Hello and welcome ❤️ This post is my take on the hair length for Gamines in the Kibbe system. In the 1987 book Metamorphosis David Kibbe clearly states that long hair doesn’t work on Gamines. In this post I want to investigate why. Using verified examples I will also illustrate that Gamines shouldn’t just cut their hair short as soon as they find out their image identity and that the choice of hairstyle is as important as length.
Title image, L-R: Debbie Allen (FG), Audrey Hepburn (FG), Susan Hayward (SG), Brigitte Bardot (SG)
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.
Gamines, I mean Soft Gamine and Flamboyant Gamine, have two key things in common: combination of opposites Yin and Yang, and generally delicate features. Gamines are usually petite and not necessarily in terms of height (a few extra inches can provide enough Yang in their Yin-Yang balance, but they won’t be extremely tall anyway).
It’s pretty easy to find pictures of Flamboyant Gamines with long hair and harder to find pictures of Soft Gamines with long hair to demonstrate why it doesn’t ‘work’ on them. Most Soft Gamines from the verified examples are actresses from the 30s, 40s, and 50s – decades when women simply didn’t wear long hair (only girls and teenagers could wear longer hair, but adult women generally didn’t). Let’s take a look at Audrey Hepburn and Sally Fields with long hair (I know the red outlines look ridiculous and it felt weird to even draw them on these beautiful pictures, but it’s the only way I can show what I mean!):
The features of these women are delicate, i.e. small. Very long hair looks too ‘heavy’ against such features, it doesn’t play along with the overall delicateness of these image identities. Sure, Gamines can have certain angularity, but it’s not nearly enough to ‘support’ long strands. This is especially obvious on Audrey Hepburn – her face looks tiny against the sleek, extremely long mane. In case of Sally Fields, her hair looks just a little too long, even though the soft strands look good with her small rounded features.
I am aware that Audrey’s image can hardly be separated from the words ‘elegance’ and ‘style’ – she’s a style icon and we tend to simply accept her looks as super elegant and flattering automatically. However, let’s take a look at her less popular pictures – it’ll give us a better uderstanding of how she actually looked like, the woman behind the image, so to speak, click here. Pay special attention to the overall delicateness of her features, how she was caught up in the moment – not staged or posing.
Here’s a great example that shows her features and how great the short hair works with them:
Audrey’s delicateness is the answer to how she looked so great with baby bangs! Baby bangs were short, small ‘accessory’ on her face, working perfectly with the generally small features. Sharper bangs edges didn’t hurt either – they complimented the sharpness of her features. This is why so many women try baby bangs, but then hate them – because they probably don’t have that delicate bone structure (e.g. Emma Watson with baby bangs).
Here’s a Soft Gamine Susan Hayward receiving her Oscar (take a look at how short hair ‘lives’ in harmony with her small, rounded features):
And, of course, I’d highly recommend you to watch scenes with Bette Davis – the prime celebrity example of a Soft Gamine (I’m sure you’ll be able to understand the whole ‘why long hair doesn’t work thing’ very quickly):
Should You Cut Your Hair Short If You’re A Kibbe Gamine?
If you’ve found out that you’re a Gamine, then you probably ponder if you should just cut your hair (because David Kibbe clearly says that long hair won’t work on Gamines). If my friend would turn to me with this question, I’d say ‘wait until you’re absolutely sure’ and here’s why:
- you might be not a Gamine after all. There’s a lot of bull about Kibbe’s Metamorphosis online that might have scewed the way you understand this system. You might have learned from bad sources to begin with. The person who ‘typed’ you online is a self-proclaimed expert who’s got very little understanding of the system and doesn’t understand that image identity can’t be determined by pictures only – it’s gotta be in person. Long story short: after a while you might find out you belong to a completely different image identity, but the hair is already cut. There’s no need to rush – hair grows slowly!
Read more: 10 Myths about Kibbe that ruin it for you
- you can make longer hair work by simply wearing specific, not ‘long’ hairstyles. Audrey Hepburn wore a bun – a Yin hairstyle. Brigitte Bardot wore a soft ponytail and soft bangs. Besides, your specific Yin-Yang balance and the outfits you’ll create for yourself might work with hairstyles that are a bit shorter or longer.
I’ve got several practical ways to determine whether shorter hairstyles would suit you, but with only one condition: you gotta try them with the outfits – hair is the ‘frame’ of the whole head-to-toe look. Here they are:
- try clipping your hair into a shorter hairstyle – just search, for instance, ‘how to get bob cut without cutting your hair’ on YouTube
- try different styling methods – the book says ‘tousled’, so give it a go. Sometimes all you need is a bit of flair added to your hair
- get a wig. I’m not suggesting expensive wigs! You can get an inexpensive $10-12 wig on Amazon that’ll give you the general idea of how you’ll look with a shorter hairstyle. Yes, it’s a small investment, but better this than crying over a bad haircut (been there, done that)
- try Photoshop. Use a picture of yourself with hair up and away from the face, then photoshop the hairstyle you’re curious about onto the picture. Sure, it’s not accessible to everyone, but I mention it anyway
- online virtual makeover tools like the L’Oreal ‘Style My Hair’ one. By all means, such tools usually allow seeing a hairstyle on a person from shoulders up, but what if it gives you useful ideas? I just had to mention it!
- ask your hair stylist for suggestions. I know, almost every one had their share of incompetent hairdressers. At the same time, if you happen to know a good hair stylist, use the opportunity to learn from them – experience often helps develop true expertise. In the best case scenario, you’ll get a professional unbiased opinion, in the worst case scenario – you’ll just disregard what you’ve heard. I’d definitely suggest to take everything with a grain of salt, but what if you’ll get that ‘eureka!’ moment this way?
Overall, Gamines don’t necessarily have to wear short hairstyles. Hairstyle should be picked relying on many things, such as style, outfits, lifestyle, personal preference, hair texture, etc. I think the photos and videos in this post can give you a better idea why David Kibbe says that long hair doesn’t work on Gamines. I am a Soft Gamine myself and I’ve tried everything, from very long hair to a pixie cut and I can tell you one thing: it’s not bout what you can ‘pull off’ – you don’t have to try pulling off anything. Just working with your natural hair texture and fitting the hairstyle to the head-to-toe looks is the best idea.
See you my next post!
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