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Page 2 in the conversation "Has anyone read David Kibbe's Metamorphosis?" by Caro in Oz
Jules I know what you mean - personality is important to me too, if I turn out to be a classic I'm still not wearing skirts Love your "bastardized Kibbe light".
Gaylene That's very interesting, lots of us seem to be drawn to a style/type that doesn't seem to work on our bodies. I wonder why? I know I don't want to wear clothes that fight with my body but equally I don't want to wear clothes that fight with my personality - can't wait to read the book now.Glad you could verbalise what I was groping towards for Suz that's it exactly!
bettycrocker - I agree it would be great to see some modern examples of Kibbe. I would imagine they would be nothing like the book. Christine Scaman does some great explorations of Kibbe types on her website 12 blueprints.
gryffin I came up with "organic creative" for my style statement. It has been very useful for me. Particularly the part about keeping the creative in check especially with my clothes Joking aside, it fits extremely well with my life & aspirations not just my clothing choices. Ease is one of my mantra words too.I think you will love 10 Steps to Fashion Freedom - its basic tenets are quality & workmanship.
I have read it. I am nuts for a vintage fashion book - I feel like if I can discern the principle through the dated photos I have really got something. Plus I love looking at old pictures. So, I did enjoy it. That said I have found it very difficult to type myself, usually landing around theatrical romantic but never quite sure. Maybe I will dig it out and try again. That said, the Triumph of Individual Style is my absolute favorite along these lines.
Good point shevia. If you can see the timeless construct in an 80s outfit then you can really say you've got the idea I have a few vintage fashion books from the 1930s I love looking through them.
I have a question ladies. Is it possible to change categories as we age and our bodies change? For instance, I used to be very thin, although large boned and the Gamine style fit me well. I was always more comfortable in short hair and androgynous clothing. Now that I am older, have gained wright and have more curves, this style of dressing no longer suits me. I also am loving my hair long which I never though would happen. I suppose this could also work the other way when losing weight. I have not read the books but, like others, have gained some understanding on the theory through discussions. Is Kibbe fluid and does he speak of these changes?
Obviously I can't answer deb as I haven't read the book. Interesting question hope someone can help
That's an interesting question. I have a different body shape now than I did when I was younger. I used to be more of an IT, I think, but after children my hips spread and those bias cut skirts I loved to wear didn't look good any more. I also have a slight tummy to deal with, and I'm 20 lbs. heavier. My body has morphed into a neat hourglass shape--not overly curvy, though, so definitely not a full hourglass who would have to emphasize the waist. So no, I don't and can't dress in exactly the same way, but it's not too much different. We're talking 4 more inches in the hips and 4 more inches in the waist. Keep in mind I used to be on the lowest end of my ideal weight; now I'm in the middle.
Deb, while I haven't read the book, I know he does refer to types as looking this way or that as they gain (or lose) weight -- so it's as if he sees it as a lifelong constant.
It makes me wonder about weight set points and type. I know that I never, ever, ever felt like "myself" with longer hair or at my higher weight. It wasn't just that I wasn't used to looking like that. It's that it didn't feel "natural" somehow. Obviously I don't have to remain exactly X pounds to feel okay -- there is a range. But too much higher (or presumably, lower) and I don't feel like me.
Wish I could sit down with you gals for an afternoon with some good food and beverage -- and get to "typing" each other. I see a very messy table with books and collages; and then more books and collages on the floor... and most importantly, lots of laughter. I know I want to do this but the time it will require is a bit daunting right now and I know I would carve out an afternoon if it was more of an event with style comrades. Now I have to schedule this time all by my lonesome.
I love/hate Kibbe. I am very interested in his types but am driven to frustration with myself. I often see people in the grocery store and can pinpoint some right away... TR is easy to see, some dramatics, some FN's... I find it difficult to accurately see myself though - although I believe I am high Yang- so somewhere is D, FN or SD ... I like Gaylene and Betty Crocker I see a Yang face but a fairly Yin hourglass shape... so again a body at odds with a face. I have taken some of these Yang elements and they work for me. A long solid line, not cut off at the waist, large jewellery to match large facial features, Points on jewellery, points on clothing, asymmetry. I can wear big patterns.. I need contrast, big contrast in clothing, usually geometrics and not florals.I understand why frill and ruffles do not suit me. Why pearls would never work. Why crew necks are awful,... Some things I have been doing for years.. and it reinforces it.. others are new.. and they are also reinforced. I think most of us are mixtures - I have a Classic Mouth, Dramatic Nose, Natural Eyes, Natural Hair, Dramatic Bones... so what trumps what ? What is the whole ? And no, weight is not a factor... when you are a dramatic... you are dramatic.. the age and weight do not factor in. I see Gamine and something Dramatic in Suz... not sure if that Dramatic takes it into that animated category but there is something there. You can see how asymmetry suits her... the collars etc... but there is something refined as well...
Thanks, Sheila. I agree, as you know -- I think that's why originally I had classed myself as Dramatic Classic. But on reflection, I think I'm probably some kind of gamine. And since Kibbe got rid of the regular Gamine, there's only Soft Gamine and Flamboyant Gamine. I'm definitely not "soft." That is E. to a tee, at least in her clothing...I think her face actually has a lot of yang and she might dress a bit differently as she grows older.
That puts me in "flamboyant" which is definitely higher yang and more dramatic. I just need to take flamboyant to mean: "(of a person or their behavior) tending to attract attention because of their exuberance, confidence, and stylishness," and not so much as "zany," or "wild." Because zany and wild conflict with my relatively muted colouring and contrast levels.
Sheila, I hope you don't mind my saying so, but from your profile pic (and if I saw you in a grocery store!) I would say you are definitely a Dramatic. That beautiful bone structure does trump other elements. Of course, I am in no way an expert, but that's my impression (as the diehard Kibbe-ite I seem to have become!).
Thanks Suz for those web links earlier in this thread. I am a classic with just a bit (tiny bit) of dramatic based on those tests. Feels right but interested in more insight from the books caro listed. As someone called this ... maybe Kibbie light.
Thank you again caro for great post!
Suz, I haven't really investigated the types I definitely am not (Gamine, Classic), so it's hard for me to distinguish between their variants. You wear many kinds of clothes so well that Kibbe categories may just be superfluous on your style journey. And he does use words oddly. (As with "flamboyant," "soft" in his world is not necessarily soft as we know it!) You always look pretty in your photos, though -- maybe that is the key to defining your type in Kibbe world?
Oh, thank you AM -- glad that was helpful!
And thank you, gauche!
You're right -- he uses words in his own highly specific way and that is what makes them difficult to parse at times.
I've actually found Kibbe (what I understand of it) quite helpful. I'm just not sure I do understand all that well. What I really, really like and admire is first, what Caro says -- that he genuinely celebrates different kinds of beauty and does not ever seem to suggest that women should aim to "disguise" their features in any way; and second, his attention to elements such as line, and overall "energy." As someone who has a lot of yang in my makeup, this is really helpful. It helped me understand why I feel like such a poseur in most ruffles, for example. And why I like diagonals and angles so much and tend not to like soft florals on me (even though I like to look at those patterns, e.g. Monet.)
I discovered Kibbe's book soon after it was published--in the public library--and found it extremely interesting and helpful (though I thought the photos were less convincing than the text.) Some of his advice to Gamines has stayed in my head all these years, and still helps me steer clear of inappropriate trends: smaller geometric prints are the only ones that really work for me; blocky heeled shoes & boots are better than strappy spikes; narrow lapels & collars are best; volume in clothing and hairstyle has to be controlled; piping and other trims work magic. I do think that the book feels dated now, (how could it not?) and wish that he had thought a bit more about how changes in weight and fitness influence the various body types. At 64, thicker in the middle and a bit fleshier everywhere, I often wish he had come up with a few revised hints for aging Gamines. Maybe the hint is simply "Lose those extra pounds." Not as easy as it was once!
P.S. to Suz: I know what you mean about the Flamboyant Gamine category. It always felt a little too wild & crazy for (also Summer) me. I ended up borrowing from both the true Gamine & and the Flamboyant version for my own slightly-more-yang-Gamine look.
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