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 email@example.com.
nouveauMay 14, 2015 at 1:11 am
I so totally agree with your words:
“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.”
Yes! I so agree. My journey to finding my image archetype was much more valuable because I traveled it by myself, without having an expert diagnose my type.
By doing it myself I learned so much, internalized it so deeply, and now resonate with it completely.
As a result, I’m not just trying to follow style recommendations from a checklist created by someone else. Instead, I have the knowledge of what is most “me” – and why it works so well for me.
I feel the same with my color analysis journey. I know I could be draped by an expert who would explain everything as each drape was tested on me.
But by doing it myself, I’m learning more about color – and gaining a much deeper understanding of my own coloring.Reply
stylesyntaxMay 14, 2015 at 8:23 pm
I’m actually not certain whether DIY works as well with colors. I think of this blog post. But then again, sometimes seasons are obviously bad (like Light Spring for me), and you have a 1-in-12 chance of being right. And in the end, what matters most is that the colors make you feel good, right?
I think it’s pretty easy to see which lines look good, though. It was obvious to me from how I looked in the mirror and how I felt with the clothes on. SN dress? Lumps galore. I hate my life. FG dress? I look slimmer and pulled together and feel great. That’s enough confirmation for me. 🙂
tordisMay 14, 2015 at 12:22 pm
Are you considering Ingenue and Ethereal types too? In Kibbes world, I’m TR, which makes sense only to some extent, because I’m Ingenue, too. I’m in real need of casual and non pastel ideas for a true winter. The examples on pinterest are either kitschy pastel or evening stuff.Reply
If you include I and E in your guides, I’m really interested in such a guide.
tordisMay 14, 2015 at 12:28 pm
That’s what’s happening if you read something while doing a hundred other things. i somehow didn’t really read… I thought, you want to offer guides for people who know their type, but have no idea, how to find the clothes or how to interpret the recs.
Nevertheless, I would love it if you could include I and E somehow, even if just as a footnote. I was mistyped (or rather mistyped myself) as a SG because of Ingenue. When you don’t have a word for something, you must assume, it doesn’t exist. But I and E are real things 🙂
stylesyntaxMay 14, 2015 at 8:32 pm
No, these are intended for people who are confused about Kibbe and want something concrete to compare themselves to.
As far as Ingenue and Ethereal/Angelic go–I’ve been planning on writing a post or a series of posts on what modern Ingenue looks like. Expressing Your Truth’s Ingenue info sheet just seems to be SG to me, and Ingenue is its own thing. So I want to show how Ingenue as described in McJimsey can be brought into modern times. But that’s a lot of research, and it’s taken a backseat to other projects right now.
As far as Ethereal goes… I kind of agree with Rachel Nachmias, who recently said in the Best Dressed Academy group on Facebook that she doesn’t really see a big enough difference between Angelic and a light season Dramatic, and I’m inclined to agree. So I don’t think I’ll be writing anything on Ethereal any time soon. Right now, I’d say just look at Truth Is Beauty’s pinterests for ideas for these essences.
In fact, I would say that’s where I’d go for type personalization that is not a personalized service. For me, I’d rather work with someone one-on-one to help them express their whole being, and not use a set of essences to do that, unless someone wants me to consider that information.
TordisMay 17, 2015 at 6:41 pm
That’s strange because all the softly flowing stuff of E would look completely silly on a D. E is soft curves, whereas D is sharp angles and straight lines. E is said to be the most yin, while D is the most yang? This irritates me. Could you explain why you see E nearly as some kind of light D? I mean, TR isn’t just a true winter version of R etc. It still is about lines and cuts and details, and not about colors, right? (Although of course, TW always looks more dramatic or romantic, and LSu always looks more yin etc. while the lines and cuts stay the same. When on a black and white picture, a D stays D no matter what color type. So why should a light D have anything in common with E?)
I’m looking forward to the Ingenue posts, when you have time!
stylesyntaxMay 17, 2015 at 7:13 pm
I don’t really deal with the PSC essence business, personally. I’m strictly Kibbe, and would only take that kind of essence into consideration if someone wanted me to. I wouldn’t really use it on its own. Kibbe types, in my view, are formed solely by the lines of your body. But I do think that your season can affect your interpretation of your Kibbe type. You have to do your season’s version of whatever is going on in the Kibbe type. So if Kibbe says high contrast, you have to do high contrast that makes sense on your season. As a DA, I don’t like high contrast, geometric prints as much as some of my FG cohorts. I prefer animal prints, and if I do something geometric, it’s going to be richer somehow, like done with beading vs. a black-and-white print. That is what I think Rachel Nachmias was getting at with Angelic basically not being that different from a light season D.
Chiara, who sometimes comments here and posts on seasonal color regularly, is a Light Spring D. This is her Dramatic Pinterest.
Angelic doesn’t actually work as the “most yin” for me. Yin and Yang are in complete opposition. You are not Angelic unless you are tall and lithe, just like Dramatic. So on a scale from yang to yin, having two tall, thin types on either side doesn’t make much sense to me.
Anyway, I personally don’t care for looking at people and breaking them down into essences. I have seen people come back very confused, and being told that X body feature is N and then it throws them into a tailspin and they bark up the wrong tree, when really, the overall impression of their body is still Soft Gamine or Theatrical Romantic or whatever. I prefer to understand what type a person is to understand what is flattering on them, and the range they have, and then work with them one-on-one to help them express their entire self, not predetermined “essences.” If someone like you came to me and said that they have a definitely dominate essence that should be taken into consideration, then sure, I’ll work with that. But it’s not the way I approach the problem.
TordisMay 24, 2015 at 5:31 pm
Thanks for the long answer!
I get what you mean. The thing about E is an interesting input, too.
I still am TR, because the recs fit. Probably it’s just the community that saw TR as having (or needing) a very sexy vibe? Having a category like Ingenue was just very helpful to understand that a certain vibe can trick us into typing people wrong. Maybe it’s more like seasonal color types that influence our style WITHIN our Kibbe type? But no, I still think that Essences are much more strongly linked to Lines than Colors are.
Still… The category “Ingenue” offered me an explanation, but didn’t change my Kibbe type. It just makes my TR clothes less sexy and less womanly. The things suggested in Kitcheners youtube video don’t work on me – too small scaled, too cutesy, too soft/light colored. I also don’t see that Ingenue made my TR things any smaller, lighter or more cute – so far. Still exploring.
stylesyntaxMay 24, 2015 at 11:07 pm
One of the issues with the community is that it’s hard to see how types account for individuality. I think Kibbe intends them to, and if you just read the book by yourself with no Internet, you form your own ideas of what a type looks like, and it’s easier to put together an image that speaks to you. But since we all found Kibbe through the Internet, our ideas of a type are defined by how others saw it before we even heard of Kibbe.
I’m in the process of writing a blog post about it, but I was recently considering Zyla and the archetype of Gamine Autumn was suggested for me. I looked at the writeups, and a lot of it really resonated, although some of it is too SN. The things that I found that I felt would work for me I soon discovered were actually hidden among the FG recommendations; they’re just things that get forgotten about because they somehow didn’t make it into our collective idea of what Flamboyant Gamine is.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that the point of Kibbe is not to put you into a machine that spits you in an outfit from one of the 12 archetypes. It’s to help you put together a unique personal style with tools that help you work with your tangible physical self. For instance, you’ve mentioned necklines and how you prefer yours higher. There’s nothing in the TR recommendations that actually says that TR necklines must be low. It’s just become part of the idea of Sexy TR.
TordisMay 24, 2015 at 5:34 pm
(I of course meant, “too soft/light colored” within my own season. I don’t wear the light TW colors well, not at all. I’m the jeweltone type, definitely. Which is very (T)R of me.)
ShawnaOctober 19, 2016 at 7:19 pm
Don’t forget that Kibbe has a Soft Dramtic, which is definitely curvier and I think it’s that one which would fit with ethereal best. I believe I am a Kibbe Soft Dramatic but I’ve balked for so long and insisted on being a tall Soft Natural because his rec’s still seemed too bold and dramatic for me. I am a Soft Autumn and have a very soft sort of appearance. I am not bombshell sexy but more intriguing sexy. Finding out more about Ethereal as a type has helped me to tweak the Soft Dramatic concept. I have blogged a great deal about my journey in colour type and style type and I’ve not had any professional services as I’ve no access to them.
ObserverMay 14, 2015 at 2:39 pm
I am also interested in your view of I and E. I mentioned “somewhat softened dramatic” in another message for someone between D and SD; but what if the softening happens in a kind of non-sensuous way?
stylesyntaxMay 14, 2015 at 8:35 pm
I suppose you could see D and SD as a range the same way you can think of the types that have middle types as being a range. But I’ve also seen Dramatics who are on the curvier side of Dramatic look just as amazing in serious Dramatic clothes as a D who matches our stereotyped understanding of it, so who knows. My guess is that it may have to do with season, etc. Here’s an Ethereal Dramatic pinterest from Guiding Lines.
ShawnaOctober 19, 2016 at 7:27 pm
Yes, I think that is what I am trying to get at-sorry I commented before seeing this. As a Soft Dramatic Soft Autumn I think I do soften the SD look even more than others might. I am strongly attracted to both a boho look and a very old-world look, medieval, very scrolled metal jewelry, and everything I saw about Kibbe SD didn’t seem to allow for that but learning about Ethereal has helped me to see how I can make that work. Basically I just make sure it’s a little bigger-in scale with my body.
CoryMay 14, 2015 at 8:56 pm
I think this is such a good idea! I hope (selfishly) that you’ll include “try-ons” for each type – I’m pretty sure I’m SD, but still in the part of the process where I resist it 20% of the time so I could use some more evidence!
Sidebar that occurred to me recently: I kind of imagine that a lot of women who are SD actually resist it, because it’s a quite bold set of style statements, and women who have typical SD bodies and faces (also bold) may have been trying to “pass” or blend in for years. In the same way that women in the Romantic group may well have tried to hide or minimize their voluptuous figures before realizing that the perhaps the only way to make that kind of womanliness feel calm and neutral is to fully embrace it in your style!
I wonder if your guide could have a section of “if you’re worried about X, you might be Y archetype”? Thinking of Classics sometimes worrying that they look “boring”, or Naturals worrying that they look “square” or Romantics worrying that they have too much Joan happening. It seems to me that a huge power of Kibbe is encouraging women to actually embrace the things about them physically that stand out, when many women have been taught to fear and hide those exact things (“What if I’m too sleek and straight to be beautiful? What if I’m too curvy and sexy and nobody takes me seriously? What if I’m too small and cute to be womanly and powerful? What if I’m too powerful and muscular to be pretty? What if I’m too normal and ordinary to be sexy?”) In my meandering process that seems to be ending in SD, I’ve certainly fretted that I’d look somehow both too masculine (height! shoulders! strong nose!) and too feminine (boobs/bottom/mouth), which I finally realized is probably a sizable SD clue if you stop trying to ignore it…
I also really like your thoughts on Ingenue and Angelic. That sounds right on to me. Many women have been given so many powerful messages about “femininity” that it can be quite confusing to contemplate the yangier archetypes. (I relate. I tried to convince myself I was a tall Soft Natural.) I saw that Rachel of Best Dressed said, on Pinterest, that “all women are feminine”… I really like that approach in Kibbe, and find it to express something profound. It’s a very affirmative system to me, that says – hey, all bodies are okay, all women are feminine, everyone can feel their best and express that through style. There’s no ranking, there’s no need to try to stuff yourself into an archetype that doesn’t fit you. Really the fullest expression of self is what will also feel best, visually, to others! I find that kind of magical, honestly. Very Zen!Reply
stylesyntaxMay 14, 2015 at 9:25 pm
I think I may find examples of clothes that match the descriptions that he gives for the recommendations, but I don’t know about try-ons or “if you fret about X, you may be Y” because I really only have personal experience with one type. And for the latter, he does cover it in the book, but it’s one of those parts that hasn’t made it online. I may ask people to contribute their own personal experiences, though.
Yes, the idea of you being fine and feminine just the way you are is a big part of the appeal of Kibbe and other similar systems. And SD is definitely a difficult type to live up to. When I asked for beta testers, 75% of the respondents were SDs.
ShawnaOctober 19, 2016 at 7:29 pm
Yes! The idea of being SD really scared me. There is nothing about my personality that is dramatic or bold. I too tried to convince myself I was a tall SN. At some stages in my life I even dressed as a soft classic. Oh the denial!
ChiaraMay 18, 2015 at 7:59 am
Look, Ethereal can be confusing, there is no doubt about it- I think it’s because E adds delicacy, but not complexity (trad TR adds both), and softness. It’s particularly confusing when the softness sits on top of an apparently very Yang archetype, like D, because how do we work with that within the D guidelines?Reply
My particular solution arose from reading *somewhere* (can’t think where, so take this with a pinch of salt), that many of the TR Kibbe recommendations were taken from Ethereal type recommendations in the Kitchener system. This makes sense to me, because _a lot_ of TR works for me better than straight D eg fine, draped fabrics, color choices that are lights and brights, not brights and darks, makeup (rounded shapes, peachy glow around the eyes and cheeks; matte contouring looks dreadful on me), squared shoulder with tapering at the hem and wrists, draped jewellery. But from Kibbe’s D, I need length, linearity, minimalism, a moderne streamlined aspect. I would look ridiculous in trad TR, too much going on. This image is a great one for showing the combination, I think http://the.hitchcock.zone/wiki/Hitchcock%20Gallery:%20image%206585
stylesyntaxMay 19, 2015 at 2:12 am
I’m not sure if I *really* believe that TR somehow came from Ethereal, but I love Tippi! Marnie is one of my favorite Hitchcocks. But I can see how a Light dramatic could take a lot from the TR recs, since they both will have a more delicate quality than the typical D.
ChiaraMay 20, 2015 at 10:14 pm
Yes, I’m not sure if I believe it either, that TR and ethereal are linked (although I know Kitchener has said that Kibbe attended his workshops…and I just have this dratted memory I can’t place!), but it certainly helped me work out my own style.Reply
GlimmerJuly 30, 2019 at 7:04 pm
What an interesting discussion! I finally got fed up with Kibbe and then found what really worked in the PSC essences. Then I later figured out my own Kibbe type–which makes no sense with my PSC essences, strictly speaking. So I get what you mean about figuring yourself out instead of having someone tell you who you are.
In Kibbe, I seem to be a Flamboyant Natural. Yet in PSC, I am a Natural/Angelic blend. And yet I also have Dramatic. But by the time you add the Angelic essences and Dramatic essences together, they outweigh the Natural essence (which isn’t very strong even though it’s in the lead). So I find that Kibbe Dramatic is too strong, too hard on me still. Kibbe’s Flamboyant Natural works better, but only if I allow for softer, smoother lines and less complexity than the stereotype. FWIW….
However, I do find that I like to dress in different styles, and what I do now is ask HOW I can achieve them, given the lines that I have. It has proven to be fun and easy.Reply
stylesyntaxJuly 30, 2019 at 7:59 pm
Well, PSC and Kibbe don’t really look at these things the same way. PSC is more style. Kibbe doesn’t impose a style on you. The stereotype has nothing to do with what FN looks like in 2019. He doesn’t dress people in the boho style you see on Pinterest. Everyone gets a sophisticated look.