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?

8 Comments on Why Style and Color Matter

  1. Angie
    December 22, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    I’m DYT 1/4. It was helpful for me to learn that I am 1, because I was living life in my secondary. It helped me tap into and appreciate parts of my personality that I had abandoned. I found a lot of joy in that. I don’t however enjoy being prescribed a strict color palette. I have found there are days I wake up, and I want to work with the colors of my secondary, and I know how to do that. Add some white, some T1 jewelry, bolder make up, etc. I can enjoy those T4 colors without feeling I’m not dressing my truth. Although I find Carol’s program helpful, I found the idea of only using one palette stifling.

    • stylesyntax
      December 23, 2019 at 1:25 am

      T1s like options! For me as a T4, it is the opposite of stifling to just have one palette to shop for. I like having the structure.

      • Eunice
        December 26, 2019 at 2:43 am

        Ooh…¼ was one of my final choices. Seeing this comment confirms I’m a type 4 primary. I like options, but I enjoy having just sets to work with and play in between.

        As for seasonal colour, I’m learning not to be obsessive about getting the perfect shades for a bright spring. I fit the parameters mostly, but since I’m Asian it’s already unknown territory…It’s a great place to start learning about colour and skin interactions, but the individual pursuits would not necessarily be satisfied there.

        • Elizabeth Stewart
          December 26, 2019 at 6:26 am

          Eunice, I have a very useful book by Donna Fuji, who really understands Asian coloring. I think you might find it helpful, as she agrees that Asians don’t fit neatly into the usual seasonal system, and she devotes a whole two pages to each different type. I think she is in the US. If you can find her website you would probably see yourself in one of her types.

  2. Elizabeth Stewart
    December 23, 2019 at 7:30 am

    I can relate to both of the above. I began the colour and style journey some years ago, when as a junior reporter on an American newspaper I attended an “image” class for a feature I was writing. To my surprise, the class proved really interesting, especially the colour component. I’d been wearing “corporate” suits as ordered by my editor, and a lot of black and beige in order to look responsible. The idea of wearing bright, warm colours seemed wrong, yet when I tried it, I felt much better and everyone told me I looked really healthy and lively. I have more or less stuck with these Spring colours and added a few Autumn tones for accessories, breaking the rules, but going by what I actually like and enjoy wearing. When I moved from journalism into academia I realized I could wear whatever I liked, so I experimented a lot and read Kibbe cover to cover, but got stuck between two style types. In the end, I worked through the Style Statement book, and that, together with MBTI and the Enneagram, helped me appreciate that I am perfectly OK as a free-spirited, creative introvert and that I could present myself to the world exactly as I am. So now – lots of pre-Raphaelite dresses, Victorian style skirts and blouses, Art Nouveau jewelry, and a bright Spring palette – and I feel like myself. The final touch was working through Kibbe’s classes online, and I can’t thank him enough for his generous sharing or you for making this known through your blog. The only question for me now is whether, in DYT, I am a 2/1 or a 1/2, but either way I feel comfortable and real.

  3. Anne
    January 20, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    To me the biggest issue is whether or not I like what I see when I look in the mirror. My family typed me as a spring when Color Me Beautiful came out. I have green grey eyes with a mustard ring, skin that appears pretty yellow, and hair that has both blond and red highlights. I tried and tried for about 15 years to find spring colors that were flattering.

    I attended a four-season home demonstration as an adult. One of the presenters was wearing hot Autumn makeup and a hot moss colored sweater. She looked absolutely horrible in it. I’m not being catty. I would look just as bad in those colors myself. Apparently somebody had told her that she was an Autumn. Or maybe that’s what she decided she was. But obviously she hadn’t looked in the mirror, really looked to see if that was flattering to her. The presenters tried to find everybody’s season. I was more flattered by silver than gold. Then the drapes used to determine between summer and winter was a light powdered blue versus a rich strong blue. Everyone there agreed that I looked best in the winter drape. So I proceeded to waste the next 10 years trying to find winter colors that I looked good in. After all how could that many people be wrong?! I looked in the mirror, and was told
    by others that i looked bad in black. It didn’t work.

    Then i tried the 12 season approach. Soft summer seem closer than the others. But then I started seeing people who are recommended as experts in this wearing makeup and clothing that I felt we’re not flattering. They seem to be following the rules for lack of a better term, that had been built up around this approach. But they weren’t looking in the mirror, in my opinion. Because they weren’t improving how they looked by following the rules that they taught to others.

    The upshot of this is that I feel I should trust my own gut about whether or not something works for me, rather then trusting so-called experts. My impression is that I look good in icy pink, icygreen, and icy purple. They are winter colors and I’m confident that I’m not a winter, but who cares? I find usefulness in both the four season and 12 season systems. I found usefulness in xylas work when I checked out a book of his from the library. I’m just trying to find things that help me look the way I want to from every system. Each has something to offer me, but I’m finally confident enough to make the final decisions myself.

    • stylesyntax
      January 20, 2020 at 7:02 pm

      Our coloring sounds very similar, actually. In the end, I’ve just gone with what I feel my best in. After all, isn’t that the point?

    • Elizabeth Stewart
      January 21, 2020 at 6:34 am

      Yes, Anne, I agree that ultimately we are own best judges in this, as even though colour consultants have been trained, it is still their own personal opinion and they could be wrong. I found the “drop the drape” technique very helpful in showing me which colours did and did not suit me. You gather up various pieces of material in one colour – say, green – and place an example from each season or sub-season, whatever you are looking to test, on top of one another, so you can see only one drape as you look in the mirror. As you remove a piece, it is usually quite obvious which of the two shades suited you better. Then you just repeat the process for each category. Sounds more complicated than it is, and for me it worked very well. I can wear most colours as long as they are warm, with nothing cool; no black or white; no very pale or very dark shades. I found this out by trial and error, but it works.


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