Archive of ‘Personal’ category

2020 Style Update: Zyla High Autumn

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This music video is a little strange, but the song fits where I am with my style right now.

Sometimes, we treat our style and season as if it’s going to last our whole lives. Often, though, it’s more of a stop along the way, rather than a lifelong thing.

I have noticed that I tend to change my style in some way when something major in my life changes. I started looking at Kibbe and Dressing Your Truth after I felt a shift in my life toward coming into my adult self, having my first real job, etc. I stayed in a kind of autumnal space until it just didn’t feel right anymore, and I went with 4/3 for the entirety of my time in grad school.

Now that I am done with grad school, and am working in my profession, I am again faced with my color palette feeling off. Flamboyant Gamine has been pretty constant, but wearing the T4 color palette no longer feels right to me. I know that these colors do not exist in my body, and it feels like at this point in my life, I would feel more self-assured wearing the colors that exist in me.

Wearing my season or body colors has always been something I’ve had resistance to, because I don’t get black, or neon, or many other colors that 4/3 “allowed” me to wear. For a long time, it felt like a compromise. But perhaps I’ve gotten it out of my system, because wearing the colors I loved now feels somewhat artificial.

Zyla is a system that I have been looking into for as long as I have been looking into Kibbe, Dressing Your Truth, and Sci\ART (which I no longer have faith in). But it was one where I felt like I didn’t have an archetype that felt “right” out of the box, meaning the description in the book. Zyla customizes the archetypes to the person, so some people end up with recommendations that vary greatly from what is in the book, and I’ve long felt that I would be one of those people. I couldn’t even narrow down my season apart from ruling out Summer.

But as I was thinking about it this weekend, something clicked for me. High Autumn is an archetype where other people have said that I come to mind when they read the description in the book. High Autumn is a direct, take-charge type, and that describes me pretty well.

When I was in Dark Autumn, it worked for me because it is the brightest Autumn available in Sci\ART. I do not really have the depth of Dark Autumn, though, so that was where I ran into trouble. I felt like I was a brighter Autumn. High Autumn, on the other hand, is based around the colors of Ancient Egypt. If you google this, this is one of the results that comes up:

Indeed, I recognize many of these colors from Zyla’s High Autumn Pinterest board. In particular, the realgar color seems to be the classic High Autumn color, and one that actually many who know me in real life have referred to as my “signature” color. I also find all the colors in the top row in my eyes. I went hiking yesterday, and as I looked at the water, I wondered why I have been so resistant to my body colors:

Point Lobos, Carmel, CA. October 2020.

As odd as it may seem to use someone’s Ancient Egypt college project as my color palette, I think it seems like a suitable base for a wardrobe (apart from the black and white) until things open up again and I can make an appointment with Zyla. I will perhaps add an olive green and a honey brown as additional neutrals.

The bigger challenge, I think, will be making sure I retain my style personality with the new color palette. Black is an easy way to give an Edgy sensibility to your look, and without it, it can be easy to lose it at the Core of my palette. Sporty and Sophisticated should be much easier, but they’re also not my Core. I can see that this is where I had issues with the Autumn palette before–it could be difficult for me to retain my focus on expressing what I wanted with my style, and not just buying things in the right colors.

Another issue with this High Autumn approach is that there is so little information on High Autumn. David has his Pinterest board and his book, and I have seen some information from the handful of High Autumns in the community. But it’s not like, say, Tawny Spring, where there are a ton of people in the archetype within the online community, so there is a variety of versions of that archetype you can read about, and see where you resonate in terms of style.

I have created my own Pinterest board, using some of Zyla’s High Autumn pins, some other High Autumn pins on Pinterest, and some of my own.

  • Ancient Egyptian color palette as the basis of a Zyla High Autumn wardrobe.
  • Armani Privé Spring 2012 - Details
  • Bird of paradise

How my style will work with this new palette, and how to bring out the special qualities of High Autumn, are something I’m going to be working out as I plan new outfits over these next few months. It is definitely a new stage in my style evolution, and I’m excited to share it with you!

Note: I know it has been a while since I have worked on some of my other projects, like putting a new video on my YouTube channel, finishing my next Cheat Sheet, or continuing my series on The Looks Men Love. The changes that led to the change in my style have also made it harder for me to work on these projects that take a lot of time and energy, but I hope that as things settle and I adjust that I will be able to pick them back up. So don’t worry; I haven’t abandoned anything. 🙂

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Outfits That Feel Wrong

A few years ago, I saw the movie Bonjour Tristesse. I fell in love with Jean Seberg’s outfits in that movie. It inspired my aesthetic for some time.

I loved a lot of her looks in the movie, but this chic Givenchy dress occupied a special place in my fashion dreams:
little black dress

So back in 2018, I had a special occasion to go to, and I found a dress by Gal Meets Glam that was clearly modeled on it:

little pink dress

When I found it, I was so excited. Having a dress that was at least somewhat a facsimile of the original seemed almost too good to be true. The skirt was different, and the fabric and color were as well, but the part that I really loved–the chic, geometric bodice–was there.

When I wore it, however, I just didn’t feeling like myself. I paired it with a pearl bracelet, and while the outfit worked together, I felt separate from it. At the time, I wondered if I was just a little old for the look (I was 31 at the time).

But what I should have done is take my own advice. At the time, I had created my own archetype, Grown-up Punk, based on the style statement exercise in my old workbook. There is nothing about this look that says “Grown-up Punk,” no matter how much it appeals to me on paper. I have since further developed this exercise into Personality Squared, and now I really understand why it felt off–and it has nothing to do with my age.

My Personality Squared combination is Sophisticated-Sporty-Edgy. I could see an argument for the clean lines of the dress being Sporty, but otherwise, the fabric, print, and bow detail are all Pretty, and the design line is perhaps more Playful. Playful is not something I’m opposed to as long as the Sophisticated-Sporty-Edgy combo is still coming through, since when I was younger my combination was Playful-Sporty-Edgy, but I have to be careful with it if I want to feel like myself. In this dress, I just felt like I was trying to be someone I’m not.

What would a dress that felt more like me look like? I think the original Givenchy dress would have worked a lot better. The black would have made it more Edgy, as opposed to the very Pretty color and style of the one I have. The skirt also made more of a statement, so even though there is still a Playful element to the design line, I think that it is also a design line that speaks to my FG clothing needs, and it would look chic on me.

But there is another dress that has occupied a place in my mind for many years, and it’s this Prabal Gurung dress Diane Kruger wore:
red, black, and white

Now that I have identified myself as Sophisticated-Sporty-Edgy, I see exactly why I love this dress so much. The bold color choices work for both Sophisticated and Sporty, the clean lines are Sporty, and the overall design is Sophisticated. Edgy comes through in the black, but I could add more of an Edgy quality with accessories featuring studs, for example.

louboutins

There was a time on this blog where I was exploring my style and trying to make myself fit into the style types I had decided suited my physicality, rather than looking at what I actually liked to wear and felt like myself in. I knew why things felt off for me from a Flamboyant Gamine perspective, and why, once I went with 4/3 instead of 3/4, from a Dressing Your Truth perspective, but now I also understand from the perspective of my inner world, and what feels like “me.”

You can find out more about Personality Squared and purchase the workbook here, and I’ve also started a YouTube channel. You can also find me on Facebook and on Instagram @stylesyntax.

Color Resistance: Summer

When I first discovered 12-season analysis and saw the palettes, I figured I would end up in Light Summer. This wasn’t something I was happy about. More than to my Image ID, I have always felt a kind of resistance to my own coloring. I am a more intense, bold person. The cool-toned pastels and grayed colors frequently given to Summer, especially in 12 seasons, felt completely at odds with my identity.

A lot of people have been going to see David Kibbe in New York recently, and one thing I’ve noticed is that there have been quite people who were told they are warm online end up in Summer. I have been told I’m either Bright Spring or Gentle Autumn, and while I could still end up one of these two seasons, more and more, I feel like Dusty Summer would be the most likely for me.

me at 5

If you look at my childhood pictures, I think the truth of my coloring is undeniable. I had very light hair and very fair skin. In the photo above, I’m on my way to kindergarten, after spending summer outside in the pool. That is as “tan” as I get. My mother, who has a very finely tuned sense for color and design, also always dressed me in Summer colors, and herself in Spring. Sometimes it was pastel like the picture above; sometimes it was red and navy, or deep plum.

My skin is pretty translucent/reflective, so few colors are terrible… except for Spring colors, as you can see in my Color DIY series. I tried very, very hard to be everything I was not: warm and dark. This, I think, is the inherent danger with the way Sci\ART works now, where you can be basically whatever since you’re looking at how colors react with the skin in isolation. There is really no way you can look at the little girl in the photo above and go, “Ah, yes, this little girl will grow up to be deep and warm.” Even though my hair color has gotten darker over the years to a now medium/dark ash blonde, no one would ever look at me and reach for warm and deep colors.

Compounding the issue is that I am not obviously cool or warm to look at it. I don’t wear pink foundation like some of my fair and cool friends. My hair is also not obviously ashy. My eyes have some yellow in them. Within my family, though, I think that my mother is the Bright Spring and my older brother is the Gentle Autumn that David believes I am between. I have always seen that I am cooler than they are, and that I just had a completely different quality to my coloring. My brother is smokier, (relatively) deeper, and warmer, and my mother is brighter, clearer, and warmer.

Living my T4 truth has helped me gain an appreciation for cool colors. I now wear a lot of red, fuchsia, blue, and green. There is a fair amount of crossover in David’s system between Summer and Winter.

Summer

This is Color Me Beautiful’s palette, not the one David uses, but it’s as close as I can get. There are certain colors that just will never appeal to me, like mauve, but that’s okay. Mauve makes no sense with who I am as a person. But within my T4 boldness, I think cool colors are something I am going to continue to explore.

Banana Republic Style Passport Review

This post includes affiliate links.

As I’ve written about before, my style word of the year is “Professional.” My aim was to develop my personal style at a higher level of dress than casual. An obstacle toward me achieving that goal, besides being a broke grad student, is that I am also actively working on losing weight, and I didn’t want to invest in clothing, only to be a different size shortly thereafter. I’m also just not a thrifter, and when you go cheap, you usually sacrifice quality, and this tends to be especially apparent to me in professional wear. But I really need these kinds of clothes, because not only is dressing more professionally my style resolution, but I also go to professional events, and my industry is very small so I can’t just wear the same thing all the time,. Plus, I will start going on interviews soon.

Enter Banana Republic Style Passport. I randomly got an email offering a free 30-day trial of the service. Basically, you choose from a selection of clothing, and they’ll send you three items at a time, for $85 a month. That’s cheaper than most full-price items than Banana Republic. If you want to keep an item, you get a discount. I’ve never tried out anything similar before, but I felt like it seemed perfect for my needs, because Banana Republic has a ton of clothes suitable for a 4/3 FG. So here is how it’s worked out for me.

Before I start, there is one major caveat with this service: Right now, it only carries sizes 0-14/XS-XL. If you fall outside of that–if you need plus size or petite–you are out of luck. This isn’t a problem for me outside of pants, and I can sometimes get away with it, depending on the pant, but if I were actually buying pants from Banana Republic at full price, I would definitely want petite. I hope that petite and plus sizes are something that is added to this service in the future.

So how it works is that you can choose an unlimited number of items from the site to put in your virtual closet, and they will choose three items to ship to you. They suggest at least 20 to ensure that you don’t have delays in getting your box. You can select certain items as your priority items, and they’ll try to put those items in your box.

closet

My closet

I selected three priority items before my first box was sent: Modern Sloan Skinny Fit Pants in black in two sizes, and the Sweater Blazer in black (currently only available in Petite on the Banana Republic website). These were pieces that I felt could be basics for me, if the price for purchasing them were right, and I wasn’t sure what size to get in the pants.

For my first box, which shipped Friday evening after I put together my closet in the wee hours of the morning on Thursday, I ended up with the pants in the smaller size I had selected and the blazer, plus the Merino Ribbed Sweater in Neon Fuchsia Purple. My box was delivered today, on Sunday afternoon, via Priority Mail.

Box

How it comes

Contents

How the clothes are packed

Clothes

My items

You don’t find out what the discounted price would be until the box ships, but the pants are $22 as opposed to $89.50 (and the smaller size is the right size for me) and the blazer is $34.50 instead of $139, which to me are worth it for basics that can really get me through the next few months and can be worn with other items. At $47.50, though, I’ll wear the sweater and send it back. You can’t just send the items back one at a time, however. You have to send back all the items you aren’t going to purchase at once before your next box can ship. (They include a prepaid mailer.)

So overall, I’m very pleased with this service. It will definitely be useful for me for these next few months, and maybe beyond. I do have a referral link, which will give you $20 off your first month, and I will get the same amount in a credit toward my own account, if you think this is something that could work for you too. (This post was not sponsored, though!) I just hope they expand it to petite and plus sizes, as I mentioned.

Have you tried any similar subscription services? Did it work for you?

2020 Style Resolution

As we enter a new year and a new decade, it’s only natural to think of a New Year’s Resolution. I’m not much of a New Year’s Resolution person, because as a Type Four, I always have a lot of goals for perfecting various aspects of my life. What I have done for now three years is come up with a word of the year. I had “growth,” “cultivate,” and now “bloom” (for some reason, I like a good plant metaphor).

But I wanted to pick a different word for my style. In Lifestyle, the DYT team published an article encouraging us to pick a Style Word of the Year. As I thought about what I really wanted to accomplish with my style this year, the word that came to mind is “professional.” I’m graduating and entering the job market in May, and I am finally starting my professional career in the United States in earnest. As a grad student, I mainly wear jeans and a hoodie most days, but even if I end up in a casual workplace, that’s not really the image I want to present. I want to be capable, stylish, and yes, professional.

But it is very important to me is making sure that I still feel comfortable and like myself. I don’t want to just wear a business suit off the rack and call it a day. I want a professional style that still expresses who I am and doesn’t feel like something I wouldn’t ever want to wear on my days off.

I have come up with a basic outfit formula that I think I will feel comfortable in as a starting point. This basic outfit is: ankle-length slim trousers + top that is not a button-down and a cropped jacket without any rounded shapes OR a sweater + flats + statement earrings.

This will be the starting point of my professional wardrobe. Wearing a variation on the same basic theme may sound dull to some of you, but I’m a Type Four, and I like consistency. I’m researching options for myself to make it happen, as I’m in the complicated position of also actively trying to lose weight, and so I don’t really want to invest in new clothes every time my size changes. I will hopefully keep you updated on how it goes through the year!

Did you make a style resolution/word of the year for 2020?

Edited 1/20/20: Carol actually posted a video on this on YouTube that is open to all. I suggest watching it!

Why Style and Color Matter

As a follow up to my last post, I thought I’d share a little bit of my own story and how it has affected my color and style philosophy. As I mentioned, it has changed over the years to reflect feeling authentic, versus following what is supposed to be objectively best for you. And this is why.

Two and a half years ago, I changed my life completely. I moved across the world with no real plan. I spent a year figuring it out, and in that time, I also realized that what I had thought I had been—a Dark Autumn 3/4–was wrong. I felt resigned to my clothing choices, and I longed for things like neon colors and black. I rarely felt like I was presenting my true self. I thought that this discomfort was due to not living my truth, and that I needed to extrovert more.

I now realize that if I were actually a 3/4, going through life head first would just be my natural state of being. I wouldn’t have to force it. And my clothes would support me in that, rather than just feeling like something I had been sentenced to.

Realizing that I’m a 4/3, abandoning Autumn altogether, and allowing myself the clothes that make me happy has changed my life. I have a clear vision of where I want to go with my career and the rest of my life… and I know what the outfits will look like, and how I can dress for any occasion and still feel like myself. I know how to take care of my strong, “slice-and-dice” energy that still needs to go within first. Being able to take care of myself means that I have been able to be successful in the things that are important to me, and going by season was actually a roadblock to me doing so.

Sometimes your result from a “scientific” process just isn’t the best for you. In my draping photos, for instance, optic white is awful. But then in candid photos, with all the T4 elements in place, I don’t see those same effects. I see me, as I want to be, and those effects just aren’t there. I think we all need to consider any kind of analysis, even DIY, very carefully, and whether a) it works as a part of a whole, and b) whether it feels right to us.

Have you also abandoned seasonal color, or do you still feel like it works for you?

What Are We Looking for?

This is something that has been on my mind lately, especially as I have been looking back at older posts. Why do some of us land on color and style analysis as an answer? And what question is it answering?

For me, I have always been interested in the idea that the perfect palette of colors for you exists, and that you could also fit some kind of archetype. And when I began looking at it seriously, it was because I was in my late 20s and working in my field, and I wanted to look less like a punk and more like someone that people would take seriously. I wanted to find my adult, sophisticated style.

But some people just want to find clothes that make them look better, or their best colors above all others. I think I have found the kinds of clothes that work best for me, and I have also learned where I can experiment and try something I might have felt like would be all wrong for me, if I didn’t have the knowledge I’ve gained from color and style analysis.

But on some points, my views have changed. I no longer believe in absolute truth on the color front, but an idea of what you want to look like; I know some people who tend to get a very narrow range of colors regardless of who they go to, but most people seem to get varying answers, depending on the analyst. That’s why I’ve gone with Type Four colors, because I feel the best in them and they make me the most happy when I look at my closet. I don’t think there is a color analyst around who would put me in those colors, but in the end, I’m the one getting dressed every day.

And that brings me to the main conclusion I’ve come to, which is that the purpose color and style analysis serves in my life is to help me be more myself, and to present myself to the world in that way. I always want to feel authentic in what I’m wearing, regardless of the occasion.

That’s why the next edition of the workbook is going to focus on that: creating a wardrobe that makes you happy and feels like you. To me, that is the end goal, not some kind of Ultimate Truth. What about you? What motivated you to seek out color and style analysis, and has that goal changed?

Combining Kibbe and Dressing Your Truth

I’ve never been someone who looks at one style system at a time. I have always worked with multiple style systems. My approach to doing so has evolved over the years. In my systematic way, I used to think that you can just write out a list of recommendations for each, and see where they differ and where they overlap. I no longer endorse this approach. This is partially because I now know that “recommendations” aren’t the correct way to go about using David’s work, and partially because I am interested in a cohesive look, and I feel that picking some elements, but not others, could result in something that just looks like a mishmash. I plan to go more in depth in my new workbook, but until then, I will share how I combine the two systems I use in my daily life: Kibbe and DYT.

Color

Color is easy: I stick to Type 4 colors. As I’ve said before, I feel the most like myself in these colors. I deeply appreciate David’s feedback, and maybe if I saw him in NYC and he could style me, I could see how Bright Spring or Gentle Autumn could be me, too. I don’t think mixing multiple palettes in one outfit works, and while I thought that perhaps I would have entirely Spring or Autumn head-to-toes, it just doesn’t appeal to me and I don’t seem to ever do it.

Style

Style I would describe as Flamboyant Gamine being a kind of operating system or framework running underneath, almost subconsciously, in a way. From knowing that I’m FG, I know where my star power lies. I know which clothes will accommodate my particular body, and what is best left to someone else. DYT I can use in a more concrete way, with the particular patterns, textures, etc. that go along with it, and how to balance something that maybe isn’t 100% T4 (although it always is in color!). I don’t carry around a list of recommendations. I can look at things and determine whether, when paired together, an outfit will meet both the requirements of juxtaposed yin and yang with more yang (Kibbe FG) and yin-yang-yang-yang (DYT 4/3). When used together, even in my casual days (which, as a grad student, most are), I am able to feel 100% myself and confident in my choices.

Is It Easy?

For me, it is very easy to make the two work together. My personal T4 style keywords are “Bold, Structured, and Edgy,” and it’s easy to see how FG would fit into that (although of course you could be an entirely different Image ID and those keywords would still work for you!). But sometimes, the options you get from different systems don’t really seem to coalesce. In my case, that would be the season/color palette aspect. I’m sure there are colors on the Spring and Autumn palettes that would fit into T4, but I wouldn’t get my black and white. Trying to satisfy both would leave me with very limited options. In that case, I just had to make an executive decision in terms of which I would choose.

What has been your experience with trying to merge different style systems into one wardrobe?

“Curvy” Flamboyant Gamine: 2019

Five years ago, I wrote a post about the conclusions I had come to about how I was a Flamboyant Gamine.

Of course, this being so long ago, I didn’t really understand a lot of David’s system. I somehow understood intrinsically that I was a Flamboyant Gamine, but I didn’t really understand what my body was showing me. Reading that post, I have no idea why I didn’t think I was a Soft Gamine except for pure instinct, and that I knew that attempting to dress taking into account what I saw as my “curves” was a disaster.

I’m always learning new things from David, and one of the things he has said recently is that Women start with a baseline of curves. Men have a baseline of length and width. Having measurements that indicate a bust, waist, and hips are not enough to add yin. The most yang women can have a body shape that would be considered “hourglass” if you put it into a calculator.

What matters it how clothing falls around the body. On a Dramatic woman, they have their long vertical:
Lauren.

(And no, I am not suggesting people try clothing on to see! David has an exercise to figure this out on Strictly Kibbe.)

For me, as an FG, it is a mixture of long and short:

Audrey

For an R, their curves need to be accommodated:

Marilyn

Having a bust, waist, and hips does not mean that you have to accommodate curves. It may sound funny, but I dress to accommodate my lack of curves, width, and balance. I am not a unicorn among FGs, because what I have is a baseline of curves, and not curves that need to be considered. I simply have a juxtaposed mix of yin and yang, and yang wins out.

Five Signs Type Three Was Wrong

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I mistyped myself for about five years. While it took me a long time, there were signs all along that Type Three was wrong.

1. I didn’t like the clothes.

The idea of doing the 30-day challenge didn’t appeal to me at all. I was never inspired by the OOTDs in the T3 Facebook group. The only T3 pattern I liked was leopard. I ordered a handful of things from the DYT store, back when they still sold clothing and accessories, and none of the clothing ever made it out of the bag. The jewelry didn’t fare much better, and a lot of time, it was literally too big for my ears, especially stud earrings. I didn’t know it was possible for jewelry to not fit, but it happened.

2. I felt like I looked different from other T3s.

I always felt like there was just something different in the way I looked. I could see some T3 features, like the lump of clay nose, but the overall quality of my bone structure and skin seemed different. I thought maybe finding my secondary would help, but I didn’t look like the 3/4s and I couldn’t see myself being 3/1 and being the highest energy on the planet.

3. I never felt shamed for what I saw as my T3 qualities.

When I read The Child Whisperer, I thought that I must have been raised very true to my nature, because I related to nothing regarding shaming of a T3 child. (The T4 child? Very much so).

4. I was not a T3 child.

Going from that, when I was very, very young, I barely moved. I sat in a chair and observed the world. I had no need to be physical in the world. I preferred to read and write, once I was old enough, and do my own thing. When it comes to being competitive, the only place I could identify being competitive was… reading. I wanted to read more books than my peers. When it came to sports, however, I would do everything I could to get out of it.

5. Being physical and active didn’t support me.

After about four years of this, it came to a point where I felt very out of sorts. I thought that I wasn’t doing enough to support my T3, that I needed to extrovert myself more (in the way Carol uses it, to describe a quality of movement, versus being more social). But I don’t support myself by getting things done and connecting with the outdoors. I support myself by making sure to give myself time to go within.

Of course, there were many ways I was living true to my nature as a Type Four, even when I thought I was a Type Three. About a year before I realized I was a T4, I got a Type Four haircut. My clothes were basically T4 in T3 colors. And about six months before I realized I was a T4, I started getting up an hour earlier in the morning to have some time to intellectually connect with my interests before my day started, because I was working retail and that required a lot of extroversion. I still do this and I find it to be the single most important change I’ve made in my life, because it allows me to start my day off in a way that supports me. This is the first time in my life that I feel like I’m not underachieving in school, and I think it’s because I have learned how to support my T4 energy in a way that allows me to live up to my potential.

So these were all the glaring signs that I had misprofiled myself. Now, I think that someone could have one or two of these present, and it could be wounding, or that they haven’t found their way of living in their type yet. But I had so many things showing me that T3 was not my primary that it just couldn’t be right. When I realized I was T4, I couldn’t wait to buy all the things, and I related so much to everything Carol says about the T4 child, and I saw how Big Picture Thinking is my way of operating in the world. I like to get things done, but I like to come up with the perfect solution to a problem, not just do things for the sake of doing things.

Even if you’re not interested in DYT, I still think we show signs of when we have put ourselves in the wrong place in any system. What have been some signs that you placed yourself wrong somewhere?

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