Before I came across the idea of the Kibbe body typing test, I was used to body shape descriptions such as the ‘hourglass’, ‘apple’ or ‘inverted triangle’ etc.
Though this was fine at first and it gave me a vague idea of my body, I felt that something was off, and I didn’t realize until later that it was in fact giving me the wrong advice. This was true often when wearing shift dresses or low-cut straight skirts, 2 styles which don’t suit me (but should suit rectangle body shapes.)
The Old System
The traditional body typing system classified me as a ‘rectangle’ shape, since my hips, waist and shoulders came under the ‘similar width’ bracket.
What it failed to realize, and what I failed to see too, was that width at face value is hard to pinpoint. It’s difficult to see your correct proportions and measurements in the mirror, so this system didn’t work well for specifics.
Also, during different times of day, my waist measurement would vary from normal activities like after eating a meal, so this wasn’t factored in.
Not long ago, I came across a lot of material referring to the Kibbe body typing system. I was intrigued, and looked into it since there’s a few details to investigate.
The first area focuses on your bone structure or proportions. It questions whether your features make you look your height, look taller or shorter than you are. The second part assesses the shapes and structure of your body’s shape, or the fleshy parts so to speak, and the last looks at shapes of your facial features.
All these things are judged on a scale from ‘Yin’ features to ‘Yang’ features. Yin describes the soft, curved and fluid elements, and Yang describes the sharp, strong and angular features.
When you come to understand how these features present themselves on you, and how to work with them, it will make more sense why certain clothing styles don’t seem to fit.
There are 13 categories in total, from Yang features to Yin, which are:
- Soft Dramatic
- Flamboyant Natural
- Soft Natural
- Dramatic Classic
- Soft Classic
- Flamboyant Gamine
- Soft Gamine
- Theatrical Romantic
The categories in bold are the 5 main types, and the remaining ones fall in-between the main ones, which have mixed features.
Preparing to Take the Test
Before you take the test, I would advise you to take a few photos of yourself.
The first needs to be of your whole body, with your hands by your side. Ideally this is from a distance, with the camera at the same level as the middle of your body. This will help to give the most objective view of your body shape and proportions. It also helps to wear something tight fitting so that your body shape is visible.
The second picture is of your face. I would take a photo of your face with no expression, and one with a smile. This will also help you see your facial features and proportions, particularly the shape of your head, eyes, nose, mouth and cheekbones.
The last picture is one of your face, and your hand held up next to your ears. This will be clear why when you come to do the test, but an idea of your head to hand proportions are necessary.
Now that you’re ready to take the test, I would suggest that you search Google for ‘Kibbe test’ and select the first option. This is the easiest and simplest way to do this at home.
Some tests may require you to add up numbers, and match the total to the relevant category, whereas others may get you to tally how many of each question, labeled A,B,C,D and E, you have picked the most. I don’t think any are better than the other, but it’s worth trying a few.
Figuring Out the Results
Most of the body types on each scale end are straight forward to identify, such as if you’re more Dramatic, Natural, Gamine or Romantic.
However, if you come across a few answers leaning toward the ‘classic’ body type, then this is what I’d do. This is the only bit of the test that is my interpretation, because a lot of people have found confusion in having a mixture of mostly ‘classic’ and another category’s features.
I would personally disregard the classic features, particularly if you have a lot of answers in the ‘Dramatic’ category for instance. I say this because the Pure Classic type is described as the absence of notable Yin and Yang features, and are defined by that absence, not by what it has.
This might seem a little confusing, but for myself, my results were a mix of Classic and Romantic answers, and since the Romantic features were more prominent, it made more sense to put myself in that category.
What I Discovered
Once I completed the test, I added up the points for all of my answers. The result I got was pretty much the same even on different tests, that I came under the Romantic type, with a few answers under the Classic category.
This means that the majority of my features, particularly my fleshy and facial features, are more rounded, with hardly any sharp or angular presence.
As I already mentioned, the few features regarded as ‘Classic’ have been disregarded, because it wasn’t clear what affect it could have on my body type. The Romantic qualities are more obvious, and catering to those parts will help me achieve some more harmony in the shapes and cuts of clothing that will flatter me most.
At some point, I aim to go over what this means for my sense of style, and how it will help me dress to suit my body more.The types of tests that exist are fascinating, to help you work around what you already have. For myself, I wouldn’t say that one test is the answer to all your problems, but this test has helped me understand myself a bit better.