The Meaning of Yin and Yang in Kibbe System

Explanation of Yin and Yang balance in Kibbe’s body type system that’s easy to understand

I notice a great deal of confusion about Kibbe’s body type system, especially when it comes to Yin and Yang. The understanding of these two forces is crucial for defining one’s type and place on the Yin-Yang scale. Quite often such absolutely different types as Soft Classic and Soft Natural, or even Soct Classic and Soft Dramatic are being confused. This stems undoubtedly from the lack of understanding of how Yin and Yang work in our features in Kibbe’s body type system. I’m not a Kibbe expert – the only expert is David Kibbe himself, but I’m presenting this topic following his views. So let’s clarify it.

Yin and Yang DOESN’T mean female vs male or feminine vs masculine. Many women mistakenly consider Yin and Yang as the indication of female vs male features. Naturally, when taking the test they know that A and B answers stand for sharper, more Yang features, so they resist them and that’s how they ruin the results of the test. Kibbe actually doesn’t recommend the quiz anymore, but even without it people may tend to want to be something they aren’t.

Even if you do a quick search of Yin and Yang in Wikipedia, you’ll find that it is:

“a concept of dualism in ancient Chinese philosophy, describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another”

I don’t see any mention of female vs male, do you? In fact, female vs male isn’t even the best example of Yin and Yang! The best examples would be light vs dark and soft vs sharp. That’s exactly how Kibbe works – Yin stands for softness, roundness, delicateness, and Yang – for sharpness, definition, broadness.

There’s no pure Yin or Yang. Look at the header image for this post – the dark side has a bit of light in it and vice versa. Why so? In this concept of dualism, light doesn’t exist without dark. Without having an opposite force, the nature of a single force can’t be fully appreciated. Would we appreciate the day if it would last 24h, every day? Would we cherish the night if there wouldn’t be daylight to compare it to?

You might think of extreme Yin or Yang examples, such as Marilyn Monroe or Tilda Swinton. Look closely at both. Both of them have a tiny bit of the opposite here and there and even if it’s a tiny bit, it counts.

So we arrive at the idea that everyone has their own place on the spectrum between Yin and Yang.

Neither Yin nor Yang is prettier. Would you say Lauren Bacall (extreme Yang, Kibbe Dramatic) doesn’t look feminine, attractive, stunning? Would you be able to argue that she’s not as pretty as a woman on the opposite side of the spectrum – extreme Yin Elizabeth Taylor? I doubt that.

lauren bacall - liz taylor.jpg
Would anyone be able to tell who’s more beautiful?

Without Yin, we would be blind to the stunning beauty of Yang. Yang features would simply be mundane, usual to us. Same with Yang – its sharpness is the opposite to the softness of Yin, but then it gives us the ability to appreciate it.

It’s easy to tell Yin from Yang. I sometimes hear that Yin and Yang in Kibbe body type system is very difficult to tell and disagree completely. What features are usually Yang and Yin?



Narrow (e.g. eyes and limbs 
if they are long)

To see a lot of actual examples of Yin and Yang features, I’d suggest you checking out the Kibbe quiz – I illustrated each option for all the questions, so it can help clarify how to distinguish sharp vs soft features.

How to evaluate Yin and Yang? If you dislike something about yourself, then try to imagine for a moment that you love everything in your features. Once you try to accept them, you won’t have a problem telling if they are rounded, sharp, or blunt. The thing is, your beauty is like nobody else’s. It’s got no categories, it doesn’t care about types – it simply exists. It’s no different from a beauty of a flower or building because it doesn’t need anyone to define it. Try to find appreciation for it. Try to understand that your features are what makes you, well, YOU. Look at yourself with love – then you won’t want to judge your features unfairly.

Takeaway: Yin and Yang aren’t about feminine vs masculine, but simply about two opposites. Yang features are sharp, precise, often prominent. Yin features are soft, round, and often luscious. Your features are your precious asset because they make you a unique person you are and please make the world and yourself a favor – embrace yourself. Nobody else can use your talents and shine like only you can, because there’s only one you.



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More on Kibbe’s Metamorphosis:

Soft Natural vs Romantic in Kibbe System w/Examples

What Is Vertical Line In Kibbe’s System? w/Examples +FAQ

Why Kibbe Image IDs AREN’T ‘Kibbe Body Types’

10 Myths About Kibbe That Ruin It For You

Why Rihanna ISN’T a Theatrical Romantic 

Meaning of Yin and Yang in Kibbe System

How I actually use Kibbe’s system w/examples

How I got to know & love Kibbe’s Metamorphosis: My story (feat. ‘Soft Gamine syndrome’)

5 Reasons why you struggle to find your image identity in Kibbe’s system

Height in Kibbe: why Taylor Swift, Lily Cole, and Zendaya AREN’T Gamine

What Kibbe gets right and the ‘fruit body types’ get wrong

The philosophy in Kibbe’s system

Author: Alexandra

Passionate researcher and writer. Coffee maniac. Pilates enthusiast. Makeup and skincare junkie. Occasionally - movie and book reviewer. Come join me on my quest!

6 thoughts on “The Meaning of Yin and Yang in Kibbe System”

  1. I appreciate so much your clear and direct response to the confusion that’s replaced it. It has been hard to narrow down my type because of personal preference and the weight that comes on with age. I replaced youtube opinions with your posts and they have been enlightening. Thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so amazing to know! I’m delighted that my posts are useful for you and humbled at the same time. My goal is to help bring simplicity and honesty to the discussion about Kibbe and it’s always so heartwarming to receive comments like yours – it means I’m on the right track. I hope getting to know Kibbe system will continue bringing you joy and inspiration ❤️
      Thank you for reading and commenting 💕


  2. Thank you so much for sharing the fact rhat “yin” does not translate to “feminine” and “yang” to “masculine”. I have gotten into discussions about this in the past, where I attempted to clarify this point to a certain blogger, but to no avail. Unfortunately this person continues to push the idea that if you have a good deal of yang you look “boyish” or “masculine”, and I think it is really doing harm to women’s ability to see themselves clearly. Yin and Yang in themselves transcend the human sphere, and when we are able to understand and identify the two principles, it allows us to read what all things are communicating in the same way that we would take in a work of art, through a qualitative language that applies to a landscape just as easily as the human form, and in fact allows us to see how the same qualitaties expressed in that landscape can be found in the physiognomy of a particular human being.
    And the signature of masculinity and femininity are both communicated to us humans through an intricate blend, within either sex, of Yang and Yin, with a great deal of variation in the balance and composition from person to person, with the signifier of sex being a specific repeating organization of yin and yang, i.e. breasts, sex organs, hair growth, etc. Hypothetically, an overbalance of Yang qualities in a man could actually end up registering as less masculine to us, if, for instance he had only sharp angles, long thin bones, pale skin, hair and eyes, and very little flesh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I absolutely agree with you – confusing different meanings of Yin and Yang (i.e. masculine and feminine vs how David Kibbe uses these terms) truly scews the meaning of these concepts in the Kibbe system. I’ve gotten many times into discussions of a similar sort with bloggers and had the same result, unfortunately, which is why I decided to simply write on my blog about it. I’m not an expert on this system, but I’m doing my best to get to the bottom of things and I see how much it’s misrepresented.
      I love how you said “it allows us to read what all things are communicating in the same way that we would take in a work of art” – it reminds me of the way David Kibbe describes concepts and ideas. He refers to art a lot because dressing is both an everyday task and a form of art in a way because it conveys so many things to the world (and influences our own feelings) same as a painting or a building would. Either we like it or not, we perceive things through colors and shapes, and strive for balance – balance of our own nature with the way we present ourselves to the world (which is one of the reasons why there are so many style systems). I know that many women dislike this kind of in-depth philosophical approach, but I do believe that with the Kibbe system anyone can have it both ways – as a simple pratical guide and as a personal journey to self-acceptance and self-discovery.
      When I write about this system, I stick to its everyday practical use because it’s really simple to mislead and miscommunicate when it comes to in-depth explanations – people can misinterpret anything. For instance, when I wrote the post ‘why so many women want to be TR or SD’ I sincerely wanted to convey the idea that beauty standards are societal constructs created to sell more products and enforce insecurities on women, but then received a comment saying ‘you’re projecting your own insecurities onto women and we’re not waiting for you to get off your high horse and tell us to love ourselves; women are more aware of how they don’t fit beauty standards rather than of their own merits’. Needless to say, I rewrote the post partially because, even if it was an angry hater writing that comment, I felt if even one person read it that way then I failed to explain my true intentions. So I stick to simple facts in my posts to avoid confusion. As for me personally, I sincerely believe that beauty doesn’t have a specific Yin-Yang formula, age, or style – it transcends all these things, similarly to nature or art.
      I haven’t had a chance to learn about the use of the Kibbe system for men yet, but I do know that they start with height and width (women start with height, width, and curves). Long+wide=Yang, same as in women. Thin bone structure would probably have a Yin element because of the delicateness. I hope I’ll be able to learn more about Kibbe for men in the future!
      Thank you for your comment and have a marvellous day ahead!


  3. I love your posts on honesty and objectivity when it comes to Kibbe – but also you often point out that we spend too much time trying to judge our bodies to type them correctly. On this issue, I really think there’s too much personal insecurity around the association of masculinity vs feminity in women…
    Just because a woman is very ‘yang’ doesn’t mean she isn’t a woman – cheekbones and height don’t make a woman! However, sharp, straight, blunt, muscular, taut are all adjectives that we sensibly associate with men – there is plenty of scientific literature affirming that men carry more muscle mass than women all other things considered; and that men are straighter, and taller compared to women all other things considered – so there’s no need to avoid making that clear, logical leap.
    We just need to be less sensitive about it! It’s all okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One thing for sure: there’s no lack of issues caused by oversensitivity surrounding Kibbe system (I mean, some people are triggered by the word ‘blunt’). However, the Yin-Yang isn’t this kind of issue and it’s precisely the lack of logic that doesn’t let me equate Yin with ‘feminine’ and Yang with ‘masculine’.
      Here’s why: if we accept it, then there’s no reason why, say, Audrey Hepburn would never be considered a FG – she’s pretty tall, has a narrow, straight shape – there’s seemingly nothing stereotypically ‘feminine’ about her except for those eyes to provide enough Yin for her to be a FG. Of course, if we use the real Kibbe approach, we’ll notice the large amount of delicateness about her that gives the Yin. There’s no reason why Vivien Leigh would be considered a TR either – she’s got all the extremely feminine features like delicate build, curves, large eyes, bow lips, small nose, etc. Yang in her case is provided by the delicate sharpness that – and I can bet on that – nobody would ever call ‘masculine’. Or, just for a good measure, let’s consider Lena Horne, who, with her apple cheeks, rounded features, and hourglass shape would be considered extremely Yin if we say Yin=feminine, except she’s a verified Dramatic. I could go on an on with examples, but you get my point.
      I’ve already mentioned somewhere that I consider Yin and Yang in this system as purely technical terms because it helps see it as it is, without messing my perception with the added context. If we really make that ‘leap’ and accept Yin as feminine and Yang as masculine in Metamorphosis, we lose the ability to learn the system altogether.
      IMPORTANT: I’m not here trying to pander to anyone or saying ‘Yin doesn’t mean feminine and Yang doesn’t mean masculine’ not to hurt anyone’s feelings – I’m here to do my own thing, do what I enjoy, which is talking about something I like (it’s not only Kibbe – it’s movies, skincare, beauty, etc). I’m also not here trying to change anyone’s opinion because I respect everyone’s right to have one.
      If Kibbe’s Metamorphosis would logically work relying on the assumption that Yin is for feminine and Yang is for masculine, I’d straight up say so! I don’t think there’s anything not feminine about, say, having wide shoulders or being tall, and it’s true – it shouldn’t affect how women perceive themselves and ruin their self-acceptance. Feminine and masculine is one thing, but Yin and Yang in Metamorphosis is a different thing, even though it might seem like they are interchangeable.
      Let’s separate the wheat from the chaff here. Like, no, there’s nothing wrong with a woman having stereotypically ‘masculine’ features and men having stereotypically ‘feminine’ features, but that’s a COMPLETELY different topic from Metamorphosis.


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