November 2015 archive

Black Friday Sale

From today through Monday, November 30th, I’m offering the Style Syntax Type Customization and Wardrobe Rebuilding Workbook for 50%, so $5. This is a great time to pick up the book, since by the New Year, you’ll be ready to refresh your wardrobe and start the year with a new image. (Also, January tends to be the month where stores tend to put their fall and winter stuff on sale, at least in my neck of the woods.)

So if you’ve been thinking about picking up the workbook, now’s a great time to do it. Plus, it will still come with the Facebook group membership and/or one-on-one advice from me via email. As always, if you have questions, feel free to email me ( or comment below.

What Do We Get Out of Color and Style Analysis?: Line

In my first post in this series, I discussed the impact that knowing our best colors can have on our lives. When it comes to what is more important, color or lines, it is a bit of a chicken-or-egg question, and many feel that color is more significant. Perhaps because I’m a person for whom wearing an all-black uniform holds a certain appeal, I find lines a lot more important, personally.

Knowing my lines enables me to look over a bunch of garments and understand immediately which ones will work and which ones will make me look like a lumpy bowl of gravy. I no longer waste time with clothes that I know won’t flatter me, and I don’t have to feel bad about myself when I look in the mirror. I no longer wear things that fight against my body lines.

One of the major frustrations with being a type like Flamboyant Gamine is that things that are generally regarded as “universally flattering” for women everywhere don’t work all that well on a Flamboyant Gamine. Jerset wrap dresses are my sworn enemies.


What I love about yin/yang systems is that they are all about stopping fighting with yourself. Systems that are strictly body-type based tend to focus on making you what you are not. If you’re short, you should look taller. If you’re curvy, you should look less so. Supposedly, with the “right” clothes, you will arrive at some kind of “medium.” Medium height, some curves but not too much, everything in proportion…

And yin/yang systems say it’s okay to not be a classic. I’m shortish and bluntly angular, rather than curvy, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s no point in wishing I had smooth curves that would look great in said wrap dresses. I can wear my short and sculpted dresses instead–which I like better anyway!

Knowing our lines improves our lives in two ways. First, it obviously saves us time because something like 90% of what is in any given store is going to be eliminated immediately, and we will only consider what we know actually works for our bodies. Second, it helps us to embrace our natural beauty rather than wasting time trying to become what we are not.

Know your type in several systems but having trouble putting it all together? My workbook can help.

David Kibbe Letter #3: My Response, Part 2

I’ve already written about David Kibbe’s most recent letter, but there’s something I overlooked last time that I want to address. It’s at the end of the letter:

—-HEAD TO TOE, ONLY. (Don’t forget accessories…shoes, bag, hat, jewelry, stockings)

—-MIX ‘N MATCH= MIS­MATCHED! (Don’t buy a piece at a time….Think outfits).

The first point I absolutely agree with, although I’m not the best at it. I only have one bag and one hat per purpose (small and large, and keeping warm, respectively) and I definitely don’t have enough jewelry. Finding jewelry that fits my exact specifications has been a challenge.

But even though I should do better myself, generally, I agree. When people are trying on types and just put on a dress, it’s hard to get the full picture. You need the hair, the makeup, the shoes, the accessories to really understand the full picture of a type. Especially if you’re in good shape, a lot of different things can be flattering, but the key is whether you need the whole image of a type. You might look great in that TR wiggle dress, but do you need the TR jewels, or does it look better if you pair it with something simpler? If you don’t have it all put together, it’s not an outfit; it’s just clothes.

The second point, however, is more difficult for me. My goal with style and color analysis has always been to put together a small, but high-quality and stylish wardrobe where different pieces can be “remixed,” as fashion bloggers like to say. I want to be able to “shop my closet.”

But here, Kibbe seems to be saying that you should put together a head-to-toe look, and have those pieces just be for that one outfit. For my lifestyle, that just doesn’t make sense. I live a casual life. I have the kind of job where jeans and a t-shirt are just fine, and I find myself in situations where more than that is required maybe two or three times a year. I don’t tend to have the need for Outfits like the ones you can see the Kibbes wearing in photos.

Yet I’ve also seen the Kibbes “dressed down” in photos from people who have gone to see them: sweaters and khakis or leggings. I doubt that David and Susan buy a new pair of khakis or leggings for each sweater or t-shirt they own. That would be totally ridiculous. Like anyone else, for their more casual clothes, I’m certain they have a set of clothes that they mix and match, just like everyone else.

I think that thinking in terms of outfits is good for special events. But you’re more likely to get mileage out of your more hard-wearing, every day clothes if you can think of a lot of pieces in your wardrobe that your new piece will coordinate with. And once you’ve pretty much converted your wardrobe to a cohesive style, that process becomes more or less automatic, since everything already works together.

Hyper-coordinated outfits are great for the when the occasion calls for it, but our daily lives are probably served best by maximizing our possibilities with every new purchase.

Know your type in several systems but having trouble putting it all together? My workbook can help.

David Kibbe Letter #3: My Response

For the past couple of months, David Kibbe has been posting “letters” to his Facebook page. I responded to the first one, and this latest missive is also one I found interesting.

Kibbe writes:

At this point, I’ve had the chance to get a handle on the “land of Kibbe” that’s all over the web. While I’m delighted, gratified, and thrilled at the vast landscape where my work has reached so many people….I have to honestly admit, at times I’m also horrified, and even heartbroken, at some of what’s misleading out there that’s contrary to my intent,­­ and actually harming people that are genuinely looking for my philosophy of style help. The results being: a mass of incorrect analysis and misguided concepts of updated silhouettes, leading to wrong clothing choices.

I’ve spent a lot of time pondering what’s the difference between some of the current misconceptions on the internet, and the successes of the thousands of people who’ve either come to me personally or read my book before the internet existed.

Then it hit me: Two things have been cut out online……..My Vision…….­­­­­ Your Heart.

So if you’ll let me, I’d like to help correct what’s wrong. Think of this as a USER’S MANUAL to re­interpret from analogue to digital!

Anybody who has looked at Pinterest could tell you that there are a lot of misconceptions about how to interpret Kibbe’s guidelines to our contemporary understanding of fashion. I think the best thing to do for people who are new to Kibbe is to try to understand what he means by yourself. Don’t look at Pinterest for examples of Soft Classic. Google to see what the terms he uses mean, and learn from the text so that you can extrapolate that, say, line-breaking does not mean color-blocking.


A. You’ve got to take the journey yourself. Your Metamorphosis is a personal journey that has to start from the heart­­­­­­­—-YOUR heart. Take the tests yourself; identify with the descriptions yourself; decide for yourself. If you’ve let someone else do it for you, go back again and do it yourself. Your metamorphosis is designed to be a journey, not just the destination. If you forsake the journey and skip to the destination, even if they guess it “right”——, ­­ you may reach a destination— ­­­­­­­­but it won’t be your destiny.

This is something I believe wholeheartedly. It’s why I’m working on a DIY workbook, instead of offering typing services or something of that nature. I run a Kibbe Facebook group, so obviously I’m not opposed to groups, but I have considered banning typing from that group (although I would never actually do it, since it’s what the people want). While I’ve learned a lot from the women in the community–I had so many ideas that were wrong!–I definitely feel that my journey has mostly been a solo one, one that has taken place offline for the most part. Suggestions for my type mainly showed me how wrong these types were for me. When I go to Flamboyant Gamine basically on my own (with some encouragement, especially from the wonderful women in the FG group on Facebook), it truly felt like reaching something, and no one else could ever tell me that I was something different. I knew it in my bones.

The best use of groups, I think, is a central place for gathering knowledge, for support, for encouragement. While I used to enjoy the parlor game, I now try, as much as possible, to ask someone how they feel in this type. What is their experience of living in this look?

B. Don’t give up your power. Your analysis should not be a group consensus. The most effective use of the groups is to support and encourage each other’s journey. “Too many cooks spoil the broth,”­­and ruin the recipe! When the groups or individuals decide and/or vote on what you are—- ­­­­a delicate souffle can turn to mush!! Guessing is great….fun, and encouraged…voting, deciding and especially, critiquing…NOT.

Yes! There is nothing that pains me more than when I see a woman who is in a type that is clearly wrong for her, but she sticks to it because other people told her so, or, even worse, was “verified” by some person offering services based on Kibbe. Someone who has declared themselves to be an expert told you so, therefore, your own instincts must be incorrect. Funnily enough, these people often tend to dress in the correct type anyway, and just call it the type they were determined to be by a third party.

These style systems are all about you finding something that works for your wardrobe and your life. Sometimes, someone else’s opinion can be helpful, and lead to a revelation. But other times, it can lead you in the wrong direction entirely.

Know your type in several systems but having trouble putting it all together? My workbook can help.

What Do We Get Out of Color and Style Analysis?: Color

The other day, a friend of mine commented that it was the second time in our eight-year friendship that she had seen me wear lipstick. It’s true that I never used to wear lipstick, or if I did, the shade was so nude you wouldn’t even notice it. I would buy the pinks and reds generally recommended for fair-skinned blondes, but I would never wear them out of the house. When I did, I would get comments like, “Oh, you’re wearing LIPSTICK.” I didn’t understand how to choose lipstick that I would actually wear out of the house and feel comfortable in.

Same with colors in clothes in general. Most of my wardrobe was–and still is, since replacing an entire wardrobe takes time and money–black and gray. When it came to adding color to my wardrobe, I didn’t even know where to begin. How could I be sure that something would flatter me?

There were a lot of missteps along the way, and for a good reason. Most of what I’ve heard all my life is in line with the advice for Light Summer and Light Spring: turquoise, pinks, lighter colors. Nothing too dark. When I started looking at color analysis, I assumed that this was my fate. I resigned myself to bright and light spring colors.


But once I actually had a Light Spring fan in my hands, it was clear that it was bad. Really bad. It was a long process, but I found myself staring at Dark Autumn.

It didn’t seem to make much logical sense. How could my leading characteristic be darkness when I was so light to look at? But the colors worked, even notoriously difficult colors like yellow. Putting together Dark Autumn colors is easy and feels right. Dark Autumn lipsticks, even some that look very dark in the tube, look right on my face. I’ve gone from never wearing lipstick to having it often be the only makeup I’ll put on.


The colors in the Dark Autumn palette are so unexpected for my natural coloring that, although they are colors that I am drawn to and appeal to me, if I hadn’t come to Dark Autumn through color analysis, I never would have reached for them myself. It would never have occurred to me that this is the color family that suits me. You’ll never find a picture of someone with my coloring as a celebrity example of a Dark Autumn palette–although blonde hair with a lot of depth, eyes that are a deep mix of green/blue/gray with spots of yellow, and pale skin are fairly common among draped Dark Autumns in 12-season analysts’ portfolios.

What color analysis has enabled me to do is understand how to use color. I have a fairly strong background in art, so I know how to use color more generally, but I was at a loss at how to use it on myself. It freed me from literal my-lips-but-better colors and always selecting black or gray.

Seasonal analysis can seem quaint and old fashioned to those whose only reference is something like this video. But contemporary color analysis enables us to pinpoint exactly which colors flatter us and bring out our best selves. It enables us to select clothing and makeup with confidence, and more practically, it creates a wardrobe where everything coordinates perfectly.

Know your type in several systems but having trouble putting it all together? My workbook can help.