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  • Writer's pictureRita

Finding my Home Quadrant - by Catherine

Updated: Jan 16

note from Rita: this is a post written by a client about her own Style Journey - I'm so grateful for her sharing it will all of us here!

8 years B.R. (Before Rita)

I’ve always really liked clothes, even when they weren’t “working.” In high school, I acquired an issue or two of French Vogue, because this fashion book I read on my Kindle once said that it was “the best one.” I watched all of America’s Next Top Model and The Rachel Zoe Project, and I carefully curated my look to be a cross between Nicole Richie (House of Harlow era), Alexa Chung, and Coco Chanel.

I share this mainly to illustrate that for me, when style stopped being fun, it was more than clothes feeling “off” — it felt weirdly embarrassing. Having this background also made me resistant to “getting help,” partially because it seemed indulgent (“only rich people get stylists”), and partially because I was embarrassed (“they’re going to tell me that I don’t deserve to like fashion”). The thought of not just allowing someone to see my outfits, but inviting them to tell me why they were bad, was scary.

Rita, obviously, is not like that at all! She’s an understanding and compassionate personal style angel, and I’m really glad that I sought out her help. I’m excited to not only be on the other side of years of unsatisfying clothing choices, but also sharing how I got here.

Adventures in hiding my body

My last year of high school, I quit my sport, and my body basically finished hitting puberty. It was all very normal, but it threw me off. Over the course of just a few months, most of my wardrobe no longer fit. On top of that, when I went shopping for similar items in bigger sizes, the shapes and fabrics I had previously chosen were no longer flattering on my new curves.

Rather than accepting my new body, I decided that I would eventually either “figure it out” or lose the weight I gained (beautifully demonstrating that I did not understand what “becoming a woman” meant). In the meantime, I would wait it out in the cheapest possible t-shirts and jeans (which also meant that I rarely had clothes that actually fit). That period lasted five years.

The corporate uniform

After college came work, and I found myself in a corporate job. I went to Banana Republic armed with coupons to pick up seven days worth of work-appropriate outfits. At first, I found this way of dressing to be really tranquil and freeing. I didn’t have to think about what I was going to wear, and I didn’t have to think about looking good, because actually, looking “good” as a young, junior level woman in a conservative workplace did not feel appropriate or, therefore, emotionally safe. Blending in was the name of the game, and it felt nice.

Of course, the repetitive motion of picking out which black and grey combo I’d wear that day soon got boring, and I felt like I was losing my mind. It’s not like clothes suddenly became the center of everything, but I did start trying to incorporate more “fun” pieces into my wardrobe.

And as I did that, I bought clothes. And none of them went together. And a lot of them felt very off. This somehow felt worse than living in black and grey! And so I did what any reasonable person would do in that situation: I fell down a very deep, treacherous hole called “Kibbe.”

Style talk and learning with Rita

I found Rita’s Youtube channel back when she was mainly doing Kibbe. I really liked Rita’s perspective on her Kibbe journey, and started following her outline for revamping your personal style. When she opened up Style Talks, I jumped on a slot, mainly hoping she would help me shed some light on my Kibbe type. Instead, she asked:

What do you want?

And I literally could not answer her. Here’s an abbreviated version of our conversation:

RITA: “Ok, when’s the last time you felt like you looked good?”

CATHERINE: “Um…like…never, I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking you, like which of these outfits looks good, so I can just do that.”

RITA: “Well, was there ever a time when you felt really good, and what was the outfit you were wearing?”

CATHERINE: “Uh…a crop top? When I used to go out and wear sheer tops and mini skirts and glitter and stuff that I can’t wear now because I’m an adult doing adult things?”

RITA: “Ok well I don’t think crop tops are what we should go for, but maybe what we’re missing here is ‘sensuality.’”

CATHERINE: *smiles, nods, and screams internally because “embracing sensuality” sounds worse than death*

Obviously, if you follow Rita, you know that when she says “sensuality,” she does not mean “wear a bikini top with jeans.” Instead, I walked away with three challenges:

  1. Embrace wanting to feel cozy and like you’re being hugged

  2. Find ways to let your skin breathe if you want to be a little bare (importantly, bare does not mean dressing in Emrata’s headlining outfits)

  3. Incorporate the feeling into the whole outfit

But if we want to use Emrata as an example for what it could mean to be “bare”:

And of course, I walked away with a better understanding of my body and its visual needs. Rita gently steered me towards Dramatic Classic, which I started using as a blueprint. I don’t know if I’m truly DC, as I’m no longer married to the Kibbe types, but dressing with the DC lens has helped me better understand visual balance, and how to achieve it in an outfit. Now, it’s easier to dress and break the rules.

Taking the Explore Course

My talk with Rita was just the beginning of a new chapter. After our chat, I checked out the essence system and eventually signed up for Explore when it was offered. I absolutely loved it, and got a lot of value out of it.

The best lesson that came out of Explore was this idea of being your own style icon. Previously, I had pinned and collected other people as style icons (and I still do this!). However, when looking at style icons and influencers without knowing yourself really well, it’s easy to override your own preferences with those of others. Doing so almost always results in you feeling “off” but not knowing why.

After taking a serious look at my past to present state, I was better able to understand my buying behaviors and preferences. I had also previously felt stuck with a pile of clothes I had collected during my early style revamp days, and had no idea how they all went together. After Explore, I was able to see new possibilities for them.

The Left-Down course

When Rita released her essence courses, I still wasn’t resolute about where I belonged. I knew that the left down quadrant felt right, even though I hadn’t decided to call it home. So, I took the leap and purchased the left down course.

Listening to it, I felt like I was being given permission to dress the way I truly, deeply wanted to. That is: in a way that only made sense to me. Style, for me, is a form of expression, yes, but it’s also a way for me to channel my feelings. I know these sound the same, but the process is different. By focusing on expression, you focus on outcome. By focusing on channeling your feelings, you focus on the process. Neither one is bad or wrong!

I like taking inspiration from nature and emotional experiences, and asking my body what support it needs for the day. The left down quadrant gave me permission to be myself without judging the process.

Wait, so how many new clothes did you buy?

Pretty much none. The only things I bought were absolute necessities, such as a replacement t-shirt or pair of jeans.

Instead, I took time to learn how to style the items I already had. I think this is a really important step: pausing most of your clothing purchases until you can style what you have in a way that feels good. It saves you a lot of money, and it helps bring out your creativity. Plus, it gives you a better idea of what’s really missing — once you consistently feel like you’re missing something, you can go out and buy it. I’ve bought way, way less clothes since my style talk with Rita and taking the courses, instead focusing on finding the right piece.

Spending the money to invest in learning has actually saved me money I’d otherwise spend on clothes I end up not wearing!

Inhabiting the Left-Down quadrant

Releasing Kibbe, and all the labels that came before

After I embraced left down, I stopped holding tightly onto Kibbe and hourglasses and how to dress “for my body.” Many other systems ask, “what does your body communicate?” Or, they ask, “What do others see in you, based on how you are in the world, and what you look like?” Maybe others will disagree, but this is how I interpreted Kibbe, as well as other popular style systems, and it was difficult for me to dress to inhabit a role.

Instead, personal pleasure, joy, and play became my priorities. If an outfit wasn’t “DC” or “correct,” I didn’t care, so long as I felt good. I went back to big, obscuring outfits that made me feel cozily wrapped up but “hid my figure.” I allowed myself to let my skin breathe when I wanted to instead of worrying that it “wasn’t classic.” I felt extremely liberated, and for the first time in a really long time, my outfits didn’t just feel good — to me, they looked good.

“I Am Not Megan Fox Syndrome” and other unhelpful style blocks

As I went deeper into the left down quadrant, I became interested in the archetypes that could help me further explore my personal style. I remember as I watched the archetype videos that the only one I felt truly averse to was the Seductress. This was mainly for the exact reason that Rita explicitly says to NOT get caught up in: that I wasn’t Megan Fox.

I didn’t feel sexy, and I didn’t want to be. But the archetype kept intriguing me because of the keywords: sensual, mixed with ease, approachability, and intrigue. These were all things I was trying to accomplish. The archetype was also interesting due to this line: sometimes the attention you receive feels bad. I was wary of accepting this, because I don’t consider myself to be a magnetic, seductive person. Letting this be true also felt akin to saying “everyone has a crush on me and it’s so annoying!!!”

However, that doesn’t have to be the case. There have been many times where I’ve been emotionally dumped on, or received unwanted attention, or strange interest, just like many other people. And because of this, I’ve wanted to wrap myself up in “safe clothes.” I hope I’m getting this across correctly — that claiming the Seductress is not about claiming that you’re so irresistibly attractive, but feeling like you are sensitive to the attention you do receive, and reacting with the way that you dress to control your emotional boundaries.

If anything, accepting the Seductress archetype as my guiding one allowed me to put up the walls that I wanted to, knowing that taking them down was as easy as removing a layer or putting on a more open neckline. The Seductress was an easy starting point to get used to the central tenet of left down: showing and hiding.

Today, I don’t always use the Seductress. I’ve experimented with the Enigma, the Wildflower, the Lady Heretic, and even the Explorer. The quadrant system is very flexible and fun to work with, especially after you find your home base.

PS - there’s another side to Megan Fox! She’s much deeper than her image, and so are you.

How style feels now

Liberating, fun, light, and enjoyable. After finding my quadrant and going through all the steps to feel comfortable with my personal foundation, it’s been much easier to play with other style methods, such as Allison Borstein’s 3 Word system, and the moodboard approach that Amy Serrano lays out. My left down quadrant is home base, and everything else is just fun and play; little embellishments that make my personal style ever more personal.

After photos

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