That Kibbe thing
Yes, sorry girls, but it’s bogus.
I liked this Vox article about it. The Kibbe body type system is one of not-so-well-known things that some people will really swear by and trap those looking for, as Terry mentions in his article, concrete answers to subjective phenomena.
I think there’s no denying that our bodies are unique and that certain clothes will fit them better to our liking than others, but typologizing it is not only completely unnecessary, but reductive and potentially harmful. Sounds familiar? Honestly, I think even taking broad descriptions like “narrow hips” or “rounded face” are prone to lead us astray when making fashion decisions, but placing your unique body on a spectrum of 10 to 13 types? Why not just be free, instead?
And I mean it—there is nobody else who has your body. It’s uniquely yours! Why not just experiment with cheap fashion and see what makes you feel happy? Not to say that it doesn’t help to know if you appear taller than you really are or if certain clothing would complement your curves better than other clothing, but this is all so subjective to begin with. I found one website explaining the Kibbe types and their features using pictures, and I was constantly thinking to myself: You could easily switch a lot of these around and you’d hardly even realize!
Right... because I think the types are kind of incoherent to begin with. Like, sure, they’ll make sense at first glance, but the more you think about, the more you’ll notice how many “extraneous” components there are that can’t really be categorized. And if you think too hard about it, it’ll drive you crazy. Which isn’t worth the trouble when you remember that all this is just some guide made by some guy a few decades ago. There’s nothing absolute about any of this! And of course it isn’t!
Can you get some value out of the system? I guess, but it’s the same deal as Myers-Briggs or astrology. You’re not really discovering anything particularly enlightening; you’re just narrowing down your field of vision to see your ambiguous features in a defined mold. I think it may be of help if you’re starting off, but is this really something you’d like to swear by in the long term?
I almost think it’s more worth looking at the system from a distance—don’t directly engage with it, but analyze what kind of thinking went into making a system like that in the first place. Think about historical beauty standards, fashion trends, ways the body used to be or is now seen, how social desirability pairs with that... the futility of actually using a system like the Kibbe system should hopefully become clearer as you broaden this picture. Don’t constrain yourself—learn, experiment, and expand your horizons!