Personal Style Development

I’m a collector of color and style books.  The latest one I found is Your New Image Through Color & Line, by Gerrie Pinckney and Marge Swenson, c) 1981.  They have a chapter covering McJimsey’s Yin/Yang theory of style and explain how your style develops over time.

First think back to when you were a child. All children are actually yin, because yin is youthful and yang is mature, but they still use the following illustration.  “The small Gamin, being more masculine, we will consider as Yang, and the small Ingenue, being more feminine, we will consider as Yin.  You were a combination of two, but one was dominant.  The dominance of your Yin side and your Yang side will change at different periods of your life.

Which little girl were you?”

 peppermint pattysally

GAMIN (Yang)                                                       INGENUE (Yin)

The Gamin child grows to become Natural or Dramatic.  You can actually be Gamin usually up to age 16-25, and then return to being Gamin in older age when we become more Yin again.   “You can stay Gamin your whole life, providing you remain short and your facial features are small.” “A Gamin is a miniature, small-scale Natural.” Or a Gamin is a short Dramatic.

The Ingenue child grows to become Romantic or Classic.  You can be Ingenue usually up to age 16-25 as well.  “A Romantic is a mature Ingenue.”  “There are, however, some 40-year-old Ingenues running around trying to look and act like their teenage daughters in a vain attempt to recapture their youth.”

They state “regardless of how Gamin you might have been, however, there will be an emergence of the Ingenue at about age 40.”

“Your place in the family, the sex of your siblings, where you lived, the personality of your parents — all had influence in the development of your personality.”

“The two personalities which cannot be combined in one woman are the Dramatic and the Ingenue, because they are opposites.”

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Style Guides

I have created Style Guides for Dramatic, Natural, Classic, Romantic, Gamine, and Ingenue.  They are available for members here as downloads or if you take the Personal Style Quiz! History of the Quizzes   The Style Guides use the McJimsey/Northrup categories, but information from Kibbe  (except for Angelic which he does not cover), thus shrinking his categories.  …

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Basic Style Types

In many systems, first you do color, then you do style.



Northrup: Dramatic/Theatrical, Kentner: Dramatic,
Kibbe: Dramatic as well as Soft Dramatic and Dramatic Classic


Northrup: Natural/Relaxed, Kentner: Athletic,
Kibbe: Natural as well as Soft Natural and Flamboyant Natural


Northrup: Classic/Traditional, Kentner: Classic,
Kibbe: Classic and Soft Classic


Northrup: Romantic/Sensual, Kentner: Romantic,
Kibbe: Romantic and Theatrical Romantic


Northrup: Exuberant/Lively, Kentner: Gamin,
Kibbe: Gamine as well as Soft Gamine and Flamboyant Gamine


Northrup: Youtful/Playful, Kentner: Ingenue,
Kibbe: Not a Kibbegory


Northrup: Ethereal/Angelic, Kentner: Not a CMAS category,
Kibbe: Not a Kibbegory






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Table 1: Seasons/Type and the Styles

According to Kenter (CMAS Your Style):

Dramatic Natural Classic Romantic Gamine Ingenue
Spring Striking Spring only all except Striking Spring x x xx x
Summer generally not all except Moonlight Summer xx all except Indian Summer probably not xx
Autumn only Striking Autumn all except Striking Autumn xx only Gentle Autumn x ?
Winter most commonly Winters generally not xx xx x generally not
According to Northrup:”
Spring…Gamin or Athletic (Natural)”
“Summer…Classic or Ingenue”
“Autumn…Athletic (Natural) or Classic”
“Winter…Dramatic…Romantics or Classics”

BELLE NORTHRUP’S 4 YIN YANG COLOR TONAL GROUPS (clear bright tints/pastel/dark and dull/bright hues)
(Belle Northrup in Harriet McJimsey 1958 edition pg100-103)
The Yin Yang color tonal group instructions are tools for creating 4 specific psychological effects: Quiet Yin, Active Yin, Reserved Yang, or Active Yang. For each of the 4 psychological effects, she gives: color tonal groups, level of value contrast (high or low), what combinations of colors (complementary, monochromatic, etc), what neutrals, what specific hues, etc. see the book.
ACTIVE YIN=====”clear bright tints…”
QUIET YIN======”pastel hues…”
RESERVED YANG==”dark and dull colors…”
ACTIVE YANG====”bright hues…”

ANGELA WRIGHT – THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO COLOUR PSYCHOLOGY [1995] – intense means Yang and light means Yin
Spring/Type 1 – “externally motivated & light”
Summer/Type 2 – “internally motivated & light”
Autumn/Type 3 – “externally motivated & more intense”
Winter/Type 4 – “internally motivated & intense”

Yin Yang color groups are separated in the book from Yin Yang typing. Although the 4 Yin Yang color groups appear to align with the 4 extreme Yin Yang types (Active Yang color with Dramatic type/Reserved Yang color with Athletic type/Active Yin color with Gamin type/Quiet Yin color with Ingenue type), she doesn’t tell us to pair the Yin Yang color groups automatically with the Yin Yang style types. Instead, she advises that people should look at how much contrast they have in their personal coloring and advises whether to wear or avoid high or low contrast. 2 of the color groups use low-contrast and 2 use high-contrast to create the specific psychological effect of Active Yin, Quiet Yin, Reserved Yang, or Active Yang. She mentions cool and warm personal coloring. She advises to take your personality into account.

Table 2 & 3: Combinations of Styles

Northup‘s categories with subcategories (see Pflaumer)
Adding in Life in Color (Garza & Lupo) and Lucky Guide categories

I have made two tables here, with the two shorter types pulled out, since Gamine is the shorter version of Dramatic and Ingenue is the shorter Romantic.  This is a blend of Northrup, Kentner, Kibbe, Lucky Guide and Life in Color.  Once you know your style percentages, see me for password to access quizzes, you can look for your combos.

  Life in Color Classic     Gamine is the shorter Dramatic Ingenue is the shorter Romantic
Dramatic/ Theatrical Natural/ Relaxed Classic/ Traditional Romantic/ Sensual Ethereal/ Angelic     Gamine/ Exuberant/ Lively Ingenue/ Youthful/ Playful
  Over 5’7” 5’5”-5’7” 5’4”-5’7” 5’4”-5’7” 5’3-5’7” 5’2”-5’4” 5’3-5’7”
  Most Yang Next Most Yang Balanced Next Most Yin Most Yin     Short Most Yang Short Next Most Yin
Dramatic/ Theatrical Mostly Dramatic Flamboyant Natural, Grunge Dramatic Classic, Life in Color Avant Garde, Euro Chic Exotic, Femme Fatale Lucky Guide Bombshell Goth, Lucky Guide Arty Slick Dramatic/ Theatrical  Lucky Guide Rock n Roll Mod see Gamine
Natural/ Relaxed Grunge Mostly Natural also Dramatic Classic,   Androgynous Life in Color Bohemian Life in Color Bohemian Natural/ Relaxed Flamboyant Gamine, Sporty? Life in Color Whimsical
Classic/ Traditional Minimalist Sporty, Lucky Guide American Classic, California Casual Beach Babe Ladylike Demure (when hourglass) Life in Color Chic n/a? Classic/ Traditional Minimalist Gamine Lucky Guide Mod, Posh Eclectic
Romantic/ Sensual Soft Dramatic, Exotic, Femme Fatale, Lucky Guide Bombshell Soft Natural,      Life in Color Bohemian and blog Soft Classic,  Life in Color Chic Mostly Romantic Vintage Romantic/ Sensual Soft Gamine? see Ingenue Girly
Ethereal/ Angelic Goth, Lucky Guide Arty Slick Luck y Guide  Bohemian n/a? Vintage Mostly Ethereal Ethereal/ Angelic n/a? n/a?