Archive of ‘Basic Types’ category

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.

Bringing Back Natural

Obviously, I spend a lot of time thinking about and overanalyzing Kibbe. One of the things that has thrown me for a loop as of late is the fact that Kibbe has gotten rid of the Natural category. Now, getting rid of Classic and Gamine I understand. Very few people will be either a perfect blend of the two or a perfect contrast of the two. Nearly everyone will fall a tiny bit on the side of one or the other. But Natural is different. Natural is only one element, blunt yang, which you can also sometimes find in Dramatic Classic and Flamboyant Gamine.

The other pure types, Dramatic and Romantic, can still be found in Kibbe. Yes, Dramatics are rare, but he didn’t get rid of them completely. So why did he get rid of the pure version of the other element in the system?

I don’t have much to say about this. I’m just confused right now.

So is OG Natural Ingrid Berman.


Soft Gamine vs. Ingenue

One of the notable things about Kibbe’s system is that it lacks the Ingenue category. If you look at the quiz, A answers are Dramatic, B are Natural, C is Classic, E is Romantic, and mixed A and E is Gamine. But he does not mention Ingenue, nor what the D category means, at all. The D answers correlate to the Ingenue answers for systems that do have this category. As someone for whom D answers predominate on the Kibbe test, this is something I have thought about a lot. I have seen D-dominate people be categorized as Soft Dramatic, Soft Natural, Soft Classic, Soft Gamine, and Theatrical Romantic. I am still more or less trying to decide between those five.

What to do with your D, however, is a topic for another day, one I’ll cover when I feel like I’ve figured myself out. What I want to discuss today is how Soft Gamine often gets conflated with Ingenue, and how they are, in fact, not the same, and shouldn’t be used synonymously. Kibbe himself has apparently said that no adult woman should dress as an Ingenue. Many of the modern interpretations of Soft Gamine that you’ll find on Pinterest and Polyvore, however, retain the sort of cuteness and innocence that you’ll find in Ingenue, and many people do, in fact, name their boards or sets “Soft Gamine/Ingenue.”

I think it’s important here to clarify the major difference between Soft Gamine and Ingenue, and that is the amount of yin. In McJimsey’s interpretation, the Ingenue is the polar opposite of Dramatic. In Kibbe, I would say that the polar opposite of Soft Gamine would actually be Dramatic Classic, since it has the opposite ratio of yin/yang and is blended (see my chart here to see what I mean). In Kibbe, Romantic takes the place of being the opposite of Dramatic, so I suppose that if Ingenue were even on the scale, it’d be off-the-charts yin.

Kibbe’s system also does not change with age. In McJimsey, and Carole Jackson’s Color Me Beautiful, a Gamine or an Ingenue will eventually mature into a Classic or a Natural (in a Gamine’s case) or a Romantic (in an Ingenue’s case). I think Kibbe’s system only really works for adult women, and being a Gamine is not something you age out of. Betty White, as a Soft Gamine, is a perfect example of this, I think. At 92, she still has the Gamine joie de vivre:

Soft Gamines are yin in size, yin in flesh, slightly yang in bone structure, with yang drive and charisma and yin charm. This is a far cry from McJimsey’s “artless and naive” Ingenue. A Soft Gamine is a force to be reckoned with. While there are some recommendations–peplums, bolero jackets, bouffant skirts–that can apply to both, a Soft Gamine does not need the ruffles and daintiness that an Ingenue does. A Soft Gamine is a grown-ass woman.

There’s a reason why Kibbe’s prime Soft Gamine example is Bette Davis:

It’s because Soft Gamines are awesome. So let’s give these Soft Gamine Betty(e)s some respect, and stop confusing “Soft Gamine” and “Ingenue.”

McJimsey’s Ingenue

Now, Ingenue kind of has a bad rap. Kibbe says that no adult woman should dress like that, and thus did not include it in his system at all. McJimsey calls it “naive, unsophisticated, artless, and even childlike.” Ouch! But we are going to go over her definition of the Ingenue anyway. The Ingenue is the polar opposite of the Dramatic. An Ingenue is dainty, young, delicate in build and coloring, below average in height, and more charmingly pretty than sophisticated. Someone who is average in height can have Ingenue qualities if they are slender with delicate coloring. A pink-and-white coloring with natural blonde or light brown hair can lend an Ingenue quality to a person. Ingenues will be cheapened by artifical hair coloring and their charm will be spoiled. An Ingenue has a small, upturned nose, round cheeks, a rosebud mouth, and a gently rounded figure. Short feathered curls with a tiny bow or a ribbon or a short curly ponytail with a ribbon around it will increase her yin quality. An Ingenue should not try to copy the Romantic’s sophistication, but instead be content with her own ingenuous and natural charm. If the Gamine has a sturdy “little boy” look, an Ingenue has a dainty “little girl” look. Her steps are light and dainty. Her posture reflects her mood, whether her head is lowered when she is relaxed and/or shy, or if she may she is dancing on tiptoe and sparkling with laughter. Since the Ingenue is so youthful, it is rare to find a perfect Ingenue over the age of 16. But having blonde hair, fair skin, and delicate features, coupled with small size, will give off an Ingenue impression long after youth has passed. If you have a small, round face and big eyes, you can put some yin, Ingenue details in your outfit. As an Ingenue ages, she can add more Romantic and Classic styles, and change her hairstyle and mannerisms to more sophisticated ones. If you have a yin face but are not as small in size, you can add softness and curved necklines, but your details will not be as dainty.

McJimsey’s Ingenues are Helen Hayes, Shirley Jones, Hayley Mills, Tricia Nixon, and Debbie Reynolds.

(Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

The Ingenue must always select clothes that reflect her youth and daintiness. She should follow the rococo line from her hair and facial features, and while she can wear frilly dresses, she can also wear simpler clothes with delicate details in feminine fabrics. Due to her small stature, she should keep the details small and keep the effect simple, without omitting dainty details. It may seem too coy and naive and not fashion-forward enough for even the college girl. Subtle touches of Ingenue, such as dainty cotton blouses or eyelet summer dresses, may be used. Fashions specifically mentioned include:

  • Bouffant skirts
  • Empire or princess silhouettes (empire makes legs look longer)
  • Rows of ruffles or tucks
  • Capelets and boleros
  • Peplums
  • emphasis at the yoke, frequently with trim
  • fullness from gathers, rather than darts, especially at the yoke, sleeve, and waist
  • curving necklines
  • suits can be worn, but they need to have soft lines and be of fabrics that are not too severe

    The Ingenue does not have to overdo the curves, since fabrics such as organdy, taffeta, batiste, voile, or soft, lightweight woolens and cashmeres sustain the yin. Colors for the Ingenue should be dainty pastels or sparkling tints in blues, pinks, orchids, peach, mint green, and aqua, used with white accents in accessories. Navy and cocoa brown are good Ingenue neutrals, as are pearl gray and creamy beige. Light grayed hues are good for suits. Accessories should be dainty and not too extreme in style, and they include shoes with medium or low curved heels, cut-out slippers, and dainty bows and straps in kid leathers (beige for street, dyed-to-match for formal wear); gathered pouch or small clutch bags; and dainty pearl, rhinestone, and ceramic jewelry. Hats can have ribbons or flowers, and perhaps a small veil.

    (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

  • McJimsey’s Gamine

    In the book, McJimsey spells “gamine” as “gamin,” but I’ve gone with “gamine” here because it’s what is usually found when discussing this style type, and also because “gamin” is the masculine form. As I’ve mentioned previously, McJimsey places Gamine at the yin end of the spectrum, and has it as more yin than Romantic. McJimsey’s Gamine is the yin version of the Natural. Like the Natural, she is fun and casual, but she is small in stature and looks young, and often is young. In her system, it is a common type for high school or college-aged girls. She is mischevious and has some Peter Pan to her personality. Physically, she is slender, but not fragile; she often has a turned-up snub nose and small, round features, except for her eyes, which may be large. She often wears her hair in bangs or in a ponytail. Her skin varies from fair and freckled to dark, and her hair can be any color, but her youthfulness is always her most distinguishing characteristic. She does not usually wear makeup apart from a touch of lipstick. If she tries to look more sophisticated with a lot of makeup and so on, she will lose her youthful charm and look like a poor imitation of herself. She looks best when when she wears simple, playful looks.

    McJimsey’s Gamines are Goldie Hawn, Audrey Hepburn, and Ethel Kennedy.

    (Sources: 1, 2, 3)

    The Gamine is the more modern of the two yin types (the other being Ingenue, which I’ll cover in my next post). She wears young clothes, like what you’d find in the juniors section. Gamine clothes do not, however, vary as much from year to year as the Dramatic and Romantic clothes do, and are less extreme, although Gamines may fall victim to fads. Skirt length is more indicative of changing styles than silhouette. Yin people generally wear shorter skirts, so when miniskirts are in fashion, they tend to go very short. Fashions specifically mentioned for the Gamine are:

  • short box or bolero jackets
  • Small waistline
  • Full gathered or pleated skirt
  • Checked or plaid cottons
  • Sweater with shorts, jeans, or skirt–they look better in jeans and shorts than any other type
  • Tailored and tucked in shirtwaist blouses, either white or with small geometric prints
  • Shells in colorful stripes
  • Sleeveless overblouses
  • Peter Pan or convertible collar, or scoop and bateau necklines in more casual situations

    Since she is small, small details suit a Gamine, but she should avoid frilly or lacy trim. Her clothes should have small buttons, small pockets, collars, and cuffs, or small bows or braids for interest. Gamine fabrics include gingham, pique, shagbark, corduroy, jersey, soft tweeds, and flannel. For formalwear, sheer cottons are appropriate for summer, and velveteen or taffeta for winter. Plaids, checks, or stylized florals in bright, youthful colors are flattering. Good colors for Gamines are white, bright yellow-reds, clear blues, and aqua. Dramatic colors like purple, gold, and chartreuse are not typical, and should only be worn by a Gamine if she has Dramatic or Romantic qualities. Shoes include flats and shorter heels and small clutch bag. Jewelry should be kept to a minimum, as it is not youthful. Handmade silver Indian jewelry or simple rings or pins can be worn, if kept to a minimum. Gamines wear berets, pillbox hats, and small roller hats, though the casual Gamine doesn’t wear hats very often.

    (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

  • McJimsey’s Romantic

    McJimsey’s Romantic, unlike Kibbe’s, is not the most yin expression on her scale. Yin, as I’ve mentioned previously, is a youthful quality in McJimsey, and the Romantic is sophisticated and dignified. She is the prom queen, the film goddess. She is more exaggerated than her youthful counterpart, the Ingenue, who will often age into a Romantic. Unless soemone is exquisitely and unusually beautiful, either in figure, face, or hair, and then they will be able to wear some Romantic elements, a Romantic will usually only be found in those 25 and older. A Romantic can wear exaggerated extremes of fashion, which the younger, less-sophisticated Ingenue can’t. A Romantic will often have striking coloring as well, whether it is Titian red hair and pale skin, an olive-skinned brunette, or a golden blonde, but all types of beauty can be Romantic if they combine feminine charm and beauty with the theatrical. Romantics have delicately rounded or heart-shaped faces, a full bust, a slim waist, and long, slender legs. Their complexion is perfect, their eyes large and luminous with long lashes, and a long and straight or tilted and delicate nose. So basically, they are the epitome of feminine glamour and allure, and have to in fact be careful not to exaggerate their beauty with too much makeup, too tight clothing, or too many elaborate accessories.

    McJimsey’s Romantics are Ann-Margret, the Gabor sisters, Jean Shrimpton, and Elizabeth Taylor.

    (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4)

    While she is a composite, yin dominates Romantic clothing. Her yangness lets her wear extremes, but she has to be careful not to overdress and she must be tasteful. She should still show off her figure, though. Fashions mentioned for the Romantic include:

  • Fitted waistlines, perhaps raised to Empire to show off the bust
  • Crisp, full bouffant skirts
  • Soft, flowing, draping chiffons
  • Shirtwaist dresses with feminine touches, such as gathered sleeves or ones that tie at tiny bows at the elbow, or pleated or gathered skirts
  • Soft draped collars; any neckline or bustline interest
  • Soft sashes and cummerbunds to call attention to the waist
  • Low rounded necklines
  • Off-the-shoulder or chiffon scarves

    Fabrics should be rich and lustrous and in colors like red, rose, or delicate shades of violet. Black can be Romantic if it is tailored in a feminine way and in a feminine fabric, like chiffon, velvet, lace, or a crisp silk such as taffeta. Other fabrics and details for a Romantic include sheer Dacron (for casual wear), peau de soie (for formalwear), soft woolens, cashmere, feathers, veiling, and soft furs. Their shoes, as you might imagine, should have high heels, and should be plain, yet dainty for day (in kid, suede, or patent leather) and with delicate for nighttime (in brocade or satin, with beads and bows). Her jewelry should be dainty yet lavish, with cut stones set in curved lines. Bags should be either pouches or gathered satchels in an appropriate fabric or leather. Fur capes are excellent. Hats can large or small, but always feminine and flattering.

    (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

  • McJimsey’s Classic

    While using “classic” as a way to describe a style is something that now seems so obvious, and something that even people who don’t obsessively read up on style systems understands, McJimsey says that she selected the term “classic” because of its resemblance to classical sculpture. A person with a Classic style essence with have regular, even features and a simple hair style. She can be beautiful, without being theatrical, or she can be plain, but she will still be charming. While a Classic will have smartness and style like a Dramatic, like the Natural, she avoids extremes. She expresses her style in more subtle ways, using fine fabric, perfect fit, and immaculate grooming. The oval predominates in her facial shape and hairstyle. Her face is more long than round, but it is not angular. She does not have a hair out of place, but it never looks severe. She is poised and dignified, but again, she lacks the Dramatic’s theatricality.

    Since it is a combination of yin and yang, McJimsey considers Classic a good solution to the style problems of aging women. Like with the transition from teenager to adult, the shift to senior citizen status also requires a reconsideration of one’s yin and yang. Someone who was once a Dramatic or Natural may find that their newly gray or white hair and loss of tone in their muscles will require more yin softening. Someone who was more yin may find that their new dignity and maturity will now require more yang. Since classics are neither too severe nor too soft, they provide a good compromise. Modifications from your former yin or yang days, however, be added to the Classic style to infuse it with your personality.

    McJimsey’s Classics are Julie Andrews, Peggy Fleming, Grace Kelly, Julia Meade, and Pat Nixon.

    (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    Even though it is balanced, yang qualities will generally predominate in a typical Classic. Thus, clothes that are simple and dignified are best. If a Classic is younger, she may want to make the look more yin by adding more feminine and delicate touches, but a Classic is distinguished by her dignity, not her femininity. Classics avoid extremes, and either modify trends or go for the simplest version. The fashions specifically mentioned include:

  • shirtwaist dresses with a narrow belt and a shawl or convertible-style collar (I didn’t know what these collars were, so I found some vintage examples to show you)
  • Silhouette should be straight, with fullness in pleats or folds and not a big bouffant looks
  • Straight lines and restrained curves are used, but they are softened by softer fabrics
  • dressmaker suit of wool crepe that is fitted and detailed with curved, yet flat structural detail is good
  • simple flannel cardigan suit with all gamine detailing removed

    Fabric should be soft and fine textured. Fabrics include light- and medium-weight fabrics, such as pure silk, wool crepe, fine jerseys, cashmere, fine cotton or wool broadcloth, and wool flannel. Dull surfaces are preferred to luster, and chiffon, peau di soie, and silk shantung are preferable to satin for evening wear. Small patterns such as paisley or polka dots can be worn, but plain fabrics are preferable. Necklines should be softly tailored, and a dainty bow or tie at the neck is allowed. Both line and color should both show restraint. Excellent neutrals are soft beige and navy blue. White and beige or white and navy are frequent combinations, and other colors include middle-value blues and rose-reds. Shoes include simple pumps and oxfords. Jewelry includes pearls and other modest, inconspicuous jewelry. Bags should be of average size and rather plain. Hats include the pillbox, the cloche, and the trim sailor hat.

    (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

  • McJimsey’s Natural

    Natural is a yang expression like Dramatic, but instead of angles and formality, the Natural is strength and informality. While the Dramatic is tall and thin, the Natural is more substantial. McJimsey chose the word “natural” to define this type because a Natural shuns artficiality and prefers to wear more natural-looking makeup and hair, and casual, comfortable clothes. Facial features are square and blunt; the smile and the eyes are friendly. She has a little bit of yin in her face, in contrast to the strictly yang Dramatic. A Natural can be either well-proportioned or stocky, and may be overweight. She usually has brown, auburn, or red hair, and a tan and freckles. McJimsey says that many yang types combine both of these types, and can adjust their look for the occasion, emphasizing one or the other, unless their figure limits their ability to wear high-fashion clothes. Again, while school age and college girls of above-average height may see themselves in the Natural type, especially since it is so informal, at that age, they will most likely be a Gamine/Natural hybrid. A Gamine Natural should look for simple clothes, and also clothes should have larger details than you would select for a pure Gamine.

    McJimsey’s Naturals are Candace Bergen, Mary Lindsay, Ali McGraw, and Happy Rockefeller.

    (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4)

    The Natural does not have the sophistication of the Dramatic. Her yang is expressed in bold simplicity, rather than the exotic or the extreme. She should look for comfort and informality. The fashions specifically mentioned include:

  • skirts with pleats or gores for movement
  • design interest should be limited to details like buttons, pockets, and seams
  • formal wear should be simple and made of beautiful fabrics like raw silk
  • large-wale corduroy for sports; pin-wale corduroy for formal wear (it was the 70s…)

    Fabrics include tweed, shantung, Irish linen, raw silks, homespun/handknitted textures, jerseys, doubleknits, and flannels. No shiny satin or crepe silk. Texture is emphasized, and good accessories include large, handcrafted wooden accessories; belts; bags; wooden, leather, or metal buttons; and novel cord fasteners (anyone know what that means?). The leather used in shoes and bags should not be shiny. Boots, oxfords, and stacked heels are what a Natural should look for. Handcrafted jewelry with uncut semiprecious stones, carved wooden beads, and coral necklaces make good jewelry for a Natural. Good patterns and details include peasant embroidery, large-scale plaids, abstract or geometric patterns, and prints that simulate textured weaves. Herringbone or silk scarves should be combined with textured knits. Necklines should be softened by collars. The shirt collar, sailor neckline, and square neckline are all good. Large bows and turtlenecks that are not too high or tight are also advised. Double-breasted coats are also good for balance. The favored neutral for a Natural is brown, and woodsy colors (forest green, dull gold, rust, dulled yellow-green), bright blues, greens, and reds. Purple and magenta seem too artificial for a Natural. She may wear a woolen cap or beret pushed back on her head, but Naturals usually prefer not to wear hats.

    (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

  • McJimsey’s Dramatic

    McJimsey’s Dramatic Yang is tall, thin, angular, dark-skinned, and has very light or very dark hair. She has excellent posture, formal manners, and a low voice. Almond-shaped eyes, angular eyebrows, wide thin lips, high cheekbones, and an elongated oval shape are all Dramatic. Earlier in the chapter, McJimsey made the point that her types are adjectives, not nouns. If you have high cheekbones, a strong nose, or “brunette coloring,” you have some Dramatic qualities and can wear some Dramatic fashions. If you are shorter and on the Dramatic side, you should wear heels and an unbroken line of color. Pure Dramatics who meets all of the Dramatic qualifications are rare. Going back to age again, McJimsey says that since yin is a youthful quality, people under 25 shouldn’t wear Dramatic fashions, and young people who lean Dramatic should wear a yang neckline or some yang colors while keeping the rest of the outfit youthful/yin.

    McJimsey’s Dramatics are Lauren Bacall, Joan Baez, Maria Callas, Joan Crawford, Lady Bird Johnson, and Barbra Streisand.

    (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

    The Dramatic can wear high fashion. Bold, severe lines and exotic colors and patterns suit her. The fashions specifically mentioned include:

  • Sleeves with width at the bottom
  • batwing sleeves
  • long tunics/overblouses
  • exaggerated shoulder width (when in fashion)
  • trapeze dresses or tops
  • straight lines with vertical or diagonal movement
  • diagonal draping and wraparound styles

    Fabrics include crepe, broadcloth, garbadine, satin, heavy brocade, metallic cloth, and plain weave knits. Necklines should be plain and severe, such as high tight collars, turtlenecks, deep v-necks, collarless necklines, large shawl collars, and large lapels pointing downwards. Lots of neutrals, except for light gray and light beige, but black is the most common. Colors used should be brilliant and intense, with purple, magenta, gold, and chartreuse being the most yang. Color use should be unusual and discordant. Accessories should also be large and exotic, either bold and plain or lavish and ornate. Dramatics wear hats more frequently than the other types.

    (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)