I first found out about the Kibbe body types almost a year ago, through Aly Art’s YouTube channel, and since then I’ve been fascinated and have spent hours learning about it and doing research.
What I love about this body typing system is that its recommendations for what to wear don’t try to ‘correct’ things, instead we’re encouraged to wear clothes that compliment and harmonize with our features.
The Kibbe body types are a group of 13 body types based on the overall proportions of our bone structure, flesh, and facial features. These 13 body types are grouped into 5 general categories: romantics, dramatics, classics, naturals, and gamines. This system was invented by stylist David Kibbe in the 1980s and has since been expanded upon by multiple YouTubers and David Kibbe himself.
The way the body types are determined is by the overall proportions and relations of our features, as well as the balance between yin and yang, the feminine and the masculine.
In this body typing system, the feminine features are the elements that are round, soft, delicate, and small. The masculine features are the elements that are sharp, large, and angular.
Here’s a chart that I made that shows the spectrum of yin and yang, as well as the levels of contrast in each body type. Please note that this chart shows my interpretations of the body types, so you may have a different one.
To see more of what this means, let’s start by looking at the romantic family, which is on the yin side of the spectrum:
The romantic family has two separate body types, pure romantic (R) and the theatrical romantic (TR). Women in the romantic category tend to have a small vertical line (they look short, because of the proportion of their heads to the rest of their bodies), and they’re fleshy and curvy.
Please note, that body fat does not change what your body type is, even if you’re under or overweight. When referring to the flesh, what Kibbe means is the way your skin hangs on your bones. Sometimes people have very taut skin, even when overweight. Sometimes people have soft and fleshy skin, even when underweight.
People in the romantic family have soft flesh, and wide but rounded bones. They don’t look very wide though, because the overall balance of their features is small and round.
Let’s get into some specifics now:
Pure romantics are very soft, rounded, and curvy. Marilyn Monroe and Beyonce are both beautiful examples of romantics.
They both look like they’re pretty short, so they have a small vertical line, and as you can see, their bones are pretty rounded, especially in the shoulders, jaws, and cheek bones. Their arms and legs also look like they’re short in comparison to the rest of their bodies.
Their overall bone structure is very yin, with short and round bones.
Both women are also very curvy, with defined waists and prominent hips. In Marilyn’s picture, you can see that her hands and feet are very small, especially compared to the size of her head.
With their flesh, you can see that it’s very soft and full, especially on their upper arms, thighs, and busts. They both have soft and round cheeks, full lips, and their facial features are soft and round.
Even though they both have wide and short bones, they don’t look heavy, because their overall proportions are small and delicate, very yin.
Theatrical Romantic (TR)
Next we have theatrical romantic, which is like romantic, but with some slight sharpness to the bones, along with a bit less width. Rihanna and Hedy Lamarr are theatrical romantics.
As you can see, Rihanna’s body is curvy and soft, but her bone structure isn’t as wide as a romantic’s, and her vertical line is a bit longer (she looks slightly taller than Beyonce and Marilyn look).
This is the difference between the body of a romantic and a theatrical romantic. A theatrical romantic will have a slightly longer vertical line, and the bones won’t be as wide and short, but they’ll still be rounded.
As you can see, Rihanna’s flesh is still soft, and she still has a defined waist. Her arms look pretty short compared to the rest of her body.
Now let’s take a look at Rihanna’s and Hedy’s faces, to see how a bit more sharpness comes in compared to romantics.
Both Rihanna and Hedy have softly rounded jaws and chins, not as soft as a romantic’s, but still a bit rounded. Their lips are also round, and Rihanna has very full lips. These features are all yin features. But they both have some sharpness in their eyes and cheekbones, and Hedy’s nose is delicately angular, which are yang features.which are yang features.
The difference between a romantic and a theatrical romantic is that theatrical romantic has a bit of yang in the bone structure and facial features. Just a slight touch of sharpness, which makes them look a bit less rounded and delicate. In both Hedy’s and Rihanna’s pictures you can see that their flesh is still very soft, which is why they’re in the romantic family.
Moving on to the opposite side of the spectrum, we have dramatics. The dramatic family has two separate body types, dramatic (D) and soft dramatic (SD). Women in the dramatic category tend to have a longer vertical line (they look tall, even if they’re not), and they have sharp bones and facial features.
Let’s get into some specifics now, as there are some differences between dramatics and soft dramatics:
Dramatics are very sharp, narrow, and angular. Some examples of dramatics are Tilda Swinton, Lucy Liu, and Keira Knightley.
As you can see, dramatics look pretty tall, as they have a long vertical line. This is because their heads look kind of small compared to the rest of their bodies, especially compared to the width of their shoulders. Lucy Liu looks like she’s taller than she is, but she’s only 5’2” or 1.6 meters tall, and so this is what is meant by vertical line.
Dramatics’ bones look very long and thin, you can really see this on their arms. You can also see that their shoulders are very sharp, especially when you compare to the very rounded shoulders that Marilyn and Beyonce have.
Dramatics also tend to have a very straight waist compared to their hips and bust, and their skin tends to be very taut, even when overweight. You can see this well on their chests and cheekbones, as even though these women have sharp jawlines and angular cheeks bones, their skin lies relatively flat.
When looking at their faces you can also see that their noses, eyes, and lips are all very thin and angular, this is also a dramatic trait.
Soft Dramatic (SD)
Soft dramatics are like dramatics but with softer flesh or facial features. A couple of examples of soft dramatics are Sophia Loren and Ava Gardener. Because of their angular bones and softer flesh, these women can look very matronly.
Let’s start by analyzing the faces of these women. They both have very sharp and angular bone structures in the face, their jawlines and cheekbones are sharp and wide. These are yang traits. Their noses are also somewhat angular, but their lips and the flesh on their cheeks are soft and more full than that of a pure dramatic’s, which are yin traits.
Looking at their bodies, we can see that they have a long vertical line: they both look like they’re tall women. The bones in their arms and legs look very long, but the flesh on their arms and legs are soft and rounded. We can also see that they are curvier than dramatics.
Sometimes a bit of confusion arises between the differences between theatrical romantics and soft dramatics. The difference is that theatrical romantics are mainly yin, with a touch of sharpness to their bones and features, whereas soft dramatics are mainly yang with a touch of softness to their features and flesh.
Even though I described these soft dramatic women’s cheeks as being soft and more full, it was in comparison to a pure dramatic’s cheeks. If you compare a theatrical romantic and soft dramatic, you’ll notice that the theatrical romantic has softer flesh.
Classics are between yin and yang, an even blend of the two. When you look at their features, it can be difficult to say whether they’re sharp and large, or small and rounded, since it’s neither option.
Their features are very balanced, and so typing them can be difficult. When a classic has a feature with slight roundness or sharpness, that slight difference in comparison to the rest of their face can lead classics to believe that they’re a different type than they are.
It’s like if you had a shade of purple, and you try comparing it to just red and blue. A purple could still have a bit of extra blue or red, but at the end of the day, it’s still purple.
The classic family has three body types: pure classic (C), soft classic (SC), and dramatic classic (DC). Let’s start by taking a closer look at pure classic.
Pure classics can be somewhat rare, since to be a pure classic you need to have an even blend of features, all across your bone structure, facial features, and flesh. Sometimes pure classics will have one or two features that aren’t an even blend, and that can lead them to believe that they’re a different body type, but this body typing system is about the overall vibe of the body.
A couple of examples of classics are Isabelle Huppert and Cybill Shepherd. Sometimes you may find Grace Kelly as an example of a pure classic, because she looks very symmetrical and balanced, but she’s actually a soft classic. You’ll be able to see why that is when I go into more detail on soft classics.
Let’s start with the face when analyzing classics. Both Isabelle and Cybill have very balanced jaw lines and cheek bones. They’re neither rounded nor sharp, instead there’s a balance between the two extremes. Their lips and eyes aren’t very round and large, but also aren’t very angular and small, again there’s that sense of balance.
The flesh on their cheeks and cheek bones also isn’t incredibly soft and full, but also isn’t taut. Maybe their noses aren’t purely classic, to me Cybill looks like she has a slightly softer nose, and Isabelle’s nose looks slightly blunt to me, but in both cases it’s not enough to change the overall vibe of their faces, which are classic faces.
Next let’s take a look at their overall bodies. When it comes to their vertical lines, they look neither very tall, nor very short. They both look to be at around a moderate height (if I had to guess, I would say somewhere between 5’4” and 5’7”), but when I looked up their heights, I found out that Isabelle is 5’2”, a few inches shorter than I thought she would be. Cybill on the other hand is almost 5’7”, so her height was around what I thought it would be.
Next, looking at their bones, we can see that their arms and legs don’t look very long, and don’t look very short. Their shoulders aren’t sharp, and aren’t rounded. Again, there’s a balance between yin and yang. Their waists aren’t overly defined (I certainly wouldn’t say they have an extreme hourglass shape) but at the same time, they don’t look as straight as a dramatic does.
Their flesh also isn’t super round and luscious, but isn’t super taught. Their hands and feet don’t look very small, but also don’t look very large. Overall, their bodies have a delicate balance, which is what makes them classics.
Soft Classic (SC)
Next we have soft classics. Marion Cotillard, Meryl Streep, and Grace Kelly are all soft classics. I’m also a soft classic.
Let’s start by looking at the face, which is where we’ll see the biggest differences between soft classics and classics.
When looking at all these women’s faces, we can see that they all have very classic bone structures. The differences between soft classics and classics come about when we look at their flesh and facial features.
As you can see, all three women have softer cheeks than the pure classics we looked at before. Their lips are also a bit fuller, and their eyes are a bit rounder. Marion’s nose is also slightly rounded.
This is what separates a soft classic from a classic, in regards to facial features: The added softness in the cheeks, a bit more fullness in the lips, and some more roundness to the eyes.
When it comes to their bodies, soft classics tend to have a very balanced bone structure, maybe with a bit more roundness in their shoulders, or some smallness in their hands, feet, or vertical line. Their softness comes more from their flesh, as you can see in these pictures.
They can have slightly more defined waists compared to pure classics, or slightly more prominent busts or hips. Their flesh can also be a bit softer, especially on the upper arms and thighs.
Overall, soft classics have a classic bone structure, with some slight softness or yin to the flesh and facial features.
Dramatic Classic (DC)
Now let’s analyze a few dramatic classics to see where their differences are. Olivia Wilde, Diane Kruger, and Phylicia Rashad are all dramatic classics.
The main differences between dramatic classics and classics are that the flesh and facial features tend to be classic, and the bone structure tends to have a bit more yang to it. This is unlike soft classics, who tend to have classic bone structures, with their flesh and facial features adding in a touch of yin.
Let’s start by taking a look at the faces of some dramatic classics to see how these differences manifest.
All three of these women have slightly angular jaw lines, too much to consider the jaw line a classic one, but the rest of their facial features seem to be in a state of balance. Maybe their eyes have a slight touch of yang to them, a bit of small angularity, but the rest of their faces are very much classic.
Looking at their bodies, we can see that their vertical lines are pretty moderate, a classic trait, but their bones are slightly more squarish. We can especially see this in their shoulders, and sometimes in the way their hips, waists, and busts line up. Their flesh is still classic though, as it’s neither very soft and full, nor very taut.
The differences between the various classics can be difficult to pinpoint, which can make this body type a bit difficult to identify, but I hope you now understand the differences between classics, soft classics, and dramatic classics.
The natural family is also primarily yang, like the dramatics, but a different kind of yang. Rather than being sharp and angular, naturals tend to have blunt and wide features, and their musculature tends to be more pronounced.
Instead of angles being more sharp, they tend to be more square. It’s important to note that since natural features are still yang features, women who are in the classic family or gamine family and have blunt features will still be dramatic classic or flamboyant gamine, respectively.
In the natural family, there are three distinct types: pure natural (N), soft natural (SN), and flamboyant natural (FN). Let’s start with pure natural.
Pure naturals, like pure classics, can be pretty rare. One very good example of a pure natural is Jennifer Aniston.
When looking at her face we can see that all of her features are yang features. Her chin, jawline, and nose are all very blunt, her lips are wide and straight, her eyes are also close-set and angular (a very natural trait). Even the flesh on her cheeks looks natural. A bit taut, but not super tight like a dramatic’s. Instead it looks more muscular.
Now when we look at her body, we can see that Jennifer has a long vertical line. Jennifer is about 5’4” but she looks like she’s a few inches taller than that.
Her body also has a squareish look it it, as her waist isn’t sharply defined. Her bones are squareish and wide, and you can see that her shoulders look blunt, not sharp. Her flesh also looks muscular, especially on her arms and legs.
Soft Natural (SN)
Let’s move on to soft natural, which is natural with a bit of yin in it. Generally, soft naturals have natural bone structures with softer, more yin, flesh and facial features. Molly Ringwald is a soft natural, so let’s take a look at her.
Let’s start with her face, where you can see a lot of her softness. Looking at her flesh, we can see that her cheeks are are soft, not as soft as a romantic’s, but not as muscular as a natural’s. Her eyes are also somewhat large and rounded, and her nose also has some yin to it.
Her cheekbones and jawline look more blunt, which shows her natural side. The bones in her arms, shoulders, and legs also look to be blunt, which we can see if we look at her body.
She doesn’t look super tall though, she looks to be about moderately in height, and she is 5’6”. Soft naturals tend to be a bit shorter than naturals, or at least look a bit shorter.
Going back to the yin side of her, we can see that the flesh on her arms, legs, and bust looks more soft, not muscular like in a pure natural’s case. Her waist also has more definition, but it isn’t quite as defined as a romantic’s would be.
Overall, Molly has a blunt, natural bone structure, with soft flesh. This makes her a soft natural.
Flamboyant Natural (FN)
On the other side of natural we have flamboyant natural. Flamboyant natural is like natural, but larger, more angular, and straighter, which gives the body more of a yang vibe. A lot of supermodels are actually flamboyant natural. A couple of other examples of flamboyant naturals are Cameron Diaz and Michelle Obama.
Let’s start by looking at their faces. As you can see, both women have blunt bones in their cheekbones and jawlines. Their eyes are narrow and angular, a yang trait, and their lips are fairly angular as well. I would say that both women have blunt noses, and the flesh on their cheeks looks muscular.
Overall their faces are a combination of bluntness and angularity, which gives them that flamboyant natural vibe.
When we look at their bodies, we can see that they both have long vertical lines. Cameron Diaz is 5’7” but to me she looks slightly taller than that. Michelle Obama is about 5’9” and she looks as if she would be that height.
Now let’s look at their bone structure. Cameron’s bones look very blunt and somewhat wide, which is a natural trait. She also doesn’t have a very defined waist, instead her waist looks long and straight. Again, this is a natural trait. Her flesh seems to be very taut, but she also looks very muscular.
Michelle’s bones don’t look as blunt, but they do look long and wide, which is a natural trait. Her waist is a bit more defined than Cameron’s, but it’s still pretty straight. Her flesh tends to look somewhere between muscular and tight, which gives her an overall flamboyant natural vibe.
Next let’s take a look at the gamine family, the last family on this list.
Gamines tend to look almost like teenagers, since their bodies are a combination of yin and yang. Unlike classics, where there’s a smooth blend of yin and yang, a gamine’s individual features are either yin or yang.
This may sound kind of confusing, so let me give you some specific examples of pure gamines (G), soft gamines (SG), flamboyant gamines (FG).
Emma Watson is a gamine, and as you can see, she looks like a young teenager, even though she’s in her twenties. Her face and body are a mixture of different yin and yang features. Let’s take a closer look, starting with her face.
Her overall face is pretty small and her jawline looks slightly rounded. Her eyes are pretty large compared the size of her face, and her cheekbones look pretty delicate. These are her yin features.
As for her yang facial features, the flesh on her cheeks tends toward being taut, and her lips look pretty small and slightly angular. Even though her eyes are large, they’re also have a touch of angularity. Compared to the rest of her face, her nose also has a touch of width.
Now let’s look at the rest of her body. As we can see, she looks very petite. Even though she’s 5’4” I would have guessed that she was even shorter than that, since her head is pretty large in comparison to her shoulders. This is a yin feature.
Some other yin features are the length of her arms and legs (which look short compared to the rest of her body), her small hands, slightly rounded shoulders, and narrow waistline.
Her yang features come primarily from her flesh, which looks long and not very soft or rounded. You can especially notice this on her upper arms, thighs, bust line, and waist.
Overall her features are a combination of yin and yang, rather than a blend. This is what separates a gamine from a classic.
Soft Gamine (SG)
Soft gamines are like gamines, a mixture of yin and yang features, but with slightly more yin, usually in their flesh. Let’s take a look at Jenna Coleman who is a soft gamine.
Let’s start with her face, which has mostly yin features, but a couple of yang ones.
For her yang features, we can see that Jenna’s jawline is pretty squareish and angular. Her lips are also pretty thin and narrow. But the rest of her features seem to be on the yin side.
Her cheekbones are very soft and delicate, and the flesh on her cheeks is very rounded. Her eyes are pretty large and extremely round and her nose is small and delicate, which overall gives her a youthful, gamine vibe.
When looking at her body, we can see that she looks very petite, and she is very petite (5’1”). This is a yin trait. Some of her other yin traits are the short length of her legs, hands, and feet, and her slightly defined waistline. Her flesh also looks extremely soft and rounded.
Her bones look slightly sharp and thin in some places, like on her shoulders and arms.
Overall, this mixture of yin and yang, leaning towards mostly yin, makes her a soft gamine.
Flamboyant Gamine (FG)
Lastly we have flamboyant gamine. Flamboyant gamines also have a mixture of yin and yang features, but with a leaning towards yang. Audrey Hepburn is a flamboyant gamine, so we’ll be analyzing her features.
Starting with her face, we can see that her eyes are pretty large and round, and her cheekbones and jawline are delicate. These are her yin features in her face.
As for her yang features, Audrey has a pretty sharp nose and lips, and the flesh on her face is is taut.
Next, let’s analyze the features of her body. Overall she looks very petite, even though she’s 5’5”, almost 5’6”. This, and her waspish waist and small hands and feet, are her yin features.
The rest of her body tends toward sharp angularity: her limbs are long and narrow, and her flesh looks pretty taut. These are her yang features.
So, Audrey Hepburn is a flamboyant gamine, since she has a combination of yin features and yang features, but has more yang features than yin.
And with that, this concludes my overview of the 13 Kibbe Body Types. Which one are you? If you’re not sure yet, don’t worry, I’ll be making a post on how to identify your own Kibbe body type.
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