The trick to loving how you look

It starts with knowing your type. Are you a 3, like Laureen Harper?

The trick to loving how you look

CP; Getty Images; Photo Illustration: Taylor Shute; Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

When Valerie Monroe, beauty director for O magazine, revealed her top tip for an article asking “Do You Love the Way You Look?”, Carol Tuttle, a psychotherapist turned beauty adviser, took issue, calling the advice ridiculous. Munroe told O readers that, in order to love her own face, she lowers the bar. “I picture a face with little piggy eyes, a drooping, fleshy nose, a wet slash of a mouth, the whole thing sallow and sagging, really something awful. I prepare myself for this unpleasantness right before I look in the mirror.”

Tuttle took her Oprah outrage to YouTube. “I’m shocked. Oprah, come on! I’m going to think of the most horrible, awful-looking ugly face I can imagine and then look at myself and think, I’m not so bad? You basically should’ve written, ‘Honey, you’re just not attractive.’ You’re basically telling women, ‘You can’t be beautiful, so think of the ugliest face you can imagine, and then you’re not going to look so dang awful to yourself.’ This pisses me off, people.” As Tuttle told Maclean’s, “It’s disconcerting how many women have put themselves in the category of, ‘I’m not a beautiful woman. I have other talents.’ ”

For the last seven years, Tuttle has been teaching women how to “capture” their beauty with her course, “Dressing Your Truth.” “Most women do not know how truly beautiful they are,” she writes in her book of the same name. The problem for most women, she believes, is that they don’t know what “type” they are and are therefore “misunderstood.”

Women who take her course start by examining their personalities, then their facial features. Tuttle believes there are four types of women. Sarah Palin, for instance, she sees as a Type 1. Type 1 women typically “talk readily and easily to people” and “like to keep things light and fun.” Yet, “in an effort to be taken more seriously, and not to look so cute and youthful,” Type 1s tend to dress in black, their biggest fashion mistake, writes Tuttle. In 2008, Palin dressed in black suits that were too structured for her playful nature. Winking at the cameras, “she appeared silly and ridiculous. If she had hoped to be taken more seriously by dressing the way she did, it only backfired.”

Jean Price, a Canadian who teaches Dressing Your Truth seminars in London, Ont., believes that former governor general Michaëlle Jean is a classic Type 1. “She’s got the smiling eyes and the heart-shaped face.” Price uses Jean as an example in her seminars. In one photo, “she has a beautiful white and blue tweed jacket and blazer, and her hair is flipped up. It’s just perfect for her.” In another, where Jean is wearing black, Price says, “she looks half-dead.”

A Type 2 woman is “diplomatic, empathetic, meticulous, preferring to observe rather than participate in larger social settings.” Julia Roberts is a classic Type 2. The most common fashion mistake of a Type 2 is the tendency to wear bright clothes to counter a subdued nature, says Tuttle, “making her complexion look pasty,” so she seems “weak and shy.”

A Type 3 woman is “swift, fiery, intense, practical and abrupt.” This kind of woman “may have been told as a child, ‘Relax! You’re too demanding.’ ” Jean Price believes Laureen Harper is a Type 3. “She’s got that rich dynamic energy, and whoever is advising her, they’ve got her in tailored, structured Type 4 clothing, including the black, and that really dramatically ages her. She should be wearing browns and rich autumn colours. And her hairstyle! They’ve even got it too soft! She needs it to be cut edgy and uneven with more height to it.”

Type 4 women are “private, disciplined, influential, and uncompromising. You move forward with crystal clear focused determination while maintaining quiet confidence.” Elizabeth Taylor is a classic Type 4—the only type of woman who can wear black. A Type 4’s biggest fashion mistake is wearing soft, flowing clothes. It makes them look frumpy.

Most women, says Tuttle, “hear compliments like, ‘That’s a nice jacket’ or ‘I like your purse!’ But after learning how to dress their truth, our clients consistently hear compliments like, ‘You look amazing.’ ”

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