Finally, A New Body Type System That Makes You Feel Good About Yourself

These body shapes will change how you see yourself and no, I’m not talking about apples and pears
woman comfortably shopping online sitting on her couch
Online shopping: a blessing and a curse. Image source: Pexels

Picture this. In the dystopia that is our locked down, masked-up world, you find yourself aimlessly scrolling through Instagram when all of a sudden, inspiration strikes.

You’ve been awakened. Either by your favourite fashion influencer (I still cringe at that word), or fast-fashion brand, or your ok-that’ll-definitely-need-to-go-on-Afterpay-because-there’s-no-way-on-Earth-I-can-afford-that-but-I-have-to-have-it brand.

You’ve fallen head over heels for an outfit or a garment and you’ve checked out faster than it took for your leftover takeaway to heat up. Bonus points if you found a discount code. 

Breathlessly, you check your package tracking details eagerly anticipating an update until two to five business days later, the delivery driver heralds its arrival.

You tear open the packaging, eager for SOMETHING that could retire your tracksuit combo from your everyday rotation, maybe do a quick change in the hallway, head for the nearest mirror, and…


It’s underwhelming. 

Maybe, dare I say, ill-fitting? 

But it didn’t look like that on the model! 

So you take a deep breath and make a decision; you either whisper to yourself “I can make it work” or you begrudgingly slip it back into its plastic bag and cop the store credit. Days later, you probably see the same garment in another Instagram post and, to quote fashion goddess Carrie Bradshaw, you probably “couldn’t help but wonder” why it didn’t work on you. 

Like any millennial or even Gen Zer, you’ve probably grown up in the glossy magazine era – catty, schoolgirl-like headlines screaming at you while you’re in line for the checkout.

This was the who-wore-it-better period or the days when it was ok to sandwich bikini photos of the same celebrity between a headline exclaiming how fat or skinny they’ve become.

The same magazines, confident its headlines snagged your attention, lured you in to tear at your self-confidence by evaluating your own body. Writers informed you if you were not born with an hourglass figure, then not only were you reduced to a fruit or a geometric shape devoid of womanliness, but you simply MUST dress to contort your body until you fit the mould. 

Jessica Simpson weight gain magazine cover
One of many nasty weight-centric magazine covers
Image source: The Hollywood Gossip
Britney Spears & Jessica Alba
Diet culture & the 'perfect' body in the 2000s
Image source:

In my years of experience in various changing rooms, I overheard women with their daughters talk about this archaic body type system as if it were a rite of passage. “Oh honey, you and I are both apples; we can’t pull off dresses like that” or “I’m a rectangle; I would kill to have a waist like yours”. 

This mindset breeds negative self-talk not only amongst mature women whose bodies have endured pregnancy and childbirth but also among growing teenage girls whose identity and self-worth are still malleable. 

As I’m writing this article, I did a quick google search for apple or pear body shapes and the results were heart-breaking.

The number one search result came from Mayo Clinic, a reputable healthcare website, with a snippet reading “people who have metabolic syndrome typically have apple-shaped bodies, meaning they have larger waists and carry a lot of weight”. 

Scrolling further down, Ace Fitness’s headline reads “Are you an apple or a pear? How to eat for specific body types” and Penn Medicine informs the reader (who at this point most likely feels like *&^%) “What your body shape reveals about your health”.

It isn’t a stretch to imagine the toll the simplification of a woman’s body takes on mental health. 

Woman looking in mirror and impact of fashion on mental health
We need to be gentle with ourselves when we look in the mirror
Image source: Pexels

Northwestern University Professor Renee Engeln told online news publication Quartz the objectification of a woman’s body, in this case likening a woman to fruit or shape, “increases body shame, which is linked with depression and eating disordered behaviours”.

“Researchers generally use the term objectification to capture the psychological experience of having one’s body treated like or turned into an object for others to evaluate,” she said.

Hertfordshire University fashion psychologist Professor Karen Pine completed a study with UK clothing care brand Comfort which revealed millennials were the generation most affected by poor body image

17% of this age group had asked friends to delete a photo from social media because they did not feel confident in their outfits. 

Furthermore, a 2019 Mental Health Foundation survey found that 34% of adults felt “down or low” and 19% felt “disgusted” by themselves. 

American social psychologist Adam Galinksy’s famous Enclothed Cognition featured in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology theorises “wearing clothes causes people to ‘embody’ the clothing and its symbolic meaning”.

Woman wearing sparkly dress to feel sparkly and happy
Wearing a sparkly dress just makes you feel...sparkly
Image source: Pexels

If a woman’s style is governed by a strict system designed to hide her natural shape, it is clear this would sprout a subconscious dissatisfaction with her appearance.

I know women want and deserve to feel beautiful and confident in their clothing; that’s a given.

So, after stumbling upon a body shape methodology that focuses on celebrating the woman’s physique in its entirety instead of relying on bust, waist, and hip measurements, it felt like I had ~the secret~.

And it actually works; not just for me, but for every woman I’ve forcefully explained this too with completely different body shapes. 

celebrating every body type
The Kibbe methodology celebrates every-body
Image source: Pexels

Introducing the Kibbe system.

This system explained that “oh” feeling perfect when countless online packages were returned because they just didn’t suit me.

Unlike the traditional body type system whose origins are hazy, the Kibbe system was designed by American stylist David Kibbe and published in his book David Kibbe’s Metamorphosis: Discover Your Image Identity And Dazzle As Only You Can.

Kibbe’s ideology actually originated in the late 1980s but has only now gained popularity as society’s concept of beauty has expanded to appreciate women’s natural figures. 

This body type system operates on a fluid yin/yang spectrum where women can fit either extreme or lie somewhere in the middle.

Kibbe told Mel Magazine “you have to learn to see yourself in a different way first, and you have to learn to see yourself with loving eyes. This is a love-based system. It’s all based on self-acceptance”. 

self love is the key to preserve your mental health while you follow the latest fashion trends
Easy hack for self-confidence: leaving yourself self-love notes
Image source: Pexels

The thirteen body shapes across the yin/yang spectrum celebrate women with combinations of soft and round and sharp and angular features unique to them, providing an image identity.

Here is a great intro by Kibbe-enthusiast YouTuber Aly Art:

Importantly, these identities provide style guidelines that are just as fluid; meaning women can borrow from other identities, making small adjustments to make them their own.

I have long been envious of the work-from-home sweatsuit uniform worn by almost everyone on Instagram, but it’s way too bulky for me (hi, I’m a theatrical romantic).

If I were to apply Kibbe’s guidelines (which I always do) I know now I just need to find tracksuit pants with a fitted cuff and a jumper with a deep neckline and fitted at the wrists. Simple!

One genius trick I learned from various Kibbe YouTube videos is scrolling through my personal Instagram or photo album and noticing which photos of myself I look and feel most confident in. 

I even did this exercise with my family and friends and we all chose the same photos of each other. 

Most of us instinctively know what clothing or silhouettes are harmonious with our bodies, we see them every day, after all, sometimes you just need it in writing!

Fashion is an extension of your family
Fashion should be fun and an extension of your personality
Image source: Pexels

You can determine your Kibbe Image Identity based on the Kibbe body type test.

Stay tuned for more in-depth articles on each Kibbe Image Identity where I cover fashion, makeup, hair styling, and jewellery.

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