There’s a joke that goes, “There are two types of people: those who believe there are two types of people and those who don’t.”
Categorizing, describing, and labeling are an integral part of how I process and apply information. Give me a Venn diagram or a map (I am a total map geek and can spend HOURS poring over maps) or a decision tree or a table and I can figure out how to order my world. Where is x in relation to y? What qualities do a and b have in common, and where do they diverge? What are the parameters of c? I may eventually decide that something doesn’t fit into a neat box, but I need to to start by referencing those boxes before I can get to d ≠ e, f. or g.
When it comes to achieving great style, it’s been my observation that there are two types of people: those who figure it out on their own, and those who need a map. I’m in that second category. Those of you dear souls who have been reading this blog for a while have observed my quest to develop, define, categorize, label and ultimately order my style universe. If I can define it, I can refine and continually create it.
The work I’ve done with professional Image Consultants Imogen and Karen has helped immensely; I have a much better idea of the cuts, shapes, colors and textures that are most flattering for my particular body. But even with this valuable knowledge, that feeling of Hitting the Style Sweet Spot, where my inside self and outside appearance feel seamlessly aligned, was still hit-and-miss. And when I do hit that alignment zone, it’s frequently when I’m wearing colors or styles that aren’t supposed to work for me.
So when I received a note from a publicist offering a free copy of the book “Dressing Your Truth: Discover Your Personal Beauty Profile” by Carol Tuttle to review, the book’s title hooked me and I accepted. Carol Tuttle is not trained as an image consultant, but as an alternative therapist she approaches style and beauty from an “inside out” perspective. Carol believes there are four types of people. Her program is based on four Energy Types, and the book walks you through descriptions of of each Type and how to determine your dominant Type. (Per Carol, we all demonstrate aspects of all four Types, but one will predominate.) It sounds a little “woo woo,” and maybe it is, but sometimes it’s the woo woo stuff that takes us where we need to go. When I read the chapter on Type 4 energy, the descriptions of this type REALLY resonated, and the key words for Type 4 style aligned with what I’ve always been drawn to instinctively. Simple, bold, clean, structured: that’s my energy and that’s what I gravitate to and feel best in. It also jibes with my aversion to visual clutter, and the fact that I don’t feel myself in ruffles or lots of embellishment or pastels or floral prints, even though I may get compliments when I wear them.
I always knew this at some level, but now I feel as though I have confirmation, and a formula that will help me to more consistently hit that Sweet Spot. I do believe that great style incorporates both the physical and the mental/spiritual aspects of ourselves, and this book focuses on and is strongest when addressing the latter. (Carol also ascribes some specific physical aspects to each type; I’m intrigued but not wholly convinced.) Another aspect of Carol’s approach I found very positive was that it’s not about trying to achieve a cookie-cutter, plastic, media-sanctioned beauty, like many other books on style and beauty or daytime TV makeovers targeted at we femmes d’un certain age. If you struggle to get your style to sync up with your personality or express who you really are, Dressing Your Truth might be the road map you’ve been looking for.
Full disclosure: The book will help you identify which of the four Types you are, but does not give specific fashion or beauty advice for each type. An online course is available for $297, which consists of several hours worth of videos demonstrating clothing, makeup, hair style/color, and accessories by type. To sign up for the online course, you first need to determine your type, as outlined in the book. I was also offered an opportunity to take the online course, which I’m currently working through and will review in a follow-up post.
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