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.

13 Comments on My Kibbe Journey: Part 3

  1. Alexandra
    August 20, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Rachel Nachmias of Best Dressed ( does personal image consultations over Skype. It’s $300 – much easier on the wallet. She improved the original Kibbe questionnaire and the whole system so that it makes sense now. And her post-consultation support is stellar. (No affiliation, just a happy customer.)

    I’m an FG – what Rachel calls YangG and I prefer this because the word flamboyant just doesn’t resonate – so I’m looking forward to seeing your take on this archetype.

    • stylesyntax
      August 20, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      Yup, I know. She also is close enough to my mom to make an in-person consultation possible. I do know, however, that sometimes people have gone to see Rachel and then gone to see Kibbe and gotten two different answers. If I feel like FG isn’t working for me, though, it’s a possibility.

  2. Tordis
    August 20, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Huh. Somehow I don’t get the whole posting. I thought Kibbe is all about not being based on personality and the outcome could totally contradict your own taste – and now you’re telling us, it’s first about taste and personaliy?
    I somehow can’t picture FG on you (too sharp yang, I see blunt or maybe soft yang in you). And aggressive, dynamic aren’t typical attributes for an INTJ as far as I know. Maybe you are wrong about that too, like you thought you were an TR in the beginning?
    This posting leaves me confused. (Damn, I deleted my facebook profile 5 years ago… Any chance for me to get into that group with a lame fake profile made for just that purpose?)

    • stylesyntax
      August 20, 2014 at 9:27 pm

      When I read the additional materials with Kibbe’s answers to their questions, it really changed my whole view of things. My face doesn’t really work with SN; it works better with FG, SDs, and FNs. If you look at me in a group photo, I seem smaller/more compact that I actually am, if that makes sense. And I do have curves, but they’re squarish, and my face is a pretty even mix of dramatic and romantic. Dramatic nose and chin with romantic lips and cheeks.

      INTJs can have Machiavellian tendencies. So I’m not aggressive in an extroverted way; I’m aggressive in an introverted way, if that makes sense. INTJs also end up in leadership positions for that reason, even if we don’t seek them out actively.

      It’s not so much about taste and personality; it’s more about the overall impression someone gets when they see you, going back to the idea of who you would be cast as in a movie. Like I said, I wouldn’t be seen as fresh and natural, or a girl next door, or even an FN free spirit. When my friends have compared me to someone in a movie, it’s ALWAYS been Jean Seberg or Carey Mulligan or some other gamine.

      Lots of people have made facebook profiles just for Kibbe and color analysis stuff. You may find the TR group helpful too. If you do want to do that, you can email me your username so I can add you and invite you to the group.

      Also, one thing I found interesting is that Kibbe looks at your photos beforehand, but sometimes he changes his mind once he meets them in person and understands their essence in person. So I think that’s a big clue to how he works.

      • Tordis
        August 21, 2014 at 7:24 am

        Okeeeey, I think I get what you mean, but couldn’t yet put it in words.
        Yeah, it’s difficult when the vibe of people doesn’t match the typical examples like girl next door or femme fatale.
        I have a friend I can’t put in any of kibbe’s categories, vibe-wise. I always picture her in classic vintage menswear, tweed, rougher woolstuff, classic french stuff like striped t-shirts, oxfords, mafia hats, calm neutral colors, skinny jeans with wider knitted sweaters, a bit of ethnic N-jewellery.. This could read gamine, or it could be a yang classic or even a natural.
        The question I have is: to what degree is this a style that can work with many types? To what degree is an earthy and androgynous vintage kind of yang gamine really her essence? This is the general problem I have with understanding what Kibbe means talking about the essence of people. (And one major problem is still that all information I have is second or third hand and often individual interpretion to an often unknown extent)

        Adding me to that group would be SO nice of you!!! I’ll send you a message.

        • Tordis
          August 21, 2014 at 8:22 am

          Maybe I haven’t written precisely enough:
          I meant, I have a hard time distinguishing between style and lines. As I understand it, lines and essence are two different and separate things.

          There are 2 confusions:

          1. On the one hand, every type can make nearly every style work (as long as the lines are right). Style itself isn’t the (main) focus.
          On the other hand, the Kibbe type is defined by the essence of the person, the vibe they have. In my understanding, vibe, or essence is primarily about style.

          2. You get the essence of a person by looking at them. But you have to try on things to know which lines are right – just typing by essence doesn’t work, eg. person X has a Z vibe, but the lines are not working, she needs the lines of type Y (a problem that’s quite often in reality, I guess!) Isn’t that violating the assumption that every person fits into one type and there aren’t mixtypes? Like when there’s Gamine vibe, the lines are automatically gamine because you can’t have… a Gamine Soft Natural?

          Or maybe I got that wrong and Kibbe isn’t ONE type alone, but in reality TWO types (essence and lines) and how to reconcile them, if needed?
          Or maybe I got many things wrong?

          • stylesyntax
            August 21, 2014 at 11:52 am

            I think it still relies on lines to an extent. It’s more like, what is the most dominant part of you? If you look at the photo of Charlize Theron, her face is dominant when you look at her, and for TRs, whose faces are always highlighted, I think the face is the most important. A Flamboyant Natural will have a dominant T-shape, so even if you have an hourglass figure, if the T-shape is what you notice instead of that, you can still be FN. I was also told that since I’m curvy, I can look to the Gamine recs, for instance, for waist emphasis. Also, once I started thinking about it, even when I was dressing SN, I was always trying to add extra geometrics to it. All of the outfits that were successful had some kind of bold geometric on it.

            It’s not really about style. You can still use each type in all of kinds of ways. I have a friend who I have bugging to write a guest post here who has been doing a great job putting together an FG wardrobe appropriate for the office. It follows the FG rules perfectly, while still giving the vibe of someone you can take seriously.

            The idea, according to Kibbe, is just to try on different styles and see which one feels right. You wouldn’t have a Gamine Soft Natural, because the lines of SN wouldn’t work for a Gamine in the first place–like with me, the lines of my body would do ok with SN, SC, and TR, but none of these would feel right on me and would look like I was borrowing someone else’s clothes. I remember showing my boyfriend this picture when I thought I was Soft Gamine: and his immediate reaction was, “Oh yeah, the one on the right looks like you,” and I was like, “Noooo, the one on the left,” and he looked at me like I was crazy.

  3. ithinklikeme
    August 21, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    So much good dialogue, here. 🙂 For you, the most prominent thing I notice when I see you is your slightly “defiant woodland sprite (my impression)” face, and body is secondary, b/c your face is prominent to my eyes. You do in fact also have “squarish” curves, as well. If you took your photo and drew lines all around the start of your hips, and widest hip/leg lines, it would be a rectangular shape. I really do think FG fits you very well!

    *side note-INTJs are decisive, assertive, and solve any number of problems with an alacrity that dwarfs the abilities all other types. This can often be interpreted as “aggression” by those who do not know better. Although, I may be a little bit biased on the subject. 😉

    • stylesyntax
      August 21, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      Haha, I feel like I need to google image search “defiant woodland sprite” now to see what it looks like.

      Yes to the rectangle–my upper hip and lower hip are basically the same width. That’s why none of the yin types have worked for me, except for SN because it skims over it. One thing I have noticed, however, is that this is a very SD shape, like in this photo of Sophia Loren:

      Her shape is very similar to mine–narrow tapered torso, small waist, hips that flare out but are very square. But I don’t have SD qualities, really, like you said. I am more “spritely.” But FG and SD are right next to each other on the chart. Instead of being an FG with SG qualities–SGs would have curves similar to Rs, I think–I think I’m an FG with SD qualities. If you put me on the chart with the types, I’d be where the red dot is:

      And I bet you’d be on the far right of SD, very close to TR, which is why you’ve been having trouble deciding between the two.

      • ithinklikeme
        August 21, 2014 at 8:59 pm

        It just looks like you, lol! But now I’m totally going to google it.

        This is an excellent breakdown of the concepts, I think. Ties in nicely with Imogen Lamport’s post about making oufits more yin or yang.

        What kept throwing me off w/my type was the repeated insistence upon SC for me. On this chart, SD & SC are so unrelated, although it shares commonalities with TR. I just kept thinking, “It does not compute that ppl would keep saying I see so much dramatic in you! whilst also insisting that I am a SC!” You know, the attributes just do not fit together.

        • stylesyntax
          August 21, 2014 at 9:16 pm

          Yeah, I don’t get SC at all for you. It doesn’t look bad, just a bit boring.

          The only issue with the chart is that they say that Audrey had some classic influence. So where would you put her dot? All the way at the top of FG, so it kind of loops around to the bottom where DC is?

          • ithinklikeme
            August 21, 2014 at 9:26 pm

            I think we can all just agree that Audrey was one of a kind, and defies the conventions, lol. Generally, the chart is an intuitive progression.

          • stylesyntax
            August 21, 2014 at 11:22 pm

            True, but Sabirah said on her blog that it pushes Audrey closer to straight gamine, so maybe that’s the answer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *