Which Eyeglasses Work Best For Me?

Which Eyeglasses Work Best For Me?

I’m sure if you’ve ever shopped for glasses, you’ve heard the usual recommendations of, “if you have a square face, choose round frames” or “if you have a round face choose square frames”. The idea behind these suggestions is that you’ll “balance out” your squareness or roundness
(or whatever) with frames of an opposing shape. When it comes to image archetypes, we recommend the opposite for two main reasons:

 A) Because there’s nothing wrong with a round or square (or heart/oval/rectangle/etc) shaped face. We all have unique features and that’s what keeps life interesting. If we all had perfectly symmetrical, oval faces, that would be a bit boring. You don’t need to be “balanced” or “corrected”, because you’re already lovely just as you are.

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B) Because these “optical illusions” don’t actually work. People can see us in the real world. They aren’t fooled. In fact, if you do have a round face and you put an angular, square shape next to it, you’ll just be emphasizing the roundness.

So instead, what you should do is match the shapes of the features in the face. Usually the shape of the jawline and eyes.

While there are generalities for which eyeglass frames will work for each archetype, this is a topic that’s a bit more individual since you may see a variety of shapes within each archetype. Below, I’ll list some examples, but know that these shapes could be applied to many different types.

A Romantic might have very rounded features;  big, round eyes, full lips, and a softly rounded jawline, so she would do well with a rounded cat eye. If she has large eyes, we would want the height of the frame to be tall enough so it’s not crowding her eyes. We want to be able to look through the frames and see her eyes. (This would be true for anyone with larger eyes). 

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A Natural may have a softly angular, square jawline, and wide-set features. She would want a frame to repeat those lines, and something with substance (such as a plastic frame over a metal one) to match to the strength of her bone structure. Since Naturals do so well with texture, a frame with variegated colors like a tortoiseshell could be a lovely option. 

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A Dramatic will often have very sharp, angular features and can handle an equally sharp frame. Sharp bones often have a narrowness to them as well which do better with a thinner frame, as a thicker one could look overwhelming. She would want to look for sleek and unique details which will feel at home on her. 

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A Classic could have a very moderate and balanced face. She would want to avoid extremes in size and shape, and can often do a metal frame better than some of the other types. In general, Yin Classics will do well with oval shapes, while Yang Classics will opt for rectangular frames.

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A Gamine could have any number of unexpected shapes in the face, but what all Gamines share is an energy of youthfulness, and should look for frames that have an element of the unexpected, such as a fun color or unique shape. A Gamine with round shapes in the face could mirror that with a round frame to capture some of her playful sweetness. 

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These are just a few examples to illustrate this concept, and of course the archetypes aren’t limited to just these shapes. For example, a Yang Romantic might have some roundness and angularity and would borrow suggestions from both the romantic and dramatic examples. She may choose a rounded cat-eye, but need a thinner frame so she doesn’t overwhelm the delicacy of her bone structure.

Just remember, the goal is to match what you are, not change who you are. It’s the underlying principle to both color analysis & image analysis, and gives us the freedom to be ourselves. 💙

When Pants Don't Fit

When Pants Don't Fit

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  Many women find that shopping for pants is one of life’s necessary evils. They can try on 200 various brands, styles, and sizes and will come away with one option that works... sort of. It’s an exercise in frustration that many of us would like to avoid, especially when retailers refuse to keep to any sizing standard, even within the same brand! I was shopping with a client once who fit in a size 6, 8, 10, 12, & 14 all on the same day. Madness! (PS- that’s why I always say not to get too hung up on what size you are 😉). 

I find this is particularly common for women with a yin hip shape. A yin hip shelf starts up high, usually right after the waist, and curves out from there. See the picture below for an example of a high hip vs a low hip:

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Usually this woman has a greater hip to waist ratio than what the average pant is cut for. Meaning, if a pair of pants fits her in the hips, they’ll be too big in the waist. This can cause what I like to call “crotch whiskers”, an unpleasant bulkiness in the crotch. 

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Sometimes this woman has given up on pants altogether and opts to wear mainly dresses & skirts. I’m all for that, but fortunately this fit problem isn’t too difficult to fix with today’s modern fabrics. I’m pretty sure the curvy girls of yesteryear like Marilyn Monroe would have loved access to the miracle of spandex. With this hip shape, one needs a fair amount of stretch in the fabric to fit the waist, and then have enough give to go over the hips. This hip shape will also need a medium to high rise in a pant. A low rise will dig across where the hip is wider and result in “love handles” (which are almost always a result of poor-fitting pants). This hip shape will also be most flattered in a tapered or “skinny” leg cut. Pants that widen at the lower leg can make this shape look shorter and wider.

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Denim is naturally a stiffer fabric, but the very firm denim is less common in women’s jeans today. Still, it’s best to look for a more moldable and stretchy option. Even Marilyn struggled with getting stiff jeans to fit properly. 

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Women with a more moderate hip, or even a low, yang hip tend to not have these issues with fit when it comes to pants, and are able to wear a wider variety of styles. The exception would be those with a wider, low hip, who can have issues with a gaping waistband (another case of the hips fitting but the waist being too large). 

Now whatever hip shape you may have, I’ve found that one of the universal fabrics for flattering all shapes is a ponte knit, usually a polyester/rayon/nylon blend. Fortunately it’s grown in popularity and it’s easy to find these days. It’s a fabric that’s very soft with four-way stretch, and a decent amount of give. It’s also thick enough that it’s often used in five-pocket pant styles so it doesn’t look like you’re wearing leggings. Win-win!! 

It’s always good to remember that when something doesn’t fit properly, it’s the cut of the garment that’s the problem, NOT YOU! We shouldn’t let our experiences in the fitting room bring us down or make us feel bad about ourselves. Every woman is a unique collection of features and not every clothing article will work on every figure. And that’s ok. We just need to know the options that work best for us. 

Yang Natural Outside the Box: The Urban Muse

Yang Natural Outside the Box: The Urban Muse

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Recently, I was working with a client who came to me for help with her professional wardrobe. She was in her early 30’s, working in a corporate setting, and was feeling frustrated with how she looked. She wasn’t sure how to dress her body type, and said she was in a style rut. Neutral colored tops with black pants were mostly what she had been wearing, and she was feeling uninspired. 

We first found her to be a True Spring (which she was excited about), and then a Yang Natural. When she learned that she was YangN, I could see she was disappointed. When I asked her why, she said, “The bohemian look just isn’t me, it’s not my style. I would never want to wear that”. 

I’ve heard women of every archetype say some version of this. Usually it’s because they have a stereotypical idea of what their type looks like.  Sure that stereotype is one version, but every archetype has many different variations and style interpretations. Your archetype shouldn’t feel like a box of strict rules. It should be a set of guidelines that gives you the freedom to express yourself and your personality. Once she understood that, her fears were somewhat mitigated, and we set out to work on discovering what her version of True Spring Yang Natural would look like. 

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She had an effervescent energy to her coloring, that begged for warm, vibrant colors, and a statuesque build that commanded attention. In the past she’d worn mostly Yin Classic looks. While those dainty & timelessly feminine styles still appealed to her, she knew they weren’t capturing her physical essence and were making her appear larger than she actually was. She wanted to feel confident and comfortable in her clothes, and to not be tugging and adjusting them all day long. She wanted to look approachable and friendly, but polished and sophisticated. Her clothes should communicate a sense of creativity & energy, and she wanted to be modern and fresh, without looking too young.

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Together we came up with an interpretation that suited her physicality, personality, & lifestyle; the Urban Muse. A clean, sophisticated take on YangN, using large scale pieces over sleek silhouettes to communicate drama, and luxe, draped fabrics to give her freedom of movement. She was wary of prints at first, but eventually came around to them. They added some of the interest and whimsy she craved, especially strategic pops of unique and artistic prints in accessories. Her color palette offered a landscape of lush greens & corals, bright aquas & blues, & energetic warm reds for an overall vibrant closet that would mix and match beautifully together.

Blake Lively often rocks a version of YangN similar to the Urban Muse. And while it’s impossible to know her exact season through photos, it seems likely she’s a Spring as well.

Blake Lively often rocks a version of YangN similar to the Urban Muse. And while it’s impossible to know her exact season through photos, it seems likely she’s a Spring as well.

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Our coloring and physicality are not things we can change. We are who we are. Our season & archetypes aren’t meant to limit and paralyze us, they’re meant to give us the freedom and knowledge to dress with confidence. We are each a unique collection of dreams, thoughts, emotions, fears & aspirations, and our style within our season & archetype should be just as unique to communicate who we are to the world. 

Dressing My Postpartum Body

Dressing My Postpartum Body

Photo credit: First Delight Photography

Photo credit: First Delight Photography

I’ve wanted to write about this for awhile, but it’s a tough subject for me. Still, I wanted to get my story out there, because I want it to be of help to those who might be going through, or have gone though, something similar.

For those of us who are moms, we all know the magic and wonder of pregnancy. How our awesome bodies are able to grow a human being, and how our hearts are able to grow an unbelievable amount of love for them. We also know the struggles. The back & hip pain as we double, then triple in size. The sleepless nights trying to get comfortable. The fatigue, and swelling, and aches. It happens so quickly, it’s sometimes difficult to adjust to. 

Here I am a month before getting pregnant on the left, and a couple weeks after giving birth on the right.

Here I am a month before getting pregnant on the left, and a couple weeks after giving birth on the right.

I remember looking in the mirror those first weeks and not really recognizing myself. My face was still swollen and even my nose had doubled in size. (Nose swelling! Who knew that was thing??) I was looking at a body that was 45 lbs heavier than it was before I got pregnant. I was embarrassed I’d gained more than the “recommended” amount, and that it hadn’t all just fallen off right away. I was frustrated I didn’t have any clothes that fit. I was ashamed I wasn’t “bouncing back” the way I saw other moms were. I was torn between buying new things for my new size, not knowing how long I’d stay that way, or just getting by with my maternity clothes for awhile that were now too big. I’m pretty sure I just lived in leggings and my husband’s T-shirts those first couple months. I didn’t feel great about that, but I was ok with it. I was recovering from a huge event, and I was getting to know & bonding with my little one. I think we’re allowed to give ourselves some grace. I remember my photographer who did our newborn photos saying, “Don’t worry, you shouldn’t have to wear real clothes for at least three months after giving birth”. Sounds about right to me! 

But despite my frustrations, and despite feeling uncomfortable with myself, I was still able to put together outfits that worked for me. No matter how much weight we gain, our general shape stays about the same. The tips for dressing ourselves don’t really change. I did decide to buy some things in my current size, and knowing what to choose went a long way in helping me feel better about myself. As much as I wanted to hide in baggy clothes, those would have done nothing for me, except for maybe making me look bigger than I actually was. People can see us, whether we’re trying to hide or not.

Change is part of life. It’s inevitable and it’s a good thing. Our bodies are capable of immense change and strength. And while yes, change takes some getting used to, the change we experience in pregnancy & afterwards shouldn’t bring us down. It’s something that can be accepted and celebrated.

If you’ve been struggling to dress your body after a change, and guilty that you can’t just magically make your body go back to how it was, you don’t have to keep feeling this way. Let’s talk and see if we can find a solution together.

Re-imagining the Little Black Dress

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Oh, the little black dress. The ultimate in timeless sophistication and style. We often hear about this being a must-have piece for every wardrobe, so I thought it'd be fun to talk about what the LBD might look like for different seasons and archetypes. 

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If anyone is going to shine in a timeless piece, it will be a Classic:

-All Winters, Yin Classic. It doesn't get more elegant than a black fit & flare for park avenue princess charm. 

-Soft Autumn, Yang Classic. A true black can be Soft Autumn's nemesis. Instead, deep aubergine-toned brown will be a gorgeous alternative. An open back with delicate cross-crossing straps adds sophisticated sex appeal.

-True Summer, Yin Classic. Navy can be an easy black alternative for Summer, while still being as dark as she needs. This particular dress would be lovely and appropriate for any occasion.

-True Spring, Yang Classic. The sheen in the fabric lightens this black considerably, and the yellow highlights make it a nice option for Spring. Geometric detailing in leatherette give it some edge and excitement. 

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Gamines tend to be the rule breakers of the fashion world, and the little black dress is no exception:

-All Winters, Yang Gamine. Sharp, asymmetrical stripes are an unexpected twist on a classic pattern, and in black & white which all Winters can wear.

-All Autumn, Yin Gamine. Black is usually too cool for the warmer seasons, but a sheer fabric over a warm beige can be one way to make it work. Feminine lace in a 20’s flapper silhouette is the perfect combo of sweet and sassy for YinG.

-Soft Summer, Yin Gamine. Soft Summer needs a bit more darkness than the other two summers, so a muted black is an option they can do. Sweet embroidered flowers in a bouquet of muted shades really elevate this piece to something special.

-Bright Spring, Yang Gamine. Bright Spring can wear a version of black and white, but like all Springs, do better when there’s some color in the mix, as we see here with the zig-zag rainbow of corals, pinks, and aquas.

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Romantics add their own twist of femininity on this classic piece:

-All Winter, Yang Romantic. She can’t go wrong in this 1940’s trumpet silhouette to bring out her inner siren. 

-All Autumn, Yin Romantic. A perfectly feminine and elegant option for YinR.

-Light & True Summer, Yin Romantic. The lighter seasons have the lightest dark colors, so a charcoal could be a better alternative to black for these colorings. A soft peplum ruffle, and off the shoulder neckline gives this timeless piece a sophisticated opulence.

-Light Spring, Yang Romantic. Keeping the black sheer once again helps with avoiding too much darkness on Light Spring’s fairy-like coloring. And that extra bit of lilac adds the color Springs need to look exciting. The delicate & intricate details of ruffles and lace look perfectly at home on this woman.

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Dramatics often favor the darker colors of their respective seasons, and stun in sleek silhouettes:

-All Winter, Yin Dramatic. An edgy one-shoulder neckline paired with this form-fitting silhouette would be all this woman needs to turn heads and command a room.

-Dark Autumn, Yang Dramatic. The leather here looks to have a bronze cast, which is a great way for Dark Autumn to warm up black’s inherent coldness, and adds a touch of sophisticated danger.

-True Summer, Yin Dramatic. Some True Summers can get a bit closer to Winter’s darkness, but still need to keep their “black” on the softer/more muted side. The silhouette of this dress draws to mind the glamour of the 1940’s film noir starlets. 

-Bright Spring, Yang Dramatic. The black broken up with charcoal keeps this from feeling too heavy under Bright Spring’s face. The high neckline, elongated line, and asymmetrical color blocking would bring a minimalist austerity and fierce sophistication.

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Naturals have so many options when it comes to how they wear the LBD. Here are just a few:

-All Winter, Yang Natural. The asymmetrical draping brings to mine the ethereal presence of a Grecian goddess.

-Dark Autumn, Yang Natural. Blackened cocoa is a perfect black-alternative for Dark Autumn. This is the type of bold silhouette that only this woman can wear, appealing to her drama without compromising her freedom of movement. 

-Soft Summer, Yin Natural. Once again, using a muted black here to avoid the darkness of Winter, in a dress that is soft, pretty and laid back.

-Bright Spring, Yin & Yang Natural. The black here has a warmer undertone, and the bit of gold hardware adds some warmth as well. YinN does well in a wrap dress style, and asymmetrical hemline that all Naturals can wear with ease. 


What We're "Supposed" to Be

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We hear a lot about who we’re supposed to be, and what we’re supposed to look like these days. We’re constantly bombarded with ads showing us what beauty is meant to look like, and where you too can find it and buy it too.

Several clients of mine have talked about how they’ve spent their lives buying and wearing the things they were “supposed” to. To look nice but not “too much”. To look thinner because we’re never thin enough. To try to fit in the box of what beauty is supposed to be. It’s a losing battle, because the goal post is always changing on us. It’s not a system meant to lead us to success, it’s meant to keep us feeling unsure and uncertain, to keep us buying the next new thing, to keep us hopeful that one day we’ll find the missing piece. 

What if we could let go of all that? What if we could see ourselves for who we are and let the rest of it fall away? We could stop apologizing and trying to mold ourselves into something else. 

That’s the beauty of knowing the colors and styles that work for you. It can give you permission to be yourself. And it’s the beauty industry’s worst nightmare. Because then you would stop buying any and everything they tell you to, and only buy the things you know to work. You wouldn’t feel the need to change yourself into something else, because you know who you are is exactly what you needed all along. 

For me, that was one of the best gifts, and what I love to give my clients as well. So, if you’re there and you can’t find a way out, I’ve been there and I would love to talk to you and see if I can help. ❤️

Casual Winter Yin Dramatic

Casual Winter Yin Dramatic

I'm asked all the time about information on how the image archetypes do casual-wear, so I thought I'd start a series about it! (If you're not sure what I'm talking about, you can read more about image archetypes here).

Starting here with Yin Dramatic in colors most Winters could wear, (with tweaks depending on which Winter). I made this Polyvore to illustrate a couple of options for what this could look like. Of course YinD can wear other pant shapes, but a skinny jean seemed the easiest and more casual option, as opposed to a wide leg trouser which can have more drama. 

I used accessories to add texture and detail. The velvet handbag feels luxe (and could easily be switched out for a leather option). The scarf adds fluffy, plush texture that can be very effective on YinD. And I love earrings as a way of adding detail around the face. 

What other ways have you YinDs found to adapt your style to something more casual?

Mirror, Mirror

Mirror, Mirror

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I remember standing in the dressing room of Dillard's after trying on a mountain of clothes and not liking a single thing. I was exhausted and disappointed and sad. My hair was a mess from the constant on and offs, my clothes were stretched out, and I was ready to give up on looking and feeling good about myself. I was so frustrated and tired of looking in the mirror and not liking my reflection. I believed that it was my fault everything looked bad. If I could just fix my body, I would finally be able to look lovely and feel good about myself.

 

 These thoughts occupied a lot of real estate in my mind. Looking back now, I see how I wasted so much time distracted by counting calories and beating myself up that I could've spent living life and building others up. 

 

Learning about image archetypes changed everything for me. It was an epiphany to learn that it wasn't my body that was the problem, it was the clothes. Once I knew which styles to choose and which to avoid, I transformed seemingly overnight. I realized I loved my body and how it looked. I could appreciate it for what it was, instead of trying to force it be something else. I no longer worried about what I looked like, and felt confident and beautiful. 

When that changed for me, there was a ripple effect of positive change throughout my life. When I wasn't spending time focusing on how much I disliked my appearance and what people were thinking about me, I made space for so much more. Space for living in the moment, space for serving others, and space for personal growth on the inside. Ever since, it's been my desire to share that same knowledge with the clients I'm privileged to serve.

 

If you've been feeling frustrated trying to dress for your body or disappointment in the fitting room, and you're ready to shift that, let's talk.

A Tale of Two Closets & Nothing to Wear

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A Tale of Two Closets & Nothing to Wear

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In my time working as a stylist, I've had the opportunity to go through many different wardrobes, but two stand out in my mind.

 

The first belonged to a woman named Anna. When I arrived at Anna's house, she seemed a little nervous about showing me her closet. There was hardly anything in it. Of what she actually wore, there were a handful of tops, several of which were pilling and worn out, a couple pairs of jeans, a few unworn jackets (it is Texas after all), and one pair of shoes. She confessed she had gone 8 years without buying a new pair of shoes. When I asked Anna why, she told me she was afraid to spend money on herself, because maybe if something were to go wrong, that money would be needed elsewhere. As long as what she had was getting the job done, she could get by with just those. This subconscious fear had dictated her buying decisions, or lack thereof, for years, until she was left with a skeleton closet that was no longer working for her. 

 

On the other side of the wardrobe spectrum was Jennifer's closet. Or rather, 3 closets. Jennifer had three very large, stuffed-to-the-brim closets. It took several hours to sort through them and I found very little that actually worked for her. She was so overwhelmed by the vast amount of clothes she had, that she couldn't even keep track of what she hadShe had been buying things she thought would make her happy as a knee-jerk response to stress, only to be disappointed by them later. The result was a dysfunctional mountain of clothes. 

 

Ironically, both of these extreme closets left their owners with the same problem: they had nothing to wear. They didn't enjoy getting dressed in the morning, and they weren't happy with how they looked. The solution to their problem was also the same. By learning which styles and colors were their absolute best, they could learn to shop intentionally. Anna didn't need to feel fear or guilt for spending money, because she knew she was buying pieces that worked for her and would last many seasons. Jennifer didn't need to buy clothes compulsively anymore, because once she had the pieces she needed to look great and feel great, she could focus on better ways of managing stress. Intentionality was the key. 🔑 

 

So tell me, are you an Anna or a Jennifer? Comment below and let me know!

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