Style Archetypes

In her book Shopping for the Real You, Andrea Pflaumer discusses seven style archetypes with detailed charts, covering physical traits as well as temperament and personality, to help you figure out which type is most dominant in you. If you like taking "what's your style" quizzes, this should be right up your alley. And even if it's not, it's still a worthwhile activity. As Pflaumer writes, "Understanding the various aspects pf your body, face and personality can help you create a more integrated, unique look."

The seven archetypes are as follows: 

  • Dramatic
  • Natural
  • High-Spirited
  • Classic
  • Romantic
  • Youthful
  • Angelic

I've summarized each of them with a few details taken from Pflaumer's book, plus images and examples of (hopefully) familiar TV and movie characters to help illustrate each one.

If you find yourself identifying with more than one archetype, don't fret. Many—if not most—people are actually a blend of different types, and Pflaumer also provides a laundry list of possible combinations.


The dramatic style is characterized by:

  • Exaggerated shapes and oversized silhouettes
  • Long tight sleeves, high turtlenecks, plunging necklines
  • Large buttons, puffy collars, wide cuffs
  • Bold patterns, colour blocks, animal prints
  • Textured fabrics, fur
  • Tall boots, stilettos, larger bags in shiny materials, statement pieces

Think: Manhattan & Dubai / Moira Rose in Schitt's Creek



The natural style is characterized by:

  • Comfort and practicality
  • Relaxed, not overly constructed pieces
  • Natural fibers
  • Outdoorsy, sporty clothing; cozy sweaters
  • Animal prints, camouflage, "nature" prints 
  • Rough-hewn, native, ethnic, bohemian, handmade jewelry and accessories
  • Semi-precious, uncut stones; wood, leather
  • Cowboy boots, Doc Martens, Uggs, moccasins, Top-Siders

Think: Berkley, Taos, Alaska / Frankie in Grace and Frankie


High Spirited

The High Spirited type is trendy, eclectic, quirky, a little edgy. She favours:

  • Spangles, sparkles, topstitching, rivets, small fringe
  • Close-fitting silhouettes: pegged pants, tighter and shorter skirts, peplum tops, short jackets, boleros
  • Small-scale patterns and textures
  • Sparkly flats, multi-coloured striped espadrilles, ankle boots
  • Fun costume jewelry

Think: Hollywood & Broadway / Fran Drescher's title character in The Nanny


Next up: Classic, Romantic, Youthful and Angelic