An Introduction to the Kibbe Body Type

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‍The Kibbe body types were invented by an image consultant David Kibbe who published the book “David Kibbe’s Metamorphosis: Discover Your Image Identity and Dazzle as Only You Can,” in 1987. In this book, Kibbe aims to help women understand how to emphasize their features, rather than minimize them and trying to fit them to a certain body shape and standards.

In the book “Metamorphosis” he introduced a style type theory known today as the Kibbe archetype system.

The Kibbe body types focuses mainly on the yin(feminine) and yang (masculine) energy which consist of 5 main types, each of which contains 2-3 sub type, resulting in the 13 body types.

The Kibbe Body Type System

Kibbe, in approach to beauty is holistic where he focuses on defining your unique essence, then translates it into all your aspects of appearance. He believes that the traditional theories to beauty are extremely limiting as they take each element of your appearance (clothing, hair and makeup)as a separate element where the focus is only on the concept of symmetry- (Creating an illusion of symmetrical features). This type of symmetrical approach leads to everyone looking basically the same as it has nothing to with who you really are.

In his theory Kibbe focuses more on balance in its purest form. And this is achieved by enhancing whatever nature has blessed you with.

He believes that all the separate elements should work together in harmony to complement each other and express your individual essence – your identity.

According to Kibbe, “ Your true special essence already exists.All you need to do is discover it, acknowledge it, enhance it, and allow it to be seen, and then simply sit back and experience the wonder that is you!

By utilizing your image identity as your personal theme, you are considering who you are before you get dressed, before you visit the hairdresser, before you make cosmetic choices.

In order to under your image identity, it is crucial to understand the concept of “Yin and Yang”.

The concept of Yin and Yang

In his book-Metamorphosis, Kibbe explains the concept of yin and yang as an “ancient oriental philosophy based on recognizing the polar opposites that exists within the natural balance of the universe”

In the Kibbe Body Type System, the concepts of Yin and Yang extend beyond the physical characteristics to encompass a unique understanding of energy and essence.

David Kibbe emphasizes that Yin and Yang in this context should not be misinterpreted as feminine and masculine traits, respectively. Instead, they are qualities of shape, texture, and detail, contributing to the overall energy and essence of an individual.

The Yin and Yang concept is all about balance – to finding your unique identity in your appearance.

Yin Energy-Feminine

Yin energy is associated with softness, roundness, and delicacy. In terms of physical features, the image would be a more petite and gentle appearance.

Yin energy in the Kibbe system is not confined to gender stereotypes but rather reflects qualities such as a softer facial structure, and rounded curves.

It is not about being exclusively feminine but embraces a softer, more receptive energy. Curved lines, graceful, flowing silhouettes, hourglass outlines, fitted waists, rounded shapes, swirls, curves and circles.

Yang Energy -Masculine

Yang energy embodies qualities of length, angularity, and sharpness. This energy is not inherently masculine but rather suggests a bolder and more assertive presence.

Yang characteristics include an elongated silhouette, pronounced angles, and a dynamic essence. It doesn’t signify masculinity but rather a more outward-focused and expressive energy.

Strong vertical lines, stiff smooth silhouettes, elongated outlines, sharp edges, geometric shapes, rectangles, triangles etc

The 5 Main Type Families

The Kibbe Body Type System is comprised of 13 distinct body types, categorized into five fundamental type families. These families, regarded as pure types, serve as the foundation for understanding the system.

The remaining eight body types are the mix of these pure base family. David kibbe himself has removed the “pure” from the list

This method focuses on the Yin and Yang of the body of the women ,taking into consideration the following :

  • Bone structure
  • Body Flesh
  • Facial Features(facial bones + facial flesh)

In the axis of Yin and Yang, we see the 5 main families with their sub types, each having a different yin and yang balance. However in the centre we see the classics with the perfect yin and yang balance. Recently David kibbe himself removed the pure from this spectrum as he mentioned there is no perfect yin and yang balance in a person and every one falls into a bit of either yin or yang .

The 5 Main type families and sub families are:

  • Dramatic
    • Soft Dramatic
  • Natural
    • Flamboyant Natural
    • Soft Natural
  • Classic
    • Dramatic Classic
    • Soft Classic
  • Gamine
    • Flamboyant Gamine
    • Soft Gamine
  • Romantic
    • Theatrical Romantic

This is an introductory post and hence only the 5 Kibbe Body Archetypes or Body types are mentioned here briefly. Please click here for the detailed post on The 13 Kibbe Body Types : Discover Your Unique Image Identity.

Now let us dive in to the general overview of the 5 main Kibbe body types.


The Dramatic body type is characterized by an elongated and angular silhouette with noticeable and defined bone structures, including prominent cheekbones and a chiseled jawline.

They tend to be moderate to tall with straight and angular bones with sharp edges. They are built narrow with long legs and arms. Their facial features are sharp with straight and sleek lines.They usually have almond eyes with thin straight lips and taut skin.


The Natural body type is moderate to slightly tall , characterized by slightly straight and angular bones with blunt edges.They are slightly squarish with broad shoulders.They have flat hips and slightly flat bustline. Their hands and feet are moderate to slightly large and squarish.They have moderate to small eyes ,slightly thin lips and taut cheeks.


The Classic body type is moderate in height characterized by symmetrical bone structure that are slightly angular and straight.They have tapered shoulders and moderatively sized hands and feet.They have evenly proportionate bust, waist and hips.Their facial features are symmetrical and evenly paced.


The Gamine body type is medium height and under, characterized by a compact and petite silhouette often with a shorter stature. Their bone structure is narrow, angular and sharp. They have square or tapered shoulders. They tend to have straight, flat bust and hips. Their facial features are large eyes, moderate to thin lips and taut cheeks.


The Romantic body type are moderate to petite and is characterized by a soft and curvaceous silhouette, often associated with hourglass figure.They have curvy bust line and hips with proportionate small waist. Their arms and legs are fleshy with delicate bones. They have rounded or sloped shoulders, small hands and feet. Their facial bones are small, delicate and slightly wide or lush (nose, cheekbones, jawline).

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