I started blogging about the body types in April of 2019, but it’s been awhile since I’ve gone back to basics with the body types, so I thought I’d revisit it starting off with the Basics of the Kibbe Body types. In this post I’ll go over the thirteen body types and how they fit into the five main family of body types, as well as give a short description for each one.
If you’re new to the body types, or just want a quick refresher, this post is for you!
The Kibbe body types are a group of 13 body types that are holistically determined by features and bone structure across the body and face. The body types were developed by David Kibbe in the 1980s, but are probably based on systems like the Kitchener Essences and the McJimsey Body Types.
When it comes to clothing, accessory, makeup, and hair advice, the idea is that the lines and essence of what you wear should match the lines and essence of your body type. It’s about creating a harmonious look that celebrates your body.
To break things down, there are 5 main families of body types, and then sub-types within those families:
In Kibbe’s system, all body types have a certain balance of Yin and Yang. Yin being shapes that are small, soft, and rounded, and Yang being shapes that are large, structured, and angular. Because Yin and Yang are slightly overloaded terms when it comes body typing, I tend to simplify these to soft vs structured, or rounded vs angular.
The Romantic body type is the softest and most round of the body types. The bone structure is short and slightly wide, and the features have lots of rounded shapes to them.
The Theatrical Romantic body type is like the Romantic body type, but with some added structure, angularity, or slenderness. While still short, the bone structure tends to be less wide than the Romantic body type, or have a bit of added angularity to it, as do the features.
The Dramatic body type is the sharpest and most angular of the body types. The bone structure is long and tends to be rather thin, and the features tend to consist of straight lines and sharp angles, and look fairly dry or taut.
The Soft Dramatic body type is like the Dramatic body type, but with some added softness, usually in the features. While the bone structure is still long and angular, usually there are added curves or facial features that can be described as ‘lush’.
The Classic body type is a blend between the Romantic and the Dramatic. Rather than having short or long lines in the bone structure, the lines are medium in length, very balanced between the two extremes. A Classic’s facial features are the same, balanced between rounded and angular, curved and straight.
The Soft Classic body type is like the Classic body type mixed with the Romantic body type. Blended base, but with some added softness. Some features might be soft and rounded, and some lines may be more short, but there’s still the blended features and lines beneath it all.
The Dramatic Classic body type is like the Classic body type mixed with the Dramatic or Natural body type. A blended base, but with some added angularity. The bone structure might be slightly sharper than the Classic’s, and the features might be a bit more taut or dry looking.
The Natural body type has some length and angularity, as well as some width. The angles in the bone structure aren’t as sharp as with the Dramatic, instead the edges are more beveled or blunt in shape.
The Soft Natural body type is like the Natural body type mixed with the Romantic body type. Beveled lines, but with some added softness and rounded shapes along with the wide and slightly angular lines. There may be some shorter lines as well, but there is still that beveled shape underneath it all.
The Flamboyant Natural body type is like the Natural body type mixed with the Dramatic body type. Beveled lines and some width, but with the added length and sharpness in some features. There may be some very long lines or quite dry or taut features, but there’s still a beveled shape underneath it all.
The Gamine body type is all about mixture. Rather than being blended between the extremes of soft and sharp, or rounded and angular, like the Classic body type is, the lines, features, and bone structure of the Gamine are all mixed, but the end result is still balanced between the extremes, but a mixed balance rather than a blended balance.
The Soft Gamine body type is like the Gamine body type mixed with the Romantic body type. There’s the overall mixture of the Gamine, but with some added softened or rounded features, and some shorter lines.
The Flamboyant Gamine body type is like the Gamine body type mixed with the Dramatic or Natural body type. There’s the overall mixture of the Gamine, but with some added angularity and dryer features, as well as the possibility for wider or longer lines in the bone structure.
So why does any of this matter?
If you’re interested in building up a style that effortlessly suits you, learning about your body type can prevent you from having to do unnecessary style experiments, can help you understand why you naturally look good in certain pieces, and can help you make intelligent choices when designing your wardrobe.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Kibbe body types, subscribe to my blog so that you can get an email whenever I publish a new post.
18 thoughts on “Basics of the Kibbe Body Types”
I really struggle trying to figure out where i fit, Can dramatics have shorter legs? Cuz my legs are shorter and more fleshy than all of my long upper body, very angular face lines. But i can gain wait easily, but my ribs will always show. Head looks a bit smaller with A-symmetry facial feature. I think i am a bit weird looking. Romantic clothes make me look a bit like i am in drag. Thanks for any insight.
Thanks for asking, Angela! You can be a dramatic and have a couple of features that seem to be outliers, as long as your overall vibe is still a dramatic one. Also knowing what you don’t look good in is a great start. Since romantic lines don’t work for you, try out some dramatic ones and see how you feel with that: https://www.pinterest.ca/cozyrebekah/dramatic-kibbe-body-types-inspiration/
Thankyou, yes i feel less awkward in Dramatic lines. I appreciate your feed back!
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Glad I could help!
Hi I took the kibbe test and this is what i think is right.
I have a ectomorph body, small bones. Im 5’4 1/2
1-B 2-D 3-A/B(skinny fat) 4 A
5-B 6-B 7-B 8-B
10-D 11-A 12-A 13-A 14-A
Thanks for commenting, K! Based on your results, I’d say that you’re a flamboyant natural, but if you find that flamboyant natural lines don’t suit you, then I recommend checking out flamboyant gamine lines as well. Here’s the link to my FN Pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.ca/cozyrebekah/flamboyant-natural-kibbe-body-types-inspiration/
Hi Rebekah – I’ve just found your blog and so pleased! You explain things in a very easy way compared to most sites. I have a query if you can help as I seem to be Classic with a slight leaning towards the Dramatic Classic.
On the whole people describe me as angular (often compared to the actress Maggie Smith (in her younger days) and I like the Dramatic Classic style but … and this is my big stumbling block … I am quite well endowed in the bust (28FF) which doesn’t work with a lot of sharp clothing!!! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Height 5’6 – quite slim (UK size 12) with a tendency to put weight on around the middle as I get older.
Bone Structure 1a 2a 3c 4a/c (I’m undecided!)
Flesh: 5c 6e 7c 8c 9d
Facial: 10a 11c 12c 13c 14a 15c 16c
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Thanks for commenting, Jayne! Your results do indicate that you’re a dramatic classic, but I can see your dilemma with wearing sharper clothing.
Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of firsthand experience because I’m definitely on the small side, but I think that going with softer tops might be a solution. Not softer as in more romantic, but literally softer, when it comes to fabric. For example knit fabric t-shirts have more stretch to them than woven fabrics.
Going with minimal knit fabric tops with slightly sharper elements (such as v or square necklines, or a geometric pattern such as stripes) and then pairing it with other DC clothing items (such as straight leg pants, and an unbuttoned blazer) can help you achieve a dramatic classic look.
Thanks Rebekah – that makes sense and will help me sort out my wardrobe once and for all!!!
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I’m glad I could help! 😀
This is the post that made Kibbe make sense to me. The types all sort of swam around my head but I feel like I can start to get a handle on them now. Thank you!
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Thank you, I’m really glad that I helped clarify things!! ❤
I LOVE the abstractions. Those are so helpful in understanding how the types relate to one another!! thank you so much for this!