Finding your style 2 : on-line style advisors

Do you feel special in your clothes ? Do they help you to feel you ? to feel confident ?

There are many sources of personal styling advice :
– national styling companies with local representatives who do face-to-face consultations,
– in-store shopping advisors,
– on-line advisors, some of whom do personal consultations locally or on-line using Skype or photos,
– books – there are shelf yards of books on choosing your best clothes according to your colouring, body shape, and personal style. Here’s my post on my favourite styling books.

The first post in this group was about what style categories can do for you, and how to use them.
This is about some on-line sources of advice about ‘best clothes for you’.
But if you don’t recognise yourself anywhere here, or feel constrained by the options these people offer : not to worry, there are many other ways of exploring your own style, see the next post for some ideas.

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Some of the many on-line style advisors

Doctor T Designs – Kibbe styles – see Sew your Kibbe under the Wardrobe Planning tab. There’s a wealth of Kibbe-related guidance on the web. This site is good for sewists because it has extensive suggestions of sewing patterns for each style – for casual, work, and special occasions.
No need to know your Kibbe style, just look through the patterns suggested for likely styles, and see if there’s a group you feel are ‘you’.
I like over-sized slouchy clothes, which here are categorised as ‘Flamboyant Natural’. I’m not the physical type that is supposed to like these styles, nor have I got a flamboyant personality. A good example of the styles being more important than the category name.

Inside Out Style from Imogen Lamport, for colour, body shape and personal style. She has a huge range of excellent free advice.
My favourite saying of hers :
“You want to love your clothes, and have them love you back.”
Her Style Manifesto might be a good starting point for your own explorations.
In the Evolve Your Style course there are daily challenges, a quick way of finding the limits to what you can happily wear – I refused the challenge on the days when she told me to wear bright red lipstick or high heels !
I enjoyed her ‘7 Steps to Style’ course, not free but rich with useful information on colouring and body shape.

Truth is Beauty and Fantastical Beauty can give you many ideas to try if your style is less mainstream.
Truth is Beauty is where I found my ‘Ingenue’ style word, though I certainly don’t dress like her ingenue examples.
I’ve never thought of myself as living in a fairy tale, but if you do then what fun 😀 . Fantastical Beauty could also help if you don’t know where to start with cosplay. This is an example of a site which gives advice only about a specialised group of style categories, she doesn’t attempt to cover the whole range.
These are some others :
Stunning Style has good guides to variations on ’classic’ style. She’s excellent on encouraging free choice, she explicitly says : “I have no rules for anyone, only ideas to share. Use what you find helpful, and ignore the rest”. But her advice is easiest to follow if you like to wear classy classics and look good in ‘Winter’ colours.
While Stasia’s Style School encourages people who want to be boldly even wildly individual in their style.

The Wardrobe Architect posts from Colette patterns are an interesting series of exercises on all aspects of choosing your clothes.

You Look Fab has daily posts on style topics – fun to follow, but not the best place to start as a guide for your style search.

Body shape, wardrobe planning

Different advisors focus on different aspects of your clothes choices. Again, just examples.

My Private Stylist suggests clothes that are good for your body shape. It focusses on style elements, tells you what to avoid and why. The guidance given is sensible.

There are 100s of people on-line telling you how to plan a capsule wardrobe. Here are a few :
The Vivienne Files is a site bursting with methods for planning a capsule wardrobe, but most of the clothes shown are ‘normcore’ in style. There’s a big focus on colour co-ordination, but little on finding your most flattering colours. Excellent if planning is what you want to optimise, but little help with alternative styles.
Classy yet Trendy also suggests specific capsules, in 6 nearly-normcore styles : teacher, essential, workwear, athleisure, stay at home mom, French minimalist. The first 3 differ mainly in how formal the clothes are, ‘athleisure’ is a little more sporty, ‘stay at home’ clothes have a little more softness, and the ‘French’ clothes are a little ‘edgy’.

Though it may not be your style to go for a capsule. Imogen Lamport has an interesting piece on whether you prefer capsule, formula, or uniform for your clothing (I’m a Uniform person).

These capsules are for sewists :
Nancy Nix-Rice has a video wardrobing class at Craftsy-Bluprint. She also has blog posts suggesting sewing patterns.
There’s a video capsule wardrobe class by Sandy Miller with variations of Cutting Line patterns at Taunton Workshops.
If you like more ‘art to wear’ styles , Sewing Workshop pattern’s Sew Confident series builds up a capsule wardrobe over the course of each year.
Meg McElwee of Sew Liberated patterns has a Mindful Wardrobe course which combines : identifying your style, devising a capsule wardrobe, getting the fit right, doing slow sewing. . .

Personal colouring

There are many on-line colour analysis services. Most of them do not mention grey hair, and if they do they often insist if you have grey hair you must have cool skin – so not for me.
As screens, cameras and printers can alter colours, colour advice is not something that’s easy to do well on-line or from photos. I think courses which mail you physical comparison colour cards are better than courses using only virtual colours. 2 examples :
– the DIY Color Style Kit (mainly colour wheel colours), finds your colour type on the 3 dimensions warm-cool, bright-soft, light-medium-deep, followed by Discover your color style to find your best colours to wear.
– the colour section of Imogen Lamport’s ‘7 Steps to style’ course (Inside Out Style, see top tabs. More subtle colours – sadly almost impossible to find in clothes or fabrics).
Both these have more sophisticated colour systems than a ‘season’ analysis.
Nancy Nix-Rice adds level of contrast and size of pattern to those 3 colour dimensions, and for many of us they are important.

Like my points in the first post, about style categories – the aim of colour categories is to support us in finding colours that we look and feel good in, not to force ourselves to fit into some colour category scheme ! I’ve spent time in my life trying to be a Summer, a Spring, an Autumn – the only season I’ve clearly never been is a Winter. Now with my cool grey hair, cool pink lips, warm tan skin, and warm brown eyes, I’m part warm part cool, part bright part soft, part light part medium. There are no simple rules for what colours are best for me, but I do try colour advice to see what is helpful. Well – I do know I look dreadful in black and in denim blue, and it’s surprising how many fabric stores sell only cool colours. . .

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Examples of ‘fails’ for me

I’ve so far mentioned some stylists I have learned from. But there are ones I find less useful.

For me, Dressing Your Truth is very limited, I can rarely fit people I know into it. But people who aren’t used to the idea of having a personal style, or who want to be told what to wear, often find it a helpful starting point. It divides us into 4 Types according to how we mainly use our energy, basically : fun lovers, sensitives, achievers, perfectionists. Everyone of the same Type is supposed to wear the same season of colours : Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, and have the same facial features. (There have been 100s of research studies looking for a relation between physical characteristics and personality, and none have ever found anything.) The wealth of human nature means there are more than 4 types of people, and people who do fit the 4 DYT Types do not all look good in the same colours. (30somethingurbangirl also pairs style type and colour season, but in a different way – these things are not set in stone !) However there are many free videos on the DYT site, which may help with getting a quick idea of where your tastes lie, and what to look out for when assessing clothes. I’m not a ‘believer’ in DYT, but I confess I enjoy watching the make-over shows.

Imogen Lamport’s 16 Style Types course, on dressing according to your MBTI personality type, is expensive (but then so is a personal consultation with a top stylist). I tried the shorter ‘Discover your style type’ version. I’ve never, in years of reading about it and trying tests, found which MBTI Type I am. From the indicators given in this course I am, as usual, ‘6 of one and half a dozen of the other’ on 2 of the dimensions. I tried 2 of Imogen’s reports and find one of them is a better fit than the other, but there is much in it that is not ‘me’ at all. Matches some of my attitudes to clothes and shopping, but there’s very little about specific styles to wear. Some people find this approach opens up important insights for them. I got good value from Imogen’s ‘7 Steps to Style’ course, but not here.

My Private Stylist has a section called What’s your style personality which is a good example that some stylists may not be right for us at all. She has a questionnaire which claims to guide you to 1 of 50 categories. But the first 2 questions are about shoes and all the choices have high heels, which I never wear. Then the next 2 questions are about dresses – I haven’t worn a dress in decades, and all the choices have a fitted waist, which I didn’t wear when I did wear dresses. So I don’t think going through the rest of the questions would be likely to lead me on a path of self-discovery. Of course many people love the clothes illustrated, but that’s not where I belong.

We just need to accept this will happen with some stylists, and move on.

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If the main categories are not ‘you’

You don’t actually need to know your style category at all. That doesn’t mean you have no style ! There are many other options for finding your own style, suggestions in the next post.

But if you want to go further in this way, look at the suggestions from several stylists. For example, one person’s advice for ‘natural’ may not be the same as another stylist’s advice for ‘casual’. Stylists certainly don’t all agree. As an example, some stylists say that Casual and Chic are complete opposites, while others have a ‘Casual Chic’ category.

Style is a matter of judgement and opinion, not accurate measurement. This can be difficult for people like me, I prefer clear simple rules when I’m learning something for the first time (though I’m flexible later). That really is not possible with ‘style’. So look for stylists you feel you have something in common with, follow them as far as they can take you, but be prepared to move on.

You may come across style words which you respond to, but which the general stylists do not give information about because the words only apply to a small percentage of people.
Search style words in google, pinterest, youtube.
Try : lagenlook, mori girl, folkloric, vintage, retro, prairie, pioneer, western, hip hop, grunge, punk, goth.
New style words emerge in each season and each sub-culture.
What is the style of your favourite movie or fantasy character ?
Would you like to look like Iris Apfel or the ladies with Advanced Style ?
Are any of the Folkwear patterns to your taste ?

Some people like to follow celebrity style. But celebrities have genes which mean they look good photographed from any angle, and my gifts lie elsewhere so I don’t feel I have much in common with them ! If you do like this idea, have a look at the celebrity outfits suggested by style ARC patterns.

Or start from images rather than words. Cherish and collect the images which do ‘speak’ to you.
Choose a pinterest image and see what pinterest suggests have something in common with it.

Also check for your own wardrobe needs. I wear many pullover layers and vests, and they’re rarely mentioned in wardrobe plans or by stylists.

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Notice how you respond to a stylist. I’m a quiet person, and some stylists have such powerful personalities I feel knocked sideways from myself. Or they emphasise all my inadequacies as a way of convincing me I need their course. Despite their big claims, some of them make me feel lesser – those I’m learning to avoid !

Also beware courses which offer a styling ‘rescue fantasy’, suggesting that all the decisions have been made for you, and all your styling problems will quickly be at an end. This may be a good place for styling and capsule planning beginners to start from, but ultimately to get your style right for you, you do need to respond to your own feelings about the suggestions made. See the next post for some ideas on making your style category more personal to you.

Go along with any stylist who helps you feel you know what style direction to go in, but only follow them as far as they do. Once you start to feel you don’t fit in, move on to look for more insights elsewhere. And one day you’ll find yourself making your own decisions 😀

May you enjoy yourself and have Good Fortune on this quest 😀

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There are 4 in this group of posts about personal style. The others are :
1. using style categories.
3. exploring styles.
4. trying on clothes.

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Links available August 2019

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