Why Each System Must Be Considered in Isolation

I will admit, in the early days of this site, I thought that data from one system could help you understand what you are in the next. There are many people who think this way. But I have come to understand that when systems are looking at different things, you cannot use what you are in one to understand what you are in another.

I’m going to use the three main systems I consider in this blog: David Kibbe’s Metamorphosis, Carol Tuttle’s Dressing Your Truth, and David Zyla’s system.

DK prioritizes the yin/yang balance in the body. Clothes go on the body, not the face or hands or feet. Shirley MacLaine may have a cute, pixie-ish face that would lead some people who don’t understand his system well to put her somewhere else, but her body is all FN, so that is what she is.

Carol looks at the face. Your face will reflect your energy type. Your body type doesn’t matter. You will not always look great in the same things as your sister in the same energy type as you. You will share a color palette and some general preferences, but the exact perfect style for you is individual.

DZ looks at coloring, voice, and all-over vibe (???). His system is the hardest to DIY. Everyone gets their own set of recommendations. It is more like a common thread running through everyone in a certain archetype, and more broadly, a season.

Let’s look at Audrey Hepburn. She is a Flamboyant Gamine, 4/1, Playful Winter.

Does this mean that every 4/1 is also a FG and a Playful Winter? Of course not. It means that she has the body of a Flamboyant Gamine, the face of a 4/1 (reflecting her energy profile overall), and the combination of coloring/voice/anything else that makes David Zyla see Playful Winter for her. You can be a 4/1 and a completely different Kibbe Image ID and Zyla archetype. They are all using different criteria for assessment, and your unique combination of types across different systems is part of what makes you a unique individual.

So keep an open mind, and don’t try to make correlations across systems! Follow the unique process for each system that their creators have provided.

34 Comments on Why Each System Must Be Considered in Isolation

  1. Angie
    June 2, 2019 at 1:06 am

    I think you are right. If there should be a universal truth in this, I think perhaps each system has a piece of that truth. I am a 4/1 and very much a Kibbe romantic (possibly theatrical romantic, haven’t nailed it yet). I have enjoyed looking for clothes in the 4/1 colors and patterns and fabrics, with the romantic silhouette. This seems to bring me better results than just dressing 4/1 without regard to my shape.

    Reply
  2. Cat
    June 2, 2019 at 3:34 am

    This is a great point, and it explains why I have so much trouble navigating different systems, particularly those which tie physical characteristics to personality. According to Zyla, I am some kind of summer, and the closest archetype that works is Sunset Summer (the Elegant Bohemian); at the same time, I have always felt that gamine style clothes suit me best, not only in terms of physical shape, but also energy. I know less about Tuttle, but I imagine she would type me as a number 2, although it would be problematic to connect this with colouring (I’m presuming 2 is similar to the summer archetypes of Zyla and Caygill), since I know people also typed as summers whose personalities are totally different.

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      June 2, 2019 at 11:35 pm

      I wouldn’t tie DYT to Zyla and Caygill, for the reasons I explained in the post. I wouldn’t presume that T2 is Summer because it’s not called that. I definitely know people who have been typed by Zyla in a certain season and then not given the energy type that would presumably correlate by Carol. I know T3 Summers, T4 Springs, etc. I wouldn’t limit myself so quickly if you feel like your instincts are pointing you in another direction. I’m not sure what is leading you to Summer and T2, since I don’t know what you look like, but I would keep an open mind, especially if it doesn’t seem to feel “right.” Sunset Summer isn’t an archetype I know well, since I knew it would never be me, but I could see the colors lending themselves more to T3 than T2, for instance. And if you feel like a higher movement (which is actually something I have seen with Zyla Summers in DYT), I wouldn’t discount that.

      Reply
      • Jane
        June 3, 2019 at 6:30 am

        I like this post. Interesting about Kibbes system.
        One thing though, as DYT is known to be almost a direct, but simplified copy of old systems/books with 1 being copied from the spring descriptions, 2 the summer etc, surely this means her system is related to seasons and she has just copied older / original systems and blurred the lines (confusing matters) by implying any DYT type can be any season (when this was not what the sources she copied from said).

        Reply
        • stylesyntax
          June 4, 2019 at 3:00 am

          I debated whether or not I would approve this comment, frankly, because I’m not sure if I want to invite this negative energy into my space. Carol is very clear on the origins of DYT in the chapter on the subject in It’s Just My Nature, the idea of four temperaments have been around at least since Ancient Greece, and rather than simplified, Carol’s system goes way beyond the people who just focus on style and affects all aspects of your life. The style aspect of DYT has made great strides forward in the past couple of years as well. Why would it matter what other systems say versus how she has developed the information? I do not need people to bang this drum in this space; I have done thorough research myself. (And I would certainly take the conclusions on this matter from the main resource I have seen that makes this claim with a giant heaping helping of salt, for reasons I am not going to get into here…)

          Reply
          • LC
            May 25, 2020 at 6:06 am

            I actually bought and reviewed all 4 DYT styles, compulsive researcher that I am. I have all of Carole’s palette cards.

            The color palettes were so close to the four Color Me Beautiful and Look Like Yourself and Love and other books of that ilk – When it comes to color alone, I find it very easy and logical to pigeon hole 1=Spring, 2=Summer, 3=Fall and 4=Winter. Granted, Carol takes the dertails further, and not all of the books agree on style details (if they deal with them much at all). And for me, appearance does not conflate to coloring. On a plus side for DYT, people not familiar with systems like the MBTI are given a framework to help get along with people of other types.

          • stylesyntax
            June 21, 2020 at 2:06 am

            I’m very familiar with MBTI and actually find Energy Profiling more useful, both for self-development and for getting along with other people.

      • Cat
        November 23, 2020 at 11:03 pm

        Thanks for the feedback (apologies for the delay in responding).
        Your explanations have given me some insight into how I might navigate the systems better: I’m still fairly sure I would be some kind of summer according to Zyla (simply based on my Romantic colour, which is a kind of watermelon/rose madder), but I’m not sure which archetype fits: if his personality notes can be left out of it, that might be simpler, since that was my main basis for typing myself Elegant Bohemian/Sunset Summer, even though the clothes (flowing and costume-like) don’t sound right. (I’m pretty sure I need clothes with some flow, but also neater and shorter, as I am a Soft Gamine according to the Kibbe system).
        Regarding DYT, I know I’m either a 4 or 2 generally, since my movement is lower- I tend to lean towards 4 based on Carol Tuttle’s personality descriptors, but have trouble analysing my face – which you’ve noted to be crucial. I’ll give it a bit more time and see what I come up with.

        Reply
        • stylesyntax
          November 24, 2020 at 7:20 pm

          I’ve seen colors in Zyla used across seasons, even Romantics. I’ve definitely seen Autumns or Springs get palettes that would be considered “cool” in a regular seasonal system, and Winters and Summers get warmer palettes. I would focus on the energy of the season. David says he can tell over the phone which season you are!

          Reply
  3. Elizabeth Stewart
    June 2, 2019 at 8:09 am

    Yes, I completely agree, as I have discovered for myself. In Kibbe I’m an R (TR as secondary, my analysis said); DYT 2/1: and Zyla – well, I’m not really sure, but his colour formulae have worked out very well for me. Can’t find the archetype, but the Summer Classic seems to fit, even though that does not reflect my Kibbe very much. Thank you for all your posts; they are really thought-provoking and so well informed.

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      June 2, 2019 at 11:31 pm

      Unfortunately, I would be so sure of being an R in Kibbe, especially if the analyst you went to said TR is secondary. 😉 I mean, you could very well be, but it would not based on the reasons used by an analyst who isn’t David. I haven’t seen one yet who actually understood his work, unfortunately. Especially if they’re saying that TR is secondary–they are both yin and curve dominant, but what separates the two is that TR has a tiny bit of yang–and if you had that yang, you’d be TR and not R. There are no leans within Kibbe. You’d either have soft yin, or soft yin and a little bit of sharp yang. It is unfortunate that people can’t just make up their own systems, rather than spread misunderstanding. :'( I encourage everyone who has gone to a stylist claiming to type people in Kibbe’s system to keep an open mind when it comes to his system, since you really have a one-in-ten chance (or maybe less, even, since they get it so wrong) of being the type the analyst said you were. I mean, if you’re happy with what you got and it helps you, that’s great–but the way they work with his system has nothing to do with the way he works or the way he uses it. So it’s again something I would consider in total isolation from anything you learn about Kibbe’s system. 🙂

      You can be any combination of Image ID and Zyla Archetype–as I said in my post, they are looking at different things, after all! And since Image IDs aren’t styles, you can generally figure out how to make the two work in harmony, if you so choose.

      Reply
      • Elizabeth Stewart
        June 3, 2019 at 4:28 am

        Thank you, this is really helpful information. I wish Kibbe had a practice in the UK, where I now live. I confess I did not see any Yang at all in my face or figure when the Kibbe-trained analyst typed me. Am very happy with the flowing, draoed Romantic lines, and get loads of compliments. So I am going with that. Again, many thanks. I always wondered why the TR alternative made me feel as though I was dressing up in someone else’s outfit, and now I know.

        Reply
        • stylesyntax
          June 4, 2019 at 3:04 am

          You were misled by misrepresentation, sadly–Kibbe-trained analysts do not exist. 🙁 And certainly anyone who actually had been trained by David, if he did in fact train people in his system, would not tell you that TR is a backup for R!

          Reply
  4. Daga
    June 3, 2019 at 8:35 am

    Very interesting post. I must admit I only know Kibbe from “second hand” and perhaps I misunderstood his system because I always thought that face, hands and feet matter a lot. You’ve wrote: “Clothes go on the body, not the face or hands or feet.” In my mind certain cuts or style choices work for certain body types also because they resonate with face, hands and feet. For example Gamine looks wrong on Natural or Dramatic because the proportion of clothes make their bigger hands, feet or facial features look large or” chunky”. It was one of few things I thought intuitively understand – maybe because of first hand observation. For ex. my Soft Dramatic mother, spectacular and feminine, can pool off almost anything, even sweet Gamine looks… except her hands and feet look massive in Gamine proportioned clothes.

    Reply
    • Daga
      June 3, 2019 at 8:44 am

      Sorry for language (I found a funny mistake), I rarely write in English.

      Reply
    • stylesyntax
      June 4, 2019 at 2:55 am

      If your mother is a Soft Dramatic, that’s why clothing proportioned for small, narrow, mixed long-and-short bodies look odd on her–not her hands. Audrey Hepburn had big feet, especially for the time period. And look at this picture of FG Debra Winger showing the size of her hands: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debra_Winger#/media/File:Debrawinger1984.jpg If she had the body of Paulette Goddard, she would not be able to wear Sophia Loren’s outfits, regardless of her hands/feet/face. Her body would not fill them out.

      Reply
      • Daga
        June 4, 2019 at 7:05 am

        Thanks, that’s very informative. You’re posts and comments about Kibbe made me understand a bit more. Although the system is still too complicated for me, at least I got rid of some misconceptions and myths about it thanks to you. It’s really hard to understand each system and not seek similarities or draw links between them – from practical point of view, when you try to use all of them (all your knowledge) for yourself. Good thing to remember it shouldn’t be the starting point, because it leads to misunderstandings. At this point I’m very overwhelmed by all options, and my desire to look my best. I decided to be more intuitive in my choices, which may not be fully coherent whith any of the systems I came across. I only stand by my clear/bright spring colours but not nearly as strictly as before. I decided that feeling amazing and enjoying myself in what I wear is enough. In the end it all works together better than trying to fit some idealistic image and be a 100% of certain style or category.

        Reply
        • stylesyntax
          June 5, 2019 at 6:13 pm

          It’s really not that complicated… people make it complicated by trying to “crack” it. Really, all you have to do is understand yourself. Intuition is really a great place to start.

          Reply
  5. Janey
    June 4, 2019 at 4:33 am

    Are you saying that this source is not accurate?
    ***url removed***

    I am asking as I am confused by your comments, when I do not think I said anything negative, or to deserve such a hostile response.

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      June 4, 2019 at 4:46 am

      I removed the link, but yes, I would personally not trust that site, based on my own experience and seeing the inaccuracies that abound there generally. My own research has been used there incorrectly, to the point where I had to email and ask for corrections.

      I only cover resources on my blog that I personally find valuable. If I cover a system, I have researched it thoroughly and find it valid. So if I blog about something, I’m aware of things like the dirt people try to dig up. It’s just not necessary to bring it to my attention. (The ones I don’t cover are the systems and creators I do not like…) When people respond with negative comments about the systems I choose to write about, which I have already researched thoroughly and have helped me in some way, it does put a dark cloud over my day.

      Reply
      • Janey
        June 4, 2019 at 5:16 am

        Thanks for your explanation. I didn’t know any of that and am very grateful for you drawing my attention to it. I read your blog in a hope to learn and always enjoy it and find your writing style easy to understand. Please know there was no offence meant, I was genuinely confused and hoping and eager to learn more from you. I am grateful for the clarification.

        Reply
        • stylesyntax
          June 5, 2019 at 6:14 pm

          Thanks! I’m always happy to answer questions 🙂

          Reply
  6. B
    August 8, 2019 at 8:35 pm

    In DYT I am and have been satisfied with my self-typing as a 1/2. It makes me happy, matches my history and present self/look, and the colors match how my coloring has usually been seen, anyways. I am glad you have found your home in DYT that makes you happy and feel like you! I know you felt your FG-ness a long time ago, so that extra piece must help a lot.

    I used to have a FB presence and own Kibbe’s book,so am familiar with Kibbe, though wasn’t around by the time he joined the groups, unfortunately. Though sometimes I hear time to time some updated info that has been helpful in reconsidering how I look at his types. I think it was on your blog I saw you said some who sometimes struggle a lot with finding their Kibbe type have an easier time with their results/rec’s if they see David Zyla (who I had a wonderful session with and have a lot of insight into how to dress myself).

    I really don’t know my Kibbe type. I have it narrowed down, and learning of a lot of the new information since Kibbe joined FB, and how incorrect the community information or “help” was, I am reconsidering my original guess for myself. We will see. I am not in a rush.

    I can’t stand when someone gives their inexperienced and random opinion *as fact* about what a person (celeb or client) really is in a system or promising they can teach without giving the information about how they can learn from the creator or relevant analysts themselves. I see that most in Kibbe, too.

    I think it is by far the worst when they actually charge! They can just create their own system if this is their passion, or say they’re not sure why an analyst decided something or know some details. Or at least state something is a guess, not advertise something as a fact and explain why it is a fact.

    Pretending they have all the answers, let alone charging, is the worst. I just can’t believe some act and talk like such an authority to others like this…

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      August 9, 2019 at 7:53 pm

      I don’t really think that you have an easier time with Kibbe if you see Zyla, but I do think Zyla’s approach works better for the way some people work, since he gives more concrete recommendations. It can be used to fine tune your personal expression within your Image ID, I suppose.

      It truly is the worst when people charge for typings, or just spread bad information… It’s especially bad when I find out they’re in the Facebook groups and have access to the correct information. :/

      Reply
  7. Joan Kosmachuk
    December 2, 2019 at 3:13 am

    I was surprised to see that you didn’t mention the Caygill method of Seasonal Color Analysis in your post. She was the pioneer of the whole concept of personal Seasonal Color Analysis. Everyone else has built off of that foundation. Some more successfully than others. For myself I found my Caygill analysis so transformative that I trained and starting my own business using it. What I love about this method is how personal it is — no stereotypes or archetypes or any putting you in a box — it’s really about seeing your personal color harmony, understanding the Seasonal reference, but then tapping into your personal reflection of that which will be impacted by your body signature, your personality, and your lifestyle and geography. Really so much deeper than the rest and information that empowers you for the rest of your life.

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      December 2, 2019 at 3:38 am

      As I said in the post, I only talk about systems that I personally use and/or have a particular interest in. I’m glad that you have found a system you like, but it isn’t one that I have an interest in studying or receiving an analysis in. I only promote the systems I have found to be personally helpful and relevant.

      Reply
  8. LilliMei
    March 23, 2021 at 9:01 am

    #agenda #style_syntax

    I agree…I see your point…but I just woke up after reading this last night with the most astonishing revelation! I never liked your pic…whatever you’re wearing feels to “thin” and you appear so very CONTAINED. Basically, my feel is you look like a lion in chic parachute fabric…Everything you’ve said about yourself informed my revelation this morning: Tawny Spring. And in my Color Me a Seaon book, by Bernice Kentner, page 25, she describes six figure types inspired by the “ancient Chinese”:

    1. Dramatic
    2. Athletic
    3. Classic
    4. Romantic
    5. Gamin
    6. Ingenue

    Zyla has SIX types for each season (Caygill had 64-I thought at first he simplified it, but he didn’t). Jane Rekas, the bazooka mind of all things type, style, and color, actually created a comparison table of Kibbe and Zyla.

    You’re right-as always-each system needs to be used according to it’s creator (and I threw out the color blush finger test and just studied my voice-WINTER)…but in this one instance–and I suspect it’s because of a “trade secret” of Zyla’s–all your information connects a series of “dots” into place! And as you said, systems don’t correlate across the board. But I reread Zyla’s Tawny Spring this morning: she wears combat boots! She’s a Maverick…and all other details describe her as, well, a Flamboyant Gamine type. (and NO you are NOT a soft gamine–nose is too fleshy and prominent. It’s very much soft yang.)

    And you look like Anuschka Rees…she dresses in light, airy colors and there is room and space for her energy to fly and curl around her. Your coat is TOO LIGHT; it’s not substantial. And that dress IS a Type 3 dress, with a Secondary 1.

    Toodledo–natural deep redhead Type 4 know-it-all Wylie E Coyote genius INFJ proud-to-be-a-weirdo signing off! (I always read your blog btw when I need clarity) 😉

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      April 8, 2021 at 11:01 pm

      I’m not sure what photo you’re referring to, since there is no photo of me in the post you’re commenting on, but this is exactly what this post was written to counteract. I know Tawny Springs who are Image IDs like SD and are nothing like a Flamboyant Gamine. And I don’t really see Kibbe putting an FG in combat boots; FG is youthful energy combined with high-fashion sophistication, and Kibbe doesn’t do an “eclectic” look–everything in your outfit is going to the same event. FG is one of the most misunderstood of all the Kibbe Image IDs, since it is portrayed as a teenager rebelling against their parents and/or good taste, when it is in fact much more sophisticated than that.

      As far as Jane Rekas go–her blog posts connecting types across systems that use different criteria to assess people and have completely different styling philosophies serve one purpose only, and that is to cause confusion. I would not take anything on her blog seriously. There is no single universal truth; there are different visions of you and you just choose the one(s) that align the most with what you want to look like/present yourself as.

      (I also have no idea why you’re telling me I’m not a Soft Gamine??? And it’s not my nose that determines whether I’m an SG or an FG.)

      As far as “Ancient Chinese,” Kentner is probably referring to McJimsey’s use of yin and yang via Belle Northrup, but I don’t think any of this originated in China except for the appropriated terms.

      Reply
      • Elizabeth Stewart
        April 9, 2021 at 6:39 am

        I’m wondering whether Brigitte Bardot is actually an FG? After reading the post above, it seems as though this would fit her well, especially when she was younger (she is now around 80, I think). I have seen her called a TR, though I can’t remember where I saw that. But FG might be a really good fit, and also illuminate that style type better. As you rightly say, it is not just a teenage rebel, but a whole overall image ID that expresses much more than rebellion.

        Reply
        • stylesyntax
          April 9, 2021 at 12:03 pm

          It’s not a teenage rebel at all is the point. 🙂 Sophistication is as important to FG as youthful energy. Teenager looks are completely outside of what Kibbe does.

          Nah, I don’t think BB would be FG. David has said SG or TR for her, and that indicates that she is curvy in his eyes. Also, her image doesn’t align with FG at all. You would not have And God Created Woman starring Audrey or Liza.

          Reply
  9. LilliMei
    March 23, 2021 at 9:05 am

    and yes I recognize I’m contradicting myself… in a way. but I think that what’s happening is I’ve been studying this now for like 7 years like the years keep stacking up and I’m just creating my own system!

    Reply
  10. Catherine
    April 26, 2021 at 3:21 am

    I have been thinking about this post for quite a while and I really appreciate your points and completely agree that if you choose to follow a system, then you have to apply it as a standalone system for it to be effective as the creator intended.

    I am curious though about how this translates in the actual practical creation of ones closet, especially where colors might contradict each other?

    For example I was clue-bombed as a Type 1 quite recently. I am still unpacking that but I am happy with it even though it was quite a surprise. I am a textbook introvert…but as you said in another post, that’s not what the word means in DYT.

    My Zyla DIY palette on the other hand runs quite muted (I’m a POC, so my neutrals especially are quite dark) and I am leaning Summer or Autumn there. I have been in the FB groups and I do recognize that I don’t have to go literal with Zyla but this creates a lot of unknows so it is still a work in progress.

    Because of the definitive answer from DYT I am tempted to at least test brighter and lighter colours in Zyla to see if they will also work though I recognize that Type 1 does not necessary mean Spring and there are T1 colours across all seasons. I feel like a system can to some degree inform another? Not completely of course – I am SN in Kibbe for example and I do not see how that would be affected by T1 or whichever Zyla season I land in.

    My question is when I go out to shop, I feel like there needs to be cohesiveness in my wardrobe choices, which is where I am finding separation difficult. Do you find that you have such conflicts and if so, how are you resolving them with your closet?

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      May 30, 2021 at 1:49 pm

      My colors line up, but I think when this conflict exists, there are a couple of things you can do.

      The first is just choose one and go with it. I pretty much just use DYT’s T3 palette. There’s going to be a lot of overlap with Autumn, but it’s the easiest for me to go by.

      The second would be to focus on a single palette within a HTT outfit. David encourages you to think in head-to-toe outfits, and this eliminates the need for everything to work together, if as a T1 you’d like to have the options of your different palettes. Personally I find that I don’t like using different palettes, even if I’m not aiming for interchangeability with my outfits, but I have found that T1s might appreciate the variety.

      Reply
      • Catherine
        May 30, 2021 at 2:05 pm

        Thank you for your response. You have definitely given me a lot to think about!

        Reply

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