The Dramatic True Summer


David Kibbe, Where Are You Now?

Maybe you had your colours analyzed and you know you’re a True Winter. Armed with those most-flattering colours, how come it’s not coming together for you? You read about the drama of Winter and say,

Why do they keep forgetting about me? Dramatic styles feel intimidating and say nothing about me at all. I love softness. Is my self-perception off, like it was with my colours, or is there still something missing? I’m frustrated with feeling frustrated all the time over how I look.

Once you know the colours in your skin, your Season, it takes one trip to the mall to realize that even if you buy items colour-matched with a spectrophotometer, they don’t always look right or good. Who could argue? Your colour analyzed palette comes in many different styles. Which is yours? You can’t be great in both the swirly silky print blouse and the Hugo Boss blazer. The strong vertical stripes that work on me will do nothing for the woman who is defined by abstract, splashy florals, though our Season is the same.

I’m not talking about taste because that can be part of what got us into the trouble of not looking impacting in the first place, buying what we like or what we were told to like. A 15 year old says, I don’t want to be stuck wearing only square clothes if I have a square body. I want to wear the clothes I like. That makes me feel good. And it looks good when you’re 15 and still searching for yourself. The style carousel very much depicts the brain storm going on inside. The whole picture fits because it is a true representation of the wearer.

We outgrow wearing the brain storm because we outgrow being the brain storm. Our self-assurance comes across in part by having settled, like the demons in the Golden Compass (in Philip Pullman’s story, our souls exist outside our bodies in the form of animals; before puberty, the animals shape-shift with our emotions and moods; after puberty they settle to a permanent species). Adults learn who they are and settle, which feels more settling to look at than a woman who is still trying out different identities (does that look like Midlife Crisis?). At this point in our lives, beauty that could happen on its own is important to find. Once processing is involved, it is as stressful to look at as hair that’s been straightened to within an inch of its life, best left to the young.

Mr. Kibbe is right. You do look better with his advice. You can be as literal or encompassing as you choose, just as you can wear some of your best colours or exclusively those. On shopping days, I (a Dramatic Classic) still wear leggings, boots, a long belted T under a shorter off shoulder sweater, not my best look. Big deal. On first impression days, it’s a jacket, the point being your best jacket isn’t mine and are you really sure you can pick out your best line, cut, and detail in any item of clothing? As many of us will figure this out alone and get it right as were able to figure out their colours without expert guidance – that is to say, very few.

I am strongly attracted to classification systems that work. This one does, whether you’re in the business of dressing yourself or others. 13 styles, or image identities, are described in detail, including all aspects of clothing, hair style and colour, and cosmetic colours. These are gathered under 13 consistent shape/line/colour umbrellas, all of which relate back to essence you’re trying to project, the same one you already project through your body’s inherent lines.

Lines communicate and our lines communicate about us. Art students do an exercise where they draw an object using the bare minimum number of lines. They do another where a model changes position every 5 seconds and the students capture her form only with a few lines till she moves again. As with colour, when two visuals don’t belong together, they push each other further in opposing directions. If the face is asymmetric, a symmetric hairstyle will have the face looking downright lopsided. Two lines, three lines, and our brains are making decisions about what’s in front of us.

Though we don’t wear shoulder pads today, I was amazed at how relevant and usable his writing still is. The styles really do create 13 very different pictures. Only you will write the book where you agree with every word, but his is so enduring because so many women still connect so strongly with it. A straight line then is a straight line today. The quantity of information for each identity is huge with little repetition between them. I typed mine on a card, laminated it, and carry it with my Colour Book. I learned long ago that I don’t know how I look to others from the front or back. What has especially fascinated me is watching women get their style right and having all this remarkable, defining geometry appear out of their face, just as colours suddenly appear in your face when you wear your own Season’s palette. Who knew that both were there all along?

Any image identity can go with any Season. While there are recurring pairs, Dramatics among Winters, Softs among Summers, Naturals among Autumns, any of the 12 types of colouring can be found within any of the styles. I know Gamine Dark Autumns. I know Dramatic True Summers. His models are a Dramatic Autumn and a Romantic Winter. Figure out each one separately first.

Celebs are tough to characterize because they’re all so thin that it hides their body type. To give you the drift, Christina Ricci seems a Soft Gamine. Mariah Carey is a Romantic. Melanie Griffith may be a Soft Natural. Ashley Judd is a Theatrical Romantic. If they shared one another’s best styles, every one would have detracted from herself. Even on their Size 4 bodies, when it’s right, it’s oh-so-right. Kathryn noticed how perfectly Dramatic Classic styles suited Rene Russo in the movie The Thomas Crown Affair. I so agree, like they were made for each other.

Shopping is just a quest to find yourself out there. The prize goes to the one who can most accurately and authentically represent the inside on the outside. That look is unbeatable by any bank account or new wave. Kibbe’s book takes a lot of reading and thinking. So much like learning your own colouring, it places us in a temporary chaos that is important and necessary. Our usual shopping structure both supports and constrains us. Like in a Primal Soup, creativity and innovation are taking place under our radar from which we pull new idea relationships. We are inclined to move away from that chaos, but it’s an important place to move towards. A lot is happening there that is good.

Today, I’d like to try my hand at being a woman whose colours and style don’t mesh so easily. We start with a Dramatic True Summer, a Season we’re used to seeing embodied in lines that are curved, flowing, watery. Maybe today’s model is the True Summer who says she wants to wear black and scarlet instead of her better palette. Maybe what she really wants and doesn’t know it, is an outlet that expresses the drama she knows herself to possess. All she can articulate is resistance and she assumes it’s to the colours.

Working with animals teaches you to listen harder. They’re all telling us what they want or need. When you miss enough diagnoses that were right in your original patient history, you learn to put your arrogance on the shelf. If the colour system isn’t working for the woman, it’s not her who’s broke. Rather than say to her, Wear your colours for a week, you’ll get used to them, which isn’t entirely wrong advice, perhaps incomplete is a better word, I need to think about where her reservations are coming from. As we know, there are thousands of psychological levels here, but at the heart of it, what is missing for her? Perhaps, this woman needs to discover her own lines. Then, she can assemble the apparel outlines inside which she’ll paint her colours and feel good at last.

What’s a Dramatic look like? Not the luscious dumpling Romantic that the singer Adele is. Draw a Dramatic with a ruler not a compass, not just the lines of the face but straight across the shoulders and long, narrow, and straight down the body. Kib’s examples would be Joan Crawford or Jamie Lee Curtis. Adjectives like statuesque, sharp, and imposing apply the instant they walk in the room. The very beautiful Darin Wright, creator of the outstanding Season-analyzed cosmetic line eleablake, seems to me a Bright Winter Dramatic. You’d fashion her statue with a chisel and hammer from a piece of marble, not from dough, cloth, or cotton candy.

How would she dress? Far more briefly than in the book,

YES: sharp and geometric; sculpted, sleek&long, crisp; mod to heavyweight fabric; bold, sweeping, clean, angular (plunging V, thin turtleneck, mandarin, halter necks); mid-thigh jackets; coat dress, sharp shoulders, narrow no-waist; colours as ensembles, monochromatics or neutrals or pastels; prints Picasso, bold; jewelry thin, sharp, asymmetric.

NO: round, swirled, draped, broken or horizontal lines; sheer, clingy, rough; frills, ruffles, gathers; shapeless necks; flouncy, nipped waist, fussy buttons, shapeless or boxy; heavy-chunky.

How do you do sharp geometry in a cool and soft colour selection in every single item for everyday life?

Dramatic True Summer

Dramatic True Summer by christinems featuring high heels

It was surprisingly mind-expanding (and tiring) to have to get into another headspace. I pretended Darin was looking over my shoulder – “Girl, I’d no more wear a shell, matching cardi, and pearls, I’d look like my Grampa!!!!!!!!!!! Someone get me a cold compress and a glass of wine, look what she’s doing to me!!!!!!!!!” It is most interesting what our eye doesn’t see when we’d swear we looked at every item on the Polyvore screen. Through Darin’s eyes, I saw items I would have never registered.

I thought about the word modern. No particular sense of humor as in not funky or groovy. Not trendy, which has no strength. Modern became clean&futuristic, very much a Winter association in my head up till now.

I thought about what ‘bold’ means. Not sassy, one of the modern versions of bold, which can look tasteless and juvenile and for this category. Keeping boldness of style a separate entity than boldness of colour mattered since True Summer colours don’t come across boldly and I was trying to keep the number of colours controlled. Sometimes, I used an accessory, an unusual colour, or a contrast level to bring up the boldness of an entire ensemble.

Drama while keeping the bling down meant rediscovering how to convey drama through line instead of Dollar Store sparkle or cleavage. Every single item had to convey continuous vertical line and/or extreme angularity and/or unique geometry. Only a few items had more than one of these at a time, very hard to find in this palette. When I look at the Polyvore, it seems too conservative. If the clothes were in Bright Winter colours, they’d jump off the page more, but on a True Summer, she’d become a ghost.

I got a funny feeling of homesickness out of nowhere. I really had to shut myself off and be Darin. Like playing that Rush Hour Traffic Jam puzzle, I had to be very plastic about moving colour and style around one another. It’s a brilliant exercise. By the end, I couldn’t even stand a round watch face, or even a square one.

And I shall never complain about trying to find Dramatic Classic clothes in Dark Winter colours again. Try to put a Polyvore together, like watches for all 12 Seasons or all 13 Kibbes. You really have to get out of your own head, but when you come back, your own head is lot clearer. By deciding why an item is wrong for a Season or style, you learn more than by deciding why it’s right or going on the “I just like it, that’s all.” instinct.

Next is the Romantic Soft Autumn. Make a Polyvore outfit of any type of Romantic Autumn if you have time and send me the link. I’ll post it along with mine.



51 thoughts on “The Dramatic True Summer”

  1. Wow! I am looking more at the colors than I am at the style at this point. Not every True Summer is frou-frou and I am glad you illustrated that! Me, I am a mixture between a Soft Classic and a Romantic, depending upon whether I wear casual or dressy clothing.

    I had no idea that True Summer colors were thisclose to True Winter ones. That is what I find so fascinating!!

    Thank you for posting this for the benefit of True Summers that aren’t all into being girly.

  2. Thank you so much for this, Christine! As a True Summer who was considering Dramatic Classic as my Kibbe type, this is just the kind of examination of the inherent contradictions I was hoping for as I pondered how to reconcile the serene quality of the True Summer palette with the angularity of DC.

    As you discovered in putting together the Polyvore, it’s not easy to find DC styles in TSu colors; DC seems made for sharp, clear contrasts. (Like the current color-blocking trend — all the color-blocked clothes I see are in primary colors contrasted with black and/or white.) You did a fabulous job!

    As I’ve continued to contemplate my face and body shape in relation to Kibbe types, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am really more of a straight-up Classic, with just a touch of Dramatic. This is a relief, since it’s a lot easier to find Classic styles in the TSu palette. I don’t like big, bold geometric patterns at all, and since I’m on the short side, they make me look like a highway traffic sign. And I feel right at home in a twinset, although I’m trying to get away from them because they’re practically a Classic cliche. :)

    The most important lesson I’ve learned from exploring DC is that I do need some structure in my style. Part of that is choosing body-skimming clothes instead of looser ones. For a dash of angularity, I love Mandarin and stand collars, as well as moderate V-necks. In your Polyvore, that navy dress with the cap sleeves is right up my alley, and I am lusting after those blueberry pumps. And I love the slightly draped soft-white shell.

  3. Tina, you’re not a mix of SC and R depending on how you _dress_ – your body, your flesh your bones, your face; that’s what defines your Kibbegory, not your style. :)
    Furthermore, Kibbe does specify that his groups don’t mix, so to speak. You can’t be two groups depending on mood et cetera.

    Christine, I’m terribly sorry, but that Polyvore doesn’t really reflect how a D should dress. There are too many soft items, such as the draped dress and the green skirt, and rounded geometrics. The sharp and crisp feel isn’t there, regardless of the colors. The accessories need sharpness, hard angles, a streamlined feel. Rounded shapes, such as the earrings and the pendants, end up looking too contrary and ultimately, dowdy. If you identify very much with DC, I can understand how you would want to restrict yourself, but a D is sharper and bolder than DC, and anything less will look too conservative.

    I hope you don’t mind me commenting, but it needs to be said. :)

  4. I am just wondering if you think that there is a “best fit” type for each season, recognizing that there will be variation. I have owned that Kibbe book for almost 20 years and have never really found myself in it. I am Light Summer and think that I straddle classic and natural, with a hint of gamine. I am too sporty to be a true classic, yet not earthy enough to be a natural. I completely relate to the Light Summer you depict in your book, however.

  5. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH! (Oh, was I shouting?) No, seriously, Christine Goes Kibbe is like the best moment of my week so far! Inspired!!

  6. Thanks for commenting, ladies, I appreciate it.

    Ann – Best fit – I guess I find that there is one that is the easiest fit for my eye to merge the colours of that palette with certain shapes. I wrote a book about that but recognize that there will be many whose bodies would not wear their colours in those shapes.

    Zilling! – THANK YOU! I like honesty. I know how hard it is to tell the truth, no matter how constructively. Trust me, I will never be offended. I agree that Kibgroups don’t mix, like Seasons don’t. They don’t need to or look good when they do. Like with Season, you could have lots more groups but then nobody could tell them apart. Once you find yourself, holy cow not easy to do, everything falls into place. More groups and more Seasons are not necessary, it’s our understanding or ability to place ourselves that may be lacking. Like with colour. Which is why I so like this system.
    You’re right about the Polyvore. I could look at it and see that it’s too rounded, though I tried to compensate with a straighter line in a given item or outfit. Either I can’t pick the right things or they’re not at Polyvore. Makes me wonder if I’ll be able to do the other combinations. I’ll all in favor of learning but not of hopeless endeavours. I’m thinking I’m going to give it one more try and show the second Polyvore for D T Su in comparison. Or I shall post the fact that I am incapable of doing it.

  7. How in the world do us Dramatic Classics do hot weather wear? We need our blazers and all this crochet wispy fabric just doesn’t work! Help please! ( and if too of it all I am a DW) :))

  8. I’ve ordered a copy of David Kibbe’s book to be sure, but I very much doubt I have a dramatic body type. Some of the items in this polyvore, Christine, do look dramatic. I’d look like I was borrowing my big sister’s clothes in two of the dresses, one long sleeved and sharp shouldered, the other sleeveless and very low cut. It’s interesting to see True Summer colors in an even partly dramatic polyvore!

    I look forward to finding my own Kibbe category, but, like Ann, I do relate to the Light Summer portrait in your book. Even the discussion of “Style and Textile” is so related to color that I believe I can adapt it to my Kibbe category.

    I’m enjoying Return to Your Natural Colors very much–reading about all the seasons and understabding them so much better. The color palettes in the back give a good impression of the overall differences between the seasons, but your verbal imagery conveys so much more!

  9. These items are so much MORE dramatic than you typically see in true summer colors. I found it very helpful to see them.

  10. Today, I wanted to kick Kibbe in his man-parts. Let me start over. Today, I found a shirt in this AMAZING burnt clay terra cotta DA color that I LOVE and possibly would have asked to have a space in my closet, but for the fact that, even though my OCD won’t just let me choose a category in Kibbe (I’ll explain…also), I know that even slight deconstructed shirt styles aren’t really for me. Before I started in on Kibbe and Irenee Ritter I might have given it a pass, but now I can’t. And I’m super disgruntled about it. I’m also so flipping confused about where to put myself. I was flat chested all my life, with a big butt, so I had my chest done, so now I have to remind myself (consistently) when I take the test over and over (I think I’m at about 10 times now) that I cannot really count myself as hour glass or soft at the top because that isn’t natural, and I don’t like girly frou frou frilly things and I never ever have. I think (think) I have narrowed it down to Soft Dramatic although, depending on what my OCD allows me to answer on the test, I can also be a Dramatic and a Dramatic Classic (and once even ended up with Soft Natural). I am about 5’7, I have small bones but they are very elongated, I have a short waist, I have big hips, I have straight, perfectly proportioned shoulders, I have a huge mouth, but I also have moderate to small eyes, a big (cough “striking”) nose, a pointy chin, and long skinny grinch feet (I’m not kidding…that’s me tiptoeing across your floor on Christmas Eve…). Ugh. This is so blasted frustrating and I just want to throw my jeans and black tshirt back on!

  11. I just found out about Kibbe recently and I’m in love! I had to comment because of what you said about facial geometry coming out. After I found my type I got some earrings that fit the description( and I almost never wear earrings) and like you said all of a sudden myfacial features seemed in focus. It was kind of amazing.
    For those of you having trouble identifying your body type I recommend reading thru the descriptions of each type instead of taking the quiz. Most of us can identify wear we gain weight etc, hope that helps

  12. Christine, you did a great job with the Polyvore! You can shop for me anytime. I think your spot on about personality, style, and color. This relates with makeup as well. Each of us is still an individual and with that individuality our Personal Colors are the master key that helps unlock the dead bolts of image and styling.

    I’ll be sending you my sizes, credit card number, and list of needs. :)

  13. Christine, I can sympathize with you. For the last couple of years the fashion range has been strangely limited. Ideal for only the softer types, it’s built around the ‘draped’ look with fluid fabrics and unconstructed lines. Even YSL, who one relies on for tailored dramatic lines has gone limp!

  14. Thank you all. Inge, your Polyvore is lovely, the colours are excellent and the harmony comes through with the styles alone. I’m going to study the lines for R with it, though I had a feeling when I looked at the entire picture that an R body would wear more curves and drapes and I saw a lot of straight lines. I recognized it because it was exactly the opposite of my feelings about mine where I saw too many curves overall. I haven’t studied them section so you may be spot on, I don’t know. How did you find it came together? Easily – or do you feel like I do, back to the drawing board?

    I wonder if I chose a non-D model. Darin’s line’s are angular but they’re also arched, there are many triangles, acute angles, and arches where lines meet. Kib’s model and his examples are all straight 180 degree lines in face and body. All those arches seem to me to feel feminine. In fact, something of Darin’s face has a G or maybe even a TR face which Kib’s examples most certainly don’t. All the zigzags, coming from her Spring side :) had to say it, and the trim body put me in mind of Ashley Judd. I do see some curve in clothing on Darin looking good but can sure agree that it wouldn’t on Jamie Lee Curtis and Joan Crawford. So I’m back to the drawing board, believing that one has to be wrong a few times to be right, and thinking about Curtis.

  15. I did my best, I put as many curves and frills as I could possible imagine.
    It does not help that I very far from a romantic anything. :-)
    It was good practice, though, many thanks for your reactions.

  16. Beautifiul. I love seeing the polyvores. I wonder if Darin might be a soft dramatic and Christines’ therefore leaned in that direction.

    I’d love to see a bright winter dramatic classic – but without using much black. Dark browns and blues as the neutrals. Has anyone done such a thing?

  17. Nana, your sets on Polyvore are my favorites! So nice to get “Nana” and “Vesna” connected.:)

  18. Nicole, I feel your pain. Allthough I am now a (self-diagnosed) soft summer who is comfortably occupying soft gaminhood, it took me a long time to get there. I don’t know what will clarify things for you, but this is my experience.
    When I first took the test I came out Flamboyant Gamine, but I quickly felt dissatisfied since those clothing lines didnt look right. I proceded to “try on” and become convinced that I was every other type there was (except for the classics. It is painfully obvious I’m not classic. I tried wearing classic lines in my teens but it didn’t look right. At 17, dressed in my classic best, one woman said, “Youre 17?! Oh my goodness, I thought you were mid 30s, married, two kids”. Ouch.
    What helped me the most was looking up pictures online, and watching movies featuring the celebrities of all the Kibbe types. Noting which clothes and hairstyles were esp flattering or unflattering and analyzing why. I had to get a good grasp of the entire system before I could pinpoint where I fit in it. Once I knew what I did not look like and why, it was easier to identify what I did look like and why. I had to figure out what he meant by “sharp”, “soft”, “symetrical”, etc. For example, how Jessica Lange (somewhat tall and slender) could be the same type as Elizabeth Taylor(more petite and rounded). What was he seeing in them that made them BOTH “soft”.
    Trying on different clothing syles and the recommended prints, then seeing if I looked more or less in balance, was essential. And I was more objective looking at pictures of me than in the mirror. Thank you cell phone.
    It also helped me to get the book Always in Style with Color me Beautiful. Doris Pooser uses a scale of sharp stright thru to curved similar to Kibbes and gives the names of aftists who have painted the different body lines for comparison. She doesn’t cover the types who are a combination of extreme opposites but it helped me to identify body line. This has been labor intesive but the analysis was fun. I can see the line my body and face proect and find clothing that reflects that line. Sorry so long, couldnt figure out how to say shorter.

    Best wishes, Liz

    his is getting too long. Ill continue in a second post.

  19. Thank you Julie, I like your baroque inspiration ;) Polyvore is such a diverting, mildly addictive toy..

  20. I am no Kibbe expert, but I get a feeling this is such a perfect “intersection” between D and True Summer, or at least a great TSu look that is not the stereotypical ruffles and small florals and such. Yes, perhaps it has some elements of softer tailoring, it certainly appeals to my classic and minimal esthetics. Very elegant and chic.

  21. My mother is a True Summer and Flamboyant Natural. She adors men style shirts, t-shirts, jumpers and jeans. For shoes there are trainers, mocсasins, oxford shoes and flip-flops, she is tall and never wears heels and jewlery though. I think it is one of the easiest color-style combinations!

  22. Thank you Liz, I think I shall try what you suggest because no matter how many times I take that blasted test and try to match myself to the styles Kibbe “recommends” for me, it just doesn’t feel right. I’m a hands on and visual person and your idea about watching the actresses and trying on the prints rings more true to me than taking that test one more time. :)

  23. Youre welcome, Nicole. I hope it helps. What you said about being a visual and hands-on learner made me stop and think. I wondered why it took that much effort for me to understand. But I can think of several times in my life where if I did not have a way to interact with information it just slid off my brain like a sheer rockface. So thank you, now I feel better : D

  24. Interesting! I must go back and reread in depth but just wanted to say, I had a House of Colour analysis before my SciArt session, which included a style analysis and I was typed as Romantic Ingenue (Soft Autumn).

    I’m struggling with this because I’ve been mostly Natural/Gamine, mainly through laziness and lack of confidence. But also because the emphasis with Autumn seems to be rough and natural whereas RI is more pretty, frilly feminine – which makes me feel awkward and like a man in drag.

  25. PS I’m finding it hard enough to find colours from my book; finding the right colour in the right style (not to mention correct size) feels like an impossible quest.

  26. A man in drag… yes, Lindsay, that’s a fantastic way to describe it! I am TA but I think I have a softer Kibbe type, and it can be really tough to get those two parts of myself to jive. The autumn part feels ridiculous in a feminine getup (“What the H is with this bow? What’s it here for? It’s not tying anything together!!”), but Kibbe’s balanced and yang-leaning types represent me as at best boring and at worst like a little girl in mom’s clothes.

    Will be interested to see everyone’s romantic autumn polyvores… those that have been posted so far are beautiful!

  27. Kibbe’s METAMORPHOSIS arrived in my mailbox, I took the test, and came out almost purely Classic. But I’ve never been a “sophisticated lady,” as Kibbe characterizes the Classic. After some reflection on my physical attributes I took the test again and came out a Soft Classic (a “gentle lady”). Both types are more formal than I’ve been for years! I would love to be a Natural because I’ve been dressing as one for so long. But it really isn’t my best look. At least from now on I have a better idea of what to look for in style when I shop. Getting style and color right a little at a time eventually adds up.

  28. Lindsay,
    Many women could write similar words. Perhaps the HOC assessment wouldn’t correlate with Kibbe’s. Lots of other reasons are possible too. I found with Kib’s book that I had to take the quiz a few times to get clear in my mind what he means by certain words (like symmetry for instance). Eventually, I settled into a set of results that didn’t keep changing and that were the best fit overall. I hear you that finding your colours is hard enough without now having to find a style. It took me 6 months or more to get really good at picking my colours. I have to believe kibbe will be the same. It’s just a matter of teaching yourself what not to see and trusting the process. And when I trust the process, I have endless patience because I’m getting better. Other reason I trust the process is because I’ve seen how a woman in her perfect colours can still look like she’s wearing someone else’s clothes if the style is nothing like her. And we cannot see ourselves, just like with colour. The colour journey is very fresh in my mind because it’s where I’ve been for the past 2 years and I’m just living it all over again. The 2 are remarkably similar. Like with colour, eventually you’ll find the place where colour and style both speak for you.

    I think we all dress as Naturals till we recognize that we could do better. If we just don’t buy those clothes, we won’t keep wearing them. It’s just getting used to something new that our minds fight us on. I got C a couple of times, then fine tuned the test and got to DC which I’m sure is bang on. Many makeover books take the woman from most-blah to most-glam, not hard to do in the 80s. But still, a line is a line, red is still red, and lip gloss is still lip gloss. Most of what he says applies perfectly well.

  29. Christine, thank you for the article – Kibbe’s world is truly fascinating and inspiring. It’s very much a process with him, but what a process it is.
    Ladies, thank you for your kind words about my polyvores, I greatly appreciate your kindness.
    I’m going to say something now – it’s the exact same thing I posted on Christine’s facebook page. Something I think that needs to be brought up as we are starting to talk more and more about Mr. Kibbe. First of all, we express our gratitude to the man who created this system. It may not be perfect, but it’s inspired and it has helped many women find the path to their true style. Second, I think we need to be mindful about the fact that we operate in the world of social media, where anyone – including Mr. Kibbe himself – can read our words. I hope we can keep this in mind every time we say something about the man or his system. I understand that we can get frustrated in our search for our Kibbe type, but when I see people talking about hurting David Kibbe even as a joke, mocking him, or being angry with him, it worries me. I can only imagine how hurt and offended the man would be if he read these words. My intent is not to offend anyone, or to muzzle anyone’s self expression. It is only to remind us all that there is a man behind the system, a man who is thankfully alive and well, and who likely has access to a computer. Even if we don’t always find his system useful, at the very least we owe him respect as a talented human being whose work has helped countless women find themselves in this confusing world. In turn, he owes us nothing beyond what he has already created.
    All this refers to the general interactions I’ve been observing online with regards to Kibbe’s system. I have this hope that, if and when he reads what we’re writing about him and his system, he will be happy and proud, knowing his work has changed many lives for the better.

  30. These words of yours sum it up perfectly Christine “Many makeover books take the woman from most-blah to most-glam, not hard to do in the 80s.”

    But many women don’t actually want or need to look glam – or at least, only on rare special occasions. There is a grey scale ranging from “red carpet” at one end, to “Jeans and Tshirts relaxing around the house” at the other and the attire we need or feel comfortable in falls at different places on this scale according to our jobs and lifestyles.

    However, as a general principle I believe most of us would like to be able to look our best when wearing comfortable practical clothes and without taking half an hour to do full face makeup. The colour and style of the T-shirt, the cut and wash of the jeans potentially make a vast difference.

    I think women who lack confidence or fail to value themselves tend to wear what’s comfortable, practical and safe, and the rest is lost. I count myself among them – in a way I’m almost afraid to look good in case people look at me.

  31. So timely and true, Valeria, and so important that it be said out loud. The internet can be a beautiful way to unite and equalize people but it is altogether too easy to forget that when one criticizes, however lightly it was intended, it hits home to a real person who sincerely put their heart into something. The same applies to all colour and fashion consultants, indeed to everyone working in any industry. Everyone is doing their best. There is no book or system that anyone will line up with 100%. What he created, both in fashion and personal counsel for women, is astounding in itself, but that he did so 30 years ago is beyond belief. Thank you for your comment.

  32. Hi Christine, Thanks for your encouraging note about my “Natural” habit. True, so many of us choose that type–it seems to be a default. But Kibbe’s book has reminded me that even in casual wear, some garments look better than others and it’s not just the color. It’s the very shape of the garment, and I have a few pieces I just love to wear because they give me that Romantic touch without being full-blown Marilyn Monroe–in other words, they have Soft Classic lines. So I have things to start with in adopting my image identity.

    And Valeria, thank you so much for your post. One’s “Kibbe type” may be difficult to determine and find in the shopping jungle, but I’m so grateful to him for defining not only major style types but the subtypes in such rich detail. There’s far less chance, now, that I’ll buy a garment with unflattering lines or overlook lines that suit me.

  33. Thank you very much for this article. I am a Dramatic True Summer and was looking for informations about the combination of True Summer and the Dramatic style.

  34. True words Valeria. I just re-read my own post and realized, Kibbe may not understand if he ever sees that how very tongue-in-cheek my humour is and that it was meant as an odd compliment (i.e., if his information didn’t make so much sense, I would have bought the amazing clay-colored shirt I wanted). However, his categories, confusing as they are, do lend themselves to all of us searching diligently for our proper category and trying to be the best we can.

  35. I see that my approach is similar to Nicole’s. My intention was also to compliment Mr. Kibbe. There are many things that are difficult for me to understand if all I have to work with is the printed page. This system just happened to be one of them. I would not have worked so hard to find alternate ways to understand it if I did not suspect that it would prove to be extremely valuable. And now that I do understand it I consider it to be the best and most comprehensive system I have found.

  36. Dear Christine,

    I’ve been reading your articles for a couple of weeks now and I’m always amazed at the amounts of detail and research you put into them. I’m a male, and even though most of your articles are based on women’s clothing, you always clearly elaborate why particular items look good on particular seasons and that is such a great help.

    I think you did a great job on combining Dramatic and True Summer here. I know how difficult it is to incorporate Dramatic into anything that isn’t a deep and dark season. As a Dramatic Classic (velvety) Soft Summer, I sometimes felt uneasy in the ‘general’ Soft Summer clothing that had been posted in the past. Not only are the colours soft, but the designs are also often very soft (which I think is only a normal phenomenon in the fashion industry), and as a Dramatic Classic, I just did not feel comfortable in a lot of the clothing (even though the dusty colors are spot on). God, it’s already a challenge being a male soft summer (dusty pink on men? I personally love it, but it’s difficult to find), let alone being a Dramatic Classic on top of that.

    It’s trial and error, but reading up on my Kibbe category gave me much more insight to why I feel good in particular things (e.g. tailored blazers) and even more why I don’t feel good in a lot of other things, just like when I was typed a soft summer and I suddenly KNEW why black and stark white didn’t cut it for me. Before that I could see myself in the mirror and see something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t pinpoint what.

    Everyday I get a bit closer to my perfect wardrobe and have to thank you for a lot of that. It hurt me to see 3/4 of my wardrobe being donated to friends or charity. And it sometimes still hurts me to look at my current wardrobe and have only 5 sweaters instead of 20. But then I get dressed and stand in front of the mirror and I just know I made the right decision.

    Keep up the great work, Christine. You have a large and dedicated fanbase. You make people feel better about themselves, you made me feel better about myself, and I hope messages like mine give you a feeling of appreciation and a motivation to keep this site running.

  37. Good of you to try this, Christine, thank you! I understand that it must be difficult for a DC to wrap her mind around D because I found DC, when I tried it, to be so very fussy and needlessly complicated LOL

    Now, very many of the items seem too short in length, we D’s have long bodies (although Keira Knightley is the longest though the torso and I’m the longest through the legs, but her legs and my torso still are long in proportion… there’s a lot of long going on – pretty much the only thing going on…). The green skirt, draped top and blue cavalli dress seem (too) fussy. The pink sweater has a neckline that’d be too wide on me. I’m undecided about the white dress, it might work, it might not… The purple “blazer blouse” (which I love) seems better than the navy blazer; I think the waist would turn out to be placed too high on the navy one, it looks proportional, balanced. The white shirt/blouse that you’ve paired with the green skirt seems gorgeous to me (without the rounded part that you covered up, obviously) and I like the coat, blue dress, bracelet and “suit” veeery much as well. Thanks again for doing this! :-)

    If you consider making another D post, I’d be more than happy if you would also consider going for TSp colours… :-P

  38. Funny, Zandra, how even a close category seems beyond imagining. I find C “so very fussy and needlessly complicated” and it’s not even really that. And I feel so good about my DC, very pared down and simplified.
    Thanks so much for your thoughts, many ideas there that would never occur to me if not from a D herself. Now a D in T Sp colours…can it even be done on Polyvore???

  39. Could you do summer wear for D’s? And, any Polyvore for SSu in any season. It just seems a D should be a winter to get the contrast. But here we are a number of us in the lighter or more muted seasons.

  40. I’ll try, Pat. I’m trying to go through them once first to learn the differences. I do plan to tackle D again. I understand it better now. A D S Su could be my ultimate challenge.

  41. Wow, was inspired by your post to check out Kibbe on-line. Ok, process of elimination, now down to 2 – Dramatic or Classic. Stuck now. 5’6″ very long legs and very short waist. Small head. Not very pronounced cheekbones, narrow chin a bit recessed, long feet fingers and toes, narrow shoulders but not sloped, hips slightly wider than shoulders. Weight goes on stomach and waist – then look pregnant as arms face and legs stay slim. I do look best in tailored clothes that give me the look of a waist, since mine is so short. Halter tops look good as it makes my shoulders look wider to balance out the hips. sounds slightly more to the Dramatic but I’m Soft summer (Sci-art). Would appreciate help.

  42. I am no Kibbe expert, Naomi. You need to spend time with the Kibbe Madness group on facebook. There are women who get it to a very high degree. I can see DC, you seem to have more Yang than a C. Any Season can have any Kibbe.

  43. Thank you SO much for this article. I’ve been trying to develop my style. Some months ago I came across Kibbe’s categories and learned that I am a Dramatic Classic. (In Carol Tuttle’s system I am a 3). I’m not as angular as, say, a Jamie Lee Curtis…there is more of a gamine touch as I am on the shorter side, being 5’4″, .but the basic category is pretty clear. It’s all about the angles and about structure.

    But I am also a cool (or true?) summer. No wonder finding clothing that truly works is so difficult for me!

    Your article shows me I’m not crazy. It really IS hard to do. In the cold months I manage better, partly because I can wear my all-important jackets. A jacket instantly elevates everything on me and makes an outfit FEEL like “me” (assuming it’s the right jacket, of course….but those are quite easy to find).

    Dressing for warmer weather is a bit of a nightmare. Once the jacket comes off, where is my structure? I have tried for it in button down shirts….but those can look too classic or sporty-natural unless they are quite special in cut. And again – the ones that are cut properly for my type are often available only in stark black or white….

    Recently, in frustration because so much of what I have bought in the past is probably classic vs. dramatic classic, I decided I wanted to move in a more avant-garde (i.e. “dramatic” direction.) I found a lovely asymmetrical hemmed tunic-type dress, in a gorgeous blue. Sounds great, doesn’t it? I was influenced by the colour and sale price to buy it. Got it home, looked in he mirror, and felt seriously dismayed. The bottom is all swirly draping. Despite the asymmetry, the perfect colour, and the decent neckline, this dress is SO WRONG for me!

    (I also sympathize about the polyvore; typically “dramatic” looks in softer colours these days are super drapey. It is very tough to find clothes that combine the structure with the colour.)

    I’ve decided that I can rescue my new tunic for a season with some careful styling, so all is not lost.

    Especially since I’ve learned an important lesson.

    What I’m beginning to think is that with this combination, I may need to find someone to MAKE my clothes.

    Thank you again for doing this and writing this piece. Your site is just a fund of careful analysis!

  44. Thoughtful & wonderful article, as always, Christine! Thank you, I always learn so much. I have been on the colour journey far longer than the style & I believe I’m a Dramatic True Summer (as in the Kibbe sense of Dramatic, not at ALL what I’d usually think of as a style personality, which I think of as more Lady Gage…guess this is a bit confusing, although there is obviously some overlap in the general feeling they both convey.)

    Anyway, thank you so much for this article & Polyvore, because it’s so helpful to see a picture. I could see everything working for me & am inspired to know which clothes can work for my style as I’m getting clearer on being able to recognise them. It’s interesting you mention we are often drawn to the styles that are NOT truly us, and for me, until recently I always favoured flowy, frillier styles & curved necklines, despite having a straight, skinny & angular body type. I suppose it’s really the journey of getting to know & own who you truly are, both inside & out!

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