Don’t Be a Kibbe Masochist

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You’ve done it. You figured out your Image ID. The old-school celebrities feel relatable to you. Getting dressed is so much easier now. You see how all your supposed “flaws” are just part of your yin/yang balance.

Sadly, at this point, many people actually abandon their Image ID. They go back to something else, something that they wish they were. Why? Maybe it’s, “I don’t want to be a part of a club that would have me as a member.” Maybe once the exciting haze clears of the new discovery, you are left to go back and confront those “flaws,” to finally accept them once and for all. You may now be sure about how to incorporate your personality into your Image ID.

Finding out where you belong, and then putting yourself somewhere else, is masochistic. You are torturing yourself with what you are not. You are saying to yourself, “What I actually am will never be good enough.”

This happens to every Image ID. If you’re an FN and you’re insisting you’re a very tall TR, for instance, there is certainly a TR who is looking at all the supermodel FNs and wishing they were a glamazon. Most people have a hard time recognizing their own beauty, but they can see it in others.

Read Kibbe’s chapter on resistance to your Image ID. Recognize that no one Image ID is superior to another. Beautiful people are found in every single Image ID.

Various Image IDs on display in The Women, 1939. (Source)

Various Image IDs on display in The Women, 1939. (Source)

Give yourself a break. Recognize your own beauty and let yourself be in the Image ID that actually supports your yin/yang balance. Just remember the following:

1) There is no hierarchy. Sure, the TR chapter may be especially flowery because David is writing in part about his wife, but it doesn’t mean that TR is the superior Image ID in practice. I think any TR around could tell you about their own struggles with their self image in their yin/yang balance.

2) There is no limit to your self-expression within any ID. FGs don’t have the market cornered on punk clothing. You can express any look you want within your Image ID.

3) Being in the right ID makes your life easier! You are no longer struggling with clothes that don’t fit right because they weren’t intended for someone with your yin/yang balance.

So stop torturing yourself. Don’t think that just because it’s your yin/yang balance, it is somehow inferior or boring or unattractive. You will shine in whatever your Image ID is.

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14 Comments on Don’t Be a Kibbe Masochist

  1. Nouveau
    February 2, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Maybe for some people it’s the thrill of the chase – learning about themselves and finding the pieces of their personal style puzzle.

    And maybe for other people, after a personal style journey of months or years, they expected arrive at Nirvana.

    And still others may mourn the end of the fascinating journey that has become an obsession.

    • stylesyntax
      February 2, 2018 at 11:17 am

      I think that the journey really begins when you find your Image ID, not while you’re searching for it. It’s not like some systems, where once you find it, you have a checklist to go by. The real journey starts when you know and you can begin developing your own unique expression within your yin/yang balance. I do know some people that never seem to settle, and I think some enjoy the exploration, but some really seem to have difficulty just accepting themselves for who they are.

  2. Simi
    February 5, 2018 at 1:13 am

    The things I find most useful about Kibbe is the main categories. I feel certain that I’m a natural. I don’t know where I fit within that category, though. I think I have too many round features and shapes for FN, but I suspect that Kinney would insist that I’m too tall to be SN. I currently find myself not caring that much. “Some kind of natural” is already quite useful. No more sharp lines, tailored sheath dresses, etc. I feel much more comfortable and myself having worked that part out, it’s like now I can skip 4/5 of the stuff that won’t work, so much easier. I wonder if other people get hung up on that, looking at subtype details and rules instead of working out which of the main groups they fall into. For me at least, totally worth doing.

    Btw, I was just draped a dark autumn. I was surprised, and now my whole wardrobe turns out to be soft seasons, oh dear! When you decided you were DA, what was your approach? Where did you start to build a wardrobe? Did you pick certain colors to start?

    • stylesyntax
      February 5, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      If you’re tall, you’re definitely FN. Kibbe doesn’t look at stuff like the number of round shapes; that’s something copycat stylists do. The main difference between SN and FN will be whether or not you have a vertical/elongation to honor.

      Before I got into color, my wardrobe was all black and gray. And then I started with Spring, so I had a couple of things in that, but that’s really it. Soft season stuff isn’t really the worst on an Autumn person, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much and just buy DA as you replace old things/add to your wardrobe. My wardrobe is pretty much all Autumn now, but I’ve also lost weight and moved so I got rid of a lot of things during those processes.

      • Simi
        February 12, 2018 at 1:03 pm

        “If you’re tall, you’re definitely FN. Kibbe doesn’t look at stuff like the number of round shapes; that’s something copycat stylists do.”

        “Copycat stylists” is a pretty weird and aggressive way to put that.

        Kibbe probably would insist that I’m FN – but I don’t actually like the way he styles people in real life, I think a lot of the clients end up looking awwwwwful, both vintage and modern, his whole aesthetic is not for me at all. The underlying ideas are solid, but I don’t think he invented them or owns them. It’s a useful book, but I ignore the photos really hard, LOL.

        • stylesyntax
          February 12, 2018 at 1:11 pm

          I have done a lot of historical research into this, and yes, Kibbe the first one who has applied the yin/yang concept in the exact way he does. Even people before him who used Romantic, Dramatic, whatever applied them in a very different way.

          I am always going to be “weird and aggressive” about copycat stylists because I truly think they are a scourge and do the exact opposite of what Kibbe intends with his work. If you don’t like his work, don’t go to him, but on this blog I will never endorse the idea of going to someone else who has taken his work, misinterprets it, and makes it into something that boxes women into awful style stereotypes. That is the point of view I will continue to be blogging and responding to comments from, and if that’s “weird and aggressive,” I will wear that label proudly.

          • Sara
            May 28, 2018 at 8:25 pm

            I know I’m responding to an old post, but the level of aggression seemingly directed at the poster was strange. I share your disdain for certain stylists, but there’s a way to explain things without being rude. I also disagree that the poster MUST be a FN because she’s tall; hopefully she continues searching for herself. Weird to see comments like this from the creator of this blog.

          • stylesyntax
            May 28, 2018 at 8:46 pm

            This is what I do in my spare time because I enjoy doing it and hope it helps people–if someone is going to call me “weird and aggressive” in my space, I am going to respond accordingly. I am only human, after all. I am puzzled as to why my comment is perceived as aggressive, and hers is not. I have never gone on someone’s site and called them such things for taking the time to respond to my comments in a thoughtful way.

            She could, of course, be D or SD, rather than FN. I haven’t seen her, so I don’t know, but I was going off her resonance with the Natural Image ID. The reason why SN isn’t possible goes back to the topic of this blog post. SN is not yang-dominant, and being tall automatically makes you yang-dominant, since you are elongated throughout your body. If you are short but elongated, you’re yang-dominant, and if you are tall, you are automatically elongated and therefore yang-dominant. In all of my interactions with David, this is the thing that he has absolutely been the most clear on. It would not do a reader any good for me to agree with something that is in direct opposition to the way yin/yang balance works. Even if you copied Pinterest SN exactly–which has little to do with SN as an Image ID anyway–it would not be SN on a taller, elongated frame. SN simply cannot be tall. The resulting yin/yang balance would just not be SN.

  3. Bla31ze
    February 9, 2018 at 9:25 am

    Hello! This is the first time I comment, so let me start by thanking you for writing this blog! It is extremely useful and interesting to read.
    For what concerns the whole “resistance” issue, at the moment I find myself in a bizarre situation. Some months ago an “essences” analyst told me she viewed me as a mixture among Classic, secondarily Dramatic and then maybe a touch of Romantic; for I am still learning about Kibbe, and I have realised only very recently that his method works differently, at that time I concluded that in his system I had to be some sort of a softer Dramatic Classic. Even now, I agree that I am likely a (Kibbe’s) Classic, but I have started wondering whether I am actually a Yang influenced type or not. Dramatic Classic looks perfect, but sometimes it feels more like a well thought mask than my real Image Identity. If I do the “Metamorphosis” quiz I get even more confused, for I seem to be too balanced for both subcategories, yet not blended enough for the “pure” type (but still too much to be a Gamine, in any case). For example, my nose and cheeckbones look slightly angular, but my facial features are rounded and slightly full, moreover the overall ensemble is proportioned; and so on.
    So since I cannot assess my Yin/Yang balance correctly and I am very aware that I may be in denial about the truth, I don’t know whether I am striving to be softer because that would let me run away from an uncomfortable path, or I am insisting on being Yang only because I am misinterpreting my experience as a form of resistance to my Image Identity. I am confident that some day I will figure it out! 🙂

    • stylesyntax
      February 9, 2018 at 11:52 am

      Kibbe doesn’t assign anyone to C. G, or N anymore. You are either a little more yin or a little more yang. Grace Kelly is now SC, for example. If DC is feeling a bit like a mask–and remember that the 1980s recommendations won’t always play out in the same way today–I would try going into SC. I would join Strictly Kibbe on Facebook and the Soft Classic and Dramatic Classic groups so you can see how it all works today.

      Personally, Kibbe has given me advice that aligns most closely with Gamine–Mia Farrow, poor boy sweaters, mod. It’s all about your personal yin/yang e balance. If you are DC or SC, if you’re fairly close to the middle, your ideal yin/yang balance in your clothes might be different from someone who would have been SC or DC even back when he was still using C, G, and N and you might have been a C.

      • Bla31ze
        February 13, 2018 at 4:45 pm

        Thank you for your advice, I will experiment!

  4. Shawna
    May 29, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    I know some people who are so in love with experimenting and fear losing flexibility that they can’t settle in to what is probably their best set of lines and colour. Or at least they think they can’t. Sometimes these people just need to believe they have created their own rules and guides rather than feeling like it was imposed on them. I have a personality type that tends to believe there is a right or best way and I want to find it. Others believe there are only options and anything is equally good. I also know people who believe that as long as you have confidence and a smile you can wear anything. I tend to dive into systems quite thoroughly and then figure out how I am going to use them for myself, what I believe is correct and good about them and what isn’t. The title of this post made me laugh. It was a good read and some sound advice. Figuring out how to apply all the collected information to your own particular case is indeed a challenge. What I think I am most fascinated by on my own style journey is the realisation that I don’t always see myself the way others do.

  5. Sue
    April 10, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    Well Charlize Theron was considered FN by “copycat” designers and she is TR verified by Kibbe and she is 5f10’’. He always said that height is the last thing to look at, just like Mae West is SD and she was only 5f0”. Although I admit I think his biggest mistake was typing celebrities, that transformed his amazing idea of changing women’s life through fashion into a silly “guess the type” game. Girls just spend too much time looking at this or that person in the internet, sometimes even being mean or bitchy. That’s definitely not Kibbe’s purpose. Spend that time on yourself instead, because you are the main character in his book, you create your own journey and you are the one who eventually figures out which type you are, not a stranger here.

    • stylesyntax
      April 12, 2019 at 1:01 am

      Those who have Charlize listed as an FN are correct: that is what David says now. He also says that anyone tall is yang dominant. I don’t know where the idea that height doesn’t matter comes from. Short people can still be elongated; tall people are always yang.


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