November 2014 archive

The Two Types of Flamboyant Gamines

Update, 6/24/15: Please read this post. I no longer believe in the idea of “curvy FG” or the idea of “two types of FGs” as described here.

When I last talked about FG, I discussed the physical guidelines that can help you decide you’re a curvy FG or a Soft Gamine. Today, however, I’d like to expand on the idea of a curvy FG, and discuss what I see as the two categories of Flamboyant Gamine.

Kibbe has, for the most part, done away with the middle categories of C, G, and N. The obvious result of this is that people who would have once found themselves comfortably in one of these middle categories now has to decide whether they fall on the yin or yang side of the scale. (Note: I am linking that post mainly for the chart. Some stuff in that post, especially about how I see myself, no longer applies.) This means that people who have just a little bit more Dramatic than Romantic in the composition of their Gamine are now Flamboyant Gamines.

This is actually a huge change. In the quiz, while I know some feel that it can only confuse you, it actually gives very good clues as to how the types are put together. If we look at FG, he says that FG is nearly equal A and E answers (Dramatic and Romantic) with extra B answers (Natural). These extra B answers ensure that even if you have more E answers than A answers, you’ll still be yang-dominant. Gamine is just an equal mixture of D and R, but if you had a little more D than R, you’d probably still fall into the Gamine category, rather than Flamboyant Gamine.

But now that G has been eliminated, those of you who have more D than R, with no N, would still end up in Flamboyant Gamine. There have always been people, such as Twiggy, who have seemed to lack N and ended up in Flamboyant Gamine. But they were exceptions. Now, there are lots of Flamboyant Gamines who don’t have N at all, and thus will look a little different. What the N does is widens. It adds a more mesomorphic figure. It may even add curves–I believe all curvy FGs are FGs with N. N is, after all, sharp D yang softened by some yin. Those without the Natural yang are the people who look more classically gamine, rather than the sturdier and wider FGs with N.


Tina Turner and Geraldine Chaplin
(Sources: 1, 2)

The elimination of the plain G type has created two kinds of FGs. We can think of them as F-leaning FGs (Flamboyant Gamine with N) and G-leaning FGs (Flamboyant Gamine without N). I do not like to use “N-leaning” or “D-leaning.” I find it misleading, since neither kind of Flamboyant Gamine can borrow recommendations from the Naturals or from the Dramatics. F-leaning FGs are actually the FGs described in the book, and will probably find it easier to stick with the book recommendations for FG, without dipping into the Gamine section. G-leaning FGs will likely prefer the Gamine recommendations to the FG recommendations alone, and may find some of the FG recommendations, such as plunging necklines, to be unflattering, but may want to sharpen up Gamine to work with the extra yang they have.

I am sure that you can find a similar phenomenon among the N types, C types, and SGs. For SG, for example, I think the general idea would be the same, with some SGs having moderate yin (D answers on the quiz) and some not. I just happen to have spent more time thinking about FG, and have observed the patterns in our FG Facebook group. The division is very obvious. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, especially if you’re in a type that had the middle type eliminated.

Kibbe Style Stereotypes

If you don’t have the physical copy of Metamorphosis and haven’t ever seen the pictures from the book, look at the image below. What type do you think this is?
photo (50)
A monochromatic look? No line break? Maybe it’s some kind of classic, or even a dramatic.

Nope. It’s the Soft Gamine makeover from the book. You may be asking, “But where is the line break? Where are the cute details and the Peter Pan collar?” It doesn’t fit in with the popular image of Soft Gamine at all. But it has crisp details (the shoulders), interesting accessories (big red bead necklace, little gloves), and there is, in fact, a line break. It does not obey the popular rule for short women that you should have your hosiery and your shoe be the same color to create the illusion of a longer leg.

Kibbe himself, according to people who have seen him in person, seems to go back and forth on how useful the book is. Some he tells to ignore the book, some he tells to read it. But while the recommendations can be outdated (I don’t buy sweaters with shoulder pads!), I still find that the recommendations are very useful. It helps you understand the parameters of your type that you can do then use to create your own unique style.

What I would definitely avoid doing, and I think I have mentioned this before, is relying on Pinterest and Polyvore to get an idea of the way your type should use their lines. Even with my own Pinterest, I’m not entirely satisfied with how I represent the types, because I feel like I know my own type the best and the rest I usually just repin from other people. We end up with stereotypes like Soft Gamine=Ingenue and that Soft Natural=Boho. People who come back from Kibbe with these types assigned to them do not end up dressed how the type is generally represented at all.

I think that we tend to look at the types with a point of view that is too narrow. While there is debate in the Kibbe community right now about whether the book has any use at all, I think it’s still the best resource for understanding your type and the lines that it requires. Anybody else’s interpretation should only be considered once you have gotten to know your type well, and when you know what works or what doesn’t.

Determining Your Kibbe Type: Listen to Yourself

When you first discover Kibbe and start looking at blogs, communities, forums, etc., inevitably you’ll begin asking for feedback on what other people think you are. This can sometimes be helpful, but other times it can set you back farther on your Kibbe journey than you were when you started. The only person who I would 100% trust when it comes to my Kibbe type is Kibbe. While I know many people who have been very satisfied with their analyses from people who offer their own services based on Kibbe, they are still offering their own vision of what Kibbe says.

This fact goes double for random people in communities. No matter how much of an expert someone seems to be presenting themselves as, and no matter how sure they sound of how they see Kibbe, don’t forget to listen to what you think and what you know about yourself. This would apply even to me, if you happen to see me around on message boards or if you ask for my advice in the comments. Like anyone else, I’m always learning new things and coming across new discoveries in this style analysis business, and I don’t claim to be an expert, just someone who loves discussing this subject. This especially goes for things I wrote early in this blog. If you read My Kibbe Journey, I went from thinking I was a Soft Dramatic (correctly recognizing the mix of yin and yang in my features), to Soft Natural (thinking that I was a youthful looking SN, recognizing that I had gamine youthfulness but was too yang for Soft Gamine), to finally Flamboyant Gamine, where I remain today. But since I discovered Kibbe, which was only around April (!) of this year, I have had many a world-shaking revelation.

And there have also been instances where someone else’s vision of Kibbe has distorted what I knew from the beginning, which is that Flamboyant Gamine is where I belong. Others’ doubts and distortions clouded my instinct. How did I know I was Flamboyant Gamine? Looking at the groups of celebrity examples, I knew that the Gamines and Flamboyant Gamines were where my “people” were. While I do distrust Pinterest and Polyvore and recommend staying away until you know the difference between Kibbe’s recommendations and a type’s stereotype, everything on a Flamboyant Gamine board made me go “I WANT THAT.” I knew from experience that these were the clothes that worked for me. And for every style I tried outside of FG, I just wanted to add angles and asymmetry to it. Lastly, and most importantly, if you put my face in the Flamboyant Gamine face collage, it just makes sense there.

Basically, what I want to say is that there are two important sources of information when trying to determine your Kibbe type: things that come straight from the horse’s mouth (the information Kibbe provided in the book, although there are some errors–we just learned that Natalie Wood was supposed to be in the Soft Gamine section!–and things he has said to people during their sessions with him) and you. Use your own eyes to see what people verified by Kibbe have in common, and try to discern patterns. Listen to your own inner voice and how you feel in different clothes, and try to see yourself objectively, although it’s very difficult. It is still fine to ask for advice and to seek out information (or an analysis!) from non-Kibbe stylists whose work is based off of his system or people in communities and on message boards, but ultimately, your happiness with your Image Identity is what matters, not someone else’s opinion. Listen to Emerson and “trust thyself.”

Below are images from my own Pinterest that I have connected with along my Flamboyant Gamine journey. I encourage you to look for places where you see yourself, too.

Do You Really Need a Style Analysis?

***Update, 5/21/15: Gwen is a tough one! After examining pictures of her body, I have decided that she is actually FN. Her shoulders are very broad, and her rib cage is wider than her hips. The celebrity I found with the most similar body shape to Gwen’s is Cameron Diaz, who is pretty much universally regarded as FN.***

Note: I have discussed Gwen Stefani with some real-life TRs, who feel that her body is far too yang. So I have settled on her being a Soft Dramatic, with a yin face and a yang body. I still definitely do not think she is FG!

Do I need a style analysis? This is a question I’ve been turning over lately in my mind. While I can’t afford Kibbe, there are two other people that I know of who offer a Kibbe-based service and have generally good reviews: Rachel of Best Dressed and Sarah of Guiding Lines both offer reasonably priced services.

I have, however, yet to get myself analyzed. Truth be told, I’m scared. I don’t want to be told what I don’t want to hear. I don’t feel like I fit the typical body type we see in FG, and I score in C/G range on the test. I find, however, that Kibbe’s recommendations work really well for me, I feel good in FG clothes, and I ruled out other possibilities like SN because I need structure. I have blathered on about how I landed on FG in depth.

So I guess what I’m wondering is, if you feel good in the type you’ve selected, do you really need to get an official analysis? Maybe someone would put me in SG because of my body shape. Maybe someone else would make me a small SD. But at the end of the day, FG is where I feel the best and where I feel myself. I think of Gwen Stefani, who you’ll sometimes find on Flamboyant Gamine Pinterest boards. Gwen, though, has always seemed like an outlier to me in FG. Her face is not FG at all. Then I remembered that she played Jean Harlow in The Aviator.

(Sources: 1, 2)

She looks fine in FG. She is STUNNING in TR, with a face that would absolutely not be out of face in glamorous 1930s Hollywood. I think she’s always known this, because even when she was wearing Dickies, she still did a very glam makeup look. Now, I do think that Gwen’s beauty is truly revealed in in her TR/Jean Harlow look. But she has made an image for herself as a cool dresser, not a glam one. So I’m divided on whether a TR Metamorphosis would be the best thing for her. But looking at her in the Jean Harlow pictures, I see her, not the clothes.

As for myself, what if I went to see Kibbe and he made me an SC, my nightmare type? (No offense to any SCs out there; it’s great on you, but not for me.) The ladylike image of SC is so far removed from everything I am. Would I stop dressing FG if an analyst told me I wasn’t? To be honest, probably not.

Have you ever been analyzed? Were you pleased by the results? Do you think Gwen should dress in bias cut silk gowns all the time?