Over the years Kibbe system aka Kibbe Metamorphosis has been reinterpreted and misinterpreted numerous times, which is how a lot of misconceptions occured. The worst thing is that they really skew the whole system and make it difficult to use. I think it’s important to debunk these common misconceptions about certain Kibbe image identities because they are just obstacles on our way, so let’s do it!
Before I begin, let me premise this post by saying that I’m not a Kibbe system expert. I am a passionate researcher and the goal of my posts about Metamorphosis is to share my understanding of the system with those who is interested about learning and using it. Since David Kibbe doesn’t certify or officially approves anyone to practice his system, it goes without saying that the only expert is he himself when it comes to typing other people and theory behind his system. Besides, everyone interested in his system can become their own personal experts and use this system. You are free to study his system any way you prefer, but it’s my duty as Kibbe’s system researcher to let you know that there’s a Facebook group called ‘Strictly Kibbe’ where David Kibbe himself explains his system. I’m simply informing you about it and if you choose to join it, there’s no way of knowing if your expectations will be met. In my posts about Kibbe’s image identities (aka Metamorphosis) I follow the theory David Kibbe highlighs in his book Metamorphosis (1987) the way I understand it. My goal is to share my own findings with everyone who wants to learn and use this system. I don’t offer typings (goes without saying – the reason mentioned above) and always make sure that whatever I post goes in line with how David Kibbe himself presents his system. David Kibbe Website.
Flamboyant Natural signature style is boho style
Kibbe system was never about specific styles in clothing – it’s always been about determining the Yin-Yang balance and then following the features of a person to construct outfits and looks. Women who belong to the Flamboyant Natural image identity can have any style they like, independently on the style.
Gamines need an ‘insane’ amount of detail in their looks
This might seem overwhelming for any Gamine! Gamines do require detail in their looks because of their unique juxtaposition of Yin and Yang, but insane? Not really. The detail can be in how different fabric textures combine in the outfit, jewelry, prints – anything. A Gamine doesn’t need to look like Lady Gaga (unless they want to of course) every day to honor her unique Yin-Yang balance.
Adding a contrasting belt is the best way to ‘break the line’ for Gamines
So it seems that, for instance, Classics can’t wear contrasting belts because they aren’t supposed to ‘break the line’? The thing is, a belt is only one element that can either work for an outfit or not. Many pieces of clothing aren’t supposed to be worn with belt at all. For instance, long cardigans that hold their shape won’t be ‘fixed’ with a belt – the cardigan itself will still give off the stiff vertical line. The concept of ‘breaking the line’ is, I think, taken too literally. What really needs to be achieved with breaking the line is constructing the outfit in a way that would not give the feel of a long vertical because Gamines are compact, petite.
Soft Gamine vs Theatrical Romantic: SG looks like a teenage girl, a TR looks like a woman
The only feeling I have about this, dare I say, stupid and offensive, idea, is 🤦🤦🤦
Soft Gamine vs Theatrical Romantic is a common question and I think it deserves a post of its own, but just to keep it short: these image identities are different in their Yin-Yang balance, NOT in how youthful they look or any other subjective ways. Soft Gamines are grown women same as Theatrical Romantics and this stereotype about Soft Gamines being ‘cute and girly’ just needs to stop. Check out my post about Eartha Kitt – verified SG, and you’ll see for yourself that this misconception is simply nonsensical.
Dramatics can’t have a pronounced waist – their shape is more straight
Having a pronounced waist doesn’t exclude Dramatic from the list of possible image identities. The question is more about curves or their absense – not waist. You can Google images of any of the verified Kibbe Dramatics, such as Alexis Smith, Faye Dunaway, or Greta Garbo and you’ll notice that all of them have a pronouced waist. The real focus here should be on curves and whether they define the body features. Having a pronounced waist doesn’t automatically means being curvy.
For Soft Gamines, a fail-safe strategy is to wear preppy style
This kind of style:
I’ve found these examples by searching ‘Soft Gamine outfit examples’ and checking the self-proclaimed Kibbe experts’ suggestions, by the way. I don’t even think most of these outfits comply with the book! They are too symmetrical and have too harsh geometric elements, which isn’t the best choice for Soft Gamines, some of the outfits are too stiff or too wide and unconstructed. In the book Metamorphosis (1987), David Kibbe says:
Line and silhouette: Broken, curved lines. Sharply tapered outline. Small, bouffant lines with crisp edges. Small, draped lines with tapered edges.
Avoid: Geometric silhouettes. Wide, unconstructed silhouettes. Soft and flowing silhouettes. Symmeteical silhouettes. All elongated lines. All strong horizontal lines. All smooth lines. Severe, straight lines.
For instance, the white jacket in the bottom row has sharp geometric style – exactly what isn’t suggested for Soft Gamines in the book. As a SG myself, I know that this kind of super symmetrical outfits makes me look boxy, disproportionally wide, hits my curves in all the wrong places, and doesn’t honor my petiteness and curvy shape at all. Specific items of clothing don’t have image identities – it’s the way the whole look is built that matters. On top of all, specific styles don’t ‘belong’ to specific image identities.
Flamboyant Gamines are ‘miniature Dramatics’
I have a very good idea where this idea came from, but it doesn’t matter now – the damage is done. The thing is, image identities are stand-alone units – they can’t be compared and they don’t overlap. I can understand when FG and SG are compared – they belong to the same family of Gamines and have a lot in common, but FG and D are two image identities that are simply too different. In terms of Yin and Yang balance, Dramatics are very Yang-dominant, while FG have a combination of opposites Yin and Yang with a slight domination of Yang.
Flamboyant Gamines have to have saucer eyes like Audrey Hepburn or Twiggy
This is also often said referring to Soft Gamines, but mostly I’ve seen it said about FG. Firstly, everyone’s Yin and Yang balance is unique and having or not having one specific feature doesn’t ‘decide’ the image identity. Secondly, facial features, even though they’ve been included in the test in Metamorphosis book back in 1987, aren’t the features to focus on when searching one’s image identity – it’s the body features that impact the choice of outfits. Besides, take a look at verified FGs like Tina Turner or Shari Belafonte – their eyes aren’t large at all. Yin in FGs doesn’t necessarily come from large eyes. Everyone’s Yin-Yang combination is unique and we’re looking for specific Yin-Yang balance – not specific features.
Classics are ladylike, polished, genteel, proper, gracious, etc.
It’s often said referring to both style and personality 😲 To keep it short, style and personality doesn’t connect in any way with Kibbe image identity. A person can be all these things and dress that way or belong to a Classic image identity and associate with 100% different features. If you feel you could be a Soft Classic or Dramatic Classic, but then these stereotypical characteristics make you feel like you ‘don’t fit’ these image identities, remember that these stereotypes are irrelevant. In the book, Kibbe refers to physical essence – the combination of Yin and Yang, which means body features – not personality. The vivid descriptions that David Kibbe used in the book were, in my opinion, a poetic way to explain how Yin and Yang combine for each image identity – not refer to specific personality types. This isn’t Suzanne Caygill saying in her book Color: The Essence Of You (1980) that personality directly depends on the coloring.
Hopefully this post gave you more info on Kibbe system and different image identities.
More on Kibbe system:
See you in my next post,
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