Archive of ‘David Zyla’ category

February 2018 Style Update: Tawny Spring?!

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So a little over a year ago, I started moving away from the edgy looks of my 20s and began transitioning into style that was influenced by the late 50s/early 60s and French New Wave cinema. Since this has also coincided with a major move and weight loss, my wardrobe is almost entirely different than it was at the time I wrote that post. Anyway, as you know if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, Zyla is a system that I cycle in and out of every few months. I’m interested in his work and would love to see him, but unlike Kibbe, there isn’t an archetype that resonates with me right out of the box. And because the recommendations vary so much from individual to individual within an archetype, unless there is one where the narrow view presented in the book fits you very well, there are a number of places where you could potentially land.

I’ve generally gone back and forth between a handful of Autumn archetype and a handful of Spring archetypes. I’m back to thinking that I would likely be Spring, specifically Tawny, as recently there was a consult writeup that I read where the image he was giving is something that would suit me well. I played around and created another palette for myself:

Essence, Romantic, Dramatic, Energy, Tranquil/First Base, Second Base, Third Base

Essence, Romantic, Dramatic, Energy, Tranquil/First Base, Second Base, Third Base

I’ve also picked up some items recently that I think suit this Tawny vibe well.

The first is this Botkier bag. It’s a small crossbody, which is something that I was liking, and I was glad to find a brand that suited my style as well as Rebecca Minkoff does, but without that Scientology connection.

I love the yellow, and I also appreciate how they have matched silver hardware to the cool colorways and gold hardware to the warm. You may also have noticed that I included the large version in my Vivacious post.

I’ve never been one for button up shirts. David Kibbe is the one that pointed out that they are just somehow incompatible with my personality, and he’s right. That’s why I’ve had my eye on this shirt from J.Crew for a while, but it used to only come in blue and black pinstripes. When I saw that they had an olive for spring, I bought it immediately.

And lastly, I have been in love with the idea of a camel-colored wool coat for a while, but it had to be just the right one. The right shade of camel, a warmer and richer golden brown. And it had to have a straight cut. I finally found one, although sadly few colors and sizes remain. I’m very happy to have picked mine up and at the price I did, which was around $120.

Cocoon Coat in Italian Stadium-Cloth Wool, J.Crew, was $350, now $226.99

Cocoon Coat in Italian Stadium-Cloth Wool, J.Crew, was $350, now $226.99

So these are the key pieces I’ve added to my wardrobe lately. What have you gotten for yourself lately?

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Zyla, Again

I’ve realized that back when I was trying to incorporate a Zyla archetype into my style, I was going about it all wrong. The thing is about Zyla is that he gives people style recommendations that are unique to them. I know people who received as recommendations things that are listed as “Avoids” in the book’s description of their archetype. It’s easy to see why trying to cobble something together out of various writeups of Zyla visits may not work, even if you got the archetype itself right. It just may not be how Zyla’s unique vision for you would be.

I have become more interested in seeing Zyla lately, though. I’ve never had a professional analysis, and I really like how he comes up with a special palette of colors for you that have certain purposes. Other colors may look good, but these colors have special effects. I’m curious to see whether the way I see myself is the way a professional sees me, and whether I’ve been “off” in any way, especially concerning colors. Style-wise, though, in particular, any sort of analysis about who I am and what suits me would be tested against my own conclusions and instincts.

After going back and reviewing the archetypes, it seems that the ones I have triedGamine Autumn and Mellow Autumn–are the ones that seem to be the most likely. Yes, I have dismissed these types before–but I was working with other peoples’ recommendations, not my own. It can be hard to tell what is important when considering your Zyla archetype. Some say color, some say personality/vibe, some say lines… It seems to depend on the person.

Regardless, I’ve come to realize that trying to DIY something as personal as Zyla doesn’t work–“personal” in the sense that it is his vision for you. So while I’ve been having fun thinking about Zyla again, I’m not going to start trying to incorporate touches of a Zyla archetype into my style. This fall and winter are going to be all about working with Woodland Puck and Flamboyant Gamine. But next year will be a year of transition for me, so I think getting input from Zyla for this new phase of my life will be invaluable.

Zyla Update: Goodbye Autumn, Hello Spring

The first exercise in the workbook is about how to combine your lines and your season. I thought that I could use Zyla to do it. I wrote about using Zyla to customize your Kibbe type, about how I was going to use Gamine Autumn to make Flamboyant Gamine more in line with what a Dark Autumn needs. Then I found that Gamine Autumn didn’t work and I just was either not shopping or not wearing what I bought, so I decided to try Mellow Autumn, which is a little more avant-garde and a lot less rustic.

But again, I was finding that it wasn’t working for me. I decided to put Zyla on the backburner for a while, and after discovering Fantastical Beauty, I realized that I needed sharpness, angularity, and lightness (in feeling, not color). I decided that I didn’t need Zyla at all anymore.

I think there’s some natural law where if Kibbe is easy for you, finding your place in Zyla will be impossible and vice versa. I just don’t really see myself in any of Zyla’s archetypes. They all seem either too girly or too mature for me. With Kibbe, Flamboyant Gamine got an immediate “this is everything I love in fashion and life” reaction, to the point that I didn’t think I could be FG, since no one could be so lucky as to get the type they want.

Zyla has been much harder. But there’s been a lot of people going to see him lately, and they come back with beautiful palettes. While I’ve long thought I’d go for Beauty Valued if I ever wanted to get my colors done professionally, now I’m thinking I might go for Zyla. I love his more minimal approach to a palette, where there may be other colors that look good, but these colors are magic for you, and can support you for specific purposes in your life.

I’ve come to realize that while I may be a Dark Autumn, I use the Dark Autumn palette more as a slightly toasted Spring palette. I try to focus my wardrobe on the brightest colors in the palette, and use the dark colors for things like pants and shoes. I don’t know if it’s my Image Identity or the fact that I’m so light appearing–Caygill people have told me I’d be some kind of muted Spring in that system–but the only things associated from autumn that I like are fur (leopard), leather, suede, and thick scarves.


When I posted about my latest Zyla search, a lot of people brought up Tawny Spring for me. Tawny is too vintage-quirky for me. Mischievous is far too rustic. Early is too well-behaved. Buoyant seems the closest, but biker jackets are specifically called out in the book as a “no” for BS and the “too girly” problem rears its yang head. So after making a ton of collages for different Zyla types using his Pinterest, I decided to make a collage for me. I put things I own, things I want to own, places I could see myself living, art I like, a haircut I want, a celebrity whose style is an inspiration to me, and finally something from nature.


When I posted it, it was pointed out to me that this was already a cohesive set of images. They share a certain color palette and particular visual features. I have created my own archetype, which I actually outlined how to do in my workbook anyway. I’m not sure where Zyla would put me, but I feel like unless it conformed to what I already see for myself, I would end up rejecting it. I think there’s a far higher chance of dissatisfaction with an analysis if you already have a clear vision of who and what you are.

So I don’t know. I love his palettes–but I want to be seen how I want to be seen. Keeping an open mind is difficult, and in the end, I suppose I just have to decide whether it’d be worth basically gambling with the cost of the analysis.

Can You Choose Your Season?

Getting your style type to work with your season is an important part of the workbook. A winter dressing one Kibbe type is going to be different from a summer dressing the same Kibbe type. I like to add more texture and tend to do less high contrast than a Bright or True Winter FG, for instance.

There was a discussion on the Kibbe group I co-admin recently, however, that got me thinking about this in a different way. Can our lines themselves affect what season works for us? Do our tastes and personality affect it, as in what feels authentic to us?

Some suggested that while one color may be flattering in the heavier fabric analysts use to drape, but if you’re a type with lighter-weight fabrics, other colors may work better when in the right fabric.

Then there are all the women who were draped one season and then received a vastly different palette from David Zyla or Beauty Valued. While some people receive pretty much the same palette from all the analysts they visit, some seem more like chameleons, with the ability to somehow wear both Bright Winter and something that would probably harmonize best with Soft Autumn–and look great in both.

So what do you do if you get wildly varying palettes? I think you could go with what feels authentic to you. If you like what Zyla (for example) gave you and you feel good in it, I think it’s fine to center your wardrobe around that.

Or you could use different seasons for different occasions. Use your darker/cooler/brighter season for Level Three looks for higher contrast and more drama. Plus, you’re not liable to mix these clothes in with your lower levels, so your wardrobe will still coordinate nicely.

The idea of choosing your palette brings to mind Dressing Your Truth. In this case, the vibe you want to give off, which is supposed to match your dominant energy, will be expressed by line and color. I know I look terrible in white and the colors that would be given to a Type 1. Do I look terrible in them because they’re just the wrong colors for me–or because they conflict with my energy?

I think I would be a 3/4 in DYT, and the palette I chose for myself, coincidentally, is Dark Autumn. I chose Dark Autumn, however, because I felt like it looked the best on me. But perhaps that’s so because it feels the most like me. If I were draped, however, and the analyst said that another palette looked better on me and I agreed, I would switch out my wardrobe.

In the end, I think we do have to make a conscious choice to whether we are going to dress in the palette and/or style we receive from an analyst. We have to decide whether this is the appearance that we want to project. So while I don’t think anyone gets free reign to just choose whichever palette they want–you still have to consider how you actually look in it–most people seem to have a bit of wiggle room and can consider which version of themselves communicates their style the best.

What has your experience been? Have you received wildly different palettes from different analysts?

Zyla Update

I always know when something’s not working when I stop shopping. It’s been especially noticeable this fall, since it’s the time of year when Dark Autumn colors are easy to find, and I think this year has been especially kind to Autumns.

But something wasn’t clicking for me. While there were a lot of things in-store that looked like they should fit the idea of Dark Autumn-Flamboyant Gamine-Gamine Autumn I’d created for myself, I just didn’t feel particularly motivated to buy anything. Something was off.

I love my DA palette. I love being Flamboyant Gamine. It was the Zyla archetype that was off. It was limiting me in ways that gave me the same feeling as trying out Soft Natural and Soft Gamine did. It wasn’t really appealing to my personal aesthetic and it felt too boho.

As it turns out, I think my Zyla designation was only partially correct. I got the season right, but not the archetype.

When I realized I was experiencing Zyla confusion, I first wondered if I could be a Spring in Zyla (but still keeping the same color palette). My DIY palette seemed to be on the brighter side. In real life, I also come across as very young. Maybe I was missing some fun in my wardrobe. Tawny Spring seemed almost right, but a little too rounded for me. And could my colors really be translated into a Spring archetype?

I made collages and a video, and posted them in a Zyla group on Facebook. I’d never done an essence video before, as I don’t think they’re really effective for Kibbe because people tend to concentrate on personality when they see a video. But Zyla does rely more heavily on things like personality and voice quality. I thought people would see me as relatively scattered and ineloquent on video. But to my surprise, people still saw Autumn. More specifically, people saw Mellow Autumn.

Here’s the thing with Zyla, and what makes it so complicated to do by yourself. Each person not only gets a unique palette, but they get unique style recommendations. I’ve seen some Mellow Autumn Pinterests, but nothing connected with me. Then I read the Mellow Autumn recommendations of a woman who also identifies with Flamboyant Gamine in Kibbe, and hers were very edgy, and very in line with the clothes I wear already.

I wouldn’t wear this…

…But I’d definitely wear this:

(Source: Zyla’s MA Pinterest board)

I also refined my DIY palette a bit, fixing my color settings in Photoshop so that the colors were truer to the palette and adding some secondary color choices:

I hope that keeping Mellow Autumn in mind–I think of it as sophisticated, yet edgy and avant-garde–can help get me back into the style groove. Maybe I’ll actually buy some clothes soon.

Kibbe Vs. Zyla

One of the most confusing experiences someone in this world can have is going to see Kibbe and Zyla and getting completely opposing Image Identities/Archetypes. They’re both masters at what they do. How could one of them be wrong?

I think the answer is that neither of them, in this case, would be wrong. They just approach their work from different angles.

Kibbe, in my opinion, looks at what you are. He looks at your physicality and what it communicates. Then it is your job to take this understanding of your physical self, and use it communicate everything else that makes you who you are.

Zyla, on the other hand, looks at who you are. The personality and inner self is built into the archetype. You’ll find a wider range in terms of height, build, etc. within the celebrities in his archetypes. The guidelines he gives in the book are incredibly specific and meant to express a specific style, not just lines.

I think you can get a hint of how Zyla works when you look at his palettes. They are smaller than other palettes, only a select few colors. And they’re not meant to reflect the entire range of colors a person can wear. They are the colors that, on you, will express certain things.

Kibbe’s recommendations are not meant to express a specific style or a complete expression of you. They’re meant to give you a framework that will enable you to work it out by yourself.

So what do you do when your Kibbe type and Zyla type don’t match? I think it’s important to keep your ultimate goal in mind. We got into these systems because we wanted to be stylish and to know that we’re making the right fashion choices, and to have that process made just a little bit easier for us. It should never be dressing a certain way because a guru told you so. So you can just choose the one that feels best for you, or use one to influence how you use the other, or simply forget both and forge your own path. In the end, a style system is only useful if it’s working for you.

Using Zyla to Customize Your Kibbe Type

Flamboyant Gamine is a type usually represented in colors from the Bright color palettes and True Winter. A lot of black and white, graphic geometric prints, and so on. This works with the idea of Flamboyant Gamine as funky, colorful, and offbeat.

But of course, being a Bright season or a True Winter are not prerequisites for being a Flamboyant Gamine. While my self-designation of Dark Autumn hasn’t been confirmed, I know that I am not in the Brights or True Winter.

This is not what I have to work with.


This is closer to what I am. Texture. Leopard-print fur.



But still, I often try to make the other vibe work for me, basically taking what you’d give a Winter or a Spring and trying to find it in DA colors. It works, because I’m a Flamboyant Gamine and the shapes work, but it’s still not what I want it to be.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what archetype Zyla would give me if I did see him. I don’t talk about Zyla very much on here. This is because Zyla’s system is one that is truly about a single person’s vision and the results are hard to DIY.

The types in the book are so specific that it’s hard to see yourself in them. You see yourself in none of them and all of them at the same time, kind of like horoscopes. I have often felt that in the descriptions, there’s really no room for me.

I was discussing Zyla in the Flamboyant Gamine group a while back, and Gamine Autumn was suggested for me. Of course. I had discounted Gamine Autumn before, because it seemed to be relatively Soft Natural-looking on Pinterest. But as we all know, Pinterest is one of the greatest hindrances out there to really discovering a type, since it locks you into someone else’s perception of what a type looks like.

When I read the reports of people who have been typed Gamine Autumn, a lot of things clicked for me. Lots of texture. Brushed metals. Prints from nature. And he said something very important in all of the Gamine Autumn reports I read:

You are not a Mondrian.




Not everything would work for me personally. But a lot of what he said resonated. And when I went back and looked, the things that resonated could be found in the Flamboyant Gamine recommendations as well. They just get ignored, often in favor of things actually found in the Gamine recommendations. But that’s a story for another time.

I realized that I don’t need to find an autumn version of a chevron print. My Autumn influence causes me to look toward nature: my beloved animal prints and perhaps a splashy botanical. Blanche Deveraux’s bedroom decor, which is originally from the Beverly Hills Hotel, would be perfect for me.


So while I don’t think I’m going to make it to see Zyla anytime soon, and I don’t know for sure that he’d give me Gamine Autumn, the information he has still helped me figure out how to make Flamboyant Gamine my own, and I’m excited to explore and develop it further.

This segues into another big announcement of mine. In addition to launching styling services and working on my ultimate guide to Kibbe types, I’m also writing a workbook. This workbook will help you to DIY the customization of your Kibbe type. Using a system as a springboard to creating a personal style is really what this site is all about, so I’m very excited about it.

I also finally launched my Facebook page today. So go and check it out. 🙂