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.
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