How PSC Revealed My Kibbe Type!

I did an experiment once to test the viability of translating PSC essences into Kibbe style identities.

My PSC percentages:

Natural – 30%
Angelic – 25%
Romantic – 20%
Dramatic – 15%
Classic – 5%
Youthful – 5%

Kibbe assigns the PSC Angelic essence to his Dramatic style type. If he’s correct, I should theoretically be able to add the PSC Angelic and Dramatic essences together for a whopping total of 40%. (Additionally, my PSC Angelic essence trails my Natural lead by only 5%, which means I come close to having two leading essences in that system — not at all uncommon). I tried going all Dramatic, and it was a colossal failure. So, I am no Dramatic.

Because my softer traits are fairly high, I tried adding the Angelic and Romantic percentages together for a total of 45%. Not all women with high Angelic essence are Dramatics in Kibbe’s system, so I thought maybe it would come out to Romantic for me. It still didn’t work. I looked frumpy.

One day I saw a Kibbe Flamboyant Natural with an outline very similar to mine and I knew . . . The overall outline is what matters most in Kibbe + the softness or sharpness of the angles, or the softness or muscularity of the flesh. It doesn’t have to be 100% exact, but it will create a general impression of line, shape, and movement. Kibbe assigns more importance to the body where typing is concerned than to the face. (Some consultants think we should dress primarily for the face, though.) Express the face as an addition through neckline shapes, length proportions, details, and fabric choices where appropriate. In some cases, the face requires immense modification to the basic type.

A Flamboyant Natural (extra Dramatic yang) is based on soft rectangles, but PSC’s Angelic essence creates elongated ovals. It smooths out the yang corners without adding roundness and imparts a sort of “drip” to the body or face. Mixed with the Natural style i.d., the addition of PSC’s Angelic essence creates proportions and a vertical line closer to Flamboyant Natural than to Soft Natural, even though it is also “soft.” Such a mixed set of traits means a much softer, languid look for the Flamboyant Natural type than one would normally expect. That means that, contrary to Kibbe’s general recommendations, the Natural/Angelic mix gets no rough fabrics, no chunky ethnic jewelry, not a lot of hardware.

Can a Natural/Angelic mix result in a Soft Natural? I feel certain it could, but it requires a greater infusion of Romantic traits in order to change the body outline from a more vertical direction to a slightly less vertical dominance and a hint of an in-and-out bust, waist, and hips thing. Sometimes the differences are hard to nail without trying on Soft Natural and Flamboyant Natural lines to see which works better. But really, it all comes down to where we carry those essences appear in the body, as well as the percentage. The Angelic essence can throw a monkey wrench in any Kibbe type if you aren’t alert to it.

Usually, the PSC essence method works out very close to the Kibbe method, though sometimes it really doesn’t. I honestly believe that people trained in the two methods simply “see” some people differently. Where the methods overlap, there’s not so much discrepancy. But where there is no clear correlation, it can come out quite different.

Still using Angelic-percentaged women, notably Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton, this treatment of them both in purely Dramatic terms does not go down well, in my opinion. You can view them against Anjelica Huston to see a progressive increase in the Dramatic element and it will become evident that the difference is in more than just coloring and long body lines.

Tilda Swinton, in PSC terms has primarily mixed essences of Dramatic and Angelic, a fairly rare combination. She is considered Dramatic in the Kibbe system, but does she seem as Dramatic as Angelic Huston below? They have some facial contours in common, but Tilda lacks the gravitas of Anjelica’s coloring. Tilda is low contrast, while Angelic is high contrast, a Dramatic trait./ nicolas genin from Paris, France / CC BY-SA
Cate Blanchett has high Angelic and Classic essences in PSC. Note how much softer and approachable she appears compared to Tilda. Kibbe considers her a Dramatic type. I’m not sure if he just knocks the hard edges off or what. She looks better in controlled outlines with some lengthening, but not the excessive sharpness of many Dramatics. So do PSC and Kibbe arrive at the same place? I wish i knew. Georges Biard / CC BY-SA
Anjelica Huston is a Dramatic par excellence in both systems. There are the asymmetrical cheekbones, eyes, and smile — the overarched eyebrows, the signature Dramatic coloring and high contrast. /David Shankbone / CC BY

There must be a lesson in all this. Go with the system that creates what seems an authentic aesthetic for you. Try on the styles if you are uncertain. Some things may never be resolved by theory alone.

What was the advantage in discovering my Kibbe i.d., after the fact of my PSC analysis? Only that it’s so much easier thinking in terms of a style i.d. when creating outfits than trying to juggle all the PSC percentages at once. But perhaps we make things too hard on ourselves. We just need to pay attention to the high points. The PSC method helped me work out the finer details that I would have had to go directly to Kibbe himself to learn otherwise.