Kibbe Vs. Zyla

One of the most confusing experiences someone in this world can have is going to see Kibbe and Zyla and getting completely opposing Image Identities/Archetypes. They’re both masters at what they do. How could one of them be wrong?

I think the answer is that neither of them, in this case, would be wrong. They just approach their work from different angles.

Kibbe, in my opinion, looks at what you are. He looks at your physicality and what it communicates. Then it is your job to take this understanding of your physical self, and use it communicate everything else that makes you who you are.

Zyla, on the other hand, looks at who you are. The personality and inner self is built into the archetype. You’ll find a wider range in terms of height, build, etc. within the celebrities in his archetypes. The guidelines he gives in the book are incredibly specific and meant to express a specific style, not just lines.

I think you can get a hint of how Zyla works when you look at his palettes. They are smaller than other palettes, only a select few colors. And they’re not meant to reflect the entire range of colors a person can wear. They are the colors that, on you, will express certain things.

Kibbe’s recommendations are not meant to express a specific style or a complete expression of you. They’re meant to give you a framework that will enable you to work it out by yourself.

So what do you do when your Kibbe type and Zyla type don’t match? I think it’s important to keep your ultimate goal in mind. We got into these systems because we wanted to be stylish and to know that we’re making the right fashion choices, and to have that process made just a little bit easier for us. It should never be dressing a certain way because a guru told you so. So you can just choose the one that feels best for you, or use one to influence how you use the other, or simply forget both and forge your own path. In the end, a style system is only useful if it’s working for you.

2 Comments on Kibbe Vs. Zyla

  1. ruby
    July 23, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Are there any online resources to diy your Zyla type? Or is it matter of buying the book?

    • stylesyntax
      July 23, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      There are some Facebook groups. I think you really need the book, but even then, I don’t think you can really figure out your archetype seeing Zyla. I mean, I use one of his archetypes to help me interpret FG for myself, but I have no idea if that’s what he’d actually give me, or what the palette he would give me would look like. I’d say it’s a system that’s really hard to DIY because it’s really about his vision for you and the customized palette and clothing recommendations he gives you. It’s a system that’s derived from Caygill, so it’s really personalized.


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