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.


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What’s More Important: Style or Color?

In an ideal world, of course we’d only buy clothes that are in both our season and our Kibbe type. Unfortunately, fashion hasn’t yet aligned its manufacturing decisions along Kibbe and Sci\ART lines, and for many combinations, finding clothes in both your season AND type can feel like a quest for the Holy Grail. I’m planning on finally getting draped soon, and I fear that I’ll end up as a Soft Autumn, which is one of the seasons that is practically impossible to find FG clothes for.

So what do you do? You have to get dressed every day, after all. Obviously, if you’re looking for an investment piece, it’s wise to wait until you DO find things that are in both your season and your type. Otherwise, it just wouldn’t be a wise investment. But what do you do in the meantime? You still have to wear clothes seven days a week, and you have to change it up somewhat or people will start to look at you funny.

I think the answer as to what is more important, and where you’re willing to compromise, varies. For me, I can’t compromise on type. Or if I do compromise, I have to add something to bring the outfit more or less into FlamGam land, like throw a crop top with some geometrics over it or add a leather jacket. But even then, I feel like now that I know my Kibbe and am comfortable with its rules, I’m less inclined to fudge them a little, because I know it’s the FG things that I’m going to reach for every day.

Perhaps it’s because I don’t know my season yet, but I’m much more likely to break color rules. I’m pretty sure I’m not in a season that can wear black successfully, and yet trying to ban black from my wardrobe was a dismal failure. I feel like that the FG type is so strong, both in how it presents itself and its presence, that FGs are generally going to be less sensitive to the colors we wear, since we will overpower them. My instinct is that this is probably true for most types with some kind of D influence. Also, FG clothes at my price point are generally in the winter palettes, so sometimes that’s just all there is to choose from.

Naturals and Classics, I think, don’t have this problem, since from my observations (and I could be wrong about this–C and N types let me know in the comments), clothes in these types tend to be much more easy to find, and come in a wider variety of colors. So I would say that for these types, it’s probably not worth buying clothes if they’re not in your season, because you could probably go to the store next door and find something that is. I also think that SCs could potentially be very sensitive to wearing the wrong colors, since they are so well-balanced and are more delicate than DCs, so I think a wrong color choice could very jarring to their otherwise symmetrical and delicate ways.

How do you deal with this issue? Are you perfectly coordinated to your palette, or does your wardrobe contain a mishmash of seasons that perfectly correspond to Kibbe’s recommendations?

Why I Don’t Like Body Type Recommendations

Perhaps this is because the ones I’ve come across for my body type (hourglass with short legs, a “skittle” in Trinny and Susannah’s system) don’t work for me, but I don’t like clothing recommendations based solely on body type. While I think Kibbe does try to create balance and harmony within a type, he does not do what many of these systems try to do, which is to create curves where there is none and minimize curves when you do have them, and just generally try to make everyone the same.

I know that Trinny and Susannah based their careers on giving no-nonsense fashion advice doled out with a healthy helping of tough love, but if you read the text accompanying their recommendations, it’s very much based on what I’m talking about. Look at what they advise for my poor fellow Skittles:



I think the woman looks decent in the outfit on the right, although I’d never wear it myself. The picture on the left, however… If that was how I had to dress on an everyday basis, I’d probably stop buying clothes altogether and give up completely. It took me a solid five minutes to figure out that it wasn’t a set of “before and after” outfit photos. Regardless, while only one of the outfits is truly terrible–I can’t imagine it looking good on ANYONE–neither of them would be suitable at all for a Flamboyant Gamine like me.

Which brings me to my next point. Sometimes people will say, “I have an hourglass [pear, apple, etc.] shape. What Kibbe am I?” While I think this can be a useful thing to examine if your figure is the most prominent thing about you, I don’t find it very useful for most people. There are so many other factors that go into a Kibbe type, and I don’t really think that body shape alone will rule out or determine a type. I’m a Flamboyant Gamine and an X. And look at H Charlize Theron belting like the Theatrical Romantic she is:


While I think sites like Imogen Lamport’s can be useful, for me, I don’t find them particularly helpful. I find it much more helpful to first of all follow my FG recs, and second, to just try on different clothes in order to understand what suits my body.

Do you follow the recommendations for your body shape? Do they conflict with your Kibbe, the way mine do?

Curvy Flamboyant Gamine: Physical Guidelines

Update, 6/24/15: Please read this post. I no longer believe in the idea of “curvy FG” as described here.

I expanded my last post for some Kibbe groups on Facebook, and I figured I should put what I added here as well.

So what does a curvy Flamboyant Gamine look like?

MAC Cosmetics Viva Glam Party


In Metamorphosis, Kibbe says we can deviate from the guidelines, as long as these deviations don’t upset our yin/yang balance. We know that Kibbe has typed voluptuous hourglasses as Flamboyant Naturals when that is listed on the “NO” list for FNs, so why can’t it be the same for FGs? It all comes down to The Most Important Thing, or TMIT. For Gamines of either type, I think that TMIT is the face—not height, because there are Kibbe-confirmed FGs like Audrey Hepburn and Twiggy, who are above-average height, and not body type, because your eye is supposed to move around on a G and not focus on any one aspect of their physicality. Obviously if you’re six feet tall, etc., it may disrupt your yin/yang balance enough to move you out of gamine, but you get the picture.

So if your face is a mix of D and R, but D dominates, it may push you out of SG and into FG, even if your body is more SG. For me, I would say my face is 1/3 R and 2/3 D, which makes SG’s rounded shapes not work and made me want to add bold geometrics to any type I was trying on. I have noticed that FGs who are closer to 50/50 in terms of their facial D/R balance tend to have the brick-shaped, coltish, very yang body we think of as being classic FG. They also can go more toward classic G in their clothes, and wear things like cigarette pants with Breton striped tee. They don’t need as much opposition/drama in their clothes.

In a way, this is not much different from how SD works—SDs are either yang faces with yin flesh or vice versa. Kibbe doesn’t have a type for yang face/yin size/yin flesh. I think SD works in this case if your curves dominate and you project an SD type of sexiness. And I think FG works if the D in your face with some opposition of R dominates.

To sum it all up, you can be a curvy/soft Flamboyant Gamine IF the opposition of Dramatic and Romantic in your face leans heavily to the Dramatic side, AND if the curviness and softness of your body doesn’t dominate over your facial features.

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Curvy Flamboyant Gamine

Update, 6/24/15: Please read this post. I no longer believe in the idea of “curvy FG” as described here.

When I first realized that I was a Flamboyant Gamine, I thought it would be difficult for me to follow the recommendations because I am curvy, rather than shaped like Twiggy. If you are asked how I ended up an FG then, you can read my entire series on this topic, which was written as this discovery was being made, but basically, Kibbe does not have a category for yin in size/yang in face/yin in flesh, and I score as a “G” on the quiz. But the extra Dramatic in my face takes precedence over the extra Romantic in my body. I know this because I need bold geometrics, not the rounded shapes you find in SG.

So how do you do FG when you’re curvier than the average FG? What I have found is that it is not difficult at all. The narrow shapes and bodycon styles do enough to flatter curves, even if most of the example FGs are much straighter-looking than I am, for me to use the recommendations without having to make many concessions or alterations.

What doesn’t work for curvy FlamGams? The “blouson” style dress. I’m also not a fan of dropped waists in general. I love the flapper-dress look on other people, but I need more construction and for things to be tight.

(Sources: 1, 2)

I would also look at Gamine recommendations, but I think all FlamGams should, whether you have a yinnier face and a straighter body or a yangier face and a yinner body. The only thing I take from Gamine, though, is move the waist up to my natural waist, instead of a dropped waist. Despite my curvier figure, Gamine is actually still too delicate for me.

If you are still finding that FlamGam isn’t working that well for you, you may well be another type completely, and that’s okay. But in the meantime, I attempted to make my first-ever Polyvore to illustrate, using Kelly O., the patron saint of non-Twiggyesque FlamGams. I actually own the dress on the left, and it is gorgeous for a FlamGam who has a conservative event to go to.


(Set here)

One of the most interesting things about Flamboyant Gamine is that it is yin, sharp yang, and blunt yang. We have all of the elements of Kibbe’s system, and they are all in opposition with one another. A wide variety of Flamboyant Gamine bodies and faces is to be expected, so don’t worry if you feel like you don’t exactly look like the typical FG. The proof is in the recommendations.

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Banning Black from My Wardrobe, Part Two

In July, I wrote a post called “Banning Black from My Wardrobe”. I am here to give an update on how it’s working out.

I am sad to say that it, well, hasn’t. There are several reasons for this. The first is that while I was certain I was Light Spring when I wrote the post, since then, I’ve had moments of thinking, and have been told by others online (although I realize that Internet advice is in no way a substitute for draping in person) that I am anything from a Bright Spring to a Soft Autumn. So even if I had stopped buying black things, I’m not sure what I can replace it with until I get draped.

The other major issue is that Flamboyant Gamine clothes, especially at my price point, come in winter colors, for the most part. So often is seems like I would have to choose to between something in a color that appears flattering or lines that are flattering.

I know that whatever season I am, it is not likely a season that should wear black in a big block near the face. Yet with these two major factors in play, I find myself not buying any less black than before. I did not buy the light brown leather jacket. I bought the black one. It’s a sickness, I know. But with things like leather jackets, well, can a brown one ever even touch the cool factor of a black leather jacket?

Uncle Jesse knows what’s up.

So I think I will return to this experiment once I’ve actually been draped, and I’ll know what the most effective neutrals are for me to replace black with. I also have to get over my love of black, and realize that a similar, yet more flattering, neutral will most likely have the same effect, if I keep to my FG guidelines. Also, all FGs should campaign major retailers to make FG clothes in all the seasons. Until then, I’ll just concentrate on dressing according to FG guidelines, choosing colors that I think are flattering when possible.

Kibbe Essence Self-Assessment

50s/60s celebrities

One of the things that really trips people up when they’re trying to figure out their Kibbe is the idea of essence. Essence is not personality. It is something outside yourself–it is what you project. Kibbe’s idea of creating a total look that harmonizes with your essence comes from old Hollywood, where a complete image was manufactured for a star. You can have an Image Identity that may not match up perfectly with your likes and dislikes. That is why Kibbe has a “fantasy” quiz in the book, so you can determine if there is a mismatch between your type and your inner desires. You still, however, have to figure out a way to express your inner desires through your Kibbe type, not by just going with what appeals to you.

But how do you figure out your essence? Jane Rekas has a McJimsey/Northrup essence quiz, but some of those questions were difficult for me to answer, or I felt like I didn’t fit. Also, it won’t give you the difference between, say, a Soft Gamine essence and a Flamboyant Gamine essence.

I think there are two questions that you can ask yourself to help shed light on your essence.

1. Which actresses/celebrities have you now, or in the past, felt a kinship to, or just liked a lot?
I think this is where Mad Men‘s “Jackie or Marilyn?” question comes into play. I have noticed, for instance, that it is women with a Romantic essence who get really into Marilyn Monroe. I like some of her movies, but for me, she is no different from any other star. Audrey Hepburn, on the other hands, was the one I was obsessed with as a teenager. Think back to whose poster was on your wall and whose movies you watched over and over again. Chances are it was someone who had something you connected with, someone who had a similar essence to your own.

The other female celebrity who really captivated me was Edie Sedgwick. How I ever mistook myself for a Soft Natural, I’ll never know.

2. Which actresses/celebrities have people compared you to?
I have been told by friends that they were watching a movie and felt like they were watching me on screen twice: Breathless (Jean Seberg) and Drive (Carey Mulligan). The only other celebrity I’ve ever been compared to is Juliette Lewis. I’m not sure if she is FG, but she seems to dress like one. I think that the answer to this question can reveal what other people see in you, and what vibe you give off. In other words, your essence.

You can also ask yourself how people usually describe you, but I think this may end up getting confused with personality. The danger with both of the questions above, of course, is that you could have always been hiding your light under a bushel and afraid to see yourself, say, as an outwardly sexy Romantic. One of the things that makes Kibbe a genius is his ability to see through people to get to this essence. When you look at the book, all of the women are dressed in the same blah 80s conservative workwear, and he somehow saw past it and saw who really was C and could wear it and put the rest in entirely different clothes.

Anyway, does this work for you? Or do you come up with something totally different than your essence? I know that these questions were helpful for me, but they may not work for everyone, for various reasons. I intended for this post to sort of help nudge people along on their journey to figuring out their essence.

How to Tell You’re in the Wrong Kibbe Type

This is something that most of us who have played around with Kibbe have experienced at one point or another; I find it’s rare that people can look at the info and then immediately place themselves where they belong. So most of us spend at least a little bit of time dressing ourselves in the wrong Kibbegory–hopefully without purchasing an entire new wardrobe in the wrong type!

R Kim channeling FG Audrey

With that in mind, I thought I’d share some of the things I noticed when I had placed myself in the wrong type.

1. You now hate shopping. You go to the store, find the stuff in your type, and it makes you want to turn around and go home. This is what I experienced when I considered myself a Soft Gamine, although it could have been because I was only looking at the kind of things that people pin, which usually lean Ingenue. Regardless, the version of Soft Gamine I was looking at wasn’t working for me. Which is lucky, really, because I didn’t end up spending money on clothes I’ll never wear.

2. Something feels off. You may feel restricted. Or, like me in Soft Natural, I was comfortable, but I felt like I was in my pajamas. Your energy level is down. The clothes feel heavy. Something just isn’t working, even though the clothes look fine.

3. There is something missing that you feel like you have to add. When I was dressing Soft Natural, with every outfit I put on, I kept on feeling this urge to add something geometric and bold. At the time, I thought I was adding a Flamboyant Natural influence, so it was OK. Now I realize that it was because of the geometry of my face, which requires some bold geometrics, but of the FG variety.

4. You would not be able to use Kibbe’s title for your Image Identity with a straight face. I would never be able to use Soft Natural’s title of “Fresh and Sensual Lady” without cracking up. I am none of these things! FG’s “Sassy Chic”? Sure.

Did I miss anything? What has helped you figure it out when you were in the wrong type?

Thoughts on The Art of Dress

After going through a period of believing that finding your Type was to be done completely through body lines and ignoring the face, I now have done almost a complete 180, and now find that repeating the lines of the face may, in fact, be the most important factor in defining your type.

There used to be a site called The Art of Dress, and they had a great blog with original illustrations that you still see floating around Kibbe Pinterest boards. But a couple of months ago, everything disappeared and was replaced with Lorem Ipsum text, which was quite the bummer. Then today, I decided to click around there anyway, and discovered that all-new content can be accessed through the About section. The person has renamed the types, and has come up with their own system that differs from Kibbe, as well as a color analysis and artistic analysis system. The artistic analysis is, I think, similar to Dressing Your Truth, where you look for shapes.

What most interests me about this system is that it relies on face shape and facial features to determine the style type and the artistic type. There is nothing about analyzing your body shape, going by the material that is up there at the moment. This resonates with where my thought process with Kibbe has been going lately; your face is dominant because your clothing lines should repeat the lines of your face, almost regardless of the body lines. My body doesn’t fit Flamboyant Gamine very well, but it’s hard to imagine my face fitting anything else. And that is what this system seems to be based on.

Anyway, I suggest going to the site and poking around, and let me know what you think. It seems to be in soft-launch mode, since the front page of the site isn’t done, but I hope that the person behind it will start to offer their analysis services soon. I’d be very interested in my result and in seeing up close how they work, since their line of thought seems to be quite similar to where I am with all of this stuff.

My Kibbe Journey: Part 3.5

This is a follow up to my most recent post, because I feel like some interesting things were going on in the comments that I felt deserved post of their own.

I feel like I’m having a new Kibbe realization once every 48 hours. This is, I suppose, working with my own interpretation of Kibbe, because he is very right-brained/intuitive about it, and I want to plot everything on a graph. But that’s okay, because this is my blog and this is helping me to work stuff out. You don’t have to look at Kibbe the way I do if it’s not helpful for you.

Yesterday, I was reading about Twiggy and Audrey Hepburn, and how Twiggy is an FG with D influence and Audrey was an FG with Classic influence. Now, this does not mean that you don’t still fit into FG. You are still just the one category. But it can be helpful for those of us who are not Liza Minelli or Vivien Leigh or anyone else who is the prototypical celebrity for any given type.

Now, it’s pretty obvious I have some extra yin–I have yin flesh and I’m not boyishly straight, like you’d think of an FG as being. The only type in Kibbe where you have yin flesh and a yang face is actually SD.

Put me next to an SD, and it’s obvious that it’s not me. But if you look at a picture of Sophia Loren, I have what is basically a compact version of her body: very tapered ribcage and square hips matched by relatively broad shoulders:

Sophia Loren

If you look at the chart of the logical progression of Kibbe types from yang to yin, contrast to blend, FG and SD are actually right next to each other. So instead of my extra yin coming from Soft Gamine, perhaps my extra yin is coming from a Soft Dramatic influence. Soft Dramatic is way too big on me, but perhaps I can add touches here and there. I would place myself where the red dot is:


I’ve long loved this Polyvore set by papillonnoir1:
2 winter kibbe gamines

The FG outfit is very much my style, and the skirt is drapey and asymmetrical in a way that seems to border on SD to me. Of course, I think SG peplums are also an option for me, but they seem to have disappeared from stores. So I think that keeping to FG’s rule of the first layer being narrow and cut close to the body, I am going to experiment with a little touches of SD draping as a way to highlight curves as an alternative to SG ways of highlighting curves.

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