July 2015 archive

Kibbe Vs. Zyla

One of the most confusing experiences someone in this world can have is going to see Kibbe and Zyla and getting completely opposing Image Identities/Archetypes. They’re both masters at what they do. How could one of them be wrong?

I think the answer is that neither of them, in this case, would be wrong. They just approach their work from different angles.

Kibbe, in my opinion, looks at what you are. He looks at your physicality and what it communicates. Then it is your job to take this understanding of your physical self, and use it communicate everything else that makes you who you are.

Zyla, on the other hand, looks at who you are. The personality and inner self is built into the archetype. You’ll find a wider range in terms of height, build, etc. within the celebrities in his archetypes. The guidelines he gives in the book are incredibly specific and meant to express a specific style, not just lines.

I think you can get a hint of how Zyla works when you look at his palettes. They are smaller than other palettes, only a select few colors. And they’re not meant to reflect the entire range of colors a person can wear. They are the colors that, on you, will express certain things.

Kibbe’s recommendations are not meant to express a specific style or a complete expression of you. They’re meant to give you a framework that will enable you to work it out by yourself.

So what do you do when your Kibbe type and Zyla type don’t match? I think it’s important to keep your ultimate goal in mind. We got into these systems because we wanted to be stylish and to know that we’re making the right fashion choices, and to have that process made just a little bit easier for us. It should never be dressing a certain way because a guru told you so. So you can just choose the one that feels best for you, or use one to influence how you use the other, or simply forget both and forge your own path. In the end, a style system is only useful if it’s working for you.

New Service: The Perfect Outfit

As I wrapped up my second month of doing The Subscription Service, I realized I had a gap of sorts in the services I was currently offering. When I came up with the idea of offering services, my first idea was to create three outfit Polyvores that would show you how your season and type dresses for various occasions. I found Hue & Stripe, which is a much better platform than Polyvore. I realized that getting to three outfits is a long process. I came up with The Complete Closet, and then The Subscription Service, which sends people things they can buy right at that moment.

But still, what I’ve found is that for more types, there’s that one situation that you have no idea how to dress for. It’s easy to figure out what to wear for a formal occasion if you’re a Soft Dramatic or a Theatrical Romantic, but harder to know what to wear to go to the store or meet up with friends. When you look at Pinterest boards for Flamboyant Gamine, it’s hard to see how you could make it work if you’re a lawyer and need to dress a certain way for court.

So my new service is called The Perfect Outfit. I’ll show you how to dress within your type and season for one kind of occasion. The end result will be something like this, a Polyvore I made to demonstrate how a Soft Dramatic who liked a more Natural look could dress to run errands:


Of course, it will be in the form of a Hue & Stripe closet, not a Polyvore. The cost for this service is $15, and can be ordered on my Services and Store page. If you have an y questions, you can comment below or email me at hello@stylesyntax.com.

How to Know If Your Kibbe Is Right

Some people believe that the only way you can truly know if your Kibbe Image Identity is correct is if you visit Kibbe himself and he tells you what you are. Some feel the need to be told by any analyst what they are, and will go with that, even if it feels wrong.

I am not in either camp. To me, the point of all of this color and style stuff is really to make our lives easier and to feel better about ourselves. It doesn’t matter what an analyst says if the designation they gave you feels wrong. You are the ultimate judge of what works for you.

One thing I’ve learned from reading reports from people who have gone to see Kibbe is that there is no real way to distill his process. Some say it’s essence. Some say it’s lines. He sometimes seems to contradict himself. Whatever the actual process he uses to decide people’s types, the only way we’d ever really replicate it is by cloning the man himself.

So what do you do if you can’t spend thousands of dollars to go to New York and see Kibbe? I would advise you to go back to the real reason you got interested in all of this stuff in the first place. The point is that you want to look better, right? So if you can decide on your type for yourself and it accomplishes these two goals, I’d say you’re doing pretty well.

While you’re not confined to the recommendations for your type–I figured out how to make maxi dresses work for me, for example–keeping your basic silhouette and line requirements in mind while shopping makes shopping really easy and much less stressful and disheartening.

This is how shopping the right Kibbe type feels:

When I was in incorrect types, I hated shopping for the first time in my life. Being in the right Kibbe type does make things easier and feel better, even if your type isn’t found in stores all that much. You know exactly what works and what doesn’t. You know that you won’t hate what you see in the mirror when you try something on. The only stress is manufacturers who seem to really only want to design clothes for N types.

You don’t need reassurance from anyone in a group, or an analyst, or Kibbe himself. He wrote the book to enable women to do it for themselves. You are the ultimate arbiter of what works for you. Don’t worry about whether Kibbe would really make you this type, or live in a type that is wrong because someone else told you what you are and they’re the expert. You’re the one who has to live in a type–what is important is whether it feels right for you.

Dark Autumn Blonde, Part Six: Looking at Soft Autumn

In response to a fairly recent post, I got a comment telling me check out seasons called Deep Autumn Soft and Soft Autumn Deep, which I believe are part of the 16-season system, a system used by Lora Alexander at Pretty Your World.

This system, despite having similar-sounding names, is an entirely different animal from the Sci\ART-based systems. For one, draping is not required. Season can be discerned through the harmony of body colors–eye color and hair color are definitely considered. This is the issue I’ve had with people annoying me by insisting that I’m summer that I wrote about in my last post in this series.

So anyway, I knew that I would not be either of these seasons anyway, because I would be far too light to qualify. But it did plant a little seed of doubt about Soft Autumn in my mind. Could I be Soft Autumn? It would seem more logical, sure. Right as I was pondering this, a Russian-language blog on color and style did a post breaking down the different colors in Soft Autumn. (You don’t need to know Russian or even use Google Translate to understand what I’m talking about in regard to this post, since the visuals accompanying the text make it pretty clear). The lights, neutrals, darks, and brights of Soft Autumn have been separated. This gives me a very different impression of what Soft Autumn looks like than what I normally think of it looking like, which is this:


Compared to other palettes, it has always seemed a bit dull to me. All of the colors seem watered down and a sort of murky green or coral. But it’s true that in order to appreciate a palette, you have to see the colors. You have to see them in a context other than square boxes of color lined up to represent a seasonal palette. You need to see the clothes. And in Color Harmony’s interpretations, the dark and the bright Soft Autumn colors look pretty good to me. They look like things I could wear easily.

But the neutrals and the lights… This is where it falls apart. My winter jacket, for instance, is a Soft Autumn olive green. Does it have awful effects on my skin? No. But does it do anything special for me? No again. Out of curiosity, I decided to how I’d do in a lighter Soft Autumn color. I have a coral towel that seems to be SA’s coral. So I draped myself with it, and immediately noticed redness around my nose. I do have some, but when I put on a Dark Autumn color, it’s not noticeable. In fact, in Dark Autumn, I usually just put on lipstick and don’t bother with anything else. I also saw some reflection around the sides of my face that I didn’t like. While seeing the Soft Autumn colors together like they are in the blog made it seem more logical as an option for me, somehow, real life showed me otherwise.

Sometimes you need doubt to really confirm something for yourself. And while I might see what happens if I swipe a few of SA’s brightest and darkest colors, I have again come to conclusion that DA is where I belong.

What Happens with Services After August 1st?

As I mention on my Services and Store page, I have some special deals running until August 1st. So after August 1st, there will be some changes in what you get if you order.

1. The workbook will continue to include a trial of The Subscription Service and access to the future Facebook group. What will not be included, however, is a $10 discount if you decide to purchase the 6-month subscription to The Subscription Service.

2. The Subscription Service will no longer come with a pre-order of the workbook. I have also decided that since the focus of the Facebook group will be the exercises in the workbook, purchase of The Subscription Service will no longer include access to the Facebook group. I will offer a new combination of the workbook + The Subscription Service for $35 that will include the workbook, six months of The Subscription Service, and access to the Facebook group.

Also, I would like to clarify what The Subscription Service is versus what The Complete Closet is. The Subscription Service is meant for people who already have a handle on what their style looks like; they just want help finding exact items. When you sign up, I will send you a survey–and the more detailed your answers, the more the clothes and accessories I pick for you will match the image you have in your head. As you provide feedback on items I’ve selected, I’m able to refine your profile and pick out better and better things. The purpose is for you to see items that you can purchase right away, in your budget and in your size.

What I don’t do with The Subscription Service is engage in a back-and-forth with you as I pick out items. It is not like the three-outfit Polyvore service I originally imagined when I decided to start offering services on my site. If you want help fine-tuning or defining your personal style, The Complete Closet is the service that is meant for you. When I do The Complete Closet, it is a totally collaborative process, with lots of communication. It’s basically me doing what I outline in the workbook for you, with real clothes as examples and lots of input from you.

If you have any questions, you can comment below or email me at hello@stylesyntax.com.

Workbook Rough Draft: Done

I have finished the rough draft of the Workbook. It includes six chapters:

  • Your Type
  • Expressing Yourself in Your Style
  • The Three Levels of Dress
  • Using Your Color Palette
  • Wardrobe Rebuilding
  • Curating the Essentials

    The first two talk about how to use the information you have about yourself to come up with a unique style that expresses who you are. The rest of the chapters focus on how to use what you came up with for yourself in your real life.

    Each chapter has an accompanying exercise, so by the time you finish with the workbook, you’ll have a clear guide that will help you shop for and create a personal style going forward. You’ll also have access to an exclusive Facebook group for people who have purchased the workbook. You’ll be able to discuss the topics covered in the book and the exercises with other people who are working on them. And I’ll pop in to answer questions as well, of course.

    Right now, you can pre-order the workbook here. If you pre-order it before August 1st, you’ll also receive a free one-month trial of The Subscription Service (and if you sign up for The Subscription Service, the workbook is included with your purchase if you place your order by August 1st).

    I expect that it will be sent out by the end of August (PDF format, so you can print it out or do everything digitally without needing a special device or program). Then I will start work on my next project: a workbook for DIYing your type and season.