May 2015 archive

Keeping C, G, and N

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As I prepare to begin my thorough exploration and explanation of Kibbe types, I’ve made a decision that deviates from the current common way of looking at the types. That decision is to include C, G, and N as separate types.

Apparently, Kibbe has told people who have gone to see him in the past couple of years that he no longer gives people these designations. He still tells some people to use the recommendations, but will give them a designation depending on how slightly more yin or yang they are. The typing services that used Kibbe as their starting point, Best Dressed and Guiding Lines, have followed suit, with Guiding Lines keeping Natural and Best Dressed splitting each base type into yin and yang variants.

For a long time, I felt that whatever Kibbe is currently doing is what we should follow. I never used the middle types when giving someone my opinion about their type. But more and more, I saw that doing so was doing people a disservice. Some truly suit the middle types better than going to either the yang or yin version of the base type.

What it does is split types that have a middle type down the middle. In the Facebook group for Flamboyant Gamines, this obvious. There is a distinct group who suit the Flamboyant Gamine recommendations the best, and there is a distinct group that does better with the regular Gamine recommendations. I wrote about this here. This can cause confusion. In fact, I think I would have gotten to Flamboyant Gamine much faster if Flamboyant Gamine didn’t always seem to be mixed with Gamine. I can’t wear Gamine clothes at all, although I could at lower weights. Many aspects of the Flamboyant Gamine recommendations are actually rarely reflected on Pinterest. Plunging necklines and chunky knits are rejected in favor of cute little mod dresses with cute little pointy collars.

It not only does people a disservice to tell them to go either more yin or more yang when they clearly suit the middle type best, it also does a disservice to people who are trying to understand Flamboyant Gamine or Soft Classic to mix them up with Gamine and Classic.

That is not to say that I don’t think people who are Gamine should shy away from certain aspects of the Flamboyant Gamine or Soft Gamine recommendations, and ignore the fact that their yin/yang balance might tip them a little one way or the other. Far from it. But I also think that it’s more useful to identify these types as separate types, since the basis for the recommendations is different and you can see the differences in body shape and facial features.

The way I see it, we can see the transition from the yin version to the yang version of a type as a continuum. The distinctions aren’t hard and fast; they flow into one another. And where you are on this continuum may change with body changes like weight gain, as I mentioned above, or pregnancy. Your type, however, will not fundamentally change. You should understand both your own type and the other type(s) that fall under the umbrella term (Romantic, Classic, etc.) and understand whether you can pull from them or not. But I think it’s better to understand the middle/base types as distinct types on their own, rather than lumping in with the very yang or very yin version.

I don’t know as much about the Classic/Gamine/Natural types on their own, which is another problem with getting rid of them altogether. My hope is that by including them in my Kibbe type study, I will increase both my own and others’ understanding of what makes these types distinct.

P.S.: I am still accepting Essence and Body Survey responses! Also, I have a new Facebook page where I will post both links to new articles and random style and color thoughts.

Using Zyla to Customize Your Kibbe Type

Flamboyant Gamine is a type usually represented in colors from the Bright color palettes and True Winter. A lot of black and white, graphic geometric prints, and so on. This works with the idea of Flamboyant Gamine as funky, colorful, and offbeat.

But of course, being a Bright season or a True Winter are not prerequisites for being a Flamboyant Gamine. While my self-designation of Dark Autumn hasn’t been confirmed, I know that I am not in the Brights or True Winter.

This is not what I have to work with.

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This is closer to what I am. Texture. Leopard-print fur.

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But still, I often try to make the other vibe work for me, basically taking what you’d give a Winter or a Spring and trying to find it in DA colors. It works, because I’m a Flamboyant Gamine and the shapes work, but it’s still not what I want it to be.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what archetype Zyla would give me if I did see him. I don’t talk about Zyla very much on here. This is because Zyla’s system is one that is truly about a single person’s vision and the results are hard to DIY.

The types in the book are so specific that it’s hard to see yourself in them. You see yourself in none of them and all of them at the same time, kind of like horoscopes. I have often felt that in the descriptions, there’s really no room for me.

I was discussing Zyla in the Flamboyant Gamine group a while back, and Gamine Autumn was suggested for me. Of course. I had discounted Gamine Autumn before, because it seemed to be relatively Soft Natural-looking on Pinterest. But as we all know, Pinterest is one of the greatest hindrances out there to really discovering a type, since it locks you into someone else’s perception of what a type looks like.

When I read the reports of people who have been typed Gamine Autumn, a lot of things clicked for me. Lots of texture. Brushed metals. Prints from nature. And he said something very important in all of the Gamine Autumn reports I read:

You are not a Mondrian.

Whoa.

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Not everything would work for me personally. But a lot of what he said resonated. And when I went back and looked, the things that resonated could be found in the Flamboyant Gamine recommendations as well. They just get ignored, often in favor of things actually found in the Gamine recommendations. But that’s a story for another time.

I realized that I don’t need to find an autumn version of a chevron print. My Autumn influence causes me to look toward nature: my beloved animal prints and perhaps a splashy botanical. Blanche Deveraux’s bedroom decor, which is originally from the Beverly Hills Hotel, would be perfect for me.

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So while I don’t think I’m going to make it to see Zyla anytime soon, and I don’t know for sure that he’d give me Gamine Autumn, the information he has still helped me figure out how to make Flamboyant Gamine my own, and I’m excited to explore and develop it further.

This segues into another big announcement of mine. In addition to launching styling services and working on my ultimate guide to Kibbe types, I’m also writing a workbook. This workbook will help you to DIY the customization of your Kibbe type. Using a system as a springboard to creating a personal style is really what this site is all about, so I’m very excited about it.

I also finally launched my Facebook page today. So go and check it out. :)

Things to Consider When Looking at Kibbe’s Celebrity Examples

Most people know that Kibbe has said that he doesn’t like to type modern celebrities because many of them have had too much plastic surgery to make it worthwhile. I generally agree with him; it can very, very tricky. Anyone who has followed the Kardashian/Jenner sisters since Keeping Up with Kardashians began can confirm that the people out there in Hollywood can do magical, magical things.

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I would also argue, however, that there is another factor that makes understanding modern celebrity types difficult: the diet and exercise regime expected of most stars. Where did Romantic Madonna’s yin go? Only her personal trainer knows.

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So we default to looking at the celebrities listed in the books, no matter how badly we want to find a modern celebrity to identify with. While plastic surgery has been in the star-making arsenal since Joan Crawford became a star, in the Studio era, it was more along the lines of the nose job and chin implant Marilyn Monroe received, rather than the coolsculpting and butt implants some are subject to today.

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While bodies didn’t receive as much attention from cosmetic surgeons as they do today, there is something else we have to consider, something that hasn’t been on our minds for about fifty years. And that is girdles.

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Although the effect is not as dramatic as corset training, you can see that the bikini bodies of women in the 1950s and 1960s were quite different. Basically, everyone had a small waist, and there’s something about it that differs from that of TRs and other naturally wasp-waisted women. Look at Faye Dunaway in the 1960s and then many years later:


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In the later picture, it’s easy to see why she was named a Dramatic, even outside of her amazing legs and cheekbones. But in the ’60s? It would take some convincing.

So the best period for understanding what Kibbe-type bodies look like are from the ’70s through the mid-’90s: bodies weren’t altered by girdles OR strict personal trainers.

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Aerobics for everyone!

Essence and Body Survey

One of the suggestions I got in the comments on my last post was a series of statements regarding “If you’re worried about X, you may be Y,” i.e., being curvy/short/”boring”/young-looking, etc. I decided that the best way to approach this was to go straight to the source: people who actually are these types. So I’ve come up with a survey that will address these questions, as well as questions about essence. Then I will compile the answers and create guides for each type that will help people understand the essence of someone of a certain type, as well as their experience of being said type.

So if you know your type–you don’t have to have been officially typed by anyone, just pretty much certain that’s what you are–I would really appreciate it if you fill out the survey below and send it to hello@stylesyntax.com. If there is a question you’d rather not answer, you can just leave it blank.

1. What is your Kibbe type? How did you figure it out?

2. If you’ve ever been cast as anything in a play, etc., what role did you play?

3. What are some words people use to describe your physical appearance?

4. Who were your favorite actresses growing up?

5. Have you ever been compared to an actress or a character in a movie? If yes, who?

6. What are you sensitive about in regards to your appearance?

7. What are the things that you find particularly challenging in regards to dressing your body?

8. If you’ve gone through a major change in your appearance, like weight gain, pregnancy, or simply getting older, how has this affected what you’re able to wear and the shape of your body?

9. How do you feel you’re seen by people who don’t know you well?

10. How much do you relate to the personality description of your type in the Kibbe book?

Thanks to everyone who participates! I really appreciate it, and I hope that it will help future Kibbe seekers in their journey.

Why I Won’t Be Offering Typing Services at This Time

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As I prepare to launch a styling service (which I write more about soon, but I am really excited about), I’ve had some people suggest that I should get into the typing game. I’ve decided not to do it for now for several reasons.

The first is that I feel that the market is saturated. Best Dressed and Guiding Lines both offer typing in their interpretations of Kibbe’s system. Truth Is Beauty offers a style evaluation quiz. Jane Rekas types people according to McJimsey’s system. 20 Types of Beauty is another option for a Kibbe-based system. And of course, Kibbe himself, John Kitchener, and David Zyla all work in their own systems. Plus there are many Caygill analysts out there.

So anyway, what I’m saying is, there are a lot of people who can tell you what you are in their eyes.

But when I think back to my own experience of discovering my Kibbe type, the experience itself of discovering myself is something that I value almost as highly as having a set of guidelines for dressing that is easy for me to follow. I think this has allowed me to understanding myself better than if someone had sat me down and told me that I was a Flamboyant Gamine, here’s why and here’s what you should wear. And even Kibbe himself has people who were typed by him and then felt like it wasn’t their true home.

So instead of offering typing services, what I am planning to do is put together a thorough guide to each Kibbe type and the physical characteristics and variations within each. My hope is that these guides will enable you to simply look at the information I’ve compiled, look at yourself, and then have an “ah-ha!” moment. I have always wished that the Kibbe book provided more illustrations of what he’s talking about, and I hope to make up for that somewhat.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be reorganizing some things around here, launching social media pages, and launching my paid services, but I think this is the project that will be one of the most valuable for you guys. :)

As always, if you’d like to be alerted when I do launch my services, please email me at hello@stylesyntax.com.

Why I Haven’t Gotten Draped Yet

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I’ve had this blog for nearly a year, and I’ve been involved for the color and style community for even longer. And yet I still haven’t gotten draped, and I don’t have an appointment scheduled.

My main reason for this is primarily financial. Going to an analyst requires getting an appointment, arranging travel, and then dropping a sum of money that, while it is not a lot in the grand scheme of things, especially considering how much money it saves you in the long run, is still a fair amount of money to spend at one time. The scenario where I have the money and the timing has lined up to make an appointment just hasn’t happened yet.

But the further along I am in my color and the style journey, the more trepidation arises.

The name of the blog comes from the idea that we have our natural parameters of what will look good on us (the “syntax,” as it were). So I feel pretty stupid that I have a hard time dealing with finding out what my color parameters are. But I do.

My own experimentation in the color world has taken me from Light Spring to Dark Autumn. Dark Autumn colors seem to not have any ill effects on my skin, I like the colors, and they suit my style and personality. I don’t have any of the redness that comes with lighter colors, and I don’t have the white fuzzy beard that shows up when I wear white. Overall, I’m satisfied with the Dark Autumn color space and find that it works for me.

But there is always the question that I don’t really know that Dark Autumn is my season, and if you read this post by Cate Linden, you’ll probably come to the conclusion that, chances are, it is not my actual season.

I recognize this. I could easily end up being something entirely different. I know I’d end up looking better, if Dark Autumn is indeed the wrong season for me, but a new season would still take some getting used to. Like many people, I don’t really like Soft colors. I know that they are beautiful and more colorful than they are given credit for. But I still have a mental roadblock. If I were draped and given a Soft season, it would be difficult for me to adjust to (and combine with Flamboyant Gamine!).

I know I need to get over it, though. Except in the case of a misdrape, even though it may take some time to mentally adjust, people who have been draped see a huge improvement in how they look and feel. I know this! I blog about it! But I’m still really scared to get a result that I don’t want.

Perhaps some of this is the prescriptive nature of some people’s attitude toward seasons, that there is no room to cheat. I like this post by Lisa K. Ford, where she tells you how to make your season work for you, and how to cheat effectively if you have to. Which brings me to something I think we sometimes lose sight of: the whole point of this color analysis and style typing business is to make you feel better about yourself and look healthier and more stylish. It is, in short, meant to make you happy. The point is not to get a gold star for following the rules exactly.

And I’m sure I could take a season and find a way to fake what it is I love so much about Dark Autumn, like I suggest people do with their Kibbe type. I would find the level of darkness that reads dark on me and make it work. But still, I know that the process is not the easiest one.

Have you had similar feelings in regard to finding out your own season? How have you dealt with it?