Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Dabbling in Dressing Your Truth

You may have encountered the Dressing Your Truth programme online.   I certainly have and began to dabble in it a couple of years ago.  I had no intention of paying for anything so that may well have impeded my understanding of it, but I do know that it is a system that classifies people into one of four types of energy and that it isn't the first nor entirely original.  Carol Tuttle created this version of the system and she also combines it with tapping and chakras, both of which are much too out there and unsubstantiated by science for me to buy into them, though if a person finds them useful that's something.  Placebos are useful too.  Dressing Your Truth is intended to help people, mainly women are the clients, to dress and present themselves in a manner that aligns with who they truly are.  It branches out into counseling on personal issues as well under the umbrella of what is called energy healing.  Somewhat confusingly, the energy that we are is not exactly the same as our personality even though it is given that this type is our true nature.  We are instructed to consider facial features and movement when identifying our type, although in the videos offered by the DYT programme there is much discussion of personality traits attached to the energy types.

I am always intrigued by systems and as I am also intrigued by psychology the systems that attempt to classify and understand personality interest me, though I do want them to be based on something logical and measurable.  Personality is complex and probably not entirely measurable.  I enjoy the Myers Briggs Type Inventory because it classifies cognitive styles and to some degree our personalities grow out of how we think but there is always more than that.  Internet memes, articles and blogs abound talking about the personality traits supposedly attached to the MBTI types and those have to be taken with a very large grain of salt.  You don't identify your MBTI type by your personality traits, so I listened when Carol Tuttle said you don't identify your energy type by your personality traits either.  I can't help but be skeptical when she says you identify them in your face.

However, the idea of energy is essentially about how a person presents to others.  Body language, movement and the face are what others see and then how we adorn and style those gives the further information about who we are.  The idea behind DYT is that a person may not be dressing and styling themselves consistently with their energy presentation and thus may not be experiencing comfort, happiness, power or success in life because others are confused and don't know how to read them or treat them.  I struggle with this because the idea that who I am is connected to my facial features seems unlikely.  How?  Why?  Is this well measured and demonstrated or do we just see the features that correspond to the energy we sense and ignore the others?

According to Carol Tuttle we all have all of the energy types within us but lead with one, followed by a secondary that supports it.  Often we are being dominated by our secondary which makes us a bit dysfunctional or exhausted, not being true to our natural energy style.  I am skeptical again, but then I would be.  As far as I can determine, I am a Type 1 with a Type 4 secondary but if you asked me which of the four types was my true personality I would tell you it is Type 4.   If that is the case, then how is presenting as a Type 1 being true to my nature?

Some people identify their type immediately.  For those people, I suspect that what they look like and the energy type associated with that is just a really comfortable fit.  I see that in people who readily identify with their zodiac sign.  I don't identify with mine and why should I?  What scientific or logical basis is there for believing that stars have anything to do with the personality of everyone on the planet born in the same month?  None, unless you believe it is about energy.  Ahh yes, energy, that useful and vague catch all for magical thinking that needs the boost of some sciency sounding terms.  For more of that read some Deepak Choprah.

But back to DYT.   I wondered if it could still be useful, and the concept of presenting yourself authentically certainly makes sense to me.  If a person feels lost and confused about this then perhaps this system can help.  Usually I am more inclined to give creedence to a system that looks at the lines of the body and suggests how to repeat or complement those lines with clothing styles.  This is what David Kibbe's system does and the other systems that are similar and classify types into groups based on the idea of bodies that are classic, dramatic, gamine, natural or romantic in size and shape.  We can get hung up on the semantics, offended by terms or confused.  All of the systems tend to apply the concepts of yin and yang, which is basically about masculine and feminine energy or soft and curved as opposed to sharp and linear.  We all have elements of both in us, though usually one is more obvious than the other.  We are meant not to get hung up on the concepts masculine and feminine though it's difficult for people not to. 

In DYT the four energies are attached to air, water, earth and fire.  Popular symbols found in many places and throughout history though with some variation.  Sometimes metal is included.  I fantasise about creating a parody using animal, mineral and vegetable, but I digress!

Type 1 is air, it is light, bright and the associated shapes are stars, circles, hearts and upward movement.  It is considered an outward or extroverted energy.

Type 2 is water and it is soft and subtle, moving slowly and gently.  Associated shapes are ovals and S curves, and there is a downward movement and it is considered introverted energy.

Type 3 is fire and it is rich and dynamic, the movement is a forward push and associated shapes are spiky and geometric, diagonal lines, there is a heaviness and texture to it and it is also extroverted energy.

Type 4 is earth and it is a stillness, a bold and striking presence.  Associated shapes are ovals, rectangles and parallel lines, a smoothness and it is an introverted energy.

In order to determine which of these energies we lead with, we are told about the facial features, shapes and lines that are associated with each.  In various videos other factors emerge though often they seem very personality based because they are behaviours and preferences.  How do we separate behaviours from personality?  Many people find their type because they are clearly drawn to the designs and colours associated with it.  Sometimes Carol directs people who cannot figure out their type to acknowledge which type they really don't want to be and that will be the one!  In some ways that worked for me.

In DYT I am a Type 1 with a secondary 4.  If you asked me which of the four types was my dominant personality I'd say I'm more 4 but according to Carol Tuttle facial features trump everything followed by the way you move your body.  It makes sense to me that dressing yourself would be most successful if aligned with your physical appearance, though describing this as also your true nature creates some degree of confusion.  What I get from this is that I am a 1/4 blend but 1 is the way I appear so it's what I need to dress.  My understanding is that in the content that is available for a price, there is more explanation on how to bring in your secondary when developing your personal style.  I have no intention of purchasing any of this course and if one is persistent much can be gleaned from internet searches, although quite a few videos have been removed in the time I've been looking at DYT.

I didn't want to be a Type 1 and couldn't imagine myself as one.  Often the Type 1 representatives made me cringe and I couldn't imagine wanting to spend much time with them.  It took awhile to discover that while they might be the standard of the type they aren't the only version of it.  Type 1 has cuteness as a stereotype and I've never thought of myself as cute.  In other systems it might be gamine, which reminds me that I did keep thinking there was some gamine aspect to me as I explored other systems, however my height precludes it.  In DYT there is no attention paid to your height or body size at all.  Part of me is thrilled by that and part skeptical.  While I think cute is an aspect of Type 1 I suggest that more accurately it is about someone who is sparkling and bubbly in their presentation.  They night be cute, but there are two types of Type 1.  These are described as having predominantly the circles shapes or the star points.  Some Type 1s are a blend of those but usually one of them is more obvious.  I've always hated what happens to my face when I truly smile, the way my eyes disappear and my cheeks get bigger.  I'm so self conscious of it I hate having my photo taken.  Now I will try to remember to think of it as a face full of star points.

                                   Star points on the left and circles on the right.

                                                                  Source

Here is my list of reasons for choosing T1 -some of them are about visuals, such as what I see in my face, some are about how I move, some are about preferences which could be my instinct telling me to choose T1 styles.

  •  I see star points in my face-twinkly eyes, chin comes to a point and nose aligns with it
  •  also circles-tip of nose is round, eye sockets are round, brow bone is high, ears are small and round, forehead is rounded, round cheeks when smiling
  •  randomness in crooked eyebrows and ears, hair is random in where it curls
  •  also upwards moving fine lines around eyes, delicate skin that is sensitive/reactive
  •  I have a cheesy grin, I wrinkle my nose, I giggle and unless I catch myself and self-censor, tend to have some 'cute' mannerisms
  •  I bounce when I walk
  •  I have been told I am like sunshine, I am so cheerful and bubbly
  •  I use my hands when I talk and make a lot of facial expressions/animated face
  •  hair stylists never try to give me a sleek style
  •  I have been craving lightness in lifestyle, colours, clothing weight and texture
  • I dressed very T1 in youth-sailor style dresses, middy blouses, even polka dots, cute flower shaped earrings
  • I like circle shapes in jewelry more than I realised and choose circle shaped or ball shaped earrings often
  • I like to move, I like easy to move in clothing, I like light knits, I dislike feeling restricted by tailored, tight or stiff clothing
  • the mary-jane style shoes I wear are cute.  So far nobody has told me I don't suit them
  • I love perky hats and if I'm going to wear a flower, that's where
  • when looking at Kibbe style types I kept wanting to be a gamine but it's ruled out by my height
  • while I can sit very still like T4 in a formal or unfamiliar situation, when in my comfort zone I jiggle a lot while sitting, change position frequently and favour sitting cross-legged while on a chair
  • jumping around with new thoughts and ideas, difficulty deciding on a DYT type because of this is very T1 according to Carol Tuttle
  • I have also heard Carol say, what type is it that you don't want to be-that's probably yours.  Yup.  
Even while making this blog post, I was driving my partner nuts with my jumping the gun and random ways, especially making this list.  He helped me make bullet points because I was making stars which is a bit untidy looking.  Did I listen to his instructions though?  No, not well.  I kept jumping the gun and doing things that were not working.   I had too many thoughts and ideas and my hands tend to act on them quickly, making them a bit dangerous near a keyboard.  Some people speak before they think, and I am prone to that because I think out loud, work out my thinking by speaking or writing.  I also type before I think.

But I am not certain...The Four is strong within me.  In some ways the deciding factor is that I just can't wear the structured clothing deemed significant for a four. I would have to modify the guidelines so much it wouldn't be T4.

Type 1 guidelines are actually doable for me, though still with modifications.  It isn't meant to be a costume and is meant to be personalised.  


Some other points of note are that the DYT definitions of extroversion and introversion aren't about your entire personality.  You can still be an introvert and Type 1.  The extroversion of T1 refers to the energy of this type moving outwards towards people.  Carl Jung, who created the terms extroversion and introversion meant where you get your energy from not where you send it.  It is quite possible to fit the T1 energy type with my own self definition as a bubbly introvert. 

What I am now going to do with this I am not sure.  Perhaps it will help me to be more consistent, to limit myself to what suits me rather then getting sidetracked by everything that I like.

 What I've noticed is that there isn't much said about the lines or shapes of garments and since the types are not at all about body shape, an individual is left to figure out on their own what works for them.  That means a great deal of freedom which can be great but it leaves people who are completely unaware of what dress style would flatter them a little bit lost.  Within the options for Type 1 I have seen short, straight skirts, usually in jersey type fabric, short tulip style skirts, full skirts, long skirts both straight and billowy, skirts with jagged hemlines and an abundance of the popular fit and flare style dominating Type 1 Pinterest boards.


And speaking of imprecise guidelines, the colour palettes with DYT leave something to be desired.  Carol Tuttle has stated that the colours are aligned with energy and not personal colouring.  If you read my blog you know I won't be in agreement with that concept.  From what I have observed there is a hit and miss effect in that some of the people just happen to suit the colour palette that goes with their energy type but not all are being as well served by colour as they could be.  The idea for using the colour card is the same as it is with a colour fan from a personal colour analysis with seasonally named categories.  You can match the colours but mostly you place the card against a garment and look to see if the colour appears to belong in the set.  This is a process of matching colour properties.  In personal colour analysis you are matching the properties of your own colouring with the colours you are going to wear.  In DYT you are given colours that suit your energy and you are seeking those properties.  There is a cool bias in the T4 (except for the addition of orange) and T2 colours, the T1 and T3 seem more of a mixture of cool and warm.

You could translate the seasonal colour palettes in some cases keeping in mind these palettes may not be the best for your skin tone.  They just roughly correlate with the palettes assigned to the energy categories in DYT.

T4 could wear any of the three Winters, Bright Spring and possibly Dark Autumn as those colours would come across as bold and they all can handle black and high contrast to some degree.

T2 could wear Soft Summer, Soft Autumn and possibly some of the colours from True Autumn, True Summer and Dark Winter as they have a muted quality to them, either muted with grey or with black.

T1 could wear any of the Springs and Light Summer as they have a relatively light and bright look.  Many T1 example outfits are pastels, which show up in the Light Spring and Light Summer palettes.

T3 could wear True Autumn or Dark Autumn, colours that are warm and rich.  Some True Spring colours might show up here as well though they are generally clear colours.  The definition of rich is a bit ambiguous.

I am not completely sold on the idea of dressing for your energy type.  I can't see how the size, shape and lines of your body would be irrelevant.  Would you put all three of these women in the same clothing styles?  Most people wouldn't and part of the appeal of DYT might be in that it does.  Most of the volunteers who model their type do so in a version of jeans and tee shirt, the basic uniform for weekend wear, retirees and stay at home mothers.

                                                               Source

In DYT you see a lot of the jeans, tee shirt and statement necklace uniform.  I live in the same thing with a little variation adding a blouse or sweater now and then, just like the women above.  I can't wear statement necklaces without them irritating me.

A significant part of Dressing Your Truth is getting the 'right' colours, using accessories in the appropriate shapes and adding hairstyle and makeup to suit your type category.  Then apply the following guidelines.

T1 clothing should be light and easy to move in, neither very structured not very soft and draped.  Asymmetry is good and upwards moving detail.  Cuteness or whimsy added in pattern or accessory is appropriate. 

T2 clothing should be draped, flowing downward, soft and unstructured.  Details are feminine and possibly antique or old-world looking.

T3 clothing should be textured, layered and have both visual and literal weight.  Detail in pattern implies more texture.  Accessories are boldly shaped, jagged or asymmetrical and worn in abundance.

T4 clothing is structured, smooth, tailored and classic looking.  Accessories are minimal though can be boldly and smoothly geometric.  Use high contrast such as black and white or light colours with dark or black with a bright.  Colour blocking in a single garment is good.

It must be noted that the creator and promoters of DYT are Mormon and ideas about appropriate and modest clothing are apparent in the suggestions.  You won't see obvious flaunting of curves or cleavage in this style guide though a woman's shape is not suppressed or hidden either.  T4 wears pencil skirts and cinched waists.

No system is perfect for everyone.  DYT has some dedicated fans because for them it is a great fit.  I'm on the fence.  I see some use in it but it isn't life changing for me and I don't buy into all of the ideas.   Although it seems complicated at first it's actually a simple system which has an appeal for many people.  For me, that immediately suggests it's leaving out crucial parts, but on the other hand, getting some of it right is better than not getting any of it right and finding a way to go from frumpy, uncomfortable and unhappy to feeling good about how you present yourself, feeling confident and beautiful is an empowering thing for many women.   I am not an obvious type in the way some people are, but I can still learn from it and will keep some of these ideas in mind.  My desire to lighten up and my discovery of True Spring colours working well for me seems in keeping with trying out some Type 1 style. 

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