Find your true body type and transform the way you dress!

Find your true body type and transform the way you dress! Forget apple or pear – millions of women are suddenly obsessed by a unique formula

  • From Generation Z on TikTok to their mothers on Facebook, it seems everyone is intent on finding out their Kibbe ‘image identity’ 
  • It is a series of clearly defined types that go far beyond the apple, pear and hourglass shapes we’re more familiar with 
  • Femail has put together a guide to help you work out your image identity 

So is your essence yin or yang? Are you a soft dramatic or theatrical romantic? And do you have a strong vertical line? If this sounds like gibberish, that’s because you’re not yet familiar with the Kibbe body shape system that’s taking over the internet. 

From Generation Z on TikTok to their mothers on Facebook, it seems everyone is intent on finding out their Kibbe ‘image identity’ — a series of clearly defined types that go far beyond the apple, pear and hourglass shapes with which we’re more familiar. 

The trend is all thanks to a very modern reinvention of an idea dating back 40 years. New York stylist David Kibbe first came to the fore in the late 1980s when he wrote his book, David Kibbe’s Metamorphosis: Discover Your Image Identity And Dazzle As Only You Can. The 1987 style bible categorised women into ‘image identities’ which grouped into five broader categories: dramatic, classic, natural, gamine and romantic. 

From Generation Z on TikTok to their mothers on Facebook, it seems everyone is intent on finding out their Kibbe ‘image identity’. Celine Dion (pictured) has a dramatic figure 

Which group you fall into is decided by all sorts of factors, from the amount of ‘yin’ (feminine) versus ‘yang’ (masculine) energy you possess — in other words, how rounded and small, or angular and large, various elements of your body are — to how tall you look (your ‘vertical line’). 

Kibbe’s intention is not to dress to ‘flatter’ or disguise certain body parts, but to complement what he calls the overall ‘essence’ of your look. 

The method offers a refreshing rethink to other ‘body-typing’ systems, which often seek to disguise ‘flaws’. Perhaps this explains his current popularity — Kibbe’s outlook much better suits today’s body-positive climate. 

Here’s a guide that will not only help you work out your image identity, but show you how to use it to look your best . . . 

DRAMATIC 

CELEBRITY EXAMPLES: Celine Dion, Taylor Swift and Tilda Swinton. 

THIS IS YOUR TYPE IF YOU… Are tall — probably over 5ft 8in — with angles to your physique, generally narrow and lithe shoulders and limbs, and long, slender hands and feet. You have the facial bone structure to match: prominent cheekbones and an angular nose, straight lips and a defined jaw. 

HOW TO DRESS: Look for well-tailored clothing with plenty of structure. Solid colours and crisp cuts will enhance your strong shape. Don’t try to blur your lines with oversized clothing, draped fabrics, frilly textures or fussy, busy prints as this will make you look messy rather than sleek. Monochrome, stripes and minimalism are your friends. Think cigarette pants and sharp blazers, simple straight-cut tees and polo-necks.

SOFT DRAMATIC 

Rachel Weisz has a soft dramatic body type. This figure tends to have a sharp facial bone structure, with high cheek bones and sharp nose and jaw, but sensual features such as large eyes and full lips

CELEBRITY EXAMPLES: Christina Hendricks, Sophia Loren and Rachel Weisz. 

THIS IS YOUR TYPE IF YOU… Are tall — likely over 5ft 8in — with a large and angular bone structure but fleshy bust and hips. Your limbs are long and your hands and feet slightly above average. You tend to have a sharp facial bone structure, with high cheek bones and sharp nose and jaw, but sensual features such as large eyes and full lips. 

HOW TO DRESS: Avoid overly sharp silhouettes: your outline should be sweeping rather than cutting, and make use of draped, lightweight fabrics which work with your curves. Keep the look fluid and colours bold.

FLAMBOYANT NATURAL 

Cameron Diaz (pictured) is flamboyant natural. This is a tall body type with a broad, lean. slightly muscled physique 

CELEBRITY EXAMPLES: Cameron Diaz and Princess Diana. 

THIS IS YOUR TYPE IF YOU… Are tall — never below 5ft 5in and likely over 5ft 8in, with a broad, lean, slightly muscled physique. Your angles are strong but not sharp — and your limbs and torso tend toward the muscular. You have an open face with a strong nose and chin. You would not be described as curvy or petite. 

HOW TO DRESS: Think of straight but unconstructed outlines. Wideleg trousers and chunky textured jumpers are your friend. Large lapels or collarless shirts, doublebreasted jackets, shirt dresses, cable knits, A-line skirts and oversize blouses all suit you. Mix textured and natural fabrics as these suit your yang elements. Avoid anything ‘girly’: it will overpower what yin you have. 

SOFT NATURAL 

Soft Natural body types include Jennifer Lawrence (pictured). These are people of moderate height with an angular bone structure, but a soft figure and small waist

CELEBRITY EXAMPLES: Scarlett Johannson, Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Lawrence. 

THIS IS YOUR TYPE IF YOU… Are of moderate height, no taller than 5ft 7in. You have an angular bone structure, but a soft figure with a small waist and very slight hourglass shape, with a little softness about the upper arms and thighs. Your shoulders are broad, limbs moderate or slightly short in proportion to your torso, and you have full, sensual facial features. 

HOW TO DRESS: Choose the light, flowing silhouette of the Natural, but add definition with something that highlights the waist. 

Tactile fabrics will complement the softness of your body, and you can add detail with shirred waists. Avoid anything shapeless, or at the other extreme, too ‘cinched’. 

DRAMATIC CLASSIC

Courteney Cox (pictured) has a dramatic classic body type, which means your bust, waist and hips are in proportion, with average to long legs and arms 

CELEBRITY EXAMPLES: Jill Biden, Courteney Cox and Jackie Onassis. 

THIS IS YOUR TYPE IF YOU… Are of moderate height, up to 5ft 7in. Your bust, waist and hips are in proportion, with average to long legs and arms. You have sharp facial contours with medium to big eyes and medium lips. 

HOW TO DRESS: ‘Classic’ is the key. Try to keep a V shape to your outfits — strong on top and tapering at the bottom. Blazers and shift dresses or pencil skirts (not too tight!) are ideal. Sharp lapels, asymmetric necklines and pleats will elevate your yang. Avoid draping, gathering or any frilly effect.

SOFT CLASSIC 

Kirsten Dunst (pictured) has a soft classic body type, which means you have soft arms, thighs and waistline, all equally proportioned 

CELEBRITY EXAMPLES: Marion Cotillard, Meryl Streep and Kirsten Dunst. 

THIS IS YOUR TYPE IF YOU… Are up to around 5ft 6in. You have soft arms, thighs and waistline, all equally proportioned, with a defined waist. Your arms and legs may be moderately short in relation to your height. You have a symmetrical, slightly rounded bone structure with soft cheeks and full lips. 

HOW TO DRESS: Understated sophistication is the aim, with flowing skirts a good look (Kibbe describes you as an ‘enchantress’ — channel this vibe). Your frame suits short jackets, flared dresses and pussy-bow blouses. 

FLAMBOYANT GAMINE 

Penelope Cruz (pictured) has a flamboyant gamine body type, which is used to describe petite people who have a leggy look

CELEBRITY EXAMPLES: Audrey Hepburn and Penelope Cruz. 

THIS IS YOUR TYPE IF YOU… Are petite, under 5ft 5in. You may have a coltish, leggy look, with a lean physique and flat hips. Your face is sharp-featured with large eyes and full lips. 

HOW TO DRESS: Look to create a boxy silhouette, with angular details such as piping and sharp collars to go with your angularity. Avoid matchy-matchy looks and invest in contrasting separates, especially shorts, to show off your long legs. Colour is your friend; anything too flowing will swamp you. Ankle-grazer jeans, skinny trousers, mini skirts and boxy cropped jackets are ideal for you. 

SOFT GAMINE 

Reese Witherspoon (pictured) has a soft gamine body type, which is used to describe petite people who are curvy with a defined waist 

CELEBRITY EXAMPLES: Thandiwe Newton, Halle Berry and Reese Witherspoon. 

THIS IS YOUR TYPE IF YOU… Are petite, under 5ft 5in, but curvy. You have a defined waist and soft arms and legs, with delicate bone structure. Facial features often have a doll-like quality, with round eyes and full lips. 

HOW TO DRESS: Keep to a feminine silhouette. Sharp shoulders and sleeves work well, prints and fabric with movement suit you, as they’re feminine but not too much. A bit of lace will set you apart from the Flamboyant Gamine. 

THEATRICAL ROMANTIC 

Salma Hayek (pictured) has a theatrical romantic body type. This is used to describe someone with a voluptuous but trim physique 

CELEBRITY EXAMPLES: Selena Gomez, Rihanna, Salma Hayek. 

THIS IS YOUR TYPE IF YOU… Are under 5ft 5in, with a voluptuous but trim physique. You will have a wasplike, well-defined waist (Kibbe describes your style as femme fatale), with softness to your arms and legs and small hands and feet. Your bone structure is delicate with a slight sharpness to your cheekbones and nose, and your eyes and lips are lush. 

HOW TO DRESS: Choose anything that emphasises your curves. But don’t go too soft with fabric and cut — make sure the waist definition is sharp and try to accentuate any sharpness in your shoulders. Gathered skirts, peplum hems, off-the-shoulder tops and sweetheart necklines are all perfect. 

ROMANTIC

Beyonce (pictured) has a romantic body type. She has an hourglass figure and voluptuous curves but small waist 

CELEBRITY EXAMPLES: Beyonce and Marilyn Monroe. 

THIS IS YOUR TYPE IF YOU… Are under 5ft 5in, with an hourglass figure and voluptuous curves but small waist. You have small hands, feet and short limbs and a full face with large eyes and lips. 

HOW TO DRESS: Avoid severe or boxy silhouettes and always define your waist — with a belt, cinching, draping or gathering. 

Tulip skirts, fluffy knits, flounced dresses, bodices and trousers with a gathered waist will all make the best of your body shape. 

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