Vibrant Autumn

In recent months, I’ve felt myself become disillusioned with the Sci\ART system, at least as it is practiced today. There are a couple of reasons for this.

1. My issues with the two main schools of thought.

The two branches of Sci\ART that are the most widespread, with the most analysts, are True Colour International and 12 Blueprints. I have issues with both, although these issues are different. I wrote about it before, but I simply don’t like the results True Colour gets. They drape a lot of Softs, and I think that the look they go for is flattening and graying. They make a lot of fuss about redraping former 12 Blueprints analysts and clients, and I don’t see an improvement. I don’t look at a TCI client and go, “Wow, this woman looks fabulous.” I see someone who now blends into the background.

I tend to prefer the way 12 Blueprints/Your Natural Design clients look, but the intertwining of this branch of analysts and the Best Dressed Kibbe knockoff system means that I can’t support them, either. My feelings on this subject are well known, but suffice to say, there are so many 12BP analysts that are now offering typing in this system that I feel I can no longer endorse it. I take Kibbe’s legacy very seriously; his system totally upends conventional wisdom and is so honoring of individual beauty, and he is such a wonderful and generous person to boot. The Best Dressed system undoes what it great about Kibbe.

2. The palettes feel limiting.

Despite the fact that Zyla gives you a limited color palette, many people who come from Sci\ART still feel liberated when they get their color palette. He gives people colors that are great for them, but may fall into various Sci\ART seasons. Sci\ART palettes can begin to feel a little confining, in my opinion. You need to hit all three markers of hue, chroma, and value, and then soemtimes it feels like your season is a compromise, which I will explain in a bit.

The wrong way to solve the latter problem, in my opinion, is to further limit your palette and make it more specific, like the systems do that have 16 or more seasons. I find that they are often redundant, further limiting your Sci\ART palette over adding new options. In recent months, I have actually begun to favor a four-season approach, which would have shocked me of a couple of a years ago. I’ve been using my T3 palette from DYT, actually.

After reading Tina’s blog post on her House of Colour experience, I feel like I’ve found my solution. House of Colour drapes you into one of four seasons, and then further refines it into a subseason, but you can use all of the colors of the main season–the subseason just has your bests.

On the Kettlewell (which I think is close to House of Colour), I found a blog post that has a Vibrant Autumn, which I think best describes me. I put myself into Dark Autumn from Sci\ART because it’s the brightest Autumn, and less because it’s the darkest. The coolest colors in DA are not my best, for sure. I stock my wardrobe with colors that are bright, but still have that muted/dirty autumnal quality.

kettlewell_vibrantautumn
(source)

These are the kind of colors you’ll mainly find in my wardrobe, and the ones I get compliments on. From the descriptions on the site, it sounds like I could be their Soft Autumn (which is far less Soft than a Sci\ART Soft Autumn), since people frequently think I’m a Summer until they see how much cool colors drain me, but I think these colors are truly the best from the Autumn family for me. The Dark/Blue Autumn in Kettlewell and House of Colour is very cool, to my eye–I know we have had some people in the Dark Autumn group on Facebook who come from this methodology, and the colors they can wear are far cooler.

As I write this, I realize that the approach is very similar to what Kibbe does. He has one palette for each of the four seasons, but then the way you use the palette varies. So like with style in general, maybe once again it is Kibbe who holds the key to what works for me.

Have you looked at House of Colour at all? What do you think about what is basically a four-season approach versus Sci\ART?

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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Who Should Do Your Style Analysis?

Lately, there has been a real uptick in color analysts also performing style/image analysis. I’m not talking about something like Caygill, where the style advice is built into the system. (By the way, if you haven’t seen it yet, Cornell has made Caygill’s book available for free!) I’m talking about people who were trained in systems that just look at one thing–your coloring–and now also offer some kind of style or image analysis.

Now, I can understand why a color analyst would want to offer such a service and expand their business. But just because they can doesn’t mean they should, for two major reasons.

The first is that the barrier for entry for becoming a color analyst seems to be whether someone can pay the money. Someone who is a color analyst isn’t necessarily an artist with a great eye and a great sense of style that they come by naturally. The quality of analysts, from what I’ve seen, varies widely, even with the same methodology and training. You can teach people to look for certain things, but an eye can’t be taught. The analyst, who in all likelihood is no style maven themselves, because how many of us really are, simply can’t see beyond what is in front of them, so they give you something close to what you already do, maybe just tweaking the lines a little.

Both Zyla and Kibbe have this ability to see beyond. They can look at someone and see their style potential. That is why they are geniuses. Now, you may think, “Well, [random analyst] probably isn’t a style genius like Kibbe or Zyla, but they were trained in a system to look for certain characteristics and apply this framework.” This is the second reason. Most seem to be working with some permutation of a system based off of Kibbe’s work. The fact is, there isn’t a system that is based on his work that doesn’t do the exact opposite of what Kibbe aims for with his. They put you in a box with a style stereotype, and chances are good that it’s the wrong box anyway. They don’t teach you how to apply the principles of yin/yang and express any style you want. So they are analyzing you to the best of their ability, but they are working from something that is based on an incorrect understanding of David Kibbe’s work (and there are numerous people now who profess to “teach” Kibbe; they’re all over the world, and they’re all wrong).

Now, again, I’m not talking about Caygill analysts here, or other systems where color and style are inextricably linked. I don’t know enough about these systems to criticize them, really. I am talking about color analysts who also offer some kind of “image analysis” service as something separate.

So when you see that the color analyst you’re planning to go see for a draping also offers some kind of styling or style analysis service, I would pause before adding it to your appointment. If you’ve been exploring these style systems, are you really going to get any clarity from this person, or will it just set you back more and confuse you? My money is on the latter. My suggestion would be to save up for either Kibbe or Zyla, artists who can give you their vision for your style. Being able to look at a client and see their potential is not something you can learn in a course. That’s not how you end up with this moment:

In fact, you are better off exploring on your own, learning how to apply Kibbe or Zyla’s work to yourself if you are unable to see them. At least then, you don’t have the voice of an “authority” in the back of your head and you’re not out $200 or $300.

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NEW! Resources

I’ve added a Resources page again. I used to have a list of websites I’ve found helpful, but as I got further into my studies, I realized that I no longer endorsed the content on those sites. Instead, I’ve replaced it with a list of books that I find myself referring to. I hope you all find it helpful.

Don’t Be a Kibbe Masochist

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You’ve done it. You figured out your Image ID. The old-school celebrities feel relatable to you. Getting dressed is so much easier now. You see how all your supposed “flaws” are just part of your yin/yang balance.

Sadly, at this point, many people actually abandon their Image ID. They go back to something else, something that they wish they were. Why? Maybe it’s, “I don’t want to be a part of a club that would have me as a member.” Maybe once the exciting haze clears of the new discovery, you are left to go back and confront those “flaws,” to finally accept them once and for all. You may now be sure about how to incorporate your personality into your Image ID.

Finding out where you belong, and then putting yourself somewhere else, is masochistic. You are torturing yourself with what you are not. You are saying to yourself, “What I actually am will never be good enough.”

This happens to every Image ID. If you’re an FN and you’re insisting you’re a very tall TR, for instance, there is certainly a TR who is looking at all the supermodel FNs and wishing they were a glamazon. Most people have a hard time recognizing their own beauty, but they can see it in others.

Read Kibbe’s chapter on resistance to your Image ID. Recognize that no one Image ID is superior to another. Beautiful people are found in every single Image ID.

Various Image IDs on display in The Women, 1939. (Source)

Various Image IDs on display in The Women, 1939. (Source)

Give yourself a break. Recognize your own beauty and let yourself be in the Image ID that actually supports your yin/yang balance. Just remember the following:

1) There is no hierarchy. Sure, the TR chapter may be especially flowery because David is writing in part about his wife, but it doesn’t mean that TR is the superior Image ID in practice. I think any TR around could tell you about their own struggles with their self image in their yin/yang balance.

2) There is no limit to your self-expression within any ID. FGs don’t have the market cornered on punk clothing. You can express any look you want within your Image ID.

3) Being in the right ID makes your life easier! You are no longer struggling with clothes that don’t fit right because they weren’t intended for someone with your yin/yang balance.

So stop torturing yourself. Don’t think that just because it’s your yin/yang balance, it is somehow inferior or boring or unattractive. You will shine in whatever your Image ID is.

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Personality Plus: Putting It All Together

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Now that I’ve covered all six personality types from the Personality Plus system described in Clothing Construction and Wardrobe Planning, I’m going to explain how to put it into practice. It is not a complete style system the way others I’ve discussed are. It is meant to cover only your natural clothing preferences (your personality) with the rest determined by whatever other system you use. The book has some standard body-type sort of advice, but we have numerous other systems to pull from.

So what is this system supposed to help you figure out? What it is really about is listening to your own instincts and recognizing your preferences. What do you reach for, and what stays in your closet, unworn? Sometimes even things that are perfect for our Image ID just aren’t things we want to wear. Identifying your Personality Plus category can help you avoid these mistakes, and it can also help you with making your Image ID (or whatever other type you’re using) feel like your own, especially if your Image ID seems to be at odd with your tastes/personality/lifestyle.

My suggestion would be to look at your closet, and look at the things you wear all the time, and the things that you never touch, the ones that may even have the tags still on them. What are the things you reach for again and again? The point of this system isn’t to give you a makeover. It’s to work with your natural instincts, and to save you money by preventing you from buying things you aren’t actually going to wear. Identifying your own personality can also help you further develop your personal style by making your wardrobe even more cohesive.

When applying the advice from the text, I think the easiest place to start is color and pattern. Look at pattern in conjunction with whatever other system you’re using–if you’re Dainty and a 6′ Kibbe Flamboyant Natural, it may take some work to figure out how to convey daintiness in a way that works with your physicality.

As far as fabric goes, in order to find the fabrics listed in the book, I generally had to go very high end, as you may have noticed. So I would try and understand what these fabrics look like and the effect they give, and try and find their contemporary, inexpensive counterparts. You also always have to consider what works with your body. If you are Vivacious, maybe the crisp fabric doesn’t work for your lines–perhaps a lot of tight-fitting, modern fabrics can convey the same feeling for you. Just don’t go for fabrics that would convey the opposite message–i.e., flowy fabrics for Vivacious won’t work.

Accessories are going to be an easier place for all of to start in terms of adding in our personality. Just make sure everything is scaled correctly for you. An SG Sturdy is going to end up with different items than an D Sturdy.

Some notes:

-In my first post in this system, I introduced them in pairs. You will never find both personalities in a pair in one person; they cancel each other out. For instance, you cannot at once not want any attention (Demure) and then also want to always make an entrance (Dramatic).

-The instinct seems to be to want to create combinations, i.e., a Sturdy Dramatic. It is far more likely that one Personality is going to dominate in you. If you think you have two or three, I would first look at whether your style needs from another system aren’t dictating that. For instance, if you are a Kibbe Soft Dramatic, and you think you’re a Dignified Dramatic, in that case, I would say that the chances are very high that what you are identifying as the Dramatic aspect of your personality is really the Dramatic aspect of your lines.

-Don’t just look for the closest match to what you are in another system. Your personality may align with your lines–mine do! But don’t cheat yourself out of a chance to have another helpful tool by not being honest with yourself about where your actual clothing preferences lie.

-Your clothing personality may change over the course of your life. Demure and Vivacious especially are types that women might “mature” out of. Demure often ends up in Dignified as they mature and gain self-confidence, and Vivacious can really end up anywhere except, I’m guessing, Demure, since that is also a type associated with younger women (although it doesn’t have to be!). Dignified is going to be rare among the young.

If you have any more questions, please leave them in the comments! And I’d also like to announce that my next workbook is going to be a clothing personality workbook, so if there are holes you feel like this system doesn’t fill, that’s something I can take into account as I work on developing my own system of sorts.

Previously: Vivacious

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Personality Plus: Vivacious

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VIVACIOUS
gay, sparkling, lively, flighty, impulsive

FABRIC AND TEXTURE
-You’re not a tomboy, but you do like woolens that take a certain amount of knockabout wear.

-You look for materials that make up into perky, crisp outfits.

-Slinky, soft materials to some extent bother you. They aren’t in step with your pep!
-You love faille, taffeta, pique, and organdy for evening.

Moschino Printed Taffeta Mini Dress, The Outnet, was $3,095, now $928

Moschino Printed Taffeta Mini Dress, The Outnet, was $3,095, now $928

Fausto Puglisi Geometric Technical Pique  Dress, Luisaviaroma, was $1,722, now $861

Fausto Puglisi Geometric Technical Pique Dress, Luisaviaroma, was $1,722, now $861

Roksanda Barham Bi-Colour Dress, Matchesfashion, was $1,253, now $322

Roksanda Barham Bi-Colour Dress, Matchesfashion, was $1,253, now $322

-You love sweaters that don’t have to be pressed and blazers that stand up to wind and rain.

Balmain Oversize Wool Blazer, Nordstrom,  $2,395

Balmain Oversize Wool Blazer, Nordstrom, $2,395

COLOR AND PATTERN
Note: the book does not give many specifics on color and pattern for Vivacious.
-You like plaid skirts that don’t show spots.

-There will be nothing ultraconservative about your clothes.

DETAIL
-You like styles that have a direct quality–a ready-for-anything look. You don’t like the type of dress that has to sit quietly in the corner so it won’t get messed up.
-You love tricky costume jewelry and fad accessories. You’re happy when you have a drawerful of belts, collars, kerchiefs, clips, and bracelets to choose from because you crave frequent changes.

Fendi Floral Snake Belt, Marissa Collections, $950

Fendi Floral Snake Belt, Marissa Collections, $950

All My Love Hinged Idiom Bangle, Kate Spade New York, $78

All My Love Hinged Idiom Bangle, Kate Spade New York, $78

-You really prefer to wear headgear of the moment, whether it is a hood or a headband arrangement. Of course, they can’t “go” everywhere. When you must wear a hat, you feel best in ones that aren’t too cluttered with “stuff.”

-Your shoes and bags tend toward casual styles, but you enjoy novelty shoes and tricky bags too.

Sophie Fringed Flats, Boden, were $150, now $135

Sophie Fringed Flats, Boden, were $150, now$135

Marc Jacobs Bow Pumps, Farfetch, were $454, now $318

Marc Jacobs Bow Pumps, Farfetch, were $454, now $318

-In short, you thrive on endless variety.

Excerpt from Clothing Construction and Wardrobe Planning

Previously: Dignified
Next: Putting It All Together

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Personality Plus: Dignified

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DIGNIFIED
conservative, sedate, reserved, serious, deliberate

FABRIC AND TEXTURE
-In fabrics, your taste usually runs to suits of neat pinstripes, smooth serge, or firm gabardine.

Tenax Casual pants, Yoox, were $89, now $29

Tenax Casual pants, Yoox, were $89, now $29

-You veer away from the more casual, “roughish” fabrics.
-You prefer heavy crepes and velvet for evening clothes because they create a sedate silhouette.

Solace London Luna One-Shoulder Crepe Gown,  Saks Fifth Avenue, was $440, now $132-$440

Solace London Luna One-Shoulder Crepe Gown,
Saks Fifth Avenue, was $440, now $132-$440

-Filmy fabrics and billowy nets are too frothy for the serious type–and taffeta is too perky!
-You like firmness in cotton and linen weaves too.

Valentino Embellished Linen Dress, Mytheresa,  was $4,390, now $1,756

Valentino Embellished Linen Dress, Mytheresa,
was $4,390, now $1,756

COLOR AND PATTERN
-You like stronger colors because “baby pinks” and “sky blues” seem too sedate for your deliberate manner. Yet you are too conservative to enjoy intense hues in large areas. You use them for small color accents.

Barbara Lohmann Flo Open Cardigan, Saks Fifth Avenue, $1,190

Barbara Lohmann Flo Open Cardigan, Saks Fifth Avenue, $1,190

-When an entire garment is one color, you prefer to have colors that are slightly grayed.

David Meister Belted Sheath Dress, Saks Fifth Avenue, was $395, now $118.50

David Meister Belted Sheath Dress, Saks Fifth Avenue, was $395, now $118.50

-And, of course, you lean strongly to black and navy ensembles.
-You stay away from startling patterned fabrics–splashy prints and bold plaids.

DETAIL
-You will look as self-controlled as you are. You will be the formal/tailored type.
-Your clothes may have that tailored look, but you aren’t a bit masculine. You appreciate the “dressmaker” touch–beautiful, simple styling; restrained, lovely detail; and dainty lingerie accents.

-There is a look of quiet elegance about you.
-You don’t feel right about a saucy hat, studded and perforated sandals, or an extreme novelty bag. Perhaps we can say that you have a rather “practical” streak in your nature.
-Your accessories are “neat,” well styled, and more or less conservative.

Manolo Blahnik BB Pointy Toe Pump, Nordstrom, $595-$625

Manolo Blahnik BB Pointy Toe Pump, Nordstrom, $595-$625

Excerpt from Clothing Construction and Wardrobe Planning

Previously: Demure
Next: Vivacious

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Personality Plus: Demure

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DEMURE
modest, retiring, shy, timid

FABRIC AND TEXTURE
-If you are demure, you shy away from things that make you stand out. You feel safer in choosing conventional fabrics, so you usually end up in soft, plain materials.

-Novelty weaves rub you the wrong way, yet you should break away from the tried and true occasionally if only to develop a feeling for experimentation.

-Somehow, figured (patterned) fabrics can have an enlivening effect without seeming brash.

Dress

Lela Rose Betsy Metallic Brocade Dress, The Outnet, was $1,595, now $558

COLOR AND PATTERN
-You naturally turn to subdued colors–powder blue, moss green, dusty pink, and aqua. They do suit your nature better than strong colors.

-As you get older, there is the danger that you might restrict yourself to brown, gray, navy, or black. Even now you may dislike to blossom forth in color. It’s easier to remain unnoticed when you wear brown or nacy.

-That does not imply that brown and navy are not good, wearable colors. They most certainly are! But there are so many other colors that are also becoming. Besides, color prevents you from getting that “mousey” look!

-You may feel too conspicuous in gay plaids, checks, stripes, and splashy prints. But do wear them occasionally in subdued colors.

Plaid

Women’s SONOMA Goods for Life Plaid Top, Kohl’s, was $36, now $25.20

Tularosa Emma Stripe High Waist Shorts, Nordstrom Rack, were $138, now $57.97

Tularosa Emma Stripe High Waist Shorts, Nordstrom Rack, were $138, now $57.97

DETAIL
-You will feel comfortable in simple styles with soft detail.

-Severe tailoring would make you feel too aggressive, whereas fussy details would seem like too much.

-Daring, dramatic styles and color contrast in a dress would make you more conspicuous than you would wish to be.

-Select hats and other accessories that have that soft, feminine look. Your tastes will run to simple conservative styles in them too.

Betmar Dixie Wool Cloche Hat, Lord and Taylor, was $60, now $42

Betmar Dixie Wool Cloche Hat, Lord and Taylor, was $60, now $42

Anne Klein Expert, 6pm, were $79, now $39.99

Anne Klein Expert, 6pm, were $79, now $39.99

Excerpt from Clothing Construction and Wardrobe Planning

Previously: Dramatic
Next: Dignified

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Personality Plus: Dramatic

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DRAMATIC
daring, extreme, striking, unusual, sophisticated

FABRIC AND TEXTURE
-If you are dramatic, you can wear almost any fabric that suits your mood, although some sheer fabrics might seem too “pretty-pretty” to you.

-You like the novelty weaves (fabric made with a combination of basic weaves, i.e., jacquard, crepe/momie weave, pile weaves, piqué) that were big in high fashion in the late 1950s.

-The elegance, the drama, and the weight of velvet appeal to your luxurious moods.

-Perky taffeta with its sharp highlights and rustle accent your happy, brilliant moods.

Dramatic taffeta

Rosie Assoulin That’s a Blow Pop Halter Gown, Bysymphony, was $6,269, now $4,245

-When you are older and feel sleek and suave, you may turn to satin.

COLOR AND PATTERN
-Striking colors suit your extreme nature, but beware of peculiar color combinations that put you into the eccentric class!

-As you get a little older, you will have those sophisticated moments when you lean toward unrelieved black accented by a piece of unusual jewelry or a dash of color.

-You will love prints that are distinctive both in color and design.

Dramatic print

Pepin Abstract Wrap Top, Anthropologie, $198

-You can “get away with” bold, wide stripes and striking plaids.

Dramatic stripe

Vince Camuto Camden Wide-Stripe Ruffle-Sleeve Blouse, Neiman Marcus Last Call, was $79, now $41.30

Dramatic plaid

Vince Camuto Exaggerated Plaid Poncho, Zappos, was $58, now $45.99

DETAIL
-You will feel wonderful in well-styled clothes that are unusual for their stark simplicity. They seem to form a “backdrop” for your own dramatic nature.

-Fussy details would only clutter “your stage” with unnecessary “props.”

-On the other hand, you’re not afraid to appear in an extremely unusual style when the occasion demands.

Maison Margiela Velvet Midi Dress, 24 Sèvres, was $3,870, now $1,548

Maison Margiela Velvet Midi Dress, 24 Sèvres, was $3,870, now $1,548

-When you select accessories, don’t just look for any hat, bag, and shoes. You react to simple, unusual styling in them too. Many extreme hats, distinctive bags, and novelty shoes were designed with your type in mind.

Dramatic bag

Marni Pannier Shoulder Bag, Net-a-Porter, $2,390

Remember that these personalities don’t accompany any particular lines or yin/yang balance, archetype, etc. If you have a dramatic clothing preference, you can incorporate these ideas into the clothes that work for you.

Excerpt from Clothing Construction and Wardrobe Planning

Previously: Sturdy
Next:

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