Typecasting

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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9 Comments

  1. June 21, 2010 / 5:16 pm

    You had me at “Venn Diagram,” ha.

    I’ll be interested to see/hear your thoughts post-(spendy) class. I think I’m still a bit vague as to how one’s “energy” differs from one’s personality….

  2. June 21, 2010 / 8:53 pm

    “There are three types of people in this world. Those who are good at counting and those who are not.”

  3. June 21, 2010 / 10:13 pm

    The only kind of energy I will consider is that measured by joules or calories. The rest is an attempt to overlay science on aesthetics, philosophy or some other belief system- at best. Have fun on the course and tell us all about it.

  4. Sal
    June 21, 2010 / 4:02 pm

    Interesting concept. I like the idea of finding a type through your energy patterns. Interesting, though, that the book is just a first step and the class will give you the remaining knowledge …

  5. June 22, 2010 / 11:26 pm

    Interesting book but I think it may get me even more confused! Style Statement is another one I have tried to unravel too but do let us know how you go! And I am most impressed that you can decipher a Venn diagram or a map – not my strong points I have to admit 😉 ! x

  6. June 23, 2010 / 3:28 am

    Sal – it is an interesting concept and unique way of looking at style. I did want to be upfront about what the book did and didn’t cover.

    Vix – I think “energy” and “personality” might be two ways of saying the same thing, though to go back to the Venn diagram, “personality” might be considered a subset of “energy.”

    rb – Ha ha! Good one!

    Duchesse – I had a feeling that might be your response…
    😉

    tiffany – that’s probably not far off the mark. I’ve tried doing Style Statement a couple of times and it just wasn’t clicking for me. I know a lot of people really swear by it, but I think it requires more time and focus than I can currently devote.

    Semi Expat – it’s so easy to get confused with so much conflicting information out there. I think sometimes we just have to go with our gut and what feels right.

  7. tiffany
    June 22, 2010 / 10:35 pm

    I’m guessing ‘energy’ translates more or less to personality. And of course it’s true, as you say, that what ‘suits’ you in terms of body type, colouring, etc, may not actually make you feel exactly ‘you’ if it’s not in tune with yourself. I think Style Statement (Duchesse’s recommendation) is quite a good one for working out those factors too. Always a work in progress, I think …

  8. LaurieAnn
    June 23, 2010 / 5:13 pm

    Pseu: I think Ms. Tuttle’s concept of meshing the inner and the outer seems interesting so I checked out her website and those of some followers. What I found is that her energy types appear to be somewhat based upon astrology:

    Type 1; Air
    Type 2; Water
    Type 3; Fire
    Type 4; Earth

    Since I had already decided that on her system I am a Type 2 followed closely by a Type 4 I think it is interesting that it does dovetail a bit with my birth chart. I have a Pisces Sun & Moon sign (Water-type 2) and Capricorn rising (Earth-type 4). So my instinct to blend soft with minimal does come from some organic place place inside me.

    What I don’t care for much is Ms. Tuttle’s style interpretations of the types. Too formulaic for me; each woman looked the same within type. It seems as though they were dressed solely from the Coldwater Creek and Chico’s catalogues.

  9. Apocalypstick
    June 25, 2010 / 10:09 am

    Wow, there are some interesting comments on the comments on this book on Amazon. One lady was disappointed in in it (felt the book was just an ad for the expensive online course) and then everybody piles on her.

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