How to Tell if Someone Is Wrong About Kibbe

There are many, many people on the Internet posing as Kibbe “experts,” whether they’re making videos, writing blog posts, charging for typings, offering advice on forums, or some combination of the above. I do not consider myself a Kibbe expert as in, “I can ‘type’ you just as well as David can!” But I have had the privilege of being able to work with David for the past few years managing online communities with his participation and blessing, so when I see people spreading incorrect information, it is very frustrating for me. I thought I would share some signs that will help you distinguish people who have an understanding of how David’s system works in 2019, versus people whose understanding of the system reflects the long line of misapplications and misinterpretations of his work.

Now, I will also say that in the early years of this blog, I may have committed some of these “sins,” because we simply didn’t have the information and access to David Kibbe that we have now. (If you see a post that seems like it reflects these ideas and doesn’t have a note saying it’s outdated, please let me know so I can add one!)

1. They use Classic, Gamine, and Natural.

We have known for years that David no longer puts people in these Image IDs. Everyone is either a little more yin or a little more yang. If someone is making content and using these IDs, they are either unaware of how David works now, or they are including them knowing that David doesn’t use them, which is worse, because they are knowingly spreading out-of-date information.

2. They use the terms “body type” or “Image Archetype/IA.”

These are not terms David uses. “Body type” implies that each Image ID has to look a particular way, when there are as many ways to get to a certain yin/yang balance as there are people within that yin/yang balance. I don’t expect another FG to be my body twin; we share a juxtaposition of yin and yang with a little more yang, not a particular shape. And “Image Archetype” comes from a copycat system and it’s a sign that the way they are more familiar with what they’re calling Kibbe doesn’t actually primarily come from David’s work.

3. They have galleries and Pinterest boards of “[clothing item] for the types.”

This is looking at David’s work in a prescripitivist way, and it’s not the way he works at all. Yes, the book has recommendations, but over 30 years have passed, and the way clothes are made now is very different. In addition, the recommendations in the book were never meant to limit you, but to paint a picture. In 2019 Kibbe, you think about an outfit from head to toe and how to make it work with your yin/yang balance. When people from the Facebook groups started going to see David in person, it was amazing just how much different the way he actually styles people in particular Image IDs is from the image we held in our heads. And frequently what people are positing as a suggestion for an Image ID doesn’t make sense, like dresses that clearly require a strong shoulderline to hang correctly being suggested for a Romantic, or they’re very limited, like SN=90s movie art teacher (which is so bizarre to me, considering that the SN combo of strong-but-sensual is the kind of beauty I see most honored in our current culture).

4. They use “masculine” and “feminine.”

In the 1920s, Belle Northrup specifically selected “yin” and “yang” to avoid the feminine/masculine dichotomy. Your Image ID reveals your special kind of feminine beauty, if that is how you wish you to be seen. Many women held up as a paradigm of feminine beauty are, in fact, in Image IDs that are not yin at all.

5. Their information contradicts David’s.

They say celebrities are in different Image IDs than David has said, or they tell you that you can be tall and still be a Theatrical Romantic if you “look short.” If you’re new to Kibbe, though, you may not be able to sift through what is in line with what David says and what isn’t.

6. They use the quiz.

The quiz as a tool is no longer necessary, and is in fact discouraged because you are looking at features in isolation, not the gestalt of your yin/yang balance. And David has written a series of exercises, which are a far better means of getting to your Image ID than trying to figure out if your legs and arms are short or slightly short.

7. They type you.

Even if I have an idea of someone’s Image ID, I would never tell them. It is their journey to find out. If someone places themselves in an Image ID that they are clearly not, like the tall TR example mentioned above, then I would mention that, or I will respond to questions in comments based on how someone is describing themselves. But I would never look at someone’s pictures and tell them what Image ID I think they are, and I would definitely never accept money for this. People who understand Kibbe understand that David can’t teach you to see the way he does, and that’s okay. He can help you see yourself, but being able to “type” your friends and family isn’t the point. He is not like Carol Tuttle, who puts out content to teach you how to type other people. The only people who can really tell you your Image ID are a) David and b) yourself.

This is really just the beginning, but these are some of the clearest and most common tells that someone is not giving you the correct information about David Kibbe’s work. I also have a Kibbe FAQ, and David Kibbe’s new website is a great way to get an understanding of how he actually works.

13 Comments on How to Tell if Someone Is Wrong About Kibbe

  1. Angie
    August 10, 2019 at 1:52 am

    Well, that’s interesting. I learned all the out of date info. Frankly, I liked that system. It was helpful to me. I joined the FB groups, but it seems a little overwhelming. I don’t really need help finding myself. I know who I am, and I know what I like. My problem is not having access to the right pieces or the time to be hunting them down. How do I navigate being a mom and a farmer and a romantic DYT 4/1? That’s the tricky part. Anyone can gussy up. What do you do to be beautiful when most of the time you need to be in highly practical clothing?

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      August 10, 2019 at 2:30 am

      I would focus on 4/1–I think DYT is a better fit if you just want practicality. I would stick with athleisure for daily wear. I eye a lot of Athleta as a T4! Kalista has shown some very casual and practical looks. I think her advice as a 4/1 mom would be very helpful to you if you’re in Lifestyle.

      Reply
  2. Elizabeth Stewart
    August 10, 2019 at 7:52 am

    Your posts are always so helpful. I was misled for years by someone who claimed to have been Kibb trained, but was not. Thanks to the Facebook group and the exercises that Kibbe sets, I have finally discovered my real type, and I can honestly say it was a lightbulb moment – suddenly the system all made complete sense. I am Yin, being petite, very curvy in face and body, and looking my worst in the baggy sweaters I used to try and hide my curves beneath. I have high, rounded cheekbones so thought I was Dramatic, but that is literally the only yang feature I possess. I had puzzled over the Metamorphoses quiz for literally years, but only now is it all starting to come together for me. The only question now is how to express a Romantic physicality in my 50s, without getting all muttony!

    Reply
  3. Jonna
    August 10, 2019 at 8:28 am

    Could you email me the link to the Strictly Kibbe form? It’s not a clickable link when I try to get added to the group. Thank you!

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      August 10, 2019 at 8:31 pm

      Follow the instructions on the questions on Facebook if you can’t get it to work. 🙂

      Reply
  4. cactus gardener
    August 11, 2019 at 3:02 am

    Another thing I find bothering is the advice “try on styles for the different IDs and see what’s more flattering”. This implies that styles are limited to certain IDs, while it’s more probable that certain styles just won’t appeal to certain IDs personality wise, but that won’t be true for everyone, no limits.
    “Flattering” is a huge problem, as I stated elsewhere. We’re too brainwashed about what “flattering” means: looking thinner, looking taller if you’re not already very tall, and looking curvier for us Yang-dominant types. Kibbe tells us that we don’t need flattering, we’re already perfect as is. Once around this bend, we’ll no longer see anything too fat, too flat or too short (I realized that I no longer feel awkward even when wearing something that isn’t to my advantage, because I’m now conscious of the lines of my body and feel the wrongness in the outfit, not in my body as I used to, and don’t worry much what others might see, because I KNOW and that’s enough to feel at ease). It will never happen if we stay stuck in the “flattering” mindset, which is always about correction and camouflage.

    Still, I wouldn’t consider all the information out there useless. It was all that was available for a long time, and sometimes inaccurate information is better than none at all. Many of us wouldn’t have discovered Kibbe if it weren’t for the efforts of these people. So I’m grateful to them. It’s not their fault that the book hasn’t been updated since the 80ies. As an author, you have to accept that people will do whatever they want with your book, it’s no longer yours (as an author, I know this…).
    Of course I find it outrageous to type other people and even charge for it. That seems culturally accepted since the internet though – there are self-proclaimed mediums, nutritionists, coaches, doctors out there, or even people offering no service at all, just: “I’m broke, please send me money” – and it works, I will never get it. Yet the responsibility is with the paying clients (or their parents, if the clients aren’t of legal age). The exception would be fraudulent credentials, such as “trained by Kibbe” when it’s not the case.

    The best thing that could happen would be an updated edition of the book.

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      August 11, 2019 at 3:11 am

      I would agree if David weren’t so accessible. I know at least one of the people who is responsible for a lot of the bad information saw him in person. A lot of people who put out bad information now have been in the Facebook groups and gotten advice from him and know what they’re “teaching” is incorrect, but they still do it because the way he works doesn’t translate well to YouTube views. I don’t need a book if I can get an answer from David directly, and he now has his website at least. I hope that will help, but the fake Kibbe stuff is easier to follow and some people prefer it for that reason, even though it accomplishes the opposite of what he actually teaches.

      Reply
      • cactus gardener
        August 11, 2019 at 4:27 am

        Okay, that’s bad. I don’t know what came first, David’s accessibility or the different internet outlets.
        A book is always a good thing to have. I wouldn’t want to live in a world where I have to join a Facebook group on every topic I want to educate myself on, instead of getting a few thorough books. It is also less annoying and more efficient to teach people who have already read a book and understood the overall idea of a topic and then address specific questions, instead of a bunch of people where some already know a lot and others have no clue whatsoever.

        Reply
        • stylesyntax
          August 11, 2019 at 4:33 am

          I hope the website can take the place of a new book in a better, dynamic way. But it would also help that if people who do have the opportunity to learn from David didn’t decide to make content that contradicts what he teaches in order to get views. :/ David being an active part of the online Kibbe community definitely predates anyone making YouTube videos about his work.

          Reply
  5. cactus gardener
    August 11, 2019 at 5:47 am

    There were older blogs and websites, most of which have disappeared in the meantime.
    At least I remember for sure that I found Kibbe stuff online (though I’m not sure how many years ago), while it wasn’t possible to find out if David Kibbe himself was still working on this.

    Yeah great, I’m looking forward to the new content on the Kibbe website!

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      August 11, 2019 at 3:28 pm

      I found Kibbe in early 2014, and the Facebook community already existed and people had gone to see him. But I’m talking about the YouTube videos, which have only existed since David has been a strong presence online and have caused a definite surge in awareness that Kibbe exists. The blogs that I can recall mostly focused on Kibbe in the context of many other systems or people who created their own systems based on Kibbe.

      Reply
  6. Elizabeth Stewart
    August 12, 2019 at 4:57 am

    What I have gained from the FB group is the understanding that I don’t have to camouflage, hide or feel ashamed of any of my curves, unlike what society tells us these days. The supermodel look (with enhanced boobs if you’re a celeb wannabe) is way too out of reach for most of us, and if you’re petite you’re never going to look that way. The exercises David sets, which are not in the book, completely changed the way I feel about my old fashioned, curvy shape, which I now realize is beautiful in its way. As he says, his approach to style is through love, and it really shines through all he does. Probably Marilyn would be considered too large today, but David celebrates her beauty along with the slim, elegant Dramatics and every possible shape that a woman can be. I don’t think any other system gets anywhere near this – it’s an almost spiritual approach to style.

    Reply
    • stylesyntax
      August 14, 2019 at 11:37 pm

      I agree. It is really less about “this top is good these pants are bad,” and more about helping you realize your unique potential. I’m not going to be either curvy or supermodel, but I have something else to offer that is just as special. And this is what makes the imitators so distressing, especially when people prefer them–it’s just so much more than a style system.

      Reply

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