What is Zendaya’s Kibbe Body Type?
I have determined her to be a Soft Dramatic.
This post is a detailed account of how I got to this conclusion. I’ll be focusing on the lines of her body and clothes as well as her essence.
The basis of this analysis is primarily the Kibbe system of body typing, and secondarily the Kitchener system for understanding essence. These systems are unique and independent, but I like to use them together. Please keep in mind that I’m no expert and these are just my thoughts. They could very well be wrong. Anyway, let’s begin.
Let’s take a look at the lines of Zendaya’s body:
Zendaya’s body is long and lean. I see broad shoulders, long limbs, and taught flesh. I see both sharpness and softness. Sharpness in her structure and some features, and some softness in her flesh. She has a defined waist, and while her frame is prominent, so is her curve.
Elongation/ Vertical Line
The vertical line is observed in the silhouette between the shoulders and knees and has to do with how fabric falls on the body.
Zendaya has a long vertical line. She looks (and is) very tall. She looks great in all these looks, but I think the very short (left) and very long (right) dresses complement her best. The midi-length dress (middle) also looks good, but the extremes just look better.
Here, I think she looks slightly awkward in these ‘not too short, not too long’ dress lengths.
Flamboyant Natural Lines
Zendaya looks very drab in the cozy sweats outfits to the left. In the first image (left), she looks like a random college girl after pulling an all-nighter and not like ZENDAYA. These looks are too plain and underwhelming for her.
She looks the best in the last look (right). Here, her tracksuit is upscaled by the heels, coat, hair, and makeup. That all those things are present makes it okay for her to be in such a relaxed outfit. If you remove these things and leave her in the red tracksuit, this would again be a very blah outfit on her.
The two outfits to the left are too relaxed for Zendaya. They take away from her beauty and elegance. The ripped jeans, t-shirt/ sweats look too casual on her. The lack of hair styling and makeup also takes something away from her.
While a full denim look, in general, is not ideal for her, in the last image (right), she looks her best.
The tight fit of the jeans and absence of holes creates a sleek and sophisticated silhouette that matches her essence. Her hair and makeup are done, which also adds sophistication, as does the sharp heel.
Zendaya is lost in these drapery, shapeless silhouettes. Her body is swimming in fabric. In the middle image, I feel like without the belt her dress would just slither to the floor. It is not safely structured to her body in the way that she needs.
While also not her best, the third look (right) is the best. The structured, tailored pant anchors this outfit so that the billowy top doesn’t overpower her. Also, the long sleek hair, pointed heels, and asymmetry provide the Dramatic elements she needs.
Zendaya looks amazing in these looks. I think she looks better as the dresses get more Soft Dramatic as opposed to just Romantic.
The middle image is pure Romantic, down to the styling of the hair. It’s beautiful, but I think the slinky fabric and lack of waist definition would look better on someone with a softer, curvier body (a Soft Natural).
I see the first (left) and third (right) dresses as being Soft Dramatic. They each have a long vertical line, waist definition, heavy fabric, and a boldness to them. In both, she looks stunning and more fierce than in the middle dress.
Again, Zendaya looks incredible here. The rouched skin-tone leather has a clear visual weight to support her bone structure. The waist is defined and the jewelry and styling are elegant and bold.
I understand why this dress is nude and it looks amazing, but she would have also carried it off beautifully in a bold color. It would be more powerful.
Why Zendaya is NOT a Flamboyant Gamine
There has been talk on the internet streets of the possibility of Zendaya being a Flamboyant Gamine. Aside from her height disqualifying this possibility (she is 5’10 and Kibbe clearly states this is too tall for the Gamine types which are defined in part by a small stature), I thought it would be fun to look at her in these lines and see how they are clearly not her best.
These Flamboyant Gamine outfits are not Zendaya’s best. They look childish and inelegant to her. I do however think that she has Gamine essence (in combination with others), which allows her to pull off some limited Gamine styling and especially hairstyles.
The first look (left) features a top that is cropped too high for Zendaya’s long vertical line. The overly ripped jeans are too playful for her sophisticated essence. This look cheapens her elegance.
The second look (middle) is perhaps the most Flamboyant Gamine. The short, sharp, boxy lines; the high neckline; the intense color blocking- is all too much for Zendaya. Again, she looks childish and the outfit looks busy.
The third look (right) is the best of these. The suit aligns with her Dramatic bone structure, but the Flamboyant Gamine elements: the racer stripes down the side of her leg; the black crop top; the color blocking all take away from this look for her.
I think Zendaya has some Ingénue essence in her overall makeup, but it’s a non-dominant essence. So, while some Ingénue styling can look beautiful on her, she cannot pull off entire looks centered around it. Let’s explore this:
These are not flattering silhouettes for Zendaya. The girlish elements like the big petal sleeves and soft pink color (middle); the pleated, full A-line skirts (left, right); and even the playful print (left) all feel a little too cutesy for her.
She does have a cuteness to her, but her essence is more growth and sexy, and overly girlish styles look childish on her.
In these looks, the girlish styles have a long vertical, which is important for Zendaya. These looks are still boring and lack sophistication on her, but the length makes them better than the looks above.
She is lost in the big tulle and Cinderella gown, whose skirts are too flared and puffy for her narrow frame.
These are the best ‘girlish’ outfits on Zendaya. This is how she can play up her cuteness without being completely lost in it. Again, these are not her best looks, but she does look good.
The long vertical, waist definition and not-too-flared silhouettes help to anchor these looks to her structure.
The first look (left), is the best because it also has a fitted top, and for Zendaya, the more fitted the better.
The third look (right) is the least flattering because it’s the least fitted and the neckline is open in such a way that juxtaposes her sharp, thin frame to the soft, lightweight tulle and she looks dry and boney against it.
Zendaya was born to rock a fitted suit. She looks amazing in all these looks. The sharp tailoring, the sleek silhouette, the heavy fabric, and the long vertical lines all mimic her natural Dramatic structure and are perfectly harmonious with her.
The result is that she is easily her most expressive in a suit. It’s almost like the suit is her skin (because it blends with her so perfectly) and whatever she wants to communicate with her hair and makeup is amplified:
In the first look (left) she is fresh, girly, and cute. In the second look (middle), she is edgy and androgynous. In the third look (right), she is sexy and alluring.
The suit, or rather the long, sharp, sleek lines of such tailoring are Zendaya’s perfect canvas.
Not all suits are created equal:
In these looks, Zendaya deviates from the long, sleek vertical of the suits above- and they are not as flattering.
The fit of the pants in the first look (left) is too loose and the length is slightly cropped. This widens and shortens the silhouette, not by much, but it’s still enough to make a noticeable difference.
The jacket of the middle look is too oversized and the leggings are too playful. It’s a fun look (and themed wonderfully for a Spider-Man movie launch), but it’s not the greatest fit for her.
The third look needs pants. Lol. She looks incredible, of course, because her legs are gorgeous, but the jacket alone cuts off her vertical line. I think tailored pants would complete and elevate this look.
Overcoat Length Study
Zendaya is better suited by a long coat that honors her long vertical line.
The cropped jacket in the third look (right) is the most jarring and unflattering. It cuts off her vertical in a dramatic way because of the stark color contrast between the black jacket and the white shirt.
This entire outfit is a bit of a mess, but it would look so much better if her jacket was as long as or longer than the shirt. Then she could lose the hat and wear a more fitted shirt. As is, this look is confusing and I’m not sure whom it’s designed for.
In the middle, the short jacket works because the burgundy color matches that of her skirt. So taken together, the two pieces create a long vertical line.
The first image (left) is the best. The slim, long leather jacket is perfect for Zendaya. The thigh-high boots create an even longer vertical line and she looks great.
Overcoat Silhouette Study
Zendaya needs straight lines. In these outfits, the first look (left) is the least flattering because of the rounded and fullness of the coat. It makes her look wide and her body is lost under it.
In the images to the right, she looks great. The coats are straight and better fitted to her narrow frame.
The third look (right) is the best because of the long vertical created by the monochromatic color scheme of the entire look, but also the tailoring of the jacket. The lapels are thin and straight (unlike the middle image), and the fabric is heavyweight. The coat ever balances out the casual nature of the cargo-style pants with the knee pockets (?).
I love these looks for demonstrating that ‘rules’ aren’t fixed and it’s all about the overall effect of any outfit.
The first look (left) is very wide, but it’s great on Zendaya because the coat is so heavy and structured that it fully supports her structure. The cut is also dramatically wide, so that drama works well with her Dramatic essence.
The middle coat is quite rounded, but it also looks good on her because of the styling. The wide waist belt and her boots create structure and tightness to this coat, making it work for her.
The last look (right) is monochromatic, narrow, and has a long vertical line. However, it’s her worst look because of the weightlessness of the fabric and the lack of structured tailoring. She looks like she’s wearing pajamas.
Sexy Dramatic Lines
Zendaya is sexy (see the nude leather dress above for example), but this is not her brand of sexy. She looks like she’s trying to be a sexy badass.
Her essence is too gentle to pull this off. This sort of look requires the almost threatening sexiness and essence of a Dramatic like Bella Hadid.
Sharp tailoring, very long or very short, feminine draping, narrow silhouette, medium to heavy fabrics.
Wide + Indistinct
These looks have structure, but the silhouettes are indistinct. I couldn’t draw them simply with straight lines.
This is especially true in the first (left) and middle images where the skirts over the pants obscure the silhouette. The middle look is also less structured than the others as the coat is less stiff.
The jacket of the last look (right) is structured, but the skirt and cardigan create a silhouette that is too wide and flowy (unconstructed) for Zendaya.
The first look (left) really does nothing for Zendaya.
While the long vertical line, waist definition, asymmetry, and even fabric weight are okay, the lack of structure and tailoring is overpoweringly bad because of how critically important those elements are for her. The pattern and colors of this dress are also not great.
The middle look is too lightweight and the flare of the skirt makes the silhouette too wide for Zendaya’s narrow, Dramatic frame.
The last look (right) could have been great- it was so close. It showcases her body beautifully, but from a design and body harmony point of view, it could be better:
Where the skirt sits cuts her vertical line in an unflattering way. It makes her proportions look off- her legs look short somehow. It also creates a gap between the top and skirt that is too long, which achieves more of a staccato effect than a monochromatic one.
The balloon at her waist is…fine. It doesn’t necessarily make her look wider, but it’s not doing much. Lastly, the crop top is too simple. It’s just a bandage across her boobs.
I have seen the full look with the cropped jacket and it made it worse for me. The little structure provided by the tailoring of the tiny jacket did very little to fix the issues I had and in fact, further highlighted the problematic horizontal breaks of this look.
What I would do:
- Raise the skirt to her waist, adding length to her bottom and shortening the exposed middle section.
- Redesign the crop top so it’s not bandage-looking. I think literally anything would look better.
- Make the balloon black. Or a different color that would contrast well for a beautiful, dramatic finish.
I like this look, I get the vision. I just think the execution was weak.
Zendaya has so many different elements to her facial beauty, which allows her to play with and pull off many different hair looks. She looks great in all of these hairstyles.
Whether short or long, what they all have in common is a general cleanness and sleekness. This is Zendaya at her best.
Let’s see what happens as she loses sleekness:
She is of course still gorgeous, but something is taken away when her hair isn’t perfectly polished. This is because of her Dramatic essence that requires clean, sophisticated finishes.
In similar hairstyles, I think she looks better in the more polished version (bottom) as compared to the more relaxed version (top). This is the clearest indication that Zendaya is not a Natural type.
But also, this:
That said, she really can beautifully pull off more beauty looks than most. It’s not fair.
The cropped pixie cuts (top) play up her Dramatic edge and her Gamine essence. Note: Again, I think she looks the best in the left and right images which are ‘cleaner’. She looks great in the middle too, but the tousled look does take something away.
The bottom looks play up her delicacy. Her features almost blur out (because of the lack of any sharpness in the hair), but the effect is beautiful. She looks gentle.
Hair for Zendaya is a world of possibilities. She just has to know the effect she wants to create and be mindful of not going too far away from her primary essence.
These are some of Zendaya’s least flattering hairstyles.
Zendaya needs styling. The undone ‘I woke up like this’ and wavy styles on the top left look like she forgot to do her hair.
The top two left looks are stiff and aging. The bobs are not sleek enough, and they have too much volume for her. The wet looks (both the long and short bob) look like she forgot to comb her hair and not ‘sexy’ as they would on a different face.
I think Zendaya looks her best in subtle but distinct (visible) makeup. She can handle intensity, especially in the eye, but the look must be sophisticated. She can handle color on the lip, but again it must be somewhat subdued to retain her elegance.
In the first look (left), the bright red lip is too much for her, and it’s all I see. Her eye makeup is also too subtle for this bold lip, it doesn’t balance it out.
The middle and right looks both feature an intense eye and subtle lip. This works great for Zendaya and it doesn’t look unbalanced (like an intense lip with a subtle eye does). She looks intense, fresh, and fun.
Zendaya needs visible makeup. In the very nude makeup (left) she looks too subdued. I want to put some lipstick on her or some eyeshadow AND lipstick. This look is too underwhelming on her and she almost disappears.
The look to the right is how she successfully pulls off the ‘no makeup’ look. Her eye is gently intense (compared to the looks above) and her lip color is a shade or two darker than her skin tone, which makes it visible.
The middle image shows how she can handle a bold and bright color (red lipstick), at the right intensity.
I love this look. This is how Zendaya pulls off cute. The silhouette (particularly the skirt) is very ‘little girl’ but the fabric being leather is very mature and balances it out. The sharp shoes make for a sophisticated look and the statement earrings are beautiful. Her makeup is subtle but her smoky eye is perfect.
This is a fun look. This look has a lot of Flamboyant Natural elements: the oversized shoulders, deep V, and long lean skirt.
However, the waist definition, satin fabric, shoe embellishments, and earrings give it an ‘upscale diva’ feel that screams Soft Dramatic. I think this is why it looks great on Zendaya.
This is Zendaya’s brand of sexy. She looks cool, sexy, and powerful.
I mean, the girl can rock a suit. I love the drama of this one. The lines are long, sleek, and sharp and the waist definition is gorgeous, and again proves her to be a Soft Dramatic. This is perfect execution.
Fun. Cute. Yes.
I like this very much. It’s technically better suited for a Natural type on account of the textured and distressed knit fabric and the slouchy fit- but it works on her.
The stiff see-through bottom tube and edging provide the structure missing on the top. The white dress and shoes create a long vertical line and her hair and makeup are subtle, but sleek, sharp, and beautiful.
An honorable mention- because Zendaya is wearing a hot pink breastplate. This is so spectacular that it makes the bottom half excusable. In an ideal world, the skirt would be narrow and structured or it would be a tailored pant. But I’ll still take it. Happily. I love her hair.
If I had to type Zendaya, I would say she is a Soft Dramatic.
I’d love to know what you think. Please let me know if you came to the same conclusion or if you’d type Zendaya differently.