How to Know If Your Kibbe Is Right

Some people believe that the only way you can truly know if your Kibbe Image Identity is correct is if you visit Kibbe himself and he tells you what you are. Some feel the need to be told by any analyst what they are, and will go with that, even if it feels wrong.

I am not in either camp. To me, the point of all of this color and style stuff is really to make our lives easier and to feel better about ourselves. It doesn’t matter what an analyst says if the designation they gave you feels wrong. You are the ultimate judge of what works for you.

One thing I’ve learned from reading reports from people who have gone to see Kibbe is that there is no real way to distill his process. Some say it’s essence. Some say it’s lines. He sometimes seems to contradict himself. Whatever the actual process he uses to decide people’s types, the only way we’d ever really replicate it is by cloning the man himself.

So what do you do if you can’t spend thousands of dollars to go to New York and see Kibbe? I would advise you to go back to the real reason you got interested in all of this stuff in the first place. The point is that you want to look better, right? So if you can decide on your type for yourself and it accomplishes these two goals, I’d say you’re doing pretty well.

While you’re not confined to the recommendations for your type–I figured out how to make maxi dresses work for me, for example–keeping your basic silhouette and line requirements in mind while shopping makes shopping really easy and much less stressful and disheartening.

This is how shopping the right Kibbe type feels:

When I was in incorrect types, I hated shopping for the first time in my life. Being in the right Kibbe type does make things easier and feel better, even if your type isn’t found in stores all that much. You know exactly what works and what doesn’t. You know that you won’t hate what you see in the mirror when you try something on. The only stress is manufacturers who seem to really only want to design clothes for N types.

You don’t need reassurance from anyone in a group, or an analyst, or Kibbe himself. He wrote the book to enable women to do it for themselves. You are the ultimate arbiter of what works for you. Don’t worry about whether Kibbe would really make you this type, or live in a type that is wrong because someone else told you what you are and they’re the expert. You’re the one who has to live in a type–what is important is whether it feels right for you.

9 Comments on How to Know If Your Kibbe Is Right

  1. Micci
    July 20, 2015 at 8:46 am

    Couldn’t agree more! 🙂

    • stylesyntax
      July 20, 2015 at 10:20 pm


  2. Laurel
    July 20, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    I know I am a Theatrical Romantic. I know it. But I frequently find my myself experimenting with the full range of yin archetypes. To my mind this works for me and frankly I get bored seeing myself in only Theatrical Romantic things every damn day. I also I am a True Winter and I have strong need for contrast which doesn’t always seem to jive with Theatrical Romantic. To further complicate things I adore stripes which is the antithesis of Theatrical Romantic. Not sure what it all means, just thought I’d share.

    • stylesyntax
      July 20, 2015 at 10:19 pm

      When he works with clients, Kibbe does personalize things. The recommendations in general should work for people across a type, but you can look at your season, etc. and see where you can tweak them (which is something I cover in the workbook). For instance, as an autumn, I do color/pattern a little differently than what’s recommended for FGs. And I think the experimented with other yin archetypes to see what you can do is totally fine, too, and something that I think he does do with clients. There are things that work for multiple types, they will just look TR on a TR body or R on an R body.

    • Susan
      October 2, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      Susan Slavin is TR and I’ve seen her twice in a dress with stripes. The entire dress is stripes! Kibble really does tweak for the individual woman. I think that ‘outside the box’ is something we may have to experiment with on our own, but it also makes our style very personal.

  3. Katherine
    July 20, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    This is so great and I agree with all of it. After finally trying a kibbe that feels right I look fondly back on my diy process. Trying a bunch of different types has allowed me to see with my own eyes what types of clothes work for me. I especially like what you had to say about shopping being easier in the propper kibbe type. When I was living in SC I had not enjoyed shopping at all and that was a big clue it wasn’t right.

    • stylesyntax
      July 20, 2015 at 10:15 pm

      I definitely think that we can feel what’s right or wrong on ourselves. And the DIY process has been invaluable for me in terms of understanding my body and what works!

      • Shawna
        October 16, 2015 at 8:53 pm

        I agree and that is why I have typed myself as a soft natural. Every single time I take a Kibbe Quiz I come out a soft classic, though I don’t actually want to. But I may not be seeing my body and face shapes the way Kibbe would see them and thus choosing the wrong descriptions. My height is a bit of a monkey wrench too but then Kibbe himself types people who are tall as things other than dramatics. I am so not a dramatic. When I saw that Christie Brinkley was typed a soft natural I was relieved. I typed myself sort of working backwards. I went with which silhouettes really seem to suit me, when do I get compliments, what am I drawn to. I studied the guidelines of what to wear more than the descriptions of the actual bodies and thought about which guidelines actually worked for me. I think I may dabble in soft classic sometimes and maybe dabble in dramatic classic a tiny bit, but overall what works best for me is soft natural. I am primarily very soft in both colouring and shape but a classic guidelines are not quite right-second best. A gored, slightly flared midi-skirt with a flat, smooth line over the hips and thighs is one of my all time best looks. I need waist skimming but defined is not good and neither is unstructured. Even my personality most suits soft natural. So that’s how I figured it all out in the end.

        • stylesyntax
          October 18, 2015 at 7:48 pm

          I believe Christie is a Natural in the book; I haven’t seen that Kibbe has moved her to SN, but I’d actually put her in FN. If SN is working for you, though, stick with it 🙂


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