The Looks Men Love: The Cool Sophisticate Look

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Previously: The Romantic Look

This week, we’re looking at the Cool Sophisticate look. As we did last week, I have put visual examples on a Pinterest board.

Physical Profile

Slender, tall, and striking. If you are not, even if you feel like a Cool Sophisticate, consider Take-Charge, Romantic, or Sensual, because Cool Sophisticate won’t be very effective on you. (My personal opinion: Go with what you relate to the most!)

Essence

Cool Sophisticates are elegant, crisp, don’t get too close, and are equally at home on Fifth Avenue, Bond Street, and the Champs-Élysées. They don’t fall for fads. They may seem to have perfect glacial exteriors, but once you get to know them, you find humor and candor. She’s talented, a good traveler, a good cook, and polite to salespeople. They are often quiet and unreadable. They are competent. They know how to do the right thing when it comes to things like thank-you cards. They only have a couple of close friends, and may actually be shy, even though their clever conversation abilities and stunning appearance may seem intimidating. Never buy a Cool Sophisticate a blouse of polyester–just let her buy her own clothes, although a fabulous jewel would also do.

Celebrities

Cool Sophisticate Celebrities on Pinterest

  • Grace Kelly
  • Marlene Dietrich
  • Cheryl Tiegs (and almost all other high-fashion models)
  • Lee Radziwill
  • Karen Akers
  • Lauren Bacall
  • Cybill Shepherd
  • Bianca Jagger
  • Katharine Hepburn
  • Gloria Vanderbilt
  • Dina Merrill
  • Barbara Stanwyck

Color

Cool Sophisticate Colors on Pinterest

Yes

  • khaki
  • terra-cotta
  • ivory and black
  • pewter
  • camel
  • navy
  • burgundy
  • deep emerald
  • dark wine
  • apricot
  • geometric prints

No

  • the “fruits”: lemon yellow, cherry red, peach
  • baby pink
  • aqua
  • denim blue
  • shocking pink (except at night with something like black satin/jet)
  • tiny prints
  • tartan plaids
  • lavender

Fabrics

Cool Sophisticate Fabrics on Pinterest

The rule of thumb is real (nothing artificial) during the day, and glitzed-up real at night. Your fabrics are durable and strong, just like you, and you are excellent at mixing and layering fabrics in a way that creates economy of line.

Yes

  • natural heavy cotton
  • garbadines
  • worsted wools
  • cashmere
  • silk
  • high-quality leather and suede
  • raw silk
  • nothing shiny in the daytime
  • silks and crepes at night, but some synthetic woven in to make them shine is OK
  • velvet with a metallic thread (night)
  • cashmere accented with feathers or beads (night)

No

  • corduroy
  • denim
  • anything cheap-looking
  • high-shine surfaces
  • rayon
  • acrylic
  • polyester
  • Orlon

Style

Cool Sophisticate Style on Pinterest

Think 1930s updated with the 1980s’ bold essence. They have panache, and look expensive, even when their clothes aren’t. New but not futuristic; trendy but not cheap. They won’t wear things that wrinkle when they sit down or require them to hold in their stomach. The look is subtle and sexy at the same time. Cool Sophisticates are divided into “born into money” and “self made.” The former wears designer clothes, and takes a quieter approach. She is stockier and less glamorous, but just as untouchable. She is stockier (don’t know why), and apparently looks better in the CS afternoon wear, rather the night-time outfits. The Self-Made Cool Sophisticate has designed her style, not inherited it. She likes money, but doesn’t need it to look smashing. She is more trendy and more disco, but still with good taste, and is particularly radiant at night.

General

  • DVF wrap dresses, cotton jersey for day and silk for evening
  • monochromatic with a touch of color
  • a generous cut in clothing, not clingy
  • balance is important: instead of a taffeta shirt and skirt, pair the top with gray gabardine slacks
  • blouses are important: full-sleeved, shawl-collared, man-tailored, sleeveless T-shirts, worn in different fabrics and paired with beige suede trousers, black wool trousers, or softly gathered skirts
  • simple, traditional clothes with a twist: a trench coat in green moiré or an A-line evening gown in buckskin.
  • flashes of skin, but not too much: slits, unstructured jackets with nothing underneath
  • use trends to your advantage: let them blend into your timeless style in a delightful and chic way

Business Styles

  • a Chanel suit
  • a camel cashmere turtleneck sweater dress
  • a man-tailored pinstriped suit, perhaps in dubonnet
  • black calf-length culottes with a blazer (culottes can be worn to work if the color is sober and the cut is classic

Styles for Play

  • organic wrinkled T-shirts and chinos
  • wheat-colored tanks
  • tunic dresses, perhaps with a scarf or belt around the hips
  • oversize fisherman’s cable-knit sweaters

Evening Styles

  • tunics, which are a staple in your wardrobe, such as a woven-wool tunic over a short velvet skirt, or a crushed silk tunic over evening pants
  • look toward the Duchess of Windsor: a spunky, “upper-crust” look, with long skirts slightly flared at the ankle; full, flared tops; and twisty-tied hats
  • slim, long-lined evening suits, maybe trimmed with jewels, beads, or feathers

Accessories

Cool Sophisticate Accessories on Pinterest

  • Bags: oversize during the day, in natural fabrics, like suede, heavy cotton, or lizard. For night, try a narrow envelope, a clutch on a chain, or a “designer” bag, preferably with a logo.
  • Shoes: stocking and shoe in the same color to lengthen the leg, and don’t wear a shoe that’s lighter than your hemline, e.g., a white shoe with a navy suit. No to clunky high heels.
  • Belts: should be very wide, or thin with links and chains. Look for a jewel-encrusted buckle.
  • Jackets: instead of a traditional blazer, try an aviator jacket, an Eisenhower jacket, jackets with serious shoulder pads, and long, loose cardigan jackets.
  • Furs: Mink, sable, raccoon, fitch. Never faux!
  • Jewelry: wide gold cuffs, dozens of bangles, chains in material from lucite to pure gold (color and sterling are great). The scale is bold to even chunky. Wearable art is a favorite (sculptural jewelry). Rhinestones are okay during the day. Sometimes they’ll do something like an art deco pin or large geometric earrings with jeans.
  • Hats: cloche, turban, scarf around the head, fedora, all depending on where the CS is going.
  • Pants: almost anything goes, from walking shorts, to pants that could pass as a skirt, cropped with a cuff, calf-length–but never capris.
  • Underwear: skin tones. Black or skin tone for nightgowns, which are also revealing.

Finishing your look with accessories is key!

Breaking the Rules

Cool Sophisticate Breaking the Rules on Pinterest

Cool Sophisticates are masters at breaking fashion rules.

  • mix real jewelry with faux
  • use unlikely items, like heavy twine for a belt or an antique silver match holder as a necklace
  • break the “don’t wear white in winter” rule with white stockings with black patent leather shoes or white socks with gray flannel pants
  • wear an antique lace collar on a wool cardigan

The Cool Sophisticate plays it by ear, mixing and matching but always looking smashing.

Makeup

Cool Sophisticate Makeup on Pinterest

  • Foundation: contouring was made for you.
  • Eyes: you can wear a lot of color on your eyes, up to three variations of the same shade. Go dramatic with grays, taupes, or burgundies (not peacock blue, etc.), with a deeper shade of the same color to define the crease. Smudge them with a lift in the outer corner. More is more for you. Your look is dramatic and chic. Your brows should be perfect, and thick brows are okay, as long as they are well groomed. Don’t darken them, because you don’t want them to compete with your eyes. If you brows are very pale, you can subtly darken them.
  • Mouths: your lips should be sharply defined. Use a darker shade of the lip color to define. For a finished, subtle look, apply your lip color and gloss at the same time.
  • Blending: Cool Sophisticates know how to blend with powder.

Some Cool Sophisticates (like Jackie Kennedy and Lee Radziwill) prefer minimal makeup. If it works for you, go for it, but still do some soft eyeshadow and mascara to play up your eyes, lip gloss, and subtly define your bone structure with contour.

Final Thoughts

Cool Sophisticates are stunners, and it’s hard not to stare!

My Take

First, I want to say that I do not think you have to be skinny or born rich to be a Cool Sophisticate! I think the fun part of this system is that it’s more about vibe, and defining by weight and inherited wealth is something that I think makes it less useful and less fun. I know some women whom I would classify in this type, though, and they are truly stunning.

Next: The Girl Next Door

Source

Roppatte, Vincent. The Looks Men Love. St. Martin’s Press, 1985.

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6 Comments on The Looks Men Love: The Cool Sophisticate Look

  1. Rachel
    July 25, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    Despite being short, a size 12, and very much not rich, this is feeling right for me – or maybe I’m just envious. I’m surprised at the touches that feel simple/practical, like clothes you don’t have to baby.

    Can’t wait to see the rest of these!

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      July 29, 2020 at 9:15 pm

      Yes! I guess fussing around with your clothes isn’t cool or sophisticated 🙂

      Reply
  2. kelly
    July 27, 2020 at 9:00 am

    Why should someone care about what men likes?? Women should dress for themselves and don’t give a crap about mens thoughts.

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      July 29, 2020 at 12:49 pm

      That’s why it’s “Historical.” It’s a book from 30 years ago. If you read my other posts on it, you will see that I’m sharing it because I find the types interesting and different from other systems. The “men” part is irrelevant 🙂

      Reply
  3. Olivia
    August 22, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    I love this series! Are there any digital copies of this book available? I would love to read but every copy I’ve seen online is so expensive.

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      August 22, 2020 at 6:30 pm

      Not that I’ve seen. I am trying to get all the relevant information into these posts for that reason. I may make a video about the quirkier sides of the content. 🙂

      Reply

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