October 2015 archive

Workbook Now Available

I’m happy to announce that I have finished the workbook and it is now available for purchase in the Store. It is a PDF ebook designed as a series of exercises to help you with what this blog is all about: your Syntax and your Style. It will help you take all of your different analyses and palettes and types, and use them to create a singular vision of your physical self. Then you will use this information and make it your own and do the most complex work of all: Using your style to express your inner self. Finally, you will examine your current wardrobe and make a plan for overhauling it to match your new style.

I’ve also created a Facebook group to help you through this process. In the group, you’ll be able to connect with others who are working through the book, discuss issues, or just share the work you’ve been doing. I will also be in the group to answer questions, offer suggestions, and give advice.

I’m really excited about this project because, as I mention above, I feel like it’s exactly what my blog has always been about. How can we use style to create a look that both addresses our physical selves and our limitations while also expressing who we are? This is the key to personal style that both looks and feels great, but it’s a tall order. I hope this workbook will help people accomplish this.

Anyway, it’s up right now in the Store. As always, if you have any questions, you can comment below or email me at hello@stylesyntax.com.

Zyla Update

I always know when something’s not working when I stop shopping. It’s been especially noticeable this fall, since it’s the time of year when Dark Autumn colors are easy to find, and I think this year has been especially kind to Autumns.

But something wasn’t clicking for me. While there were a lot of things in-store that looked like they should fit the idea of Dark Autumn-Flamboyant Gamine-Gamine Autumn I’d created for myself, I just didn’t feel particularly motivated to buy anything. Something was off.

I love my DA palette. I love being Flamboyant Gamine. It was the Zyla archetype that was off. It was limiting me in ways that gave me the same feeling as trying out Soft Natural and Soft Gamine did. It wasn’t really appealing to my personal aesthetic and it felt too boho.

As it turns out, I think my Zyla designation was only partially correct. I got the season right, but not the archetype.

When I realized I was experiencing Zyla confusion, I first wondered if I could be a Spring in Zyla (but still keeping the same color palette). My DIY palette seemed to be on the brighter side. In real life, I also come across as very young. Maybe I was missing some fun in my wardrobe. Tawny Spring seemed almost right, but a little too rounded for me. And could my colors really be translated into a Spring archetype?

I made collages and a video, and posted them in a Zyla group on Facebook. I’d never done an essence video before, as I don’t think they’re really effective for Kibbe because people tend to concentrate on personality when they see a video. But Zyla does rely more heavily on things like personality and voice quality. I thought people would see me as relatively scattered and ineloquent on video. But to my surprise, people still saw Autumn. More specifically, people saw Mellow Autumn.

Here’s the thing with Zyla, and what makes it so complicated to do by yourself. Each person not only gets a unique palette, but they get unique style recommendations. I’ve seen some Mellow Autumn Pinterests, but nothing connected with me. Then I read the Mellow Autumn recommendations of a woman who also identifies with Flamboyant Gamine in Kibbe, and hers were very edgy, and very in line with the clothes I wear already.

I wouldn’t wear this…

…But I’d definitely wear this:

(Source: Zyla’s MA Pinterest board)

I also refined my DIY palette a bit, fixing my color settings in Photoshop so that the colors were truer to the palette and adding some secondary color choices:

I hope that keeping Mellow Autumn in mind–I think of it as sophisticated, yet edgy and avant-garde–can help get me back into the style groove. Maybe I’ll actually buy some clothes soon.

Understanding My Place Within the Gamines

On the Kibbe test, my numerical score places me in straight G. I’m more yin than most FGs, and more yang than SG.

But given the peculiarities of the G types, this doesn’t make me a straight Gamine, and it wouldn’t even if Kibbe still assigned people this type. Gamines are yin in size, with yin faces, but straighter, yang bodies. That is not how my mix of yin and yang shows itself in my body and face, and Gamine clothes don’t work for me at all.

This becomes clear if you look at a comparison of the Gamine types, with the things in bold being the characteristics that apply to me.


While my characteristics seem pretty evenly split between SG and FG, almost nothing from G applies to me. It has been suggested to me that perhaps my combination of yin and yang is just more extreme. But also, if we think about how Gamine types are created, it’s only logical that the transition from FG to SG is not always going to be a linear one that passes through G. Gamine features from all three types can show in one person, since that juxtaposition of yin and yang can show up in a myriad of ways.

Looking at this chart, it also almost seems to favor SG. Why I am FG, then? The fact that I have short legs and and small hands and feet are not as important as the fact that I am broadly angular over round. I have wide shoulders and broad, flat hips. These make the FG recommendations work well for me, and cause the SG ones to not work at all. Not all characteristics are going to carry the same weight; it is not a pure numbers game. The overall impression is what counts.

Also, since I have so little straight G, I have to remember that while some of my FG sisters can carry off pieces from the G recommendations, I can’t. But I’m excited to see how far I can dip into SG.

I think it’s a worthwhile exercise to take a look at the characteristics of your sister type(s), and see exactly how your unique yin/yang balance presents itself. It will help you understand both your own type and how you can push its boundaries.

Do You Need a Professional Analysis?

This is the $10,000 question (sometimes quite literally). Like many people, at the beginning of my color and style journey, I felt that any conclusions I came to on my own were going to be inconclusive. I believed that I couldn’t know my “true” season without being draped, and that only a style expert could classify me into an archetype.

As time has gone by, however, my perspective is now entirely different. While I think there is some truth to this post, I also think there is a point where getting a professional to tell you what you are may not be the best use of your 200, 600, 10,000 dollars. Tina has touched on this on her post about when you don’t need a PCA.

I relate to the reasons Cate Linden outlines in her post as well, perhaps not in the way she intended. You can’t go into a PCA just to confirm what you think you already know. You have to keep an open mind, and prepare yourself for whatever result you get. The same goes for an type analysis.

But what is not always mentioned is that not everyone comes back from seeing an analyst, even the most renowned style gurus, happy or even vaguely satisfied. I think there is a major factor to this that can sometimes be overlooked.

If you are happy on your own, seeking someone else’s opinion might not be the best thing for you.

The more time you’ve spent in self-discovery mode, learning what works for you and what doesn’t, the harder it may be for you to hear someone else’s opinion on what works. It can feel inauthentic and wrong. After all, you know yourself better.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Zyla and getting a palette, for example. But I also know that I am satisfied with what I’ve discovered on my own, and if he saw me a totally different way, I would probably feel like I wasted hundreds of dollars. And then if he gave me something similar to what I feel works for myself, I’d probably still feel like I wasted money somewhat, because I paid to be told what I already knew.

The more you know about yourself and your style, the more you’re setting yourself up for a fall when you consult with an expert who has an image or an archetype in mind for clients who walk through their doors. The most unhappy clients I’ve seen of people like Kibbe or Zyla are ones who already had a very good understanding of their style before they went to see them. Not everyone who has a good general idea will leave unhappy, of course–some get the tweaks necessary to really take their style to the next level.

What I would consider is thinking about what you truly want. Are you seeking confirmation? If you got something completely opposite from what you think you are, would you be okay with it? Would you be able to stomach the financial loss if you don’t like what you’re told and you don’t find it useful? Have you gotten an analysis from another professional that works for you, and do you really need another? And perhaps most importantly–are you just getting an analysis because you want to know your type, since so many other women have gone and gotten it done, without really, truly wanting the type and style advice that comes with it?

For me, I sometimes do think about seeing Zyla. I’d like to be able to post my Zyla palette and become a confirmed member of a tribe, whatever archetype I would end up being. But in the end, I know that my self-determined Kibbe FG DA is really enough for me. Zyla’s autumnal insights may help me understand what Autumn FG may look like, and his approach has helped me come up with a limited palette featuring my very best DA colors. But I feel that the money I could spend on a Zyla consult would be better spent elsewhere. I would be better off spending that money replenishing my wardrobe than being told what archetype I am.

So before you make an appointment and spend the money–I would consider just what this analysis could do for you.