December 2015 archive

Style Resolutions for 2016

Happy New Year

With the end of 2015 comes resolutions for 2016. This has been a year where I’ve nailed down my season as best as I can without getting draped and further developed what “Flamboyant Gamine” means to me. I’ve decided upon my Zyla archetype, and have used it to refine my season and my Kibbe. Now that the work of deciding what I am is done, for now, my task for 2016 will be wardrobe rebuilding. I created a roadmap for myself while writing the workbook, but I definitely still have a long way to go.

What I’ll be concentrating on in the coming year is:

1. Accessorizing!
I tend to err on the side of practicality when it comes to clothing. I have a limited budget, so when I do have money to spend, I’m far less likely to purchase accessories than I am something that I need in order to stay warm or just clothed in general. You can walk around without jewelry just fine, but walking around naked in winter would certainly garner some stares (and an arrest). Jewelry is my last priority.

I also have trouble finding what works for me. I have a jewelry board, but it’s mostly out of my price range and some of may be too heavy for me. I have to be careful to stay in FG and not go too far into FN. And the kind of jewelry I like can’t be found by the basketload at a place like Charming Charlie’s.

Despite the fact that I don’t remember the last time I wore jewelry, I know that it’s an important element for creating a head-to-toe look for any Kibbe type. I need to take some cash and do some damage at H&M or Forever 21 to have something to wear while I work to supplement the cheap stuff with nicer pieces. I will probably seek out necklaces first, since they won’t bother me when trying to type at work or interfere with gloves and coat sleeves like bracelets or rings would. I also have sensitivity issues that make cheap earrings something I can’t do.

2. Building up my One-Star wardrobe.
One of the central ideas of the workbook is “The Three Levels of Dress,” so roughly casual/business/formal. I call the second level “one star,” and it’s the one that is almost completely lacking from my wardrobe. My job doesn’t have a dress code, and if given the choice, I’ll go with what’s more comfortable. But the archetype I created for myself is “Grown Up Punk,” and I think that a more polished, “higher level” daily look goes along with that. Occasions that absolutely require one-star dress come up rarely–the only one I can think of is when I’m visiting my dad and he wants to go to a restaurant that doesn’t allow jeans–but I think that if I really want to fulfill the “grown-up” part of my archetype, it’s something I need to work on.

3. Getting fully dressed.
This goes hand-in-hand with one of my personal resolutions, which is to get to bed and wake up earlier. It’s all I can do most mornings to make it out the door vaguely on time. A head-to-toe look, however, is key. I need to do more in the morning than just run a brush through my hair and slap on some moisturizer and lip balm. So if I could style my hair and put on some minimal makeup, it’d go a long way toward making my look more polished overall.

What are your style resolutions for 2016?

Do You Need the Label?

It’s human nature to want to belong to a group. And in a community where people are defined by labels–Soft Autumn, Tawny Spring, Soft Dramatic–sometimes it seems like finding out your label and being able to belong to a group of women who identify with the same label as you become more important than what the labels are supposed to do, which is help you find a flattering personal style.

Belle Northrup, the originator of using yin and yang to describe women and clothing, eschewed labels altogether.

…each of her individual traits depends upon the others and forms the sum total of her personality. We will not then rate this person as a “type” because she has blonde hair or is tall and willowy–partial and inadequate judgements–but we will form a picture of her in her completeness. No one part will be overemphasized, and a fairer, broader basis for dress selection will be established.

I have a good idea of my types in Kibbe and Sci\ART and Zyla. Sometimes I think about exploring other systems–Caygill, for example. But then I realize that there’s nothing another system would add that I can’t find in the combination of types I already have. It would be more of an exercise for the purpose of finding a label than something that will help me to understand my style needs better.

If you’re active in the color and style community, sometimes the focus shifts from what we’re actually supposedly here to do, which is refine our personal styles, and it becomes more about the community itself, and being able to say definitively what we are. You want to be able to participate in the roll call, and say you’re a DC-VS-BW-T4. But we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that these types are all really just tools to help us dress better, and if you already know enough to know that your style is as good as it’s going to get, one more definition isn’t going to change anything.

So if you already have your style pretty sorted out, and you’re stressing over your Kibbe type (or your Zyla archetype, or your Kitchener essences), I would stop a minute and ask yourself if this information is really vital, or if you just want to be able to say what you are. If it’s the latter, I’d question if it’s something worth stressing over.

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Audrey had a defined personal style without knowing her type in every single system, and you can have one too. 🙂

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

The Three Levels of Dress: Flamboyant Gamine Casual with Athletic Wear

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One of the chapters in the workbook is about something I call “The Three Levels of Dress.” The basic premise is that there are three general levels of formality, and it’s important to know how to dress true to your style for each. You don’t stop dressing Theatrical Romantic because you’re in casual wear, and you don’t skip out on formalwear because you have a Natural base.

I’ll do more posts in the future talking about specific types and what the different levels look like for them, but today I’m going to focus on my own type and one way to approach casual dress if you’re also a Flamboyant Gamine.

While Flamboyant Gamine isn’t exactly challenging for casual wear, since as a type, it has low level of formality in general, it still can be a bit intimidating when you look at Pinterest. It can seem a little out there, or like you’d need the body of an 18-year-old runway model to pull it off.

Typical FG Pinterest example… No one needs to see that much of my legs!

One approach that I really like, and something I do in my own life, is mainly getting my casual clothes from two places: the “basics” section of stores like H&M, and athletic brands. The latter is something I’ve done for a long time, before I had even heard of Kibbe.

Now, if you’re picturing the Real Housewives of Orange County going out to lunch in their gym gear, that’s not what I’m talking about. Athletic brands are actually a great source of clothes that tick essential FG boxes: asymmetry, boxiness, bolder choices in color and pattern than most “street” clothes, and pieces that can provide the narrow base FG is built on. Put in a different context, they’ll look like more interesting versions of a sweatshirt, t-shirt, leggings, whatever, rather than you looking you were too lazy to put on real clothes.

I got a little end-of-year bonus yesterday, and since I’ve found myself with only two sweaters to my name, I decided to invest in some sweatshirts.


Nike Tech Fleece Cape. I’m not sure why this is called a “cape,” since it’s really a hoodie/jacket. Number one for me here is the asymmetry, obviously. But I also love how the hood is oversized, and since this hoodie long in the back, it means I can wear it with leggings. Definitely something I can wear all year long–as a sweater layer in the winter, over another sweater when it’s really cold, and as a jacket in the spring/summer.


T/F Cropped Crew. Here we encounter one of the problems with every single model being FN 🙂 I promise you that this looks boxy on me! Cropped, boxy sweatshirt + bodycon tunic + leggings/skinny jeans are one of my uniforms, and the old sweatshirts I have, a gray leopard-print one and one in the elusive DA yellow, are from Forever 21 and thus can’t really be worn and washed for more than a season. I hope that this sweatshirt–mine has black accents, not silver–will last a little longer. Plus it was on sale.

Athletic wear is also a great place to find pieces you need to put together FG’s narrow base layer.


These Legendary Engineered Lattice Tights could be paired with an oversized, boxy sweater.


Stella McCartney’s Adidas line is one that I shop from when I can afford it, and the Essentials Short Tights would look very cute with a boxy t-shirt or sweatshirt.

The color selection is also more varied than we usually find in these styles. If you’re a soft season FG, it can be hard to find clothes… but this Running Essentials Graphic Tee would definitely work.

Brands like Nike and Adidas are expensive, and I can’t imagine buying these clothes just to sweat in them. When I buy clothes for exercise, I always go to H&M. But their clothes are actually just as cute, and while I haven’t gone to the gym in like a year, the clothes I bought to go to the gym are things I wear on a weekly basis. This Sports Top I picture paired with skinny jeans in a neon color and a statement necklace, or a tight miniskirt.

The athletic wear department is an easy place for FGs to find their asymmetrical, cropped/boxy + narrow silhouette in a variety of colors. Plus it’s super comfortable. If you mix it up with non-athletic clothing, it will definitely not look like you were too lazy to change after the gym.

Is there an unexpected source of clothing that is a goldmine for your type? How do you do casual?

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

Style Syntax Type Customization and Wardrobe Rebuilding Workbook: Update

The nice thing about ebooks is that they can be “living” books. Having a Facebook group for the workbook enables me to see where people have trouble, what needs to be expanded upon, and what can be added.

A lot of people have been having issues with creating their own archetype, which is to be expected–it’s the most challenging exercise in the book. To that end, I’ve expanded the chapter on creating your own archetype by a page. If you’ve already purchased the workbook, you should have received a PDF with the new section. If not, please email me at or comment below.

(And if you’d like to purchase the updated workbook, you can do so here.)

Things I Love: Lipstick Queen Saint Lipsticks

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When I was first exploring Dark Autumn, the makeup options scared me a little. No matter how obvious it was in the mirror the colors of the palette were working for me, I was so used to thinking that only the lighter colors in a makeup shade range were appropriate for my coloring. Now it seemed like things were going to change completely, that I would be restricted to the darkest colors, and I wasn’t sure if I would pass the test and be able to pull it off.

I ended up going to Ulta armed with a mental shopping list from Cate Linden’s blog. I’m not pink-skinned, but I am light, so I figured that if these colors worked on a fair Dark Autumn without the super-dark hair you often see associated with the season, it’d probably be my best shot at finding things that work. I did end up picking up Smashbox Fig, which Cate mentions in her blog post, but my true discovery was Lipstick Queen’s “Saint” line of lipsticks.

Among their other formulas, Lipstick Queen has “Saint” and “Sinner” lines of lipsticks, with the same colors, but differing opacities. Saint is sheer, with 10% color opacity, and Sinner is matte and full-coverage at 90%. I picked up Berry that daysite calls a “deep mocha with a delicious pinkish hue.” I happened to be shopping with my mom, and when I put it on, she expressed surprise that it didn’t look too dark or out of place on my face. My mom would totally be the first one to tell me that a lipstick wasn’t right, so I took it as a pretty sure sign that maybe I could handle this dark lipstick thing after all.

A couple of weeks later, my hair salon was having a Lipstick Queen clearance sale, so I picked up another Saint Berry, Berry in the Sinner formulation, and Saint Rust for $5 each. I didn’t end up loving the Berry Sinner–it was very drying–but Saint Rust I liked even more than Berry. It’s a muted red-brown shade, and was one of my go-to colors last summer, along with Clinique Mega Melon. The warmer and clearer Dark Autumn shades definitely feel more summery to me, for obvious reasons. The rest of the DA lipstick wardrobe I had at the time seemed to fall more in the berry family, with crossover DA/DW shades, and felt too heavy for the humidity and the heat. These two colors, I found, were basically at the limit of clarity that I can handle in makeup, plus they both have a similar balmy texture that feels great and moisturizing on.

I highly recommend the Saint lipstick formula for people who daunted by their new season’s makeup, and want an option that will be sheer, but still in the correct shade range. Plus it really feels more like a balm than a lipstick. Just looking at the options, I’m kicking myself for not having picked up Coral already.

What are your favorite “beginner’s lipsticks” for your season?

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