Monday, 4 June 2018

Dressing For Your Face: Second Test and some Thoughts

Dressing for your face has the potential to remove or minimise the belief 'I can't wear X because my body has Y feature.'

I was thinking about how spaghetti strap tops are never that good on me.  When I was young I thought I wasn't womanly enough to look good in them.  Then later I thought I was too fat or too big or somehow not fit enough to look good in them.  I wondered when where and how I had missed that window of opportunity where I was womanly but slender and fit (because that time period did actually exist) but yet I did not wear spaghetti straps.

Eventually I figured out that adding something over spaghetti straps improved the look. Something, light, maybe sheer, maybe lacy and it was never about modesty although it would at first appear to be.  I understand now it was about adding embellishment to something too plain and bare.

Individuals will tweak their best look in order to work with their bodies even when dressing for the face.  Over the years I have learned to pay attention to such things as skimming the waist,  avoiding high or constricting necklines and a complicated but distinct set of rules for which skirts work and which don't.   Even though I seem to have little or no Natural archetype in me, I look better if I relax my Classic looks.  Either that is a small bit of Natural asserting itself or a response to a more casual lifestyle and culture.

For some reason, although some sort of Classic affected by Natural sounds like a good idea for me, every style system turns Natural Classic blends into something preppy looking and that is not good on me at all. 

Setting aside the troublesome issues of Classic and Natural, the need for obvious feminine detail and body skimming lines, some drape and flow and a touch of drama that isn't the bold or sharp type of drama, all seem to be addressed by the pure Ethereal type.

So A  Fresh Round of Face-Photo Testing
Out of curiosity I did the photo-face test using a photo where I was grinning and my hairstyle was short, sleek and had bangs. It did result in some differences, mainly making anything Classic look better and diminishing the Ethereal effect.  Given that an Ethereal effect comes from an elongated oval face that's not too surprising. 

I also tried the test using a photo with a smile but hair pulled off my face.  It is really whether the hair is on my forehead or not that makes a difference as to whether my ethereal registers much.  I am rapidly developing so many theories about that and how I am always wanting to get rid of my bangs and other people have not wanted me to.  Maybe the ethereal essence is awkward if it's not present in the clothing.  Maybe covering  my forehead with bangs just makes things all more confused and inconsistent.  Maybe I am talking nonsense.

One potential challenge I've noticed is that whatever your current typical style is will look 'normal' to you so even if it's not actually your best option, when you hold the photo of your face near it you will probably get the feeling of comfort that comes from what is familiar.    This might mean you are already wearing exactly what you should but it might not.  I think it's something to keep in mind.  I experience that feeling of familiarity when I put my photo next to Classic images but the surprising rightness of Ethereal made Classic look second best.

It is also difficult to remember it's not 'would I wear this' but 'does this go with my face?'.  I struggled with that and had to constantly remind myself to look past whether or not I like it or would wear it and had to revisit a few of the photo collages because I realised I had just ruled them out due to not being actual items I would wear.  It's about the features of the items, the essence they have, but in any given collage you will probably have items you like and items you don't. They may also be in the 'wrong' colours for you.  That has to be ignored too.

Smiling Face Photo Test Results Summarised

Ethereal never seems to get too anything. Dramatic gets too strong, Ingenue gets too sweet, Classic gets too stiff, Natural gets too heavy, Romantic gets too sexy Gamine gets too busy/choppy.

Dramatic always adds too much weight or sharpness and sometimes a shapelessness that drowns me.  The clothing is more powerful than I am or if scaled back just too plain. It is obviously not good, though Dramatic Classic is almost good.

The dramatic impact of elongation which Ethereal brings is the right kind of drama for me. 

Natural looks right in the flowing lines that are similar to Ethereal sometimes, and the antique jewelry of Kibbe's Soft Natural is good but that can also be Ethereal. Natural also gets too busy, too textured, too shapeless and I look more delicate/classic than the clothing. A very minimised and modified Soft Natural/Romantic Natural would probably read as okay and  reminds me of my boho-redux attempt, but it would probably be so modified it wouldn't actually be Soft Natural.  Basically Natural gets too heavy and clunky and you see the accessories, textiles and patterns not me.

Classic looks right in a way I can't quite pinpoint.  It is something to do with looking feminine and not heavy.  It also has too much choppy line given the plethora of skirts with tucked in blouses.  Kibbe's Soft Classic has some suggestions for antiqued touches in jewelry and flowing lines in skirts but it's not close enough to Ethereal and there is that looking plain and flat issue I get with Classic.  

Ingenue has something to it that is also difficult to pinpoint and seems similar to Classic.  The baby-doll aspect of it is not good though and it can get too floofy. I think there is Ingenue in my face but maybe not enough to worry about.

Gamine is too busy and choppy and you see the clothes, not my face just as with Dramatic.

Romantic can get too sweet or too sexy or just too much something.

There is a clear pattern.  Ethereal is a significant and necessary part of what looks like me and will likely show up mostly in details, accessories and hair, though also in the lines of my tops when possible. Otherwise it is likely that my bottom half will be classic denim and my footwear will lean classic.  I didn't feel overwhelmingly that the Ethereal Classic category was the standout best for me but it was perhaps the best of the Ethereal blends which I felt I needed to turn to in order to normalise ethereal.  I can't help but think that I could not be purely Ethereal as the implication is that nobody is, and any type as a pure type is rare.  For now I am working with the possibility that rather than a Classic with a touch of Ethereal I might be an Ethereal with a touch of Classic and a very small sprinkle of Natural.


  1. Where you lean classic, I lean dramatic, but otherwise also ethereal and natural in some guise.
    I haven't done the face test yet.
    I suit high necked long sillouettes, dark colours, have high cheekbones - dramatic, I love comfort and earthy touches like natural fabrics - natural. I have pale skin and am tall with long face and arms and torso, soft curly hair and keep desiring soft blush tones despite dramaticness - ethereal?
    You've got me on another chase again! Been here since 4am. Thanks for keeping me company!
    xo Jazzy Jack

    1. Yes, I would definitely put some dramatic into your mix. I don't get the immediate sense of long face with you so there must also be some broadness, which is natural. The more I investigate the less natural I see in myself and I think where I am seeing it is in those flowing lines suiting me which is also ethereal as well as soft natural. I am getting mostly Ethereal, Classic and a dash of Ingenue which is startling, when I compare my face to the different collages. Natural is very slight and Gamine and Dramatic are zero. Recently I read that 10% or less of an archetype can be ignored or added in a very small way if desired. I love comfort and natural fabrics too though it doesn't mean those things will automatically suit me. Linen is natural but doesn't work well for me. It's Natural-Dramatic. I am tempted to take a photo of you and try the test. LOL ;-)


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