Updated: May 17
Rita, how do I find my essence? How do you to it for other people? -- there are questions I get a lot in relation to my Four Quadrant System.
Ultimately, for me "typing" is a process of "seeing." It's about looking beyond just the surface of the photo or the image of the person and trying to really peer into their "true self." It takes a lot of energy for me even though it's actually very simple.
I'm going to talk about celebrities versus clients/"Regular People".
I usually get asked to type like 5-10 celebrities a week, and I try to just gently dodge these questions.
Most of these celebrities are people whose style I don't really know. I always want to help, but I am more worried about giving people a "wrong" typing and introducing confusion.
Trying to look at someone's photos if I don't know them is quite overwhelming. There are always hundreds of different outfit photos, and the algorithm arranges them by what is a popular/often-linked/often-visited look... which may not be their "best" or most "true" look.
Also, celebrities are styled to always look their best. So sometimes it can be a bit tricky to tell if someone just looks expensive, rich, famous, skinny, young... or if their outfit is really bringing forth their most beautiful unique self into the world.
My best go-to with celebrities is to use the process of elimination. I try to find outfits where they look "off" or bad to me. Then, I ask myself: "Is this just a bad outfit?" Sometimes, the outfits are fancy/expensive etc but still just not good, like they probably wouldn't look good on anyone. But if I can imagine the outfit looking good on some other celebrities, that gives me the first clue of quadrants that can be eliminated.
Then to confirm, I search for some other outfits that might help. For example, for "left+down" women I often search for "x person in leather jacket" or "x person athleisure". Of course left+down looks are more than that... but it can give me a hint!
I also find celebrity POSING to be super helpful, there are definitely poses that really speak to the different quadrants.
Working with this process of elimination, I start to zoom in on the quality I see in the celebrity. I first try to place them on either the left/right axis or the up/down axis. Once I have decided one of the dimensions I start to look at some photos and refine my guess.
Finally, I will often check out some interviews with the celebrities on YouTube. I like to see "less formal" interviews where they are talking about clothes, food, etc. Of course no famous person is ever really "candid" but I like to see how they present themselves and if I get some sort of left/right vibe.
There are quite a few famous people out there who I feel are not presenting themselves in the way I would present them in. I don't mean to say that they are presenting "wrong." But ultimately, (like Margot Robbie?????) there are just some people where I can place their "styling" into a quadrant but I can't say that they definitely belong in that quadrant. So sometimes, I don't really know where someone belongs, which is a bit frustrating.
But I also think no system can be perfect and remind myself that it is an art and not some weird race science where we place someone very neatly into a special box made just for them.
Typing Actual Humans
This is the much more interesting and important process, because this is how I actually help people.
I generally do not type people from photos. If someone sends me a bunch of outfits and asks: "Is this Right Up?" -- I can say whether I get a R+U vibe from the looks. But I can't tell just by looking at a photo of someone's face or an outfit where they belong in the essence system.
For me, placing someone in the essence system always requires interacting with them in some sort of video format. This way I can observe the person's physical presence, the way they move and use their body and voice, and just get a feeling for their personal *energy.*
When "typing" people I usually ask them to tell me about their style story, or tell me about their style struggles or successes. Hearing about what people like and don't like, and the things they struggle with helps me place someone.
If someone says that they hate fussy things and they hate feeling fake and they don't like getting a bunch of attention for their clothes, that they just want to be seen for themselves, etc -- those are usually signs of someone belonging in the "Down" dimension rather than the Up. The "Up" women tend to have an opposite story of feeling like they are too much, too over-dressed, not knowing how to dress down, feeling like they stand out, not being able to look casual, etc.
Of course not every up/down woman has this story -- but these are things I hear a lot about.
Similarly, I have some things I listen for with regard to the left/right. Especially the "sensual" versus "dreamy" approach to dressing -- does the person talk a lot about their body and how clothes fit and feel, or do they talk a lot about the concept, the ideas, the visual they want to present. For me, also the left/right is more of an *energy* that I pick up.
In general, my intuition kind of guides me on where a person wants to belong in the quadrant system. There is diversity within each quadrant, but still, there is a "left+up vibe" to me, just like there is a "right+up vibe."
In my experience, people are something like 60/40. 60% immediately place themselves in the quadrant where I see them too, and they just want me to confirm it and to gain clarity on how to use the system. The other 40% have "misplaced" themselves, often on the diagonal!
It is very common for me to see "Left Up" women who have typed themselves as "Right+Down", trying to blend in and conceal their "weirdness" from the world. There are also "Right Up" women who have typed themselves as "Left Down", feeling like they aren't good enough to be "Right+Up" and trying to fit into the Left Down quadrant but not feeling right. Also it's common to type yourself as "Right+Up" if you're "Left+Down" but feel uncomfortable with the approachable sensuality, and desire instead to be a "proper fancy lady." You get the idea. People can't always see themselves clearly.
But what is so cool in my experience is that once I show the person how I see them fitting into the system, and explain how their previous style story really fits into the quadrant, and show them the possibilities of that quadrant for their personal style -- it's SUCH a moment of relief and happiness. I love talking to people about their essence and that's why I love my style consultations so very very much.
Okay, so that's some info on how I type people! Thanks for being here!