May 212014

In discovering an “image identity” based upon the yin and yang of facial features and body type, Kibbe’s system falls short in a couple crucial aspects:

  1. He has no “type” for anyone who scores highest in “d” answers on his quiz (d is the delicate yin).
  2. He strongly advises against defining yourself as a combination of types.

Parenthetically, for those who do not have the book:

  • A answers represent sharp yang and are associated with a dramatic personal style.
  • B’s are strong yang; style is natural (as in “sporty” or “relaxed”).
  • C’s are balanced and classic, of course.
  • E is soft yin, romantic.
  • A combination of A’s and E’s defines gamine.

Allow me to propose an alternative way of using Kibbe’s quiz:

  1. Watch the John Kitchener style essences intro video. Make a note of the essences with which you resonate.
  2. Taking your scores from the Kibbe quiz, apply them to the corresponding style essences and figure your percentage. Use “d” answers to identify the “youthful” (aka “ingenue”) category. (I did not include “ethereal” in this exercise.)

My results:

  • The three Kitchener style essences that resonate with me are gamine, classic, and youthful. When I saw the picture of Meg Ryan, I was especially convinced about that last one: I am always getting told I look like Meg Ryan. 😉
  • I am positive I have ZERO dramatic and romantic. Therefore, I added my a’s and my e’s together for my gamine score. (It also occurred to me that my body type, according to The Triumph of Individual Style, is “combination of opposites”, which is Kibbe’s definition of gamine.)
  • I had no “b” answers on my quiz.

Undoubtedly, this is a crude method. My breakdown was:
50% ingenue + 25% classic + 25% gamine.

The percentages may need to be refined, but it is a starting place. If you do not have the book, well, don’t sweat it – how can it really work without a type for mostly d answers? Just choose your style essences from Kitchener’s and start working with them. Have fun!

Edit: This page has helpful suggestions for each type.

  14 Responses to “What’s Your “Kibbegory”?”

  1. hmm as many times as I have read that book, I never noticed that. I almost sold it, since it fetches a tidy price, but then I happened on the advancing/receding post of Imogen’s. I love your receiving and giving take on it! Though I don’t think I’m all that nice and may be more intrusive/elusive. 😀

    He does give D with some A as Theatrical Romantic. I understand in more recent years he has dropped a couple types – I think it is the pure Classic and the pure Natural. I always had some problem with the idea that because I’m short I have to fit into one of the three Gamine types only. Nooo, I never know where I think I fit in anyway.

    I have been enjoying reading through Nancy Nix-Rice’s Looking Good Every Day. It’s her update of her original Looking Good, a book I had and eventually passed along. Seems completely reworked to me and tends to incorporate in one place information that you’ve come across in many other works. I did like her emphasis on there being a continuum, so that people are more individual and not just either cool or warm. And that she allowed that with the gold or silver drape test, some people weren’t suiting either.

    I went to a wedding the other day and was horrified when I saw a camera photo shot hubby took of me.
    I knew this wasn’t his strong suit but he wanted one taken of him in his suit (major thrifting score: Burberry fine flat weave wool taupe menswear for about twelve bucks after my senior discount). I tried that turn sideways and then twist around trick. Whoa nellie. I had felt great in my silk blend shift until I saw that pic. Made me realize something. People check the front view in the mirror and some folks check the back view. I do both but the crucial view for me is the side view since I am narrow from front or back and all my mass seems to be from back to front as seen in the side view – thickness. So when I do that minimizing twisting that everyone likes, I get the front view and part of the side view and look like a tree trunk.

    So Nix-Rice has something about looking to see what is the actual outside silhouette of your clothing and I have been playing around with noticing that.

    After a few days I feel like my own/old self again but when I showed grown son the awful picture – including very faded looking coloring – he barked, “Dye your hair, Mom.” 😀 Hubby chimed in and said
    to go to salon for first time. I’m noodling around about it. Have looked at thousands of hairstyle pix and not much appeals. I used to wear the Anna Wintour bob for years on end and it works but am reluctant to go backwards. 😀 Doubt, too, hubby realizes exactly how much really good salon coloring costs. I mention this and son says he would give me the money if I need it. 😀 I’m like the dinosaurs in the La Brea tarpits, though. Slooooow.

    • I think the whole height thing is so limiting. I am 5’6″, not super tall, but too tall to qualify for gamine. In Kibbe, I think if I had to choose one “soft gamine” would be it. That is part of why I think Kitchener’s approach – a unique, individual blend – is so superior.

      I will have to look for the book you mentioned. That is really interesting that some people don’t suit either the silver or gold drape. I suspect I would suit both and that perhaps they are too bright for some people – ? I received Shopping for the Real You: Ten Essential Steps to a Better Wardrobe for Every Woman – Fashionistas, Fashion-phobes and the Over Fifty by Andrea Pflaumer yesterday. Haven’t really started reading it yet, but it also looks to do a good job distill ing alot of previously encountered info.

      Are you on Pinterest? I would love to see any hair ideas you have collected! 🙂

  2. Boy, I don’t even know where I fit. Not gamine or youthful, I know that. (Even though people always say I look young? It has no resonance with me, though, as a style.) I’m only average height, but with a large, sturdy frame. Probably a good bit of natural, but I think there might be a little dramatic. And classic. And maybe a very, very tiny splash of romantic.

  3. I got 11 A’s and 2 each of B and C. I have no idea what that means!! I’m new to all this Kibbe/body type/style stuff and while I’ve just recently realized my style is typically “gamine”, every description says I’m too tall for it- 5’9″. So. Lost. Any ideas?

    • Yes! Hi Mea! So, your Kibbe score says Dramatic, does that not feel like you? There are some similarities between Gamine and Dramatic.

      One way to determine your lines is to do it “from scratch”, so to speak, as in The Triumph of Individual Style, which is the system I am trained in. Do you have that book? I am still working out, in my mind, how the Image Archetypes, Style Essences, and personal style lines intersect. Do you know your silhouette and proportions? Knowing those two (three) things has been super helpful, for me and my clients, to figuring out how to put outfits together: whether to belt or tuck, blend or contrast, etc.

      One thing I would say about having alot of A: it probably impacts the fabrics you wear. Taut fabrics that hold their shape, as in tailored clothing and leather, work well with a sharp,straight body. Do you like drapy fabrics? You are probably the person who can wear voluminous folds of drapy fabric. 🙂

      Hope that is helpful! I do offer a service where I analyze a photo of you to determine your silhouette and proportions. You can find more info on the services page.
      Thanks for visiting! 🙂

  4. I am struggling to figure out my kibble type. According to the test I had significantly more A answers than anything else, closely followed by the elusive D answers. Other than those two, I had 1 C and 1 B and 1 E. How would you interpret this? I can’t seem to make heads or tails of this.

    • Ha ha, autocorrect! I of course meant kibbe type.

    • It is the same with me. One way to look at it would be that his system just doesn’t apply neatly to you; another would be to read it as gamine. He never really says how that score is to be interpreted. Do you have a type that you suspect?

      Based on the clothing recommendations that work for me, I identify as Flamboyant Gamine in Kibbe. Or straight G, but that is no longer in use. I can’t tell you your Kibbe type, but I do offer services which give you the types of style recommendations, but individualized. Would you like me to email you?

      • I believe people might see me as a gamine type, but doesn’t fit with my energy at all. I’ve always been told I am an old soul and seem very calm and graceful. I just don’t have the gamine youthful exuberance. I would be interested in getting some help or another opinion at least about my style type. Yes. Please do email me with your pricing etc. my email address is


        • You sound like you would neatly fit in Kitchener’s Angelic/Ethereal category. “Old soul” is the essence of it. It’s like dramatic but with softness added. But it’s also more than that. There’s a YouTube video on it.

  5. Eh. The Kitchener (McJimsey) essences are distinctly different than Kibbe, at least on the yin side. Kitchener’s essences are pretty much the same as McJimsey’s, with the addition of Angelic. Kibbe’s yin categories are different. Because he removed Ingenue, he modified Romantic as well. Kibbe’s Romantic is a combination of McJimsey’s Romantic and Ingenue. Soft Gamine isn’t the same as Ingenue, although it shares some similarities. Gamine is yang in Kitchener, not a combination of opposites.

    Personally I prefer Kitchener’s essences to Kibbe’s. Under Kibbe I’m some kind of yin category, but i don’t fit well into any of them. According to the test, i get C’s and D’s which makes me a Soft Classic, and that does feel comfortable, if not very exciting. It feels like Kibbe’s system is really inadequate on the yin side, perhaps because he’s a yang type man himself. There’s more categories on the yang side. Under Kitchener, I’m equal parts Natural and Ingenue, which feels much more “right” than any Kibbe category.

  6. I’m really confused about Kitchner’s system. When it comes to Kibbe, I think I fit perfectly in Theatrical Romantic body type. My answers were mostly d, with several e and a. I think that the style proposed by Kibbe really suits me and thanks to him, I’ve started wearing my best clothes all the time instead of hiding my figure because I look either elegant and sophisticated (when the clothes suit me, and that’s what Kibbe said, that it’s gonna happen) or like a child (when I’m wearing aything that doesn’t suit me). The only thing that might not fall into this category perfectly is that I am a light spring and have a colour palette more suitable for a pure romantic… which I’m not with my hooded almond eyes and delicate bone structure. My mother is a pure Kibbe romantic and when we stand side by side, she looks much wider and shorter, although I’m only 1cm taller than her. However, when it comes to Kitchner, I don’t think I fall into any category at all… Some say that Theatrical Romantic has a lot of Ingenue but I really don’t feel myself there. My face looks more like an assymetric Grace Kelly or a Vivien Leigh with warm and light palette, and the Ingenue style with empire waist and cute girly accessories would look terrible on me. So lost!

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