In our world here at 16 Style Types, we believe there is a difference between personality and physicality. This is an important characteristic of what we believe, and what we offer with our Style Type Reports and other programs. This belief is based on what we have discovered in our research for this project, and our 60+ years collective experience in the psychological type and style worlds.
This is another feature of what we offer and makes us distinct from some other systems linking style and personality.
Each Personality Does Not Have a Defined Physical Form
We hold the view that personality is unrelated to physicality. Just because you have certain psychological type preferences, such as preferring INFP or ESTJ for example, does not translate into you having the same or even similar physical make up as the next woman with that same four-letter code. How could you when you come from different countries and backgrounds, when your experiences and circumstances vary so much? There is no possible way this could ever be true!
What we do know is that you will have similar ways of taking in style information and making style decisions as other women who share your style type. Your style strengths and challenges will likely be alike, as will your style pillars and values. Women with your same style type will be expected to journey through their style pathway in a comparable way to you and your style blueprint will resemble those of other women of your style type.
All these things you will share with your sisters in style, those women who prefer the same personality preferences you do.
What we don’t expect is that you will physically resemble other women of your style type.
In our research for 16 Style Types, we reviewed a number of other personality style systems, as part of our best practice approach. As we reviewed these other systems, we found that they tried to wrap body type, facial shape, height, athleticism, personal coloring and skin tone, and much more, into an all-in-one approach. These systems are based on the premise that your physical features and your personality are inextricably linked. And we just don’t think that works.
Some of these approaches include specific style advice that can be as baffling as it is definite and prescriptive. For women of a particular personality/physical group (let’s call them the Blue’s), you’ll want to wear zebra print, heels and straight leg pants, whereas the Green’s, say, will want ruffles, dresses or dangly earrings, for example.
We find this approach a bit confounding and confusing, and quite worrying. To us, it just doesn’t gel as a sound philosophical or theoretical basis. And it doesn’t work from a practical perspective either.
What will work for you, though, is using your Style Type Report to understand how you might best go about finding the colors, shapes, styles, textures, cuts—and much more—that create your personal best style.
Personality and Physicality are Separate ‘Systems’
Our observation, experience and research (all of which is considerable, with over 60+ years collective experience in the fields of professional style and psychological type, working with clients from all around the world) supports the view that your personality and your physicality are entirely separate.
A room full of INFJs (apart from being a very special place) would contain women of all different heights, size and shape, proportion and scale, personal coloring, face shape, hair color and style, and any number of physical differences – there’d be ovals, rectangles and squares, curls and kinks, curves and straight lines, tall and short, large and small. Any number of different physical characteristics could be observed.
And so it goes for every single one of the 16 Style Types. The physical qualities of the women within each style type differ, even though their personality preferences are the same.
The unvarnished truth is we have simply found no connection between personality and physicality. We know of no respected research basis for believing this connection to exist, not in a causal way where Physical Features A results in Personality Characteristics B.
Our purpose with 16 Style Types is to help women come home to what is authentic and true for them, and from there to claim and journey along on her unique style pathway. Linking personality with physicality may actually get in the way of a woman being able to do that, successfully and sustainably.
We differentiate between style essence and style expression.
Discovering your Style Essence
In your Style Type Report you will see there is style information on what your style pillars are, what your style challenges and strengths are, how to approach wardrobing and shopping, how to find the dressing styles that work for you, how to present your most stylish self, how you approach style rules and what your style blueprint is. Your Style Type Report explores the essence of your style, what is authentic and true for you from the inside out.
It will give you a plan and a deep understanding of your natural inclinations towards style, how you think and feel about style, what matters to you with regards to your image and how you want to communicate your personality to the world using your style as a tool and an expression of self. You will feel understood and that your style expression is an extension of you, and just because you approach style differently from friends or family, that doesn’t mean your way is the wrong way.
But you won’t find anything in your Style Type Report on what suits your body shape or coloring, and that’s deliberate. The reason is that your psychological type does not determine those things.
Your physical qualities such as body shape and personal coloring are independent of your personality preferences.
The expression of your style type flows from this understanding of your style essence. The expression of your style includes information you gather from your Style Type Report plus information you gather from other sources to suit your body (shape, proportion, size, scale), personal coloring, lifestyle and other needs.
You’ll find more about how discovering your style type is the missing piece by reading this article.
Which Skirt Shape Should I Choose?
Let’s look at just one small example of how this might work—the skirt cut, fabric, color/pattern and length that is best for you. We know that if we have, say, a hundred randomly-chosen women of a given Style Type, they will have hair, eye and skin tones of every shade. Some will be tall, some short, some curvy with fuller figures, some slender and small. Some will want clothing they can literally bend over backward in and others love a tailored, neat look (ironed jeans, anyone?).
How could an A-line skirt or pencil skirt or maxi skirt be best for all of them?
The answer is: it couldn’t. There is simply too much physical variation within that one Style Type to give each woman a flattering fit of skirt. It would be a style crime to put them all in the same kind of skirt just because their personality preferences are the same. Not only this, there are all the other details that go into a garment, the fabric it’s made from – stretchy or stiff, clingy or loose, if there is a pattern (and then which kind of pattern: animal print, floral, polka dots, stripes, checks, abstract prints …. the list is endless in the decisions you make when choosing a garment that goes way beyond figure flattery advice too). In fact, some of the decision is based on the physical and some on the psychological, and you need both parts of the equation to become truly stylish and to feel at home and completely confident in your clothing choices.
So how would you go about finding the right skirt? Depending on your style type – your type preferences – your Style Type Report might suggest a few ways of going about this, including:
- Taking a stack of skirts into a retail dressing room and doing your own analysis of how each style sits on your body, whether you like the fabric, the patterns the design etc.
- Reading about body type and deciding which cut would be most flattering based on this information
- Asking a stylish friend or an image consultant for advice
- Who cares as long as you like it!
These are just a few possibilities — the point is that your style type points to the information you trust and how you make decisions. While your Style Type Report will not tell you, “Never wear stripes,” or “High color contrast combinations suit you best”, it will help you tap into what women just like you have learned about dumping the wardrobe habits that aren’t helpful and creating a style that fits with the values, strengths and challenge areas, approaches to shopping, sources of advice, common mistakes to avoid, and much more.
What we know is that you need a combination of both figure flattery information and a deep understanding of how your personality influences your style. One without the other will not make you stylish. Because there is already lots of information on the figure flattery front you can access on style blogs such as Inside Out Style, your Style Type Report is focussed solely on how your personality influences your style choices.
Your Style Type Report will bring you home.
You are an individual, a beautiful individual with certain preferences in both your psychological type and your physical features. To explore your style by understanding your personality, we encourage you to discover your Style Type here. If you’re interested in learning more about what suits your physicality, that’s another area of exploration – we can help you there too, see our Additional Style Resources.
I am so excited to start this program!