Does Weight Gain Make You More Yin?

This is a question that occasionally comes up among people exploring Kibbe. My answer to this, as it is for so many things involving Kibbe, is yes and no.

It makes you more yin in that you are more likely to get more yin points on the Kibbe quiz. Your arms are thicker; you’re more likely to have volume on your face. But although your test results might show something different, in reality, if you are a yang type, you actually probably become even more yang. The quiz is not calibrated to reflect the types at different weights. The physical descriptions include a section on how each type gains weight, but it can be hard to see past the physical description for the non-overweight versions of types. (Here are the weight gain descriptions.)


This is a picture of Edie Sedgwick at a heavier weight than the one that she was when she was famous.


Does she look more yang in the photos where she is skinny? Sure. We see a sinewy, curveless figure. But I like the photo of Edie with the dark hair and heavier weight because I can see myself in it, and I see how the extra yin we see is an illusion. My arms now are a similar shape, and don’t have the length commonly associated with Flamboyant Gamine. In fact, that is why I spent so much time considering Soft Gamine. I am soft. But I am not yin-dominant.

I actually follow the Flamboyant Gamine weight gain pattern perfectly: “Body tends to become stocky and square. Excess weight usually collects from the waist down, rarely above. Arms and legs tend to become thick, as does the waist and hip area. Face may become very puffy and fleshy.”

My ribcage has remained pretty much the same, but my limbs and hip area have gotten decidedly thicker–and more and more square. I came to Kibbe because of weight gain. I used to be very skinny and didn’t even understand what a “problem area” was, because everything looked good on me. But with weight gain, I no longer knew how to dress myself without hating what I saw in the mirror. In the Flamboyant Gamine recommendations, my problem areas were no longer a problem. Breaking the line in the right place emphasizes the nice shape my upper torso still has and and breaks up the boxiness of my bottom half. I see the magic that knowing your Kibbe type can do–which is why I can only shake my head when people try to dismiss the recommendations as being “too 80s.” Some details need to be tweaked, and we have to make allowances for the wonders of spandex, but the basic outline of how your type should dress has not changed. What flatters your body hasn’t changed.

I asked some other Flamboyant Gamines what they thought, and the consensus seems to be that when skinny, an FG can borrow more from straight Gamine, and maybe even some from Soft Gamine. But with weight gain, you’re better off sticking strictly to the Flamboyant Gamine recommendations and not wandering off. I don’t know how it works in other types, but I wager that the results would be the same.

So in my case, I have found that while weight gain may make me seem more yin at first glance, it has actually emphasized the yang qualities of my shape, and has made sticking to my yang FG recommendations far more important.

Have you gone through a similar experience with weight gain and Kibbe?

13 Comments on Does Weight Gain Make You More Yin?

  1. Tordis
    April 12, 2015 at 9:19 am

    After a while, you recognise the different kinds of fleshyness among the types. I don’t see Edie as having soft flesh. It’s very compact and “hard” and yang. This kind of flesh goes a LONG way until it starts wobbling. My flesh is completely different. It’s very soft and wobbly and wide. With only a little actual weight gain, I look like weighing much more. I’m weighing 3-5kg more than my ideal weight and it looks like double as much. Yang women seem to be able to collect much more body fat until it looks like a weight gain.
    Somehow it’s not so bad that I gained a little weight the last two years, because now I can confirm once more that I’m a TR – my weight gain pattern is exactly like in the link in your posting. I don’t know if it makes me more yin. What is more yin than TR? R. But I don’t think, I look more straight R-ish.

    • stylesyntax
      April 12, 2015 at 5:51 pm

      That’s a good point. I was so focused on how much nicer fat distributes on a yin person–retaining the nice, smooth curve you guys have already–that I didn’t think about how well a yang body can carry weight. People tend to think I weigh about 20 pounds less than I do, and perhaps some of the credit should go to Kibbe, since I’m sure dressing FG helps, but partial credit goes to the fact that my fat tends to go to my limbs and hips/thighs before, say, my midsection. And it is probably, as you described, compact/hard.

      • Regina
        November 21, 2018 at 4:54 pm

        Hmm — I’m starting to come to terms with the SC result I get from the Kibbe quiz, but this makes me second-guess myself. I think I’m fairly soft and rounded, but I can definitely carry far more weight than I show (eg I’m 260lb right now and I’ve never had anyone guess above 220lb). Sigh, back to the drawing board.

        • stylesyntax
          November 23, 2018 at 8:53 pm

          If you haven’t taken the quiz, would Soft Classic make sense to you? The quiz is no longer a tool that David recommends.

          • Regina
            November 23, 2018 at 8:58 pm

            Sometimes I think SC does make sense, but I’m not convinced it isn’t because I like the simplicity of the style. My husband thinks I’m R, and I only know for sure that I’m not heavily yang, beyond having sturdy bones.

  2. Chiara
    April 17, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    Tori’s comment is really interesting, because some people do look heavier much more easily.
    I look even more disproportionate with significant weight gain, and it is definitely a Kibbe type indicator for me. I pretty much only gain significant weight on the hips and lower thighs- my chest, arms, lower legs don’t change much at all. So when I put on weight, I am still relatively thin looking on top, and it is impossible (as opposed to just difficult) to find dresses that fit the difference in sizing.

    • stylesyntax
      April 19, 2015 at 9:38 pm

      I used to think that the Kibbe weight gain indicators didn’t mean much, but now I think it’s one of the most helpful things you can look at. Dramatics are interesting. With men, they actually gain all their weight in their stomach. I feel slightly lucky as an FG, because while I don’t carry weight attractively as an R base might, I feel like I carry it well and look like I weight less than I do and am still compact.

  3. Rosesred
    April 20, 2015 at 9:12 am

    My very large FN-friend is a very different sort of fat then my SN-friend. FN is massive, very present. SN is cuddly. One is yang, the other yin. I’m still learning this stuff, but it’s fascinating to see the patterns emerge.

    If you’re heavier, and you’re not obviously a romantic, people tend to see soft natural characteristics, regardless of actual kibbe type. I think that’s because we see fat as curves and soft. (Might also be the reason so many people start out thinking they are a yin-y something, because they see themselfs as puffy, volumnous). I pretty much started out thinking I was a yin-side Kibbetype because I see lots of round, wobbly bits when I look at myself, and in my mind that equals softness and thus Yin. What I forgot, was that with Kibbe it’s always compared to the other types! Compared to a romantic at the same BMI, my armes are very toned, etc.

    • stylesyntax
      April 23, 2015 at 12:38 am

      Yep, I think a lot of people who are not at their ideal weight and have a yang base end up in Soft Natural. We just don’t know what the out-of-shape versions of types look like, since we mainly have celebrity examples to work with. My arms aren’t toned or whatever compared to a Romantic, but I can see when I look at my shape how I differ from types with more yin.

  4. Natalie
    March 2, 2018 at 7:31 am

    I gain weight exactly like a Dramatic Classic. It never really crossed my mind that I can be one, no wonder I look so bad in even remotely curved lines.
    “Excess weight shows up right away and collects from the waist down.
    You seem to gain weight in the hips and thighs. You rarely gain weight around the bustline. The heavier you get, the more pear-shaped you become.”

    Even thought it gives me curves, weight gain overall makes me look more massive and it doesn’t take away from the sharp shoulders, you can still see tone/muscles in the arms and calves.

    Tordis seems to be right, I’ve noticed I can carry a lot of body fat before it starts to look like weight gain and starts to wiggle.

    My sister is a SN and you can clearly see how soft and wobbly her cheeks are, and she’s only 3-4 kilograms away from her ideal. While I’m heavier than her(not a big height difference) and there’s fat on my face, It’s a very thick fat, my face even looks tight most of the time but It’s obvious how thick it is when I smile.

    I think one of the reasons I was so confused about my body type was that I’ve never been really thin, I have looked thin but I was still carrying extra body mass. Maybe this is the case for a lot of women. Because we look at our flesh and since it doesn’t look like the flesh of the thin Yang dominant examples we tend to think we look more like the Yin examples.

  5. Bettina
    August 7, 2021 at 9:32 am

    So glad I found these posts. I’m still trying to work out what type of gamine I am. I don’t think I’m soft gamine. I’ve put on a bit of weight in the last year or so (covid, plus older/less exercise) but I am mostly angular rather than round. I think. I still find it confusing. When I leant to FG, I read that they have broad shoulders and I do not. But my hips are broader. They’re kind of square. I am sort of a boxy pear. (Awkward. Hard to judge because of my scoliosis). I have a broad nose bridge, substantial sized nose but pointy (ish), wide round cheeks, not a great deal of definition in my jaw line. I’m such a mixed bag! Is there any way you could help, do you think? Thank you 🙂

    • stylesyntax
      August 17, 2021 at 7:08 pm

      Hi Bettina,
      The best way to get help with this would be to join Strictly Kibbe on Facebook. 🙂

  6. Bettina
    August 7, 2021 at 10:26 am

    Re my comment above (that I can’t seem to edit): my shoulders are not narrow for my body. They’re probably just regular. I have always thought of myself as having narrow shoulders because I take a small size in coats/jackets (AU size 6). I’m still confused how to ‘read’ shoulders in a kibbe way.


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