The Three Levels of Dress: Your Native Level

A couple of weeks ago, I introduced the Three Levels of Dress from the system I outline in my workbook. I think that this concept can be applied to Kibbe’s system in a way that helps us understand why certain types struggle with different kinds of dressing, and what essential quality their clothes need to have in all three levels to work.

dramatic2
(Source)
DRAMATIC
Native Level: Third, Formal/Two Star
Key Word: Chic
People with a Dramatic base type have a natural formality. In Soft Dramatics, this reveals itself in glamour. A Soft Dramatic looks perfectly natural dripping with jewels, even if they’re at work or at the playground, while the rest of us would look a little nuts. Instead of glamour in the sparkly sense, Dramatics have a high-fashion element to their look, and what they wear would probably look severe on anyone else.
Most Difficult Level: Casual

romantic
(Source)
ROMANTIC
Native Level: Third, Formal/Two Star
Key Word: Feminine
Romantic women cannot go too feminine. While Theatrical Romantic has some sharpness, they still can’t borrow from the boys. Like Soft Dramatics, both Romantics also need some glamour in their look no matter what the occasion; their jewelry is just a bit smaller. Jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers just aren’t going to work.
Most Difficult Level: Casual

natural1
(Source)
NATURAL
Native Level: First, Casual
Key Word: Relaxed
“Relaxed” does not mean sloppy. “Relaxed” means ease of movement, lack of restriction. While Flamboyant Naturals have the scale to wear big jewelry and hair, they don’t really have to if they don’t want to, unlike Soft Dramatics, and dripping with diamonds would look like too much outside of a formal setting. Their long line can do a lot of the talking for them. Soft Naturals can go more ornate and feminine than we often think, but still it will look more formal on them than it would a Romantic. Both types need to be able to move in their clothes and their hair should be less stiff as well.
Most Difficult Type: Two Star

classic3
(Source)
CLASSIC
Native Level: Second, Business/One Star
Key Word: Elegant
Classics should never look sloppy, but they should also never “gild the lily.” The focus should be on their natural elegance and symmetry. Dramatic Classic can look like a stripped-down FG or a ready-to-wear version of Dramatic–it’s simplified, giving it the elegant air Classics need. Soft Classic always retains the femininity from its Romantic influence, but it never goes too far.
Most Difficult Level: Casual

gamine
(Source)
GAMINE
Native Level: First, Casual
Key Word: Fun
Gamines need to keep their sense of fun or they will wither like a flower without water. For Flamboyant Gamines, this fun is edgy. For Soft Gamines, this fun is playful–it’s winking at us. Gamines can wear things to formal events or work that would make anyone else look a bit silly.
Most Difficult Level: One Star

In the coming weeks, I’ll show how each type can dress in their most challenging level and retain the essential characteristics of the type.

4 Comments on The Three Levels of Dress: Your Native Level

  1. ruby
    January 10, 2016 at 10:35 am

    A very incisive post as usual. I will be interested to see what you have to say in the coming weeks because this really sums up the struggle I have sorting out my kibbe – the shapes I need to wear suggest DC rather than FN but I don’t feel like formality suits me. I could easily imagine wearing an outfit like Jane Fonda in the natural illustration but everything would have to be a bit narrower. I think i’d look downright weird in the classic outfit although the shapes would certainly be ok. I do wonder if the best outfits I have figured out recently, out of necessity to suit my personality & lifestyle, are level 1 DC, I will be interested to compare what I have come up with, with your suggestions.

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      January 12, 2016 at 2:54 am

      I think a lot of people have this struggle. If David Kibbe ever wrote a new book, casual wear is something he’d definitely have to cover.

      Reply
  2. Laurel
    January 11, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    I too am interested and feel that you have hit the nail on the head. As a Romantic and a normal person (not a movie star) casual dress is what I do the most. And it is the most difficult thing to do Romantically. That and cold weather dressing. I have a devised a uniform or peplum tops, jeggings, embellished flats and lots of jewelry. I guess it works.

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      January 12, 2016 at 2:54 am

      That sounds on point for Romantic Casual!

      Reply

Leave a Reply to ruby Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.