Archive of ‘Historical’ category

Personality Plus: Dainty

This page uses affiliate links.

delicate, fragile, gentle, extremely feminine


-You enjoy wearing soft, smooth woolens because rough, course textures seem too harsh and bulky for your delicate tastes.

Supersoft Charming Cardigan

Supersoft Charming Cardigan in in Whisper Pink, Talbots, was $79.50, now $39.50

-You lean toward sheer cottons–organdy, dimity, dotted Swiss–but you would feel right in almost any crisp, fresh, cotton.

-Usually you look and feed better in soft, pastel hues.

-Bright reds and intense blues and greens tend to overpower a dainty girl unless they are used as accents.

-Select the more delicate prints and more subdued stripes and plaids.

Plaid Linen Blend Shirt

Charli Plaid Linen Blend Shirt in Rockport Plaid, Nordstrom, was $140, now $88.80

-Big, bold stripes and vivid, splotchy prints would be a strike against you!


-Try feminine details in a dress or blouse–frilly necklines, exquisite lingerie touches, and soft shirring.

-A severe, tailored style might be too “hard” for a dainty miss.

-Adorable little hats were made for your type, because you can get away with flowers, froth, and frou-frou (for dress-up, of course–not with your plaid suit and sneakers).

-You prefer smooth, lightweight leathers for your shoes and handbags. A heavier leather somehow looks clumsy on you.

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

Excerpt from Clothing Construction and Wardrobe Planning

Previously: Historical: Personality Plus
Next: Sturdy

Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest. 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

Historical: Personality Plus

This post contains affiliate links.

As I posted yesterday, I have recently acquired Clothing Construction and Wardrobe Planning, a home ec textbook from the 50s/60s by Dora S. Lewis and others that turned out to be much more informative and helpful than I had anticipated.

One of the chapters is called “Personality Plus,” and it covers personality in clothing selection. It doesn’t mention physical features at all, so I think it may be a respite for people who struggle with the recommendations for their bodies or faces. You can take your personality designation, and incorporate it into any of the recommendations you’ve gotten based on your physicality.

What you are looking for is your dominant personality characteristic. The chapter acknowledges that we are all a blend with many different aspects to our personalities, but we are trying to single out one main theme. The book instructs you to “Know thyself.” It says to think about the things you’ve purchased and never worn, and what you wear again and again. By “personality,” they really seem to mean “clothing preference.” If you like sporty clothes, and you buy a frilly dress, you probably just won’t wear that frilly dress, even if it is fashionable and looks good on you.

The chapter sets up these “personalities” in oppositions. They are:


Dainty is: delicate, fragile, gentle, extremely feminine.

Sturdy is: athletic, rugged, strong, vigorous, “tomboyish”


Dramatic is: daring, extreme, striking, unusual, sophisticated

Demure is: modest, retiring, shy, timid


Dignified is: conservative, sedate, reserved, serious, deliberate

Vivacious is: gay, sparkling, lively, flighty, impulsive

They are set up like this because you are unlikely to find these two traits in the same person. You won’t be “dainty” today and “sturdy” tomorrow. You may, however, be “dainty” with a touch of “demure” or “dignified,” but usually one characteristic dominates. You may feel that your clothing personality changes with your moods–you may feel feminine one day, boisterous the next, and still sedate the day after that. Your type will also likely change over the course of your life. A young “vivacious” may grow into an adult “dramatic”; a “demure” may become a “dignified.”

Since it is aimed at high schoolers, the book says that the reader will likely keep to the traditional schoolgirl garb of the era of skirts and sweaters, but to bring in your personality in texture and color. For our purposes, I would also add bringing in your personality to your accessories, and rather than mid-century schoolgirl clothes, to think about how you can use these when working with your Kibbe Image ID, Dressing Your Truth energy combination, Zyla Archetype, etc.

Personally I think I’m vivacious with a touch of sturdy, but I’d like to grow into vivacious with a touch of dramatic. Where do you see yourself in this system from the short descriptors in this post?

Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest. 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

Book Review/Historical: Clothing Construction and Wardrobe Planning

This post uses affiliate links.

Glamourdaze is one of my favorite resources for historical style system information, and when I came across this post, I knew I needed the book the post was based on.


The book is the 1960 edition of the home economics textbook Clothing Construction and Wardrobe Planning by Dora S. Lewis, Mabel Goode Bowers, and Marietta Kettunen. I bought it more or less impulsively, intrigued by the excerpts on Glamourdaze but not even being sure whether there was anything that would make it onto this site.

I could not have been more pleasantly surprised. I think this book might be the one that I would recommend to accompany all of our other work involving Kibbe, Zyla, and simply trying to understand how to put together a good outfit together. The book is aimed at teenage girls from families where their clothing budget is not unlimited, and the book teaches you how to put together a wardrobe for a limited budget and how to budget for it, how to alter and sew your own clothing, and the basic principles of design and color. It teaches you how to look at clothes with a critical eye and how to tell good design from bad design, how to put outfits together that are appropriate for the occasion, and how to figure out what you need in your wardrobe and when you should buy certain pieces. It truly provides a foundation for how you can think about clothes, beyond your type in whatever system.

There is some dubious advice in the book as well–it suggests slathering yourself in peanut oil (!) before you suntan (!) to protect your skin (!); it also suggests uses deodorant two whole times a week–but overall, despite being dated, it is very informative. There is a clothing personality chapter, and I will be sharing this information with you in the coming days. I also think I may put the good/bad design section up here, since it’s so useful. The other parts may make their way into future workbooks.

Anyway, let me know what you’re interested in! And otherwise I suggest picking it up for yourself because it is just so useful.

Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest. 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

Bonomo Original Hollywood Beauty and Charm: Summary

Joe Bonomo himself... How he came to lend his name to a self-improvement course for women has been lost to history.

Joe Bonomo himself… How he came to lend his name to a self-improvement course for women has been lost to history.


I started this series because I wanted to examine a system with something approaching the standard types we all know and love today, but that also predates McJimsey. These types are a part of a whole system that involves everything from diet and exercise to makeup and how to walk down stairs.

The purpose of having these types is similar to what Kibbe says about his Image Identities, more or less:

Try to determine the kind of person you really are. You may find that you are not projecting yourself as you should. Just thinking of yourself as a sophisticate, a gamine or a womanly woman, or any other definite type, will be amazingly helpful in giving you a distinctive personality…You ARE a personality, and we are going to try to help you to release that personality from hampering inhibitions, from the handicap of too much flesh or too little vitality, from self-consciousness, awkwardness and any other malicious gremlin who may dare to bar the way of expression of your loveliest self. The self that will attract the experiences which you feel belong to you… and which DO belong to you… Love, Happiness, Success.

And the first step to achieving all that is to read the descriptions of the types and decide which one most describes you. If you feel you fit into more than one, you can create your own composite from what applies to you personally. You may also try on another type for a night–i.e., an “Aristocratic Woman” may try on the “Womanly Woman,” but must retain her true type’s characteristic restraint, for she is a not a “hoyden.”

Presenting yourself in a way that aligns with who you are, and putting thought into how you live your life, will make all parts of your life better. I think this is something that all the systems we look at share. I hope to find more of these early versions of color and style systems and share them here.

How did you like this system? Are there any types that jump out at you as maybe being closer to who you are than the ones found in contemporary systems?

Pick up Bonomo Original Hollywood Beauty and Charm at Vintage Makeup Guides.

Previously: The Sophisticate

Bonomo: The Sophisticate



Merle Oberon

-Often a woman who has learned to live by her wits
-Has read the latest books, seen the latest plays, and heard the latest gossip
-Definitely clever and likely to be a career woman
-Nervously vivacious and in many cases a brilliant conversationalist
-Shock-proof and modern
-If you can get beneath her brittle exterior, you will probably find her honestly sympathetic and generous
-…But she is a merciless antagonist!
-While she is one of the best dressed types in the world, clothes are not her major interest

Physical Characteristics
-More likely to be striking than beautiful
-Always slender, frequently exaggeratedly so and is invariably groomed to within an inch of her life
-There is never a hair out of place in her coiffure

-Has made almost a religious study out of clothes and uses her knowledge with daring and drama
-Will be remarkable for the perfection of her dress… whether she has little or much to spend
-Her clothes will be simple by day and as elegant as her purse can buy at night
-Even if her budget is very limited, she will have more formal clothes than the average woman
-Has a preference for dressmaker suits and afternoon dresses
-Shuns the spectacular
-Her clothes flow over her with unaccented distinction
-Loves fine fabrics, rich, soft furs and genuine, even if needs be modest, jewels.
-Is partial to white evening frocks
-Her dresses and wraps will be of the moment but never outstanding

Pick up Bonomo Original Hollywood Beauty and Charm at Vintage Makeup Guides.

Previously: The Gamine
Next: Summary

Bonomo: The Gamine



Betty Hutton

-May be a wiry little elf of a grandmother who keeps her family on tenterhooks with her mischief…
-…But she is apt to be young.
-A bit breathtaking but she has a grand time in life
-If she is true to type, so do the people around her
-Gay, impudent, and up to no good… in an innocent, or not so innocent, way
-Rules and regulations mean little to her and she manages to break most of them with impunity and much satisfaction
-She is fundamentally honest and loads of fun

Physical Characteristics
-Certain to be slim
-Boyish in appearance
-Leggy and gracefully gawky in gait
-Apt to have unruly hair, which she tosses about to emphasize her big moments
-Not unfrequently has an upturned, tilted nose
-Even a scattering of freckles do her no harm

-Gives the effect of being carelessly casual in dress
-Affects sports clothes in and out of season
-The ideal sweater and skirt girl
-Will have neat little tailored suits or jaunty boleros, frequently with hats to match and varicolored blouses
-Can wear natty checks and daring plaids
-Berets, “beanies,” and boyish caps are made for her
-“Schoolgirl” clothes become her even when she well past schoolgirl age
-Like dirndls with big bright patterns on them, which she frequently supplements with a dainty little baby blouse frilled at the neck and at the edges of the little puffed sleeves
-In the country, you may come upon her racing her “bike” at breakneck speed, blue jeans rolled up to the knees, heavy socks crammed into well worn moccasins, shirt tail out, and log bob flying in the breeze
-But at night, like as not, she will float upon the scene a veritable fairy queen in a billowing frock of pastel tulle with a chaplet of flowers upon her head

Pick up Bonomo Original Hollywood Beauty and Charm at Vintage Makeup Guides.

Previously: The Outdoor Woman
Next: The Sophisticate

Bonomo: The Outdoor Woman


Katharine Hepburn

-May be anything from a wood nymph to a college champion
-Is in her element out of doors
-Slings a mean ball at tennis, but that is the only mean thing about her
-An expert at most games, but a swell loser
-A good companion as well as a good sport and has hosts of friends of both sexes
-Intelligent and well informed with a wide scope of interests
-…But too good-natured to be competitive
-Her disposition is 1A
-Invariably has an inseparable canine friend
-Views on life, marriage, and men are sane and satisfactory
-Respects her body and takes care of it
-Likes an effect of spaciousness in her home… windows with wide vistas and polished floors with warm rugs scattered over them… and flowers everywhere
-One of God’s best gifts to the 20th century

Physical Characteristics
-May be as slender as Katharine Hepburn or as lusciously developed as Betty Grable
-Her voice is pitched low, but is not “throaty”
-Has the build for slacks and sweaters
-Usually heavily tanned

-At her best in sports clothes
-Looks wonderful in tweeds, which need not, however, be of the mannish type but may be in lovely pastel tones of blues, rose, or gold.
-Wears slacks and sweaters indoors and out
-Many of her most attractive clothes are white (looks good due to her tan)
-Can wear a white evening gown to perfection, and in a white tennis frock or a dead white bathing suit she is a knockout
-Will have a well-cut, professionally made riding habit even if she has to concoct every other garment in her wardrobe with her own fair hands
-Her riding clothes will be strictly conventional in type, and all eccentricity in this kind of apparel she rejects with scorn
-She will be the pink of perfection when she goes for a canter, boots polished to within an inch of their lives, every hair of her head under control
-Likes cottons because they are crisp and tubbable (note: I think this means washable), and looks wonderful in them
-On warm days, wears a tailored suit of striped seersucker or a cotton plaid with a fresh blouse and a trim little hat to town… cool, competent, and refreshing to behold amid the hordes of wilted femininity
-Her preference for cotton extends even to her underthings and evening clothes
-Will have simple lingerie of lovely pale-toned batiste with a smartly done initial in a contrasting color
-Pique and organdy evening frocks are the delight of her heart and infinitely becoming to her type
-As a rule, she prefers a little precious jewelry to a lot of imitation stuff
-Strange to say, pearls are often her most flattering stone

Pick up Bonomo Original Hollywood Beauty and Charm at Vintage Makeup Guides.

Previously: The Exotic Woman
Next: The Gamine

Bonomo: The Exotic Woman



Ilona Massey

-Before assigning yourself to this role, consider what you are letting yourself in for
-Stars of stage and screen, to which the best examples belong, only have to sustain it for two hours
-A haunting air of mystery about her
-Seems to spend a great deal of time in the distant depths of her being
-Quite a gal, and when successful, simply mows ’em down
-May do deadly work over a luncheon table but her big moments are at night
-A difficult role to maintain, but amusing to assume from time to time

Physical Characteristics
-Truly beautiful or aesthetically unusual looking
-Makes a wonderful fashion model and is a wow at a night club
-Tall, slender, and remote
-Eyes are an important part of the picture
-Moves slowly with languid grace

-A very dramatic type that can go to great lengths with her clothes
-Her jewels may be as many as her purse can buy
-Has a strong sense of drama that expresses itself in her fashion
-Large drooping hats, diaphanous dresses of pale-toned chiffon and of lace as illusive as a cobweb create for her an aura of romance
-Classic drapery that falls in statuesque folds
-Illusive half-tones that make an artist reach for his palette
-One of the few types of women who can successfully wear old embroideries and brocades without looking “arty”
-May borrow many of her accessories from the past, such as antique beaded or jeweled bags, tiny spangled fans or hand-painted ones with which she stirs up clouds of fragrance from her draperies
-Perfume should be subtle and illusive, conjuring up images of strange tropical gardens or pungent Eastern bazaars
-May wear old jeweled lockets and rings and bracelets, elaborately set with real or imitation stones
-During the early hours of the day, wears flowing negligees heavy with patterned lace or embroidered housecoats in the tones on sees old paintings… Bronze, Titian red or deep, fragrant-looking violet

Pick up Bonomo Original Hollywood Beauty and Charm at Vintage Makeup Guides.

Previously: The Aristocrat
Next: The Outdoor Woman

Bonomo: The Aristocrat



Joan Fontaine

-Of distinguished taste and mind
-May belong to any strata of society and live in any community
-Wealth, or the absence thereof, in no way affects her status
-Scrupulously careful about keeping her engagements and answering letters
-Often her handwriting is exaggeratedly large and angular
-Goes to great lengths to be courteous to those who serve her, both in shops and in her home
-Expects a great deal of others and herself
-Is a good citizen, and as a rule, a good, though severe, mother

Physical Characteristics
-May be slender or substantially stately
-Has good skin and beautifully cared for hair
-Coiffure shows the effects of professional fingers but is not severely sleek
-Is never spectacular, but is obviously and impressively “a lady”
-Speaks carefully in a modulated voice
-In extreme examples, there may be a slight affectation of speech

-Clothes are almost a career
-Up on all the latest whims of fashion
-Outfits will often obtain their effectiveness from one arresting decorative motif
-Combines a trained taste in dress with daring originality
-Loves tailored clothes, often compensating for their simplicity in line with unusual color
-Hats are neat and super smart, with lines calculated to emphasize her interesting face
-Veils are close
-Abhors anything that does not stay put
-Never an undisciplined hair in her coiffure
-Prefers cocktail suits to dinner dresses
-When she does go all out for formality, that is likely to be exactly what happens
-Decollete will be as low as the law allows, and her jewels many and significant
-If they are real… wonderful! If not, no one will be the wiser

Pick up Bonomo Original Hollywood Beauty and Charm at Vintage Makeup Guides.

Previously: The Womanly Woman
Next: The Exotic Woman

Bonomo: The Womanly Woman



Greer Garson

-100% feminine
-Takes the second role on the stage of life and stars in it
-Gentle, affectionate, and tender
-Home is the center of her interests, but not the circumfrence thereof
-First and foremost a wife and mother
-This is obvious from a casual glance, even when she is 16 years old
-Laughs readily and charmingly
-Fond of everything young: pigs, puppies, and babies–you will find a battered doll tucked away in her drawer until she can replace it with knitted booties
-No appeal to her sympathies, be it personal or civic, goes unheeded
-While she has her full quota of common sense, enjoys silly hats and sentimental novels
-Does not go in seriously for sports

Physical Characteristics
-Delightlyfully rounded facial features
-Lips with flower-like curves
-Voice is low with a lilting cadence

-Femininity in clothes
-Soft materials: soft wools, silks and rayons that fall into caressing lines of their own accord
-Laces, flowered chiffons, and sprigged cottons are among her best textures
-Softly flattering tones; petal coloring and flower motifs are becoming
-Will prefer a brow-bouquet to a hat and will wear one whenever the occasion permits
-Loves fashion and wears new styles with grace and appreciation, but will likely look like the Womanly Woman next door
-Country clothes will be simple frocks of the spectator sports variety in lovely colors, worn with pearls (real or synthetic) and feminine white sandals.

Pick up Bonomo Original Hollywood Beauty and Charm at Vintage Makeup Guides.

Next: The Aristocrat

1 2 3 4