Review: Fantastical Beauty Style Guides

Most of the prominent style systems seem to be more or less based on what came before. Truth Is Beauty seems based on Kitchener’s work, which in turn has its roots in McJimsey. Best Dressed is based on Kibbe, which also uses McJimsey’s types. And all of this comes from Belle Northrup and yin/yang. And then Zyla is based on Suzanne Caygill, and Dressing Your Truth is based on any number of four-type systems.

So I appreciate it when someone comes up with something that is new. Kati L. Moore’s Fantastical Beauty system is something different. There are set of nine fantasy archetypes, each with a multitude of subtypes, as well as a “base 5” system of the base types Kibbe uses with “rounded/linear” versions, i.e., yin/yang, soft/flamboyant or dramatic. In addition to deciding on an archetype, subtype, and base type, you can also lean within your archetype, creating a system that, while it’s complex, is flexible and has a lot of room for personalization.

It is, in fact, too complex for me to explain in a blog post that’s really supposed to be a review of one of the products FB offers. If you’re interested in the system, I suggest reading the blog posts about it, and joining the Facebook group. The blog and Facebook both have new information coming forth on a regular basis.

At first, I wasn’t too interested in the system for myself. But lately, I’ve found myself feeling like Zyla’s Mellow Autumn and Dark Autumn clothing recommendations in conjunction with FG haven’t been working for me. The combination is just too heavy and serious. Even though I think my real personality is more Autumn, I think the vibe that works for me needs more fun, more Spring elements. Anyway, I decided to look into a Fantastical Beauty type instead of plunging back into Zyla.

My first thought for a FB type was Maenad. But the typical Maenad look is more boho, more music festival, although there is a type of Maenad that wears cute little dresses. I decided to go with Fae, since it seemed like it would add the lightness and fun that was missing from my look at the moment.

I think I am probably a Fae, specifically the “Nixie” subtype, leaning Maenad. In FB, your secondary type can be up to 40% of your entire look.

Anyway, I decided to purchase the Fae Style Guide, and that’s what I’m going to review today. The Fae guide is 13 pages long, including the title page and some larger illustrations. It includes a basic overview of the type; specific recommendations for clothing, hair, makeup, and accessories; color schemes and combinations for all four major seasons; and then a summary of Dos and Don’ts for the type.

After reading the guide, you should be able to understand how this type dresses; however, it does not cover how to work your Base 5 type into it, nor does it go into the subtypes in any real detail–but I have heard that Kati is writing guides for each of the subtypes as well. The system is in its nascent stage, and I can only assume that more materials will come out that will clarify some of these things, although some of it Kati may choose to reserve for clients who pay for an analysis.

There are two main issues I have with this guide. The first is price. It is 30 dollars. On the one hand, it’s an original system, with its own recommendations and its own vision, so I can understand that these guides took a lot of work and a long time to create. On the other hand, it’s on the shorter side and does not cover the subtypes or Base 5 variants of the type. From the consumer’s perspective, I would probably find $15 to be a fairer price, maybe $20, especially because there’s a possibility you may lean into another type and need that guide as well. I would like to pick up the Maenad guide, but spending another $30 isn’t something I want to do right now. Whereas if they were $15, I would have bought both in the first place. I think in the end, people would just pick up more guides if they were priced lower, making more money in the end.

The other issue is probably a temporary one, but even choosing which guide to buy feels like a gamble. I decided on Fae based on examining all of the different outfits on the blog and discussing whether Maenad was right for me with someone who had the Maenad guide already. There are no clear descriptions of the types on the site, and it’s hard to decide, since there is so much room for personalization. This is both a plus and a minus for the system. It’s definitely a plus if you get an actual analysis. But it makes DIYing hard, since there are so many possibilities even within a single archetype. The price tag compounds this gambling issue, since you won’t know for sure if you’ve chosen the right guide until you receive it and read it. Kati does have Pinterest boards for each type, but I wouldn’t have chosen Fae if the Pinterest board was all I had had to go on.

Regarding price, since so many people lean into another type, it would be nice if there were a kind of discount if you were buying two guides together, say, five or ten dollars off.

I will post later on how I’m using this new information alongside my Flamboyant Gamine recommendations. For now, I would say that it could be worth getting if you’re pretty sure of what your type is. What I’ve found most helpful is helping me to keep a certain sensibility in mind when I’m looking for clothes. I hope in the future that there will be more information on the blog that will help people choose the correct archetype for themselves.

Have you purchased a Fantastical Beauty guide? What do you think? If you haven’t but you’re interested, which type(s) are you considering?

14 Comments on Review: Fantastical Beauty Style Guides

  1. Cory
    March 19, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    Huh. I find this interesting, but confusing. I just spent a (mumble mumble mount of time) looking at her Pinterest boards and blog, and I find it nearly incomprehensible. How do her 9 types intersect with the 5 base types? Is her idea that each of the 9 types would come in 5 base-type variants? I can’t really see the system for the trees – the Pinterest boards are so high-fashion/art-fashion that I don’t really understand how anyone might translate the underlying ideas into an outfit to wear to work.

    It seems that if the creator is interested in selling guides and her ideas (as opposed to using her internet presence primarily to market her analysis services) it would be good to have a clear breakdown of how to choose what type you are. I’m not much closer after reading her materials than I was when I started – I would pretty hesitant to spend 30 bucks on information that is not very likely to be correct for me.

    I’m interested in something that is more than or different than Kibbe, because I don’t fully see myself in his system or the ones based on it. I’ve settled on “some kind of FN with a bunch of extra Yin” (I’m too bold and large-scale for SN but too curvy for FN – for a while I thought I was an SD who was heavily influenced by Autumn, but I’m pretty sure I’m a Natural person.) and it works okay, it’s sort of 80% of the way there, but I’m always hoping for something that is more decisive so I can just be done with it and have a wardrobe that works and that I don’t need to think about.

    I wish there were a system that was purely about “wear what you are” without trying to turn it into comprehensive archetypes that don’t always fit a whole person easily. ie, if you’re long and curvy, here are the long-and-curvy silhouettes you want, if you’re petite and angular, here are the silhouettes, add your face for jewelry and detail and hair, add your color season for color and texture, add the “visible spectrum” of your personality for the finishing touches and cohesiveness. I know that’s basically what Kibbe (and others) are doing, but the archetype thing really trips me up because I don’t feel that I fit anywhere very well and am always having to tweak and borrow.

    Maybe it’s time to go back and do your workbook exercises again…

    • stylesyntax
      March 19, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      You have the 9 types, and then each type can contain each base and their rounded/linear versions. I’m not really sure how they interact, to be honest. There are definitely types that seem suited to a particular Kibbe type. Dragon Princess seems SD to me, Seer TR, and Fae G (although there is also a tall version of Fae that seems more D or FN), so I’m not sure how I would be, like, a Gamine Linear Dragon Princess. I think these things will all be become clearer as the blog gets more posts and the Facebook group is also helpful.

      I think there are lots of very curvy FNs, though. Two of the women in the general style community who got FN from Kibbe are very curvy. You can also look at the N types the way I did the G types and see which things from SN or N may work for you.

      • Cory
        March 19, 2016 at 10:40 pm

        Yes- we’ve had this conversation before, actually, and I understand that there must be curvy FN people. My frustration lies in how precisely to look at Kibbe’s book and reliably turn those FN recommendations into things that actually work for my body without leaving that archetype. It does narrow things down, and maybe that’s really the best you can hope for out of the box, to get away from “things that are definitely bad”. (eg don’t even bother with crisp button-front business casual shirts) But I also find that some of his fundamental recommendations for FN are themselves quite bad on me, so… more confusion than I’d like remains.

        I’ve wondered about the N base, but his writings seem to emphasize so much a type of body that is very much not mine that I come right back to “???” But I will pick up the book and take a look at them again. I find it hard to understand how seriously and literally I’m to take Kibbe’s writings. When he says that such and such a type will not be voluptuous, or not be extremely tall, is that a “generally speaking, but don’t worry about it”, or a warning that the “most important thing” about that type is indeed in direct opposition?

        I can see Dragon Princess as SD. It seemed that some of Valkyrie might be Dramatic, but some seemed more of an obvious rocker-chick sexiness that I can’t see working on women who have that very minimalist/androgynous D thing happening. Perhaps her subtypes or intersections with the base types are at play there.

        Some of these names – Gamine Linear Dragon Princess – sound so much like translations of anime titles!

        • stylesyntax
          March 19, 2016 at 11:13 pm

          He has been posting a lot on Facebook recently, so I hope that means he’ll post some updated recs for some of the types. Here’s a curvy FN. For FN, I think what’s important in honoring your long line and strong bone structure.

          I think it’s more of a “generally speaking” thing, less absolute. A curvy FN still won’t be curvy in quite the same way as a Romantic or TR, though, who will need the attention brought up to their face. I think curvy FNs will be able to wear the same things as all other FNs, and the TMIT about the type will still come through. Also, I think FN is the type that has had the hardest time transitioning from 1980s to the present day. 1980s FN reads kind of Dorothy Zbornak to me.

          • Cory
            March 20, 2016 at 4:26 am

            Wow! Thanks for that link. I’m not surprised that the woman is a natural person, but to be honest I’m startled that that’s what FN looks like to Kibbe now. That dress/shoes/hair is so much more constricting and styled, than I think of FN as. Huh.

            It does seem that FN is hard to see updated in the right way. A lot of the imagery out there looks very Chico’s to me, which is not my aesthetic.

        • tordis
          March 22, 2016 at 10:42 pm

          I don’t think it does any good trying to compare FB to Kibbe. I can see Regina Spektor as Dragon Princess leaning Maenad and she probably is SG in Kibbe. I can see R, TR, SD, SG, FN and maybe more as Dragon Princesses. I can see the same types as Magic Queen.

          Finding your type isn’t so hard, Kati explains it in several blog posts. Find your face and curve and you get your quadrant. And then pick what resonates with your vibe or tastes. It’s a very open system, just don’t try to mix it with Kibbe too much. Any Kibbe type can be any Fantastical type, even if some combinations might be more unusual.

          • stylesyntax
            March 22, 2016 at 11:17 pm

            I know that’s technically true, but in the end, I feel like the basic recommendations given in the guides can usually be put into a type somewhat comfortably, and when you see people type themselves, you do notice patterns. I think when Kati types you, there’s more flexibility, but when you’re working with just the basic type recs, I am noticing TRs ending up Seer and Gs ending up some kind of combo of Fae or Angel. There’s really a finite amount of distinct styles of clothes that work together, I guess.

  2. Shelby
    March 20, 2016 at 3:55 am

    I think the concept is nifty, but the execution falls flat. I have no idea what defines each type from the other – I’m not going to buy into something I don’t understand.

    I’ll stick to Kibbe (Soft Gamine!) and perhaps someday I’ll figure out my place with Zyla. This one needs a lot more work done first.

    • stylesyntax
      March 20, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      I think there will be a lot more added in the near future. Kati updates the blog pretty regularly.

  3. Jessica
    March 21, 2016 at 3:42 am

    Thanks for reporting on this new system. I agree with some of the above commenters that it may not translate to real life office clothes all that well, but I find it fun and intriguing nevertheless. As a classic type in various systems, I often felt deprived of the fantasy element that is ascribed to some of the other types. I like the way that she recognizes that everyone might want a little magical element in their life.

    • stylesyntax
      March 21, 2016 at 5:40 pm

      The clothing recommendations in the guide are as easy to translate to everyday life as something like Kibbe, actually. Outside of the specific recs, you’re basically supposed to keep a certain element or mood in mind (for Fae, it’s light and mischievous, more or less).

      • Jessica
        March 23, 2016 at 3:25 am

        You are right – I just bought a guide and found the suggestions very plausible for everyday wear. I had been going by the Pinterest boards. I think I got my type right – the guide is just spot on with what flatters me.

  4. Dianne Pearson
    March 23, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    How much do you feel type is defined by height? One thing I like about this system is that height is not such a factor and your vibe comes more into play. When Kibbe says Charlize Theron is a TR – when she has a very straight figure and is tall – then is he saying the sheer glamour of her face outweighs his own guidelines?
    This part has always confused me because quite often to me it seems that his labels follow the image they already ar trying to convey. Thoughts?

    • stylesyntax
      March 23, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      Kibbe actually later moved Charlize to FN. He was asked about her originally on the fly and said what he thought at the time, but later must have gone and looked at her more closely.

      I think there are exceptions to height in Kibbe, but not as often as people think. Here, height doesn’t define type, but it can define your interpretation of your type. For instance, short Faes are more pixieish and tall Faes are elven.


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