as a Dramatic.

      • stylesyntax
        March 4, 2016 at 1:55 pm

        Not according to the edition of the book I read. 🙂
        mary lindsay

        • Caty
          August 3, 2016 at 1:59 pm

          That’s strange, because on page 81 Mary Lindsay is listed as a Dramatic. Will you have a look at page 81, please? I wonder why McJimsey listed her as Natural AND as Dramatic in her book.

      • stylesyntax
        August 3, 2016 at 6:06 pm

        It’s an editing mistake. Frankly, if you’re interested in using McJimsey as a system and not just looking at it as a historical curiosity, I would forget her altogether. I can see arguments for either, and people under 60 probably don’t know who John Lindsay is, much less his wife.

    2. Laker Girl
      January 26, 2018 at 1:57 pm

      You asked for explanation of what is a “novel cord fastener” ( …. handcrafted wooden accessories; belts; bags; wooden, leather, or metal buttons; and novel cord fasteners (anyone know what that means?). )

      I believe the answer is a “toggle closure” which typically uses a cord looped over a wooden toggle (elongated capsule shape button) is what is being referred to here. Check out this link to see a coat with toggles in action;


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *