For an introduction to the Sew Your Kibbe Series, please see this post. The posts in this series are intended to be a well researched and thorough investigation of the Kibbe style recommendations, along with several example patterns for each “level of dress.” The posts in this series will be picture heavy and quite lengthy. As always, you may want some tea.
In last week’s post we learned about about Kibbe’s Soft Classic, a style type that has the minimalist Classic lines, but with a hint of Romantic softness. This week we will look at the first Gamine subtype, Flamboyant Gamine. Flamboyant Gamine is the result when the mix of features are both yin and yang, but with slightly more yang. Kibbe’s Flamboyant Gamine is described as being “Sassy Chic.” You can read more about Kibbe’s Flamboyant Gamine here.
Body Type Characteristics
The following are Kibbe’s descriptions of a Flamboyant Gamine Body Type:
FLAMBOYANT GAMINE PHYSICAL PROFILE
NOTE: The following information should be taken as a broad outline of what makes a Flamboyant Gamine. It is the overall combination of a combination of opposites/extra Yang on the Yin/Yang scale (smallish, broadly angular physicality, along with a youthfully bold and brassy essence) that creates this Image Identity category. Therefore, slight deviation here or there is always possible and should not be worried over if it does not upset your Yin/Yang balance. Height: 5 feet 6 inches and under. Bone structure: Broadly angular. Square shoulders. Slightly wide bones. Large hands and feet, in proportion to height (if very petite, hands and feet tend to be short, but wide and square). Slightly sharp or broad facial contours (nose, jawline, cheekbones). Arms and legs may be long, in proportion to height (if very petite, they appear to be slightly squarish). Facial contours tend to be broad (nose, cheekbones, jawline). Body type: Very defined musculature (unless overweight). Lean and strong. Straight lines (flat bustline and hips) unless overweight. Tendency toward a leggy look (coltish). Facial features: Usually have extremely large eyes. Usually have a broad or long facial shape (may be very round or slightly oblong). Facial flesh tends to be taut, unless overweight. Lips are frequently moderate to full. Hair: Any type of hair is possible, but texture tend to be extreme: either very fine and straight or very thick and wavy/curly. Coloring: Any type of coloring is possible (warm or cool), but Flamboyant Gamines tend to be distinctive – very fair, very fiery or very vivid. If overweight: Body tends to become stocky and square. Excess weight usually collects from the waist down, rarely above. Arms and legs tend to become thick, as does the waist and hip area. Face may become very puffy and fleshy. A Flamboyant Gamine will not:
Have extremely exotic facial characteristics (except for extremely large eyes).
Have a delicate bone structure with small hands and feet (in proportion to height).
Have an hourglass figure with a waspish waist and curvy hips and bustline (even when overweight, the bone structure gives a more squarish shape).
Be symmetrical, in body type or facial features.
The following are Kibbe’s recommendations regarding the clothing and style choices that best suit his Flamboyant Gamine image ID. The following recommendations will be taken into consideration for each garment type listed below:
SHAPE: Asymmetrics and irregular shapes. Short and wide geometrics with sharp or soft edges. Chunky, boxy shapes. Sculpted shapes. Note: A mixture of opposite types of shapes works well for you. It provides electricity in your appearance. Always work with a narrow base and add an opposite shape for contrast.
Avoid: Delicate, intricate shapes. Symmetrical, even shapes. Ornate shapes (unless they are very irregular and witty).
LINE AND SILHOUETTE: Broken, staccato silhouettes. Broken boxy outlines. Sharply outlined edges. Severely straight lines or softly straight lines. Draped or flowing lines may be used when they are very elongated on the body and worn with a separate (either on top or bottom) that is opposite (sharp)-this breaks the vertical. Note: An opposite use of line works best for you. Make your foundation from skinny, narrow, and clingy silhouette. On top of this, add irregular or asymmetric lines in a staccato, broken fashion.
Avoid: All unbroken silhouettes. Shapeless silhouettes. Intricate, delicate, and ornate lines. Overly draped, flowing lines. Symmetrical outlines.
FABRIC: Fabric should be lightweight to moderate, with a slight crispness. The lighter the fabric weight, the more tailored or clingy it should be. Very rough or heavy fabric may definitely be worn in jackets, or other separates, as long as it is combined with an opposite texture (for example, a skinny ribbed knit) to break up the bulk. Matte- and dull-finished fabric is generally best for the dominant part of your silhouette; however, combining an ultra shiny surface in a separate to work with this is excellent. In the evening, your best sheens are found in hard-edged fabrics, metallics, and stiff fabrics (brocades, heavy satins, sequins, beading, etc.). All textures are excellent on you, as are rough-surfaced fabrics, and all woven fabrics. Knits and stretch fabrics are especially good, although the skinner and more ribbed knits need to be sculpted into shape by the construction of the garment (skinny stirrup pants, body stockings, etc.). Thick, heavy, or bulky knits are excellent when used in cropped separates, such as vests, sweaters, jackets, etc. Keep these short, unless you combine them with something very clingy on the bottom (such as an oversized sweater worn over brightly patterned tights.
Avoid: Overly delicate, flimsy, and ultra sheer fabrics. Heavy, stiff, and bulky fabrics that are not broken up by an opposite separate.
DETAIL: Use a profusion of angular, sculpted detail that is ultracolorful and irregular or asymmetrical! This is the area that showcases your intelligence, your sophistication, and your wit! Shoulders should always be defined; pads are a must. You may go for an extended, sharp shoulder, or a very streamlined, rounded shoulder (sculpted, not gathered).Necklines should be geometric, asymmetric, or irregular. They may be very high and sculpted (Mandarin, Nehru, turtleneck) or low and plunging. Keep them cleanly shaped, without ornateness. Bodice detail should be sharp-edged (pleats, plackets, epaulets, etc.), and is best kept slightly oversized, as opposed to small. (Avoid intricate tucks and gathers.) Asymmetric detail is best. Contrasting trim is excellent (collars, cuffs, piping, buttons, etc.) as long as it is bold, not delicate. Lapels should be sharp and defined, wide and notched, or clean and sculpted-but not delicate and fussy. The waist should be slightly dropped or slightly bloused over. It may be eliminated in very clingy, skinny styles that reveal the shape of the body underneath. Dropped-waist trim (sashes, ropes, bold detail, etc.) is always stunning as long as it is asymmetric and not overly fussy or flouncy. Pleats are rarely effective and should be kept low and stitched down. Hemlines can be any length depending on the top (the skirt is always opposite the top in style), although shorter is most effective.
Avoid: Symmetrical, plain detail. Overly intricate, ornate, or fussy detail. Wide, unconstructed detail. Wide, unconstructed detail. Elongated detail that is not broken up. Minimal detail.
SEPARATES: An obvious use of separates is very effective in keeping your freshness, energy, and vitality visible. Be sure to work with opposing shapes, vibrant colors, and electric patterns. Mixing textures, prints, colors, and detail is a most exciting and elegant way to showcase your vibrancy.
Avoid: Monochromatic and blended looks.
COLOR: Your use of color should be electric, bold, and vibrant. Wild color combinations that no one else would dream of using are ultra fresh and sophisticated on you. Multicolored splashes played against a very light or very dark background are equally exciting. Always animate your look by breaking up your silhouette with lots of colorful accents. If you use one primary shade for the base of an outfit, then accent with a variety of bold and bright touches or else you’ll lose the dynamic energy that is your most appealing asset. Sharp color contrast is excellent. Be highly original with your color choices and combinations.
Avoid: One long line of any color. Monochromatic color schemes. Overly blended pastels (unless they are well-accented or crisply defined in patterns). Neutrals, unless they are heavily accented.
PRINTS: Prints should be bold and animated. Asymmetric and irregular patterns and shapes are best, as is sharp color contrast for crisp definition of shape. Highly original and unique prints are good, as are avant-garde prints. Mix opposing prints together using color as the key to continuity. Use your vibrant sense of humor in choosing prints. Opt for a bit of the zany here. It will clearly express your unique approach to life in the most attractive manner imaginable! Size should be moderate to large.
Avoid: Overly blended watercolor prints. Small, symmetrical prints. Florals (unless they are absolutely wild and contemporary.
ACCESSORIES: Your accessories should be cleanly sculpted and in angular shapes that veer to the asymmetric or irregular. When you use trim, it should be highly original, either avant-garde or slightly off-beat.
Shoes: Should be angular and irregular in shape. Slightly chunky in style. Low, triangular heels or very straight, high heels. Asymmetrical flats. Brightly colored or pattered styles for fun!
Bags: Should be angular and asymmetric in shape (triangles, squares, skinny rectangles, boxes, etc.) Should be crisp leather, stiff and flat. Wild patterns, bright colors, and unusual fabrics are very chic. Constructed briefcases (with frame).
Avoid: Small, rounded bags with delicate straps or ornate trim. Oversized, unconstructed bags. Moderate, symmetrical pocketbooks with a frame and handle. Collapsible briefcases.
Belts: Belts should be wide and stiff or streamlined and sculpted. Bright colors, patterns, and unique fabrics. Crisp, stiff leather. Unusual buckles (asymmetric).
Hats: Hats should be small and crisp in irregularly sculpted geometric or asymmetrical shapes. Crisp ethnic caps are excellent (berets, Nehru, Spanish, etc.)
Avoid: Oversized, unconstructed, and floppy styles. Delicate, ornate styles.
Hosiery: You can wear any type of hosiery as long as it breaks your vertical line, instead of blending with the shoe and hemline. This can be accomplished by contrasting colors with your hem and shoes, by adding texture to the stocking (geometrics, herringbones, asymmetrics, etc.), or by wearing wildly patterned stockings for fun! Ultrasheer stockings are best kept for evening, when they get very sparkly and silky. Daytime, it’s opaques for you-they’re fresh and sophisticated while at the same time within the context of your highly creative look! Flesh-toned stockings are effective with very bare outfits, particular in the summertime.
Avoid: Blending your stockings/hemline/shoe color together.
Jewelry: Jewelry is one of your most essential accessories. It adds both the sophistication as well as the wit to your look. The effect may be either elegantly avant-garde or funky and zany, whichever you choose. Shapes are chunky, asymmetrical, and irregular. Lots of sculpted metal is excellent, as are brightly enameled surfaces and colored glass. Wild costume jewelry is electric on you, but keep it very contemporary in feeling. If you have a love of antique, go for the art deco era of sleek streamlined pieces instead of the intricate Victorian or art nouveau pieces. Lots of vibrant color, sparkle, or the gleam of polished metal pull your look together.
Avoid: Overly delicate or intricate pieces. Heavy ethnic pieces (unless they are contemporary works of art, very sculpted in effect). Small, symmetrical pieces. Dangly, glittery pieces.
For the individual garment types, obviously, I will be focusing on the lines of the garment, as fabric and color choices would easily be controlled by the home sewer. It’s nice that he included a long list of acceptable fabrics though!
Jackets: Jackets should be short and boxy, emphasizing a cropped and horizontal line. The shoulders should be extended, either very sharp and crisp or a streamlined, sculpted curve. The length should be from the bottom of the rib cage to the top of the hips. A longer jacket is occasionally possible, but only when worn as a separate over a very skinny bottom or extra short skirt (or cropped pants). A jacket that is fitted through the waist is also a good choice, as long as the shoulders are extra padded and it ends at the top of the hips. Again, the shape for the jacket is sculpted, asymmetrical, and irregular. Contrasting trim is excellent, as is all angular detail (sharp lapels, piping, plackets, etc.).
Avoid: Long jackets that hide the body. Standard tailored styles (blazers). Symmetrical jackets. Oversized, unconstructed jackets.
Coats – Level 1: For all of the coats and jackets I focused on the boxy shape and cropped horizontal line. I think we can see a little leeway in the coats section, but the shapes are still comparatively cropped and boxy, especially when compared with the other style IDs.
Coats – Level 2: The Level 2 coats are a bit more tailored, and rely a bit on using finer fabrics to elevate the boxy, cropped style.
Coats – Level 3: For the Level 3 coats, I tried to find something that would add an air of drama, but I didn’t do that well in my own pattern stash. I do think these styles could be good over a formal gown though.
Jackets – Level 1: The level 1 jackets are all fairly cropped, but a little less boxy. They all have some interesting detail, though perhaps not quite so much sharpness as in Levels 2 and 3.
Jackets – Level 2: For Level 2, the sharpness of details comes from more traditional tailoring elements, which read as a more elevated style.
Jackets – Level 3: Most of these styles could easily go in Level 2, but they also work nicely with shiny fabric to get that Level 3 formality.
Skirts: Your basic straight skirt should be short and slim, either severely tailored or sculpted into a clean taper at the hemline. This hemline should end no lower than mid knee (higher for fun, funky styles). A long, straight skirt may be worn if it tapers at the knee slightly and then flares out very subtly (not into a trumpet, that’s too much flounce). Then, there will be a slit, probably in the back. Pleated skirts are okay as long as the pleats are stitched down through the hip area. This has an uneven hemline, and will be longer (mid calf). Bias-cut skirts may also be worn as long as they are very narrow and close to the body. This also has an uneven hemline, and is worn to the mid-calf area. Asymmetrical hems are always excellent, even in evening wear, and long gowns should be fairly sort (showing the ankle). Dropped-waist detail is stunning as long as it is asymmetric and never flouncy or fussy!
Avoid: Traditional symmetrical styles (A-lines). Wide, unconstructed styles. Full, flowing styles. Deep gathers and soft folds. Sharp pleats that are not stitched down through the hips. Bouffant skirts.
Level 1: For the Flamboyant Gamine level 1 looks, it is the combination of details and fabric that make the skirt read as more casual.
Level 2: The level 2 styles could more easily be incorporated into an office or date night look because the details read slightly more formal.
Level 3: For the Level 3 looks I focused more on Kibbe’s recommendations for longer, softer, but still slim, bias cutes with asymmetric hems.
Pants: Pants should be boldly man-tailored, in heavy fabric with deep pleats, plackets, and cuffs. They should be short, showing the ankle. Pants may also be cropped as short as you want. Skin-tight pants (stirrups, spandex, ribbed, etc.) are also excellent on you.
Avoid: Wide, unconstructed styles that are shapeless. Symmetrically tailored styles. Draped, clingy slacks that are gathered at the waist and tapered gently at the ankle.
Level 1: Since all of the styles are supposed to be cropped above the ankle, the shorter styles seemed to fit more into the casual category, though I think this is one section where fabric choice may have the most impact on determining formality.
Level 2: The Level 2 styles have a bit more man-tailoring detail and a bit less skin-tight fit.
Level 3: The fancier styles don’t really have many features that are different from Levels 1 or 2, but they are shown in fancy fabrics, so I included them here.
Blouses: Blouses should be narrow, sculpted, and clean with simple necklines and geometric trim. Fabric should be of moderate weight and slightly crisp or flat, and should either be matte finished or ultrashiny (charmeuse). Any asymmetrical detail is excellent.
Avoid: Frilly blouses. Ultraclingy blouses. Symmetrically traditional styles.
Level 1: The level 1 styles tend to be a bit less detailed but keep the clean, simple shape.
Level 2: Level 2 styles have a bit more tailoring and elevated styling.
Level 3: The Level 3 styles all slightly break the recommendations, but I think they would result in an overall fancy Flamboyant Gamine look.
Sweaters: Sweaters should have a sculpted shape, in skinny ribbed knits, or be heavy and bulky, worn in shorter cropped styles that are body hugging. Patterns should be bold and geometric with irregular shapes. Animated patterns are excellent as are highly original styling and details that show your wit and humor to advantage. Shoulder pads should always be worn in sweaters-the sculpted curved shapes in the skinny knits, the over-sized sharp shapes in the bulkier cropped styles.
Avoid: Traditional symmetrical styles (crew-necked shetlands, cardigans).
Level 1: The sweaters in tis level give off a very casual feel.
Level 2: The level 2 looks will work better for a more formal occasion.
Level 3: I couldn’t find a lot of knots with a sculpted style, but I think that looking for bolero style jackets that could work in a knit would be good for this category:
Dresses: Dresses should be sculpted, tailored, and short. Narrow styles that are cut close to the body. Sharply extended or streamlined curves at the shoulders. Asymmetric detail and contrasting trim are both excellent touches. Waists should usually be lowered, but a wide stiff belt in a contrasting color could also be used. Hemlines are short if the skirt is straight, longer if the skirt is uneven. Blouson styles with a dropped waist are also good. Fabric should be of moderate to light weight to always reveal your shape. Ribbed-knit dresses that sculpt to the contours of the body are excellent. Asymmetrical hemlines and dropped waist detail are very chic.
Level 1: Flamboyant Gamines have a lot of options for the shape of the dress, and we see lots of styles and silhouettes in all levels. The casual looks all tend to stick with more moderate weight fabrications.
Level 2: Flamboyant Gamine looks can go very wild, but I think most of these looks could work in a more subdued fabrication for a work-appropriate style. The more fun/funky styles will be great for parties or events where the casual styles would be, well, too casual.
Level 3: As with the skirts, the level 3 styles have a bit more flow and focus on the more special recommendations like “blouson” styles and dresses with longer hemlines. The softer styles would be a bit more of a “fashion risk” – they may work more or less depending on what combination of yin and yang elements a particular Flamboyant Gamine has, but I thought they were worth included as options.
Evening Wear: Narrow shapes with geometric edges. Smooth fabric. Hard-edged metallics. Beading. Crisp, tailored, and colorful trim. Asymmetrical hemlines. Playful accessories. Slinky gowns with broad shoulders. Sleek sheaths that are very bare. Dropped-waist dresses with shoulder emphasis. Flapper-style cocktail dresses. Short-jacketed pants outfits (cropped, beaded jackets, wide legged satin pajamas pants, etc.). Evening separates (blouses, pants, slinky skirts, etc.) with glitzy trim.
I focused on finding evening gowns for this section, as longer styles don’t really work in the regular dress recommendations as well. Flapper styles can be seen in Level 3 dresses, and the suits could be makde with a combination of Level 3 looks from the pants, blouses, and jackets sections. But now let’s look at gowns – there are a few really fun ones!
Another style ID down! There are certainly a lot of fun styles for Flamboyant Gamines; I can understand why this tends to be one of the most popular IDs. I tried really hard not to fall into the trap of only looking for stereotypical designs. Yes, I did include a lot of color blocked styles, because they do all work with the recommendations, and because we’ve had a lot of really great color blocked patterns come out the past several years. However, I also tried to find a lot of styles that included the geometric breaks Kibbe suggests using other sewing techniques like pleating, tucks, or top stitching. I also tried to offer a variety of silhouettes as best I could, though Kibbe is pretty specific about which garments need to be fitted and which need to be more boxy for this type. As with all Gamine types, the combination of yin and yang elements is random, so it can be hard to say which styles might suit a particular individual better.
I also think the Flamboyant Gamine style ID has a lot of room to create personal expression. This is likely what created the stereotype that Flamboyant Gamines are “more fun” than other style IDs. And while I have to agree that they can get away with eye catching prints and bold shapes more easily than many of the the other IDs, I think that every ID can look “more fun” or “more serious” within their own recommendations. Merriam Style did a great video exploring this topic. Essentially, you have to consider everything in terms of scale. A Flamboyant Gamine can go very “large scale” in term of detail. Very boldly detailed styles don’t look overly detailed on them, they look normal. “Normal” detail on a Gamine would be “too much” on a Classic. That’s why any addition of simple detail or print or accessory can really make a Classic outfit look “fun,” whereas a Flamboyant Gamine has to go all out to create the “fun” vibe. When comparing style lines on paper one might look “more fun” but when comparing them on people the overall image is more important. Because the Flamboyant Gamine has to go so bold to create the “fun” impression the style is often seen as being all out wild, but I also think there is plenty of room to be a sophisticated Flamboyant Gamine, or a relaxed one, or an artistic one. The ways to achieve personal style are possibly a bit more clear in this style ID because the visual impact of the examples is more wide ranging, but I think adding personality to style is possible with all IDs.
On a personal note, I had the hardest time finding non-Burda and Plus size examples for this ID. I think Burda has some great options in the regular size ranges for Flamboyant Gamines, but the Plus styles really seem designed for Natural and Soft Dramatic ladies. Which sort of makes sense from an “ease of drafting for larger sizes perspective” (which I don’t have enough knowledge to comment on really but I’ve heard this as an explanation in the past), but doesn’t offer a lot of help to plus sized Flamboyant Gamines in the audience. And since Flamboyant Gamine is the antithesis of what actually looks good on me, I don’t have a ton of examples from other pattern companies to include. I probably should have gone surfing the internet for other pattern examples, but part of my personal conditions for writing this series was to draw styles from my own stash because otherwise I’d spend waaaaaaay too long on these posts. Which I am as is, but I didn’t want to add to the exertion. I’m really wondering if there might be a lot more options for plus sized Flamboyant Gamines in the indie sphere? Definitely something to explore in upcoming Kibbe related posts that will look at other options for patterns and styles.
Also, the astute of you may have noticed that I am pulling styles form my own stash, which is partly why some styles show up a lot. Though I think they also show up a lot because they work for many style ID recommendations. And, yes, yes, the fact that I can pull this many styles for each type from my own stash is a bit insane. Possibly speaks to the fact that I had absolutely no sense of personal style growing up. And I sort of still don’t, which is why this series is so helpful to me. Probably also speaks to the fact that I buy way to many patterns from sales at Jo-Ann when I also get Burda Magazine every month. This series is sort of helping me curb that though. Not the Burdas, but buying everything that looks cool. I’m trying to narrow it to stuff that looks cool and works for me or my sister. Baby steps, you know. Baby steps.
Coming Next Week: We’re ready to move on to our second of the two Gamine subtypes next week. This week we saw how adding a bit extra yang influenced the Gamine’s mix of yin and yang elements, so the contrast when we add a bit more yin should be very helpful for making comparisons within the realm of Gamine-ness. Tune in next week when we explore Kibbe’s Soft Gamine!