Archive of ‘Historical’ category

The Looks Men Love: The Cool Sophisticate Look

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Previously: The Romantic Look

This week, we’re looking at the Cool Sophisticate look. As we did last week, I have put visual examples on a Pinterest board.

Physical Profile

Slender, tall, and striking. If you are not, even if you feel like a Cool Sophisticate, consider Take-Charge, Romantic, or Sensual, because Cool Sophisticate won’t be very effective on you. (My personal opinion: Go with what you relate to the most!)


Cool Sophisticates are elegant, crisp, don’t get too close, and are equally at home on Fifth Avenue, Bond Street, and the Champs-Élysées. They don’t fall for fads. They may seem to have perfect glacial exteriors, but once you get to know them, you find humor and candor. She’s talented, a good traveler, a good cook, and polite to salespeople. They are often quiet and unreadable. They are competent. They know how to do the right thing when it comes to things like thank-you cards. They only have a couple of close friends, and may actually be shy, even though their clever conversation abilities and stunning appearance may seem intimidating. Never buy a Cool Sophisticate a blouse of polyester–just let her buy her own clothes, although a fabulous jewel would also do.


Cool Sophisticate Celebrities on Pinterest

  • Grace Kelly
  • Marlene Dietrich
  • Cheryl Tiegs (and almost all other high-fashion models)
  • Lee Radziwill
  • Karen Akers
  • Lauren Bacall
  • Cybill Shepherd
  • Bianca Jagger
  • Katharine Hepburn
  • Gloria Vanderbilt
  • Dina Merrill
  • Barbara Stanwyck


Cool Sophisticate Colors on Pinterest


  • khaki
  • terra-cotta
  • ivory and black
  • pewter
  • camel
  • navy
  • burgundy
  • deep emerald
  • dark wine
  • apricot
  • geometric prints


  • the “fruits”: lemon yellow, cherry red, peach
  • baby pink
  • aqua
  • denim blue
  • shocking pink (except at night with something like black satin/jet)
  • tiny prints
  • tartan plaids
  • lavender


Cool Sophisticate Fabrics on Pinterest

The rule of thumb is real (nothing artificial) during the day, and glitzed-up real at night. Your fabrics are durable and strong, just like you, and you are excellent at mixing and layering fabrics in a way that creates economy of line.


  • natural heavy cotton
  • garbadines
  • worsted wools
  • cashmere
  • silk
  • high-quality leather and suede
  • raw silk
  • nothing shiny in the daytime
  • silks and crepes at night, but some synthetic woven in to make them shine is OK
  • velvet with a metallic thread (night)
  • cashmere accented with feathers or beads (night)


  • corduroy
  • denim
  • anything cheap-looking
  • high-shine surfaces
  • rayon
  • acrylic
  • polyester
  • Orlon


Cool Sophisticate Style on Pinterest

Think 1930s updated with the 1980s’ bold essence. They have panache, and look expensive, even when their clothes aren’t. New but not futuristic; trendy but not cheap. They won’t wear things that wrinkle when they sit down or require them to hold in their stomach. The look is subtle and sexy at the same time. Cool Sophisticates are divided into “born into money” and “self made.” The former wears designer clothes, and takes a quieter approach. She is stockier and less glamorous, but just as untouchable. She is stockier (don’t know why), and apparently looks better in the CS afternoon wear, rather the night-time outfits. The Self-Made Cool Sophisticate has designed her style, not inherited it. She likes money, but doesn’t need it to look smashing. She is more trendy and more disco, but still with good taste, and is particularly radiant at night.


  • DVF wrap dresses, cotton jersey for day and silk for evening
  • monochromatic with a touch of color
  • a generous cut in clothing, not clingy
  • balance is important: instead of a taffeta shirt and skirt, pair the top with gray gabardine slacks
  • blouses are important: full-sleeved, shawl-collared, man-tailored, sleeveless T-shirts, worn in different fabrics and paired with beige suede trousers, black wool trousers, or softly gathered skirts
  • simple, traditional clothes with a twist: a trench coat in green moiré or an A-line evening gown in buckskin.
  • flashes of skin, but not too much: slits, unstructured jackets with nothing underneath
  • use trends to your advantage: let them blend into your timeless style in a delightful and chic way

Business Styles

  • a Chanel suit
  • a camel cashmere turtleneck sweater dress
  • a man-tailored pinstriped suit, perhaps in dubonnet
  • black calf-length culottes with a blazer (culottes can be worn to work if the color is sober and the cut is classic

Styles for Play

  • organic wrinkled T-shirts and chinos
  • wheat-colored tanks
  • tunic dresses, perhaps with a scarf or belt around the hips
  • oversize fisherman’s cable-knit sweaters

Evening Styles

  • tunics, which are a staple in your wardrobe, such as a woven-wool tunic over a short velvet skirt, or a crushed silk tunic over evening pants
  • look toward the Duchess of Windsor: a spunky, “upper-crust” look, with long skirts slightly flared at the ankle; full, flared tops; and twisty-tied hats
  • slim, long-lined evening suits, maybe trimmed with jewels, beads, or feathers


Cool Sophisticate Accessories on Pinterest

  • Bags: oversize during the day, in natural fabrics, like suede, heavy cotton, or lizard. For night, try a narrow envelope, a clutch on a chain, or a “designer” bag, preferably with a logo.
  • Shoes: stocking and shoe in the same color to lengthen the leg, and don’t wear a shoe that’s lighter than your hemline, e.g., a white shoe with a navy suit. No to clunky high heels.
  • Belts: should be very wide, or thin with links and chains. Look for a jewel-encrusted buckle.
  • Jackets: instead of a traditional blazer, try an aviator jacket, an Eisenhower jacket, jackets with serious shoulder pads, and long, loose cardigan jackets.
  • Furs: Mink, sable, raccoon, fitch. Never faux!
  • Jewelry: wide gold cuffs, dozens of bangles, chains in material from lucite to pure gold (color and sterling are great). The scale is bold to even chunky. Wearable art is a favorite (sculptural jewelry). Rhinestones are okay during the day. Sometimes they’ll do something like an art deco pin or large geometric earrings with jeans.
  • Hats: cloche, turban, scarf around the head, fedora, all depending on where the CS is going.
  • Pants: almost anything goes, from walking shorts, to pants that could pass as a skirt, cropped with a cuff, calf-length–but never capris.
  • Underwear: skin tones. Black or skin tone for nightgowns, which are also revealing.

Finishing your look with accessories is key!

Breaking the Rules

Cool Sophisticate Breaking the Rules on Pinterest

Cool Sophisticates are masters at breaking fashion rules.

  • mix real jewelry with faux
  • use unlikely items, like heavy twine for a belt or an antique silver match holder as a necklace
  • break the “don’t wear white in winter” rule with white stockings with black patent leather shoes or white socks with gray flannel pants
  • wear an antique lace collar on a wool cardigan

The Cool Sophisticate plays it by ear, mixing and matching but always looking smashing.


Cool Sophisticate Makeup on Pinterest

  • Foundation: contouring was made for you.
  • Eyes: you can wear a lot of color on your eyes, up to three variations of the same shade. Go dramatic with grays, taupes, or burgundies (not peacock blue, etc.), with a deeper shade of the same color to define the crease. Smudge them with a lift in the outer corner. More is more for you. Your look is dramatic and chic. Your brows should be perfect, and thick brows are okay, as long as they are well groomed. Don’t darken them, because you don’t want them to compete with your eyes. If you brows are very pale, you can subtly darken them.
  • Mouths: your lips should be sharply defined. Use a darker shade of the lip color to define. For a finished, subtle look, apply your lip color and gloss at the same time.
  • Blending: Cool Sophisticates know how to blend with powder.

Some Cool Sophisticates (like Jackie Kennedy and Lee Radziwill) prefer minimal makeup. If it works for you, go for it, but still do some soft eyeshadow and mascara to play up your eyes, lip gloss, and subtly define your bone structure with contour.

Final Thoughts

Cool Sophisticates are stunners, and it’s hard not to stare!

My Take

First, I want to say that I do not think you have to be skinny or born rich to be a Cool Sophisticate! I think the fun part of this system is that it’s more about vibe, and defining by weight and inherited wealth is something that I think makes it less useful and less fun. I know some women whom I would classify in this type, though, and they are truly stunning.

Next: The Girl Next Door


Roppatte, Vincent. The Looks Men Love. St. Martin’s Press, 1985. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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.


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.


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


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.


  • 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


  • 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.


Romantic Fabrics on Pinterest

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


  • 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


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


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.


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.


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


Roppatte, Vincent. The Looks Men Love. St. Martin’s Press, 1985. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

How to Use The Looks Men Love

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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. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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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gay, sparkling, lively, flighty, impulsive

-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

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.

-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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conservative, sedate, reserved, serious, deliberate

-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

-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.

-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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modest, retiring, shy, timid

-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.


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

-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.


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

-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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daring, extreme, striking, unusual, sophisticated

-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.

-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

-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

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Personality Plus: Sturdy

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athletic, rugged, strong, vigorous, “tomboyish”


-If you are sturdy, you know you feel right in rough tweeds and herringbones, but you also look good in garbardine, flannel, and serge.

Sturdy dress

Prada Beige & Green Herringbone Dress, Ssense, was $2300, now $860

-Most filmy fabrics and sheer cottons are not going to work for you. Imagine yourself twirling around in a frilly summer evening frock!

-Piqué, linen, or seersucker are much better.

Sturdy linen dress

Diane Von Furstenburg Striped Linen Wrap Dress,, was $211, now $186


-You can wear strong colors–and you enjoy them. They suit your vigorous nature.

-Yet it’s nice to own some pastel sweaters and classics–but just for a change.

-Stripes and plaids appeal to you.

Sturdy plaid skirt

Women’s Woven A-Line Skirt, Lands’ End, $89.95

Sturdy striped skirt

Versace Multicolor Striped New York Skirt, Ssense, was $1075, now $215

-You are apt to feel overblown in most floral prints.


-Your dressier blouses can have simple but beautifully detailed collars–a fagoted edging, for instance. (I couldn’t find any examples of this for sale, sorry!)

-Your dress up clothes should stress simple lines that introduce some soft details.

-You can bring out some femininity without feeling “prissy”–you just want to avoid extreme ruffles, flounces, and lace inserts.

-Since you are not the flowery type, your hats are trimmed with ribbon, a perky feather, or a simple pom pom.

-Good, simple styling in bags and shoes is important to you.

-Fussy detail and excessive strappings and perforations would bother you.

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

Excerpt from Clothing Construction and Wardrobe Planning

Previously: Dainty
Next: Dramatic

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