Historical: Personality Plus

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As I posted yesterday, I have recently acquired Clothing Construction and Wardrobe Planning, a home ec textbook from the 50s/60s by Dora S. Lewis and others that turned out to be much more informative and helpful than I had anticipated.

One of the chapters is called “Personality Plus,” and it covers personality in clothing selection. It doesn’t mention physical features at all, so I think it may be a respite for people who struggle with the recommendations for their bodies or faces. You can take your personality designation, and incorporate it into any of the recommendations you’ve gotten based on your physicality.

What you are looking for is your dominant personality characteristic. The chapter acknowledges that we are all a blend with many different aspects to our personalities, but we are trying to single out one main theme. The book instructs you to “Know thyself.” It says to think about the things you’ve purchased and never worn, and what you wear again and again. By “personality,” they really seem to mean “clothing preference.” If you like sporty clothes, and you buy a frilly dress, you probably just won’t wear that frilly dress, even if it is fashionable and looks good on you.

The chapter sets up these “personalities” in oppositions. They are:


Dainty is: delicate, fragile, gentle, extremely feminine.

Sturdy is: athletic, rugged, strong, vigorous, “tomboyish”


Dramatic is: daring, extreme, striking, unusual, sophisticated

Demure is: modest, retiring, shy, timid


Dignified is: conservative, sedate, reserved, serious, deliberate

Vivacious is: gay, sparkling, lively, flighty, impulsive

They are set up like this because you are unlikely to find these two traits in the same person. You won’t be “dainty” today and “sturdy” tomorrow. You may, however, be “dainty” with a touch of “demure” or “dignified,” but usually one characteristic dominates. You may feel that your clothing personality changes with your moods–you may feel feminine one day, boisterous the next, and still sedate the day after that. Your type will also likely change over the course of your life. A young “vivacious” may grow into an adult “dramatic”; a “demure” may become a “dignified.”

Since it is aimed at high schoolers, the book says that the reader will likely keep to the traditional schoolgirl garb of the era of skirts and sweaters, but to bring in your personality in texture and color. For our purposes, I would also add bringing in your personality to your accessories, and rather than mid-century schoolgirl clothes, to think about how you can use these when working with your Kibbe Image ID, Dressing Your Truth energy combination, Zyla Archetype, etc.

Personally I think I’m vivacious with a touch of sturdy, but I’d like to grow into vivacious with a touch of dramatic. Where do you see yourself in this system from the short descriptors in this post?

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1 Comment on Historical: Personality Plus

  1. Doctor T
    January 4, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    Based on the descriptions I’m leaning towards Dignified with a mix of either Dramatic or Sturdy. More detailed descriptions might flip me to Demure, but I’m definitely not Dainty. Looking forward to the more detailed descriptions.


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