October 2014 archive

Light Spring and Flamboyant Gamine

I’m back to thinking of myself as a Light Spring after realizing that Light Spring makeup colors and neutrals suit me best. One of the issues with the spring seasons in general for me is that when season and personality are conflated, I don’t really fit into spring at all–especially Light Spring, which tends to be thought of as the most ethereal of probably all the seasons.

The other side to this is what a spring is supposed to look like. Not coloring-wise–with my light golden blonde hair and very fair-yet-warm skin, I have that part down. But as a Flamboyant Gamine, the typical image of a Light Spring is definitely in conflict with the stereotype of my season. You can read Christine Scaman’s post on spring makeup here. Light Spring’s makeup is supposed to be light in application and texture, not just color. This completely contradicts Kibbe’s makeup recommendations for Light Spring:

Makeup is your finishing touch. It provides the elegance and sophistication your Image Identity requires to be completely coordinated, head-to-toe. A “smoky face,” which combines deep, sultry colors with a touch of vibrancy around your eyes, strong cheeks, and a deep lipcolor, is your best look. Don’t choose shades that are overly bright; just a hint of color is necessary to bring out your flamboyant spirit. Stick to matte colors for the day, with a simple addition of sheer sparkle most effective at night.

Avoid: Pastel colors (too matronly on you). Watercolor blended edges (too aging on you). Only neutrals (too stark on you). Overly ornate or glittery face (too unsophisticated on you).

This is just one example of what can happen when your season and your Kibbe type don’t really seem to work together. (Let’s not even get into how most Light Spring Polyvore sets and Pinterest boards are completely irrelevant to my life and style. Most Light Spring inspiration looks something like this.) The real question here is how much your season does or doesn’t affect the way you interpret your Kibbe.

My way of interpreting Flamboyant Gamine is to simply try to buy clothes in Light Spring colors, and then putting them together the exact same way a, say, Bright Winter FG would. The end result is something like this post on Light Spring Punk: take Light Spring “black” and Light Spring “white,” and do the same thing a winter season would. But some would argue that my delicate Light Spring coloring requires some more delicacy that corresponds to my coloring.

For me, though, I think it works best to keep the intensity of FG, and just do it in my own colors as much as possible. If I want to a dark lip, I will find the color that is as deep as my palette goes. I know that a deeper coral will look as bold on me as a stark blood red on someone with stronger coloring.

I’m still trying to figure this out. I know that my FG recs WORK, and I know that I feel that this allows me to cheat somewhat with colors, that I can do bolder looks than, say, a Light Spring Romantic. But I am cheating the beauty of my coloring by doing so?

Defining Yourself By Your Don’ts

You may well be able to find something from each Kibbe type that you could potentially wear. And when two types both seem like pretty strong contenders, it may seem like you’ll never nail it down. But one thing I’ve found that can help is defining yourself by your “Don’ts”: what doesn’t work for you, or what key part of the recommendations you can wear, but aren’t absolutely necessary. For instance, confusion between Soft Dramatic and Theatrical Romantic seems to be common: are you Dramatic with a Romantic undercurrent, or are you Romantic with a Dramatic undercurrent? Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell. But if you realize, like some people I’ve come across in the Kibbe world have, that while waist definition looks good on you, you don’t actually need it, then you can probably put yourself in Soft Dramatic.

This should not be confused with “Every recommendation for your type should look good on you.” You should be able to follow your recommendations painlessly and effortlessly, and maybe just skip one or two things. Like I don’t do drop waists, for example, although I might try them on if I lose some weight. But following your recommendations should cut your shopping time in half at the very minimum, and if you’re struggling, you’re probably in the wrong type altogether.

Sometimes, especially if you’re in Classic, Natural, or Gamine, it can be hard to tell which side of the yin/yang balance within your type you fall on. If you’re deciding between Flamboyant Gamine and Soft Gamine, for example, and you seem close to plain old Gamine, you can ask yourself if you do better with rounded shapes or sharp, angled shapes. Do you need a narrow silhouette that then has angles placed on top, or do you do well with a narrow silhouette that is also rounded?

Sometimes there’s a lot of “Cans” in a potential type… but it may the “Don’ts” that reveal our Image Identity.

Bringing Back Natural: The Conclusion

One thing that is inevitable with all of these systems is that you’ll realize something that changes your perception of a certain system. This has happened to me several times with Kibbe: when I realized that face was more important than I previously thought, when I realized that I could be a Flamboyant Gamine even if I’m not shaped like Twiggy, etc.

Since I wrote my last post, I’ve been thinking about the issue of what Natural or blunt/soft yang really is. I think I may have figured it out.

Some people view the different Kibbe base types as essences, and you’re either the yin or yang version of this essence. I don’t think this is really the proper way to look at Kibbe. Perhaps the confusion comes from systems like Kitchener, who views people as being composed of percentages of essences.

In Kibbe, however, your essence is your type. The base types are more benchmarks for certain ways that yin and yang can fit together. After looking at the book some more, I realized that Natural is a representation of mostly yang with yin added to soften the edges a bit.


This chart is from the book. For the sake of argument, let’s say that Natural is 75% yang/25% yin. This means that natural features, like broad shoulders, can be seen as having this much yang and yin. The yin widens the features. So a wide natural nose is a like a Dramatic nose with the width that comes from yin. If we look at its opposite, Moderate Yin (D on the Kibbe quiz), which for some reason Kibbe didn’t give its own base type, it’s as if Romantic yin has been stretched out a bit and made sleeker.

So I have been wrong in the past when I have said that N blunt yang is another ingredient in Kibbe’s system. There are still just two influences: yin and yang. When we say that a Flamboyant Gamine can have blunt N yang, it means that they can have features that show this 75% yang/25% yin balance. While the pure yin influence shows in size, and the mix of D and R can be seen in their Gamine facial features, this N influence can also cause Flamboyant Gamines to be stockier, for instance, than our Dramatic counterparts.

I’m still not entirely sure why he got rid of the pure Natural type, though. I suppose that you’ll still have a more yang or a more yin impression of someone, and you’re just as unlikely to have everything about you be a perfect 75/25 mix as you are a perfect 50/50 mix.

Bringing Back Natural

Obviously, I spend a lot of time thinking about and overanalyzing Kibbe. One of the things that has thrown me for a loop as of late is the fact that Kibbe has gotten rid of the Natural category. Now, getting rid of Classic and Gamine I understand. Very few people will be either a perfect blend of the two or a perfect contrast of the two. Nearly everyone will fall a tiny bit on the side of one or the other. But Natural is different. Natural is only one element, blunt yang, which you can also sometimes find in Dramatic Classic and Flamboyant Gamine.

The other pure types, Dramatic and Romantic, can still be found in Kibbe. Yes, Dramatics are rare, but he didn’t get rid of them completely. So why did he get rid of the pure version of the other element in the system?

I don’t have much to say about this. I’m just confused right now.

So is OG Natural Ingrid Berman.


What’s More Important: Style or Color?

In an ideal world, of course we’d only buy clothes that are in both our season and our Kibbe type. Unfortunately, fashion hasn’t yet aligned its manufacturing decisions along Kibbe and Sci\ART lines, and for many combinations, finding clothes in both your season AND type can feel like a quest for the Holy Grail. I’m planning on finally getting draped soon, and I fear that I’ll end up as a Soft Autumn, which is one of the seasons that is practically impossible to find FG clothes for.

So what do you do? You have to get dressed every day, after all. Obviously, if you’re looking for an investment piece, it’s wise to wait until you DO find things that are in both your season and your type. Otherwise, it just wouldn’t be a wise investment. But what do you do in the meantime? You still have to wear clothes seven days a week, and you have to change it up somewhat or people will start to look at you funny.

I think the answer as to what is more important, and where you’re willing to compromise, varies. For me, I can’t compromise on type. Or if I do compromise, I have to add something to bring the outfit more or less into FlamGam land, like throw a crop top with some geometrics over it or add a leather jacket. But even then, I feel like now that I know my Kibbe and am comfortable with its rules, I’m less inclined to fudge them a little, because I know it’s the FG things that I’m going to reach for every day.

Perhaps it’s because I don’t know my season yet, but I’m much more likely to break color rules. I’m pretty sure I’m not in a season that can wear black successfully, and yet trying to ban black from my wardrobe was a dismal failure. I feel like that the FG type is so strong, both in how it presents itself and its presence, that FGs are generally going to be less sensitive to the colors we wear, since we will overpower them. My instinct is that this is probably true for most types with some kind of D influence. Also, FG clothes at my price point are generally in the winter palettes, so sometimes that’s just all there is to choose from.

Naturals and Classics, I think, don’t have this problem, since from my observations (and I could be wrong about this–C and N types let me know in the comments), clothes in these types tend to be much more easy to find, and come in a wider variety of colors. So I would say that for these types, it’s probably not worth buying clothes if they’re not in your season, because you could probably go to the store next door and find something that is. I also think that SCs could potentially be very sensitive to wearing the wrong colors, since they are so well-balanced and are more delicate than DCs, so I think a wrong color choice could very jarring to their otherwise symmetrical and delicate ways.

How do you deal with this issue? Are you perfectly coordinated to your palette, or does your wardrobe contain a mishmash of seasons that perfectly correspond to Kibbe’s recommendations?

Why I Don’t Like Body Type Recommendations

Perhaps this is because the ones I’ve come across for my body type (hourglass with short legs, a “skittle” in Trinny and Susannah’s system) don’t work for me, but I don’t like clothing recommendations based solely on body type. While I think Kibbe does try to create balance and harmony within a type, he does not do what many of these systems try to do, which is to create curves where there is none and minimize curves when you do have them, and just generally try to make everyone the same.

I know that Trinny and Susannah based their careers on giving no-nonsense fashion advice doled out with a healthy helping of tough love, but if you read the text accompanying their recommendations, it’s very much based on what I’m talking about. Look at what they advise for my poor fellow Skittles:



I think the woman looks decent in the outfit on the right, although I’d never wear it myself. The picture on the left, however… If that was how I had to dress on an everyday basis, I’d probably stop buying clothes altogether and give up completely. It took me a solid five minutes to figure out that it wasn’t a set of “before and after” outfit photos. Regardless, while only one of the outfits is truly terrible–I can’t imagine it looking good on ANYONE–neither of them would be suitable at all for a Flamboyant Gamine like me.

Which brings me to my next point. Sometimes people will say, “I have an hourglass [pear, apple, etc.] shape. What Kibbe am I?” While I think this can be a useful thing to examine if your figure is the most prominent thing about you, I don’t find it very useful for most people. There are so many other factors that go into a Kibbe type, and I don’t really think that body shape alone will rule out or determine a type. I’m a Flamboyant Gamine and an X. And look at H Charlize Theron belting like the Theatrical Romantic she is:


While I think sites like Imogen Lamport’s can be useful, for me, I don’t find them particularly helpful. I find it much more helpful to first of all follow my FG recs, and second, to just try on different clothes in order to understand what suits my body.

Do you follow the recommendations for your body shape? Do they conflict with your Kibbe, the way mine do?