We all have been brainwashed into thinking that our bodies are shapes or fruit.
Guilty! All my life I have been brainwashed into thinking that my body was a pear, that having a round arse and full hips and thighs was some sort of crime that needed to be hidden.
I spent a good part of my life (let's say from 16 to -hm maybe 32?)- so HALF MY LIFE, thinking either that:
- I was fat
- maybe I wasn't fat, but I definitely wasn't thin enough
- ok maybe I am thin enough, but there's room for improvement
-ok I am thin, but if I look at myself I can still see that my lower part is larger than my upper part so I will google now how to get rid of the fat on my thighs
- I needed to be thin in the first place?
As a child of the 80s, I grew up with rather dubious beauty standards- heroin chic, let's say.
Fitness was not something fashionable (I don't ever remember exercising growing up), muscular bodies were not a thing, like, at all. Melanie C had so much shit thrown at her for being "sturdy" that she eventually developed an eating disorder and depression.
And I mean- look at her!
In a research paper published in 2006, it was found that the objectification theory posits that girls and women are typically acculturated to internalise an observer's perspective as a primary view of their physical selves. Basically, if somebody views me as an apple (big tummy, skinny legs), I will always think of myself that way. This perspective on self can lead to habitual body monitoring, which, in turn, can increase women's opportunities for shame and anxiety. Accumulations of such experiences may help account for an array of mental health risks that disproportionately affect women: unipolar depression, sexual dysfunction, and eating disorders. And let's not even start the conversation about how your body changes with age- my mum was as thin as a stick in her 20s (she was less than 50 kg when she got pregnant the first time) and had no curves. She is now an apple, after carrying three children and having gone through hormonal changes.
Whilst I think that understanding your body type can be somewhat useful at times, I also think that it is more harmful than anything else. I recently had a client that I coded as being hourglass- it is a lovely shape to be- if your mindset is positive! If you view yourself in a positive way, you'll be happy to embrace your thin waist and more curvaceous bust and hips. On the contrary, if you view yourself in a negative light- you'll be bound to focus on your hips being large.
I never ever focused on my tummy being always flat no matter what I drank or ate- I always hated my bum and thighs, and that was the end of it.
Whilst researching body types, I came across a different way to view your body- not through types but through essences. These are called the Kibbe archetypes, and it is a very interesting way of viewing your body. This style essence theory is in the ancient Tao principle of yin and yang. So how does the principle of yin and yang translate into fashion? The definitions of yin and yang vary slightly from theory to theory, but they essentially have the following meanings: Yin: small, delicate, round, soft, gentle, flowing, light, low-contrast, graceful, youthful Yang: large, angular, long, striking, dark, high-contrast, strong/firm, dignified, powerful, sophisticated, poised.
The shapes that best represent yin and yang are the circle and the square, respectively. In geometry, these are the two most extreme shapes. If an object resembles the square shape, it will be straight with sharp edges. A rounded object, on the other hand, will be similar to the circle shape with no edges at all. And between those two extremes lie variations.
It is important to point out that no style theory based on the yin/yang principle is trying to reinforce the view that femininity is seen as more beautiful (and, the opposite- masculinity in the males). On the contrary, these theories try to show us that beauty can only be achieved through clothing that respects our natural features, which in turn creates a beautiful harmony. Note the difference: neither is more beautiful than the other. Each is most beautiful in their own style. And therefore be aware that the principles of yin and yang in all style theories are always laid out positively and never to be interpreted negatively. Yang does not mean manly and aggressive, but strong, poised, majestic and dignified, and yin does not mean naive and weak, but gentle, mild, and delicate. Yang is powerful, yin is alluring. Both are incredibly beautiful.
The system comprises five pure archetypes (style essences in their pure forms) and eight archetypes which are mixtures of the pure types, creating a total of thirteen style archetypes:
Best thing, your essence will never change.
And how you establish your essence? This step is when things get a bit difficult.
David Kibbe has published a book, but it is incredibly difficult to find. You can find some quizzes online that can help you figure it out.
Or alternatively, just ask me!
Hope you found this as interesting as I did...any questions, you know where to find me!