Because ‘Soft Gamines look more like teenage girls and Theatrical Romantics are more womanly’ is absurd, offensive, and ignorant – most importantly, simply not true. Let’s get into the real deal here. In this post you won’t find guessing and counting celebrity answers to the test – human body isn’t a piece of furniture to be dissected like this, piece by piece, analyzing every small feature and measuring it as if it was a geometry assignment, thinking ‘so is it A or C?’ Instead, I suggest looking at the overall shapes – Ying and Yang and how they combine for SG and TR ‘formulas’. In this post I’m using only Kibbe verified SG and TR examples.
Before I begin, let me say that I’m not a Kibbe system expert. I am a passionate researcher and the goal of my posts about Metamorphosis is to share my understanding of the system with those who is interested about learning and using it. Since David Kibbe doesn’t certify or officially approves anyone to practice his system and/or offer typings (determining image identities), it goes without saying that the only expert is he himself when it comes to typing other people and theory behind his system. Besides, everyone interested in his system can become their own personal experts and use this system. You are free to study his system any way you prefer, but it’s my duty as a Kibbe’s system researcher to let you know that there’s a Facebook group called ‘Strictly Kibbe’ where David Kibbe himself explains his system. I’m simply informing you about it and if you choose to join it, there’s no way of knowing if your expectations will be met. In my posts about Kibbe’s image identities (aka Metamorphosis) I follow the theory David Kibbe highlighs in his book Metamorphosis (1987) the way I understand it. My goal is to share my own findings with everyone who wants to learn and use this system. I don’t offer typings (goes without saying – the reason is mentioned above) and always make sure that whatever I post goes in line with how David Kibbe himself presents his system. David Kibbe Official Website.
How are Soft Gamine and Theatrical Romantic similar?
- both compact, petite, delicate
- both have short vertical line
- both have Yin as a dominating feature, but in different ‘amounts’
- both can have hourglass shape
- the recommendations about outfits are similar in many ways, e.g. tapered pants that showcase the ankle, soft fabrics, defined waist, feminine shoes with tapered toe and heel, and both are recommended to avoid unconstructed, wide silhouettes.
Now let’s take a look at differences. I find it curious that it’s never addressed anywhere (especially by those self-proclaimed fake ‘experts’ who claim to understand Kibbe system and offer paid typings via the Internet) that the 1987 book Metamorphosis contains a whole section dedicated to this question – how to tell different image identities apart, and it specifically includes SG vs TR. Here’s what David Kibbe says:
Soft Gamine. Body has more pronounced curves. Hands and feet are fleshier. Bone structure is slightly wider. Eyes are big and round, lips are very full and cheeks are ‘apple-shaped.’Metamorphosis (1987) by David Kibbe, p.48
Theatrical Romantic. Body has smaller, narrower curves. Hands and feet are narrower, more ‘birdlike.’ Bone structure is narrower. Eyes are round but slanted at the edge. Lips are round but less full. Cheekbones are more pronounced.
Relying on this information we already can draw certain conclusions about how SG and TR differ: SG has additional width and more pronounced curves, while TR has trim curves, and is more narrow and delicate.
Yin and Yang
To understand how SG and TR differ, we need to take a look at the ‘amounts’ of Yin and Yang in these image identities. SG is 50:50 Yin and Yang, but with an extra Yin. TR is almost all Yin, but with a tiny bit of Yang. Simply from this fact we can conclude that Yang in SG is always noticeable because it’s an underlying defining feature, while in TR it’s more like a ‘cherry on top’ – it’s in the delicate sharpness, yet the shape is still very short and very narrow.
How do you see Yang in a SG? Yang in Kibbe system signifies angularity, elongation, and width. In a SG, there has to be some angularity – it can be angular shoulders. A SG can also have a little bit of elongation somewhere (for instance, a bit elongated limbs), and width compared to a TR. They won’t be wide like in tall image IDs (e.g. FN), but still noticeably angular in a delicate way. Compared to a TR, a SG bone structure will be a bit ‘stronger’ and not so delicate, yet rather narrow compared to such image identities as SN or R. Here’s a collage with all verified Kibbe Soft Gamines – feel free to show it to anyone who is still under the wrong impression that Soft Gamines are ‘girly looking’ 😊 – click on the image to enlarge it in a new tab:
How do you see Yang in a TR? TR image identity implies rounded yet delicate features. The Yang in a TR comes from slight sharpness, which is only a small amount compared to the amount of Yin in this image identity. The concept of sharpness in Kibbe system might be one of the most difficult to explain, but essentially it’s bones that are visibly prominent. In a TR, they are delicate (meaning short), yet they are still prominent in a way. Examples: bony shoulders (e.g. Morgan Fairchild), narrow and a tiny bit pointy nose (e.g. Vivien Leigh), a small triangular chin (e.g. Joan Collins).
Essential: remember that these features are still very delicate! These aren’t very prominent features that are signature for that person (e.g. Barbra Straisand’s nose shape, Olivia Wilde’s jawline). Why? This is because prominent features are larger features that typically belong to other image identities, but don’t ‘fit’ in the overall delicateness of a TR. Same goes for narrow eyes and very thin, straight lips with no volume to them (e.g. Tilda Swinton) – such features would be too Yang (sharp) for an extremely Yin-dominant image ID like TR. Here’s a collage with all verified Kibbe Theatrical Romantics – click on the image to enlarge it in a new tab:
Soft Gamine vs Theatrical Romantic Detailed Examples
I’ll be comparing verified SG and TR examples from the book – Victoria Principal and Morgan Brittany. These actresses starred in the show Dallas in the 1970s-1980s, and you’ll best be able to see their different image identity features in videos where they are alongside one another, but I wasn’t able to find a video available for free online, so I’ll include screenshots for you here (this is episode 143).
!!! Note that Victoria Principal is 168cm tall and Morgan Brittany is 163cm tall – in the screenshots Morgan Brittany is wearing huge heels – hence the height difference!!!
What’s the difference? Take a look at the shoulders of these ladies – Morgan has very narrow shoulders, her arms are narrow and hands are very small. Take a look even at the width of her elbows and wrists – everything about her says ‘delicate’, including facial features. Her shape isn’t lushly curved – she’s narrow and trim.
Victoria Principal, on the other hand, has noticeably angular shoulders and more lush curves. Probably ‘curves’ is the first thing that comes to mind looking at her, then you notice her elongated limbs and slightly angular shoulders.
Note that a SG won’t necessarily have elongation – their Yang usually comes from a delicately angular frame. The shoulders are usually square or tapered. A TR will have narrow, very delicate shoulders. A SG is ‘slightly broad and angular’ and TR is ‘trim and smallish’ (Kibbe, D. Metamorphosis, pp. 37, 46).
Here they are together:
Victoria’s facial features are wider, while Morgan’s – smaller, rounder, but very delicate. By the way, on this picture you can see their real height difference.
Here’s Morgan next to another verified TR Morgan Fairchild:
Narrow cheekbones (in the test would be answer D), small noses, rounded yet not so plump lips, narrow jawlines, large and slightly upturned eyes. I highly suggest you do a bit of Google image search of these three celebrities – you’ll be able to easily identify these features!
And a quick example of a TR (Morgan Fairchild on the left) next to a Romantic (Emma Samms) – the features of a TR are smaller, more delicate, not at all wide:
It’s interesting how in this pictuer the hairstyles of these ladies speak volumes. Emma Samms follows her natural roundness and has a rounded, soft hairstyle, that looks beautiful on her. A delicate TR with small rounded features Morgan Fairchild picks a crazy angular and spiky hair that looks more like a wig than her real hair because it goes against her features, against her Yin-dominated shape.
And here’s a photo of a SG Debbie Reynolds (on the right) and a TR Ann Margret (in black lace dress) – you can see how Debbie has a bit wider features (cheekbones, nose, shoulders), and yet both ladies are petite and delicate:
What to Wear If You’re Not Sure?
As I’ve mentioned earlier, the suggestions for SG and TR are somewhat similar due to the similarities that these image identities share:
- silhouette that is close to the body as opposed to unconstructed and wide – to honor the delicate bone structure
- small details – to honor small features
- soft fabrics and draping – to honor extra Yin (curves, softness, roundness)
However, SG has much more Yang, which in outfit translates to crisp details, high or closed necklines, small crisp rounded shapes, contrasting trim, tapered toe in shoes (for TR classic pointed toe pumps are too angular and harsh). David Kibbe says about Soft Gamines: ‘remember that you’re a Gamine first and foremost!’ meaning that the Yang element in outfits is essential for building wardrobe. For TR, the Yang element is, as David Kibbe says in the book, ‘expressed in strategic tapering and sharp shoulders’ – the outfits need to be Yin overall, but have certain sharpness as opposed to flowy, wide, and soft.
Everyone’s Yin and Yang balance has to be evaluated individually, but at the same time the rule of thumb here would be: If you see delicately broad angularity (esp. in shoulders), or maybe a little bit of elongation and/or lush, yet still compact curves, it’s not a TR. It would contradict the very definition of a TR: delicate, trim, smallish, and narrow. SG is also petite and their curves will be overall not wide (for instance, compared to Romantics), their bone structure is still delicate (for instance, comapared to SN).
Any SG will definitely have delicately broad angularity, and may have elongation and/or width somewhere. A SG won’t be tall – being tall means having Yang as a very dominant force, which makes a person Yang-dominant. The first thing you see in a SG won’t be the tallness – it’ll be their petiteness, compact stature, and curves with a little bit of extra angularity. Where can this angularity show? According to the book, in shoulders, cheekbones, and jawline. Hands and feet can be a bit square, but still small and delicate (Kibbe, D., Metamorphosis, p.47). A TR won’t have broad angularity – their shape is narrow and small.
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