Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Dressing Your Truth Critique: Part Two

The Dressing Your Truth philosophy is that it is your energy that matters and that you are best served by presenting the world with a visual version of yourself that is truly who you are as defined by your energy.  Energy is a sort of vibe you give off based on movement and some behaviours and we are told it's not at all about personality and yet often we are also told about the typical thought patterns, habits and behaviours of the different types. This is meant to be informative and fun and help us type ourselves but we must remember that our energy type is not about personality.  Guru and Dressing Your Truth creator, Carol Tuttle, states repeatedly, this is a system about energy, not personality.  That is called baffle-gab.

Personality is a complex thing but it is best summed up as characteristic patterns of feeling, thinking and behaving, according to the American Psychological Association.

There are some great makeovers and some less than successful ones done in the name of Dressing Your Truth.  There are only four types and all people (men, women and children) are deemed to be one of these, although apparently a secondary type likes to have a bit of influence too.   These types are matched up to lines and features which are seen in the face but not the body and are repeated in clothing and accessories.  The types are also matched to colour palettes which echo their energy and it is considered irrelevant to harmonise colours to the skin-tones of the person wearing them. As someone obsessed with colour and convinced that our best colours are in harmony with our skin-tone, I find the colour palette advice probably the most disastrous of the Dressing Your Truth guidelines, followed by women wearing T1 girlishness and looking foolish.  After that it's T2 clothing looking too sloppy rather than softly draped and T3 accessories overwhelming the person wearing them.  It could be argued that this is just a case of the individual needing to get better at styling themselves according to their type but I think that is part of the problem.  People are told all you have to do is buy stuff that is meant for your type and you are going to look good.  Is that empowerment or just sloppy advice?

We are told that the lines of the face are the strongest indicator of type.  When the Dressing Your Truth guru does an assessment and tells someone their type she does it based on the lines in their face and then goes digging for behaviours that also fit that type.  If the woman says 'Yes, but I also do X and Y' or 'I often think Z' she is told this is likely due to having been repressed as a child by parents who didn't like her type and tried to make her into something else, or that she herself doesn't like her type and tries to be another type.   

The Dressing Your Truth experts who represent the different types are generally good fits for the colours of their type  even if the assigned colours are not their most accurate palette.  One of the T3 experts is probably a Spring type in seasonal colour analysis so the warmed colours of T3 which align best with Deep Autumn aren't bad but sometimes seem a bit much for her.  I have watched her get better at choosing lighter colours over the years while still claiming that they are part of the rich and dynamic palette.  

The Quick and Dirty Explanation

Type One people are bubbly, extroverted, seek fun and are scattered and random.  This type embodies a quick and lively movement. Type 1 is associated with circles, hearts and stars and these people are told to wear light, bright colours, often pastels.  The suggested colours align well with Light Spring in other colour systems, and could be aligned with Light Summer.  Stretching it into True Spring would be doable sometimes.  They are told to wear only gold jewelry and to utilise sparkle. Polka dots, cute prints, whimsy, flowers in your hair and girlish charm are key. The styles are sometimes gamine, youthful, light and upward in movement and can veer into childish and silly.  There are some women who can wear things that would look childish and silly on others but women typed as Ones in Dressing Your Truth are only sometimes such types.

Type Two people are quiet, emotional, care about others' comfort and are introverted.  The movement of this type is slow but steadily meandering. A gentle flow. They are associated with downward movement, draping, S curves and ovals, ruffles and lace. Blended patterns such as florals and paisley with a water colour look are part of T2 style, as well as soft, floaty, smooth and stretchy fabric.  Comfort is key as is a romantic vibe and muted cool colours which align best with a Soft Summer palette.  A Soft Autumn or a True Summer palette could be used here. They are told to wear only silver jewelry.  Type two is often a type women mistype themselves as because it is the feminine ideal in some cultures. 

Type Three people are dynamic, extroverted, pushy, go-getters.  This type is a swift forward movement. They are told that they have lots of texture in their appearance, slightly wonky and irregular shapes, deep facial lines, triangles and richness.  The colour palette they are assigned is best aligned with Dark Autumn but the general guideline is rich colours leaning warm so True Autumn and True Spring could also be applied.  They are told to wear layers, lots of chunky accessories, ethnic jewelry, gold, wood, earthy stuff.   Animal prints, ethnic prints, boldly busy patterns that add to the texture as well as highly textured fabrics are T3.  Although it is not considered a valid reason for typing yourself a Three, I have heard some say they knew they were threes because they looked great in the warm colours and guru did not disagree.  It seems to me that if a person has obviously warm colouring they are likely to be told they are a three by guru.

Type Four people are also introverts but are told they lead with an intellectual energy rather than emotional.  They are bold and strong, independent, confident and reserved and T4 movement is defined by a lack of it-stillness.  They have classic beauty based on a lot of symmetry, also high contrast colouring and clean and crisp jawlines, tend to look good with their hair pulled off their faces, and are associated with parallel lines.  The clothing suggestions are quite classic, the colour palette aligns with Winter types but could work with Bright Spring.  The most successful looking Type Fours are obviously Winter types with classic beauty but some types with other colouring are done up in Type Four. Some women typed as fours look like they  probably have True Summer colouring.  The coolness of T4 would work for them but the boldness wouldn't be their best and the bright yellow and orange would not work.   This is the type that is told black is good.  Silver jewelry in bold and chunky geometric shapes is Type Four.

According to the Dressing Your Truth guru things a person says can also be an indicator of energy type.  Do you always say "that's fun"?  You might be a T1.  Do you often say "exactly"? You are probably a T4.  Some people go round and round in circles seeing themselves in all types.  The claim is that we have some of all types in us but one is dominant.  Many people cannot figure out what their supposed dominant is and some narrow it down to two of the types but aren't sure which is dominant and which is secondary.  Guru tells us that secondary often takes over if we are emotionally troubled. 

It is perhaps appropriate to note here that Guru is not a trained or qualified counsellor although in my opinion she often does a fairly good job of encouraging and supporting people.  It's when she makes pronouncements that X is because of Y that she is overstepping her bounds.  And when she offers essential oils or tapping as a remedy that she is wandering into wackadoodle.  Still, placebo has some effect.

Try on the Types

This is recommended as a way to figure out your type and members of the DYT team do this in exaggerated ways meant to show us how well this strategy works.  It seems that their goal is to dress up in parodic and ridiculous versions of the types they are not.

I have tried wearing all of the types.  Each type needs so much tweaking it is no longer really it's original type, although if I force the extremes as the experts do in their trying all the types examples, only T1 looks rather inappropriate.  

The Tweaks:

Type One requires me to tone it down substantially, eliminate the whimsy and girliness which tends to look silly on me, warm up the colours or ignore may of the colour suggestions like bright pink and mint green.  I would have to ignore the makeup recommendations too which are generally pastel and frosty.  What would I do that is actually Type One?  I might stick to the lightest of my best colours and sometimes wear polkadots, florals or star-shaped things, a peter pan collar, mary-jane shoes and keep my hair short and flippy.  I can do those things but they are not all my best look and it's a slim selection of what is supposed to be ideal for a true T1.

Also, I really don't think I have T1 energy expressing itself much.  I can be light, bright and bubbly at times,  but I am generally intense, intellectual, introverted, organised, and focused. I don't have obvious circles or star points in my face, though these things are not always obvious in people deemed T1.

Having watched several videos where guru points out the supposed type features in someone's face I am rather convinced she sees what she wants to see.

I tried wearing T2 for quite awhile.  When I thought I was a Soft Summer and then a Soft Autumn I was wearing the right palette for T2.  I liked the soft colours and they aren't  my worst though a little bland on me and not warm enough to really make me look my best. The lagenlook concept works for T2 and I tend to like the downward motion, weight at the bottom of the outfit and draped shapes of T2 although it gets too fussy for me.  Too fussy for both my personality and I think also for my actual body lines.  Ruffles and flounces are not good.  Too loose and draped and the garment is shapeless and doesn't flatter me.  I hate wearing waterfall cardigans and bell sleeves as they just get in the way.  This is a T4 reaction.

I will get to T4 in a moment.

I tried T3 for awhile, once I realised my colouring is warm  and given my attraction to boho looks and ethnic embellishments.  However, I discovered that while I like the look I can't wear it.  As with ruffles and lace, I just can't cope with stuff that gets in the way.  I am quickly overwhelmed by a lot of detail and my face gets lost.  I can't balance a lot going on in an outfit in the way some people can.  I am one of those people where removing things is usually an improvement rather than adding things.  My home decor leans T3 though.  When I declared my personal style was going to be boho redux I was dealing with my love of boho but inability to actually wear it.

Redux kept happening until there was no boho left.

I wear clothing that is closest to T4 in lines, perhaps a 2-4 hybrid. I like clean, simple lines but softened edges and a very slight bit of drape or downward motion.  I don't like stiff jackets or high collars and I don't use the T4 colours or chunky silver jewelry. My minimalist instinct with clothing is a typical T4 preference as is the tendency to go without makeup although the T4 makeup is actually quite bold.  I do bold in a softened way which a stretch of the imagination might call a 2-4 way.  I like a coral lip and minimal eye.  I've almost stopped mascara altogether and sometimes use a bit of brown shadow.  Lately I like to lightly fill in my brows with that brown shadow rather than actually do my eyes.  So....brows and lip but in a softer way than is T4.

Summing Me Up
  How does my personality or energy fit into the four types?  Given all that I have read and heard on video, I seem to be a 2/4 mix in personality and it is difficult to say which is dominant.  My face seems to suggest mostly T2 lines.  My style preference could be a 2/4 hybrid but my best colours are closest to T3 and I am certain of that. 

Getting Involved

I joined a Facebook Group awhile back because I wanted to talk to people who were embracing or exploring this system and I had to pick a type. I had tried everything and felt no obvious home so I joined a Type1 group and a type 1/4 group.  I didn't stay very long, in part because the people were so nice I felt guilty about being a critic and cynic.  Online nobody sees energy exactly, but Dressing Your Truth guru claims it is facial features that are most important so I asked others what they saw in my face.  People saw T2 and T3 mostly in my face but also T4.  Some were happy to make suggestions, others insisted I had to decide for myself. If that is the case how can this be an objectively measured thing?

I don't know what guru would say my type is.  The basis for assigning a type don't seem as consistent as they are claimed to be and sometimes I suspect there is a gut instinct going on, where a person is told their energy must be X because it is fairly obvious that the styles of X would suit them best.  Guru does say that we are the ones with the authority to type ourselves.  We know who we are.  But she does sometimes tell people they have mistyped themselves or tell people their type if they are stuck and confused and willing to be videotaped being typed.  These videos nearly always focus on the facial features as the dominant typing method.

While I can point to these features and say that my style is a 2-4 hybrid in warm colours, it really can't be called Dressing Your Truth at that point and I didn't land on any of my style features by using Dressing Your Truth.

Criticism of Dressing Your Truth as a style system is not easily found online.  People tend to either embrace it or ignore it.  I want to explain why it falls short so that someone who has not found success with it can understand why.  It is not your fault if you can't figure out which of the types are right for you.  Quite likely they all look inadequate on you.

A criticism of Dressing Your Truth that does appear in various places online is that the creator gives no credit to the many style system creators before her from whom her system borrows heavily or outright copies.  She happily refers to it as 'my work' and takes credit for having invented something amazing and unique although that isn't quite true.  How much that matters, I am not sure though it does diminish her in my eyes.  I am still inclined to think she is mainly genuine in her kindness to others and her desire to tell all women that they are beautiful just as they are.  But then, I hear her tell someone that she has to colour her hair in order to accommodate her T4 style and I feel dubious again.

The four type styles may offer one that works for you but it's not likely anything to do with your energy.  It will simply be a good fit for your personal colouring and lines.  If it isn't, you could probably do better using other style guides. I think Dressing Your Truth would be a better system if it allowed for a personalised colour palette but part of its marketing strategy is that you are supposed to be able to figure it out for yourself and many people cannot figure out their best colour palette on their own. 

Many people also struggle to figure out their own lines, which is why they also struggle with systems like the one devised by David Kibbe, which I will write about in the next post.


  1. Aha, I wondered if you were still interested in this topic!
    I too struggle with this system. I understand about too many frills and accessories becoming too much after a while.
    I really feel warm to neutral high contrast comfortable arty clothing is my spot at the moment.
    xo Jazzy Jack

    1. LOL I don't think I will never not be interested. I recently said to Jim that reading about style systems is my version of following sports. When I was thinking about these energy types, I actually did wonder which one I would think you are and if it seemed like a good fit. I couldn't find a fit for you. I have seen a little bit of your movement in videos, heard your voice, I know something of your temperament and of course I see your face in photos. Even if you could find a fit I think it might be a bit forced and not that helpful to you. T3 colours probably work for you though. Your best fit might be as a 4/3 but that could be with a lot of modification as I found I had to do for myself. Thanks for leaving a comment. Someone who actually wants to chat about this with me is my idea of a fantastic someone! xoxo


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