Monday Musings on Personal Style Essences

Several of you have asked me to share the personal color analysis I had done by John Kitchener. The truth is, I didn’t contact him for color…I was more interested in having him determine my personal style essence. At the time, John was only doing them together, so my color analysis came as a bonus. I’m still pondering the color results, but I can tell you that the colors John put in my fan are very, very similar to other fans I’ve had done by Image Consultants, who are also trained to consider a person’s energy.


You can read more about my other virtual personal color analyses here.

John Kitchener is a leading figure in the personal style and custom color consulting industry. He offers a holistic approach that helps people hone their individual style. His system extends way beyond just color and incorporates a person’s physical characteristics and personality to arrive at a formula of style essences that are unique. His color typing is highly personalized, and he does not slot you into a season.

What Are Personal Style Essences?

Style essences are concepts used to describe the inherent quality that a person’s appearance gives off. It takes into consideration the natural line and shape of an individual’s face and body. The goal is to identify what natural lines and shapes you have, whether they are soft and rounded, sharp and angular, or a mix of both, so you can look for clothing and accessories that will harmonize with you.

John recognizes seven essence harmonies and believes we are all a combination in varying percentages. Each essence exhibits yin/yang tendencies, much like the systems developed by Grace Morton, Harriet McJimsy, David Kibbe, and more. Here are the percentages of style essences that John typed me as.

I was not surprised to see that 40% of my style essence is classic. I’d assumed there would be more “dramatic” in my formula since I love to add a touch of drama to my outfits. The “natural” I can see, but the biggest surprise is the 25% romantic part of my formula! I don’t care for traditionally feminine styles, so I’m struggling to add those touches to my look. John had suggestions for me, and I am trying to get comfortable with the idea.

John’s analysis came complete with page after page of suggested textures I should look for or avoid, as well as styling details, necklines, sleeve types, and more that will work best for my shape and essence. There is much more for me to study in his analysis, but I wanted to share the tip of the iceberg with you.

Save or Splurge in Shades of Blue

I love all shades of blue and know I’m not alone.

This week’s save or splurge outfit features some dark wash flare jeans and a blue floral blouse. They’re accessorized with a beige belt, taupe bag, gold-toned jewelry, and some fun cap-toe shoes.


love cap-toe shoes. They help shorten the look of my foot and have a classic feel that always looks stylish. Cap-toe shoes have a Coco Chanel vibe that makes them appear classy and possibly expensive. This season, I’m seeing lots of them with a metallic toe, which is a great way to add a touch of the metallic trend in a subtle way.


The splurge outfit comes in at around $ 1,815 and the save is close to $305. Did you spot the less expensive outfit, and what tipped you off?

Are you a fan of cap-toe shoes?


Thanks for reading, and be sure to wear what makes you feel confident.


  1. Fascinated by this Kitchener analysis! The color wheel features the colors I see you in most often, and that you look wonderful wearing. They seem consistent with your overall style.

    I really enjoy these style and color stories of your blog. I learn a lot. Thank you!

  2. Hi Jennifer! After following you for awhile, I have to say that I think you have looked especially wonderful in the colors that are in your color fan! They are perfect for you. I didn’t do too well on the save/splurge today-half the ones I thought were the splurge were not, and vice versa! I like the look of cap-toe shoes but don’t own any. Do stay safe and dry during the upcoming storm on the west coast. Thank you for all your great posts- you influence me in many good ways!

    1. Thank you Deby. I’m working towards enjoying wearing color.

  3. I like to see what color consultants come up with for me.
    But I have to feel the color and know it will make me look good (according to me).
    I do feel consultants push me out of my comfort zone and get me to try something new. That is a good thing.

  4. A couple of things: those flare jeans in the save set remind me of a pair I actually had in the 70s that were so uncomfortable I gave them away. I see the fun in doing the style essense exercise, but I would find the whole thing restrictive. And I feel the same way about the color analysis. I get that the style exercise is to identify what I already am and not to describe what I should be, but your surprise at the “romantic” label kind of illustrates my point. If I score high on romantic does that mean I need to go out and buy some ruffles to confirm how romantic my style is?

    1. I understand that “romantic” can be expresssed in fabrications and drape which precludes ruffles or lace. I hate anything that feels resrictive which is why I remain sceptic but keep an open mind.

  5. Laurie Tillett says:

    If you’re looking for the most comfortable cap toe flat, look to Rothy’s. In camel/black and linen/black. Super comfy and washable.

  6. I like the cap shoe. I picked the splurge by the tailoring of the blouse.
    Very interesting the testing and essence. Always enjoy your post.

  7. This post prompted me to take a look at your other posts on color analysis, style, etc. OMG!…so, SO helpful, Jennifer! I feel like I’ve been struggling to dress myself and needed help. But after reading your posts, I feel more confident that I really do know what I’m doing…well, most of the time. Now, as I go through my closet, I think I’ll have a better sense of me and won’t second guess myself as much. If I like it, if I think it looks good and if it makes me happy? Well, I’m all in. And that includes my polka dot pants that I know for sure are NOT the right color for me but I love them so I’m wearing them!
    Thanks, Jennifer. Color me happy!!

    1. I love your comment so much Linda! Thanks for sharing. And, PS…polka dot pants sound fabulous.

  8. On the ‘save and splurge’ I did guess correctly however must confess that I cheated as recognized the Kate Spade bag immediately. As to the ‘personal style essence’ evaluation it is very impressive but like yourself am surprised you rated a 40% romantic as you have expressed on more than one occasion that ruffles or floral patterns for example ‘don’t appeal to you’. Oh, I’m also going to add; I do agree with the 40% Classic but would rate you more than a 20% Natural due I find you to be a very genuine individual that your style reflects which is meant to be a compliment and is one of the many reasons why I enjoy your blog. For myself, with the exception of ‘face frame set’ I’ve never have had a professional analysis done but will definitely keep in mind John’s, as it certainly appears thorough.

  9. The Lilly Pulitzer silk blouse is gorgeous. Maybe it’s for “ladies who lunch” or work!
    I “lunch,” but not in silk…but it’s tempting. So gorgeous. Love that Inspo outfit!
    Wish we could see you in it! I’m neutral on the cap toed shoes. I have one pair that has a little heel; I agree with you they’re fun!
    I met David Kibbe and took his class in NY years ago. I think I still have a book he wrote. The whole experience was really fun! I always “eat that stuff up.”
    Is the person you mention, John Kitchener still doing this? Would love to see what he charges. Thanks Jennifer.

    1. Kibbe is writing a new book on his “system” which I know many are anxious to read. John is still working and is quite the genious!

  10. I liked the jeans on the save side best . Reminded me of chicos trouser jeans . The kate spadelogo on purse gave it away for me . But i rarely buy designer bags . I look for leather ones . and often find great leather bags in vintage stores too . Love shoes but i so rarely wear heels now , i am looking at buying csped toe ballet flats in easy spirit tho great sale on !interested in personality and style …fascinating

  11. For me, the shirt gave it away and the bag. Your color fan except for the red would be my colors. I think that skin tone and hair color are important to choosing colors. Light neutral colors and shades of blue are my colors. Simple classic styles in soft fabrics, even my jeans. I have never officially had my colors done but as a blonde turned white and silver these colors look best on me. You are able to wear that raspberry red sweater beautifully where it would drin my face of color.

  12. The extra style (shape) on the shirt and jeans gave the expensive one away.

    1. Kathryn L. says:

      My thought exactly.

  13. I got the save or splurge wrong because I liked the cheaper jeans better. I should have paid more attention to the accessories and styling of the shirts. Like you, I love blue clothing, especially bright blues on a white background. Thanks for sharing your style essences. I’d never heard of this technique before.

    1. There’s a lot too it and much info to read on the web if you’re interested.

  14. Good morning. I think pretty much everything on the Splurge side looked more expensive today, especially the bag. The Save items are nice though, and for my life, a cotton blouse is more useful than the gorgeous silk one. Cap-toed shoes are great-looking and seem to be versatile.

    1. Happy Monday Maeve!

  15. That is so interesting about finding your essence. I loved reading about that. I like cap toe shoes too but since having foot problems I’m not sure if can wear them anymore. For the splurge/save segment I always can tell by the handbag. Loved both outfits.

    1. Shoes are a challenge, for sure. Some days my feet seem ok, then other days, nothing is comfy.

  16. Sharon K. says:

    It is intriguing to me to consider getting a color/style analysis. I have only done a couple of free, or nearly so, ones. Today’s Splurge was tipped off by a logo on the purse. I couldn’t make out whose logo, just that there is one. Cute versatile outfit! BTW, thought you might want to know that yesterday’s post has a July day, not February, slip of the finger!

  17. Thanks so much! Fascinating!

  18. The style essences is so fascinating. I’m curious to see how you incorporate (if at all) the romantic features and if the necklines and textures are similar to what you already knew. I can see how if the colours are based on personality, that the stronger, darker colours are included, although I still believe the draping method is best.
    I’ve played around with the Kibbe method – there is an extensive quiz that you can do, but I’ll admit it is difficult to be objective. I found it best to look at photos of my younger self for comparison. I typed myself as “dramatic classic” – no surprise as this is how I’ve always described my style and when I looked at the examples of clothing, it is how I’ve always dressed.
    As for your new red sweater – that looks fabulous on you!

    1. I have studied the Kibbe system as well and typed myself too. I really like the percentages John uses but that makes it impossible to self diagnose. I love your style Yvonne. I think you nailed it.

  19. Dorothy Terwilliger says:

    The detail of the belt buckle tipped me off.
    I enjoy reading your blog daily.

  20. What tipped me off for the splurge outfit? The print blouse. Cheaper prints tend to be regular in size and repeat, especially with florals.

    1. Fascinating observation.

  21. Pat Patterson says:

    Good morning Jennifer, the splurge outfit is on top, can tell by the shoes. I like the like of the shoes, never thought to wear something like that, might buy a pair
    Have a great day and stay dry out there on the west coast.

    1. I bought a flat pair last week and they’re fun!

  22. Actually thought the “save” was the “splurge”! I favor the less expensive outfit, although I wouldn’t wear those shoes with jeans. Guess I’m stuck in thinking they are too dressy for jeans.
    Thanks for this comparison, Jennifer.

  23. The shirt is what gave this one away!

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