Soft Gamine vs Theatrical Romantic in Kibbe System w/Examples

Soft Gamine vs Theatrical Romantic. What are the differences between Soft Gamine and Theatrical Romantic? SG vs TR in Kibbe system. How to tell between Soft Gamine and Theatrical Romantic in Kibbe system?

Because ‘Soft Gamines look more like teenage girls and Theatrical Romantics are more womanly’ is absurd, offensive, and ignorant – most importantly, simply not true. Let’s get into the real deal here. In this post you won’t find guessing and counting celebrity answers to the test – human body isn’t a piece of furniture to be dissected like this, piece by piece, analyzing every small feature and measuring it as if it was a geometry assignment, thinking ‘so is it A or C?’ Instead, I suggest looking at the overall shapes – Ying and Yang and how they combine for SG and TR ‘formulas’. In this post I’m using only Kibbe verified SG and TR examples.

Before I begin, let me say 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 and/or offer typings (determining image identities), 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 a 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 is mentioned above) and always make sure that whatever I post goes in line with how David Kibbe himself presents his system. David Kibbe Official Website.

How are Soft Gamine and Theatrical Romantic similar?

  • both compact, petite, delicate
  • both have short vertical line
  • both have Yin as a dominating feature, but in different ‘amounts’
  • both can have hourglass shape
  • the recommendations about outfits are similar in many ways, e.g. tapered pants that showcase the ankle, soft fabrics, defined waist, feminine shoes with tapered toe and heel, and both are recommended to avoid unconstructed, wide silhouettes.

Now let’s take a look at differences. I find it curious that it’s never addressed anywhere (especially by those self-proclaimed fake ‘experts’ who claim to understand Kibbe system and offer paid typings via the Internet) that the 1987 book Metamorphosis contains a whole section dedicated to this question – how to tell different image identities apart, and it specifically includes SG vs TR. Here’s what David Kibbe says:

Soft Gamine. Body has more pronounced curves. Hands and feet are fleshier. Bone structure is slightly wider. Eyes are big and round, lips are very full and cheeks are ‘apple-shaped.’
Theatrical Romantic. Body has smaller, narrower curves. Hands and feet are narrower, more ‘birdlike.’ Bone structure is narrower. Eyes are round but slanted at the edge. Lips are round but less full. Cheekbones are more pronounced.

Metamorphosis (1987) by David Kibbe, p.48

Relying on this information we already can draw certain conclusions about how SG and TR differ: SG has additional width and more pronounced curves, while TR has trim curves, and is more narrow and delicate.

Yin and Yang

To understand how SG and TR differ, we need to take a look at the ‘amounts’ of Yin and Yang in these image identities. SG is 50:50 Yin and Yang, but with an extra Yin. TR is almost all Yin, but with a tiny bit of Yang. Simply from this fact we can conclude that Yang in SG is always noticeable because it’s an underlying defining feature, while in TR it’s more like a ‘cherry on top’ – it’s in the delicate sharpness, yet the shape is still very short and very narrow.
How do you see Yang in a SG? Yang in Kibbe system signifies angularity, elongation, and width. In a SG, there has to be some angularity – it can be angular shoulders. A SG can also have a little bit of elongation somewhere (for instance, a bit elongated limbs), and width compared to a TR. They won’t be wide like in tall image IDs (e.g. FN), but still noticeably angular in a delicate way. Compared to a TR, a SG bone structure will be a bit ‘stronger’ and not so delicate, yet rather narrow compared to such image identities as SN or R. Here’s a collage with all verified Kibbe Soft Gamines – feel free to show it to anyone who is still under the wrong impression that Soft Gamines are ‘girly looking’ 😊 – click on the image to enlarge it in a new tab:

How do you see Yang in a TR? TR image identity implies rounded yet delicate features. The Yang in a TR comes from slight sharpness, which is only a small amount compared to the amount of Yin in this image identity. The concept of sharpness in Kibbe system might be one of the most difficult to explain, but essentially it’s bones that are visibly prominent. In a TR, they are delicate (meaning short), yet they are still prominent in a way. Examples: bony shoulders (e.g. Morgan Fairchild), narrow and a tiny bit pointy nose (e.g. Vivien Leigh), a small triangular chin (e.g. Joan Collins).

Similar: Why Rihanna ISN’T a Theatrical Romantic 

Essential: remember that these features are still very delicate! These aren’t very prominent features that are signature for that person (e.g. Barbra Straisand’s nose shape, Olivia Wilde’s jawline). Why? This is because prominent features are larger features that typically belong to other image identities, but don’t ‘fit’ in the overall delicateness of a TR. Same goes for narrow eyes and very thin, straight lips with no volume to them (e.g. Tilda Swinton) – such features would be too Yang (sharp) for an extremely Yin-dominant image ID like TR. Here’s a collage with all verified Kibbe Theatrical Romantics – click on the image to enlarge it in a new tab:

Courtesy of Google Images

Soft Gamine vs Theatrical Romantic Detailed Examples

I’ll be comparing verified SG and TR examples from the book – Victoria Principal and Morgan Brittany. These actresses starred in the show Dallas in the 1970s-1980s, and you’ll best be able to see their different image identity features in videos where they are alongside one another, but I wasn’t able to find a video available for free online, so I’ll include screenshots for you here (this is episode 143).

!!! Note that Victoria Principal is 168cm tall and Morgan Brittany is 163cm tall – in the screenshots Morgan Brittany is wearing huge heels – hence the height difference!!!

What’s the difference? Take a look at the shoulders of these ladies – Morgan has very narrow shoulders, her arms are narrow and hands are very small. Take a look even at the width of her elbows and wrists – everything about her says ‘delicate’, including facial features. Her shape isn’t lushly curved – she’s narrow and trim.

Victoria Principal, on the other hand, has noticeably angular shoulders and more lush curves. Probably ‘curves’ is the first thing that comes to mind looking at her, then you notice her elongated limbs and slightly angular shoulders.

Note that a SG won’t necessarily have elongation – their Yang usually comes from a delicately angular frame. The shoulders are usually square or tapered. A TR will have narrow, very delicate shoulders. A SG is ‘slightly broad and angular’ and TR is ‘trim and smallish’ (Kibbe, D. Metamorphosis, pp. 37, 46).

Here they are together:

Victoria Principal and Morgan Brittany during “Crocodile Dundee II” Los Angeles Premiere at Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Victoria’s facial features are wider, while Morgan’s – smaller, rounder, but very delicate. By the way, on this picture you can see their real height difference.

Here’s Morgan next to another verified TR Morgan Fairchild:

Courtesy of Google Images

Narrow cheekbones (in the test would be answer D), small noses, rounded yet not so plump lips, narrow jawlines, large and slightly upturned eyes. I highly suggest you do a bit of Google image search of these three celebrities – you’ll be able to easily identify these features!

And a quick example of a TR (Morgan Fairchild on the left) next to a Romantic (Emma Samms) – the features of a TR are smaller, more delicate, not at all wide:

Morgan Fairchild, Emma Samms and date during Opening of Hard Rock Cafe – November 1, 1985 at Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

It’s interesting how in this pictuer the hairstyles of these ladies speak volumes. Emma Samms follows her natural roundness and has a rounded, soft hairstyle, that looks beautiful on her. A delicate TR with small rounded features Morgan Fairchild picks a crazy angular and spiky hair that looks more like a wig than her real hair because it goes against her features, against her Yin-dominated shape.

And here’s a photo of a SG Debbie Reynolds (on the right) and a TR Ann Margret (in black lace dress) – you can see how Debbie has a bit wider features (cheekbones, nose, shoulders), and yet both ladies are petite and delicate:

Courtesy of Google Images

What to Wear If You’re Not Sure?

As I’ve mentioned earlier, the suggestions for SG and TR are somewhat similar due to the similarities that these image identities share:

  • silhouette that is close to the body as opposed to unconstructed and wide – to honor the delicate bone structure
  • small details – to honor small features
  • soft fabrics and draping – to honor extra Yin (curves, softness, roundness)

However, SG has much more Yang, which in outfit translates to crisp details, high or closed necklines, small crisp rounded shapes, contrasting trim, tapered toe in shoes (for TR classic pointed toe pumps are too angular and harsh). David Kibbe says about Soft Gamines: ‘remember that you’re a Gamine first and foremost!’ meaning that the Yang element in outfits is essential for building wardrobe. For TR, the Yang element is, as David Kibbe says in the book, ‘expressed in strategic tapering and sharp shoulders’ – the outfits need to be Yin overall, but have certain sharpness as opposed to flowy, wide, and soft.


Everyone’s Yin and Yang balance has to be evaluated individually, but at the same time the rule of thumb here would be: If you see delicately broad angularity (esp. in shoulders), or maybe a little bit of elongation and/or lush, yet still compact curves, it’s not a TR. It would contradict the very definition of a TR: delicate, trim, smallish, and narrow. SG is also petite and their curves will be overall not wide (for instance, compared to Romantics), their bone structure is still delicate (for instance, comapared to SN).

Any SG will definitely have delicately broad angularity, and may have elongation and/or width somewhere. A SG won’t be tall – being tall means having Yang as a very dominant force, which makes a person Yang-dominant. The first thing you see in a SG won’t be the tallness – it’ll be their petiteness, compact stature, and curves with a little bit of extra angularity. Where can this angularity show? According to the book, in shoulders, cheekbones, and jawline. Hands and feet can be a bit square, but still small and delicate (Kibbe, D., Metamorphosis, p.47). A TR won’t have broad angularity – their shape is narrow and small.

Other posts you may find interesting:

Can Gamines Have Long Hair? w/Examples

Soft Natural vs Romantic in Kibbe System w/Examples

Waist Shape in Kibbe System. Waistline and Yin-Yang Balance

Misconceptions About Kibbe Image Identities (FG, SG, FN, D, TR, Classics, Gamines)

Why So Many Women Want To Be Theatrical Romantic (and Soft Dramatic) Image ID

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

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

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

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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!

17 thoughts on “Soft Gamine vs Theatrical Romantic in Kibbe System w/Examples”

  1. Thank you so much for this post, it was really informative and so useful for me! I was really struggling with my type and because of “online Kibbe experts” I got so many things wrong including SG and TR. I was one of those people who used to think that SGs are cute “teenage” like while TR is more “womanly and sexy” (stupid, I know!). Even though I didn’t fully figure out my type yet now I am even more sure of what I thought of before – TR is not really my ID. I know I am much more yang than TR and even though I am very short (155 cm) I do have some elongation in me and I can’t really deny it anymore (don’t know if my elongation is enough for much “yanger” IDs like Dramatic but still). Anyway, I wanted to say that posts with comparisons like this are really great so thank you again for your work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s absolutely delightful to know that you’ve found this post useful! I’ve been working for quite a while on this post because I didn’t want to settle for examples of celebrities that I assume belong to SG or TR image identities – then I’d always question them, rethink it a million times. And luckily finally found enough pictures of Kibbe verified examples to illustrate everything I wanted 😊 Indeed stupid – what about ‘Spitfire Chic’ and such verified SGs as Bette Davis, Susan Hayward, and Eartha Kitt says simply ‘cute teenage girl’ to some people is difficult to comprehend 🤯
      I hope I’ll be able to find an interesting topic for my next post about Kibbe system (if you have a topic suggestion, feel free to let me know!)
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment ❤️


      1. Thank you for answering! ❤️
        I’m glad you posted Kibbe verified pictures it really helps in understanding how he himself views those IDs and the more I look at them the more everything he says makes sense! ( I mean it always did I was just too stubborn to accept it). And yes, absolutely, I would never dare to call any of those beautiful women “teenage girls”, especially Bette Davis! I feel she wouldn’t let me do it either haha.
        I actually do have a topic suggestion (very broad, general one). I was wondering if you can one day dive deeper into other types comparisons? Something like a mini-series of comparing types that get mixed with each other the most like SG and TR in this post? I think it would be extremely helpful and interesting and could help many people interested in Kibbe in understanding better certain Images.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s actually exactly what I’ve been thinking about! For two reasons: the 1987 book is very hard to find and there’s a lot of misinformation about Kibbe system. I’ll certainly rely only on the book while making these posts. I like the classic Hollywood and 80’s a lot (always did, so maybe knowing the actresses and singers listed as Kibbe verified examples helped me understand his system quickly), so it’s truly a kind of posts I love writing! And overall I just enjoy sharing my findings.
        I can totally relate to that the more I look at examples and do research, the more sense everything that David Kibbe says makes sense to me! In my opinion, he’s a true artist and his method is intuitive, but there’s a quite clear key to understanding it that everyone can get. It’s not convoluted at all – it’s the bad interpretations that make it seem that way. I feel like the terms in Kibbe system has turned into a real obstacle for many people too (e.g. some people have an issue with the use of word ‘blunt’ or think that only Classics can wear classic styles), so I’m also planning on making a post where I’ll share my understanding of these terms – maybe it’ll help them see these terms in a different, much more positive, light.
        Finally, I have to say that I appreciate your feedback so much! Never hesitate to comment, because no comment is left unanswered here 😊
        Have an awesome day ahead ❤️


      3. Thank you for this, it was very helpful. All your other posts are great too. I thought I might be a soft gamine, but I don’t have “doll-like” facial features.
        I made the mistake of paying a certain person from YouTube to type me. She told me I was a flamboyant natural. My first thought was, “Are you on crack?!”
        Then I thought maybe she was right, maybe she sees me more objectively. I tried dressing in FN lines for a while. I looked like I was drowning in fabric, like an urchin, and my face looked plain. It made me feel tired too.
        Once again, I’m learning to always trust my own intuition.
        It was like she took one look at the width of my shoulders and ignored everything else. It doesn’t bother me that I wasted money. It’s the principle. How can someone act like an expert and be so bad at typing people?!
        I’m 5’2. I look small. I have wide shoulders, an hourglass shape, tho not extremely curvy. My arms and legs are fleshy and wide at the top and taper to very delicate wrists/ankles. I look like Velma Dinkley from the old Scooby Doo cartoons when I’m overweight.
        Anyway, I’m at a point where this is fun again instead of torturous. Thank you

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Love your comment! So many great points here!
        Quick note about ‘doll-like’ facial features – they literally have nothing to do with image identity. A SG can have large eyes and small lips, small eyes and full lips, or large eyes and lush lips – it doesn’t matter that much at all. For instance, I wouldn’t say that Reese Witherspoon has doll-like facial features, but she’s a SG. Same goes for Victoria Principal and Cyndi Lauper, for example. Nowadays, as far as I understand, David Kibbe doesn’t recommend focusing on facial features at all unless they are extremely prominent to an extent where they influence the Yin-Yang balance.
        Exactly! Trusting one’s intuition is so important. If you feel not yourself wearing something, then that’s not good at all.
        I find it so confusing that these ‘experts’ categorize clothing into image identities. Sure, certain cuts work better for long vertical line, or short vertical, or to honor the balanced Yin-Yang, or width, but still – categorizing clothing pieces like this actually limits the choice a lot when building looks. Besides, the right styling can make anything work.
        When I was reading your comment, I thought about how these ‘experts’ often bring Sarah Jessica Parker up as an unconventionally short woman for a FN, which is their excuse for discarding height (this indicates how little they understand about Yin and Yang). Yes, she’s short, but there’s nothing delicate about her – her build is almost athletic, she’s wide and her bones are broad. She doesn’t look small.
        And finally, it’s almost impossible to determine someone’s image ID by pictures only – the angles and poses are everything! That’s why I prefer watching videos/movies with verified celebrities – then the shapes are much more obvious.
        What really gets me about all these self-proclaimed ‘experts’ is that they ruin Kibbe for so many people by adding their own bad interpretations. That’s what it should be – fun! Not some kind of a tedious task to solve. I’m so glad that you’re enjoying this system once again.
        As always, thank you so much for reading and commenting ❤️ Have a marvellous day ahead!


  2. One of the reasons I thought the YouTube “expert” might be right is because I wear a lot of all black outfits. I have a pretty goth/rock n roll style. She said I have a “long vertical line” so it made sense that I look good in all one color.
    My hair is usually bright blue or bright pink. I dyed it black last week. Now my all black outfits don’t work. My hair was acting as a color block. Haha, I feel dumb.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Let me just say that your view of how your hair ties into your look is anything but dumb. Quite the contrary, actually! In fact, Kibbe system isn’t mainly about learning the image identity – it’s about learning your own features and then building holistic head-to-toe looks based on that information. Hair, same as makeup or accessories, is an important part of the overall look.
      Good thing you’ve pointed out the connection between vertical line and one color outfits. As far as I understand, a long vertical line can be honored in many ways – not just wearing one color. Even if you’re wearing a total black outfit, the line can be ‘broken’ with the way the pieces are cut, the details, and fit. If you Google “soft gamine Kibbe book” and go to images, the third result is the transformation pictures of a Soft Gamine lady. She’s wearing all red! The dress, the bag, the shoes – all in same color, and looks fabulous. the line there is broken by the contrast between her light pantyhose and the dress, besides the chunky gold necklace, earrings, and bangle complete the look. Sure, the book is old and the cuts have evolved tremendously, but even so it’s obvious how the short vertical line of this lady is being honored without even wearing different color top and bottom.


  3. Thank you for your post. I really love your blog and your posts are so informative.

    Since discovering Kibbe image IDs, I’ve always known that I was either Theatrical Romantic or Soft Gamine. I sent an email to another blogger who was starting up and she said that my face is clearly SG but my body is TR. She said that this happens sometimes and that people get too caught up in finding their ID. She said it’s better to focus on the clothing elements that match with my features. So, regardless of whether I am TR or SG, I should make sure to have a structured waist, tapering, and details.

    Do you agree?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there, I’ve just noticed that your comment in spam, so answering you now. I’ve actually pondered about this myself when I just discovered Kibbe (because the test told me I was a TR, but my eyes clearly saw SG, which I actually am). So, in general, I think that SG and TR can dress following similar ‘rules’, but the end result won’t be same. For instance, the waist of a TR can be defined in a softer way, while SG waist is recommended to be tapered (as I understand it, the clothing should fit close to the body from the underbust to the waist). Tapering – I’d say definitely, because SG and TR share petite bone structure, so ankles and wrists are usually pretty delicate – that’s one of the key features of these image identities. As for details – I wouldn’t say so, because for TR they can be pretty lush and soft, but for SG – more defined, crisp, which would look maybe a tad too harsh on TR’s.
      Overall, as I always say, I highly encourage you to take my thoughts with a grain of salt, like anyone’s when it comes to Kibbe. At the same time, this is how I understand it and maybe it’ll give you some useful ideas. Have a great day ahead!
      PS I’ll answer your other question in my response to the comment you’ve left on my other post


  4. I just stumbled upon this article and I think it finally cleared up the difference between these two for me- Thank You! I was sure I was a TR based on my test answers and my build, however my essence is not that demur (sadly) as I have more fun/sass in me so something didn’t sit well about it.. I also realized that some recently purchased printed, fitted, ankle pants with simple tops that hit around the belt line looked/felt as good as my (TR) wrap dresses and tunics with syncing at the waist, so it made me do more research on FG & SG. My hands and feet are also small but wide, and my lips are thin- this also helped seal the deal for me just now, plus I’ve also read that these two types can easily wear each other’s lines since they are the most similar from two different types…so now I’m convinced that I’m an SG who also rocks wrap dresses with pointed flats! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great job on making so much progress! I feel like since I haven’t gone into much detail in the post, I have to add a few things related to your comment directly – maybe it’ll give you even more useful info. I know that the Metamorphosis book kind of hinted on that even image identity has a specific essence, like SG being sassy and TR being dainty (it’s completely natural coming from the wording used, image ID names, descriptions, etc), but please don’t let it confuse you – any image ID can have any essence, and I know quite a few of very sassy TRs too! I think what Kibbe meant was the overall feel that the Yin-Yang combo conveyed, not the actual personality. The other thing is attributing specific styles and pieces of clothing to specific image identities – any image ID can wear pretty much anything, the question is how you style it into the overall head-to-toe look – will it fit your Yin-Yang balance or not, what’s the purpose of the outfit, etc. So any SG can wear any neckline – it’s very individual. The idea of ‘SG lines’ or ‘TR lines’ is very faulty to begin with because everyone’s body line (body line is the actual correct term David Kibbe uses and it means the shape that your body has) is different. Like, Audrey Hepburn and Liza Minnelli (both FG) different, so to each their own. As a SG myself, studying 30s fashion really helped me grasp the real silhouette that David Kibbe suggests for SGs (he loves 1930s fashion for SG!), so can’t not share it with you!
      Thank you for your comment and have a blessed day!


  5. I am still so confused! My shoulders are very TR, especially at lower weights and I resemble a Mila Kunis/ Jane Seymour/ Victoria Principal body at a lower weight and look much sharper and almost cat like.

    However, at higher weights, I look a lot softer and rounder and have a heavier bust and blockier waistline and look much more cutesy. At all weights, I avoid heavy body con like the plague since I feel self conscious about my stomach and styles with waist emphasis and color block suit me very much. However, shimmery shades rather than matte shades appear to flatter me the most. It’s so hard because both SG and TR are a mix of yin and Yang but just varying amounts. Any guidance for me?


    1. Hello, Anna! I legit have no idea how to help you because I see that you have a range of beliefs that truly go in the opposite direction from the legit Kibbe and this is simply not what I’m about here, and I’m not going to try to change your whole belief system by trying to convince you or anything. I’m saying about comparing yourself to celebrities, saying that shoulders can be a certain image identity (you say ‘shoulders are very TR”), saying cutesy (I am pretty sure you meant cutesy as something referring to SG), and finally the specifics of wearing certain types of clothes. I’ve discussed practically all these things in my blog already, so you can click on the tag “KIbbe image identities’ and read more if you want. You can also join the Facebook group where David Kibbe shares his own outlook of Metamorphosis. At the same time, I believe that you should just follow the system you find right for you, even if it’s not the real Kibbe. Good luck!


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