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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9 Comments on Historical: The Looks Men Love by Vincent Roppatte

  1. SilverRoxen
    December 23, 2018 at 9:50 am

    I’m definitely looking forward to reading this. I’ve seen this concept on femininity blogs that I’ve read it the past. Plus it kind of sounds like the idea of niche dating. I’m a Soft Gamin in Kibbe so I’m curious as to where I fit in.

    Also, I know you must be enjoying your break frim grad school. I graduated frI’m undergrad last week and looking back on my academic history, I’ve been in school for a long time lol.

    • stylesyntax
      December 27, 2018 at 6:11 pm

      Congratulations! This is my third go at grad school, so I have definitely been in school for a long time!

      I haven’t heard of femininity blogs… The nice thing about it is that it relies a little less on appearance, so it can help you make SG your own, if you find the info useful.

      • Silver Roxen
        December 28, 2018 at 9:55 am

        Thank you! Femininity blogs pretty much teach the “art of being a woman”. I used to read them when I was a teenager because I wanted to be refined. Looking back on that time in my life I laugh, because I tried to make myself into someone I wasn’t.

  2. Keturah
    December 27, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    Absolutely looking forward to this series of posts! I saw an image consultant six years ago that I now know used similar types as Roppatte. (She was fantastic! She was a costumer and really knew how to dress for both spirit and body.) Sadly, she is no longer consulting. Since I could use a refresh and morale boost, I will be devouring your oncoming posts and might even purchase his book.

    I have a feeling I am either Sensual or Romantic. Curious to see once you post more!

    • Jaenice Palmer
      January 26, 2019 at 6:25 pm

      Whaa? Do my eyes (ears) deceive me? I used to read her blog before she took down her shingle and packed it in–so to speak. (Kay Noske, you are not forgotten!) I had no idea she might have been borrowing from Roppatte–and McJimsey, and Northrup to some degree–but it makes perfect sense. I myself have been gearing up for just such a refresh.

      Over the years, whenever someone else was given free rein with wardrobe choices for yours truly, I was presented with a confusing mix of Girl Next Door, Gamine, and (later) Sensual. (I make a terrible Romantic, but then I knew that from the word go.) I would class myself as Take-Charge with Cool Sophisticate rising–although, yes, my friends were partly right when they intuited top notes of Sensual wafting to the surface. Dressing for what’s-his-name? Not as such, no, but if and when I’m “playing myself”, it seems to fascinate a certain type of what’s-his-name (looks down at feet).

      • Keturah
        January 27, 2019 at 5:19 pm

        Hi Jaenice!!! Yes, Kay Noske!! She is a dear friend of mine. I don’t know if she used Roppatte? I haven’t read his book yet. She is a smart cookie, and she put a lot of smarts and heart into her business. But his categories and hers are similar, so it caught my eye! I find her system is still the simplest for me. Kibbe is great but after a while, I’m just like: tell me what to wear already. He sort of does. But his system has been lost in so many interpretations, I just get lost in the huge shuffle and clutter of image boards.

        Kay changed my wardrobe, and really, my life! She really helped me see my beauty and find my confidence. I am still so grateful I had a chance to consult with her.

        Oooh! Your Take-Charge with Cool Sophisticate sounds fab! Have you started refreshing your wardrobe?? I’ve been doing more Romantic I think. I did a lot of Sensual the last year or two. It’s lovely and practical. But Romantic feels more womanly and passionately to me, with more fitted lines. So I’ve been moving more than way, trying to make it mommy-of-toddler friendly too. Hoping to order Roparttes book soon too for just a little boost. Hope to have more convos with you!! xo

        • Jaenice Palmer
          January 30, 2019 at 10:47 pm

          There is something about the Sensual style, isn’t there? (I can’t resist the occasional dabble myself–tunics, tunic dresses, and the odd kimono coat are all too scrumptious to pass up.) As far as the refresh, I’ve already cast a critical eye up and down my imaginary closet, tossing pieces that would no longer fit my image and adding new ones: It only wants a (generous) push for this to spill over and take over my current wardrobe, although I’ve already seen a preview of same. If I had to describe it in terms of classic actresses, I would say “young avant-garde Kate Hepburn meets Myrna Loy, side trip through Lauren Bacall”. In short, a far cry from Little-Bo-Peep-who-lost-her-sheep.

          I am still heavily inspired by Kay’s system–every time I go shopping, some corner of my mind says, “This will work, this won’t work, this will work, and for heaven’s sake stay away from that black sheath embroidered with miniature poppies!” Not that there’s anything wrong with a high-voltage black dress embroidered with poppies, you understand, but I prefer my flowers in a vase or as a brooch, instead of sprinkles of them all over my clothes. Instead I will likely beeline for the houndstooth suit and the blouse with a crisp stand-up collar (yay!).

          I’ve glanced at Kibbe, although my first introduction to style types was through Carole Jackson. Then I came across Kay’s website when I was already leaning toward her Smartly Tailored category; I’ve also looked at old home ec textbooks and it was from that I learned more about my sophisticate tendencies. (Yow! If I really looked like that I’d be dressing everyone else under the table!)

    • Jaenice Palmer
      January 26, 2019 at 6:29 pm

      Kay Noske? I used to read her blog whenever a new post came online! I was saddened to hear she had taken down her shingle–so to speak.

      Sensual or Romantic… I’ve been miscast as Girl Next Door, Gamine, and Sensual, much to my mortification. I do borrow from Sensual from time to time, but I would describe myself as Take-Charge with Cool Sophisticate rising. Go figure!

      • Jaenice Palmer
        January 26, 2019 at 6:31 pm

        I’m such a dork–I replied twice! Gah!!


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