Kibbe's Theory of Body Types and Clothing Styles


I had never heard of the Kibbe Styling Technique until a fellow blogger Hanna from Caterpillar..... offered to do the test for me. I was very curious to see what she would discover about how I should be dressing. As a Modest Fashion Blogger, you have to lead by example. How can I do that if I'm not dressing in a way that suites my body?

What is the Kibbe Style Typing?

Kibbe style typing is a method created by Michael Kibbe, stylist to the stars, to be able to recognize anyone’s body lines and what kind of clothing, patterns, and fabrics best compliment your innate curvatures. This isn’t meant to make you more appealing, necessarily, but often just as a way to make your clothes agree with you, rather than speak louder than you, unless that’s what you like. Kibbe published his expertise in a book titled Metamorphosis in 1987, and has applied this method over the last half century. The book is available, used, on Amazon for $300+.

Essentially, the Kibbe method divides bodies into five main categories, which are then subdivided further into two to three subcategories, based on a series of 16 questions about your bone structure (facial and body), vertical length, and flesh.

These five categories range from prominently yang (angular) features, called Dramatic – think Amal Clooney -- to predominantly ying (rounded) features, called Romantic -- think Beyonce -- with many variations in-between. These in-between types are called Natural (ex.: Liv Tyler), Classic (ex.: Phylicia Rashad), and Gamine (ex.: Winona Ryder). Each one of these can be a bit more angular or curved (except for the Dramatic, which can only be more curved, and the Romantic, which can be a bit more angular), depending on your specific combinations of answers to the test questions. Once you’ve determined your Kibbe type, he then proceeds to give you guidelines on what types of clothes and accessories agree with your lines, and which clash with them. Knowing rules, then allows you to learn inventive ways to break them and achieve looks that conform to your own tastes without making you look detached from your clothing and accessories.

Dramatic - Amal Clooney

Romantic - Beyonce

MY RESULTS: Natural

Look best in simple, unconstructed (not sharply tailored) looks.

You have tremendous flexibility, as long as you avoid anything exaggerated (too stiff, too big, too thick, too girly, too decorated, too bulky, too tailored). You look great in casuals (jeans, simply cut pants, A line skirts, even sweatpants!). Avoid tight clothes and clothes that drape over you (flowy or super wide). Avoid matchy matchy styles. Color blocks and mixtures of textures are perfect for you.

Your operative words are simple and uncomplicated

Makeup: Avoid strong makeup, overly decorated hijabs, wear a variety of textures and patterns away from your face.

Lines and Shapes:

Symmetrical long lines are good for evening wear, peplums, intricate designs, bulky and stiff fabrics. Drop waist, sachets, relaxed waist is ideal.

Patterns:

Wild patterns are great for you (like leopard print, checkered, plaid...)., shiny is good, but avoid lace, delicate and flouncy styles

Pants:

For pants avoid overly drapy tailored pants, tapered ankles with with gathered waist (they're too rounded for you).

Straight leg, cuffs or no cuffs, belted high waist (not gathered) as well as low waist work fine.

Coats:

Long, unconstructed, belted or open, as long as they're simple, are great.

Accessories:

Knapsacks, sachets or regular medium sized belts, knitted nature inspired bags, fabric cross body bags, even belt bags work for you!

Colors:

For colors you are warm under toned and muted. Avoid colors with blue in them (anything between red and blue on the color wheel, as well as anything between blue and green). The other side of the wheel is all yours, provided it's muted and not pure color (imagine a thin layer of dust on it: that's what you want).

General Style:

Avoid girlish looks, your look is very mature. But fun, not boring, relaxed, if you want. Girl next door kinda look.

Anything too delicate, too structured, too boxy, too fluffy is going to make you look like the clothes are wearing you.

I think for the most part I have been able to dress according to this. What do you think? Our style is most often decided by many factors including lifestyle, confidence, body image and personal preference even if what we are choosing to wear is not perfect for our body type. This method of finding out what best suits our bodies is very interesting! Why not give it a try?

How Can You Find Out Your Kibbe Style?

If you’re confused and want to find out a bit more without getting overwhelmed, check out Hana's blog Cafe Caterpillar, where she can sort out the enormous amount of information out there into bite size bits, and as a bonus, she will also talk about how to apply all of it to hijab! You can find a number of articles she has written about Kibbe Styling Here. If you’d like to know what your Kibbe type is, but don’t want to pay 100-150$ for a professional consult, drop Hana an email: cafecaterpillar@gmail.com

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