What are Style Archetypes?
At Flourish, we use the phrase “Style Archetype” constantly. In fact, we find it nearly impossible to discuss clothing and accessories without mentioning it! Style Archetyping is a brilliant concept that was developed based on the knowledge and experience of image consulting professionals and educators including image pioneer Alyce Parsons.
Over the years, Audrey, the founder of Flourish, has taken this concept and refined it through her own experiences in aiding clients on their path to personal style discovery. A Style Archetype supports the process of honing in on how to best express who you are on the inside through how you dress on the outside! All of that begs the question, what the heck is a Style Archetype?
We are surrounded by archetypes
We see archetypes literally everywhere. Through Zodiac signs, Myers-Briggs, and Enneagrams, we have systems that help us understand the world around us. In fact, there are probably hundreds of archetype categorizations, and style is no exception.
Archetypes allow us to identify patterns in human behavior and give them a name. For example, DiSC assessments help us define our roles professionally and build better teams in the workplace. Astrology informs us that Scorpios are mysterious. Capricorns are workaholics. Cancers are crybabies. As you nod your head, you understand that not all Aries are the same, yet they hold many of the same qualities that allow them to be typified in this way.
Archetyping with style
Archetyping applies to style in the same kind of way. It shows up as a combination of personality traits, interests, and ideals. By analyzing these three components, we formulate predictable values, design elements, and event textile preferences within your Archetype!
Do you prefer to be comfortable or do you bleed for fashion? Are you experimental with your fashion choices, or traditional? Do you want to convey your all-knowing, quiet wisdom or your wide range of emotions through your appearance? Each Archetype has its own set of qualities, but it is worth noting that almost everyone is a combination of two, sometimes three, Archetypes.
Identifying Your Style Archetype
After studying Alyce Parson’s Universal Style during her time at The Fashion Institute of Technology, Audrey has developed her own method of identifying your style archetypes. The Flourish Method is an in-depth, three-part questionnaire that takes stock of your personality traits, understanding how you spend your time or wish you spent your time and charting your aspirations.
Through this exploration, we discover the eight Flourish Archetypes! Here at Flourish HQ, the Archetypes are Dramatic, Cosmopolitan, Classic, Natural, Creative, Gamine, Ingenue, and Romantic. Their names may give you some idea of what qualities they embody, but let’s take a closer look at each one and its core characteristics.
The Flourish Style Archetypes
Expressing intensity and severity
The Dramatic woman typically lives for avant-garde, powerful statement pieces. She is sharp, angular, and bold. Dramatics often have an air of wisdom about them as if they have been through the motions before.
Key traits: sharp, intimidating, powerful
Core interests: private dining, exclusive international travel experiences, immersive theatre
Visual traits: straight lines/angles, avant-garde, bold statement pieces
Might frequent: AllSaints, Anine Bing, The Row
Expressing curation and influence
As an innovative forward-thinker, the Cosmopolitan’s personality and wardrobe choices may come across as a tad intimidating. No matter her upbringing or current locale, the Cosmopolitan possesses a city-slicker sophistication.
Key traits: sophisticated, confident, polished
Core interests: yacht cruises, charity balls, luxury travel
Visual traits: modern, effortless, on the pulse [trendsetter]
Might frequent: Cinq à Sept, 1.State, Reiss
Expressing principled, tried & true
The Classic archetype is what you get when you combine principle, tradition, and action. This woman gets things done, but, by the rules, of course. She keeps the world in motion from behind the scenes.
Key traits: appropriate, organized, traditional
Core interests: private clubs, networking, nonprofit boards
Visual traits: tasteful, tailored, minimal, clean
Might frequent: Max Mara, J.Crew, Tuckernuck
Expressing freedom and effortlessness
The Natural archetype is far and beyond the most unpretentious and accepting of the archetypes. This person wants to feel comfortable in their clothing 24/7, experiencing life in a way that just flows.
Key traits: down-to-earth, low-maintenance, approachable
Core interests: experiential travel, coffee shops, picnic lunches
Visual traits: relaxed, comfortable, soft/natural fabrics
Might frequent: Madewell, Everlane, Universal Thread
Expressing individuality and vision
When it comes to self-expression, the Creative archetype is likened to an explorer. This woman has a good eye for curating unconventional yet pleasing visual statements. With a strong imagination, this archetype does not like to be put into a box.
Key traits: artistic, intuitive, complex
Core interests: art exhibits, live music, vintage shopping
Visual traits: pattern mixing, unique shapes, expressive
Might frequent: SEA, Baum und Pferdgarten, Staud
Expressing uniqueness and nonconformity
The Gamine is our spritely rule breaker. Rules, what rules?! Pattern mixing, bold color combinations, and statement-making pieces are key. She is one-of-a-kind, fastidious, and the last person to sit still. Gamines often feel at home in an androgynous wardrobe.
Key traits: mischievous, analytical, impulsive
Core interests: barcade/arcade, bowling league, film festivals
Visual traits: androgynous, pattern/fabric mixing, retro-inspired
Might frequent: Boden, ModCloth, J.Ing
Expressing charm and trust
The epitome of all things sweet and charming: the Ingenue. She is the quintessential girl next door, no matter her biological age. Trustworthy and accommodating, you can be sure that she thinks of everything.
Key traits: perfectionist, charming, supportive
Core interests: brunch, community events, hosting
Visual traits: small-scale details, slim fits, intentional
Might frequent: Loveshackfancy, Rachel Parcell, Lauren Conrad
Expressing emotions and magnetism
The Romantic is expressive, magnetic, and can be as glamorous as old Hollywood. She exudes warmth and understanding, as she is typically extremely empathetic. This archetype often has rounded, soft features and has a captivating air about her.
Key traits: sensitive, sentimental, affectionate
Core interests: intimate dates, creative classes, pampering appointments
Visual traits: velvet/satin, accentuating, rounded features
Might frequent: Jonathan Simkhai, Anthropologie, Express
Why Style Archetypes Matter
Identifying your style archetypes allows us to build an authentic wardrobe for you. It is worth noting that archetypes are NOT meant to trap you or put you in a box. Everyone should feel empowered to be playful and experimental with their style. We are all unique and we love to celebrate that! It is meant to be one of the many tools in our toolbox, along with your Flourish Color Analysis, body architecture, and lifestyle.
Can My Archetype Change?
One frequent question we get is, can my style archetype change? To that, we say, yes and no. What holds true most of the time is that people have a combination of two Archetypes. The Archetype they have the highest score in holds for the long term. It is who you have been and who you will continue to be! Consider it as the foundation of your style. The Archetype that comes in second tends to resonate with who you are in this season of life. Essentially, it can be situational. We are constantly evolving and growing as we learn and experience the world – the same is true for our style!
Interested in learning more about style archetypes? Stay tuned! We are going to deep dive into each of the style archetypes and unravel what makes each of them tick.
Want to know what your style archetypes are? We can help! We offer Style Archetyping as both an in-person and virtual service. It’s never too late to start your own style discovery journey. Hop on our calendar for a discovery call to connect with us.