What I Use and Why

From time to time, I get comments asking my thoughts on a system that I don’t discuss on this blog. The reason why I don’t talk about all the systems out there is because I’m most interested in discussing and understanding the systems that I like. If a system doesn’t make sense for me or seem like it would add value to my style life, I simply don’t use it.

Now, I think style systems are a highly personal thing. What works for you depends on how your brain works. Some people just can never wrap their head around, say, Kibbe, and it becomes a point of difficulty for them, instead of something that helps them. So what works for me may not be what works for you, and vice versa. This is not intended as an indictment or an endorsement.

So here are my lists:


1. Kibbe’s Metamorphosis
Hands down, my absolute favorite system. To me, it’s the most complete, and the one that, believe it or not, is easiest to DIY. It is a tool for self-acceptance as well as a style system. I do think it helps me, though, that there is a type that is so perfectly in line with my own tastes and personality. I don’t need to think about how to express my inner self through the limitations of my outer self, since Flamboyant Gamine expresses both with no modifications.

2. Sci\ART
Despite my recent posts, which are really more about how the system is currently practiced by second- and third-generation practitioners, rather than the system itself, I still think Sci\ART is the best option among the premade palettes. Each palette can express a wide range of styles and moods, and I do find that when you hit upon the right season, it works. I know that I can take out my Dark Autumn palette, and none of the colors that harmonize with it will do something really weird to my appearance.

3. Fantastical Beauty
I’ve found this system helpful for filling in a few gaps that the Flamboyant Gamine doesn’t cover in enough detail for me, like jewelry. And I can’t wait for the Nixie guide to come out. I think a lot of people also find this freeing because it’s highly flexible and personalizable, and focuses much less than on your outer appearance and shape than other systems.


1. David Zyla
Zyla’s system is basically impossible to DIY. Even though he has a book where he tries to explain how to do it, it’s really about his singular vision. I found Zyla around the same time that I found Kibbe, and I’ve seen myself in archetypes in every season except Summer. I’m actually considering going to see him when it’s convenient and when I can afford it, mainly because I love his eye for color and I find the tight, specialized approach to color to be something that is highly appealing to me. I love the idea of having certain colors that support you for particular needs in your life.

2. Suzanne Caygill
Again, a Caygill palette and typing is something that has to be done in person. And her book is just too expensive to purchase.

3. Beauty Valued
I love Kathy’s work, and a Beauty Valued palette is right up there with Zyla in “services I would pay for.” (The magical powers of your Zyla colors are what pushes Zyla to the top of my wishlist.)


1. John Kitchener
I find the approach of splitting people up into parts to run counter to the goal of a cohesive style. What are you supposed to do with, say, 5% Natural, and how would that blend with the rest of you? Also the color palettes he gives are so extensive. Kitchener’s approach just gives you too much, in my opinion. Some people like having absolutely all the things they could ever do laid out for them, but I like having a general framework in my head and then running with it.

2. Dressing Your Truth
I really don’t see myself fully in any of the 4 Types. I used to think 3, but now I think it’d be too heavy. I think it’s a good system for women who are style lost and finding their way, and sometimes you do see really huge improvements, but overall, none of the types really connect with me, and I can’t imagine wearing any of them, at least not how they’re presented in their online store.

Which systems do you absolutely love, and which ones leave you cold?

7 Comments on What I Use and Why

  1. Melinda Smith
    June 4, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    I’m lucky in that most of my results/explorations have been in harmony with each other.

    I found SciArt as a good starting point and BW clicked, even if there were a few meh colors within the fan for me.

    Once I internalized the Kibbe writing versus individuals that were styled by him and took a more abstracted view, it was easy to DIY.

    David Zyla’s approach was the most cohesive/successful. However, I had the luxury of being a client, and he “got me” from the beginning. I think it helps to treat such sessions as collaborative and not be afraid to express your preferred aesthetic and/or psychological blocks. I think it’s a much more difficult thing to DIY, not impossible, but a lot of work.

    My BV colors and initial style guides were similar to Zyla’s initial consult, so that was a good confirmation, and nice to have/see the colors in fabric form. Probably the only online color option I would recommend.

    My Caygill result deviated a fair amount from my Zyla one, the style guidelines are not as specific, more romantic influence.

    Fantastical Beauty is one I’m just learning about. I’m treating it more of a theme/mood/inspiration element to my best Kibbe/Zyla recs.

    • stylesyntax
      June 5, 2016 at 10:58 am

      I think you could probably get close on color, and maybe do the same draping tests he uses in an USS, but his recs are so individualized. And you could know your design lines, but still maybe get the archetype wrong.

      I treat FB the same way. I find that it really helps to keep some stuff from it in mind while I’m looking at things that fit DA and FG.

  2. Laurel
    June 6, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    I love Sci/Art. It was my first favorite. I guess I think color is pretty important. So important that last month I trained to be a Sci/Art analyst.
    I also love Dressing Your Truth. I’m most definitely a type 4. When I dress my truth I really feel I look my best. I also love all the positive messages Carol Tuttle gives women. I love how many type 4s are just like me, plain and mousy until we get our type 4 on.
    I have been fascinated with Kibbe for ages and I can’t quite put it together. I guess when I really have my type4 firing on all burners I look most like a dramatic classic. However everything Kibbe says about DC does not sound at all like me.
    I am interested in Zyla but he is fairly low on my list. The others I have not had much interest in.

    • stylesyntax
      June 6, 2016 at 2:28 pm

      Congrats on your training!

      What do you mean about what Kibbe says about DC? If you mean the personality stuff, it just means what people would perceive you as, not what you really are like. The stuff about Type 4 being still and analytical, etc. would actually fit pretty well with DC, I think.

      • Laurel
        June 7, 2016 at 2:25 pm

        I guess I mean more physically. Yes I am still and quiet but I am also short and curvy. My secondary in DYT is type1. Because although I have a lot of parallel lines I also have a lot of circles. So I guess I do dress like a DC but to look at me I think no one would categorize me that way. People would probably put me in R or G in Kibbes system.

        • stylesyntax
          June 9, 2016 at 1:47 pm

          In the end I think you just have to follow the system that works for you as an individual 🙂

  3. ruby
    June 7, 2016 at 6:14 am

    I use kibbe & 12 seasons for the pragmatic reason that there seems to be loads of information about them, compared to other systems. I guess there’s a lot about dressing your truth but it didn’t appeal to me enough to wade through the hours of video. I couldn’t make head nor tail of fantastical beauty & none of the zyla types really seemed to fit, also I don’t really get how the types & the colours fit together in zyla. I have found that bearing in mind my percentages is useful as background information when thinking about kibbe.

    Colour wise I use TA which works pretty well although I think toned autumn in the 16 season system is probably better as I am both a little darker & a little softer than TA. But its quite hard to find resources for 16 season.


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