November 2017 archive

Book Review: Your Beauty Mark By Dita Von Teese

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This morning, I woke up to an email from Amazon alerting me to the fact that the price of the Kindle Edition of Dita Von Teese’s book had been marked down to mere $1.99, the price of a download of a mindless reality show. So of course, I bought it immediately.

Dita Von Teese is a person who comes up fairly frequently in discussions in the color and style community. She is someone who is viewed as successfully changing her entire look, even her season. She may be the only natural blonde that David Zyla has let into Vital Spring, and this is due to her fastidiousness at keeping up her jet black hair and porcelain skin, despite what she started with.

At first glance, this approach to beauty and style may seem like the very opposite of the kind of thing I like to espouse, and what the analysts I admire also try to do. But I actually found her overall message to be very similar. To become the person you want to be, you need to look the part, and you need to dedicate the time to achieving it. Bring it into all aspects of your life, whether you’re lounging at home, going to Pilates, or appearing on stage in front of thousands of people. She has tons of tips in the book for how to do this, many of which are very inexpensive and achievable. Just taking the proper time when it comes to personal grooming makes a huge difference in terms of how the world sees you. As she points out, she can do her basic look in ten minutes and it actually doesn’t take any more time than less pulled-together looks.

Of course, the book is full of her beauty tips and what she does, so if you are after a similar aesthetic, this book will be incredibly useful to you. It’s not my personal taste for myself, but I still found it to be an inspiring read. She describes how she has taken bits and pieces from the 1920s through the 1950s, and the looks of various movie stars of the period, and combined them into a signature style that is all her own. What it inspired me to do is the do the same with the things that I love, and surround myself and adorn myself with these things. Again, it isn’t faster or cheaper to have things that you don’t love or to dress in a way that is completely banal. We can all achieve our own kind of glamour in our lives, one that speaks to our own aesthetic.

Your Beauty Mark: The Ultimate Guide to Eccentric Glamour, Dita Von Teese, Dey Street Books, 2015. $1.99 (Kindle Edition).

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An Alternative to “Trying On” an Image ID

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Most people try to figure out their Kibbe Image Identity in the dressing room. This seems logical–it is a style system, after all. But after studying Kibbe for several years now, I’ve come to the conclusion that this doesn’t really work.

This may seem disheartening, and somewhat frustrating. But I have come to believe that it really is an internal process. It is about coming to grips with your physical self. In other words, we come to this process basically knowing the answer, and we cycle through types as an attempt to deal with this, or we have a distorted view of ourselves to begin with and this process forces us to see ourselves as we actually are, perhaps for the first time.

For many, it’s probably a combination of both. When I first started looking at Kibbe, I looked at yin types, because I knew what my actual measurements were and every online calculator had given me the “hourglass” body type designation. Nevermind that the issues that “hourglass” dressing guides were supposed to correct weren’t things I’d personally ever dealt with. The measuring tape gave me this result, so I could never look at yang types.

On the other hand, I also knew that I wasn’t really a curvy person. I had to rid myself of the perception created by numbers and see myself how I actually was, which was someone who actually had a straighter shape, made straighter by torso elongation.

The other issue is, of course, the misperceptions surrounding what women in the Image IDs actually look like. For instance, many of the celebrities labeled as, say, TR on Pinterest are actually FN. For the longest time, I had lingering doubts about FG because many of the women in the FG Facebook group had a broad shoulder line, and I did not. But then David joined and told us that FG is unequivocally narrow, and began redirecting women to SN and SD and other IDs.

So why doesn’t putting together outfits work? Because whatever you put on, you look like the Image ID you are, not what you’re trying on. An SC silhouette isn’t going to look SC on an FN. It will just look like an FN in an outfit that doesn’t match her yin/yang balance. And then there are so many limiting and flat-out incorrect ideas about what a head-to-toe outfit for a certain Image ID is going to look like anyway.

Many of you may be feeling like you might as well just throw in the towel at this point, since if you can’t try on outfits and if most of the information out there is inaccurate, how can you ever figure out your yin/yang balance?

There are only two things you need: The Book and yourself. And maybe access to YouTube/Netflix/Turner Classic Movies/etc, as a bonus.

The excerpts on the internet don’t do Metamorphosis justice. A lot was cut out of the descriptions of the Image IDs when they were typed up and posted. David shows you the experience of having a certain yin/yang balance, and he tells you how to dress it, even before you get to the concrete recommendations, which are just a jumping off point and which can be hit or miss, since clothing construction has changed so much in the past 30 years. But if you read the book over and over, you start to get an intuitive sense of the Image IDs.

And then by looking at the classic celebrities, you start to get a feeling for what links these women all together, and which group of women you would fit into. Most likely, there is something you have had a sense about for most of your life. I latched onto Audrey Hepburn at a young age, for instance, because I related to her shape and to her mix of facial features. Marilyn and Liz resided on a distant planet. Audrey felt familiar. The clothes she wore were clothes that I could wear, since they didn’t require a bust or a voluptuous shape.

I literally keep The Book on my nightstand, and refer to it all the time. Reading the book and absorbing it, and exploring the pantheon of stars mentioned, will do more to reveal your Image ID to you than trying out every piece of clothing at H&M. You may get a sense for what works and what doesn’t, but it won’t show you who you are. Only by really going inward and being honest to yourself about your experience of your physicality will you figure out your Image ID.

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Dressing Your Truth Is Now FREE

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On November 2nd, Carol Tuttle announced that Dressing Your Truth is now free.

What this means is that Dressing Your course videos are now free, and then for $49, you can purchase an optional Before & After Support Kit, which includes the four style guides, wallet-sized style guides, and Facebook group membership that you used to get when you bought the old course, and then the new pattern guides and a copy of It’s Just My Nature!. So basically, the videos are now accessible to all, and then the rest of the benefits of being a course owner are now available for half the price of the usual sale price of the course, which was $99.

I think DYT is one of the first systems many of us encounter when we first start looking into style systems. It has a large online community and corporation behind it. At the time I started studying these different systems, DYT looked a lot different, and while some of the essential elements of the system resonated with me, I have to say that the results did not. I recognized that I was a 3/4 pretty quickly, but I didn’t like T3 clothes, for the most part. I have to say that they have upped their style game across the board in recent years–even the color palette for T3 looks completely different than it did when I first found the system. And I have always enjoyed the video content they produce.

I’ve actually started using the T3 palette as my primary palette–it feels like restrictive than Dark Autumn, and easier to work with. And I don’t think that Flamboyant Gamine is wholly incompatible with T3; my T3 just looks different than the stereotype, and that’s totally fine. And since I am in a phase of life where I am really working on myself, that aspect of Carol’s work has been very helpful to me. I’ve even found things in Remembering Wholeness: A Personal Handbook for Thriving in the 21st Century that have been helpful to me, even though I’m not a religious person at all and this book has much more religion-based content than her other books.

Dressing Your Truth is a system that I think a lot of people find and then abandon once they discover things like Kibbe and Zyla, but there is definitely some good content in it. Are you going to take the course now that it’s free? Do you work Dressing Your Truth into your own style philosophy?

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Sephora VIB Sale, November 2017: My Makeup Picks

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As I mentioned in my last post, Sephora‘s VIB Sale is going on now (for Rouges at least), and I would like to share some of my favorite makeup products with you–some of which I already own and use, some of which I plan to pick up myself.


Tom Ford Boys & Girls Lip Color, $36 ($29.80 with 20% discount, $30.60 with 15% discount)

I was almost upset the first time I wore one of these lipsticks (Grace) because I wore it through a sample sale and brunch and it didn’t budge, while also remaining comfortable to wear. Why does such a great formula have to be more expensive? These are significantly cheaper than the full-size TF lipstick ($54), but they’re still expensive. I am thinking of getting Ines, which is like a darker version of Hot Tahiti and thus perfect for winter.


Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette, $42 ($33.60 with 20% discount, $35.70 with 15% discount)

Analyst Cate Linden has called this the ultimate Dark Autumn palette somewhere on her Facebook page, and I would have to agree. If I could have just one eyeshadow palette, it would be this one. You can do all kinds of looks, and all of the colors have that DA warmth and depth. I also have Subculture, which adds some variety and interest in terms of color, and I’m considering whether Prism is necessary. I love that neon yellow-green!


Clinique Cheek Pop, $23 ($18.40 with 20% discount, $20.30 with 15% discount)

Cheek Pop is my favorite blush formula–it’s pigmented and, most of all, it doesn’t contain anything that irritates my skin. I have a horrible time with blush and highlighter, because most of the powder formulas out there seem to contain bismuth oxychloride, which gives me hives. Clinique’s formulas do not. I am planning to get Cola Pop this time around–I already have Fig Pop.

I haven’t been wearing as much makeup as I have in the past, and there are quite a few things on my vanity that I haven’t even tried yet, so I’m going to hold off on recommending anything else. What makeup items are you getting at the sale?

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