As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, the Kibbe styling guide subdivides body shapes into five main categories, which further divide into 2 or 3 more, depending on which method you’re using. They go from stereotypically male-type traits (linear, angular, strong, bone-dominant), which are called yang, and are represented by the Dramatic type; to stereotypically female-dominant (curvy, delicate, flesh-dominant), which are called ying, and are embodied in the Romantic type. In between these seemingly polar opposites you pass through twelve possible combinations of ying and yang. By adding some angularity to the curves of the Romantic you get Theatrical Romantic. In order to be categorized as a Romantic, you’d have had to answer D or E to most (8 or more) questions and not’ve had a very clear second choice (a mix of A, B, C, and D answers). If you have a significant number (4-6) of A answers as well, then you’re a Theatrical Romantic. Normally your face and flesh would be ying, and your bone structure more yang, but it’s really a matter of combinations. If you’re predominantly curvy but have strong facial bones ( like Selma Hayek), you’re in the Theatrical Romantic category.
enerally speaking, it’s a good idea to replicate your lines in your clothes, not only because it’ll look better on you, but because it’ll look more natural, less made up, artificial, or “separate” from you. If you’re softly curved, attempting to hide your curves the wrong way will more often than not result in looking frumpy, unsophisticated, larger than you are, and simply not put together. But does this mean you have to reveal your shape in order not to look sloppy? No, and if you keep reading, I’ll explain how.
A company that manufactures Muslimah clothes in an ethical way in North America is Veiled Collection, based in NY. Many of their clothes are made with Romantic lines in mind. A European equivalent is Jennah Boutique in Paris, France.
As a Romantic, whether Theatrical or not, trying to get a tailored suit, or worse, a natural oversized, unstructured thick fabric on you will likely result in making you look like a puppet floating out of the unfortunate garment. If you are concerned about hijab, I’m not asking you to compromise on that, all you need to do is respect your lines, and avoid thick, unstructured, bulky fabrics. I’m recommending you respect your lines so as to look your best, and I don’t mean sexy, or attractive, but simply carefully put together, serious, and sophisticately respectable.
If you like jilbabs, choose softer fabrics, opt for princess cuts, slightly tailored, with peplums, or soft gathers. Softness is the key.. If you don’t mind wearing tops and bottoms, layer them delicately.
Avoid contrasting color blocks and opt for florals, polka-dots, paisleys, and other rounded, softer patterns. To cover the chest area it’s really pointless to wear a super thick, or stiff fabric over your bosom, because everything is going to hang exactly where you don’t want it to, bringing even more attention to the area you’re trying to camouflage. Instead, opt for softly draped hijabs in jersey or chiffon, or blouses with frills at the bust, or even sweaters with crocheted lace along the front of your chest. Better yet, drape your delicately flowing hijab over your chest and tuck it in with a beautiful bejeweled broche on your shoulder! Perfection!
Some might argue that wearing a wide outfit that falls from the shoulders will cover you best, but if you bend, or there’s wind, you’re back on square one! A better option is to use layers: a blouse, a knitted shirt, a vest or cardigan that is cinched at the waist and flows loosely, perhaps with soft gathers or peplums over your bottom and thighs will do a much better job of concealing your shape than any straight fabric! If you are uncomfortable with waist definition, you can fool the eye by creating a horizontal line at the waist only partly peeking through the front opening of a long cardigan or vest in a light weight flowing fabric. These last two items I think are crucial to a mutahajjaba who falls under Theatrical, Romantic, or Soft types, as they add tremendous flexibility to any outfit.
Although it is recommended that Romantics, Theatrical R. and Softs wear pants that are tapered at the ankle, this can be avoided if the pants are of a light, flowy fabric (as shown in these pictures).
I cover colors in my undertones post , but basically, you may lean towards bright or muted (not pure hues, but mixed with grey), warm (yellow to green or yellow to red), or cool (blue to green, or blue to red). If you wear a hijab or a scarf around your neck you can break all the color rules, provided that your scarf (close to your face) respects your coloration.
If you wear make-up, you may get away with a little off colors, but keep in mind that Rs, TRs, and Softs, don’t fare well with dramatic, strong makeup, so don’t rely too heavily on this. Natural looking makeup options are best. If you must use a strong color (say red lipstick), avoid coloring your eyes, and keep your cheeks soft and natural. And vice versa, if you want to emphasize your eyes, keep your lips neutral with a gloss or natural shade that only slightly departs from your natural lip color. This also works well for formal events where makeup is expected. Often, the hair can make or break the look of a R or a TR, as all reviewers I’ve seen online discussing Kibbe typing explain, so take care of your hijab, because it’s the equivalent of hair (only with WAY more flexibility!)! For parties where you will be showing your hair opt for mid to long length soft curls, think 1940’s Hollywood.
Finally, Rs and TRs, as well as Softs, especially Soft Classics, should take special care when putting together an outfit, including the jewelry and accessories. Big color blocks are definite faut-pas, thick fabric frills are too childish, stiff fabrics will undo everything for you. Jewels and accessories should accentuate this attention to detail. Avoid garish styles, but you can use some chunky jewels provided that they are intricate and match your outfit. I give many examples in the pictures above.
In these pictures I tried to give you a variety of examples of how to follow and how to break Kibbe Romantic and Theatrical Romantic body type rules. Vests, cardigans, scarves, jewelry, and accessories are crucial to obtaining the ideal hijabi Kibbe type that suits your lines and works for you instead of against you. It’s a matter of balance and proportions, flow, and harmony. Virtually every outfit here can be interchanged (tops with bottoms), although I’d avoid mixing light and dark colors, as it would represent a color block, which only works well for Gamines, Naturals, and Dramatics.
All websites and advocates of the Kibbe system that I’ve encountered online stress the fact that the hair can make or break a Romantic or TR’s style. For mutahajjabas, obviously this isn’t the case, but here I must stress the importance of caring for your hijab, as this replaces your hair, and therefore should be in a fabric texture, print, and color that suits you, and not one that clashes with you, as it can literally undo everything else you’ve done with your outfit. Simultaneously, if you are careful, you can break many of the Kibbe rules, provided that you keep in mind that calm, feminine sophistication should ooze from your overall look, from top to bottom. Colors, textures, patterns, shapes, and lines, down to the smallest detail should harmoniously flow, and not break away from you. Having said all this, have fun, and keep it your own very personal style as well, because there’s nothing more sophisticated and respectable than a woman who’s confident and unapologetically her own person!
Next up will be Classics, so stay tuned!