The Internet has become a hotbed of tests of all kinds. From the ones that tell you your personality to the most bizarre ones that are able to guess how old you are depending on the room you design. Mixing test fever with something as creative and ever-changing as the world of fashion results in thousands of blogs and articles claiming to be able to recommend clothing styles for every body type.
Finding your own style that is also flattering a priori may seem like an easy task, but the overload of trends and the daily news from brands low cost makes it more complicated. Tests such as colorimetry, the shapes known as hourglass, pear, inverted triangle or the now most viral Kibbe test are based on the principles of design: proportion, balance, color, contrast, etc. to make an approximation of what potentially favors each person.
To do this, different standardized body types are created, which is known as body typing, labeling a body by its shape or type. Marian Rubio (@anatomy), an image consultant, says that it is a very useful tool in fashion, since it is the basis of all consultancies: “I always say that it’s not your body, it’s the clothes you wear. Knowing what your strengths are and the clothes that can enhance them changes the way you see yourself in the mirror.”
Gloria Miguel, psychologist at the Egoki center, comments that body typing does not lead to anything good. He qualifies that there are those who can use it, for example, stylists or designers, to do their job well, since depending on the shape of the body, the garments are made in one way or another: “It is not a matter of denying that the body has a form, if not who and for what purpose speaks of it”.
The basics of the system
The Kibbe body type test was created in 1987 by image consultant david kibbeauthor of the book Metamorphosis: Discover your image identity and dazzle as only you can. Buying a copy of the work today is almost impossible, since the only ones available cost around 400 euros on Amazon or eBay, but the internet has made its Magic and has brought attention back to this method, thus increasing its scope.
Kibbe created an image identity system that takes into account a person’s skeleton, flesh, and facial features. The results are grouped into five families: dramatic, classical, natural, romantic and gamine. For greater precision, in these five families there are 13 identities: dramatic and soft dramatic; classic, classic soft and classic dramatic, natural, soft natural and extravagant natural; romantic and theatrical romantic and, gamine, extravagant gamine and soft gamine.
In turn, all these identities are placed on a line that goes from yang (more masculine) to yin (more feminine). The classic family is placed in the middle, to the left the dramatic and natural ones, which are those with more angles, therefore, more yang, and to the right the romantic and gaminas that have more curves and are classified as yin.
Nekane Cuellar (@nekane_loveyourself), plus-size model, was not familiar with the test, but comments that the first impression “has horrified” him when he read that it is divided into categories that measure the percentage of femininity and masculinity of a person. “It seems completely absurd to me,” she says. The psychologist Gloria Miguel agrees with this thought: “I don’t understand the need to label so many body types. It falls back into uniting what is considered ‘more feminine’ with the romantic, the curves… when the reality is that being and feeling like a woman goes beyond the number of curves you have or the lack of them.”
A test for all?
The growing popularity of the test has both pleased and worried the creator who, at 66, sees how hundreds of people on social networks believe they are experts in the field. at its most recent interview for The New York Times He confessed that many of the principles on which he bases his arguments have been taken out of context. In addition, he emphasizes: “To do this for someone else you need to have experience (in image consulting).”
Mr. Kibbe does not deny the importance of the presence on-line and it is he himself who participates in the Facebook group Strictly Kibbe which today remains the only creator-approved forum or website. The group is made up only of women, except for Kibbe, although he participates from the profile of his wife.
Another feature to highlight are the examples of each type. The author shares in his book a list of celebrities that fit into each family. His references are mainly actresses from the golden age of Hollywood and celebrities from decades ago: Sophia Loren, Ingrid Bergman, Joan Crawford, Grace Kelly, Liza Minelli, Jackie O… Despite the fact that women are different, they all follow the same pattern: they are beautiful and slim, in accordance with the beauty canon that the industry and the times required. Currently, the viralization in networks has made the examples for identities more inclusive and diverse.
This has triggered various opinions. On the one hand, Adriana Boho (@adrianaboho), a content creator and writer, believes that while it’s difficult to typify all body types in one test, it can be a good starting point to get your bearings. Vai Sawaneh, better known as @betweenmyclothes, agrees that it can be a good guide and adds that it is aimed at anyone who is interested in doing so.
On the other hand, the image consultant Marián Rubio thinks that it is very difficult to see yourself reflected in these images and points out that there are many body types that are left out. Aitziber Badiola (@aitziber_personalstylist), personal stylist, adds that a person’s body type and style are not linked to a metric. Cuéllar agrees: “I don’t think any body is made to be pigeonholed in any test, everyone should be free to dress as they like.”
Gloria Miguel believes that care must be taken with this type of test: “It can create significant pathologies for those people who have difficulties accepting their body, because they are seeing that they do not fall within the pattern that is carried.” She stresses that you shouldn’t make fashion out of your body and that the canons of beauty, which tests like Kibbe’s promote, are very subjective and extremely confusing for people who are discovering what they identify with.
They all agree that fashion is a form of free expression that does not have to be subject to imposed measures. They emphasize the importance of good mental health if the Kibbe test is to be performed, as it thoroughly analyzes all parts of the body. The stylists Marián and Aitziber have been the only ones who have dared to do the test and both confess that, in addition to being too complex, they are not 100% in agreement with the result. “It seems to me that you are a hostage to the test. The only way to do it right is for David himself to do it for you, because if you do it without him, you have the feeling that the answers are not correct”, points out Marián. He ends by saying that with the viralization of Kibbe’s body types, the initial perspective has been lost: that it was designed to be one person’s business.
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