Are you a spring, summer, winter, or autumn? Is your body type dramatic, classic, natural, romantic, or gamine? If you’ve been scrolling through TikTok lately, then you might have swiped by some of these fashion method hacks on your For You Page. Within the past few years, there has been a rise in personal styling methods, largely used to combat trend exhaustion, from color analysis garnering online popularity to the traditional Kibbe Body Type Test making a comeback since it originated in the ’80s. Plus, the methods have now gone virtual, complete with filters, viral videos, and trending hashtags.
Kasey Dugan, a fashion consultant and founder of Bella Figura Style, specifies that the popularity of both color analysis and the Kibbe Body Type Test is due to the push for individualism in fashion. “Everyone wants to be a fashionista these days, but everyone is shopping at the same three stores,” she says. By using both styling methods, Dugan elevates her clients’ appearance: “By knowing what shade of blue compliments you and what neckline suits your shoulders, you hold a lot of power.”
For many, getting dressed while using these methods is a solution to fashion burnout, and allows you to cultivate your own unique personal style. Ahead, NYLON breaks down each technique-turned-TikTok hack to help with your own IRL aesthetic journey.
Personal Style TikTok Hack No. 1: Color Analysis
With the hashtag #coloranalysis garnering more than 255.2 million views on TikTok, you’ve likely come across the color analysis filter on your For You Page. “Seasonal color analysis is a way of grouping traits by their contrast points,” shares Dugan, who utilizes the method as one of the ways to help dress clients. “Each season refers to a specific range of complexions, hair colors, and eye colors.” (In case you were curious, Dugan is a deep winter.)
The vibrant tool is used to show the seasonal color palette that is most complementary with your complexion and skin tone while paying close attention to contrast or the level of intensity amongst various traits. For example, a person is typically a winter when they have a cool-toned light complexion with dark hair (this is an intense contrast), while a spring is the combination of light skin with blond or red hair (a low contrast). The contrast ultimately decides which seasonal palette is the best fit for your wardrobe.
Within the four seasons, there are 12 palette types: light spring, warm spring, clear spring; light summer, soft summer, cool summer; warm autumn, soft autumn, deep autumn; clear winter, cool winter, and deep winter.
The types that are “light,” “clear,” “soft,” and “deep” refer to the contrast between skin tone, hair, and eye color. “A cool winter will have blue eyes, while a deep winter will not have blue eyes,” explains Dugan. “A soft summer can technically be broken down into two types: the fair soft summer and the shaded soft summer. A light spring will have blond hair, but a warm spring will probably have red hair.”
Due to much misinformation online, people oftentimes are classified as the wrong season. “Black skin is often overlooked,” adds Dugan. “And I would say that more than half of my clients are Black women who have been mistyped.”
Sisters and co-founders of Curate Your Style Hannah and Sophia Rashad, use color analysis as an essential guideline and foundation for their clients and have also witnessed this mistake in their own personal experiences.
“As a half Middle Eastern woman, I was constantly told by make-up artists that I had a warm undertone,” says Sophia, a true winter, as opposed to her sister (true autumn), whose skin tone glows in warm, rich colors. “However, gold jewelry always looked dull on my skin, camel washed me out, and warm makeup looked far too orange, so I knew this wasn’t accurate. I think there is a misconception about anyone who has tanned, olive, brown, or Black skin automatically being typed as ‘warm.’”
“There are very limited resources out there if you are a woman of color for finding your color season,” says Ellie-Jean, a light summer and a style consultant who runs Body & Style. She’s also vouched for making the method more inclusive. “I was one of the first people to make a color wheel for Black and Black mixed-race women and put it online. I could instantly see the impact on my audience, which was really exciting. I want to make more for women of different ethnicities because there is such a range in coloring that is often not seen in these circles.”
Aside from the popular color palette filters, there is also a website called colorwise.me, created by programmer Michael Pelts, that determines your season and color palette based on a selfie you upload to the site. “Color analysis eliminates the mystery and the painful process of trial and error when you’re updating your wardrobe,” says Pelts, a cool winter. “It allows you to dress with confidence, knowing that every color you wear is a winner.”
Personal Style TikTok Hack No. 2: Kibbe Body Type Test
The Kibbe Body Type Test was created in the 1980s by image consultant David Kibbe, the author behind the book Metamorphosis: Discover Your Image Identity and Dazzle as Only You Can. “These days you might find a copy selling for $400 on Ebay,” recalls Dugan. “Other than that, it’s difficult to find.”
The David Kibbe Type Test determines a body type according to the creator’s own image identity system, which assesses a person’s skeleton, flesh, and facial features. Being aware of your image identity helps with learning which silhouettes and clothing types work (and won’t work) for your body.
There are five families within the test: dramatic, classic, natural, romantic, and gamine. Within those five families there are 13 image identities: dramatic and soft dramatic; classic, soft classic, and dramatic classic; naturals, soft naturals, and flamboyant naturals; romantic and theatrical romantic; and lastly, gamine, flamboyant gamine, and soft gamine. “Kibbe lays out some ground rules for each image identity,” says Dugan, a soft dramatic. “Dramatics should show off their shoulders; naturals should honor their width, etc.” The Kibbe Body Type Test has blown up on TikTok, with its corresponding hashtag #kibbebodytypes boasting more than 36.4 million views.
Ellie-Jean, a soft classic, also specializes in the Kibbe Body Type Test and describes it as a styling system that’s based on yin-yang balance. “In other words your sharp/soft, straight/round, small/large balance,” she explains. “Similarly to color seasons, the idea is that you echo your characteristics with your clothing, so if you were little, rounded, and soft, you would wear clothes that are also little, rounded, and soft.”
Personal Style TikTok Hack No. 3: Three-Word Method
While some personal styling methods have been around for decades, new techniques are being created by stylists and creators to help with wardrobe frustration. Celebrity stylist Allison Bornstein recently developed the three-word method that has taken off in popularity online, especially on TikTok. It’s a simple style formula based on three adjectives that capture and refine an individual’s personal style. “I feel like my personal style is consistent, and I’ve had to hold myself accountable in a way,” Bornstein told Harper’s Bazaar in an interview. Rather than participating in fleeting styles, she encourages her followers to take notice of what they have and refine it. “If I’m telling people that they can’t buy something every single time they like it, I can’t do that either.”
Regardless of which personal styling hack you use, all of the methods are advocating for taking what you already have and styling it to make it distinctly yours. “These theories promise to reduce what you buy to what you really love and is going to make you feel confident, and there is such a desire to feel confident again after being hidden away for years,” says Ellie-Jean.
Fashion has been oversaturated with fleeting short-lived microtrends and aesthetics that people are tired of participating in, so the rising usage of personal styling methods is an indication that honing in on personal style is a timeless alternative to the never-ending trend cycle.