Response to Merriam Style Distancing Herself From Kibbe

I had some free time finally, so I wandered into what is (for me) the darkest corner of the internet… the place where people outside of the Strictly Kibbe world discuss Kibbe. And I found that, to my surprise, three weeks ago, Merriam Style decided to distance what she does from David.

On the one hand, I definitely applaud this move! Just by poking around the aforementioned dark corner, and seeing what people who come to our Facebook group from her work say, I know that what she teaches is very, very different from what he does–height not mattering to the point where the tallest of women can be put into the shortest of types, etc.

I can see that she gets it, to an extent, and this is partially what spurred her to no longer use his work the way she has been doing. David is a “highly intuitive” person. He has a gift of seeing people. And he can help you see yourself.

On the other hand, however, the post just made it even clearer for me that fundamentally, there is a disconnect between what David actually teaches, and what people who haven’t learned from David directly believe about this system.

From her post:

But going back to this difference between personality and body type: Even in one of my first videos on my channel that I’ve ever made, on the Soft Gamine, I say that Soft Gamines don’t have to be cute or fun. They can also be sexy or elegant or badass.

And herein lies the humongous problem. David would absolutely agree that SGs can be sexy, elegant, and badass. All Image IDs have their own ways of being these things.

Eartha Kitt

SG Eartha Kitt, embodying these three characteristics.

Tell Bette to her face that she is limited to “cute”!

Anyone who spends time with David, virtually or otherwise, knows that he believes that we are all unique individuals who can be any way we want to be, and understanding our Image ID is just the way to be the most ourselves and to achieve our fullest potential, freeing us from what we think we have to be and giving ourselves permission and freedom to be how we are. I know that the advice he has given me as a presumptive FG is totally different from the advice he has given other presumptive FGs. He doesn’t give everyone the advice to wear the wild and edgy things he tells me to look for, for instance.

So when I see things like this, from the same blog post:

At that time, I didn’t realize the gravity of this ‘discovery’ so to speak, or just how fundamentally different this is from other approaches, and potentially even David’s approach.

…it frustrates me to no end. This is not a “discovery.” It’s not David’s approach at all to use the Image ID as a box, not only for someone’s style, but even worse, their personality. It’s something that many have promoted, but it has nothing to do with David’s work. And even if his system were so limited, going back to the book, the SG was not at all merely cute and innocent. SGs are “Spitfire Chic”! How people get “cute and innocent” out of “spitfire,” I have no idea. It is clear the lineage of the current crop of Kibbe “instructors,” on YouTube and elsewhere, can be traced not to David, but those who came before and briefly made some cash and got hits on their sites from taking David’s work and turning it into something fit for Pinterest and video compilations and discernible from photos or a video call, if someone has hundreds of dollars to spare.

So while I applaud Merriam Style for discontinuing the use of David’s lexicon in her work, the fundamental misunderstandings present in her “farewell to Kibbe” blog post show that really, she should not have been “teaching” his work in the first place.

27 Comments on Response to Merriam Style Distancing Herself From Kibbe

  1. laurennovember
    October 7, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    This post reads as incredibly angry about someone being humble enough to admit they are backing away from a system they are no longer teaching. Why? I want to like this blog, but the judgmental tone is ridiculous. Congrats on being Kibbe’d in person. Not everyone has that experience and it’s not like it’s talking directly to god. Your own teachings are up to your audience’s interpretation too, you know. Merriam openly said she realized Kibbe wasn’t what she wanted to do anymore. You don’t need to crap on her and say she should never have been teaching them from the beginning.

    • stylesyntax
      October 9, 2019 at 1:42 am

      Thank you for taking the time to comment; you brought up some points I’d like to address. I know it’s not the classiest thing to call out someone publicly like this, but I feel that the fact that Merriam has a business doing this, charging for typings and some kind of club, means that she should be held to a professional standard. I actually was going to write (a different version of) this blog post on her post directly, but I realized that I had a lot to say and felt that my own blog was a better outlet.

      Am I angry? Yes. I am glad that she is no longer using Kibbe’s nomenclature, as I said. But the damage has already been done, and she has been taking hundreds of dollars at a pop to lead women astray and do the opposite of what Kibbe tries to do. I am going to be judgmental when it is warranted. I wouldn’t call out someone by name if they were just a hobbyist blogger who enjoys Kibbe and wants to share. There are people like that who are also very wrong, but once you cross into typing and charging money for it, that’s a different story and what kind of reaction I feel is warranted changed.

      I have not been Kibbe’d in person, and that’s one of my points, one where Merriam gives her readers the absolutely wrong impression. She says that his internet presence is “minimal” in her blog post–and yet David will give anyone in the Facebook groups feedback for free, and has written dozens of exercises to lead people to their type without paying anything. Of course, it wouldn’t behoove someone who is making money from typing to tell you that. 😉 I have gotten personal feedback from David on my style, feedback that was incredibly valuable and right on the money, just from being a part of a Facebook group and from him getting to know me virtually. Anything I have posted recently about his system is information that he makes available to anyone in the Facebook groups. My intention is just to correct the misconceptions I see, not teach. My hope is that anything I share will just lead people to David himself. He is the teacher, and he is not at all hard to reach. If someone misinterprets what I say, that’s okay, as long as it leads them to the groups and to David himself.

      In terms of his own system, yes, he is the god of it (my boyfriend makes fun of me for being in a cult, haha). No one can tell Kibbe he is wrong about his own system, because he created it.

      She had absolutely no business teaching. The things I read on the unofficial forums were, frankly, atrocious. Anyone who thinks Taylor Swift is an SG has no understanding of the basics of yin/yang, and this is what people are saying Merriam teaches. Her understanding of Kibbe’s work seems to be about equivalent to my understanding of physics. But I don’t teach physics, because I didn’t go to school for it and my understanding is minimal. If she is going to do something totally her own now, that’s great, but unfortunately there still seems to be 10,000 subscribers who believe her perversion of David’s work over David. My outrage would not seem so “ridiculous” to someone who has seen how much effort David puts into helping people for no monetary gain at all. It is deeply hurtful for me to see.

  2. cactus gardener
    October 9, 2019 at 2:47 am

    The thing with height is indeed terrible. Height is an integral part of the yin yang balance. I feel that height alone makes up about half of it, taking on more weight the taller or the more petite someone is. Don’t know if this is true though. The idea of a „tall Gamine“ is utterly outlandish for French speakers.

    It’s funny how 90% of DIY-Kibbe-IDs on the internet are TR, SG and SC, with a few SNs, SDs and Rs sprinkled in and other IDs occuring only occasionally. Just as with MBTI, rather 99% of people on the internet belong to the two rarest types. Or take 12 season color analysis, it’s incredible how many self-assessed and even draped Bright Winters and Bright Springs are out there. Simply due to the relative straightforwardness of genetics for pigmentation, at least two thirds of all people, probably a lot more, have to be Softs, with most of the rest ending up in one of the other eight seasons. People with Bright as dominant trait must thus be rare, and walking around on the street confirms this. It’s a lot harder to determine if Softness is indeed the dominant trait in a non-Bright person, but it’s always safe to assume one is soft; Brights don’t need color analysis, they know they’re Bright.

    Softness is just something most women don’t want, the same way as most women don’t want to be Yang dominant. Strangely enough, Softness is the much coveted Yin in color…
    (I’m aware that there’s the other school of PCA, using only skin reaction to colors. I came to the conclusion that the latter makes little sense to me, although it’s beautiful as a theory.)

    So yeah, something’s amiss. I’m just an interested witness, I don’t take sides in this.

    Look at it from a historical perspective, as we know it from religion (your boyfriend is right!, and the terminology has already been applied): a prophet puts his wisdom out there. The prophet didn’t come out of nowhere, what he’s found is not new by any means, new is the way he is able to put it to finally make sense. He doesn’t care for copyright, because he knows well he is only a messenger. Apostles follow him and spread the good news. Then come all kinds of heretics, false prophets and opportunists, also spreading the message, some distorted, some with valid new points of view and original contributions. Some have the best intentions, some want to profit, some have no intent at all. Inquisition defends the pure doctrine and exposes the heretics as charlatans. Manyfold sects form, until a few branches establish themselves as official churches. Maybe reformers show up and turn the whole thing upside down, there’s a war and a split, and then it settles down again. Most main branches will persist, some sects will disappear, others emerge. They will forever fight each other, but also enrich each other. Individual people will choose whatever works for them or what they happen to be exposed to. All roads lead to Rome (or nowhere). Science and the Arts are no different. It’s called cultural evolution. All the protagonists are necessary for this to happen.

    Your frustration is justified, and I actually have a sweet spot for the inquisitor (as long as no torture and execution is involved), because that’s the most ungrateful part, which requires the sharpest of minds and the thickest of hides, involving the risk of not being loved as the prophet himself and the sect founders are, and not being remembered kindly later on.

    I also sympathize with Merriam as a sect founder (the first sect actually, because she is the first to explicitly branch off), because I feel that her wish to help people is genuine, but mainly for this: «But finding your best lines and colors shouldn’t be a long journey of self discovery, it should be simple. In other words, it’s not that deep.»

    That’s exactly what I would have needed when I started out. I wasn’t interested in fashion and style, clotheswise. I needed tangible solutions for a material problem, and needed them fast. The aim was to spend zero time on getting dressed while feeling confident, not wasting money on stuff I won’t wear, finding clothes that I liked, and minimizing environmental impact. I approached it at first like filling in a tax declaration: understand the basics and get it out of the way as fast as possible. Never did I expect to read tons historic literature on the topic for the next few years, as I discovered how interesting it actually is, and how neatly it ties in with my quests in all other areas of life and work, including spiritual.

    In hindsight I firmly believe that our insides and outsides are completely aligned, and that there is indeed such a thing as an ID. I believe that it is possible to find this ID no matter where you begin, from the body, the mind or the soul. Again, it’s no different from religion. Some people need no more than the consolation of prayer and simple explanations for the calamities on earth, others need to delve deep into mysticism, lose themselves, find themselves, and lose again. Many people need both, at different stages of their lives. Sometimes one leads to the other, and it goes both ways.

    The beginning of this cultural evolution process for style that we witness only means that Kibbe is indeed a rightful prophet. It’s a wonderful spectacle to watch. I applaud all of you.

    (I really prefer to call myself Natural though, rather than «beveled», and now that I don’t have to go naked, I enjoy the luxury of mysticism.)

    • stylesyntax
      October 9, 2019 at 3:23 am

      Oh, she is far from the first! The first in our modern era was Best Dressed, which is still in business and training people, and most of the incorrect ideas really stem from what Rachel was doing and how she interpreted the book. Five years ago or so I could have written this post about her. Merriam is more of a descendant from her than David because Pinterest stuff and the way people have interpreted the quiz come from Rachel. There is an entire cottage industry in Russia where they “train” people in Kibbe. Merriam is actually a relative newcomer in the constellation of people who have tried to make money by practicing David’s system, with varying degrees of success and notoriety.

      I also completely disagree with her that it shouldn’t be a long journey and that it’s not deep. It is very deep. And it may take you a long time if you have a lot to work through surrounding your appearance. David’s approach really is about your whole life, not just style. Carol Tuttle’s work is actually similar in that style is a vehicle for bigger things in your life. I also started with just wanting to know what colors and styles to wear, and I’ve gotten way more from both of these teachers.

      As far as color… I don’t know. I gave up on PCA totally. Color in isolation isn’t interesting to me.

    • Silverroxen
      October 9, 2019 at 2:53 pm

      Exactly! Taylor Swift being a Gamine makes no sense whatsoever. She’s 5’10”! Gamine should be the first one ruled out. But no the fact that she looks great in stereotypical Gamine clothing makes her one *eye roll*.

    • Silverroxen
      October 9, 2019 at 2:53 pm

      Exactly! Taylor Swift being a Gamine makes no sense whatsoever. She’s 5’10”! Gamine should be the first one ruled out. But no the fact that she looks great in stereotypical Gamine clothing makes her one *eye roll*.

      I mentioned under the last post that this crop of YouTubers seem to mostly be SGs. INTJs are everywhere on the Internet and I always see articles and videos for INFJ.

  3. cactus gardener
    October 9, 2019 at 10:12 am

    I agree that Kibbe is deep, of course I do, you know that. But I also agree with Merriam that if you want to know what to wear and nothing more, then it is not deep and should be simple.

    The overall goal is, in my opinion, to get rid of the preoccupation with looks that have crippled women for centuries (and begins to cripple men in recent times, too), in order to free up our energy and talents for more worthwile pursuits. For everyone to see beauty where it actually is: everywhere! And to put fast fashion industry out of business, as it damages the planet and textile workers, while eating itself fat on women’s low self esteem.

    What seems to happen on the style journey is often the contrary, that people get even more self-preoccupied, more insecure, more afraid of doing it wrong, and it can go on for years. In all this time they are lost to the world and the great things they could do. You have found yourself the moment you forget yourself, after all – when you’re able to listen to somebody whithout already thinking about your answer. When you walk in the woods and the deer don’t flee because you blend in perfectly. When you’re with your partner and never remember you once thought your bottom big and your neck old. So no, what you wear is not deep at all. Learning what to wear can be a first step to forgetting yourself, it can, it should.

    It doesn’t seem to, in many cases. I have read more than a few times now of whole wardrobes being thrown out several times, because it turned out that it was the wrong ID, essence, sub-season, energy type or what-have-you. This is a general problem of style analysis, not specifically Kibbe or any other. Learning what to wear can be a useful spiritual tool, in that respect it is deep. So can martial arts, walking, meditation, raising ducks, gardening, reading, traveling, psychotherapy, basically anything.

    Clothing style in itself, as a material thing, is quite limited. You know your materials, cuts, textures, patterns, (and yeah, maybe!, your colors … just avoid your worst and it’ll be fine), and how to put them together. That doesn’t leave us with 10‘000 variations to try out – on the contrary, we have rather less possibilities than back then when we had no clue, and that’s what’s so liberating. We now have permission to be that way, and we no longer feel obliged to try and be something we‘re not. Of course we can do so much more if we’re so inclined. But the main thing is, it’s no longer about us, and how we look, and all our worries. Clothing style is never the main journey, that would be outright ridiculous, though it can be part of it.

    You go on a journey to find yourself in order to be able to forget yourself and turn your gaze on the world – not to be more self-preoccupied for the rest of your life. So no, working through your appearance shouldn’t take too long, its dangerous. Appearance doesn’t matter. If you judge the earth worm by its appearance, you will be utterly mislead about this mightiest of animals with no less than eight hearts inside. Once we’ve really seen how beautiful we are, we no longer give a sh* about our appearance (here’s why beauty adds tell us the exact contrary!).

    That’s what it’s about. It CAN take long, it mostly does. And that’s where the danger is. That’s why Kibbe-ing is too long a journey for some. Not to forget that some people just don’t want it to be deep – don’t they derserve something better than the fruit types, too? Sometimes it sounds like «you don’t deserve to to look good and feel confident in your clothes if it didn’t take you years to figure it out» – well, just getting the right Kibbe ID won’t make anyone feel confident; the work has to be done anyway, but as I say, you can also chose gardening to get there. It can be a lot healthier to just find nice clothes that work well for now, and continue the journey in another area less prone to the self-preoccupation pitfall.

    Different approaches will work for different people. Kibbe offers a route to go all the way, or a large part of it. Merriam offers help at getting dressed. If she puts somebody in the right ID, it won’t make them feel confident (Kibbe can’t do that either by just giving the ID, can he). If she puts somebody else in the wrong ID, they’ll probably still look better than by following fruit types.

    Those who want the style route and want it deep, they will find Kibbe in time. What’s to worry?

    Anyone can call herself a stylist, there are no regulations regarding the profession to my knowledge. It’s up to the client to judge what he’s ready to pay for what kind of service and from whom. If David Kibbe takes issue with those using his material, it’s up to him or his lawyer to set it straight. But I don’t think that’s what Kibbe is about either, at all.

    PS. Same for PCA, lol! Although I narrowed it down to two sub-seasons. I had huge „season resistance“ in that case. I no longer BELIEVE in PCA – I actually thought of setting up my own website with the numerous arguments against PCA I found so far, but I doubt that I want to put so much time into it. 

    • stylesyntax
      October 9, 2019 at 12:37 pm

      Unfortunately, that’s not what I’ve seen happen–that people are able to get better results than they do with “fruit” systems. What seems to happen is that people are given something wrong and it feels off, and they’re following the “rules,” but they’re still frustrated. What would happen if Taylor Swift was a client and she walked in, all 5’10” of her, and she as put into an Image ID meant for “very petite” women? When compared to her SG sisters, it would bring up all the issues she’s ever had about herself… and yet here she is being told that this is what she is supposed to be. I think it is straight up irresponsible to wield these tools when you don’t understand them and take on the responsibility of telling people who they are. This has happened with all the people who do this, not just Merriam. People end up more confused than they were when they started, because the person in question doesn’t understand yin/yang and puts them in the wrong Image ID. I have had hundreds of people, probably, come to the Facebook groups after going to one of these people and experience such a sense of relief to know that there was nothing wrong with them, just with how they were placed in the system.

      I agree that Kibbe’s approach isn’t compatible with everyone and doesn’t give everyone what they want, which is why I wrote a post about it. But I don’t think the answer to that question is to go to one of these practitioners who promise to give you Kibbe the easy way and take out everything that makes Kibbe a revolutionary approach. To me, the answer would be to someone like David Zyla, who I also see as someone with great vision and intuition, but who will give you very specific recommendations and will do things like test different kinds of necklines and sleeves on you.

      Carol Tuttle once said something about how people who seem to be unable to find their type and will keep questioning even after she confirms their type are using this stuff to avoid something bigger in their lives. I also have observed this. It won’t fix everything, just certain things that you have control over. Like presenting yourself better will help you in your career, but it won’t really fix problems with your marriage that are up to your spouse to fix, not you. And I think some people will keep spinning until they realize that hitting upon the right type won’t make their life perfect, or they go to therapy on their own and work through their issues and no longer need style as a distraction.

      It didn’t take me years and I have seen people get to it very quickly. It is just not a “quick fix.” My main barrier to getting to the right Image ID was all the bad information out there, because the other women identifying as FG were way more yang than I am and ended up being completely different types. What David really gave me is permission to be myself. I have seen many women approach it his way and get to the right answer in a short amount of the time. As I said, the women it takes years and years to figure out often have some kind of deep-seated reason for not wanting to get there.

      Kibbe has issues with people taking his material and he tries hard to counteract it. But he isn’t really the type to go after someone with a lawyer. But I think the fact that these people float in and out of prominence and he’s still here after 30+ years shows that he has staying power because his way is (obviously) the best way to work with his material.

    • Elisa Miller
      November 7, 2019 at 8:53 am

      What a great post. I wish you had a blog.

      • cactus gardener
        November 8, 2019 at 11:00 am

        Thank you so much, Elisa, this makes me happy (at least I think you meant me, as Style Syntax already has a blog 🙂 ). Best wishes!

  4. Silverroxen
    October 9, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    In regards to cactusgardener’s comment on how long the Kibbe journey can take, here’s a rather long take on mine (I do love the tone of your comment, it sounds like you have a free spirited nature):

    I came across Kibbe during February of 2018. I had learned of this site named Women Love Power on an online forum, I did the assessment and got Gamine for my secondary archetype. I decided to search for what Gamine meant, because I had no clue aside from Audrey Hepburn lol. I found a couple of forums and a few sites including yours. 

     It wasn’t until March (of that year) that I shared it with the women in this FB group I’m in. Looking back now I had a lot of misinformation, I digress since I clarified later.

    Initially I thought I was a Romantic due to being a petite hourglass. At the time I was loking at Truth Is Beauty and I went with the Romantic Gamine archetype because I was told that I would look amazing in the Rockabilly style. Ironically looking back I told someone that she’s most likely a Romantic and that I’m one too, but thought I would be a Gamime since I’m 4’11, but the height requirement is 5’7 and under for Romantics.

    Later one of the women who was interested in Kibne shared the quiz and it had me questioning myself, since I got mostly D and E. Then she said that “Off top I’d place you  in Soft Gamine, especially since your bone structure is not as wide as Romantics”. I agreed and mentioned I looked better and was complimented a lot with a TWA (teeny weeny afro). Then I told her thank you so much and lnked this site’s article “Soft Gamine vs. Ingenue”. Someone else responded with “I DEFINITELY get soft gamine vibes from you”.

    Vanessa’s description at the end describes me perfectly. It still resonates.  res

    And to think that I would have kept on it identifying with Romantic due to height supposedly not mattering as much. I would have kept on feeling insecure that I wasn’t lush or womanly like an “hourglass” shaped woman is supposed to be. I’m not a Dreamspinner, I’m a Spitfire!

  5. cactus gardener
    October 10, 2019 at 4:44 am

    @Style Syntax, „wielding a powerful tool without understanding it completely“ wins me over to you, to about 90%. And especially if Kibbe has issues with this. Still, I tend to be of the opinion that adult people who are in the full possession of their wits and let someone sell them bullshit don’t need protection, because really, it’s not such an effort to educate yourself and think independently.

    If the youtubers had already been there and I’d have found them first, I’d have searched for the sources and still found those book excperts I had at the time when I ID-d myself, and followed those. I think they’re still somewhere. In English speaking countries you might even be able to find the book in a library near you. And, as you always point out, you can even learn directly from Kibbe nowadays. Always go back to the source material first – it seems that this isn’t taught anymore. Only then do I try to assess the knowledge of the person who transmits the source material and see if she makes sense to me according to what I’ve understood from the source. In the case of Merriam, I assume that she knows a lot more than I do, as she probably has the whole book while I had just excerpts, and she’s spent much more time studying and applying it. It’s a fact that she knows a lot more. Still, I wouldn’t give my money to her just based on the ID she gave herself and some of the real life people and celebs she presented, because I can’t see at all what she sees there. It doesn’t line up with my own interpretation of the source. I can never know for sure if I’m wrong on this or not, and I don’t need to, it simply doesn’t convince me personally.

    It’s up to everybody to make those kinds of assessments. If you’re right or wrong on something specific doesn’t matter after the fact checks that went before – in the end, it must make sense to YOU. If Taylor Swift does that, she knows that it can’t be when she is put into SG, and she doesn’t have to suffer for it. Or you go to see a stylist who looks like Taylor Swift and tells you she is herself an SG, then you know you can walk right back out and ask your money back.

    I would research first before I’d go see anyone with an established authority, too. And if what Kibbe himself told me wouldn’t make sense to me, I’d not follow his advice, simple as that. I see people who go into major surgeries without ever visiting a library and reading up on their ailment first. What’s to cry afterwards if it turns out the surgery wasn’t necessary and now you can’t walk for the rest of your life? Enough stuff can still go wrong when you know what you do and measure your decisions carefully. I don’t say one must get a PhD in every tiny subject, and often you just have to trust someone – but decisisons that can change the course of your life or even kill you, such as a surgery, or things that can cost you tons of money and discomfort, such as getting a wrong ID from a stylist, should be worth a bit of time.

    I have no pity for any responsible adult who uses the internet as a curious child would, and who is too lazy to read a few pages once a week, I’m sorry. I do feel deeply for people who see their ideas misused or even stolen, though. I know how this can hurt and frustrate. But every creative person must go through this, it can’t be helped. What do you think how many nights Einstein must have cried over Hiroshima. So we can be glad if nothing worse than „feeling off“ and „reliving through their old issues“ happens to people by mishandling the powerful tool (I’d say: it’s incredibly powerful when it works, but doesn’t do irreversible damage when done wrong). You said it yourself, time will tell what will prevail.

    @Silverroxen, thank you, you’re very kind. I hope you’re right! Being FN, I should be indeed «Free Spirit» according to Kibbe. It can still feel a bit intimidating sometimes. If you’ve begun your Kibbe journey last year and have found your Spitfire by now, then I don’t think that’s very long. I believe it can be a bit more confusing in the petite territory than it is for us tall ones. I was thinking more of those people who seem to stick around the same blogs,forums and channels for years on end, going back and forth between widely different IDs sometimes in a single day (or seasons, or essences, or types, etc.) forever and ever and ever. I can understand when one is torn between two types who needn’t look very different for a longer while (I myself couldn’t make up my mind between FN and N, which was close enough to be applicable, until I learned from style syntax that N no longer exists, so it’s settled; but I still dress more N than full blown FN a lot of the time because it’s just more practical and less fuss) – but I absolutely don’t get the thing with SD and TR for example. How such practically opposed IDs can be confused I will never know, and it really can’t happen if you’ve only read said excerpts from the book and nothing else.

    • dobi
      October 11, 2019 at 4:34 pm

      That sounds quite… arrogant to me, to say “no pity” for people, who are willing to pay for help. I am sure, you know how difficult it can be, to see yourself clear enough, some people are totally lost. I absolutly honor the effort David Kibbe makes on facebook. But to be honest: I don’t understand his words. I just don’t. I don’t get anything, that i could apply or use for my self. I believe in his ability to see the other person in a way, that makes it possible for him, to find the right type and show it through style. It is an art, but, well, not many people can do, what the artist is doing. In my opinion, he tried, but he gave no one the ability or right tools to find their own type by themselfs. So, there is no way out.

      • stylesyntax
        October 12, 2019 at 7:46 pm

        It is not true that people are unable to use the tools he has provided to find their Image ID themselves. I see people do it every day. For some, I think there may be a language barrier, but if people stick with it and really absorb what he is saying, people can do it on their own. And there is always seeing him in person. Paying someone who isn’t authorized to type people in his system and who doesn’t understand it is no different than reaching into a hat and picking out a type at random. In fact, you may be even more likely to hit upon your actual Image ID that way!

      • cactus gardener
        October 13, 2019 at 5:13 am

        @dobi, I certainly didn’t mean to sound arrogant (although I probably did, I see that), I’m sorry. I’m not a native speaker myself, after all. While I personally love David Kibbe’s baroque writing style, I understand if it’s not to everybody’s taste. Of course it’s hard to see ourselves objectively, I’m absolutely no exception. I didn’t say that people wanting it the easy way were stupid; I said that they were lazy. There’s nothing wrong with being lazy, but we shouldn’t expect spectacular results when we are, and that we can’t protect people from their laziness.

        @style syntax, authority nowadays depends on how many followers/viewers you can rally, not on who you are or what you know. There’s nothing much that can be done about that. At least we have proof now thanks to the internet that «crowd intelligence» isn’t a thing at all, as it was speculated before. Some call it democracy («look at my photos, what do you think I am in Kibbe?» – and then people can vote, it’s quite funny). While it’s democratic, internet is moving us ever farther away from meritocracy.

        FN has more emphasis on the T shape and vertical line, goes up to oversized, gets a bit more or junkier jewellery etc. Which translates to longer tops, cardis, outerwear, a bit less mix&match in terms of color/pattern betwenn top and bottom etc. in my mind. Most of which means less praticality (longer jacket getting tangled in the underbrush), more thought/effort (will that color break up the vertical line). I’m just N to the core, it’s true that it’s a state of being. I have an inbuilt aversion against everything „artificial“ on me, I want it comfortable, easy movement, weather-proof, zero-fuss (for example, I’d never wear make-up or heels for the life of me; of course, Naturals can do that if they want to, but I’m so glad nobody has a right to expect it of me; some people probably did in the past). Dresses are the best example: I’m so thrilled that I can wear dresses, now that I have a few that actually suit me; I never knew that before. Still, I don’t wear them regularly. Even going to the toilet feels complicated in a dress for my N sensibility.

        I’m all over blunt blunt blunt Yang with just a tiny hint of Yin and a tiny hint of sharp Yang. It’s the absence of Yin and my height and width that place me in FN (the height being the sharp Yang, I guess, but it’s truly blunted by width, sturdy muscle and proportions). I see myself as a «passive FN», not actively flamboyant. Like a peacock who can spread out his tailfeathers if he wants to, but looks plain and no-nonsense when he doesn’t. In terms of sensibilty, I have zero romantic and very few dramatic tendencies, not enough for a vital undercurrent (I tended to overdo the flamboyant part in the past, and it drained my energy; I’m not talking clothes here, though that happened too). Somehow, «extra-blunt N» or «muted FN» is my everyday life, all-the-way-FN my way of dressing up for occasions (where there is no underbrush). I’ve come to think of it this way. Yeah, my translation into dressing is still losely based on the old recs from the book, I remember you don’t completely agree with that. It’s like playing with Lego. Each ID gets their specific set of bricks, and then go and see what you can build that is unique to you within your own ID.

        I apologize in advance for any errors here which you have to patiently correct afterwards in order not to confuse other blog readers. In the end, we each have to find the interpretation and „putting-into-practice“ that work for us, and as alone.
        Also, I’m accusing people of being lazy thinkers while being a lazy dresser myself, lol.

        • stylesyntax
          October 13, 2019 at 10:29 pm

          Well, it’s not that I don’t completely agree with that, as much as David says that the recommendations in the book are based on 1980s clothing construction, which is radically different, and they never represented the sum total of what an Image ID could wear anyway. Our possibilities have truly expanded exponentially! Clothing used to dictate the shape of the body they must go on, or artificially impose that shape; now nearly everything is made with stretch so it fits around the body. And a lot of the stuff you’re talking about with jewelry, less mix-and-match, etc., is exactly that–in your mind. If you are in the SK groups, there are quite a few FN reveals and verified FN members. It is also about your particular yin/yang balance, so if you have less sharp yang in your balance than another FN, that doesn’t mean that you’re less FN than they are. I myself am fairly equally balanced between yin and yang, I think, but yang wins out and thus FG because ultimately, my outline is straight. There are some FGs who are more clearly yang and have a sinewy look to them, but that doesn’t mean I’m less FG.

          • cactus gardener
            October 14, 2019 at 5:27 am

            Maybe it’s because I was socialized in the 80ies, the then-to-now translation isn’t that much of an issue for me. In fact, if lycra hadn’t arrived around my teens, maybe it wouldn’t have taken so long to understand body structure, because no matter what your shape, you’ll always be able to squeeze into those sausage skins somehow, and never see what’s wrong with them… I don’t like the feel of figure-hugging anyway. In an ideal world with no gravity, there would always be an inch of air between my skin and my clothes. The concept of „Natural“ actually helped me understand why I’m so prone to claustrophobia in general. I also try to avoid lycra in new garments for the most part, as mixed fabrics can’t be recycled and end up as landfill after having polluted the water with every wash, so most plastic clothes will hopefully be gone in another twenty years anyway. Although I’m glad for now that we have lycra in underwear and stretchy bathing suits, I must say.

            I don’t think of myself as a lesser FN, just one without significant sharpness (therefore «not actively flamboyant» – and although we probably all have our moments of «wow, my ID is so perfect, do I really deserve this?»). Little sharpness doesn’t make me softer, as blunt Yang isn‘t softer than sharp Yang. It’s another quality of Yang. I believe the idea of blunt Yang being nearer to Yin than sharp Yang is another common misconception, it’s not on a scale. Nobody would describe a tall, broad, muscular man as softer or nearer to Yin than a tall, narrow, willowy man, I think. Yang is Yang, either sharp or blunt.

            I also suspect though that I’m still not as much aware of my height than I am of my width, and thus consider it less outstanding. This is connected to old issues indeed, because nobody ever told me that I should try to be shorter, while «don’t add to the bulk» (and try this cute lacy tight top instead of that lumberjack shirt you fancy…) has left its mark. Since I consciously underline my magnificient bulk, no in-law ever dared to suggest that I’d rather not eat that pie because «you’re already so broad». It changed to «have you been to the gym lately?». Ha, thanks Kibbe! Our surroundings adjust fast, but in our heads it can take a few years.

            Still, I mostly tone down the flamboyant part a bit. Too much flamboyance has been exhausting before I Kibbe-d, though not as much as trying to fake all the Yin that isn’t there. That’s more an intangible thing, not necessarily all about clothes. Behaviour, art style, all the stuff. (But – that’s not a problem really, as it says „remember that you are Natural first and foremost“, while the dramatic part is still just an undercurrent also in the sharpest among the FN.)

            Thanks, yes, I’ve seen some of the non-celeb reveals. It’s been indeed very helpful to realize more fully that just because you’re not Julia Roberts, that doesn’t mean you can’t be a FN. The „but where’s my sharpness“-thing never led me to doubt my ID though. I don’t have the bones for any other ID-family than N. I don’t have the Yin flesh and relative shortness of SN. It was more „but can’t I just be an N without the F-part, please“. If N still existed, I’d need Kibbe himself to explain to me what exactly would make me an FN rather than an N.

            Oh, … that neon-yellow sweater I had in the 80ies was still incredibly cool!

          • stylesyntax
            October 16, 2019 at 2:15 am

            Length=yang, so you really don’t need to have any sharpness to have the Flamboyant if you have length. I wouldn’t get hung up on the word “flamboyant.” It’s just reflecting the yang versus blunt yang plus yin. You bring the style! Some FGs are way more reserved in their style than I am. It’s fine, even when the word “flamboyant” is in the name of the Image ID.

          • cactus gardener
            October 14, 2019 at 6:19 am

            Sorry for spamming, but I need to correct this:

            “I don’t think of myself as a lesser FN, just one without significant sharpness (……..). Little sharpness doesn’t make me softer,”

            “…doesn’t make me softer EITHER” it should say.

            It somehow got lost in the copy-paste process. Otherwise this might imply that “softer” = “lesser”, of course not. The absence of sharp Yang doesn’t shift me towards Yin, was the meaning.

          • cactus gardener
            October 16, 2019 at 3:24 am


            Thank you, this is reassuring. I realized a while ago that my inner height scale is really skewed. My best friend is a D, half a head taller than I am. I always feel short and stocky next to her, like a badger going for a walk with his giraffe friend. I almost have to run to keep up with her leisurely walk when we are hiking. On the other hand, my mother is probably the smallest adult person I know. But I don’t feel tall at all next to her, because … well, she’s my mother, forever looming large.
            Yeah, some of Kibbe’s nomenclature can be intimidating. But I absolutely like it anyway. I can’t deny that I do have some flamboyance anyway – I just never suspected it within my physical appearance. Gladly, style can always be adapted to the mood of the day or the occasion. Just as I said with the peacock, we’re free to spread our tailfeathers – or not.
            I’m so in awe of the flamboyantly dressing FGs! They are the edgiest of all.

          • Serena T
            October 30, 2019 at 4:19 pm

            I think I’m in the same category, FG because I am 5’7ish, a rectangle figure, and score FG or DC on the quiz, which is now passe. How can I get to KIbbe in person from California, and what is the cost? I have looked on the internet and all the websites I found are either barren, old or defunct.

          • stylesyntax
            October 30, 2019 at 7:21 pm

            David’s website is at and he is an active participant in the Strictly Kibbe groups on Facebook and will help you in your process there for free. 🙂

    • stylesyntax
      October 12, 2019 at 7:52 pm

      Oh, I completely disagree that Merriam knows more than you do. Having the book means nothing if you don’t actually understand what he says in it. If you can see why Taylor Swift as SG is laughable, then your understanding is much, much better than hers. My point isn’t really about protecting people, but more that it is a shame that she and others like her have become an authority for so many when she doesn’t understand the system and it is so easy to gain access to David himself.

      SD and TR are confused because there is a more yang impression of TR than it actually is, and when women who are 5’6″+ think they’re TR, they are often SD, according to David.

      There is no such thing as “dressing N” or “dressing FN”… you just simply exist. There are no Ns, so anyone “dressing N” is either dressing a slightly more yin or a slightly more yang body.

  6. JM
    October 13, 2019 at 8:04 am

    I just love that you made a post about this. I am a member of the facebook group but have been reading this blog way before I joined. And the journey to actually get to SK and the reliable source of information was long. What’s funny is that I started with the Pinterest/copycat-stuff and tried so HARD to find the answers and the philosophy behind everything they layed out. Like WHY does this work? But they only gave superficial answers. Like: “she has A lips and E arms and D legs so she is E=MC to the power of 2”. But we are much more complex than that.

    I even watched Merriam type people in her videos based on these intersected body parts (and the quiz) AND while totally negleting their height. And she talked like her way of seeing an individual was the only way. That these “boxes of styles” brought out your inner gamine or dramatic or whatever. I felt bad about it before I joined SK but even worse now that I know that David’s system isn’t some mathematical equation or body part surgery. Or a stereorypical, limited selection of style.

    English is not my native language but I still learn from David’s post more than I ever learned from the copycats. In a way they are the ones that support your resistances to your body by preventing you from seeing yourself as a whole. David knows that you need to clear your mind first before putting anything to work. You need patience to do the cleaning. To connecting with your self with love. And some people find the cleaning to be too much for them.

    So when M started to take Kibbe’s work into her “own” direction I immediately felt a bit sick. Like now she has lost all her respect for David’s work… I guess she just got fed up with people pointing out how she was clashing with David’s teachings. Because! David’s still here and he is keeping up with his work :). I think copycats wish that he’d rather just written the book and left it there for them to “hyena” it.

    Oh and sorry for the outburst and bad spelling :). I just love David’s way of seeing things and hate it when people use it to make money. They could never come up with anything like his system on their own.

    • stylesyntax
      October 13, 2019 at 10:33 pm

      In a way they are the ones that support your resistances to your body by preventing you from seeing yourself as a whole.

      Yes, that is exactly it! This way of presenting the materials David has made available accomplishes the exact opposite of what his work does when you go through him. It makes you focus on seeing yourself as parts, and not as a whole, and finding your “box” instead of a path to loving yourself and your unique star qualities. I am glad that you get it and have been able to get so much out of SK. 🙂

  7. Alexandra
    November 20, 2019 at 7:53 am

    Anyone researching Kibbe inevitably stumbles upon Merriam’s videos and this is a huge problem. I went to the souce material and already knew the basics when I watched her videos, so I immediately knew she wasn’t interpreting his teachings the right way. As she said in one of her videos, she’s always liked ‘different systems’ aka putting people in boxes. Kibbe’s method is about something completely different – discovering your nature, your beauty, and embracing it. For me, this is more of a philosophy than a random system to define yourself by. It is truly awesome she’s distancing herself from Kibbe.
    PS And what an irony! Her ‘methodology’ is called ‘body geometry’ – just like the boxes she prefers to put people in, following a strict set of rules. People have energy, spirit, and power. I don’t see geometry in it.

    • stylesyntax
      November 20, 2019 at 6:09 pm

      Yes, she has been “teaching” his work while entirely missing the point of it!


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