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.