July 2014 archive

Spring or Autumn?

Somehow, I feel like every time I write something about where I am on this journey to discover my natural colors, lines, and style personality, I soon figure out that I’m not what I thought it was at all. If you read my Banning Black post, you’ll know that I considered myself a Light Spring. I don’t think that anyone looking at me would think otherwise, except to perhaps suggest Light Summer. But as I also wrote about in that post, I have been having a hard time connecting to the Light Spring palette. So I decided to do some drapes using actual fabrics, not just photoshopping colors onto myself.

What I discovered is that my skin is EXTREMELY reactive to colors. In the span of five minutes, with photographs taken in the same spot, I went from looking on the sallow side to like I had a sunburn, all depending on what color I was wearing. (I have also learned that just because you have natural light golden blonde hair does NOT mean you can wear Barbie pink.)

So all of my previous drapings, opinions, etc. meant nothing. I can only understand how colors look on me when they were reacting to my face in real time. I also realized that the only way I can confirm this is to be analyzed professionally.

What I am pretty certain of is that I am probably not a Spring. What was suggested for me is True Autumn. True Autumn was a palette I never considered because I look nothing like the stereotypical True Autumn woman. Their colors tend to be deeper. They have brown or auburn hair. But your skin doesn’t lie (although the camera does, so like I said, I’m going to do an in-person color consultation eventually).

One thing I also realized is that I was only connecting to Light Spring’s neutrals. True Autumn’s neutrals are quite similar:


The grays are warmer, there’s more yellow, but a lot of the colors I like–the warm grays, the corally peaches, the olives–are still there.

I’d also always thought of Autumn palettes as containing a lot of orange and brown. While there’s some of that, looking at True Autumn palettes, there were a ton of colors–actual colors!–I connected with, and can’t wait to try on:


I find myself loving those deep, rich colors.

I think it’s important, for both color analysis and Kibbe, to let go of preconceived notions of what a certain type should look like and how they should dress. Each Kibbe and each palette has a very wide spectrum of how it can be used and applied, and there is no one way for a person of this Type or Season to look. When it works, it works. Anything that tries to use a flowchart to determine something as variable as natural color, just click the “x” at the top of the screen. It can’t tell you how your skin will react.

I’m not sure if I’ve found my seasonal home yet. It may take a long time, and maybe even multiple professional analyses. But I do feel like I have learned a lot so far. I also think you have to listen to your inner voice. I spent all spring wandering around stores, looking at Light Spring colors and not wanting to try on any of it. Autumn clothes start trickling into stores, and I’m in a store for five minutes before I’m standing in line to pay for a dress. Fall has always been my favorite season to shop–perhaps this is why.

(Also I’m a Type 3, and True Autumn colors=Type 3 colors, so this is getting spooky.)

Are you settled in your season or are you still looking? Were you surprised by what you found out?

My Kibbe Journey: Part 2

My last post on my Kibbe journey was only twelve days ago, but reading it again, it feels like a lifetime ago, in terms of where I’m at with Kibbe’s system. Basically, I still see the things in me that led me to believe that I was a Soft Dramatic, but after trying on clothes, I now believe that I actually fit with the Soft Naturals.

This makes sense, because I think it seems to be fairly common for Soft Naturals to misdiagnose themselves as Soft Gamines, and vice versa. This pin by Rachel Nachmias has been a revelation for me. Yes, I am youthful looking, but my bone structure is too substantial and my face is too yang.

Looking around for Soft Natural clothes has been a breath of fresh air. I don’t feel at all like I did when I was looking for Soft Gamine clothes, like I was trying to put myself in a box that wasn’t right for me at all. Part of this stems from my most major Kibbe revelation of all: Image Identity does not define your style.

When I look for sets and boards for various Image Identities on Polyvore and Pinterest, I find that most of Identities are seen in a very narrow way. For Soft Natural, this seems to be Boho Chic with a dash of Jennifer Aniston. I don’t even like Jennifer Aniston, except for her Living Proof line at Sephora. I had spent all of this time I’ve been looking at Kibbe feeling turned off by Soft Natural because it was presented in this very narrow way. But as I read about Kibbe’s clients’ experiences, it became clear to me that there were no set styles. Obviously, it’s easiest to dress in your “native” type, so a Soft Classic in a Classic style or a Romantic in a Romantic style. Some things are more challenging, like making Dramatic Classic boho (as was recently discussed on Seasonal Color. But Kibbe seems to dress everyone differently to work with the individual.

I think it’s important to not look at “examples” of dressing for a type because it can really throw you off. You get mired in thinking that a Soft Natural, or whatever you think you might be, has to dress in certain ways. Just look at the guidelines in regard to print size, fit, cut, etc. and try things on. Ask for objective opinions. See how you feel.

I know that my Soft Natural will look different than the Pinterest boards. So will my Light Spring. But it’s the one that will work for me.

For some Soft Natural non-Boho inspiration, I’m on the fence as to whether this works, and it’d probably on work on SNs who are super skinny, but I like the mix of textures and the fit of the dress that Carine Roitfeld, my favorite SN who doesn’t often dress SN, is wearing:

Banning Black from My Wardrobe

If there’s one look I love, it’s a dramatic, non-romantic, modernized post-punk goth style. I think the person who best exemplifies this look is Wes Eisold of Cold Cave:


This picture has been the cover of my personal Pinterest fashion board forever:

(The Pinterest source says it was on a tumblr blog, but I can’t find it anywhere but Pinterest)

I would love to dress like this. But the chances of me actually looking good in this outfit are about the same as me owning a Birkin: it’s not gonna happen. I don’t have the ultra-skinny and dramatic body type, and my Light Spring coloring makes me pretty much the opposite of someone who looks good in black. So I’m going to figure out how to incorporate the spirit of this look using accessories, and in the meantime, I have two major things I have to do:

1) Stop buying clothes in this style. It just doesn’t flatter me, and it makes me sad. I’ve been dressing as Soft Natural as my wardrobe can get for the past couple of days, and I can immediately feel a difference. I feel much better about myself, which is the point of Kibbe–he is all about working with and emphasizing what you have, and not trying to be someone else.

2) No buying black for fall. I am going to stick to my Light Spring neutrals:


(original Light Spring Sci/Art palette found here)

Light Spring non-neutrals will be for my accessories. I can’t bring in too much color into my wardrobe at once, or it will be too big a shock to my system.

I may find that I don’t feel like myself without black, and that’s okay. I can always go back to buying black. But maybe I’ll find that, like with Soft Natural, I’ll just feel better and like my true self in my Light Spring neutrals.

Do you, too, have a Problem with black? Or are you a Winter that hates black and you’re jealous of my Light Spring palette?

Kibbe vs. Dressing Your Truth

Most of us who have delved into style systems deep enough to end up getting into a system from thirty years ago like Kibbe has undoubtedly come across many different style systems. One of the most popular today seems to be Dressing Your Truth, which is a Four Types-based system. Before I start talking about, I have to say two things. One, I haven’t bought the course and have only read Carol Tuttle’s books and watched her YouTube videos. So I don’t know the exact recommendations you get once you shell out the $99-$297 for the course, but I feel like I get the general idea. Two, I think it’s important to understand some criticism of DYT, which include not giving sources and some customer service issues. I still find DYT helpful, though, because the materials are much more accessible than the older Four Type systems, and I think it’s good for understanding your inner yin/yang balance and how it can potentially influence your style.

With that out of the way, one of the issues that many people come across is that things don’t always match up. Once you’ve typed yourself in all of these systems, your various types may not be all that compatible. For instance, I’m a Light Spring in 12-color systems, a likely Soft Natural, and a Type 3 in Dressing Your Truth. Light Spring and Soft Natural work pretty well together, but Type 3 in Dressing Your Truth wears shaded colors, colors that have had black added. This is basically as incompatible with Light Spring as you can get, which is as light as you can get and would be compatible with Type 1 energy.

Then there’s Kibbe. I realized that Kibbe’s recommendations are based on yin/yang balance and contrast/blended, and Carol’s are based on yin/yang balance and high/low energy. “Contrast” and “Energy are basically referring to the same thing, right? So I took a graph showing the exact location of Kibbe Image Identities on a graph and overlaid the DYT type, thinking that the influence of balance of your non-primary energies of DYT would pull you into a certain direction of yin/yang and energy balance on the graph and you would find the Kibbe compatible with your DYT type that way. (I found the original graph on Pinterest and I tried finding the original site, but they were all linked to the image file on Pinterest and not a website. So if this is your graph, please let me know if you want me to take this down or give you credit. I have my own graph, but it doesn’t illustrate what I’m talking about as well.)


So as a 3/4 with 1 being a strong tertiary, I figured I’d end up in on the far left portion of Soft Dramatic. I hope this makes sense. But of course, I’m pretty sure now I’m an SN, which is in the opposite quadrant. The other issue with this chart is that, despite the fact that Carol presents the Energies this way visually, the movement levels of the types next to each other on the X-axis are not equal. The movements go 1, 3, 2, 4, from highest to lowest. So I guess you could say Type 1 is Yin Highest Movement, or SG; Type 3 is Yang High Movement, or D/SD; Type 2 is Yin Low Movement, or SN/SC; and Type 4 is Yang Lowest Movemnent, or DC. These kind of seem to work, if you look at the recommendations for the types, but there are, of course, four other Kibbe Image Identities to consider that then wouldn’t be included in Dressing Your Truth at all.

More importantly, when I posted this image on Seasonal Color, it was pointed out to me that Kibbe is mainly focused on the lines of the body, and Dressing Your Truth on your inner expression. A Dressing Your Truth purist would insist that your inner energy movement would trump all. So I, as a Type 3 Light Spring Soft Natural (if I am in fact a Soft Natural, which I’m not sure of yet), should forget about the light-yet-bright colors of Light Spring and the softer lines of Soft Natural, and just dress with the sharp lines and heavy autumnal colors of Type 3, since that’s what my inner energy requires.

I am not, of course, a Dressing Your Truth purist, if you couldn’t tell from the fact that none of my blog posts have focused on DYT thus far. But I do think it’s important to understand how your inner self can affect your Image Identity. Kibbe does, after all, dress people within the same type differently. People fall in different places on the continuum. You may find that if you have a yang DYT type and you’re a yin Kibbe, you may want to look for inspiration in accessories or prints in the yang version of your type. If you’re a Type 4 and a Light Summer, try using the purest colors your palette has. If you’re a Type 1 Soft Classic, look for things that are a little more “fun” than the usual Soft Classic might wear. And so on.

This is only one way of looking at this issue of conflicting seasons and types and identities, but I think it could be a useful tool for those of us feeling overwhelmed by all of this information. Have you experienced a mismatch between your various types?

My Kibbe Journey: Part 1

When I started looking at Kibbe, I was fairly certain I was a Gamine of some kind. I’m small in general, with especially small feet and hands, short legs for my height, and what I felt was a gamine energy. When a friend compared me with a celebrity, it was usually someone like Jean Seberg, who is obviously ultra gamine:


At first I thought I was a Flamboyant Gamine, since those are the clothes I’m drawn to naturally and what my closet is already full of. But as I read the description, I realized that I was in no way leggy and lacking curves, the way a FG would be. I figured then I was a Soft Gamine, since I have curves, short limbs, and feel heavy even when I’m not, since I don’t build muscle easily and am always soft.

But when I would go to a store and look at Soft Gamine clothes, I didn’t even want to try them on. They just felt wrong. At first, I thought it was just a classic case of resistance to my Image Identity. But I liked the idea of Soft Gamine. I had no underlying psychological issues about being Soft Gamine. The clothes just didn’t seem right.

So I went to Seasonal Color, and asked for some opinions. I found, with the help of the very helpful members there, that the broken, staccato silhouette of the Gamines doesn’t work for me. I need a continuous line. I also found that my face while my face has a lot of volume, it still is quite yang in structure. (This makes sense, considering I’m a Type 3/4.) It lacks the sweetness and doll-like qualities of a Soft Gamine face.

Where my face does fit is with the Soft Dramatics. I have full features and a prominent nose. I also have the high hip common to Soft Dramatics, and I can relate to the idea of my curves being “circles placed onto a square,” the source of which I can’t find at the moment. But my limbs are shorter. Also, it’s far harder than I imagined it would be to find Soft Dramatic clothes in stores; I think I am going to wait until fall clothes are in so I can find some nice sweaters with SD lines. I also think I’ll probably have more luck in expensive stores, so I am going to have dress up nicely and brave the snobbishness and try stuff on in fancy places.

There are also the Classics and the Naturals to experiment with. I don’t relate to the Classics at all, though, because my features are not even. “Symmetrical” is not a word I’d used to describe myself. But the only thing to do is to try things on and see what works and what doesn’t.

How are you doing with Kibbe? Do you know your type and happily go to the store and buy all the clothes and love it? Do you know your type but are unsure if you can live your life in that type? Are you completely lost, like I am?

Why Your Kibbe/Image Identity Matters

One thing that’s long flummoxed me is the fact that when you see a picture of a star on the red carpet, inevitably what you see the result of the hard work of stylists, makeup artists, and top fashion designers. But somehow, even with an entire team behind them, sometimes the stars just look… off. Is the dress ugly and no one noticed, or is it just not the right dress for that person?

Understanding Kibbe can go a long way to help you avoid this in your own life, even if you’re not going to be on a red carpet anytime soon. Let’s take Jessica Paré as an example. Most seem to be in agreement that she is a Soft Dramatic. If you look on Pinterest, two of her most-pinned looks, if you search for her name, are these:

(Sources: 1, 2)

What comes to mind when you look at these dresses? They’re bold and dramatic. For a lot of people, these dresses would be just too much. But for a Soft Dramatic, these dresses are exactly what she needs. Anything less would be not enough.

Now, look at her in this dress:


It’s not dramatic, at least, not in the right way. Picture it on a Flamboyant Gamine like Lizzy Caplan. Totally different dress, right? But it’s simply not enough for a Soft Dramatic. It kind of looks like a tablecloth is wearing her.

That’s the point of all of this Kibbe business. Once you figure it out, it makes it easy to go to a store and immediately know what’s going to work for you and what’s not, without even trying a whole bunch of stuff on. It’s about understanding what nature gave you and using that information to look fabulous. I also think it goes deeper than something like Trinny and Susannah’s 12 Body Shapes, because Kibbe takes into account the entire person, and not just a series of deviations from the norm. According to Trinny and Susannah, I’m a Skittle and should wear chunky shoes, bows, and A-Line skirts. But what kind of prints? What kind of vertical line? How dramatic or how can cute can I go?

Knowing your body shape is helpful, of course. But you can dress your body shape perfectly fine, and still look off, somehow. Without knowing your Image Identity and your season, a.k.a. most flattering colors, you’re still fumbling around in the dark.

(To see more analysis of stars’ red-carpet looks in relation to Image Identities, see this pinterest. They use Yin/Yang C, G, D etc. instead of Kibbe’s names, but the idea and the concept are the same.)