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.

4 Comments on Do You Need the Label?

  1. Shawna
    January 6, 2016 at 1:57 am

    I’m binge reading your blog so I hope it’s not inconvenient to post a comment on an older post. I am fascinated with the whole collection of systems for finding the best things to wear, and am admittedly much better with colour than I am with line, though in many ways I’ve finally realised that years ago ( and by years I mean decades) I was closer to getting it right when I just didn’t overthink it. Later in life more choice. more freedom and a desire to re-invent myself really took me down the wrong path in many ways. Not that it wasn’t fun and a learning experience though. I didn’t want to be what I am but eventually it becomes exhausting trying not to be yourself all the time. Ironically, I no longer work and can pretty much live in jeans all the time and that’s a very easy uniform.

    • stylesyntax
      January 6, 2016 at 2:32 am

      It’s totally fine to comment on older posts 🙂
      Jeans are an easy uniform, but when you really think about it, it’s no easier to put on jeans than anything else. I wear them a lot too, though.

  2. elbe
    June 24, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    The only label you might need is the one you give yourself. 🙂
    I recently started reading the “Style Statement” book by Carrie McCarthy and Danielle LaPorte, which focuses on finding those 2 words that describe your style as a whole. All the image archetypes, seasons and personal style preferences are just pieces of puzzle we need to put together for ourselves in one consistent picture. So when I think about your workbook, it seems to me that such two word “style statement” might be the cherry on the cake.
    So no, I do not believe you need this whole “DC-VS-BW-T4”. But perhaps you need/want “Refined Treasure” or “Designed Ease” instead? Perhaps. It’s a choice.

    • stylesyntax
      July 1, 2016 at 11:13 am

      I think it is helpful to have at least a few of those, so you know which colors and lines work for you. It’s more when people have a good set of colors and lines that work for them and then spend time angsting over finding themselves in another system that would provide the same information that I think it’s time to stop. But just knowing what you want to look like isn’t enough for me, or I wouldn’t have this website. 🙂


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