The Kibbe Dramatic (one of 10 image identify types described by David Kibbe) exists as bold, sharp yang, expressed by vertical lines and angular bone structure.
Are you here because you think you might be a Dramatic type in Kibbe’s system?
Dramatics have a very particular and strong beauty, showing up in angles and length. If you’re ready to learn more about how to embrace your Dramatic Regal Lady, then keep reading for all the details.
The is a comprehensive guide to the Kibbe Dramatic image ID in the 10 type (previously 13) system. Keep reading to discover the overall body types, celebrity examples, clothing lines and silhouettes, outfits to capture the Dramatic look, hair and makeup, and the essence of the Kibbe Dramatic woman.
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Table of Contents
The 10 Kibbe Types (formerly 13)
The Kibbe typology is based upon his book Metamorphosis (1987) which describes 13 different type of styles/types/identities. These are based primarily on body type, including bone structure, flesh composition, and facial bones and features.
The quiz found in the book is no longer considered the standard for typing, and you can read more about that in this post.
In the original book (out of print and pricey, but I own it) you’ll find there are 13 different types. In recent years the 3 pure types of natural, classic, and gamine have been discard. In this series you’ll find style guides for the following 10 current image id’s.
- Dramatic – pure yang, vertical x2
- Soft Dramatic – yang with yin undercurrent, vertical + curve
- Flamboyant Natural – sharp and blunt yang, width + vertical
- Soft Natural – blunt yang with yin undercurrent, width + curve
- Dramatic Classic – balanced yin and yang (extra yang), balance + vertical
- Soft Classic – balanced yin and yang (extra yin), balance + curve
- Flamboyant Gamine – mixed yin and yang (extra yang), petite + vertical
- Soft Gamine – mixed yin and yang (extra yin), petite + curve
- Theatrical Romantic – yin with yang undercurrent, curve + vertical
- Romantic – pure yin, curve x2
Kibbe Dramatic Body Type
Every Dramatic woman will look slightly different. It is the overall dominance of sharp yang and vertical line that makes a Kibbe Dramatic.
These overall themes exist in the Dramatic body, but don’t throw out the whole type because you don’t fit perfectly in every category. I am summarizing the information in the book with addendums gathered from all over.
The initial thought is that a Dramatic must be tall. And while women 5’7” and over automatically have vertical and will be either Dramatic, Soft Dramatic, or Flamboyant Natural, there is no LOWER height limit.
The prime example of a Dramatic is the shortest on the list, Joan Crawford, at 5’4”.
The expectation due to obvious vertical is that the long limbs and overall length will result in a tall body.
Body type refers to the overall impression of the body, including some flesh and some bone structure.
The legs and arms are long and the individual exhibits narrowness throughout the structure. Michelle Dockery is a great example of this.
The flesh is long and sleek, and may have lean musculature.
Bone structure includes the body and the face (remember from the test that it is rare for the facial bones to NOT match the body bones).
Bones are angular and sharp (does the elbow feel pointy like it will cut you, or soft and gentle, for example).
Shoulders are square, but typically narrow.
Hands and feet are long and narrow, in proportion to height.
Facial BONES are sharp: angular cheekbones, prominent nose, sharp jawline. The narrowness of structure can lead this type to think they are ‘delicate’ but that is not apt.
The eyes are narrow, possibly almond shaped, and moderately spaded.
The lips and mouth are narrow, thin, and straight.
The skin over the cheeks and jaws will be tight, taught, not fleshy.
Hair will lean to the extremes, either very course and curly/wavy or very fine, thin, and sleek.
Dramatics “tend” to be distinct in coloring, think of extremes: ultra fair, bright and fiery, dark and vivid.
Dramatic Weight Gain Patterns
One of the hardest parts of typing yourself occurs when you are not at an ideal weight. Understanding how adipose tissue congregates can be helpful when the bone structure is less obvious.
The Dramatic type tends to gain first in the hip and upper thigh area. The torso is relatively unaffected by weight gain, the bust doesn’t increase much at all.
DISCLAIMER: NONE OF THESE WOMEN ARE HEAVY AND WE ARE NOT FAT SHAMING. MANY OF THE EXAMPLES SEEN ARE OF YOUNG WOMEN AT THEIR LOWEST WEIGHT. TIME CHANGES US ALL, AND I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO SEE EXAMPLES THAT MORE CLOSELY RESEMBLE THE AVERAGE WOMAN.
REMINDER: No one element defines your image ID. It is an overall look and way of accommodating your God-given bone structure and flesh type. The Kibbe Dramatic will always need to dress their vertical line, and will not have to accommodate additional width, curve, or balance.
Kibbe Dramatic Celebrities
These are the celebrities found in the book and later verified by Kibbe. I am including their heights (in inches) so you can see that Dramatics aren’t just tall women, they can be those of smaller stature as well.
- Joan Crawford – 64 (prime example in the book)
- Maggie Smith – 65
- Claire Danes – 65
- Kristin Wiig – 65
- Lena Horne – 65
- Faye Dunaway – 67
- Greta Garbo – 67
- Jamie Lee Curtis – 67
- Olivia Culpo – 67
- Michelle Dockery – 68
- Katharine Hepburn – 68
- Kathleen Turner – 68
- Sheryl Lee Ralph – 68
- Alexis Smith – 69
- Cate Blanchette – 69
- Lauren Bacall – 69
- Anjelica Huston – 70
- Taylor Swift – 71
- Tilda Swinton – 71
Kibbe Dramatic Clothes
Before going into these details it is worth noting that David Kibbe has repeatedly said that clothing doesn’t belong to a specific type, rather that it’s how you put a piece into an entire outfit that makes it appropriate.
Fabric & Detail
The Kibbe Dramatic needs fabrics that are structured and hold a defined shape. Moderate to heavyweight types of fabrics: tweed, twill, brocade, heavy satin, denim, suede, flannel, traditional wool.
Detail is neat, clean, and minimal and includes geometrics and sharp shapes. Think sharp shoulders, angular necklines, and tailoring such as pleats, cuffs, labels.
Color & Prints
Following the expectation that the Dramatic typically has bold coloring, the recommendations for color include pairing dark colors with bright colors. A monochromatic pastel look can also work.
Prints should be bold and include stripes, chevron, and angular shapes.
Separates should be part of an all-over look, so consider your tops as to how they fit into the entire outfit.
Shirts should be sleek and fitted. Knits are appropriate both lightweight and skinny ribbed. Cardigans should be long with strong shoulders.
Tops to avoid: fussy styles with ruffles, frills, bows, gathers, shapeless and sloppy necklines.
Bottoms should also fit into a full outfit design.
Man-tailored styles work great for pants for the Kibbe Dramatic. The length should fall at the top of the shoe. Consider pants with heavy pleats.
Skirts should overall be straight and long, always covering the knee, but as long as you choose.
To continue the vertical theme, choose long Bermuda shorts that are sleek and tailored. Alternatively, micro shorts and skirts can work to display the vertical length of the legs.
Bottoms to avoid: baggy pants, clingy pants, full skirts, draped skirts, gathered waists.
One piece such as dresses are great for the Dramatic woman as they form a single item and create an unbroken silhouette. These should be sleek, tailored and elongated.
Structured dresses like coat dresses or shirt dresses can work well. Avoid waist emphasis except for wide belts.
Dropped waist and straight styles are especially effective.
Dresses to avoid: frilly, fussy styles with flowing silhouettes and emphasized waists. Wide, shapeless dresses.
Very tailored jackets work well for this type. Stick with strong, defined shoulders. Length should be mid-thigh to keep with elongation.
Outerwear to avoid: wide, shapless styles, baggy flowing styles, boxy styles. Anything with waist emphasis or belted.
Sharp, tailored, and angular shoes are the best. Pointed toe flats and high sharp heels.
Jewelry should be overall bold and modern. Large, but not bulky. Thin and sharp, or asymmetrical. Avant-garde jewelry is especially effective on this type.
Purses and bags should follow the angular theme, and be square, sharp, geometric. Avoid round and soft styles.
Belts for this type are wide, made of stiff leather, large. Choose bold and geometric buckles.
Kibbe Dramatic Outfits
The Kibbe system focuses on creating head to toe looks (HTT) that honor the lines of your silhouette. For the Dramatic type, the primary determinant is dressing the vertical. Sharpness and angularity are part of the outfit.
Many outfits for Kibbe types show examples that aren’t appropriate for daily life, fancy ball gowns and dressy looks. The Kibbe system discourages the use of a capsule wardrobe and simplification, instead promoting “dressing for the event”.
My goal here is to help you simplify, not overcomplicate, so I’ve tried to create outfits that both honor the Kibbe Dramatic type, but also feature clothes that could be worn in multiple ways.
Kibbe Dramatic Hair and Makeup
Hair styles for the Dramatic woman should follow the theme of squares and angles. Sleek and geometric, kept away from the face.
Hair to avoid: soft styles, wispy hair, hair that covers your face.
The following hair colors are recommended for the Kibbe Dramatic, based on color season.
- Spring: Medium-Light Golden Brown, Light Auburn/Copper, Deep Honey Blonde, Warm White
- Summer: Medium to Soft Ash Brown, Deep-Light Ash Blonde, Bold streaked ash blonde
- Autumn: Deep to Medium Chestnut, Mahogany, Deep Auburn, Warm White
- Winter: Black, Dark Ash Brown, Silver/White
Haircolors to avoid: softened highlights or colors.
The following are examples for each season for makeup looks. Dramatics should choose smokey, matte eyeshadows. Lips should be matte and covered with gloss.
Spring Color Season
Summer Color Season
Autumn Color Season
Winter Color Season
**These looks are from the book published in 1987 when blue eyeshadow was hot hot hot. I have tried to tone them down a little bit to make them more modern.**
Kibbe Dramatic Essence
Style Essences are a different category, but Kibbe simplified it to include the 5 types.
The Kibbe Dramatic essence makes up your inner scheme and outer being, so let’s explore it more.
The Dramatic is described as bold and charismatic, a born leader. Taking authority is natural and second nature, and she will naturally be found leading others.
She is direct and forceful, and doesn’t shy away from making difficult decisions. Leading, managing, and delegating are easy for her.
She is an intensely private person and may come across a cold, aloof, and unfeeling to those that don’t know her.
The Regal Lady, is indeed that, and appears like a tall sleek piece of architecture, statuesque and imposing.
Final Thoughts on the Kibbe Dramatic
The Kibbe Dramatic woman is a force to be reckoned with! She leads with her vertical presence and needs to accomodate it in all her styling choices.
Kibbe Dramatic repesents dominant sharp yang structure from head to toe.
Are you a Kibbe Dramatic? Let me know in the comments.
Related Style Articles:
- Create a Personal Style Mood Board
- Find Your Personal Style in the Past
- Wardrobe Perfection starts with a Color Palette
The Kibbe Dramatic Image ID is marked by sharp yang bones and flesh, and needs to accomodate vertical lines in her personal style.
Stacey is the owner and creator behind Radiantly Dressed. She is a certified image consultant and AICI member focusing on creating simplicity in wardrobes via color and style.