Updated: Mar 14
The Kibbe body type system, created by personal stylist David Kibbe in the 1980s, categorizes body shapes into 13 different types. Knowing your Kibbe body type can help you dress in a way that accentuates your natural beauty and enhances your overall appearance.
Have you ever found yourself staring at your closet, feeling frustrated that you have nothing to wear? You might think that you just need to go shopping, but the truth is, you may not know your Kibbe body type yet.
Here's how to discover your Kibbe body type in 4 easy steps, which will guide you to creating your own personal style that will enhance your silhouette and express your personality.
1. Determine your vertical line
Your vertical line refers to the overall impression of your body's length. It can be broken down into three categories: tall, medium, and short. To determine your vertical line, measure yourself from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. If you are 5'6"(170cm) or taller, you have a tall vertical line. If you are between 5'2" (158.4cm) and 5'5 (161cm)", you have a medium vertical line. And if you are 5'1" (155 cm) or shorter, you have a short vertical line.
2. Find your Yin/Yang balance
The yin yang theory is a concept in traditional Chinese philosophy that describes the two complementary, yet opposing, forces that exist in the universe. Yin represents the feminine, passive, and receptive qualities, while yang represents the masculine, active, and assertive qualities. According to the theory, these two forces are interconnected and interdependent, and they must be in balance for optimal health and well-being. In the context of the Kibbe body type system, the yin and yang qualities are used to describe the different characteristics of body shapes and features, and to determine which Kibbe body type a person falls under. The yin and yang qualities are used to determine the balance of curves and angles in a person's body, as well as the overall energy and essence of their appearance. The Kibbe body type system categorizes body shapes into yin (soft, rounded) and yang (sharp, angular) types.
To determine your yin/yang balance, take a look at your overall bone structure and features. Do you have sharp, angular bones and a chiseled jawline? Or do you have soft, rounded features and a curvy body? If you're somewhere in between, you likely have a balanced yin/yang balance.
3. Identify your Kibbe body type
Once you've determined your vertical line and yin/yang balance, you can determine your body type.
13 Kibbe body types
Theatrical Romantic: Small, delicate, and curvy with a sharp, dramatic bone structure. They often have a small or heart-shaped face, with full lips and large, expressive eyes.
Romantic: Soft, rounded, and curvy with a delicate bone structure. They often have a small, slightly rounded face, with full lips, large eyes, and a rounded nose.
Romantic Classic: Balanced and symmetrical with soft, rounded curves and a delicate bone structure, but with a touch of classic sharpness. They often have a balanced and harmonious face, with slightly angular features and a clear-cut jawline.
Soft Classic: Balanced and symmetrical with soft, rounded curves and a slightly more rounded bone structure. They often have a balanced and harmonious face, with gentle and refined features.
Classic: Balanced and symmetrical with moderate curves and a well-proportioned bone structure. They often have a harmonious and timeless appearance, with a clear and defined bone structure and classic features.
Dramatic Classic: Balanced and symmetrical with a combination of Classic and Dramatic features. They have a slightly angular or sharp bone structure with a vertical line, which gives them a dramatic and sophisticated appearance. They often have angular facial features with a strong jawline, high cheekbones, and a straight nose.
Soft Natural: Strong and athletic with a slightly rounded, more delicate bone structure. They often have a natural and gentle appearance, with a slightly rounded face and delicate features.
Natural: Strong and athletic with a blunt, angular bone structure. They often have an earthy and outdoorsy appearance, with a strong and angular facial features and a blunt nose.
Flamboyant Natural: Bold and dramatic with a strong, athletic bone structure. They often have a striking and unconventional appearance, with an angular and dramatic facial features and a prominent nose.
Gamine: Small, sharp, and angular with a boyish bone structure. They often have a playful and mischievous appearance, with a small and angular face and sharp, elfin features.
Flamboyant Gamine: Bold and sharp with an edgy bone structure. They often have a daring and unconventional appearance, with an angular and striking facial features and a dramatic nose.
Ingenue: Delicate and youthful with a slightly rounded bone structure. They often have a fresh and youthful appearance, with a rounded and slightly heart-shaped face and a delicate nose.
Dramatic: Angular and dramatic with a long, straight bone structure. They often have a bold and striking appearance, with a sharp and dramatic facial features and a prominent, angular nose.
4. Do your characteristics blend or do they have a contrast characteristics?
In the Kibbe body type system, there are two key design elements that help to determine the clothing and styling recommendations for each type: blend and contrast.
Blend refers to the overall softness or angularity of a person's physical features. This includes bone structure, facial features, and body shape. Softness is associated with yin, while angularity is associated with yang.
Contrast, on the other hand, refers to the level of difference between the yin and yang features. A person with high contrast has a significant difference between their soft and angular features, while a person with low contrast has more balance between the two. Understanding your blend and contrast can help you determine the best clothing and styling recommendations for your Kibbe body type. For example, a person with a high level of contrast between their yin and yang features may benefit from combining bold, geometric shapes with softer, flowing fabrics to create a harmonious balance. In contrast, a person with low contrast may benefit from simpler, more streamlined designs that highlight their natural balance and symmetry.
Overall, the blend and contrast characteristics of the Kibbe body type system are important elements to consider when choosing clothing and styling to enhance your natural beauty and express your unique personality.
You can see in the picture above that Marion Cotillard has blended features. She doesn't have a full hourglass figure like Marilyn Monroe, but neither does she have a very straight figure like Olivia Wilde above. She is somewhere in the middle, a blend between Yin and Yang. You can see the same principle in her face. Her eyes are neither very large and round, nor very small and straight. Instead, they are moderate in size and evenly spaced. The same with her lips: neither very full and round nor very thin and straight.
Lily Collins on the right side demonstrates contrasting features. Her body is very Yang dominant - it looks much like Olivia Wilde's body. Her face also shows signs of sharpness around her cheek and jaw area. However, her eyes are very large and round and therefore Yin features. This is a contrasting body type.
To conclude, by discovering your Kibbe body type can be a game-changer when it comes to your personal style! By understanding your body's unique features and bone structure, you can dress in a way that accentuates your natural beauty and helps you feel confident and stylish. So go ahead, unlock your style potential, and discover your Kibbe body type today.