Last year I posted a series about the four seasonal color archetypes. Now we’re going to dive into the fascinating topic of the seven individual style archetypes. As described in Shopping for the Real You it’s a rare person whose features, coloring, expression, etc. reflect one single style facet. So this analysis is primarily for the purpose of training your eye to see differences and patterns unique to each style. Once you understand the basics of these types (or if you have been fortunate to have had a personal style consultation with John Kitchener) your own facets gradually come more and more into focus. But always keep in mind my motto:
Train your eye; trust your gut; don’t obsess.
Let’s start with the most yang of the archetypes: Dramatic.
These people are not wallflowers. But they’re also not overly in-your-face. There’s a quiet intensity about Dramatics. They know they command the room so they don’t need to go through a lot of histrionics to get attention. The pure archetypes are generally quite tall, have one or more exaggerated features, and very often have coloring in the winter range. John calls the winter color types “Striking/Contrast,” and that also pretty much sets the tone for this style archetype as well. They have clear ideas and opinions. You’ll see a lot of them in entertainment, as business leaders (well, maybe not in Silicon Valley) or on fashion runways.
Let’s look at a couple of examples from my Pinterest page.
This is model Catherine Servel wearing a Dries van Noten coat. The scale of the stripes and the contrast of the colors plus her strong bone structure all say “drama.” Even the petals of the pink lily, which because of its color would ordinarily read “spring,” are exaggerated in shape. Also, her coloring, with that very pale skin and very dark hair allows for greater contrast in what she wears. Yes there’s something very romantic about her expression, her mouth and the color of the flower. But pay attention to the scale of the pattern and the over-sized shape of the coat. That’s pure Drama.
This image (to the left) is particularly interesting. If you look at her hair texture and eyes there is something vulnerable and soft there – almost Angelic. But the breast plate/necklace and wrist cuffs read almost “superhero.” And notice the intensity of her expression. The scale of the neck piece and cuffs, plus the size of her tote require a person who has a lot of Drama. There aren’t many people who could pull off those accessories. She certainly does. With aplomb!
There’s not a lot of ambiguity in these Dramatic type women. They catch your attention and it’s hard to look away from them. But there’s nothing forced about what they are expressing. They are simply being who they are – fundamentally, intrinsically, Dramatic.
Here’s an interesting one that demonstrates how to look for Drama in someone with a combination of styles. The exaggerated silhouette of the one sleeved top coupled with her pose and expression all read as Drama. However, this young woman has a lot of the Romantic style type as witnessed by her round or heart-shaped face shape (pure Dramatics often have a very oval-shaped face) and mouth. Still, her eyes have more intensity than that typically found in a pure Romantic type. Also, even though there is some warmth to her coloring she can clearly wear high contrast which, as mentioned earlier, is very often associated with Dramatics.
Finally, let’s look at something a little bit atypical. Our redhead here is not a Bold or Winter type in coloring, but she still checks many of the boxes of the Dramatic style type. Like our previous model, she also has got some Romantic going on, but what she’s communicating is less “come hither” than “You talking to me?” There’s a kind of haughtiness in that expression. (Interesting that both these girls have hands on their hips.)
Although the cut of her “T-shirt” is fairly classic, what is it made of? Black leather! Black leather immediately says drama. And check out the high heeled booties: Again, black leather, with obvious hardware (large-scale zippers.) When you think of drama, think of what the word “yang” signifies: dynamism, substance, clarity. These are common elements of Drama in a person’s style facets.
So – based on these descriptions, how much drama do you think you have in your personal style? (FYI: in case you can’t tell from my picture – I’ve got zero!)