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 Gamine, a style type that was all about small, soft detail. This week we are looking at a style ID that has almost the opposite requirements, the Flamboyant Natural. The Flamboyant Natural subtype occurs when a Natural has a little extra sharpness to their features. Kibbe’s Flamboyant Natural is described as “Free Spirit Chic.” Although I think the Boho style is really a stereotype for Kibbe’s Naturals, it really fits in with the theme for a Flamboyant Natural! You can read more about Kibbe’s Flamboyant Natural here.
Body Type Characteristics
The following are Kibbe’s descriptions of a Flamboyant Natural Body Type:
FLAMBOYANT NATURAL PHYSICAL PROFILE
NOTE: The following information should be taken as a broad outline of what makes a Flamboyant Natural. It is the overall combination of the strong Yang with blunt edges (bold, strong physicality combined with a free spirit) 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: Moderate to very tall, usually 5 feet 5 inches and over. Bone structure: Large and angular with blunt edges. Broad and square bones. Wide shoulders. Long arms and legs. Large hands and feet (usually somewhat wide, but they may also be narrow, with long fingers and toes). Broad or prominent facial contours (nose, cheeks, jaw – blunt, not sharp). Body type: Straight and angular (broad, not sharp). Arms and legs tend toward musculature. Bust and hips tend to be flat or straight (unless very overweight). Facial features: Broad, blunt and open. Eyes may be very large and open or very straight and small. Lips will be straight and slightly thin. Cheeks will usually be taut, unless overweight. Hair: Tends toward extreme textures: either very straight and fine, or very thick and coarsely wavy/curly. Coloring: Any coloring is possible (warm or cool, high-contrast or blended), although Flamboyant Naturals tend to have skin that either freckles or suntans quite easily. If overweight: Body tends to become square and stocky, and the face becomes fleshy and puffy. Extreme excess weight will collect primarily from the waist down. A Flamboyant Natural will not:
Have a voluptuous body type with a curvy bust and hip-line
Have an hourglass figure
Have delicate facial features with small or sharp bones
Have exotic facial features
Be extremely petite
Be symmetrical in boy type, bone structure or facial features
Have a sharp or extremely narrow bone structure
The following are Kibbe’s recommendations regarding the clothing and style choices that best suit his Flamboyant Natural image ID. The following recommendations will be taken into consideration for each garment type listed below:
SHAPE: Bold geometrics with rounded edges. Oversized asymmetrics with rounded edges. Rectangles, oblongs, and irregular shapes.
Avoid: Sharp-edged geometrics. Ornate and intricate shapes. Symmetrical shapes.
LINE AND SILHOUETTE: Unconstructed silhouettes. Bold, sweeping lines –elongated and straight. Relaxed, unstructured outlines. Strong vertical and horizontal lines (T-shaped).
Avoid: Sharp, severe, or still silhouettes. Hourglass silhouettes. Symmetrical silhouettes. Sharply straight lines. Intricate, delicate lines.
FABRIC: Texture in all weights, from very light to very heavy, is the most exciting way to express yourself through fabric. A rough surface is always preferable to a flat surface. Very shiny fabrics are excellent for evening, if the weight is kept to the heavy side (stiff satins, brocades, metallics, etc). Daytime sheen should be in texture only (raw silk, shantung). All leathers, suedes, and plush fabrics are excellent. Draped fabrics must be ultrathick and heavy. Knits should be thick, rough, bulky, heavy, or ultraplush. Skinny and ribbed knits are possible in oversized garments. Loosely woven fabrics.
DETAIL: Detail should be bold, oversized, irregular, asymmetric, and relaxed. Shoulders should always be broad and extended, but not particularly sharp. Necklines should be loose and open, always unconfined (boatnecks, camisoles, simple slashes, oversized cowls, open notched collars, etc.). Waist should be elongated. A dropped waist does this best, although a “bloused-over” effect at the waist is also possible. Be very careful with waist emphasis. It is rarely helpful to you, even if your waist is small, because it destroys the strong, vertical line that is the core of your silhouette. Gathers, folds, sashes, etc., should be ultra deep and long–asymmetrical in shape, and low on the body–preferably from the hips down. Sleeves should be simple and straight, or very full and sweeping. They should always be unrestrictive to movement. Pleats should be soft, low, and deep (inverted or kick-style, or stitched down through the midsection). Trim should be bold, oversized, and asymmetrical or clean and minimal.
SEPARATES are extremely exciting on you and should make up the bulk of your wardrobe. A mix-and-match effect is excellent, but be careful always to maintain an elongated vertical line with strong shoulders as the basis of your ensemble. Artfully mixing textures is especially effective.
COLOR: Your use of color should be bold and vivid, with rich, vibrant tones the most exciting intensities for you. Wild and unusual color combinations express your free spirit most effectively, although rich neutrals in those lush textures you wear so well are also nice, particularly if you use vivid accents. Monochromatic schemes tend to be a little dull on you, although you may want to go with one major color that is accentuated by another bright shade.
Avoid: Multicolored splashes (too perky for you). Monochromatic schemes without vivid accessories. Dull colors unless they are executed in rich textures.
PRINTS should be bold and vivid, expressed in abstract geometrics, irregular shapes, or soft-edge asymmetrics. They should also have a blended edge as opposed to a sharp edge. Color combinations should be dramatically vivid, but the colors should fade into each other instead of being crisply defined. Wild animal prints, tropical prints, and any highly original motif that is both sophisticated and earthy, with a touch of wit, may all be used with ease.
Avoid: Sharp geometrics. Small symmetrical prints. Watercolor florals. Small, animated prints. Intricate or ornate prints.
ACCESSORIES: Accessories should be bold and angular with soft edges.
Shoes: Shoes tailored and angular, but have soft edges instead of sharp ones. Flats can be clean and simple or man-tailored and slightly funky. Evening sandals should be very bare.
Avoid: Overly delicate, strappy, and intricate shoes with trim. Plain pumps.
BAGS: Should be large and unconstructed or large and cleanly tailored. Metallic box-shaped bags are excellent for evening. briefcases should be moderate width to elegantly narrow, and have firm construction.
BELTS: Should be original and unique: sashes, ties, metallics, ropes, etc. Wide belts with extremely bold buckles (hand carved, asymmetric, etc) are possible.
Avoid: Small symmetrical belts. Antique, intricate belts.
HATS: Should be Oversized, bold, and unconstructed. Fur hats should be large and shaggy.
Avoid: Severe, man tailored styles. Small ornate styles. Crisp, perky hats.
HOSIERY: A flesh toned stocking is your best bet for daytime, suited looks. Colored stockings are funky on you and give a wild, free, casual effect. Ribbed stockings , all textures, and vivid opaque colors are all excellent for fun. To retain your strong vertical silhouette, be sure to pick up the stocking color elsewhere in your outfit and accessories when you use the “bright leg” look. Dark, sheer stockings are sexy in the evening on you, but they can seem overpowering during the day. Likewise, a light leg where the stocking and shoe are one or two shades lighter than the skirt can be elegant in a very special outfit (very “garden party”) but it can be too fussy for everyday wear, as it will be too matronly on you!
JEWELRY: Your jewelry is one of the most important elements of your entire look. It shows your sophistication as well as giving you the chance to express your creativity. Bold, heavy pieces are essential to you. Chunky shapes that are thick, rough, or asymmetric are always necessary. “Wearable art” that looks as if you picked it up at an expensive gallery, or on a journey overseas is excellent. (Anything that seems as though it was designed by an artists, or creatively crafted, falls into this category as well.) Your version of conservative jewelry is thick and chunky metal in irregular shapes or soft-edged geometrics. Your version of glamorous jewelry is wildly executed “faux jewel” pieces–very sophisticated works of art! Funky costume jewelry is fun for you, but it’s for your casual look. Just remember to keep it big and bold.
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: should be long, unconstructed and loose. Relaxed cuts with broad padded shoulders are best. Length should be from top of the thigh down (never shorter). Simple oversized detail is best: large lapels or no lapels, big roomy pockets, easy double-breasted styles (worn open).
Coats – Level 1: There are tons of Flamboyant Natural coat designs out in the home sewing pattern market. These styles tend to be really popular sorts of sewing designs because they are easy to fit and easy to construct.
Coats – Level 2: As the coats get a touch more formal we have a bit more crispness in the tailoring, though the silhouettes say fairly unconstructed.
Coats – Level 3: For the Level 3 styles I was very liberal with Kibbe’s definition of “loose” and found patterns that had a certain amount of movement and drama about them.
Jackets – Level 1: The Level 1 jackets are really more like lightweight coats because of the length requirements for the Flamboyant Natural.
Jackets – Level 2: The Level 2 styles have a bit more traditional tailoring and are a bit sleeker. Still relatively unconstructed, but not quite so loose as the Level 1 jackets.
Jackets – Level 3: The Level 3 looks all have just a hint of added tailoring or a bit of extra detail to make them feel fancier.
Skirts: Skirts should be long and straight but not severe. Oversized and full skirts with deep folds are possible, as long as they are extreme, wide in shape, and worn with big tops. Short straight skirts are fun and funky – again, worn with oversized tops. Slits, pockets, kick pleats, buttons, plackets, etc, are good, but any draping or shirring should be kept low and loose (from the hips down) and no detail should ever inhibit mobility. Hemlines are longish on straight skirts (except for funky minis, etc), and should fall at the top of the calf or longer. Hemlines on full skirts are uneven and should be very long (bottom of the calf is the minimum length).
Level 1: The Level 1 styles all have details or silhouettes that feel very casual.
Level 2: I think the Level 2 styles would pair well with the Level 2 jackets.
Level 3: The Level 3 styles all have a bit more detail than the previous styles.
Pants: Pants should be roomy and full. Man-tailored styles that are slightly wide and relaxed in construction. Deep pleats, full pockets, and wide, soft cuffs are excellent detail, as are pocket-flaps and plackets. Satiny evening pants that are wide and full are also excellent.
Avoid: Sharply tailored and fitted pants. Overly draped pants with tapered legs.
Level 1: The Level 1 styles all have details that read as very casual or a lack of detail to make a simple shape.
Level 2: The Level 2 styles get a touch more of the “man-tailoring” elements that Kibbe suggests.
Level 3: Kibbe recommends satiny evening pants, and there are certainly a lot of patterns for this style.
Blouses: Blouses should be roomy and full with simple detail and relaxed construction. Wide and horizontal cuts with clean necklines that are unrestricted are best. Camisoles are very useful under jackets.
Avoid: Severely tailored blouses. Overly fitted blouses. Overly ornate blouses with intricate or fussy detail. Blouses with high, stiff or constricted necklines.
Level 1: It’s pretty easy to find casual tops that fit Flamboyant Natural guidelines in the home sewing market; this is just a small selection.
Level 3: A lot of the Level 3 tops are camisoles that would work well under a fancy evening jacket, though there are a few tops that world work well on their own with nice trousers or a fancy skirt.
Sweaters: Sweaters should be long, roomy, and boldly cut. Thick, heavy, rough, or ultraplush knits are best. Longhaired or shaggy knits are also good. Patterns should be bold and oversized. Skinny knits should be extremely oversized. All sweaters should have shoulder pads.
Avoid: Lightweight, clingy knits. Fluffy knits. Cropped sweaters. Symmetrical, fitted styles such as crew-necked shetlands.
Level 1: The Level 1 sweaters are great for casual fall days for a Flamboyant Natural.
Level 2: The Level 2 styles are all a bit more detailed or a bit more form fitting, so they feel more appropriate for a more formal outfit or occasion.
Level 3: I picked patterns for Level 3 to gives ideas both for patterns and fabrications.
Dresses: Dresses should be bold and sweeping. Broad shoulders and an elongated waist (usually dropped) are best. They are relaxed in outline and shape, and may be either very narrow and slinky or wide and full cut. Shirring, draping, appliqué, etc., should be kept low and executed in bold, abstract patterns.
Avoid: Flouncy dresses with excess detail and ornate, fussy trim. Severely tailored dresses. Overly fitted dresses with crisp or animated detail.
Level 1: Since the silhouettes of the Flamboyant Natural dresses are all so sweeping and loosely constructed, strategic use of details and fabrics will determine level of dress.
Level 2: Level 2 looks are a bit more tailored, or a bit more intentional in their draping, but still with the bold, sweeping shapes.
Level 3: These styles are all a bit slinkier to emphasize the body a bit more to really add a more formal feel.
Evening Wear: Bold shapes with sweeping lines. Shoulder emphasis. Easy necklines. Bold prints. Glitzy fabric. Smooth fabric. Slightly plush fabric. Ultradrapable fabric (matte jersey, etc.) Either minimal detail or bold, broad detail. Broad-shoulder gowns with dropped waists. Widely cut, unconstructed gowns of draped fabric (matte jersey, silk, etc.). Evening pants ensembles (long, bed jackets with wide-legged satin pajama pants, etc.). Bare gowns with bold jewelry. Evening sarongs. Evening caftans. Evening sweater dresses with glitz.
Flamboyant Naturals have a lot of options when it comes to evening wear. I think we saw a lot of these styles in the Level 3 dress options, but I’ve found some even fancier styles that would work well for the most formal of events.
And that’s it! I actually had a lot more styles selected for Flamboyant Naturals, but whittled it down to showcase the best of the best. As I mentioned in my Naturals post, Burda loves a Natural silhouette, so I had a lot of examples from the magazine. I also I respond to bold, sweeping lines myself (similar to the Soft Dramatic lines I like so much), so I had a lot of non-Burda options as well.
When people talk about the “Natural” types, I think the default stereotype is Flamboyant Natural. The boho vibe definitely comes from these recommendations, as does the impression that naturals are tall, muscular, and not very curvy. I think this can cause a lot of confusion surrounding the three Natural types; while the broad, blunt bones and underlying muscularity are definitely features of the Flamboyant Natural type, there is still plenty of room for variability between all three Natural subtypes. And while the clothes do need to be loose and unconstructed to accommodate for the bone structure, I think there are plenty of examples in this post that show that this does not have to be the de facto look for anyone in this style ID. While Kibbe fully allows for use of bold prints, a Flamboyant Natural who wants a more classic look could easily opt for using bold color blocks in solid colors to create something that is more striking, still in keeping with their lines, but also not coming off as boho casual. Similarly, slight use of shirring detail is allowed, which would totally help create a more Romantic vibe if you wanted to go in that direction. There is a lot of room to play in this category; Flamboyant Naturals get to utilize separates and bold prints like a Gamine, but still have a clean simplicity from the silhouettes and style lines. I think that the overall line and silhouette is the most important aspect of a look for a Flamboyant Natural, whereas fabric choice and styling allows a lot of room for individualization and personality to come through.
On a personal note, I’m finding that I have a much better appreciation of the Flamboyant Natural style after doing this post. It was perhaps one of my least favorite IDs before I started this blog series, but now I’m sort of envious of the ultra relaxed style. You want to talk about secret pajamas? Flamboyant Naturals rock at secret pajamas. Plus, there are a lot of looks here that would be ridiculous on me (or, to be fair, on most people not in this style ID) – too large in scale, too wild, too much fabric. Flamboyant Naturals get to have this nonchalant, “yeah I just sort of woke up like this” kind of vibe that I think any of us could be envious about. Honestly though, doing these posts has really helped me appreciate a wider variety of styles and clothing options in a more intellectual way. I’ve also realized that my dislike for certain things comes from suspecting how they will look on me, which is great if I’m trying to discern what patterns I should sew, but not as helpful when I’m assessing new pattern releases in one of my blog reviews for the general reader. I’m finding I’m much more open minded looking at new pattern releases, though I have to admit I’ve started mentally categorizing them into Kibbe options. I know this series has changed how I look at fashion and style lines, but I think it ultimately has given me more tools to better visualize how sewing pattern styles will look on others as well.
Coming Next Week: We’ve almost made it! Next week will be our final style ID! Obviously the only subtype we have left is to see what happens when we add a little extra yin to the Natural type, so join me next week as we wrap up this portion of the Sew Your Kibbe series with a look at Kibbe’s Soft Natural!
21 thoughts on “Sew Your Kibbe: Flamboyant Natural”
I am loving these. I very much like the FN clothing but I am not sure I am tall enough to take the more voluminous pieces. Years ago on the old ‘Color Connection’ chat board we reckoned I was FN but maybe I’m just N (or even SN?). The flip side is I have some shorter fitted jackets which I never wear and suspect these should just get donated as they are no good for FN or N.
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I’m also realizing there are clothes I don’t wear, and I’m coming to understand that it’s the lack of Soft Natural line that makes them feel odd or uncomfortable. I expect I’ll be doing a wardrobe clear out/donation next year as well.
What a treat to read on Christmas morning before anyone else has woken up. From my small scale 5’3″ and what I now know as gamine build, this is definitely not what I should be wearing, but I always wanted to be that nonchalant tall girl. I ‘knew’ somehow I couldn’t wear these loose oversized garments – now great to analyse why.
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What a fabulous series! Thank you so much for sharing this knowledge and going to the effort of finding all the wonderful example patterns! I may be a FN or one of the other Ns I think – looking forward to reading the final post in the series. Thanks again!
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You’re welcome! I’m excited to get to the end as well!
You inspired me for sure – I found the questionnaire and it shows me to be a Soft Natural – so I am very much looking forward to your final post now :D. In the meantime, I am going to pull some of my own patterns out and try to match to the descriptions. Shame – I really liked the FN patterns you showed above 😉 ! …Also, I found it interesting that as well as physically matching the SN definition, my personality is also well described by Kibbe – it makes me wonder how that happens?? I do believe that genetics drive physical attributes and also our neuro/thought patterns but didn’t expect he would be so close to my own reality – Kibbe clearly spent quite some time analysing these things to have developed his theory!!
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THANK YOU. This is so definitely my type. Some of the other types have come close, but have not been quite right. Until now. For example, most dresses or dress patterns don’t interest me at all, but ALL of the dresses you picked for this subtype I love. I literally could wear everything single garment on this post.
And yes you are right, we rock at secret pajamas, so much so that I didn’t understand the meaning, because I NEVER wear uncomfortable clothes.
Absolutely fantastic series, best thing I have ever read about personal style. Again, thank you.
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Awww, thank you so much! I’m so glad you finally found your type in these posts – I know you’ve been reading through them all. And thank you for being patient – it’s taken a while but I was able to get there eventually!
Love them all! I was dressing like this for years and it took some time for me to realize I looked like I was buried under a mountain of loose fabric. That’s part of what set me on the whole style journey. I still cheat with this type for casual wear. Since I’m a DC I usually try to limit it to FN/N/SN top or pant but not both at the same time.
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P.s. I forgot to say Happy Holidays and thank you for posting this! You are making spirits bright!
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Thanks! Happy holidays!
Merriam Style has an interesting video where she talks about casual styles for Dramatic and Natural types; she’s of the opinion that FN don’t have to wear all FN pieces at the same time because otherwise it can look too much like a shapeless sack, but as long as the majority of pieces/overall impression is FN then it works. I can definitely see in today’s fashions why this is the case, though in 80s styles when Kibbe write the book I could see it actually all working together with the fashion of the time. I could also see how adding one FN piece could really work to make any other type have a casual feel, as least those with a yang influence.
Was sure I was a Dramatic but it looks like I could fit into this category as well – mostly – from the description in the beginning. I love soooooo many of these patterns (and have some of them). The whole idea of this style is really great. Thank you SO much for all this work! It’s so inspiring to looks through these styles and once we have figured out basically where we can fit in, and then find patterns we like to boot, it just makes me want to sew right away!
Happy holidays/christmas and have a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year! Your posts on these Kibbe have surely been time consuming for you but what a wonderful resource it is.
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Thank! Happy holidays!
A lovely Christmas present. This series has been so fun! I’m definitely not a FN but as California girl moved to snow country I’d love to burrow into most of these coats until spring. 😉
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Thank you so much for the time that you’ve taken to put together this series! I had never heard of Kibbe before, and it makes so much sense to me and I can see that I’ve always been drawn to the Natural style- probably the Flamboyant natural. My daughters have always said that no one else could pull off wearing the stuff that I make, but me, and that totally fits with this theory! One of my daughters will often borrow my clothes, so I think that she’s a Natural too- but she’s quite a bit shorter than I am, so probably fall in the main Natural category, not the flamboyant. I will keep coming back here to study your choices for this style.
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Is there a way to get the scheme to make the clothes?
You would need to search for the patterns either from the manufacturer website or on a resale site like eBay or Etsy.
Hi there. I’m new to your blog and find it amusing that you have this “Sew Your Kibble” series. I know David Kibbe and worked for him briefly at his studio when he was still conducting his color and style workshops for Color Me Beautiful. His book, in which many of my friends appeared, basically puts his own spin on CMB, but actually isn’t very different from it. When he told me I am a Flamboyant Natural, it was before he broke away from CMB and started doing his own thing – yet my analysis (the hard copy of which I still have somewhere) is mostly the same as what you’ve included above in your description of this style. So, if one cannot find his book, one can still do very well with the original Color Me Beautiful book (by Carole Jackson), which I believe might be available on archive.org’s digital lending library.
Anyway, regarding the FN style category, a lot of your recommendations are spot on, but you’ve included far too many patterns with belts and definition at the waist! That’s a very important element to being FN. Even just a waist seam without embellishment can be too much. I’ve lived as an Autumn FN since the mid-1980s and his recommendations have held true for my body type even as I’ve aged. The avoidance of any emphasis at the waist is the biggest challenge for me, whether it’s a pattern or RTW, because so many lovely designs have a defined waist. I have a rectangular body shape with long legs and a high waist. Any emphasis at all should be either hip height and below or up around neckline and shoulders. Waist seams and belts always looked absolutely horrible on me. The other challenge is trying to find designs that aren’t too fussy or overly complex and structured. Menswear looks are great on me as long as there’s not a lot of seams. However, even though I immersed myself in my style according to CMB/Kibbe and know it extremely well after so many decades of living it, I still occasionally give in to an urge for something that isn’t best for me and then later realize my hopes about somehow making these mistakes work were just wishful thinking and they will never work. What I love about being a Flamboyant Natural is how I can wear big flowy things and look great in garments that people who aren’t FN would call “shapeless sacks,” hahaha.
I’m enjoying reading these descriptions in your series and reminiscing about the days when just about my whole circle of friends went to David for a color and style analysis, and the idea was all new to us.
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Wow! Thanks for your insight they are very helpful. I appreciate you explaining how his system evolved and how it has worked for you.
I love love ❤️ your writings on sew your Kibbe and a specially on the flamboyant naturals, because I consider myself as one.
Could you consider to update the patterns , preferably the Burdastyle ones, because I’m still not certain which ones to choose from the newest items.