Kibbe Body Types: A Comprehensive Guide

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Ever blown your last paycheck on a spontaneous shopping spree and came home with a huge haul — only to find that all the pieces look unnatural or a bit “off” on you?

We’ve all been there, sadly. And the thing is choosing pieces based on the latest fads and trends can have us wind up in this same predicament over and over. 

So what’s the solution? Well, many fashion fanatics have turned to identifying their Kibbe body types to help them make style selections based on the lines and shape of their physique.

If this all sounds new to you, don’t worry. We’re here to take you on a deep dive into the Kibbe body type system and its philosophy and styling principles. 

We’ll also examine each Kibbe body type up close, so you can determine your type and find out how to style yourself in a way that emphasizes and celebrates your gorgeously unique features!

A group of women in jeans with different body types and height are standing in front of a white background.

What Is the Kibbe Body Type System?

Also called the Kibbe image identity system, the Kibbe body type system classifies body types or image identities (image IDs) according to the balance of the yin (softness and curves) and yang (sharp angles and edges) in their features.

There are five “pure” body types or image identities in the system:

  • Dramatic 
  • Natural
  • Classic
  • Gamine
  • Romantic

The remaining eight body types are variations or subtypes of the body type families above:

  • Soft dramatic
  • Flamboyant natural
  • Soft natural
  • Dramatic classic
  • Soft classic
  • Flamboyant gamine
  • Soft gamine
  • Theatrical romantic 

The Kibbe body type system provides styling guidelines that include hair, makeup, and wardrobe choices for each type. 

We’ll get into the specifics of this in a while. But first, let’s take a quick peek at the history of this system. 

History of the Kibbe Body Type System

Stylist and image consultant David Kibbe came up with the Kibbe body type system and brought it to the public eye in his now out-of-print book, “Metamorphosis: Discover Your Image Identity and Dazzle as Only You Can.”

In several interviews through the years, Kibbe asserts that his goal was to offer an antithesis to the prevailingly generic styling principles of the ’80s.

At the time, he noticed that most styling gurus advised clients and the general public to follow whichever fashion trends were in vogue. 

Trends also advocated for choosing pieces that deemphasized one’s features and concealed “problem areas” to conform to a supposedly ideal hourglass shape. 

So he set out to develop a system that counters this by taking each individual’s unique features (the natural lines and shape of their body) and “essence” (their energy and personality traits) into account. 

With this, devotees of the Kibbe body system are able to put together outfits that create harmony in their appearance and look tailor-made for them. 

Of course, many still dress according to the fashion aesthetics that appeal to them, but knowing their Kibbe body type helps them create silhouettes and outlines and pick prints and patterns that honor their lines. 

Popularity of Kibbe Body Types

While the method got its fair share of fame in the ’90s, it was recently brought out of obscurity and thrust back into the limelight by anonymous beauty enthusiasts on the Internet. 

Today it continues to trend all over social media. The hashtag #kibbebodytypes on TikTok currently boasts thousands of videos with a combined view count of over 100 million views. 

Countless beauty blogs, Reddit forums, and Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook accounts are also dedicated to discussing Kibbe body types at length and sharing style tips and guidelines for each type. 

Because there is no official Kibbe body type quiz available online, several Kibbe fanatics have taken it upon themselves to create their own versions of the Kibbe body type test based on Kibbe’s original.

And users across different social media platforms have recorded themselves taking it to help viewers figure out how it works and determine their own body type.

Experts surmise that this surge in popularity is in large part due to the emerging trend of self-categorization that has dominated social media, just like the similarly renewed interest in astrology or seasonal color analysis. 

One can classify themselves as a dramatic or a soft classic the same way they would call themselves an Aries or a Virgo, a light spring or a cool summer

But the Kibbe system has also gained widespread acclaim for its unique, holistic styling approach that makes it stand out against the multitude of body typing systems. 

What Sets the Kibbe Body Type System Apart?

Emphasizes Embracing Your Natural Features

The system focuses on the following characteristics of each individual:

  • Bone structure 
  • Body flesh (the distribution of flesh across the bones)
  • Facial features 

These features dictate the native lines of your body, and Kibbe’s styling guidelines revolve around honoring these. 

The Kibbe system has a tailored styling approach that involves matching pieces to your natural lines and silhouette to create harmony with your overall appearance.

So for instance, the Kibbe system would encourage an individual with broad shoulders to avoid treating the feature as a “flaw” that needs to be concealed. 

Instead, they’re matched with open necklines and wide collars that allow them to breathe and highlight their horizontal lines.

Accommodates Natural Body Changes

Unlike other body typing systems, Kibbe body types aren’t based on measurements, which are subject to change with weight gain or loss. 

So once you’ve established your Kibbe body type, you can dress according to it, even if you drop or go up a size or experience any physical changes that come with age and life events. 

This also means straight-sized folks can have the same Kibbe body type as plus-size individuals. 

A group of women in jeans with different height, body type and skin colors are posing in front of a brown background.

Key Principles of the Kibbe Body Type System

Before we get into the specifics of Kibbe’s system of 13 body types, it’s important to establish the foundational principles of the system and define them to help you better identify your features and classify your body type more accurately. 

Yin and Yang

In the Kibbe body type system, yin and yang are two extreme ends of a spectrum of physical attributes. 

Features perceived as soft or round are referred to as yin, while those thought of as sharp and structured are called yang. 

Here’s a table to help you distinguish between yin and yang features:

 CharacteristicsExamples
Yin
  • Curves
  • Smooth lines
  • Soft edges
  • Round shapes
  • Flowing silhouettes
  • Delicate appearance
  • Petiteness
  • Full lips
  • Button nose
  • Round cheeks
  • Large eyes
  • Round face
  • Small, well-defined waist
Yang
  • Strong lines
  • Sharp edges
  • Rectangular and geometric shapes
  • Stiff silhouettes
  • Strong appearance
  • Tallness
  • Thin or straight lips
  • Sharp cheekbones
  • Defined nose
  • Narrow eyes
  • Angular face
  • Long, straight waist

The system also specifies categories of yin and yang:

  • Petite yin — Dainty features like small hands, a delicate bone structure, and a petite frame are characteristic of petite yin. 
  • Lush yin — Sensuous is perhaps the most fitting descriptor for lush yin features, which include a curvaceous, hourglass figure, large eyes, and plump lips.
  • Soft yang — Horizontal lines and blunt edges (think broad shoulders and wide noses) are the defining features of soft yang. 
  • Sharp yang — Sharp yang embodies the angularity and sharpness of yang to the extreme as it’s defined by vertical lines and pointed edges. Features like sharp noses and prominent jawlines belong to this category.

Here’s a chart of the main Kibbe body types or the five Kibbe body type families and their corresponding yin or yang dominance:

Sharp yang Dramatic
Soft yangNatural
BalancedClassic
Petite yinGamine
Lush yinRomantic

Contrast and Blend

What distinguishes one Kibbe body type from another also hinges largely upon the distribution and balance of its yin and yang features, which are referred to in the system as contrast and blend.

A contrasting body type has features — bone structure, flesh distribution, and facial features — that are distinctly yin or yang. 

For instance, an individual with a petite frame and large eyes (both yin), but a prominent jawline, defined cheekbones, and thin lips (all yang) would be classified as contrasting.

On the flip side, a blended body type has features at the halfway point between the yin and yang extremes; these cannot be distinguished as strictly yin or yang. 

So an individual whose eyes and lips are neither large and full (yin) nor narrow and thin (yang) and whose waist is neither long with little definition (yang) nor small with striking definition (yin) may have a blended body type.

For your easy reference, here’s a chart of the Kibbe body types detailing where their features fall on the yin and yang spectrum:

DramaticSharp yang
Soft DramaticSharp yang with a lush yin undercurrent
Flamboyant NaturalSharp yang with a soft yang undercurrent 
NaturalSoft yang
Soft NaturalSoft yang with a lush yin undercurrent
Dramatic ClassicBalanced yin and yang with a stronger yang influence
ClassicBalanced
Soft ClassicBalanced yin and yang with a stronger yin influence
Flamboyant GamineContrasting mix of yin and yang with a stronger yang influence
GaminePetite yin
Soft GamineContrasting mix of yin and yang with a stronger yin influence
Theatrical RomanticLush yin with a sharp yang undercurrent
RomanticLush yin

The 13 Kibbe Body Types

Now on to the part you’ve all been waiting for! Let’s take an in-depth look at all the Kibbe body types by discussing their physical features and personality essence as described by Kibbe.  

We’ll also provide examples of the Kibbe body types via household-name celebrities to help you visualize each type better. 

And of course, we’ll give you a comprehensive guide to styling tips and techniques for each body type to empower you to curate the most ideal pieces for your wardrobe and achieve a truly unique and flattering personal style!

Important note: David Kibbe has recently removed three body types from the system: classic, gamine, and natural. 

The reasoning behind his decision is that he believes most individuals will not perfectly embody the soft yang (natural) or the exact combination of yin and yang features (classic and gamine) that these types have. 

Instead, they’ll lean more toward either a stronger yin or yang that will have them classified under the subtypes of these three “pure” types.

That said, we’ll still explore the classic, natural, and gamine types to give Kibbe newbies a comprehensive overview of the system and recognize those who may still find themselves identifying with the characteristics of any of the three. 

Dramatic 

The dramatic body type is the embodiment of sharp yang; there is virtually no yin in the appearance. 

Sleek, straight vertical lines dominate the features of this image identity, with a usually sharp, angular, and elongated face and physique. 

Most individuals with this Kibbe body type are also tall, giving them a strong, cool, even intimidating presence. 

The flesh on the face and body tends to be quite taut; dramatics may gain weight around the hips and upper thighs but retain prominent cheekbones, a lean torso, and a smaller bust.   

Features

Bone structure
  • Usually tall height
  • Square, narrow shoulders
  • Long, narrow hands and feet
  • Long limbs
  • Prominent facial bone structure with sharp cheekbones, a defined jawline, and a sharp nose
Body flesh
  • Taut over the bones
  • Small bust 
  • Straight waist
  • Low waist-to-hips ratio
Facial features
  • Small, narrow, closely spaced eyes
  • Thin lips
  • Taut cheeks

Examples

  • Keira Knightley
  • Tilda Swinton
  • Cate Blanchett
  • Katharine Hepburn
  • Joan Crawford
  • Sheryl Lee Ralph
  • Taylor Swift
  • Jamie Lee Curtis

Style Tips

The ideal style choices for a dramatic emphasize the clean, sleek lines of your body type with defined, unbroken silhouettes; crisp, vertical lines; and sharp edges. 

Choosing tailored pieces that fit you without clinging to your body is best; there’s no need to attempt to create curves by going for figure-hugging skirts and dresses. 

Instead, lean into the angularity of your shapes and lines by going for fitted, elegantly sculpted pieces. 

Avoid wide, loose-flowing pieces with chunky textures or frilly details, which can detract from the defining narrowness and elegance of your features. 

Here are some of the best wardrobe and style options for a dramatic:

  • Pieces: V-neck shirts, skinny turtlenecks, tailored blazers, long trousers, structured pantsuits, coat dresses, drop-waist dresses
  • Detail: High collars, cuffs, sharp pleats
  • Fabrics: Stiff, moderate to heavy fabrics that hold their shape well, including tweed, twill, wool, denim, and suede
  • Prints: Geometric patterns, clean stripes

Soft Dramatic 

Described as having sharp yang with a strong lush yin influence, the soft dramatic retains the length and narrowness of a pure dramatic but exudes a sense of intrigue with added softness. 

So soft dramatics are distinguished by elongated vertical lines with sharp edges and a curvy silhouette; an individual of this body type may have a pronounced bone structure with a voluptuous figure. 

This combination gives soft dramatics a bold, magnetic charisma. 

Features

Bone structure
  • Moderate to tall height
  • Broader shoulders with slightly rounder edges
  • Long hands and feet (may be narrower or wider)Long, fleshy limbs
  • Prominent facial bone structure with high cheekbones, a chiseled jawline, and a defined nose
Body flesh
  • Tends to be fleshy 
  • Full bust, lips, and upper arms
  • Defined waist
Facial features
  • Large eyes
  • Full lips
  • Full cheeks

Examples

  • Sofia Vergara
  • Sophia Loren
  • Christina Hendricks
  • Ashley Graham 
  • Maria Callas
  • Tyra Banks

Style Tips

The glamorous appeal of a soft dramatic demands equally glamorous style. You can pull off statement outfits with large, lavish patterns splendidly as they look harmonious with your pronounced curves.  

Simply aim for a T shape with your overall look; go for wider, heavier details along the shoulder or neck area and balance them out with an elongated silhouette. 

And because your features have a distinct mix of yin and yang, the trick is to look for long pieces with clean, geometric silhouettes to match your long lines and sharp angles. 

To offset their strong, harsh appearance, these pieces should be made with drapey, flowing fabric featuring rounded edges.

Here are some of the best wardrobe and style options for a soft dramatic:

  • Pieces: Tops with deep sweetheart necklines, long body-hugging dresses with large slits, off-shoulder tops or dresses, knitted sweaters with draped necklines, straight leg or slightly flared pants, wrap skirts, slip skirts
  • Detail: Wide collars, fur trim, soft lapels
  • Fabrics: Silk, satin, velvet, chiffon, and crepe
  • Prints: Large florals, animal prints, polka dots

Flamboyant Natural

With long limbs and a straight shape, the sharp yang influence is quite striking in the flamboyant natural body type. 

However, unlike the pure dramatic type, there’s more width and bluntness to this type’s angularity. 

A flamboyant natural generally has a broad physique and pronounced facial bones with distinctly blunt — not sharp — edges. 

As such, flamboyant naturals have strong horizontal and vertical lines and a dignified, statuesque appearance, but the soft yang undercurrent of their image ID lends a more relaxed, free-spirited vibe to their demeanor.

A woman in a blue polka dot bikini posing for a photo.

Features

Bone structure
  • Moderate to tall height
  • Broad, muscular shoulders and back 
  • Large, typically wide hands and feet
  • Long limbs
  • Prominent facial bone structure with pronounced, blunt cheekbones and a broad nose
Body flesh
  • Taut over the bones
  • Waist is usually straight 
  • Hips and bust area may be fleshier
Facial features
  • Large eyes or small, straight eyes
  • Thin, straight lips
  • Taut cheeks (may become fuller with weight gain)

Examples

  • Jennifer Lawrence
  • Cameron Diaz
  • Charlize Theron
  • Shirley Maclaine
  • Lynda Carter
  • Princess Diana of Wales
  • Michelle Obama

Style Tips

Achieving a natural, effortlessly relaxed aesthetic is the primary style goal for this type as a wardrobe with this style honors and emphasizes your horizontal and vertical lines best. 

So it’s good to go for loose, lengthy pieces with sweeping lines, unconstructed silhouettes, soft or rounded edges, and flowy patterns. Oversized clothing with bold, natural textures will look spectacular on you. 

Steer clear of anything too small or dainty, which will go against the boldness of your features.

Likewise, overly stiff, tight, and structured pieces may be too harsh and sharp for the more blunt edges of your physique.  

Here are some of the best wardrobe and style options for a flamboyant natural: 

  • Pieces: Loose tops, relaxed dress shirts, thick sweaters, long blazers, maxi skirts, menswear-inspired pants, evening pants, straight-leg jeans, bell bottom jumpsuits, knit dresses, wrap dresses
  • Detail: Open collars, loose cowls, boatnecks, soft cuffs, oversized pockets, large lapels 
  • Fabrics: Leather, plush, matte jersey, raw silk, heavy knits
  • Prints: Geometric patterns with rounded edges; bold, abstract patterns; tropical prints; animal prints

Natural

The epitome of soft yang, the natural body type is all about horizontal lines and blunt edges, giving off an overall impression of broadness. The angularity of this image identity is distinguished by a lack of sharpness. 

So naturals have wide facial features, a straight, muscular body type, and a squarish silhouette with soft, rounded edges; any weight gain will make them appear stockier instead of curvier. 

True to the name of their image identity, naturals carry an air of ease, openness, and approachability. 

Features

Bone structure
  • Moderate to tall height
  • Broad shoulders
  • Large and wide hands and feet
  • Slightly long limbs
  • Angular facial bones with blunt lines and edges: wide cheekbones, broad jaw, broad nose
Body flesh
  • Taut and muscular 
  • A straight waist with little definition
  • Usually flatter bust 
  • Straighter hips

Facial features

  • Widely spaced small to moderate eyes
  • Straight, wide, and slightly thin lips
  • Taut cheeks

Examples

  • Jennifer Aniston
  • Jennifer Morrison
  • Kate Middleton
  • Carol Burnett
  • Liv Tyler
  • Ally Sheedy

Style Tips

As a natural, it’s important to create looks that emphasize the soft yang of your features and also introduce a sense of movement to the straight shape of your physique. 

So you don’t want anything too structured or tight-fitting, which leans more toward sharp yang. But you also don’t want ornate embellishments, dainty fabrics, or flouncy clothing that are more characteristic of yin. 

Look instead for pieces with straight, relaxed lines, rounded edges, unconstructed silhouettes, a narrower shape, and a loose but not oversized fit.

Feel free to mix and match pieces with different patterns and textures as well! 

These will complement the blunt edges and vertical lines of your features and offer an open, flowing, carefree feel while preventing an overly wide appearance. 

Here are some of the best wardrobe and style options for a natural:

  • Pieces: Simple blouses, knitted sweaters, ponchos, long cardigans, sheepskin coats, drop-waist skirts, straight skirts, blouson dresses, shirt dresses, jeans, culottes
  • Detail: Open necklines, soft-edged shoulder pads, plain cuffs, loose cowls, loose sashes 
  • Fabrics: Natural, textured fabrics like wool, cotton, linen, and suede 
  • Prints: Plaid, paisley, camo print, irregular stripes, abstract asymmetrical shapes

Soft Natural

As part of the natural family, the soft natural body type has dominant soft yang features, which are softened by a pronounced yin undercurrent

This means soft naturals have angular bones with blunt edges and a wide, rectangular bone structure with distinguishable curves, which is why some soft naturals can have a slight hourglass shape, although it wouldn’t be too striking.

In general, the facial features also tend to be fuller and the body fleshier. 

Thanks to the mix of long, wide lines and gentle curves, soft naturals have a fresh, open vibe and personable charm. 

Features

Bone structure
  • Short to moderate height
  • Slightly broad shoulders
  • Moderately sized hands and feet
  • Slightly short to moderate limbs (although some soft naturals may have a leggy appearance)
  • Smaller, more blunt facial bones; small, slightly wide or blunt nose
Body flesh
  • Has a tendency toward fleshiness, particularly in the upper arms, thighs, and hands
  • Waist may be smaller and more well defined
Facial features
  • Round eyes
  • Full lips
  • Fuller cheeks (compared to naturals)

Examples

  • Jennifer Lopez
  • Chloe Sevigny
  • Marisa Tomei
  • Fergie
  • Kamala Harris
  • Betty Grable
  • Doris Day
  • Julie Andrews
  • Lana Wood

Style Tips

Soft yang favors flowing lines, while yin inclines toward irregular curves. 

To honor both in your style, opt for clothing with gentle, relaxed lines, unconstructed silhouettes, natural textures, and subtle, strategic draping aimed at highlighting your waist. Asymmetrical accents also harmonize with your lines.

Also, remember to accommodate your broad shoulders by opting for loose, open necklines that won’t restrict or tighten them.

Here are some of the best wardrobe and style options for a soft natural:

  • Pieces: Loose blouses (French-tucked for waist definition), tops with flowing sleeves, dress shirts tapered at the wrists, knitted sweaters, waterfall cardigans, mom jeans, lightweight dresses, bias-cut skirts, draped skirts
  • Detail: Open, draped necklines, soft cowls, clean lapels
  • Fabrics: Silk, linen, wool, soft leather
  • Prints: Asymmetrical shapes with soft or rounded edges, earthy patterns, antique-themed prints

Dramatic Classic

The balance between the yin and yang in the features in the dramatic classic type is notable. The bust, waist, and hips are evenly proportioned, and the bone structure is symmetrical. 

Dramatic classics with slightly longer limbs often don’t appear too tall because their hips aren’t narrow enough to accommodate the formation of a long vertical line. 

That said, the dramatic classic body type still has a strong yang influence, which can be seen in the angular edges of their bones. This is why dramatic classics possess a refined elegance with a cool yet powerful charisma. 

An american young woman in a blue bikini posing in the sand.

Features

Bone structure
  • Moderate height
  • Square or tapered shoulders (can be perceived as slightly narrow)
  • Squarish hands and feet that are neither too large nor too small
  • Average to slightly longer limbs
  • Slightly angular and squarish jawline and cheekbones; slightly sharp nose
Body flesh
  • Tends to be a bit trim and muscular
  • Even bust-to-waist-to-hip ratio 
  • Hips may become fuller with weight gain
Facial features
  • Moderate to large eyes
  • Moderately sized lips
  • Slightly slim cheeks

Examples

  • Olivia Munn
  • Lizzy Caplan
  • Gena Rowlands
  • Phylicia Rashad
  • Maria Shriver
  • Jill Biden
  • Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Style Tips

Clean, sleek, elegant lines encapsulate the symmetry of your body type, but it’s best they include a hint of sharpness to pay homage to the angularity of your yang undercurrent. 

As such, it’s ideal to choose pieces with straight lines, trim, structured silhouettes, and sharp edges. An outfit that isn’t too clingy or loose-fitting with sharp, angular accents is pitch-perfect for your body type.  

Aiming for an inverted triangle shape (wider at the shoulders, narrow at the waist) when putting together outfits will highlight your square shoulders and well-defined waist as well.

Here are some of the best wardrobe and style options for a dramatic classic:

  • Pieces: V-neck tops, tailored blouses, fitted turtlenecks, rib-knit sweaters, long cardigans, single-breasted blazers, trench coats, fitted trousers, narrow skirts, coat dresses, wrap dresses
  • Detail: Elongated draping, classic collars, minimal lace, crisp cuffs, piping, narrow cowls
  • Fabrics: Moderate-weight fabrics like chartreuse, raw silk, sleek cotton
  • Prints: Small-scale geometric prints, thin stripes, zigzags

Classic

Symmetry may be the first thing that comes to mind when most people see an individual with a classic body type, thanks to the complete yin and yang balance exemplified in the features. 

The blended mix of softness and sharpness in the frame and facial features leads to symmetrical proportions; there’s essentially no contrast to be perceived in this image identity.

Because of their overall balanced appearance, classics exude a sense of grace and sophisticated beauty. 

Features

Bone structure
  • Moderate height
  • Slightly tapered shoulders
  • Moderately sized hands and feet
  • Moderately sized limbs (although some classics may have slightly longer legs and arms)
  • Chiseled cheekbones and jawline with a proportionate nose 
Body flesh
  • May be slightly lithe or sinewy
  • Bust, waist, and hips are evenly proportioned
Facial features
  • Symmetrical and evenly spaced eyes
  • Moderately sized lips
  • Proportionate cheeks

Examples

  • Grace Kelly
  • Isabelle Huppert
  • Diane Sawyer
  • Cybill Shepherd
  • Rosamund Pike

Style Tips

As you may have already guessed, honoring your natural symmetry is your top priority as a classic. 

Anything too sharp and tailored (yang) or soft and round (yin) will disrupt the blended yin and yang of your features. This means smooth, symmetrical, and gently curved lines, even edges, and unbroken silhouettes are essential to your style choices.

Softly tailored clothing is always a wise pick, especially if it has some slight waist definition and minimal details. Prints and embellishments should work to highlight the smoothness of the silhouette, not detract from it. 

Here are some of the best wardrobe and style options for a classic body type:

  • Pieces: Smoothly tailored tops, shirtwaist blouses, tailored pants, straight-cut or slightly flared pants, straight skirts, softly textured sweaters, standard-length jackets, belted coat dresses
  • Detail: Narrow cowls, crisp cuffs, symmetrical lapels
  • Fabrics: Silk, linen, jersey, cashmere, soft cotton
  • Prints: Understated, symmetrical patterns, subtle plaid, pin dots, pinstripes

Soft Classic

Where there’s a strong yang undercurrent in the dramatic classic, the yin influence is prominent in the soft classic, pulling the otherwise perfect yin/yang balance toward the direction of softness. 

As a result, the soft classic body type has a balanced shape and a symmetrical bone structure with rounded edges, achieving a sense of delicateness. There’s also more of a marked propensity for fleshiness. 

Soft classics have a calm, refined essence, thanks to the harmony and softness of their physicality.

Features

Bone structure
  • Moderate height
  • Small to moderate hands and feet
  • Slightly short limbs
  • Less prominent facial bone structure with a slightly small nose that may be wide
Body flesh
  • Tends to be slightly fleshy, especially in the arms and thighs
  • Even bust, waist, and hip proportions 
  • Slightly but still noticeably defined waist
Facial features
  • Large, evenly spaced eyes
  • Full lips
  • Full cheeks

Examples

  • Marion Cotillard
  • Laura Linney
  • Meryl Streep
  • Dakota Johnson
  • Kirsten Dunst
  • Barbara Waters
  • Joan Fontaine

Style Tips

To satisfy your needs as a classic while accommodating your yin undercurrent, it’s vital to select pieces that have clean lines and smooth silhouettes with striking symmetry and a bit of shaping. 

Soft tailoring, smooth draping, and flowing lines with a slight flare are very flattering; they draw the eye to your symmetrical shape and represent your natural, understated elegance. They also shouldn’t cling too much to or hang too loose on your body. 

Likewise, the details and accents of your outfits should be symmetrical; they can be slightly intricate but not too ornate that they go against your gracefulness. 

Here are some of the best wardrobe and style options for a soft classic:

  • Pieces: Blouses with soft edges, tops with tapered sleeves, loose turtlenecks, wide-leg trousers, flowing skirts, wrap dresses, summer dresses, A-line dresses,
  • Detail: Draped necklines, subtle beading, small, soft-edged lapels
  • Fabrics: Silk, soft linen, soft cotton, crepe, velvet
  • Prints: Soft swirls, watercolor patterns, moderately sized floral prints, subtle lace

Flamboyant Gamine

As a member of the gamine family, the flamboyant gamine body type has a mixture of extreme yin and yang opposites, but the yang influence still remains dominant

This is seen in this type’s straight shape and usually wide, angular bone structure. Most flamboyant gamines have a lean, leggy, and even slightly muscular physicality. 

Weight gain gives them a squarish and stocky — as opposed to curvy — appearance. The yin, however, can be perceived more in the facial features and height. 

So a flamboyant gamine has a typically petite stature and large, expressive eyes. 

This mix of contrasting features — angular yang that conveys power and delicate yin that embodies a sense of innocence — is why flamboyant gamines boast a fresh, bold beauty and dynamic, youthful energy. 

A woman in a tan bikini leaning against a wooden wall.

Features

Bone structure
  • Short height
  • Square shoulders
  • Large hands and feet (although some may have small but wide hands and feet)
  • Long arms and legs (may look squarish on petite flamboyant gamines)
  • Broader or sharper jaw, nose, or cheekbones
Body flesh
  • Usually lean and muscular
  • Flat hips 
  • Flat bust (though this may change with weight gain)
Facial features
  • Large eyes
  • Moderate to full lips
  • Slim cheeks (may be fuller with weight gain)

Examples

  • Audrey Hepburn
  • Penelope Cruz
  • Debbie Allen
  • Liza Minelli
  • Tina Turner
  • Patti LuPone

Style Tips

Broken, staccato silhouettes best represent and match the contrasting yin and yang of your features. 

A good way to achieve this is by using two different pieces for your top and bottom and ensuring they contrast each other; for instance, a cropped jacket should be paired with a long, narrow skirt. 

Aim for a boxy outline as well to complement the wider square shapes of your body type. 

Additionally, the pieces you choose should have straight lines and clearly outlined edges to honor your yang. 

However, your clothing should have irregularly shaped details to satisfy your yin. 

Here are some of the best wardrobe and style options for a flamboyant gamine:

  • Pieces: Short, boxy tops, sculpted blouses, tight turtlenecks, chunky knitted sweaters, short blazers, men’s style pants, short, straight skirts, A-line skirts, flapper-style dresses, shirt dresses with collars
  • Detail: Fringe, asymmetrical necklines, boat-shaped necklines, piping, sharp lapels, fur
  • Fabrics: Crisp, lightweight to moderate fabrics for tops and bottoms and heavy fabrics like heavy satin and woven, knitted, and stretch fabrics for outerwear and evening wear 
  • Prints: Vibrant, colorful patterns, animal prints, asymmetrical, avant-garde geometric prints

Gamine

Of the Kibbe body types, gamine exhibits the starkest mix of contrasting yin and yang elements in the features. 

Gamines have a petite stature and doe-like eyes native to yin, but they also possess clearly distinguishable yang features like taut body flesh and a sharp bone structure. 

However, unlike dramatics, their sharp, angular bones are often described as delicate due to their smaller size, giving them a much less imposing presence and more of a fresh, energetic aura. 

Features

Bone structure
  • Petite height
  • Square or tapered shoulders that tend to be narrow
  • Small to moderate hands and feet
  • Long arms and legs 
  • Delicately sharp and angular cheekbones, jawline, and nose
Body flesh
  • Lithe and sinewy musculature
  • Usually straight waist 
  • Flat bust and hips 
Facial features
  • Large eyes
  • Thin and narrow to moderate, slightly full lips
  • Taut cheeks

Examples

  • Mia Farrow
  • Heather Locklear 
  • Rosanna Arquette
  • Edith Piaf
  • Paulette Goddard

Style Tips

The opposing forces in the gamine body type can make styling challenging for beginners, but — confusing as it is — leaning into these contradictions can help you create looks that flatter and recreate both your yin and yang features.

The baseline for your wardrobe choices should be small (yin) and fitted garments (yang) with waist definition (yin). Your overall look should have straight lines (yang), sharp edges (yang), and a staccato outline (yin).

A blend of short vertical and horizontal lines is best for creating a staccato silhouette as is an abundance of bold details and embellishments. 

Mixing and matching colorful separates (skirts, jackets, shirts, and trousers) with stiff fabrics that maintain their shape and attention-catching details that blend well with the lines of your outfit is a great go-to styling technique.  

Here are some of the best wardrobe and style options for a gamine:

  • Pieces: Tailored blouses with soft edges, rib-knit sweaters, cropped jackets, short boleros, short vests, straight and short pencil skirts, bias-cut skirts, tailored pants, stretchy pants, slim dresses with sharp edges
  • Detail: Outlining, piping, pleats, crisp gathers, crisp cuffs, oversized buttons, defined collars, tailored lapels
  • Fabrics: Cotton, Oriental silk, finely woven knit fabric
  • Prints: Small and colorful geometric shapes, sassy, animated prints

Soft Gamine

Like the two other gamine types, the soft gamine body type also has a mixture of extreme opposite yin and yang features; however, the influence of yin is more remarkable in this image identity (hence the “soft” in the name). 

Soft gamines still have a slightly angular and broad bone structure with angular edges, but there’s a marked roundness and fleshiness to their appearance. 

Noticeable curves, full cheeks and lips, and doll-like eyes are some of this type’s signature features, all of which are markedly yin. 

Because of this, soft gamines tend to have a bubbly, playful charm with strength and spiritedness under the surface. 

Features

Bone structure
  • Petite height
  • Square and tapered shoulders
  • Small, slightly wide hands and feet
  • Shorter limbs
  • Broader nose, jawline, and cheekbones with a delicate appearance
Body flesh
  • Tends toward softness and fleshiness, particularly in the arms and legs
  • Curved bust 
  • Curved hip line 
  • Defined waist
Facial features
  • Large eyes
  • Full lips
  • Round, fleshy cheeks

Examples

  • Octavia Spencer
  • Reese Witherspoon
  • Halle Berry
  • Thandiwe Newton
  • Winona Ryder
  • Bette Davis
  • Judy Garland
  • Eartha Kitt

Style Tips

Given the palpable undercurrent of yin in your features, you may assume that your style choices should primarily cater to it. But remember to honor the contrasting elements of your features as a gamine as well.

So your clothing lines should be more rounded but clearly defined with sharp edges. 

You can achieve this by choosing fitted, sharply tailored pieces with more of a curved, rounded shape and tucked hemlines or tapered collars.

Additionally, your overall silhouette should be petite, fitted, and staccato with a bit of emphasis on your waist. And feel free to go all out with lively, colorful details in excess; these will match your animated spirit perfectly! 

Here are some of the best wardrobe and style options for a soft gamine:

  • Pieces: Draped blouses, tops with slightly puffy sleeves, shirts with rounded necklines, ribbed sweaters fitted at the waist, peplum-style jackets, short skirts, tulip skirts, straight-cut dresses, shapely, slightly cropped pants
  • Detail: Contrasting trim, crisp cuffs, ruffles, soft pleats
  • Fabrics: Crisp and lightweight fabrics in general; also jersey, cashmere, angora, mohair, soft leather
  • Prints: Bright and crisp floral prints, rounded shapes, outlined colors

Theatrical Romantic

Yin dominates the theatrical romantic body type, and its prominence is clearly distinguishable in the lush yet delicate features of those with this image ID. 

Theatrical romantics have a voluptuous physique; most may be described as having an hourglass figure, although this isn’t true for all individuals. 

Nevertheless, a theatrical romantic will have defined curves, along with other unmistakable yin features such as a small stature, large, round eyes, and lush lips. 

But there’s still an undercurrent of yang in this body type, which can be perceived in the slight sharpness of the bone structure and some of the facial features. 

The slightest hint of yang infuses a sense of magnetic intrigue and mystique into the theatrical romantic’s mostly delicate aura. 

A blonde woman in a brown bikini posing next to a pool.

Features

Bone structure
  • Petite to moderate height
  • Slightly straight and sharp shoulders 
  • Small hands and feet
  • Short limbs
  • Slightly to visibly defined cheekbones, slightly sharp and pointed jawline and nose
Body flesh
  • Soft and fleshy
  • Small, well-defined waist
  • Fleshy arms
  • Rounded hips
  • Curved bustline 
Facial features
  • Large eyes (may be slightly upturned)
  • Full, luscious lips
  • Soft, rounded cheeks

Examples

  • Mila Kunis
  • Jada Pinkett Smith
  • Morgan Fairchild
  • Vivien Leigh
  • Jean Harlow
  • Rihanna
  • Selena Gomez

Style Tips

Embracing your yin-dominant features is crucial to dressing well as a theatrical romantic, but remember to integrate your slight yang into your style selections. 

So your overall silhouette should show off your hourglass figure and define your shape but still have a touch of sharpness to reflect your yang influence. 

To achieve this, go for fitted pieces with soft, curved, and flowing lines and rounded shapes. They should cling to your body but taper slightly at the wrists or hem or show sharper details at the shoulders for a hint of angularity. 

Don’t be afraid to go for full-on glam with ornate, luxurious details; these are complementary to your lush romantic beauty.  

Here are some of the best wardrobe and style options for a theatrical romantic:

  • Pieces: Blouses with puffy sleeves and elaborate detailing, plush and fluffy sweaters, peplum jackets, high-waisted pants, tulip skirts, flared skirts and dresses, chiffon dresses
  • Detail: Gathered or draped necklines, ruffles, bows, jabots, lace, fur, or frill trim
  • Fabrics: Soft and lightweight fabrics in general, including silk, jersey, challis, and handkerchief linen
  • Prints: Ornate prints, rounded shapes, medium-sized floral prints

Romantic

The romantic body type is lush yin through and through, the extreme opposite of the dramatic type. 

From the lush curves to the small, narrow waist, from the luminous eyes to the full lips, the lack of yang and extreme prevalence of yin in this body type is quite palpable. 

The overall shape and silhouette of a romantic is soft and round, with a voluptuous hourglass figure and a small, delicate bone structure. 

With all these features, romantics often have a sweet, alluring radiance. 

Features

Bone structure
  • Petite height
  • Sloped, rounded shoulders
  • Small hands and feet
  • Short arms and legs
  • Small, delicate, sometimes somewhat wide facial bones
Body flesh
  • Soft and fleshy arms and legs
  • Small, narrow waist 
  • Full and shapely bustline 
  • Curvy and rounded hips
Facial features
  • Large eyes
  • Full lips
  • Full cheeks

Examples

  • Kate Winslet
  • Drew Barrymore
  • Jessica Lange
  • Susan Sarandon
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Elizabeth Taylor
  • Beyonce
  • Dolly Parton

Style Tips

As a romantic, honoring your lines means putting together outfits that create a soft, flowing silhouette with a round shape. 

Make sure to emphasize your hourglass figure with gentle draping that defines the waist and follows your curves. The pieces you choose should be fitted; loose or oversized clothing will drown out your shape. 

Details should be soft and intricate and fabrics sheer and lightweight to match the delicate, romantic nature of your yin.  

Here are some of the best wardrobe and style options for a romantic:

  • Pieces: Frilly tops, draped blouses, soft knitted sweaters, high-waisted pants, flouncy skirts, tulip skirts, peplum skirts or dresses, flowing dresses, vintage-style dresses
  • Detail: Delicate lace, ruffles, large bows, pearls, sequins
  • Fabrics: Chiffon, voile, crepe, jersey, suede, chenille, angora, lightweight linen
  • Prints: Watercolor prints, feathered prints, large florals, rounded shapes

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Rarest Kibbe Body Types?

Many say that the classic body type is the rarest of the Kibbe body types, given that Kibbe himself has asserted that it’s extremely rare for an individual to have the perfect balance between yin and yang features. 

The “pure” types like the natural and the gamine are considered rare for the same reasons. 

But because there are no official statistics regarding the prevalence of Kibbe body types across the world, this is only a conjecture among Kibbe enthusiasts. 

The rarest and most common Kibbe body types may also vary depending on race, mixed genes, and other factors. 

Are There Kibbe Male Body Types?

The Kibbe body type system was largely designed with women in mind, but men can also classify their body type according to the characteristics laid out in the system. 

In fact, David Kibbe has typed plenty of well-known male celebrities and claimed that he himself is a theatrical romantic. 

Kibbe also wrote about the five main Kibbe body types in the context of styling for men in a book called “Color for Men” by Carole Jackson.

The book was essentially created as a comprehensive guide to dressing well for men, and Kibbe’s chapters were about making style selections based on one’s proportions and clothing type, including dramatic, classic, natural, gamine, and romantic. 

Many Kibbe aficionados have taken these chapters as a version of Kibbe body types for men, classifying well-known celebrities like Daniel Craig as a dramatic and Elvis Presley as a romantic. 

Multi-ethnic multiracial young women in beige lingerie isolated on a beige background.

Embrace the Beauty of Your Body Type

Establishing your Kibbe body type is all about embracing the features that make you unique. 

This system is geared toward helping you build a comprehensive wardrobe — from everyday outfits to glamorous ensembles — that goes with your natural lines instead of attempting to recreate a standard, inflexible idea of a “perfect” shape.

But remember that the rules of the system aren’t fixed and final. After all, even a system like this can’t account for all your unique characteristics. 

So how religiously you follow the styling guidelines of the Kibbe body type system will depend on you. Your primary goal, above all else, should be to create a style that makes you feel confident and comfortable in your skin.

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Author

  • Nicole Serrano

    Nicole has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Comparative Literature and four years of experience as a freelance writer and editor. Since her college days, she’s been obsessed with all things makeup, fashion, and hair care with a particular fondness for ’70s and ’90s trends.

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