Posts Tagged ‘flamboyant gamine’

Why I’m Not a Soft Natural

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I don’t like body-type recommendations very much. I much prefer Kibbe’s emphasis on creating harmony within yourself, and not trying to conform to classical rules of beauty and symmetry. That being said, there is obviously a body-type component to Kibbe. You wouldn’t have an apple-shaped Theatrical Romantic, for instance. But recommendations for my type (hourglass–my shoulders and hips are even, and I have a small waist) conflict with FG, and FG works, so that was enough for me to dismiss body-type recommendations as nonsense meant to achieve something that isn’t possible.

While I’m still not their biggest fan, I am now realizing that there is a way they could work for me. Yesterday, one of the members of our Facebook style community began a project mapping Kibbe Image Identities to Imogen Lamport’s body types. Now, of course I went in with my usual suspicion of body-type dressing, especially since I know that my body doesn’t fit the Flamboyant Gamine recommendations very well. I consider myself to have X with a secondary H. The more weight I gain, the squarer my shape gets, my hips especially. This person sees X-H as a Soft Natural shape. I do, too. I see similar shapes to my own when I see Soft Naturals, and I’ve never understood why Soft Natural is just so awful on me. If you read the description of a Soft Natural body, it sounds like me, weight gain patterns and all.

But I think there are words in Kibbe that are loaded. These words are loaded because he seems to use them in a different way than people who aren’t Kibbe. One of these is “curvy.” I think that in Kibbe, “curvy” means a curved line, not just 36-24-36. He describes Soft Naturals as, “slightly curvy, tends to an hourglass shape, but not extremely so.” We tend to think of how curvy someone is in measurements. But I think Kibbe is talking about the line we see. An SN can be mathematically curvier than a TR, especially when you consider that Naturals are often curvier from the side than the front. But the TR will have a curvier line to their bust, waists, and hips.

And this is exactly why Soft Natural doesn’t work for me. I don’t have a slight curve. I have what I described in this post: a very tapered ribcage on top of squarish hips the same width as my shoulders. My torso shape is composed entirely of angles and straight lines, no curve in sight.

Who else had this non-curvy hourglass body shape?

alittleblackdress3
(Source)

Audrey. Hepburn.

This shows that even a wasp waist is possible in FG, provided that everything is composed out of angles and straight lines, no curves. While an I or a plain V might be more common in FG, I think that if you combine I or H with V, you get the FG version of “curves.” We can only highlight our waists in something that follows our shape exactly, whether it’s from structure or bodycon. We cannot softly emphasize, the way SNs do. A softly flowing curve makes no sense over dramatic angles. I also don’t like to cinch, but your mileage may vary. So this is why both Soft Natural and recommendations for X shapes did absolutely nothing for me. I am an inverted triangle and a rectangle masquerading as an hourglass.

I think that if you are searching for your Kibbe type, read what Kibbe says about bodies very carefully, since he often means something a little bit different than other people. If you have no curvy lines, you can’t be a curvy Kibbe type. You want to match what you’ve got. So even if you have something that may seem to kick you out of a type, like a wasp waist for FG, really look at what is creating these particular details. You may end up with something totally different from the obvious answer.

Shopping for Your Kibbe Type: Line or Vibe?

img-thing
(Source

This is an issue that came up recently in the Flamboyant Gamine Facebook group. Flamboyant Gamine is often associated with the 60s Mod fashion, with generally features a lot of short shift dresses with A-line skirts. If you read the recommendations for Flamboyant Gamine and even Gamine, however, A-line skirts are seen as “too symmetrical” and get a “No” from Kibbe for both types.

Now, these do often work on FlamGam bodies, especially if the FlamGam in question is narrow-hipped, like Twiggy. This look is, in fact, so closely associated with FG that I think that people who would look good in actual FG recommendations might question themselves if they don’t look all that great in what Twiggy was wearing in the 60s. I would consider myself among this group of people–I looked great in it in high school, when I was very thin, not so much now.

This all comes back to the question of “vibe,” and how important it is. It also raises the idea of people making something a certain type, not the clothes themselves being a certain Image Identity, something that has gained a lot of traction in Kibbe circles recently.

I think this idea, more or less what Kibbe himself says now, but something that we can’t take to an extreme, comes from the fact that clothes now are constructed differently than they were in the 80s, when Kibbe wrote the book. Most things now come with stretch. If you take a bodycon-type dress and put it on a Romantic, you see sexy curves. If you put it on a Flamboyant Natural, you see their strength and power. If you put it on a Flamboyant Gamine, it looks fun. And so on. On the other hand, if you take something that is very specifically Soft Natural, like a jersey wrap dress (my clothing nemesis!), and put it on an FG, the dress won’t magically become or look FG. It will just look bad. So you have to be careful, I think, when you go outside the guidelines. It may work. It may not. If absolutely everything were simply to be shared across types and your body would just alter it, there would be no reason for Kibbe types at all, because we’d all just look fabulous in everything.

Some would say that a wrap dress has the wrong vibe, and that’s why it doesn’t work. It probably doesn’t. It is my opinion, however, that if we spend too much time looking for vibe, we end up with something akin to Dressing Your Truth: everyone in a type more or less dressing the same. Sometimes, people are shocked when they see the photos of outfits that are Kibbe-selected, especially for types like Soft Natural and Soft Gamine, which happen to be types that have their stereotypes (“boho” and “cute, in a Zooey-Deschanel way,” respectively) firmly entrenched on Pinterest, Polyvore, etc. When this happens, I think we have to ask ourselves whether Kibbe is stretching the boundaries of what a certain Image Identity can wear, or if he is actually following the rules he set out, and it is the outfits that people found looking for an SN or SG “vibe” that actually were the ones that broke the rules. As I’ve written before, I doubt that people in the Facebook groups would recognize the outfit worn by the SG in the book as Soft Gamine if someone posted it as a try on.

As for what the role of “vibe” is in clothing selection done using your Kibbe Image Identity, well, Kibbe basically contradicts himself on this one, even in the book. He says that our inner self is infinite, yet our physical self is finite, and we should express our inner self through our outer appearance. Which is great. It is a shame that his section on how to dress Shirley MacLaine is her New Age phase has never made it online, because I think it would be helpful for people who feel at odds with their Kibbe, personality-wise. The Fantasy Quiz is also not online, sadly. But the long-winded personality descriptions for each of the types ARE readily available, and I think this can lead some astray, both in finding their Kibbe type and how to dress in it once they have found it.

Among people with certain Kibbe types, you’ll find as wide a range of personalities as you would with any random group of people. You will likely have had some common experiences due to your physical similarities (e.g., for FGs, feeling like your appearance is kind of “weird”), but you will have different tastes and interests and values. You will not be a homogeneous group.

So what should Flamboyant Gamines do with A-line Mod shift dresses? Try them on. If they look good on you and you like them, great! I think they have enough crispness to fudge the rules. I think they can successfully convey an FG look. But if you are considering a type, I think it’s important to look carefully at the recommendations, and examine things with a critical eye using these recommendations before deciding whether something is a certain type or not. Don’t blow off a type because things seen as having this type’s vibe don’t work for you. The actual recommendations may suit you perfectly.

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.


2typesofFG

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.

Do You Really Need a Style Analysis?

***Update, 5/21/15: Gwen is a tough one! After examining pictures of her body, I have decided that she is actually FN. Her shoulders are very broad, and her rib cage is wider than her hips. The celebrity I found with the most similar body shape to Gwen’s is Cameron Diaz, who is pretty much universally regarded as FN.***

Note: I have discussed Gwen Stefani with some real-life TRs, who feel that her body is far too yang. So I have settled on her being a Soft Dramatic, with a yin face and a yang body. I still definitely do not think she is FG!

Do I need a style analysis? This is a question I’ve been turning over lately in my mind. While I can’t afford Kibbe, there are two other people that I know of who offer a Kibbe-based service and have generally good reviews: Rachel of Best Dressed and Sarah of Guiding Lines both offer reasonably priced services.

I have, however, yet to get myself analyzed. Truth be told, I’m scared. I don’t want to be told what I don’t want to hear. I don’t feel like I fit the typical body type we see in FG, and I score in C/G range on the test. I find, however, that Kibbe’s recommendations work really well for me, I feel good in FG clothes, and I ruled out other possibilities like SN because I need structure. I have blathered on about how I landed on FG in depth.

So I guess what I’m wondering is, if you feel good in the type you’ve selected, do you really need to get an official analysis? Maybe someone would put me in SG because of my body shape. Maybe someone else would make me a small SD. But at the end of the day, FG is where I feel the best and where I feel myself. I think of Gwen Stefani, who you’ll sometimes find on Flamboyant Gamine Pinterest boards. Gwen, though, has always seemed like an outlier to me in FG. Her face is not FG at all. Then I remembered that she played Jean Harlow in The Aviator.


(Sources: 1, 2)

She looks fine in FG. She is STUNNING in TR, with a face that would absolutely not be out of face in glamorous 1930s Hollywood. I think she’s always known this, because even when she was wearing Dickies, she still did a very glam makeup look. Now, I do think that Gwen’s beauty is truly revealed in in her TR/Jean Harlow look. But she has made an image for herself as a cool dresser, not a glam one. So I’m divided on whether a TR Metamorphosis would be the best thing for her. But looking at her in the Jean Harlow pictures, I see her, not the clothes.

As for myself, what if I went to see Kibbe and he made me an SC, my nightmare type? (No offense to any SCs out there; it’s great on you, but not for me.) The ladylike image of SC is so far removed from everything I am. Would I stop dressing FG if an analyst told me I wasn’t? To be honest, probably not.

Have you ever been analyzed? Were you pleased by the results? Do you think Gwen should dress in bias cut silk gowns all the time?

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
(Source)

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:

map

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.

My Kibbe Journey: Part 3

***5/1/2015: I now see Kibbe in a totally different way than I write about here. Please see this post for my current views.***

Sometimes I feel like it may seem like I have no idea what I’m talking about, because pretty much every time I come to write a blog entry, I feel like I have decided on a new Kibbe type for myself, or a different season. But I think that most of us who set off to determine our Kibbe type find that it’s a pretty convoluted and confusing process, and many live in what turns out to be the wrong type for years–and the only way to actually confirm is to spend around $2000, plus hotel, airfare, etc., to see David Kibbe in person.

So. With that in mind, I’ve come to yet another major conclusion about the whole process. I recently joined a Kibbe group on Facebook, and there is a wealth of information there, including how Kibbe feels about the book, and how he wanted people to use it (look at the types presented, try stuff on it and see if it works, no quizzes necessary). It turns out that my approach to Kibbe–look at lines only, and then use your personality/essence to make it your own–is totally wrong. You should start with your essence, and then make adjustments to fit your body as needed.

This all became clear to me a couple of days ago, when it was pointed out to be that Charlize Theron is an official Kibbe Theatrical Romantic. One of the key features of a TR, according to the book, is a wasp waist (which I have, which will become important later). Charlize Theron has a straight figure, one that’d probably be called an inverted V. Looking just at her body, I’d probably be inclined to put her in Flamboyant Natural. But her face is so beautiful and full of S-curves. She looks the most herself when she is glammed up and dripping with jewels. If you compare her Dior ad to her sweatshirt look from Young Adult, which is truer to the person? I think it is jarring to see her look so dishevelled. You can tell she doesn’t have any natural in her at all.

(Sources: 1, 2, 3)

Charlize’s glamorous face supersedes the fact that her body lacks these key physical feature of a TR. The TR clothes follow the lines of her face. The more reading I do, the more I realize that it’s about figuring out what is key about you, how you look the most yourself, what people notice first. Like Zyla, Kibbe was inspired to do what he does from the acting world, where he saw some people get cast and some who did not.

So maybe what we should do is typecast ourselves. I wrote about this idea in my first post in this series, and then I said I was wrong. But now I realize that I may have been right. I’m not a Soft Natural, a “Fresh and Sensual Lady.” I am much more aggressive and dynamic and funny. The energy I put into the world is that of a Flamboyant Gamine. My TR-style wasp waist that was tripping me up before? That’s not the first thing people notice about me. My task now is to find the FG clothes that work with my body, instead of hiding it. But I feel like it will be a relief to go to stores and be able to try on the clothes that appeal to me naturally, and not have to feel like I have to fit myself into styles that should work for me, taken as a sum of body parts.

1 2