Statement on Kibbe, Part Two: My Own Interpretation of Kibbe

I thought it might be worthwhile to talk a bit about how I see the system now, and the ways in which I’ve deviated from how Kibbe present(ed) it and the ways in which I haven’t.

1. It’s all about geometry.
Kibbe doesn’t talk much about face/body lines in the book. But if you look at the celebrities he uses as examples in the book, you can see it. This is the philosophy used by Guiding Lines. I think that it is something that you can train your eye to see. Lately, my accuracy rate with guessing what people will be typed as by Guiding Lines has been 100%. I don’t think I could do what Sarah does (drawing your face and body lines on top of your photographs), but I am pretty confident in my ability to see it. You can try to do the same thing for yourself by looking for harmony in facial collages with Kibbe celebrities.

2. Forget about personality, taste, etc. when deciding your type.
As I have often complained about, Pinterests and Polyvores, even my own, show just one interpretation of a style. But if you just take the lines and Kibbe’s general guidelines, I think you can express yourself and achieve any style you desire. This is where John Kitchener can help, I think. Or you could try writing a style statement or creating a mood board. And then take that information and filter everything through the lines for your type.

3. I do agree, more or less, with eliminating C, N, and G…
…To a point. I can see in people who are in the Cs, Ns, or Gs that there are people who are much closer to the middle than distinctly, say, Dramatic or Soft Classic. They will probably want to base their style on the middle type, but add touches from the yang or yin type accordingly, pretty much like what I wrote about Gamines here.

4. Modern Kibbe examples are just asking for trouble.
Kibbe has typed some modern celebrities in recent sessions with groups. I believe, however, that the things he says during these sessions are to be taken with a grain of salt, because he likely hasn’t made a thorough study of the celebrity being discussed and just says what’s come to mind from what he’s seen in passing in magazines or whatever.

This is what I’ve come up with so far. Thoughts?

9 Comments on Statement on Kibbe, Part Two: My Own Interpretation of Kibbe

  1. Jayleen
    December 22, 2014 at 3:26 am

    I’m fairly new to Kibbe’s system (I just got the book a couple days ago), but from what I’ve read from his book and your site, I agree with you. My mother and I have taken many fashion tests over the years and have tried to be several different types. (Tori Hartman’s Fabulous You (1995) was the book we liked most.) When I discovered your site, and subsequently Kibbe’s system, everything clicked! My mother is a SN and I’m a SD, and we’d each been trying to be the opposite! That’s what many fashion guides online suggest anyway, e.g. soften your angles, sharpen your curves, etc.

    I can see what Kibbe is saying by throwing out C, N, and G, but when I first took the test I thought I was C. To find out that Kibbe had dropped C was very disheartening. Sure Classics are rare, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. However, after reading the book I realize I fit better in SD, so maybe that just proves the point…

    From your last post, I was disappointed to hear that all is not well with how “the Kibbes conduct their business”. I’m new to the system and I love how it works. Besides, after spending $75 on his book I’d hate to just throw it out! I’ll be following along with your journey, so keep it up!

    P.S. I’d love to find out which modern celebrities fit Kibbe’s types. Is there any resource you know of that has accurate examples?

    • stylesyntax
      December 22, 2014 at 11:14 am

      You can look at Rachel Nachmias’s Pinterest (, but she has her own Kibbe-based system, and there are a few people who have been analyzed by both Kibbe and Rachel and have come back with different results.

      There are several Kibbe facebook groups, but some of them are hidden, so you can email me ( for more information if you’re interested. They have the lists of all the celebrities that Kibbe has typed, including modern examples, but as I said, I think we should take these with a grain of salt, since usually just someone asks him for an example or what type someone is, and he just answers with what comes to mind.

      I think that the best thing about Kibbe’s system is that he, as you said, turns conventional fashion wisdom on its head and doesn’t try to make short people look tall, tall people look short, soft people look angular, angular people look soft, etc. It is exciting to me that you found the system thorugh my site, because I had figured that it would mainly attract people already familiar with the system.

      The dropping of C, N, and G is controversial, but it doesn’t mean that we have to throw out those sections of the book. I think it means that people in a certain type are on a continuum, and you use the middle type accordingly. I don’t use to the Gamine recommendations at all, but I know women who do, and simply make sure they have angles and pointy collars to reflect their slight extra yang.

  2. Helen
    December 22, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Hi, I have done the quiz several times and have the same results each time
    Dominant C with
    A – 1
    D 2
    I struggle trying to figure out what it means – I am thinking dramatic classic however this seams to ignore the scoring of ‘d’ (and as it is of the same value as ‘b’ ) and surely would have the same weight as the ‘b’. I hope I am making sense!
    Could you comment please?
    Thankyou, I am enjoying your blog and listening to your thinking process

    • stylesyntax
      December 22, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      The quiz is a bit tricky. As I’ve learned more about the system, my quiz answers for myself have changed drastically. I used to score in the high 30s, and now I score in the low 20s. It is hard for me to say what your quiz answers could mean if I don’t know what you look like. What I recommend is just trying on different types to see how they fit. See if you need structure in your clothes or not; if you look better with a long vertical line or line breaks; if you need a cinched waist, a slightly defined waist, or no waist at all… There are a couple of Facebook groups if you’re not already in them, and the people there can help you figure it out. Your results look DC to me, and your D answers could be insignificant in terms of your overall impression–I have a wasp waist, but somehow it’s not noticeable at all on me. You also could be very close to plain C, and just need the tiniest bit of yang for your yang undercurrent.

      • Helen
        December 22, 2014 at 10:49 pm

        thanks so much for your response. I tend to dress in separates and need structure on my shoulder and to have shaping at my waist. I do need design lines to beak up the visual size of my body, although I am not huge and just yesterday one of my young colleagues made a comment of me being little, which is not how I see myself!
        I think I was looking for an easy formula to getting dressed but of course that doesn’t work. I think why DC doesn’t seem to fit, I always see pinterest where the use of a classic style jacket is relied on- I find that I am never comfortable in that style of jacket, instead I tend to reach for a leather jacket. My choice of jewellery fits with natural; rough cut gems, artistic pieces and have a preference for earrings and bracelets but not necklaces and usually one piece at a time.
        I also am colour typed as autumn.
        I prefer natural types of fabric. I do not fit with the description of any of the naturals
        As I write this out I am thinking that I may be one of the gamines
        I will check the various sites for explanations and go with my instincts.
        Thanks Helen

        • stylesyntax
          December 23, 2014 at 8:49 pm

          I would definitely try FG. Sometimes they can be mistaken for one another.

  3. Hanna
    December 24, 2014 at 8:49 am

    I like this.

    I can see the reasoning behind “removing” the middle types but in the community it’s had the effect of polarizing the types and has increased the tendency towards ‘one true type of X’. It’s also led to people focusing on images where the celebrity examples are styled closer to the ideal or extreme ends of types. I’ll use Grace Kelly as an example. People used to pin and otherwise use photos of her styled in very simple styles close to C recommendations but those images rarely get used now, instead people post images of her in softer, more detailed SC styles. IMO she was more harmonious in the more C styles but the SC styles are now seen as better because she’s called SC instead of C.

    (As much as I hate classic style I probably am some sort of C (though I go back and forth and never settle completely, I pretty much know what doesn’t work though so it probably doesn’t matter much what I actually call myself, if anything) and fairly close to the center and this tendency to focus on one style and insist on the “extreme” ends of types instead of seeing them as a spectrum or continuum or a field with variations and gradations and differences makes it all the more difficult to find something to like about the type.)

    • stylesyntax
      December 24, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      Images that other people post can be the most misleading thing. So many wrong turns have been taken because of the Pinterests and Polyvores of others! It’s definitely not that overnight, Grace Kelly became more yin. No, she is just on one side of the line, slightly.

      • Hanna
        December 25, 2014 at 8:11 am

        It skews perception and eventually becomes accepted as true.


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