Down the Kibbe rabbit hole!

Have you ever heard of David Kibbe’s body type system? He published a book in 1987, but like “having your colours done”, it’s back in fashion! (Is this only in my world that those two are trendy again? Maybe!)

The assumption of the system is that we are all a mix ofYang (soft)  and Yin (angular) features. In between those two extremes there are a spectrum of categories, and once you figure out your type, Kibbe lays out style advice.


Image from Aly Art

I found out about Kibbe from YouTube, and I think that’s a great way to learn about it… so if you are interested, check out the following figure out your own type!

The thing is, the test seemed to say I belonged in a Theatrical Romantic style that didn’t suit me at all – girly and soft and monochromatic. That doesn’t sound like me, does it? I had a big “AHA!” moment last weekend when I realised I might actually be a Gamine type instead, which is a mix of hard and soft features with a petite stature, who looks great in quirky clothing with prints, colour-blocking and contrast. Yes please!

So what threw me off? Basically, because I’m a size 20 not a size 10, I’ve got rounder features! Also, Gamine are supposed to have big eyes, and I definitely don’t. Some famous Gamine are Audrey Tautou and Emma Watson, and I certainly don’t look like them!

These videos helped convince me though:

So, what does a sewist do when she wants to try some new style advice? Start a Pinterest board, of course! I searched for Gamine inspiration, and pinned the stuff that appealed to me, like this:

gamine 1

… and this…

gamine 2

And if you give a sewist a Pinterest board, you know she is going to sew! I got inspired by the following image and whipped up a knock-off interpretation of one piece.

gamine 3.jpg

More on that on Thursday though – I’ve rambled here long enough! 

If you are interested, you should check out the excellent series “Sew Your Kibbe” by Doctor T Designs – she is rounding up Kibbe sewing patterns type by type, and it promises to be a goldmine of information! She started with Dramatic first, which you can find here.

Have you heard of Kibbe, either the first or second time around? If you’ve tried the test, what did you come out as? It’s obviously not gospel truth, any more than astrology or tips for dressing as a pear etc… but I do find it fun to explore, especially as I’m in need of some style inspiration!


18 thoughts on “Down the Kibbe rabbit hole!

  1. I remember people talking about having their colors done when I was an 80s kid, but I’d never heard of this! It was very interesting. Based on the video you shared, it looks like I’d be a Soft Natural. I was very happy to do a quick Pinterest search and find that the suggestions involve lots of bright colors and fun draped or asymmetric details! I also feel justified in still liking the bootcut/flared jeans look now. I’m not sure I’d buy into the look completely, since it says to avoid plaids and A-line skirts and I do like both of those. But this definitely warrants further investigation.


    1. Rules are meant to be broken! 😉 Soft Natural sounds like a good fit for you – you should check out Doctor T’s posts on her own wardrobe planning, because maybe some of it will apply to you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Becky, A-line’s supposedly are not for me either but I love them so I find that by making them in soft fabrics or on the bias, I create a softer look, perfect for me. A-lines were generally stiff but using the methods I mentioned really works. The day I met David, he immediately tore apart what I was wearing – a double-breasted coat dress with spectator pumps. I knew they did not quite suit but they were okay for work so I bought them. He really solidified the Romantic way of dressing for me and I have never looked back. Good luck.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks so much for the shout out! I think this topic is so interesting, and I’m excited that so many sewing bloggers are wanting to engage in discussions of this topic. I think the fact that with sewing you don’t really get to try clothes until they are done does mean that a bit more forethought and planning can result in more successful garments.

    I think your Gamine Pinterest boards look so fun! Can’t wait to see your Thursday post!


    1. Thursday is definitely baby steps into Gamine – but it was fun to look at my wardrobe and sewing through that lens! I”m still not sure which kind of Gamine I am, but I know I *want* to be Flamboyant Gamine, so I’ll just sew that! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think Gamine is one of those categories that can more easily borrow from neighbors since all of them are a random mix of yin and yang, as opposed to say Natural where the Flamboyant and Soft categories present really differently with the overlay of yin or yang on the blunt bone structure. If you like Flamboyant Gamine I think it’s worth going for it!


  3. OK, I’m back. Did an online questionnaire (no access to Youtube right now) and I am either a Soft Classic or Dramatic Classic. Technically, I’m more of a soft classic (mostly Cs with Ds and As). I do not like that. I want to be a gamine too! (Apparently, I skew that way if I squint my eyes and change a couple of answers.)


    1. I think somewhere in the classic range makes sense for you! When I search pictures for those types on Pinterest, I see a lot of loosely tailored jackets and drapey cardigans without too much volume, and I think you look great in both! You suit v-necklines and solid colours a lot better than me!


      1. When I looked at the boards from DoctorT’s links I had to agree that soft classic is really my scene. I mean, I dress that way! So I can’t be too upset – I just don’t like the terminology cuz it sounds boring.


        1. When I first did the test I came out as Soft Classic and I had the exact same thoughts! But I actually really like a lot of the Soft Classic style – you get to add a twist to a lot of the Classic lines, and people who can pull it off always looks so put together. I think the fact that I can never really tame anything into looking put together was a big hint that Classic wasn’t quite right for me.


  4. I hadn’t heard of Kibbe before I read Dr T’s posts, but his system works much better for me than seasonal colour analysis. Or possibly Kibbe just fits my personal preferences better; I get to wear the colours I like to wear rather than the sweet pastels that colour analysis says should suit me 🙂 I did get some surprising new styling ideas from his recommendations which worked for me so it wasn’t all confirmation bias. But I don’t think any of these systems are a science: take the bits you like and leave the rest.

    Looking forward to seeing your new make!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My mum was a colour consultant in the 80s! It’s now a hazing ritual for any man that gets introduced into the family genus, and my friends regularly request having it done. Husband is totally converted (Autumn) and often asks if this are “my colours” and “they aren’t really wearing their colours, are they?” when he sees people not looking their best! :D:D:D

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As a P.S., having rounder features or body shape does not mean you have to look like the examples, just that the shape of your facial features is similar, and that your body type is softer and more curved.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.