The following test is a comprehensive, guided version (another way to say this would be - very long) of the original test published in David Kibbe's 1987 (out-of-print) book Metamorphosis.
How To Approach This Test
The best way to perform the test is by taking a picture of yourself in a swimsuit or underwear. Make sure you are standing straight and that the camera is around chest-level. You need a straight shot of your body.
Next, you will need a piece of paper to record your answers. You need to do this accurately because the test is divided into three different sections (Bone Structure, Body Flesh, and Facial Features) and you will need to tally your answers by section.
Record your answers like this:
- Bone Structure: 1A 2C
- Body Flesh: 5E 2D
- Facial Features: 5E 2D
What You Need To Know Before Taking The Test
The test answers are divided into Yin and Yang families. You will find that answers A and B are Yang dominant, while answers D and E are Yin dominant. This means the former are sharper, more angular looking, and the latter are softer, more round looking. Answer C is a blend of Yin and Yang. If you don't strongly identify with either A/B or D/E, select C. [Note: Some of the questions will have their answers listed in the Yang, Yin order.]
When answering the questions, select the answer that best describes your body even if it doesn't match perfectly. We are looking for an overall pattern. Hence, a few deviating answers here and there will not change your type.
Make sure that you clearly understand each answer. Every answer has a number of images, so study these thoroughly and try to understand what it is that makes up an answer rather than simply selecting the one that looks most like you.
So without further ado, let's get into the test.
Part 1: Bone Structure
The first section covers your body's bone structure. This is not to be confused with the flesh on your bones. Regardless of whether you are heavy or thin, your bone structure is not subject to fluctuations in weight.
This is the most important section and will almost always determine your Kibbe body type. This is because your bone structure dictates how clothes hang on your body.
1. How long is your vertical line?
Your vertical line is your height but in relation to your horizontal proportions. In other words, it's not how tall you are, but how tall you look.
Two people can measure the same height in inches, but one can appear taller than the other. (Mind, this is not when they stand next to each other, but when looked at individually). If you have a long vertical line, you will appear taller than you actually are. And if you have a short vertical line, you will appear shorter than you actually are.
You can see this at play below. Look at the two images individually. Angelina Jolie, on the left, looks like she is pretty tall. If we were to guess her height, we would probably say she is taller than average. But when we look at Katy Perry, we would probably guess that she is average or shorter than average. In reality though, both ladies measure almost the exact same height in inches. But Angelina looks taller and Katy appears shorter.
So where does the difference come from? Angelina has a long vertical line, and Katy has a short vertical line. If you have a small head compared to the rest of your body, you will appear taller. This is even more true if you have wide shoulders. It's an optical effect: a small head stretches your appearance.
Vice versa, if you have a large head compared to the rest of your body and/or you have very narrow shoulders, you will appear shorter than you really are. In this case, the body is visually compressed from the top down.
How to answer this question:
Camera angles can distort vertical lines. You can make someone appear taller by taking a picture of them from a low angle pointing the camera upwards. And vice versa, by pointing your camera downwards and taking a picture from a high angle, you can make someone look shorter.
The same principle applies when someone else looks at you. Depending on their height, they will either look up at you from a low angle or look down on you from a high angle.
This is why it's important to take a picture of your body. Do not look at yourself in the mirror to guess your vertical line. You won't be looking from the right angle and neither will anyone else. So don't go and ask someone to guess your vertical line.
The best way to determine your vertical line is by taking a picture of yourself at chest-level. And then check if your head looks small or big in relation to the rest of your body.
My vertical line can best be described as:
B) Moderately long
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2. What shape are your shoulders?
Be aware of your posture when answering this question.
My shoulders can best be described as:
A) Narrow, sharp
B) Broad, blunt
D) Sloped, tapered
E) Sloped, rounded
C) Symmetrical, even
3. How long are your arms and legs and what shape are they?
Again, this question is not actually about how many inches your extremities measure, but how they appear in relation to the rest of your body. You might be petite, but your arms may be long in comparison to your torso. Or you might be very tall, but your legs are short for your torso.
How to answer this question:
When you are taking a chest-level picture of yourself, put your arms to the sides of your body. Then see how far down your thigh your fingertips end.
Make sure to relax your arms while doing this as stretching them out will make them appear longer than they are.
My arms and legs can best be described as:
A) Elongated, narrow
B) Elongated, broad
C) Moderate, even in proportion to my height and torso
D) Small, slightly short
E) Small, very short in proportion to my height and torso
4. What are the size and shape of your hands and feet?
My hands and feet can best be described as:
Part 2: Body Flesh
This section covers the flesh on the body. Note that body fat does not affect your answers. This is about the overall look of your flesh, skin and muscles.
Some people have very soft, fleshy, cheeks, even when thin. Others have very taut skin on their cheekbones, even when overweight.
5. What is the overall shape of your body?
Take another look at your photo. Is your figure more straight or more curvy?
The overall shape of my body can best be described as:
6. What shape is your bust line or upper torso?
Again, this question is unrelated to your weight. Please read the description for each answer.
The shape of my bust line can best be described as:
7. What shape is your waistline?
Answer this question in proportion to your bust and hips.
The shape of my waistline can best be described as:
8. What shape are your hips?
Like the last two questions, this question is in proportion to the rest of your body.
The shape of my hips can best be described as:
9. What best describes the flesh on your upper arms and thighs?
This question is not based on how much you work out. Do not select answer B just because you go to the gym. An answer B will always have muscular looking flesh regardless of whether they work out or not.
The best way to determine your answer is to pinch the flesh on your upper arms and thighs.
If you are thin but still have soft and squishy flesh, select answer D or E. If you are heavy, but the flesh in your arms and thighs is lean for your weight, choose answer A or B. If you feel you are somewhere in the middle, select answer C.
The flesh on my upper arms and thighs can best be described as:
A) Long, slender, sinewy
B) Elongated, tending towards muscular
D) Soft, slightly short
E) Very soft, slightly wide and fleshy
Part 3: Facial Features
The last section covers facial features. Again, it's best to take a straight picture of your face. Make sure that you aren’t wearing any makeup.
10. What shape is your jawline?
The best way to answer this question is by taking a straight picture of your face without smiling too much.
My jawline can best be described as:
C) Moderate, neither wide, sharp, nor rounded
11. What shape is your nose?
How would you describe your nose?
My nose can best be described as:
A) Sharp or prominent
B) Broad or blunt, on the large side
D) Delicate, tapered, narrow
E) Rounded or softly wide
12. What shape are your cheekbones?
This question is not about the overall appearance of your cheeks. It concerns only the cheekbones.
So ignore the flesh on your cheeks and look just at the shape of your cheekbones. You may need to feel the bones to get your answer.
My cheekbones can best be described as:
A) High and prominent
B) Broad or blunt, on the large side
D) Delicate, narrow, and slightly rounded
13. What shape are your eyes?
How would you describe your eyes?
My eyes can best be described as:
A) Narrow, straight, and closely spaced
B) Narrow, straight, and widely spaced
D) Rounded or upturned, slightly close together
E) Very round and very large
C) Evenly spaced, moderately wide
14. What shape are your lips?
How would you describe your lips?
My lips can best be described as:
A) Straight, narrow
B) Straight, strong, broad
D) Slightly full and rounded
E) Very full and very rounded
C) Moderate, even
15. What best describes the flesh on your cheekbones?
For this question, assess your cheeks when you smile and when keep your mouth relaxed. How does the flesh on your cheekbones feel?
The flesh on my cheekbones can best be described as:
A) Flat, taut
B) Fairly tight or muscular
D) Soft and fleshy
E) Very round and fleshy
C) Moderate, slightly soft
16. What best describes your hair?
This is the last question of the test, and it's also the least important one. If you haven't lost sight of the natural texture of your hair, answer it; otherwise, skip this question.
My hair can best be described as:
A) Extremely finely textured (silky-smooth), either straight or with a slight bend
B) Strongly textured (coarse, heavy), either thick and straight or wavy/curly
C) Moderate texture, slightly wavy or with a bend
D) Moderately thick, with a bend, wave, or curl
E) Extremely thick, with lots of wave and curl (with a soft surface)
Now it's time to tally up your answers and to determine your Kibbe archetype. Do this by section and look for the highest scoring letter in each one.
Mostly A Answers (Dramatic):
If you got mostly A answers under all sections, you are a pure Dramatic. Your bone structure, body flesh, and facial features are long, lean, sharp and defined by sharp yang.
If you got mostly A answers under bone structure, with a few E or D answers under body flesh and facial features, then you are a Soft Dramatic. Your bone structure and most of your body flesh and facial features are sharp yang dominant, but you have some Yin in your body flesh and/or facial features.
Mostly B Answers (Natural):
If you got mostly B answers under all sections, you are a pure Natural. Your body is elongated, broad, and blunt and is defined by Soft Yang.
If you got mostly B answers, with some A answers under bone structure, then you are a Flamboyant Natural. Your body flesh and facial features are probably broad and blunt, tending towards muscularity, but your bone structure is long and lean like a Dramatic.
If most of your answers are B under bone structure, with some D or E answers under body flesh and facial features, then you are a Soft Natural. Your body flesh and facial features tend towards petite or lush yin, but your bone structure is broad, blunt and elongated.
Mostly C Answers (Classic):
If you got mostly C answers under all sections, then you are a pure Classic. Your bone structure, body flesh, and facial features are blended - neither sharp nor rounded, and neither short nor long. You fall in the middle of yin/yang spectrum and your body type is balanced.
If most of your answers are C under body flesh and facial features, with a few A or B answers under bone structure, then you are a Dramatic Classic. Your body flesh and facial features are probably answer C dominant, but you have some yang in your bone structure.
If you got mostly C answers under bone structure, with a few D or E answers under body flesh and facial features, then you are a Soft Classic. Your bone structure is probably answer C dominant, but you have some additional yin in your body flesh and facial features.
Mostly D or E Answers (Romantic):
If you got mostly E answers under all sections, you are a pure Romantic. Your bone structure, body flesh, and facial features are all soft, small, rounded and characterised by lush yin.
If you got mostly D answers, or if most of your answers are E or D with a few A answers, then you are a Theatrical Romantic. Your bone structure, body flesh, and facial features aren't as soft and rounded as a pure Romantic's. Your bone structure, body flesh, and facial features are mostly soft and rounded (yin dominant), but you have a few yang features, probably in your bone structure or facial features.
Mixture of A/B answers and D/E answers
If you got an even mixture of opposite answers A/B and D/E, then you are a Gamine. This body type is a combination of yin and yang features. You can’t really say whether your overall bone structure, body flesh, and facial features are yin or yang because each feature is a different answer.
If you got an even mixture of opposite answers of A/B and D/E, but with slightly more A or B answers, then you are a Flamboyant Gamine. Your features are either pure yin or yang, but overall, you have a bit more angularity to your body.
If you got an even mixture of opposite answers from A/B and D/E, but with slightly more D or E answers, then you are a Soft Gamine. Your features fall on either side of the yin or yang spectrum, but overall, you have a bit more softness or roundness to your body, probably in your body flesh.
Next, we'll look at the 13 Kibbe Body Types in more detail to understand your result.