If you’ve come across the world of Kibbe, you undoubtedly know just how confusing it can be. I’ve taken the body type test a few times (more times than I care to admit) and I’ve come out with at least 3 different style identities.
I first thought I was Dramatic, and then I was convinced I was a Natural, I managed to fluctuate between both Flamboyant and Soft Natural, but leaning more toward Flamboyant…before going back to Soft. And then, while I was minding my business, I had a revelation- what if I’m a Flamboyant Gamine?
My point is the test is confusing. So, I thought I’d make a picture catalog of all my possible types, where I wear that body type’s correct lines to see how they sit on me, and (via a process of elimination) try to type myself that way. You get to follow along- yay!
What is The Kibbe Typing System?
For this article, I’m going to assume that you are familiar with Kibbe, and have done the test yourself. But to quickly summarize, David Kibbe developed a body type test that provides a way to classify your body and your essence based on the presence of yin (soft, round, small, feminine) and yang (firm, square, large, masculine) within your frame (bone structure) and flesh.
The Kibbe system aims to identify your natural lines, and then mimic them in clothing so that your clothes become an extension of you and show off your true essence.
There are five main types: Dramatic, Natural, Classic, Romantic, and Gamine. Dramatic is pure yang and Romantic is pure yin. The other three main types can be further categorized into either a yang-leaning or yin-leaning subgroup. (Kibbe used to have pure groups, but he has since changed his mind on this).
So, the complete list of groups then is: Dramatic, Soft Dramatic, Soft Natural, Flamboyant Natural, Soft Classic, Dramatic Classic, Romantic, Theatrical Romantic, Soft Gamine, and Theatrical Gamine.
How Could I Have Been So Confused?
Well, the facts of my structure are:
I have a clear yang frame.
- My bones are quite prominent in my frame.
- I have defined musculature. I look strong.
- I have prominent shoulders and slim hips.
- I am long and lean. My body is quite ‘dry’.
- I have long limbs. I appear ‘leggy’.
I have distinct yin elements.
- I have a prominent bust.
- I have small (and slightly wide) hands and feet.
- My jawline is blunt and strong, but all my facial features and flesh are big and lush.
- My waist tends to a very slight hourglass, like an elongated S curve.
Process of Elimination
Based, on this alone, A few body types were instantly eliminated.
Romantic and Theatrical Romantic– I don’t have a yin-dominant structure and features. I don’t look soft and dainty.
Soft of Dramatic Classic– I am not moderate in stature, I am decidedly yang-dominant. I am also not perfectly symmetrical. I do not have perfectly blended features.
Soft Gamine- I don’t have a yin-dominant structure and features. I don’t look soft and dainty. I’m also not petite nor do I look small.
Possible Body Types I Could Belong To:
My structure could thus fall into one of five categories:
- Dramatic or Soft Dramatic
- Soft or Flamboyant Natural
- Flamboyant Gamine (I know…I’ll explain later)
Dramatic Body Type
According to Kibbe, Dramatics are pure yang. Their bodies are made of sharp, narrow lines so that they come off as angular and dry. There is no softness to their structure, and even when they are overweight, they still appear sharp. They have a long vertical line so they are tall, and tend to look even taller than they are. They are best represented by a long, thin line.
Following their lines, pure dramatics look great in sharp, long lines. They look amazing in a tailored men’s suit, in a long tailored coat, and a head-to-toe monochromatic look.
I thought I might be dramatic because my structure is long, lean, and ‘dry’. I am tall, so I have a long vertical line. This is what happened when I tried pure Dramatic lines:
In contrast, let’s see how Zendaya, who I think is mostly Dramatic, looks in the same lines:
Verdict: I’m surprised at how well I like purely dramatic lines on me. I don’t think they flatter me as they do a true Dramatic, but they look pretty good.
According to Kibbe, Soft Dramatics are a mix of Dramatic and Romantic, with the Dramatic (yang) being dominant and the Romantic (yin) being secondary. They have a yang structure with yin flesh sitting on top of it. Their essence is bold and alluring.
Following their lines, Soft Dramatics are complemented by clothing that respects their long vertical line but also accentuates their lush curves. They look amazing in long, body-hugging wrap dresses that cinch the waist and show off their cleavage. Their colors must be bold.
Evaluating Soft Dramatic
I thought I might be Soft Dramatic because I have a yang frame with some softness (in certain parts) on top of it. However, it soon became ABUNDANTLY clear that this is not my type lol. This is what happened when I tried Soft Dramatic lines:
The first thing I notice is the lack of curve, I look tall and straight compared to how a SD would look in the same dress.
Now, look at how a true Soft Dramatic looks in the same lines, how she fills it out, and how it brings out her sensuality. Soft Dramatics are curve-dominant, and that is clear here. Tyra’s curves are so prominent, she looks tall and curvy.
Verdict: I drown in Soft Dramatic lines. I don’t have the curves to satisfy being a soft dramatic. My shape is made up of mostly rectangles, while Soft Dramatic is large circles. In these lines, I look even more straight/ boxy than normal.
Natural Body Type
According to Kibbe, Naturals are soft yang. Their structure is yang dominant, like Dramatics, but without the sharpness. Instead, their bones are blunt or beveled. They also have a width to them as compared to Dramatics, who are more narrow. This width often comes across in the shoulders, and with their straight hips, creates a dominant T-silhouette. This gives Naturals an overall strong, sporty look. Their essence is fresh, effortless, and free-spirited.
I felt strongly that I could be a Natural body type. I have the characteristic prominent skeletal frame and relatively broad shoulders. I just had to decide between Soft or Flamboyant Natural.
Naturals are known to look good in easygoing, casual clothes like jeans and a t-shirt, or in athleisure clothes like leggings and an oversized top/ jacket and sneakers. Let’s see how I look in Natural lines:
I think both outfits look on me, but just slightly underwhelming. In both outfits, I look very casual- like I’m just dressed to stay home. I want to add something (or things) to complete the outfit.
Now, let’s compare that to a Natural in the same sort of outfit. Jenifer Aniston looks amazing in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, she looks complete. She is fully in her essence.
Verdict: Pure Natural lines look good on me but are a bit boring, they look too casual on their own.
According to Kibbe, Soft Naturals are soft yang in structure/skeleton and yin in flesh. This means that while they are frame dominant, their softness is clearly evident atop that frame. They have a tendency towards curviness but aren’t quite curvy like Soft Dramatics are. They are more perceived as strong/ athletic. Their flesh is meaty and tends to be muscular, not sinewy. Finally, they don’t appear taller than they are.
Following their lines, Soft Naturals are best complemented by ‘gentle-cling’ silhouettes that hug their curves in a relaxed way and still allow for a sense of movement and flow. They look great in textured fabrics in softly contrasted coloring within a natural color palette. They look amazing in a flowy wrap dress with gentle waist emphasis or an oversized top with loosely tailored pants.
Evaluating Soft Natural
Since I have a yang dominant frame with softness on top of it, I thought this might be my type. Plus, I definitely come off as strong rather than curvy. I cannot be perceived as curvy. Like, even if you squint. This is what happened when I tried Soft Natural lines:
I think I look good in these lines, but I don’t think they are my best. I feel like I’m missing something.
In contrast, let’s look at a true Soft Natural in the same lines. I think Katy Perry looks curvier and softer than I do in a similar dress.
Verdict: I look good in Soft Natural lines. However, on their own, I think they look slightly delicate and separate.
According to Kibbe, Flamboyant Naturals are soft yang. They are frame dominant, with broad shoulders and slim, straight hips that create a clear and prominent T-silhouette. They have a long vertical line and a broadness to their structure. They take up space.
Following their lines, Soft Naturals are best complemented by loose, oversized, and unconstructed silhouettes that honor both their dominant vertical and horizontal lines. A T-silhouette is best. Their form-fitting is best without any clinginess, lines should be relaxed. They look great in a mix of natural textures and colors. They look great in billowy tops with a French tuck, palazzo pants, and a loose top, off-the-shoulder oversized knits with bootleg cut pants.
Evaluating Flamboyant Natural
With my yang dominant frame, long vertical line, and strong shoulders, I thought this might be my type. This is what happened when I tried Flamboyant Natural lines:
I think I look great in both these outfits. Importantly, the first outfit looks great with and without waist emphasis. If I was a Soft Natural, I would look rather frumpy without it- so I think this proves my Flamboyant Natural leaning. In the second outfit, the long coat also satisfies my long vertical line.
Now, let’s look at how a true Flamboyant Naturals look in the similar lines:
I think both Gigi Hadid and Angelina Jolie have great Flamboyant Natural style. They look great in these lines and so do I.
Verdict: I look great in Flamboyant Natural lines. I think these might be my best lines.
Could I Be a Flamboyant Gamine Body Type?
Now, you might be wondering, “With your height, how on earth could you think you’re a Flamboyant Gamine?” And I would understand. I thought the same thing. I am quite tall, 5ft 7in, so I naturally discarded gamine as an option without really evening considering it. After all, gamines are supposed to be petite and with a short vertical line, right? And David Kibbe himself gave this grouping a height ceiling of 5ft 6in. So, I threw it out.
However: I no longer believe in hard and fast rules like this, I think it’s about each person’s particular lines, essence, and unique body makeup. Also, and more importantly, outside of the height, I actually do fit some of the Gamine descriptions. So, with this in mind, I’d like to satisfy myself that I’m not a Flamboyant Gamine or surprise myself and discover that I am. Either way, here we go.
Flamboyant Gamine Body Type
According to Kibbe, Flamboyant Gamines are an uneven mix of yin and yang opposites with additional yang. The ‘uneven’ is important because it’s a standout characteristic for Flamboyant Gamines- where their yin and yang often appear irregular and potentially mismatched.
This means that their bodies sometimes give off the impression that they were made with parts that belong to different people. So, a Flamboyant Gamine can have a very short torso with long arms and legs, for example. They appear lean, and strong and are made up of straight lines, with a tendency toward a leggy look. Their essence is fun, youthful, and tomboyish.
Following their lines, Flamboyant Gamines are best complemented by segmented lines that create a staccato effect. The silhouette should be broken up at the natural breaks of the body. They look great in sharp, boxy, geometric, and irregular silhouettes. They look great in bold/ wild and contrasting colors and prints. They would look great in an A-line mini skirt with a wild print, high collared shirt, or a turtleneck with high-waisted cropped pants.
Evaluating Flamboyant Gamine
Putting aside my long vertical line, I do have a mix of yin and yang with extra yang. My structure and flesh are mostly yang, while my bust, face, hands, and feet are mostly yin. I wasn’t sure if this counts as a mixture of opposites and there was only one way to find out. This is what happened when I tried Flamboyant Gamine lines:
I look busy in these outfits. I want to take something off to visually simplify them. I like the bottom half of my body in both cases but in the first image, I’d like to change the shirt as it draws attention from my face to itself- so it overpowers me. In the second image, I’d like to remove the cropped jacket- I like the rest of the outfit. Can I have Flamboyant Gamine legs? lol
Now, let’s take a look at how true Flamboyant Gamines look in the same lines, and how they look mature and feminine in these ‘boyish’ clothes. Also, neither Emma nor Zoe look busy. Their outfits have a lot of components, but they all look like they should be there. Actually, if they took something off, the outfit would look like it was missing something.
Verdict: I look childish and busy/ cluttered in pure Flamboyant Gamine lines. However, I look great in FG elements and styling (particularly in the lower part of my body) so long as they don’t dominate the outfit. I am not a Flamboyant Gamine.
I fit into the Natural and Dramatic body types. I’d say I’m about 60% Natural and 40% Dramatic. This makes me Flamboyant Natural since that sits between Dramatic and Natural. This seemed right to me, however, I felt like something was missing.
Yes, Flamboyant Natural lines look great on me, but that wasn’t the complete picture. In just those lines, something wasn’t communicated. I had a softness, a sort of ‘Romantic’ Essence, that wasn’t coming through in purely FN lines.
Since I‘d hit a wall with the Body Type lines, I decided to explore the style essences to see if that would help to illuminate something- and it did. After assessing my essences, which I detail in this post, I’ve come to recognize that my ‘Romantic‘ essence, while my least prominent essence, is the missing piece that I need to honor for a fully harmonious look.
So, I am a Flamboyant Natural with an Romantic essence.
This seems to fit with me. It feels correct.
This was a long process, but I can honestly say that I enjoyed it. I did my absolute best to be objective which, I’ll admit, can be difficult when evaluating something as personal as your own body. I did my best to come into this process without any biases and preconceived notions, and I highly recommend that stance.
Every body type is beautiful and this is just about finding yours so you can dress it better so you show up more authentically and beautifully in your everyday life. Please do not forget that.
In the time to come, I‘ll be exploring this further to see if it works and I’ll do a post where I combine all my essences to test it out. I’m excited for the journey.
Please let me know what your body type is and if this analysis helped you at all. Also, please tell me if you agree with my analysis and findings. We don’t always see the same things and I’d love to hear your thoughts.