Decoding Fashion: Understanding Your Body Type Kibbe Style

Fashion isn't just about keeping up with trends or wearing what's in—it's about knowing your body type and dressing to flatter it. That's where Kibbe Style comes in.

Developed by renowned image consultant David Kibbe, this system categorizes body types into style archetypes. Once you know your Kibbe body type, you can dress to enhance your shape—and join the ranks of stylish women who are tired of cookie-cutter fashion.

In this article, we'll introduce you to the fascinating world of Kibbe Style so you can understand how to dress according to your body type—not just look excellent but exceptional! Get ready to discover your fashion persona and unleash her!

Short Summary

What Is a Kibbe Body Type?

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In 1987, David Kibbe published a pioneering book called Metamorphosis: A Personal Image and Style Book for Women. It transformed fashion and personal styling by introducing the Kibbe body type classification system.

Instead of using generic shapes like pear or hourglass, Kibbe went further by examining each person's body structure and essence. Kibbe identified several archetypes along a spectrum. These were based on attributes such as facial appearance, bone structure, overall impression – and so on.

For each archetype or category he recognized, there are style recommendations intended both to harmonize with that individual's constitution and to enhance their finest features.

Through grasping your individual Kibbe body type, you can discover how to dress authentically and stylishly in a way that works best for you.

The Kibbe Body Type System

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Did you know that the Kibbe body type system can help you determine your specific body type by considering factors like tissue distribution, and facial features? Once you know your body type, you can dress to flatter your figure!

The aim is always to create looks that work with who you are inside as well as out styles that harmonize with your individuality rather than jar against it.

It's worth noting that while lots of people refer to these categories as "body types," this isn't totally accurate. Body type does come into play, but other factors like bone structure and even personality do, too.

Think of them more as overall archetypes or image identities. Once you understand yours better, you can begin unlocking the keys, not just to style choices that feel 100 percent right for who you are.

Main Principles of Kibbe Body Types

The two core concepts of Kibbe Body Types revolve around the equilibrium between Yin and Yang energies, and the interplay between contrasting and blending features. Let's take a closer look at them:

Yin & Yang

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The concept of Yin and Yang goes back thousands of years and can help us understand how things look – including clothes and accessories. It's like a dance between two opposites: Yin is curvy and round (feminine), while Yang is angular and straight (masculine).

In terms of body shape, Yin might mean you have lots of curves or don't have many straight lines. For example, Marilyn Monroe has an hourglass figure with soft features, and she's very Yin.

On the other hand someone who is high in Yang might be quite bony or not have many curves at all. Keira Knightley is a good example: she's got lots of sharp angles both on her body (long lean limbs) as well as her face.

But Yin-Yang isn't just about looks – it applies to everything in life! Light wouldn't exist without darkness, and old age doesn't come unless you've been young first. By understanding this theory better, we can see beneath surface appearances, too.

Contrast & Blend

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Contrast and blend work together to show the wide range of human bodies. It's like having a canvas where lots of different things mix together well.

When you have contrast in body typing, Yin and Yang features come together strongly but still peacefully. It's like looking at someone with a high forehead (more Yang) that has big, round eyes (more Yin) and a small, delicate nose (also Yin).

Each one adds something special to create an exciting mix – like notes do when they come together in music.

Blend means Yin and Yang join forces so smoothly that they seem like one happy unit. A great example is Marion Cotillard. Her figure has both curvy parts and straighter bits that balance out nicely – just like her eyes, which are between narrow and wide but not super extreme either!

In contrast, Mia Farrow shows off contrasting elements. Most of her body, as well as her face, say "sharp angles here!" really loudly – except for these big round eyes! Those are majorly Yin! It's astonishing how opposites attract.

The combination of opposition and unity creates a diverse and intricate pattern. It honors the particular way Yin and Yang interact in every person, highlighting how valuable it is to accept our contrasts alongside our similarities.

The 5 Kibbe Base Families

There are 13 body types in total. However, these can be grouped into five pure-type families. The other eight body types are blends of these pure types – and may, therefore, be more complicated to identify.

So before we look at the mixed types, it's essential first to explore what the pure ones are:


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The Yin/Yang spectrum places the Dramatic body type on the extreme Yang end with very little Yin influence. Those in this category have a bold presence with long lines and sharp angles.

Tall with an elongated silhouette and angular bones and limbs, this person will also have big hands and feet relative to their frame. They tend towards less flesh on a straight up-and-down figure with firm flesh so muscles can be seen.

A Dramatic's face will also have strong angles – think square bone structure, high cheekbones, or an impressive nose shape. Their eyes might be smallish or close-set, and lips thin and straight-ish. Basically, every feature looks precise enough to slice bread!


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The Classic Family represents harmony between Yin and Yang forces. Members appear well-balanced, with moderate features that are symmetrical.

Classic body types have specific physical characteristics, such as maintaining their medium height range, shoulders that sit between straight and sloping, limbs and arms in even proportion, and hands and feet that appear harmonious together.

In terms of flesh on their frames, Classics display an even distribution around the bust, waist and hips – with the waist being slightly smaller here too. They have a combination of tautness with curves overall.

Facially speaking, Classic individuals possess perfect symmetry – their nose bridges are precisely equal on either side of the midline (as is valid for cheekbones/jawline).

In addition, their cheeks, lips, and eyes all contain moderate flesh - neither too large nor too small, creating an overall impression one might call ageless grace! The Classic family perfectly embodies harmony and restraint in how they look and act.


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The Gamine family within the Kibbe body type system is a unique mix of Yin and Yang energies, separate from the Classics. Gamines have clearly split features: some are petite Yin, others sharp Yang.

In terms of structure, they tend to be slight but with noticeable angles, such as delicate hands and feet plus long limbs on tapered shoulders.

Their flesh is lean, creating straight lines from the bust through the waist to the hips. Their facial bones are angular, too, such as noses that come to points and high cheekbones you could cut cheese with.

They do have flesh on their cheeks, but it's firm, not soft. The same goes for the chin or anywhere else. Gamine types might have fullness!

By combining delicacy with strength, Gamines give off an enchanting energy where sassiness meets classiness.


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The Natural family falls under the Yang-dominant category, characterized by a softer Yang expression with a hint of Yin influence. While still maintaining angularity, Naturals have slightly less pronounced sharpness in their features, resulting in a more blended and approachable look.

Physically, individuals with a Natural body type typically exhibit tall stature paired with broad shoulders featuring blunt edges, long limbs, and large hands and feet. Their bone structure embodies a harmonious blend of angularity and softness.

In terms of body flesh, Naturals showcases a wide but flat bust line, straight yet wide waistline, and hips that maintain a straight silhouette. Their musculature is taut yet not overly prominent – striking a balance between firmness and fluidity.

Facially, naturals boast wide and angular features such as nose, cheekbones, and jawline (with blunt edges). Their eyes are spaced wider apart, complemented by broad lips and muscular cheek flesh - contributing to their effortlessly strong, grounded appearance within the Kibbe system.


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In Kibbe's body typing system, the Romantic family is pure Yin. They are all about softness and lushness without any hardness with a delicate bone structure.

Romantics have a physical appearance that sets them apart from other families—they look gentle and delicate. They often appear shorter than they really are because of their small size overall, as well as sloping shoulders and short limbs. They have a short vertical line.

Their hands and feet are small, too; everything about them has a soft curve. Even at their perfect weight, Romantics tend to be fleshy with an hourglass shape, total bust, and rounded hips—and they're proud to show off these curves!

If you fall into the Romantic category, you will also have a cherubic face: one that is babyish (even if you're 50!), round-shaped and dainty.

Those with a Romantic body type are often characterized by their large, round eyes, full lips, and plump cheekbones – all of which add to their overall appeal.

The 13 Kibbe Body Types

Now that you have learned about the five Kibbe base families let's take a closer look at each archetype and begin discovering their clothing styles:


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In Kibbe's system, individuals with a Dramatic body type have a sharp innate elegance. They possess certain physical characteristics like straight lines in the body (which can also be seen in facial bones), narrow shoulders, and long legs. These features make them look dynamic or angular overall.

To enhance their lengthened frame when dressing themselves, Dramatics should wear styles that feature clean vertical lines. Looks that are tailor-made are especially worth considering here, too.

To create the impression of even more height, think about wearing outfits that incorporate just one color. Or, if you'd like to break this up slightly, select pieces that include minimal blocks of shade only.

You also suit garments containing shapes with hard edges, ideally rectangles or triangles, for example. In order not to lose any crispness from your looks, pick materials that hold their structure. Substantial fabrics will be great for this purpose!

Long coats, straight trousers, and dresses will all help to accentuate the Dramatic body type's desire for clean lines. Embrace a wardrobe that exudes power, elegance, and exactitude - right down to every carefully fitted seam.

Soft Dramatic

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If you have the Soft Dramatic body type, you have both angular bones and fleshy features – think sharp Yang meets Yin. You might also be tall with curves on your bust and hips. Your face has bold bones plus lush features like full lips and large eyes.

For clothes that suit this shape, look for clean designs that lengthen your body. Soft draping is good, too; it helps make your angular bits look more feminine. Fabrics should flow lightly over curves.

To add softness, try an oversized floral print here and there. And keep in mind the idea of a T-shape when picking new pieces: ones that are voluminous around the shoulder area but still have long lines (just like the letter T!) will really show off how statuesque you are.

You'll want to make sure everything is smooth and simple-looking. These sorts of details can get lost on your frame and may chop up your figure – which is probably not what you're going for!

Flamboyant Natural

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The Flamboyant Natural is a combination of sharp Yang bone structure and soft Yang flesh on both the body and face, giving off a lively mix of strength and wildness.

They tend to be tall with broad, angular bones that have blunt edges. Their limbs are long, and they have big hands and feet – all of which give them quite a striking physical presence. They have long vertical line.

For Flamboyant Naturals, clothes with long, broad lines featuring bold but natural angles work best. They suit unconstructed styles rather than anything too tailored.

Think loose shapes and oversized pieces such as wide trousers or coats in generous cuts. Asymmetric designs also look great on them as these mirror their own angularity.

Outfits can include textured fabrics (like bouclé or crushed velvet), prints that are asymmetric themselves, and colors worn together in ways others might not think about combining shades.


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The Natural body type has a combination of slightly angular features along with an open and fresh presence. To suit their symmetrical figure, look for clothing styles that are both loose and tailored, using long lines that have a gentle curve.

Naturals often have a straight body without much waist definition. The aim when choosing clothes is to create shape - but not through structure alone. Instead, go for garments that skim the outline of your body reasonably closely while still being fluid enough for movement.

Think trousers with soft pleats rather than sharp ones or shirts without darts but cut on the bias so they don't hang like sacks off you! Adding something such as an asymmetric detail or wearing a scarf can achieve this, too.

Fabrics like suede and linen wool work well with this type, as do prints featuring softly-edged geometrical patterns broken up by asymmetry. If there's ever a time to play around with color pairings, then it's now – so why not try unexpected combinations? You might find yourself loving how effortlessly cool and grounded they make you feel!

Soft Natural

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The Soft Natural is a fusion of Yin and Yang with a balance of angularity and softness. Innocence is also part of this type's mix. They have fleshiness to their features, like square shoulders, moderate height, and full lips with fleshy cheeks – which all together give off a gentle presence that grounds.

When dressing, look for unconstructed shapes that provide some waist definition so as not to overpower your softness. Styles that are relaxed with gentle draping or fluidity will work well with your natural curves, too.

Details such as slight asymmetry or looseness add interest without effort. Choose fabrics that drape beautifully (like silk, linen, wool, and cotton). Wearing these will enhance the overall aesthetic of Soft Naturals.

Soft color combinations help to emphasize their relaxed yet elegant style, making it easy for them to show off their natural beauty.

Flamboyant Gamine

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The Flamboyant Gamine style embodies a bold combination of Yin and Yang contrasts with an extra touch of yang energy. This body type is characterized by angular but petite features – think sharpness, youthfulness, and daring.

Flamboyant Gamines are usually 5'6" or shorter. They have firm muscles and a slender, straight-edged silhouette that may make them appear leggy.

Angular bones (often broad, too), square shoulders, and large hands and feet also contribute to their unique look. Facial features include big eyes and either sharpness overall or mixed with some broadness.

If you're a Flamboyant Gamine, go for strict geometric silhouettes in your clothing line with straight lines and sharp edges to match your yang energy.

Asymmetrical shapes, chunky textures, and bright colors are all essential – as are bold prints or animated patterns if you want to take this up a notch and create something visually dramatic that screams Flamboyant Gamine!


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Gamines have a small frame with delicate bones and sharp angles and are usually petite. Despite their size, gamines come across as youthful, exuberant, and sometimes even cheeky!

To dress, wear fitted clothes that highlight your waistline. Look out for garments with sharp shapes or ones that create an outline (like styles featuring split seams).

When it comes to patterns and fabric texture, go for small prints on matte fabrics or anything you can quickly iron crisp. You'll also suit lots of bright colors worn together plus black, as it creates a high impact when mixed with other shades.

Your aim? To always appear fresh-faced and perky – just like your personality dictates! So wear what makes you feel confident while having fun showing off this side to the world.

Soft Gamine

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The Soft Gamine style is a combination of Yin and Yang elements with an emphasis on Yin, creating a fun and lively energy. Soft Gamines have petite figures with both curves and angles, as well as doll-like facial features – all of which give them a uniquely charming presence.

For clothing shapes, those with the Soft Gamine body type will want to aim for lines that incorporate both yin and yang elements, with rounded shapes emphasized alongside sharp ones. Look for fitted clothes that highlight the waistline, too. Plus, consider pieces that boast lively details and bring extra Yin into your mix.

When it comes to fabrics, go for lightweight ones that hold their shape so they create structure around you but still move when you do. In terms of color and pattern, don't shy away here: small- to medium-sized bold prints in bright shades or lots of colors are all things worth considering.

Overall, you're aiming for outfits that are energetic (just like you!), small in scale (to match your delicate features), and feminine – with plenty of contrasting hues.

Theatrical Romantic

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Romantic Theatrical style is a fusion of delicate femininity and bold power, resulting in an enchanting presence. Typically small- to medium-height with soft curves, hourglass figures, and gently angular bones, Theatrical Romantics also boast striking features such as full lips and large eyes.

To dress this body type, create outfits that emphasize your curves via fitted styles while adding angular elements to counterbalance the natural Yang within your shape.

Fabrics should be light enough to drape nicely – think silk or crepe – as well as shiny or softly textured. Enjoy wearing bright colors. Try mixing these with one or two high-contrast hues for extra excitement. Abstract prints or those resembling watercolors will also enhance your look's dramatic, romantic appeal.


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The Romantic body type is known for having a full bust, slim waist, and curved hips – even if someone with this type isn't necessarily curvy overall.

To show off their curves, Romantics should wear clothes that highlight roundness. Think soft silhouettes that flow gently down the body, necklines that form perfect circles, and ruffles that are pretty, not edgy.

Consider fabrics such as chiffon that move beautifully when you walk or softly woven materials that have some drape to them.

Florals can work well on Romantics, provided they're pretty small and spaced far apart. Colors like blush pink or powder blue will further enhance your overall soft and feminine look.

Avoid sharp or angular patterns – these won't reflect your nature nearly as much as ornate swirls will! Remember: You want sensuality rather than sexiness. There's a difference!

Soft Classic

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The body characteristics of Soft Classic include a combination of Yin and Yang features that are elegant and soft, with a touch of delicacy. They have moderate height with slightly rounded shoulders. The overall shape tends to be moderate as well – arms, waistline, and thighs all fall within the moderate range for females.

Bones have symmetrical shaping, but their ends may appear slightly blunt. Shoulders taper gently into the arm while facial curves broaden more than average.

To create outfits, look for clothing designs that are both clean-lined and symmetrical on you. Aim for gentle tailoring at the waist so as not to overpower your frame.

High-quality fabrics with some drape will always make an outfit appear more expensive than it is! Soft and light colors worn together will create your most assertive looks.

Prints should generally be smallish or medium-sized and softly flowing rather than bold or geometric, if possible. Besides, prefer to find smooth rather than textured fabrics whenever you can find them.


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The Classic Kibbe body type is characterized by symmetry. It's not as sharp and angular (Dramatic) or soft and round (Romantic). The overall impression is moderate in terms of both bone structure and facial features, with a mix of Yin and Yang.

For clothing styles, aim for symmetry in your outfits as well as moderate sharpness and roundness. Look for smooth edges rather than ones that are jagged or too curved—these will make you look put-together and polished.

Styles should be clean with some soft elements mixed in among the structured ones (but nothing too extreme in either direction).

When choosing color combos or prints, go for those that don't contrast strongly. These can overwhelm the harmony found naturally within this group!

And don't forget about fabric choice either—good-quality silk or cashmere will always enhance elegance effortlessly.

Dramatic Classic

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The Kibbe body type Dramatic Classic is a mixture of Yin and Yang with slightly more Yang, giving them an elegant sharpness, even in their coolness.

They are of moderate height and have a compact frame, which may be subtly muscular. Their bones are straight-ish and wide: square or tapered shoulders and angular facial contours. Hands and feet may also have a squarish look.

If you have the Dramatic Classic body type, go for clothes with clean lines and sharp edges to emphasize your angular features. Look for tailored pieces with crisp cuffs or pleats, as well as structured silhouettes that have geometric details like these.

Fabrics should be of good quality but not too heavy, and colors can either be neutrals or deep tones. Wearing them together creates striking outfits because there is such contrast between light shades and dark ones!

Embrace this symmetry by dressing sleekly: it's all about showing off how sophisticated an angular shape can look when clothed correctly.


The Kibbe system provides not just a fashion moment but a fashion transformation by helping you understand your body type. When you embrace Yin and Yang, opposites attracting, and lush essences, it changes how you dress yourself—and shop, too!

Because once you know whether you're a Soft Classic (curves: yes, please!) or a Dramatic (sharp angles all over), you can honor and flatter your figure instead of working against it. It will feel amazing.

So take that knowledge with you into everything from jeans-and-T-shirt days to big job interview moments. Dressing for your shape, according to Kibbe, isn't restrictive—it's an open door to incredible style possibilities that celebrate YOU.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Body Flesh Mean?

Body flesh refers to the substance of your physical body – how muscular or fleshy you appear, how fat is distributed on your frame, and overall firmness or softness.

What Is the Kibbe Body Type System?

It's a style system that groups people based on the yin/yang balance in their appearance. It also considers things like bone structure, facial features, and how different elements (like curves or muscles) combine with each other.

Which Kibbe Body Type Is the Rarest?

Flamboyant Natural. This one is considered rare because having both blunt and angular bones and lush flesh is rare.

Does Your Kibbe Body Type Change If You Gain Or Lose Weight?

While there might be slight changes to some characteristics as you gain or lose, your main Kibbe Body Type doesn't alter throughout different weights or body shapes.