Posts Tagged ‘The Looks Men Love’

The Looks Men Love: The Romantic Look

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Over a year ago, I started writing about a book called The Looks Men Love by Vincent Roppatte. Introducing a new (to my readers) style system is a fair amount of work, and I haven’t had time to come back to it until now. I suggest you read my prior two posts on the subject and come back to this post: about the book and how to use it.

Now that you’re familiar with the book, let’s talk about the first type in the book, Romantic. I’ve created a Pinterest board, and I’ll link the relevant sections.

Physical Profile

The Romantic is usually not angular or bony (although there are exceptions). It is more common for them to be Rubenesque, with a full bust and curvy hips. Being slightly overweight and having cleavage will help you achieve the Romantic Look. They can be any age, height, or coloring. Their voices are low and musical.

Essence

They love romance. They’re dreamers. They believe in fairy tales. They love the romance of a doomed love affair. They have an old-fashioned aura. They are softly feminine, even if they are successful businesswomen. They’re suggestive, aloof, and men leap to open doors for them. They have a lightness in how they move and dress. They are ethereal, and are perhaps a writer, photographer, artist, or dancer. They usually have a pet because they are connected to nature. Never buy a Romantic stock for Valentine’s Day.

Celebrities

Romantic Celebrities on Pinterest

  • Faye Dunaway
  • Princess Diana
  • Candice Bergen
  • Princess Caroline of Monaco
  • Meryl Streep
  • Morgan Fairchild
  • Cristina Ferrare
  • Catherine Deneuve
  • Mary Ann Mobley

Color

Romantic Colors on Pinterest

Your right colors will convey a sense of Old World, mystery, airiness, and softness. The wrong colors are down-to-earth, ultrasexy, or cute.

Yes

  • lilac
  • red
  • seashell coral
  • plummy mauve
  • amethyst lavender
  • apricot/tea-rose peach
  • cream
  • beige
  • eggshell
  • old rose
  • ecru
  • kid-glove gray
  • gentle plaids or polka dots
  • a tiny or softly flowered print

No

  • dark eggplant purple
  • brown
  • deep yellow
  • green
  • stripes

Your lingerie should be rose, pink, cream, etc.–never black. Your colors, in general, should be creamy and nostalgic.

Fabrics

Romantic Fabrics on Pinterest

The keyword here is liquid. Romantic is always fluid and in movement.

Yes

  • chiffon
  • swirls of etched lace
  • voile
  • gauze
  • the softest wool
  • velvet
  • organdy
  • peau de soie
  • draped Grecian jersey folds
  • crepe de chine
  • moiré
  • cashmere
  • wrinkly cottons and linens

No

  • animal skins
  • suede/ultrasuede
  • fur
  • leather
  • artificial fabrics
  • polyester

Style

Romantic Style on Pinterest

Historical inspiration includes 1920s flappers (soft felt cloches, frail chiffon dresses, pastels, calf-skimming hems), Victorian dresses, empire and medieval looks (folds of silk fabric coming down from the bustline). Watch Chariots of Fire and read Brideshead Revisited. Romantic can be frilly, ruffly, and fussy, or it can be straight and gently sleek as long as the fabric moves. Necklines can be high and prim or low and rounded. When they shop, they love antique stores and vintage clothing boutiques.

Styles include:

  • wraparound capes with fur hoods for the young Romantic
  • vests that emphasize the waist, paired with a flounced skirt
  • oversized velvet vests
  • strapless tops
  • slip dresses
  • poufy organdy dresses
  • a languid, bias-cut silk jersey suit
  • a soft wool scarf over a tweedy sweater
  • boots that lace
  • soft suede boots (no chunky heels)
  • Laura Ashley prints, with either high or low necklines
  • jackets with peplums

Separates are OK. Slacks should have tiny tucks at the waistband. Otherwise, you’d wear full, gathered skirts that skim the calf. Wool or jacquard knickers are also an option. You can top these items with a puffy lacy or ruffled blouse in a transparent organdy.

In General

More is more on a Romantic. Romantic here does not mean form-fitting clothes. It means shrouding yourself in mystery. You’re a floating figure from a dream. You are never stark or cute.

The Romantic at Work

Romantic Work Wear on Pinterest

The Romantic look can absolutely be adapted to a business setting. Roppatte gives two examples of successful Romantic businesswomen: Mary Cunningham and Sherry Lansing. Romantics don’t have to deny their true natures or be bound by a big-business mentality. He says that the Romantic’s work clothing should have a sense of the woman’s body, but not a road map (yikes). Some ideas include:

  • an ivory blouse with voile puffed sleeves and black wool skirt
  • a dove gray, frog-fastened double-breasted jacket over a gently flared skirt, all in wool crepe
  • a crepe de chine dress that buttons up to the neck
  • a velvet Dr. Zhivago jacket over a paisley wool skirt
  • a silk sweater with an antique lace collar under a lightweight wool cardigan blazer
  • a calf-length skirt and a tailored blouse worn with lace-up boots

Yes to: charming tunics, braid-trimmed wrap dresses, silken shirtdresses.
No to: flounces, décolleté, floor-length skirts, bare midriffs and shoulders, see-through blouses, tulip-scalloped hems.

Accessories

Romantic Accessories on Pinterest

Romantics love accessories!

  • Belts: a ribbon belt with tendrils flowing down the skirt, a delicate chain belt worn on the hips, a girdle of faux jewels, a braided cord belt. Buckles should be of silver filigree or fine-spun gold. Wide sashes are the quintessential Romantic belt.
  • Shoes: High, strappy heels. If you go lower, the heel should still be slender, and never clunky and/or squat. For flats, supple leather for day and velvet or silk for night. Grosgain bows and silver buckles are a nice addition to flats. For the evening, look for beading or appliqué. No white shoes unless it’s the middle of summer and you’re wearing a white dress, and never wear dark stockings with white shoes. Hose should be white or very pale. A sheer, very white stocking can be chic with black patent shoes any time of year. Shoes should be understated: ankle straps and delicate little sandals, not four-inch heels and clunky wedges.
  • Earrings: very important for Romantics. Wear earrings on the diagonal–this will add definition to your cheekbones. If your face is round or square, avoid horizontal lines. Find earrings that are longer than they are wide. A dropped pear-shaped stone on a flowing chain is ideal. Rectangle shapes can be worn down (presumably vertically?). If you have a small face and short hair, wear tiny button earrings, not something clunky and overpowering. If you have a triangle or heart-shaped face, wear earrings narrower on the top than the bottom, like a triangle, teardrop, pear, etc. Wider earrings, like a big square with a stone in the center or a fan-shaped earring (worn on the diagonal), look good on long faces, who should avoid drop earrings.
  • Other jewelry: a black velvet ribbon choker with an antique pin in the center; layers of pearls (try wearing them so they flow down your back in a low-cut dress); cameos; old-fashioned necklaces like carnelian, jade, and old-style-set rubies (?). Fake gems in opulent settings. Secure your scarf with an antique brooch. Wear dainty chains on your neck and wrists.
  • Scarves: great on Romantics, especially cashmere or silk. Big paisley scarves can be worn in place of a coat in early spring and fall.
  • Hats: big picture or garden hats with ribbon or felt; small cap hats with netting or flocked veiling and a huge cabbage rose–veiling is very Romantics; berets; straw boaters with a flat crown and a grosgrain-ribbon band. Feathers in hats were made for you.
  • Bags: clutches of appliquéd velvet, silk, or satin for evening; lightweight shoulder bags for day. No chain-mesh bags.
  • Hair accessories: tortoiseshell or gold combs and barrettes, or a silk flower.
  • Underwear: lace-trimmed satin or silk chemises, camisoles, petticoats, pettipants–all lacy, but make sure there are no lines under your clothes.
  • Gloves: Short or elbow-length, black or white, perhaps with pearl button at the wrist and maybe in lace or crocheted cotton.

Stray Thoughts

  • Tousled and scattered is very Romantic.
  • Teenagers are rarely Romantic. Romantics are like fine wine and need time.
  • Another option is well-fitting clothing cut on the bias and clothing that drapes, without necessarily being out of lightweight material.

Makeup

Romantic Makeup on Pinterest

  • Eyes: Lashes are important! The thicker and more luxurious, the better. Eyeshadow should be soft and subtle. If your eyes are dark, go for taupes and roses; blondes with light eyes should look for plums, violets, and gray. Smudge pencil liner.
  • Mouth: Should not be prominent. Wear sheer, light rose, peach, or raspberry. Avoid heavy gloss, lipliner, or frost.
  • Foundation: Go a drop lighter than your perfect match. Apply with a damp sponge over moisturizer. Add a base with a pearly shimmer for evening.
  • Blush: add rosy-pink blush to the cheeks, forehead, and chin.

Softness is key. At night, you can add some gold highlighter on the high points of your face and your collarbone and shoulders.

Final Thoughts

Think pink, misty, and mystery.

My Take

The description of this type makes me think of the looks on the show Designing Women to some degree, especially the early years, or Molly Ringwald, as the young version of this style.

I would be interested to see a modern spin on it, and if you feel like this type is something you relate to.

Next up: The Cool Sophisticate

Source

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

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How to Use The Looks Men Love

This post uses affiliate links.

In my last post, I introduced the latest entrant in my Historical series: The Looks Men Love by Vincent Roppatte. While the system is contemporaneous to Kibbe, it has a perspective that is outmoded in 2018, and there are things in it that I can’t really get behind. But it is a fun book with some new (to us) ideas that I think will prove useful to many. So first I am going to introduce the way Roppatte says to use his work, and then I will go into how I see it fitting in with the various other systems we all already use.

He suggests using the following three-step method:

1. Choose yourself.
Read through the descriptions of all the types (apart from the Fantasy Woman), their likes and dislikes, etc., and choose the one that sounds like you. You need to be careful of three things:

  1. The current look you may be wearing may not be best for your body type or the best expression of your personality.
  2. You may be more than one. You just can’t be two things at the same time. He gives the examples of Take Charge during the day and Cool Sophisticate at night, or someone who was a Gamine when young but grew into a Romantic (in this system, Gamine is reserved for the young, which definitely isn’t my favorite approach). I have noticed that whenever there is a possibility of mixing, people get very, very excited and tend to want to be a combo of many different things and few seem to want to stick to just one, so I would suggest seriously taking into consideration looking at this system with truly finding one type in mind. Roppatte thinks that a lot of Judy Garland’s internal turmoil came from trying to be Cool Sophisticate AND Gamine and Girl Next Door at the same time, so, keep that in mind.
  3. You need to be realistic. He says that someone “fifty-five, heavy, and intellectual” can’t possibly be a Gamine, and as I said, I don’t like defining these categories by weight or age, but I would think more about who you authentically are: I couldn’t realistically pull off Cool Sophisticate or Sensualist. I’m just not that kind of woman, and that’s okay.

2. Recognize your male counterpart.
“Read the profiles of the men who are attracted to each of the basic looks. You will probably recognize one of these men. He’s the guy you married, the guy with whom you’re having an affair, or the guy you’d really like to know.” (As you might be able to tell from this sentence, while this book is outdated, it’s not conservative and would not be a good book for people who subscribe to a conservative viewpoint and would like to see a return to traditional gender roles, etc.) If there i a mismatch between the men you’re attracted to and the men who are/who you would like to be attracted to you, go back to point one: there is a strong possibility you’ve mistyped yourself. And then of course, not all of my readers are cis and heterosexual, so again, that is why this book is historical. It mentions gay men in passing, but not the possibility that someone who identifies as a woman may not want to attract men at all. Roppatte’s major point here is don’t bother with thinking about opposites attract: it says that men “look for a female expression of their own needs–and tend to first identify her by her look.” So the men in the profiles aren’t looking for their opposite or someone like them, but someone who complements them, and I think if you seriously want to use the book this way and you’re interested in men, you can do the same thing.

3. Fulfill your promise.
Read the chapter pertaining to you and understand how to achieve your look. He again emphasizes how you can’t be more than two things at the same time: Shirley MacLaine is Take-Charge Chic, but can pull off Gamine (rare at 50, he notes!), but she doesn’t do both at the same time. Princess Grace of Monaco had an image and lifestyle to project, with no messiness or the “romantic hair of her youth,” so he came up with her sleek, pulled-back hairstyle. Liza Minnelli apparently once tired of being a Gamine and decided to get a body wave, “but her public was not at all happy.” If it works for you, keep it! Consistency is key, even if you, like Shirley, can flirt with something else at times.

Now, onto how I suggest using this information. You can use it exactly as he lays it out, if that fits your desires for your life. You can apply it as an addition to something like your Kibbe Image ID, since while there are some hard and fast rules (some types are taller or shorter, some types are restricted by weight and/or age, etc.), in terms of shape, there is actually a lot of leeway. You can use everything except for the men-centered part. Or you can just read it as a historical artifact. It’s up to you. I’m not going to editorialize the content, but present it as is, even when it comes off a little strangely to us in 2018.

Historical: The Looks Men Love by Vincent Roppatte

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I haven’t done a historical series in a while! I got The Looks Men Love recently and I’ve decided to feature at least the style types of this book, which I discovered via a friend’s Facebook post.

The Looks Men Love

This book’s title is off-putting, to say the least, in 2018. The point of view the book takes, the focus on what men want, is the main reason why this book is in the “historical” category for me. It was published in 1985, which makes it a contemporary to Kibbe’s book, but while Kibbe’s book focuses on being the star of your own life, this book’s focus is more on looking your best so you can attract the men you want and who would naturally be attracted to you… and this obviously immediately excludes the members of the book’s potential audience for whom whether or not men are attracted to them has zero relevance to their lives. And personally, even as someone who is attracted to men, men are not my focus when dressing. I take the point of view that if I dress to reveal my best self, whatever that is to me, being more attractive to people I’d be attracted to is more like a natural end result, rather than a goal. Also, he limits certain types by age and weight, which I don’t care for.

But this book is still interesting for a number of reasons. The first is that Vincent Roppatte, who passed away in 2016, worked with pretty much every prominent woman of at least the second half of the 20th century: Audrey. Liza. Jackie. Marilyn. Grace. Joan. Marlene. Oprah. The authors of the cover blurbs include Jamie Lee Curtis, Barbara Stanwyck, and Lee Radziwill.

The other reason is that, if you’re able to overlook the whole focusing-on-men thing, the book itself is fun. There are six types: Sensual, Romantic, Girl Next Door, Cool Sophisticate, Take Charge-Chic, and Gamine. It’s different enough for me to take the time to share the information with you all, plus there is a Fantasy Woman aspect that no other system I’ve seen has. He also talks about, say, what kind of food and music these different types like, in an amusing way. I was able to immediately place some of my color and style friends, and even if the presentation is dated, I think the information will still be of interest to many of you.

I hope to get all of these posts up in the coming weeks, while I’m on a break from grad school. I think you will all find it at least interesting, if not useful.

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