Couturier Hubert de Givenchy once said: “To have style is to have a feeling for what is currently fashionable, and still to simultaneously remain true to oneself”. So how do you know what style is right for you? The answer lies in your personality. Let me share with you what I’ve recently learned about the connection between behavioral and physical traits and personal style. This article, which is based on image industry leader Karen Brunger’s book Personality Style, will set the framework for identifying your fashion personality.
Yin & Yang
Image consultants use the principles of Taoism in their assessment of an individual’s personality style. According to this Chinese philosophy, everything is comprised of complementary forces defined as yin and yang. Each person is a combination of female energy (the yin) and male energy (the yang). The two are not opposites – they are, in fact, relative to one another.
Yin is associated with right-brain behavioral traits: creativity, emotion, intuitiveness, relaxation, and subjectivity. The physical traits of a yin – a gynous body type – include shorter stature, fine bone structure, rounded facial shape and features, and a curved silhouette.
Yang is associated with left-brain behavioral traits: logic, action, ambition, strength, boldness, and objectivity. A yang – an androus body type – is taller in stature with strong bone structure, angular facial shape, straight/angular features, and straight silhouette.
Balanced people have behavioral traits in between the two extremes. A balanced – androgynous body type – is average in height with medium bone structure, oval facial shape, proportioned facial characteristics, and average silhouette.
The physical and behavioral traits of yin, balanced, and yang translate into one’s personality style, as shown in this diagram. Romantic and Creative are the strongest yin personalities; Dramatic and Aristocratic are the strongest yang. Balanced people are Classic (more yin) and Natural (more yang). Most of us have one style from each side, but one is more dominant.
Let’s look at each personality style briefly.
Sensuous and warm are the keywords that describe the Romantic woman. She is the epitome of woman power, with average height, a curvy body, rounded facial shape and features, and long, curly hair. Relationships are key, and she values family and friends, beauty, and luxury. Her favorite travel destinations are luxurious accommodations in romantic European cities as well as Hollywood. She drinks champagne and/or martinis. Taylor Swift and Penelope Cruz are examples of the Romantic personality.
The Creative woman can be described as sensitive, introspective, and unconventional. She has a fine bone structure and a gently rounded silhouette. Her facial shape and features are rounded, soft, and fine. She has short or long hair that is fine and wispy. She prizes her individuality and values artistic activities, alternative lifestyles, and expressing her identity. She likes to daydream about traveling and, in real life, goes to off-beat destinations. She drinks non-alcoholic, fruity beverages. Diane Keaton and Stevie Nicks are examples of the Creative personality.
Executive and cultured describe the Classic woman. She is balanced, moving toward yin. She is average in height and bone structure, with a well-proportioned figure and facial features. Her face is usually oval in shape. Her hair is simple, short, and neat. Order is key, and she values good grooming, efficiency, organization, good manners, good taste, and control. She enjoys traveling to comfortable resorts to relax in the sun. She drinks gin and tonic. Halle Berry and Grace Kelly are examples of the Classic personality.
Comfortable and authentic describe the Natural woman. She is on the yang border, moving to yin. She is short to average in height, with a medium bone structure. Her face is more angular than curved, and her hair, short and casual. Ecology and ethics are key, and she values nature, human and animal rights, and environmental responsibility. She likes travelling as cheaply as possible to places not frequented by tourists. She drinks beer. Meg Ryan and Jennifer Aniston are examples of the Natural personality.
Powerful and adventurous, the Aristocratic woman is tall, with a strong bone structure, angular face, and strong facial features. Her hair is long and casual. Motivated by achievement, she values education, intelligence, investments, athleticism, tradition, heritage, and responsibility. Her favorite travel involves physical activity (skiing, snorkelling, hiking) in northern European countries, with a preference for the British Isles. She drinks dubonnet or cognac. Kate Middleton and Julianne Moore are examples of the Aristocratic personality.
Mysterious and sophisticated are the keywords that describe the Dramatic woman. She is tall with a slim and straight body. Her face is angular in shape, with sharp, angular, flat, and severe features. She has high cheek bones, dramatic coloring, and straight and sleek, or dramatic hair. Motivated by wealth and prestige, she values prosperity, success, travel, independence, risk-taking, and innovation. She always travels first-class to cosmopolitan destinations around the world. She drinks Chivas Regal scotch. Cher and Courtney Cox are examples of the Dramatic personality.
Applying Your Fashion Personality
With these guidelines, you can choose clothing and accessories, including jewelry, that suit the person you are. And you can use this tool to choose gifts for others. Read my next posts with more about clothing and jewels for the Romantic, Dramatic, Creative, Aristocratic, and Classic personalities. Each article includes holiday gift suggestions.