August 2014 archive

How to Tell You’re in the Wrong Kibbe Type

This is something that most of us who have played around with Kibbe have experienced at one point or another; I find it’s rare that people can look at the info and then immediately place themselves where they belong. So most of us spend at least a little bit of time dressing ourselves in the wrong Kibbegory–hopefully without purchasing an entire new wardrobe in the wrong type!

R Kim channeling FG Audrey

With that in mind, I thought I’d share some of the things I noticed when I had placed myself in the wrong type.

1. You now hate shopping. You go to the store, find the stuff in your type, and it makes you want to turn around and go home. This is what I experienced when I considered myself a Soft Gamine, although it could have been because I was only looking at the kind of things that people pin, which usually lean Ingenue. Regardless, the version of Soft Gamine I was looking at wasn’t working for me. Which is lucky, really, because I didn’t end up spending money on clothes I’ll never wear.

2. Something feels off. You may feel restricted. Or, like me in Soft Natural, I was comfortable, but I felt like I was in my pajamas. Your energy level is down. The clothes feel heavy. Something just isn’t working, even though the clothes look fine.

3. There is something missing that you feel like you have to add. When I was dressing Soft Natural, with every outfit I put on, I kept on feeling this urge to add something geometric and bold. At the time, I thought I was adding a Flamboyant Natural influence, so it was OK. Now I realize that it was because of the geometry of my face, which requires some bold geometrics, but of the FG variety.

4. You would not be able to use Kibbe’s title for your Image Identity with a straight face. I would never be able to use Soft Natural’s title of “Fresh and Sensual Lady” without cracking up. I am none of these things! FG’s “Sassy Chic”? Sure.

Did I miss anything? What has helped you figure it out when you were in the wrong type?

Thoughts on The Art of Dress

After going through a period of believing that finding your Type was to be done completely through body lines and ignoring the face, I now have done almost a complete 180, and now find that repeating the lines of the face may, in fact, be the most important factor in defining your type.

There used to be a site called The Art of Dress, and they had a great blog with original illustrations that you still see floating around Kibbe Pinterest boards. But a couple of months ago, everything disappeared and was replaced with Lorem Ipsum text, which was quite the bummer. Then today, I decided to click around there anyway, and discovered that all-new content can be accessed through the About section. The person has renamed the types, and has come up with their own system that differs from Kibbe, as well as a color analysis and artistic analysis system. The artistic analysis is, I think, similar to Dressing Your Truth, where you look for shapes.

What most interests me about this system is that it relies on face shape and facial features to determine the style type and the artistic type. There is nothing about analyzing your body shape, going by the material that is up there at the moment. This resonates with where my thought process with Kibbe has been going lately; your face is dominant because your clothing lines should repeat the lines of your face, almost regardless of the body lines. My body doesn’t fit Flamboyant Gamine very well, but it’s hard to imagine my face fitting anything else. And that is what this system seems to be based on.

Anyway, I suggest going to the site and poking around, and let me know what you think. It seems to be in soft-launch mode, since the front page of the site isn’t done, but I hope that the person behind it will start to offer their analysis services soon. I’d be very interested in my result and in seeing up close how they work, since their line of thought seems to be quite similar to where I am with all of this stuff.

My Kibbe Journey: Part 3.5

This is a follow up to my most recent post, because I feel like some interesting things were going on in the comments that I felt deserved post of their own.

I feel like I’m having a new Kibbe realization once every 48 hours. This is, I suppose, working with my own interpretation of Kibbe, because he is very right-brained/intuitive about it, and I want to plot everything on a graph. But that’s okay, because this is my blog and this is helping me to work stuff out. You don’t have to look at Kibbe the way I do if it’s not helpful for you.

Yesterday, I was reading about Twiggy and Audrey Hepburn, and how Twiggy is an FG with D influence and Audrey was an FG with Classic influence. Now, this does not mean that you don’t still fit into FG. You are still just the one category. But it can be helpful for those of us who are not Liza Minelli or Vivien Leigh or anyone else who is the prototypical celebrity for any given type.

Now, it’s pretty obvious I have some extra yin–I have yin flesh and I’m not boyishly straight, like you’d think of an FG as being. The only type in Kibbe where you have yin flesh and a yang face is actually SD.

Put me next to an SD, and it’s obvious that it’s not me. But if you look at a picture of Sophia Loren, I have what is basically a compact version of her body: very tapered ribcage and square hips matched by relatively broad shoulders:

Sophia Loren

If you look at the chart of the logical progression of Kibbe types from yang to yin, contrast to blend, FG and SD are actually right next to each other. So instead of my extra yin coming from Soft Gamine, perhaps my extra yin is coming from a Soft Dramatic influence. Soft Dramatic is way too big on me, but perhaps I can add touches here and there. I would place myself where the red dot is:


I’ve long loved this Polyvore set by papillonnoir1:
2 winter kibbe gamines

The FG outfit is very much my style, and the skirt is drapey and asymmetrical in a way that seems to border on SD to me. Of course, I think SG peplums are also an option for me, but they seem to have disappeared from stores. So I think that keeping to FG’s rule of the first layer being narrow and cut close to the body, I am going to experiment with a little touches of SD draping as a way to highlight curves as an alternative to SG ways of highlighting curves.

My Kibbe Journey: Part 3

***5/1/2015: I now see Kibbe in a totally different way than I write about here. Please see this post for my current views.***

Sometimes I feel like it may seem like I have no idea what I’m talking about, because pretty much every time I come to write a blog entry, I feel like I have decided on a new Kibbe type for myself, or a different season. But I think that most of us who set off to determine our Kibbe type find that it’s a pretty convoluted and confusing process, and many live in what turns out to be the wrong type for years–and the only way to actually confirm is to spend around $2000, plus hotel, airfare, etc., to see David Kibbe in person.

So. With that in mind, I’ve come to yet another major conclusion about the whole process. I recently joined a Kibbe group on Facebook, and there is a wealth of information there, including how Kibbe feels about the book, and how he wanted people to use it (look at the types presented, try stuff on it and see if it works, no quizzes necessary). It turns out that my approach to Kibbe–look at lines only, and then use your personality/essence to make it your own–is totally wrong. You should start with your essence, and then make adjustments to fit your body as needed.

This all became clear to me a couple of days ago, when it was pointed out to be that Charlize Theron is an official Kibbe Theatrical Romantic. One of the key features of a TR, according to the book, is a wasp waist (which I have, which will become important later). Charlize Theron has a straight figure, one that’d probably be called an inverted V. Looking just at her body, I’d probably be inclined to put her in Flamboyant Natural. But her face is so beautiful and full of S-curves. She looks the most herself when she is glammed up and dripping with jewels. If you compare her Dior ad to her sweatshirt look from Young Adult, which is truer to the person? I think it is jarring to see her look so dishevelled. You can tell she doesn’t have any natural in her at all.

(Sources: 1, 2, 3)

Charlize’s glamorous face supersedes the fact that her body lacks these key physical feature of a TR. The TR clothes follow the lines of her face. The more reading I do, the more I realize that it’s about figuring out what is key about you, how you look the most yourself, what people notice first. Like Zyla, Kibbe was inspired to do what he does from the acting world, where he saw some people get cast and some who did not.

So maybe what we should do is typecast ourselves. I wrote about this idea in my first post in this series, and then I said I was wrong. But now I realize that I may have been right. I’m not a Soft Natural, a “Fresh and Sensual Lady.” I am much more aggressive and dynamic and funny. The energy I put into the world is that of a Flamboyant Gamine. My TR-style wasp waist that was tripping me up before? That’s not the first thing people notice about me. My task now is to find the FG clothes that work with my body, instead of hiding it. But I feel like it will be a relief to go to stores and be able to try on the clothes that appeal to me naturally, and not have to feel like I have to fit myself into styles that should work for me, taken as a sum of body parts.

Seasonal Color Analysis and the Minimalist Movement

So, nerd confession time: I like to play stupid games on my iPhone, and one of them is Archie: Riverdale Rescue, in which you play along with storylines featuring Archie and his friends. I was playing last night, and I had a new mission. Ginger, a character who moved to Riverdale after I stopped reading the comics, had recently gone to New York and gotten analyzed, and was now giving Betty her clothes in colors that weren’t in her season. They even used the correct terminology, like “draped.”

Of course, as someone who has been obsessed with color analysis as of late, this was very nerdily exciting to me. I even took some screenshots–although I didn’t get one about draping, sadly:
photo 1

photo 2

Seasonal color analysis was most popular in the 80s, when Color Me Beautiful was popular. I don’t recall ever hearing much about it in the 90s or 2000s. But it seems to me the seasonal color analysis is ripe for a renaissance. There are already plenty of sites and communities dedicated to it, and there are tons of websites focused on things like capsules and wardrobe minimalism. Minimalism is a big trend in general, and who doesn’t love a tiny house?


If you’re working with minimal posessions, capsule wardrobes, and less storage space, it makes total sense that you’d want to make sure that every piece of clothing you owned was ideal, and that it was the perfect color and cut for you. So things like color analysis and Kibbe, which go a long way to making sure you don’t end up buying things that don’t work for you and just sit in your closet, are a perfect fit for this whole movement.

Now, Archie has always seemed to me to be taking place in both the present and the past; they may be using the Internet and the storylines tend to reflect the mores of the time, but Archie still drives a jalopy that would look perfectly at home in 1939, the year the comics came out, and the comics in general look like they can be taking place at any time over the past 75 years. So this reference to color analysis, with a book title very similar to Color Me Beautiful, could just be a callback to the past. But I think in the context of 2014, color analysis is ripe for a revival, and it could very well be that the person who wrote this little mission is lurking on the same color forums we are, and is currently deciding between Bright Spring and Bright Winter.

Now, if seasonal color analysis shows up in a mission in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, then we’ll know that it’s returned to the zeitgeist.

Have you seen any mentions of color analysis in pop culture lately?

Book Review: David Zyla, Color Your Style

There are lots of books out there on style systems and color analysis. Some of the older ones are incredibly expensive (like, hundreds of dollars), but there are plenty that are either still be print, or can be found used for less than $50. I’m going to be reviewing the ones I own, and like with any book review, I hope that it’ll help you decide if it’s worth parting with your cold, hard cash for, as well as give you an overview of the system described in a particular book.

I thought I’d start with David Zyla’s Color Your Style. Zyla’s system seems to be the most popular after Kibbe and Dressing Your Truth, at least on the Internet. If you see a Polyvore set labeled “Gamine Autumn,” that’s Zyla.

Zyla’s system seems more or less based off of Suzanne Caygill’s, and if you are familiar with the latter, you’ll see similarities. I’ve only read a little bit about it, as her book is the one that costs hundreds of dollars. But anyway, back to Zyla. His book is divided into several parts. The first is devoted to figuring out your colors. Zyla has a system where you find colors in yourself–your eyes, skin, hair, etc.–and use them as specific ” bases” and “essences,” like for when you want to be seen as professional or friendly or seductive or whatever.

I haven’t done this, but I’d be interested in hearing about your experience if you have. I also think it might be useful to take your Zyla palette and try to match it to a Sci\ART palette, although it obviously couldn’t replace getting your season analyzed professionally. He talks about how to use your natural colors for different purposes, etc., like even what color to paint the walls of your psychology practice.

As far as the rest of the book goes, where Zyla outlines his “archetypes,” after my first reading of this book, which was a few months ago, I was not impressed. I am not a fan of conflating season to personality. Not all people with spring coloring are bubbly; not everyone with winter coloring is quiet. Zyla even goes as far to say that he knows your “season” after talking to you for three minutes on the phone. To those of us who come to color analysis from a Sci\ART perspective, that sounds ridiculous. (Read Terry Wildfong’s post on how she drapes and then compare it Zyla’s method.)

But when I read the book for the second time to write this review, I realized something. If you went by the phone test, I’d be a winter. I want to get done what I need to get done and get out of there and back to my own thing. I get right to the point. People tend to do what I say, even though I’m generally quiet and don’t like attention. These are winter qualities in Zyla’s world. It seems to me that Zyla’s system has a lot more in common with Dressing Your Truth than anything else.

Zyla further breaks his seasons down into six archetypes. I found myself in Vivid Winter, the “earthy philosopher.” I feel like even though I’m a Type 3 (Autumn) in DYT, this still works, since I’m a 3/4. He gives oddly specific style recommendations (yes to three-layer skirts of pleated silk, no to sack dresses), but a lot of what he said resonated with me. I do get a tendency to get stuck in a black uniform, and I do need to remember to express my style. His recommendations for the seasons, however, use his color terminology of bases and essences, rather than seasonal colors, so it is easy to adjust them to the colors that suit you, rather than in Dressing Your Truth, where you have one palette that is supposed to work for every Type 1, Type 2, etc. The only issue that I have with this section is that the description for each of the 20 types is so short. I don’t think you can get a good idea of how to dress for your Archetype without actually meeting with Zyla.

He then goes into how you can use your color palette for situations ranging from a job interview to a family get-together, and how to overhaul your closet. I do think all of this information is useful. I might try to do my Zyla colors now, and see if this use of color works for me.

Overall, I see this system much as I see Dressing Your Truth. I think Kibbe and a Sci\ART-based season make the best backbone for your wardrobe you can get in terms of what flatters your lines and your coloring. But both Zyla and Dressing Your Truth can be used to flesh out your understanding of your personal style, and how to reflect your personality and nature in your wardrobe. I also like Zyla a lot better if I pretend he is not using the term “season” to determine type.

Have you tried Zyla? Did you find the color thing he talks about works? Did your Sci\ART season, DYT type, Kibbe, and Zyla all match up, or are they all over the place, like mine? (I’m actually questioning if I might be a LIGHT SUMMER now. So no more attempts at color analysis for me until I can get draped professionally. I give up.)

Kibbe’s Romantics, or Your Inner and Outer Essence

I think that sometimes, Kibbe’s flowery descriptions work against you when you’re trying to figure out your type. Take, for instance, the description for Romantic:

If you’re hosting a dinner party, chances are you’ll expend enormous energy on things like place settings, flowers, and soft lighting. You’ll gladly search the entire city for those rare and exotic orchids that evoke images of a mysterious, faraway land, or dedicate yourself wholeheartedly to locating special gardenias with a heady fragrance. When you’re planning the menu for this party you’ll be coordinating color and texture in addition to taste. The added dimensions of your attention to the sensual elements of touch, taste, smell, and above all the look of things brings us much pleasure, and an invitation to one of your soirees is very much coveted!…Lest we categorize your Yin qualities as frivolous or superficial, let’s remember the extreme magnetic power that exist within you. We don’t describe your extreme Yin nature as “the irresistible force” without reason! You are capable of effecting enormous change in the world – when you remember that the power of the Yin is always indirect. Steamrolling through outworn attitudes or attempting to knock down mountains won’t work for you. Direct attacks are never effective, since they are so contrary to your projected softness.


Now, to be honest, this “dinner party” business is what I think when I think of a Romantic. The image really stuck with me in my mind. But then I start to think of someone whose body lines and facial features fit very well in Romantic, but who couldn’t care less about the aesthetics of their home or being subtle and whatever else Kibbe is talking about to. Will someone be turned off from Romantic because they have a personality with more yang in it?

I suppose this brings up a key point about Kibbe: are we supposed to assume that, like in Zyla, where your coloring matches your personality, that you outer and inner essences should match? Or, say, could you be a Romantic who relates to Soft Dramatic, and look to Soft Dramatic for some clues to develop your personal style and maybe introduce some snake jewelry into your Romantic look?

Even the examples for Romantic Kibbe mentions in the book–Madonna, Susan Sarandon, Elizabeth Taylor–are women that I see as being quite ballsy, and not exactly ones who sit around waiting for their yin charm to get them what they want–they do seem to use the steamroll technique at times. Madonna, a Type 3 Leo lioness like myself, is someone who stirs some controversy when Kibbe’s classification of her as Romantic is brought up. If we ignore how she looks today–she seems to have exercised and nip/tucked the Romantic right out of herself–Madonna in her early career had quite a Romantic look to her. I feel like her “Like a Virgin”-era look would be great for a young, punk Romantic to draw inspiration from, and it’s no surprise that she used Marilyn Monroe, Prime Kibbe Romantic, as her inspiration for her look in “Material Girl”:

(Sources: 1, 2)

Of course, there’s still the question of how to express her Type 3-ness. But maybe she doesn’t have to. If we go back to McJimsey, Romantic women are still the epitome of female charm, but they’re theatrical and sophisticated and a yin/yang blend, and not total yin like in Kibbe. Even when Madonna is dressed in head-to-toe pink, her strength still comes through. Maybe it’s a case of if you’re dressed exactly right for your face and body type, your personality can come through and take precedence. Maybe she doesn’t need all the angles and the fall color palette of Type 3 because her own inherent Type 3-ness is enough.

Do you relate to the description of your Image Identity’s Inner Essence? Should you consider the Inner Essence description when trying to figure out your Kibbe? Was Kibbe wrong when he typed Madonna?