I’m taking a Northrup breather today because I recently got this book in the mail from the always-helpful and lovely Carrie, who was cleaning out her stash and generously sent this to me. I want to talk about the book while it’s still fresh in my mind.
As you might be able to tell from the mid-’90s realness being served up by the cover, this book was published in 1995. As such, there is an inordinate amount of attention paid to the Shoulder Pad Question, but otherwise, I think that the advice is pretty timeless.
Toni Hartman was a petite model before she became a style consultant (and now she is, apparently, a psychic). Her book differs from all of the other books and systems I’ve looked at in one major way: it does not mention taking any cues from your external appearance. Your style is not determined by your body type or facial features. You do not find out your season by draping, but instead are supposed to think about how you feel in colors and how others react to them. Your season is determined by the colors you get the most compliments in, but if you don’t feel like dressing in that season, that’s okay too.
It is the total focus on your personality and your actual lifestyle that makes me think that this book would be great for someone who is having trouble reconciling their Kibbe with their real life. Hartman, I think, really understands what it’s like to be a woman and to have to deal with all kinds of things and issues while getting dressed in a way that the male style gurus, wonderful as they are, can’t always relate to. She even covers mother/daughter relationships and dating compatibility by style type (she has style types for men, too). But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
She divides women into six types: Sporty (closest to FN, a woman focused on her physical well-being), Romantic (closest to SN, a woman focused on love), Traditional (closest to SC, a woman focused on family), Classic (closest to DC, a woman focused on her career), Dramatic (closest to SD, a woman focused on attention), and Trendy (closest to FG, a woman focused on doing her own thing). You can also be, say, Romantic with an accent of Dramatic. You determine your type by doing a personality and style/beauty habits quiz and making a collage.
Once you know your type and your accent, if applicable, she tells you how each type should dress for certain occasions, what they should pack on a trip, etc. She gives other helpful shopping and wardrobe tips, like department store vs. boutique shopping and what “misses” and “juniors” really mean, as well as a guide to colors and what they represent and what they make you feel. Plus the mom/daughter and men stuff, as mentioned above.
As an FG who is very comfortable in FG and doesn’t have any problems with shopping, packing, etc., this book wasn’t terribly helpful for me, personally. But I think this could be great for someone to pick up who knows their Kibbe type, but doesn’t know how to make it work with their real life or how to express themselves within the parameters of their Kibbe. I think used in conjunction with something that addresses your physical appearance, it can be used to create a cohesive, flattering look that actually works in everyday life.