So since there is no limit to what I can accomplish when I’m supposed to be doing something else, I have recently fallen down a serious rabbit hole of analyzing Kibbe Image IDs, and it led me to this rather interesting - or at least, I hope you will find it interesting! - project to identify common structural traits within the Image IDs. I initially got this idea after seeing an illustration on Reddit where an artist sketched out croquis that were representative of each type. While they are awesome, these were obviously fashion figures with inaccurate proportions, and it made me curious what it would look like to create figures with real human proportions that fit within the Kibbe descriptions of each type, and what this might tell us about the Image IDs and whether or not it could help people find their correct ID.
I collected images of only Kibbe-verified celebrities, and I only used an image when I could find one that was photographed from relatively straight on, with minimal clothing, so I could really see the lines of the figure. I did not include any celebs where their ID is widely disputed, so no Rihanna, Taylor Swift, or Mila Kunis, and maybe a few others, I don’t remember. I also did not include the “Pure” IDs, because Kibbe no longer uses them.
I also did not focus at all on facial characteristics, since they aren’t supposed to be a big part of the Kibbe system, but if anyone is really interested in seeing that just let me know. I know I’m really curious to see what kind of results I would get, and of course I’m always interested in a good excuse to waste time!
I will say also, through the process of doing this, there were a couple times when I did not use a specific celebrity because they were so different from what I was seeing in the other examples that I had to seriously question whether they really belonged in that type. But maybe I’ll do another post about them later and see if I can find a better match for them, and try to justify my choices. But just so you know, there were outlying bits of data that I made an educated decision not to use.
Kibbe Outlines Adjusted for Height
I find these outlines most useful because you can adjust for height. Height is such a big matter of contention in the Kibbe universe, with people wondering if they’re a “tall” this or a “short” that, and especially for those of us over 5’8” who are technically limited to Flamboyant Natural, Soft Dramatic, or Dramatic. But I find it interesting to see here that even if you were to ignore height, the differences between these types should be enough to classify you in and of themselves. I mean, you can clearly see that a Soft Dramatic is not just a “tall Theatrical Romantic" or tall Romantic”, right? And a Dramatic is not just a taller Flamboyant Gamine. There are plenty of other unique features there that could hopefully help you determine your type regardless of height. And I’m not saying that height doesn’t matter, because of course it does, I’m just saying that based on what I’m seeing here, perhaps it doesn’t have to confuse us quite as much as it does.
Soft Dramatic vs Theatrical Romantic
Now I want to just go through and compare some types so you can really see how these points line up and lend themselves to that perception of vertical line and center of gravity, even if two people of different Image IDs are the same height.
Here you can see that even at the same height, the Soft Dramatic's head is much smaller and her center of gravity is much higher, leading to a greater overall impression of vertical, whether she is 5’10” or 5’5”. There is a very different angle to their collarbones, and also just look at the shapes of their hips. One pretty consistent element of the Soft Dramatic shape that I noticed - and you can see it pretty clearly here on Barbara Streisand - was this defined bump out at the high hip. Granted, I think it’s important to keep in mind that these outlines were taken from very fit, often rather thin celebrities, and I did notice that this bump tends to disappear quickly once a Soft Dramatic gains a little weight, but still it was tremendously consistent and mostly unique to the type.
The waist-to-hip line on the Theatrical Romantic is a much more gentle and fluid curve, with the widest part of the hip sitting much lower on the figure. (This is also consistent with the TR sister ID, the Romantic.) I think you can see this even more clearly when the figures are layered over the top of each other, which I will show you in a little bit. So while these types do have a lot of similarities there are some very distinct differences that clearly mark them as separate IDs.
Dramatic vs Flamboyant Gamine
I actually don’t see a ton of confusion between these two types, which I think you can attribute to the fact that Kibbe is not all about structure and outline, even though that’s all we’re really focusing on here. If you only consider the outlines as shown here, they do have much in common, but if you consider their movement and overall Yin/Yang balance in person, I just think it’s harder to confuse them. And this is also a good example of the limitations of what I am showing you here. While I find this all incredibly fascinating, I just want to caution you against relying solely on an outline such as this to determine your ID. This is just another tool.
So you can see, as we would expect, the head of the Gamine is much larger than that of the Dramatic and the Flamboyant Gamine is a little bit broader overall, with that lower center of gravity. But she still exhibits some sharpness and drama in her figure which is very reminiscent of the Dramatic.
Soft Natural vs Romantic
One of the things that struck me most about the Soft Natural features was the length of their shin bones and accompanying height of the knee. This is, of course, because they have that Natural frame - and you can clearly see that this lines up really closely with their Flamboyant Natural sisters - but with a Romantic softness on top of it all.
Soft Gamine vs Soft Classic
I did this comparison because I read somewhere that Gamines and Classics were the most likely to be mistyped; Gamines because they have the most variation within the ID, and Classics because small variations from that balance and symmetry can easily be overblown and then seen as a reason for them to belong to another ID. Clearly we can see here that Soft Gamine and Soft Classic themselves are quite different from each other.
Comparing Types with Overlays
Here we have some overlays, and this is just another way to compare these types and see where the most notable differences are. You can see that striking difference I mentioned between the hips of the Soft Dramatic and the Theatrical Romantic. You can see how, in my opinion, astonishingly similar the Dramatic and Flamboyant Gamine are, but with that difference in the Center of Gravity. This is an interesting exercise to help train your eye for these kind of subtle unique traits of the IDs.
Soft Dramatic and Flamboyant Natural Overlay
I also wanted to throw this comparison in here because I see a lot of tall people who, while they can pretty easily scratch off Dramatic if they don’t fit within that sharp Yang, have a much harder time making the decision between Soft Dramatic and Flamboyant Natural. This is somewhat surprising to me after doing this exercise, because when I look at them side-by-side the differences seem pretty significant.
I do know it can be much harder to tell if you are not as uber-fit as a celebrity, which few of us are, and I am working on doing a version of this for Image IDs at different weights, but of course that is much harder to do because celebs are a lot less likely to let themselves be photographed in bikinis when they’re not at their ideal weight. But I do think that it would be a really helpful tool to have so I am definitely working on it.
But yes, if you’re a Flamboyant Natural with a few extra pounds or a Soft Dramatic with a few extra pounds, I know some differences could be harder to see. Even so, you can see here that the center of gravity is a bit higher for the Soft Dramatic than the Flamboyant Natural, and if you look at the overlay, you can really see how the structure of the shoulders and collarbones is notably different. The Flamboyant Natural also generally has a more powerful neck and those stronger-looking trapezoid muscles. You can clearly see this in the Soft Natural as well. You can also see here how the Flamboyant Natural could easily look bustier than the Soft Dramatic, even if they had the same cup size, because of the comparative width of the torso. So if you’re thinking, well I must be a Soft Dramatic because I’m busty - maybe, but maybe not. That’s more of a generalization than an actual, consistent Soft Dramatic trait.
Flamboyant Natural and Soft Classic Overlay
I had to throw this comparison in, which I actually came across by accident, because I was surprised to see just how similar the Center of Gravity is between the Flamboyant Natural and the Soft Classic - two types that I don’t think are often confused with each other. And of course in the overlay we can see that there are significant differences in the structure and stature of the types, but still you can see how precisely the knees, the inseam, the belly buttons, and the breasts line up. Even the angle of the collarbones is pretty similar. So structurally these two types have a lot more in common than I would have expected.
And that’s it! I hope this was helpful to someone out there, and if you found this interesting please let me know. I am planning on exploring this some more but I know that this was definitely helpful to me when I was looking for my type, so maybe it will help some of you out there too.
I also want to clarify here at the end that I am not a Kibbe expert - nobody really is except Kibbe himself. I just really like this system because I think it’s much more positive and friendly than other body typing systems I’ve seen, where it’s all about how to fix perceived “flaws” in your figure, and instead Kibbe is about dressing to express and explore the natural lines of your body. You can obviously wear whatever you want and whatever makes you happy, but I like these kinds of systems because they make dressing a little bit easier for me. But just know that Kibbe is not supposed to be about limitations; enjoy yourself, have fun with your clothing, love your body, and I will talk to you all next time!