As a child of the BuzzFeed-era, it’s only natural that, as an adult, I’ve become an avid lover of personality quizzes.
Whether it’s my Hogwarts house, Enneagram type, MBTI, or what-ingredient-I’d-be-on-a-margherita-pizza, I take every quiz with total sincerity and utter delight.
And while I’m aware that quizzes put us in boxes that aren’t always correct, I’ve always found that every quiz teaches me just a bit more about myself—from how I react to my result to how I incorporate any new knowledge (or lack thereof) into my daily personal life.
When I stumbled upon the Kibbe test, a styling test that categorizes you into one of 13 style types based on your body type and physical characteristics, I couldn’t help myself. I immediately clicked “start.”
What Is The Kibbe Body Type Assessment?
Invented by 80s media and fashion icon, David Kibbe, the Kibbe Body assessment revolutionized fashion with its head-to-toe-makeover that emphasized attending to your body’s natural lines rather than conforming to a specific style or trend. And, recently, Kibbe has taken TikTok, Instagram, and other social media platforms by storm.
What makes the Kibbe body assessment unique is that, rather than viewing fashion as a one-size-fits-all approach, the Kibbe body assessment divides body shapes into five main Kibbe types that determine the assortment of fabrics, shapes, and structures that look best on your unique body type. The five types include dramatics, classics, naturals, gamines, and romantics and all five fall on a spectrum based on the dominance of yin (soft, curved, short) versus yang (angular, sharp, long, blunt).
A tape measure, mirror, and 16 questions later, I was given my own personal Kibbe type—theatrical romantic—known for its petite yet curvy body shape and ever-so-slightly angular features.
My Personal Kibbe Body Styling Takeaways
As a short and curvy petite, I used to feel like there was something wrong with my body, especially when the outfits that looked good on the 5’9” size 2 models didn’t look good on me. And, regardless of body type, I don’t think I’m alone in that feeling.
Before the body positivity movement, magazines, TV shows, and the media promoted the skinny tall model as the ideal standard of fashion—with every magazine, mannequin, and celebrity fitting that mold. The Kibbe test has taught me to pay less attention to the bodies that the media promotes (knowing that body standard is ever-changing and always unattainable) and pay more attention, instead, to my own body.
Of all the positive outcomes I gained from the Kibbe test, here are my three main takeaways:
1. Style > Trend
The first lesson I learned was to focus on building a personal style over following the latest trend. As a theatrical romantic, I learned that my body is best suited for a more vintage style with high-waist jeans and cropped tops. Rather than worrying about whether high-waist jeans are in or out, I know to keep them in my wardrobe to best flatter my figure.
2. Fabric Matters
When shopping in the past, I rarely looked at the tag to determine the fabric composition of my clothes. I would just grab whatever looked nice and new on the rack, only to have my clothes wear and tear quickly due to cheap fabric combinations.
Not only has the Kibbe test taught me how important fabric can be in terms of longevity, but also how fabric can affect the overall look of an outfit. As a theatrical romantic, the test encouraged me to seek soft, fluffy, and lighter-weight fabrics that drape for natural lines such as linen, crepe, boucle, faux suede, velvet, and jersey.
3. Your Body Is Your Friend, Not Your Foe
Most importantly, I learned to embrace my body—curves, short stature, and all.
The Kibbe test has given me the confidence to shop for clothes I know will look good on my body, rather than reaching for the newest trend because it’s ‘easy.’ I’ve broken into new prints, colors, and silhouettes that previously scared me, and feel more confident in my style and my body.
Should You Take the Kibbe Test?
As with all tests, the Kibbe is far from perfect and more pseudoscience than data-driven in its approach.
That said, as a person who always struggled with body acceptance and embracing my body, the Kibbe Body Type gave me two main gifts: confidence in my body and knowing that I’m not alone.
Realizing that my curvy-petite body is not only normal, but something to be celebrated drastically changed my relationships with my wardrobe and body image. With a bit of style knowledge and leaning into my theatrical romance, I’ve embraced ornate jewelry, puffed shoulders, and more form-fitting fabrics for a style that feels flattering to my body and my particular lines and shapes.
That said, there are aspects of the theatrical romance style that I’ll never truly incorporate: delicate pumps, angular hats, draped necklines, and deep v-necks. Rather than seeing the Kibbe test as my style Bible, I view it more as a launching off point for my own unique flair.
Whether you’re looking to rebrand your style or simply refine it, the Kibbe test can offer some helpful tips for how to dress yourself for your specific body and lines. Take the test here, and discover your Kibbe Body Type for yourself.
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Photo: Dana Drosdick