30 April 2014


The Wishlist "Curse"

It sobers me to think that the six different books I've written "wishlist" posts for have one thing in common: they haven't been granted yet. =P I actually have a better chance of getting my hands on a book if I don't announce on my blog that I'm wishing for it.

Okay, not really . . . It's the other way around. Most of this meme's participants seem to feature any book they want and foresee getting, but I only stamp books with the "Wished For" status after I've tried and failed to hunt down even one copy. Perhaps these posts are the official admissions of defeat, which is why I don't really keep looking after I've published them.

So here's the seventh book that I'm not going to stress myself out hunting down . . .

One of my friends is a former model, and when I told her about my interest in David Kibbe's hard-to-find style classic, she said: "It's 2014. Why are you looking for a style manual from the 1980s?"

It was a good question--but I had a ready answer! What sets Kibbe's book apart is a system he mapped out for defining a woman's look and the cuts, patterns, fabrics, and even hairstyles which best suit it. The photos and sketches in his manual may be completely outdated, but its basic principles can be adapted to the fashions of any decade. There are thirteen "Kibbegories," and ever since I figured out that I'm a Soft Classic, everything in my closet has made sense. Now I understand why my favourite clothes work and why similar pieces I had thought would do the same ultimately didn't.

This is a big deal because, for the longest time, I had despaired of being able "to get" style. My mother may have been born a fashionista, but I don't understand something until you break it down into well-defined categories and rules. And in my experience, people in fashion rarely do that.

Well, Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constatine often do, and I have found their books What Not to Wear and The Body Shape Bible helpful. But they tend to focus on a woman's "problem areas"--an approach which has made me what I can only call a defensive dresser for the last decade or so. =P In contrast, Kibbe's classifications are more like archetypes: a zodiac of feminine forms. And it does feel better to make your starting point the "form" of your beauty rather than what you perceive as your flaws.

There is already a lot of information about "Kibbegories" online, so I don't desperately need my own copy of Metamorphosis. But of course I still want one . . .

* * * * *

And now for an exciting announcement! This will be a week of memes at Shredded Cheddar, because I'll be bringing back my own on Saturday! =D

Locus Focus is a chance to tell others about a setting in a book (and sometimes a movie!) that you really loved or wished you could visit. My posts go up on Saturday, and if anyone leaves a link to his own post in the combox, I always read and comment on it.

Since I have a special agenda for May, I'll be blogging about Mothers' Birthplaces all month; but you can write about whatever other settings strike your fancy. I hope to see you then! =)

Image Source: Metamorphosis by David Kibbe


Valeria @ A Touch of Book Madness said...

This is actually very smart!! I have the same problem. I need clear and identifiable rules, because fashion doesn't work as an instinct for me. Unlike my sisters and mother. So your point of view is like an epiphany. I've never thought of it that way until I read this; and there's no such thing as a whislist curse, you'll get over it. I'm sure. Hope you get this one soon.

B said...

That's a good idea. I don't think I've ever not been able to find a book. Thanks for stopping by my blog!
Brittany @ Spare Time Book blog

Sheila said...

I had a book like that growing up! It wasn't that exact book, but it was about style personalities and was full of 80's drawings. I couldn't figure out where people were supposed to find clothes like that!

At the time I thought of myself as "Arty/Offbeat," because I LOVED those clothes. But something happened to me .... okay, a lot of things happened .... and now I generally come out as "sporty/casual."

The trouble with clothes-as-personality-indicator is that we don't always want to wear clothes that display our personality. I debate a lot with myself about whether or not that's a bad thing. But the result is that I never know what to wear.

Amanda Rutherford said...

Hmm that a good idea. It sucks not to be able to find a book. Been there, and not fun. I do hope one day you find the book :)
Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Natalie @ Book Lovers Life said...

That reminds me of books my aunt used to have!! Im not a fashionista but I know what I like ;)

Enbrethiliel said...


Valeria -- It's definitely a smart approach! I hope that you find a system that will guide your own style choices in the future. =)

B -- To be totally accurate, I could get a copy of Metamorphosis in about a month if I really wanted to . . . but I'd have to be willing to pay over a hundred US dollars for it!

Sheila -- From what tidbits I've been able to read online, I know that David Kibbe styled some women who were resistant to the types he identified them as, mostly because they felt that the clothes for that type sent the wrong message. Which I can believe, because I initially wasn't too happy about being a Soft Classic! LOL!

But now that I've seen variations and interpretations of this type, I'm crazy about it! In fact, I wish I had the money and time to get a brand new wardrobe so that everything would match it--from party dresses to casual wear. For me, it's not really about beaming out my personality all the time, but finally settling into my "form." (I also happen to be the sort of person who will feel uncomfortable all day if she gets the slightest hint that something she's wearing doesn't look "right." I know it won't kill me, but it's like being driven crazy by a crooked picture on the wall: you have to walk over and adjust it or fidget for the rest of the day.)

Amanda -- Thanks a lot! I hope that I find a reasonably-priced copy, too. =)

Natalie -- In my case, I'm only a fashionista when there are books around to help me. LOL! ;-)

Sheila said...

It's not so much that I think it will send the wrong message, as that I am uncomfortable with anything that might call attention to me, and afraid people will make fun of or judge me for trying to be cool and not being able to pull it off.

All kinds of baggage, you see. Plus there's the rebellion against the notion of dressing up at all, because I wish I could ever just put clothes on and not be sending any message at all.

And I am SO uncomfortable wearing anything that seems "out there" that I go for plain-Jane 98% of the time because otherwise I will be constantly worrying and adjusting. So maybe the "sporty" label really does fit me now, even though I love more artsy stuff on other people. Who knows.

Right now I am wearing jeans and my husband's t-shirt. :)

Enbrethiliel said...


And I'm wearing a hand-painted skirt someone got me from Thailand with a form-fitting shirt that has the wrong neckline for a Soft Classic. LOL! Well, the skirt, being a variation of a sarong, is also "wrong," but I know from experience that I can pull off this look, so this is where I bend Kibbe's rules a little.

When I was younger, I really hated wearing obviously "pretty" clothes. I didn't feel like a pretty girl and I thought it would be exactly like putting lipstick on a pig. =( I don't know what happened to change my mind, but I've felt a lot more comfortable with my appearance and with my sense of personal style in recent years--and I hope you know what I mean when I say that I wish this for you, too. =) It's true that we can't help saying something about ourselves through what we wear, but not everyone is out to judge us in the worst ways for it.