As you know, I like the original Color Me Beautiful as a starting point in all style conversations. I was influenced young, what can I say. ;)
It's only a starting point, though. And then all the other books - from Zyla to the 12-season analyses - they all try to narrow stuff down. Not just in color - which we'll talk about soon, because I've been thinking about it - but in regards to style.
The "styles" that are in *all* the books are romantic, dramatic, classic, sporty, and gamine. Since that leaves a ton of gals out in the cold, you get further: bohemian, androgynous, rocker, ultra-modern among others. What I recommend is that you start with the very basic descriptions and add from there - I like the CMB because you start with your structure rather than your coloring, and then you go. There are women who are just one of these, but mostly we're mixes of one sort or another. And what looks best on your body might not show the depths of your soul. Prepare to layer - shape is for the body, accessories are for the heart.
Romantics: Curvy/lush. You've got one end or the other of the hourglass going on if not both, and likely a very feminine face. Silk makes you happy.
Gamine: Tiny. You're slightly built, with a feminine face. Pixiesque.
Dramatic: Your features and/or coloring jump out at the world at large. You're probably tall, and "extreme" is a word people use to describe you.
Classic: Medium in height/build/coloring. Not in the least fussy.
Sporty: A build with wide shoulders/narrow hips and (very possibly) visible muscles in the arms/legs. Your movements are dynamic and bouncy. You don't fuss, but you don't tidy up a ton, either.
The rest of the words? Just descriptors! They describe your coloring, your personality, and how you mix things. I *really* like to encourage everyone to make pinboards of the moods of clothes that please their hearts, not just the things they think they "should" wear. I think I "should" wear very crisp A-line dresses in bright pastels. Not horrible on me, but ... doesn't express the true Hearthrose. I end up feeling a bit costumey. They're too classic for me, to be honest!
You can't really change your body type. Okay, a little - but it's a lot of work. Let's leave that aside for the nonce. So start there - what does your body say about you?
The next thing to look at is what your personality - what do you do for fun? for function? Are you a soft squishy mama or a fierce competitor? Or both? Let those show! I'm going to horrify everyone and say, "this is where accessories come in" - but it's true. You take a basic outfit that fits your body and coloring well, and then you accessorize it to reveal your heart. My accessories are insanely pretty/natural. I love pretty rocks, I love butterflies and flowers and ... yeah. As long as it's truly *you*, you can't go overboard on "too pretty" or "too rocker" or whatever. You're going to put it in with a whole outfit, it's the little voice that says, "this is who I am" - let it speak.
The advantage of doing this is that you can slowly accumulate accessories that delight you, and you can use them with many an outfit. You all know I love leather roses.... every year at the county fair, I pick up a couple of new pieces. No, it's not an overnight thing, but it really works. And once you give yourself permission to ONLY acquire the things that delight you, you'll find that your real self soon starts showing through.
Do *not* get things that displease you, and when you find that you have, get rid of them as soon as possible. It's easy to do at first, which is (again) why I like pinning - not for the virtual shopping, but to fill up my mind with things *I* love, and not what someone else likes -whether that's the buyer at my favorite mall shop or my BFF. I think visually, so that's how I roll. It's important for me to get the right things in my head.
Now, none of us sings in only one note - even your brightly floral correspondent. Some days and in some situations, you can wear "loud" and some days you need to wear "soft". But even the most classic items in my closet have an element of romance. I wouldn't buy a classic suit in navy blue. Bright navy is a great color on me, but a plain suit in flat fabric? I'd look like I was trying to dress like my mom... and I'm 41 years old. That's why I don't have a plain ivory buttondown. I might tell everyone else in the world to buy one... but no, not me! ;)
Play up your best - everyone has "best" - and expose your soul. Promise, it doesn't hurt a bit!
I love to play - and I do wish the women of the world would start having a lot more *fun* with their clothes and dressing more enthusiastically... so if anyone wants to guineapig up, feel free to email me a stack of photos and I'll try to help. :) hearthflower at hotmail - drop me a comment so I check that email, because mostly I don't. And let me know if I can post your pix and discuss for the world at large. (I'll email you back regardless).