Why Taylor Swift is NOT a Gamine

Of course, I think most readers of this blog wouldn’t even consider the possibility.
Taylor Swift

She is 5’10”, and we know that this height rules out either Gamine. Per my recent post, however, this is something that Merriam Style teachers in her Taylor Swift video, where she tries to make the case the 5’10” Taylor is a Gamine—and you can read my Kibbe FAQ to find out why this is nonsensical. Someone who is that tall is yang-dominant, not juxtaposition of yin and yang. (When I look at Taylor, I see length all over. Even if I didn’t know she was 5’10”, I don’t think my mind would go to Gamine anyway.)

Now, David doesn’t make a ton of very clear statements. But this is one thing he has been extremely clear about. Soft Gamine will not be over 5’5″, and Flamboyant Gamine can be a little taller, but not Taylor Swift tall, and if you understand his system of yin and yang, this makes total sense.

Unfortunately, every Kibbe Image ID seems to be subject to certain incorrect ideas about it. As a Flamboyant Gamine myself, the ones for Gamines are the ones that I feel most acutely. For us Gamines, one of these ideas that seems to pop up frequently in various ways is the idea that Gamines are somehow not distinct Image IDs that stand on their own with their own very particular yin/yang balances.

Traditionally, this has taken the form of the idea of Flamboyant Gamine being a “small D” or a “small FN,” which I have addressed before. But as I watched some Merriam Style videos after writing my last post, however, I realized that she has come up with an entirely new way of turning Gamines into Image IDs that are somehow lesser and not distinct yin/yang balances like the rest.

In this video (starts at around 1:55), she says that Gamines are basically “everything else”–a mixture that doesn’t fall into any category. If you feel like you don’t fit anywhere else, she explains, you may be a Gamine. She says they are very common (not true) and misunderstood (true, but not in the way she thinks, because she has misunderstood them).

In her answer in this video at around 9:08, however, it becomes clear why she believes that someone who is tall can be Gamine: she says she is a 5’7” Soft Gamine herself and her own confusion is partially why she made her channel in the first place. Yet as I mentioned above, David has been very clear about height for Soft Gamine. SG is nearly half yang, and if they are taller than 5’5”, that is too much yang for the “recipe” to be Soft Gamine. Of course someone who very strongly identified with a certain Image ID that is not available to them would want to make the system into one that allowed them into the Image ID they wanted to be. It happens all the time. (This is also why the idea of very yang TRs persists.) Resistance is incredibly powerful. If you want to be a taller SG very badly, it would make sense that you would try to find a way to justify it and say that 5’10” Taylor or a 6′ woman could be Gamine.

But really, my motivation here is to stop these incorrect ideas about Gamines in Kibbe’s work. Gamines are not:

  • the Image ID of “leftovers”
  • tall enough to be automatically yang-dominant, for FG
  • over 5’5”, for SG.

    I felt I had said what I needed to say on the subject of this YouTube channel in my last post, but the ideas being spread are so contradictory to what Gamines actually are. And as Gamines, we should be given the space to revel in what makes our Image IDs special, and given the chance to understand our special star quality. The constant undermining of the validity of FG and SG as Image IDs makes that hard for Gamines who do not know any better, and leads people who aren’t Gamines to think that they are and thus miss out on their own special qualities.

    For months, I have been thinking about how to express the way I actually use Kibbe’s work in my life, because I say a lot about how it’s used incorrectly, but it is hard to explain how to actually use it correctly, since it is can be fairly abstract. I definitely understand that it can be hard to wrap your head around and it isn’t for everyone (which is why I have a post on which system is right for you), but I want people to understand when the system is being misrepresented to this extent. A 5’10” or 6′ woman would absolutely not be served by being told that she was any kind of Gamine. She would be served by an Image ID that celebrates what she is, and doesn’t put her into something that celebrates being shorter, among many other qualities.

    And with that, I hope that my commentary/criticism is done. I realize that my past several posts have focused on this subject, and I hope to get back to more interesting content. But this blog has always been about what’s on my mind, and this is just what has been at the forefront of my style thoughts lately.

    Edit: an earlier version of this post said that she thought Taylor was a Soft Gamine. She actually says she is a Gamine, which we know that David no longer uses. Style Syntax regrets the error, but the points made here still stand.

  • 83 Comments on Why Taylor Swift is NOT a Gamine

    1. Bla31ze
      October 22, 2019 at 6:42 am

      In my experience Gamines do not seem common even among short people. May that be?

      • stylesyntax
        October 22, 2019 at 9:50 am

        Yes, I would agree with that.

    2. cactus gardener
      October 22, 2019 at 10:55 am

      Looks „almost puffy“ in a pastel blazer; lacks a sharp nose and has fuller lips (both of which may or may not be in their natural states); has a slightly fuller figure than a confirmed D, although this could be due to different degrees of underweight (and nowhere it says that Ds must have zero curves); and my favorite, has „hidden Yin“ in her shoulder. Then it „begins to add up“ … to more than 50% Yin. While Taylor Swift’s skeleton alone gives her probably more than 50% Yang already. Well, she’s a celeb, her total must amount to much more than 100%.

      This would be a roaring fail if it were a case in court. It is 98% based on „what looks good on her“ according to Merriam’s personal taste, not on objective arguments. What „looks good“ is completely subjective, skewed by the beauty-brainwash, and doesn’t contribute anything at all to figuring out an ID. The real question would be „does this feel like Taylor Swift“. And as none of us lives in Taylor Swift’s skin or at least knows her personally (I assume), we can’t even guess what feels like her. Although her ID seems quite obvious, we still wouldn’t know exactly what she should wear.

      So again, if people shut down their brains when they go on Youtube, I don’t know how the thousands of brand new Gamines produced by an overhang of Gamine-focusing videos can be helped.

      I think I should go now and search for my hidden Yin… Look!, you can’t see it, but believe me, it’s there!

      • stylesyntax
        October 22, 2019 at 3:01 pm

        Ha! I actually didn’t make it all the way through the video; I’m doing it now…

        People who don’t know more about Kibbe don’t know the difference, sadly. I remember believing what Best Dressed said about Kibbe, which you can read in the early posts of this blog.

        Also the other issue with the video is that she is doing a direct comparison with one person, when Kibbe is supposed to be you compared to yourself and there is a range within any yin/yang balance. And a Gamine needs more than “hidden” yin.

    3. ohyouknow
      October 22, 2019 at 11:45 pm

      agree with all of this!

      something that has stuck with me was what you said about this in your last post, imagine Taylor walking in with all that height and being told that she’s a Gamine of sorts and trying to celebrate herself in that image that is for shorter women, she would start feeling like her height is a flaw etc. I think about that every so often as I’m learning more about Kibbe, I think it can be helpful to think about whether an image id helps people celebrate themselves as they are or feel like they need to fit what they are into a mold(misunderstanding of Kibbe and image resistance aside of course)

      it’s very obvious how tall she is next to other people but what’s important is how she looks when she’s by herself and it is so clear just how tall she is even compared to herself. like, I struggle with seeing certain things but iit couldn’t be more obvious that she’s tall and looks tall. I can’t imagine telling her she’s a gamine of sorts

      Also every time this comes up I’m so appreciative of the fact that your image id doesn’t dictate style because I’ve watched a lot of these types of videos where they say stuff like “you know she’s a gamine because she’s doesn’t look good in this piece of clothing that she wore right after rolling out of bed that looks like it was tailored to somebody else’s body and styled according to some quite ambitions early 2000s trends” or even better ” you know she’s a romantic of sorts because wearing menswear obscures her curves! and she looks better when she wears dressing gowns! no menswear for you, it’s femininity or death in this style court” and I just wanna scream because in my eyes they either don’t look any different or they look worse in what is supposed to be the better looking outfit or it’s a matter of a piece of clothing that fits you vs one that doesn’t fit you or it’s a matter of personal taste and what’s trendy. I’m really into style and fashion and I find people who are knowledgeable about fashion specifically more valuable when it comes to style and fashion criticism than somebody who thinks they know fashion because they limit themselves by something that is a misinterpretation of a style system not even the system itself. The latter I would maybe kinda understand, like the more old school approach of body shapes, cause at least they don’t say anything about the style, just fit

      • stylesyntax
        October 23, 2019 at 1:23 pm

        I think it can be helpful to think about whether an image id helps people celebrate themselves as they are or feel like they need to fit what they are into a mold

        That’s exactly it, and where many people who try to practice what they consider “Kibbe” miss the mark. More than giving me “line” guidance or whatever, understanding my Kibbe Image ID helped me put a name to what I knew to be true about myself and what was special about me. I’m never going to be a voluptuous R or a stunning Dramatic, but they will never have the very special charm that Flamboyant Gamines have. Someone who is 5’10” isn’t going to have that, but they have their own qualities to accentuate and love.

    4. that person
      October 23, 2019 at 3:33 pm

      So while I enjoy watching Merriams videos generally, I must admit I feel she is definitely wrong about this one. One video I saw years ago came to mind (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHAKLaQqqeU) which shows a guest performance by Hayley Willams at one of Taylors concerts. Taylor just looks soo out of place next to an actual gamine trying to copy her energy and dance moves, it’s incredibly awkward to watch. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone to be told ‘that’s who you need to be’ when it’s just so apparent her entire energy, vibe, everything is different.

      I do wonder though, do you believe Taylor is truly a dramatic? She honestly looks out of place as a dramatic as well, though less so. Or do you think we shouldn’t try to find image ID’s for celebrities at all? I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this.

      • stylesyntax
        October 23, 2019 at 3:54 pm

        Well, we don’t know if Hayley is a Gamine or not–David has never mentioned her. You can’t understand Image ID by comparing to someone else. That’s the other problem with this video by Merriam; her hypothesis is based on comparing her to a single Dramatic. So she is taking two Kibbe-VERIFIED Dramatics and pitting them against each other, rather than trying to understand why BOTH these women are Dramatics. You don’t need to compare yourself to anyone else to understand your Image ID.

        Taylor Swift is definitely a Dramatic because David said she is! He does change his mind upon seeing them in person etc., because celebrities frequently lie about their height and other factors, but Taylor is clearly long and narrow. She only has two other options available to her at her height, but she doesn’t have either the width for FN or the yin for SD. It’s a pretty open-and-shut case. Clothes go on your body, not your face.

        And no, I don’t recommend trying to find celebrities’ Image IDs. David calls it a “parlor game” and we don’t allow it in any of the authorized Kibbe facebook groups.

        • that person
          October 23, 2019 at 4:23 pm

          While I understand you can’t get your image ID by comparing yourself in a sense of ‘I look like her so I must be the same image ID’, I feel like the other way around could be valueable. Is it really so wrong to figure out that you’re not this or that by seeing you’re on average much taller/shorter/blunter whatever than everyone around you? Or they really pull off some ID but you look kind of frumpy in it? It’d be kind of silly to keep holding on to an image ID because it suits you in isolation, even though it makes you look awkward next to other people. We don’t live in isolation after all. This reasoning is pretty much why people believe in the Taylor Swift gamine theory. She looks okay on her own, but other people around really bring out how much it doesn’t suit her.

          Although if David truly believes Taylor looks like herself in dramatic lines I don’t know how much faith I can have in his teachings, with all due respect. She looks dragged down and I have no idea how he wouldn’t be able to see that.

          • stylesyntax
            October 23, 2019 at 4:47 pm

            I think the problem you’re having is that you’re thinking in the way Merriam presents his work, and not how he does. Literally nothing else would physically fit her. She is long and narrow, which is what Dramatics are, and that’s what she has to accommodate. The “lines” she is talking about are not at all something that comes from David. That’s not how he talks about it or presents the information. Some of the stuff she was saying was SG in that video actually wouldn’t fit a short woman. I don’t think in terms of “FG lines.” I think about accommodating my straight figure with length in the torso and shortness in the legs.

            You can understand that you’re tall or whatever, and he does get specific about height, regardless of what people teach elsewhere–but you are looking at whether you’re wide compared to yourself, long compared to yourself, etc. (with the understanding that at a certain point, you’re just long no matter if it’s proportionate). I would recommend that you join us on Facebook to learn from him firsthand and turn off YouTube “experts.” 😉

            • that person
              October 23, 2019 at 4:55 pm

              I appreciate the response and the invitation, but I was member for a short while and perhaps it’s because I’m a non-native speaker or just too narrow-minded, but I couldn’t make any sense at all of his writing. If you know any sources that are easier to digest I’d be eager to have a look at them but I’m afraid the FB group isn’t for me.

            • stylesyntax
              October 23, 2019 at 4:57 pm

              I would never recommend any source except for the Facebook groups and his website. David himself is the best source of information for his own work.

            • cactus gardener
              October 24, 2019 at 3:35 am

              Another problem might be that we see a lot of IDs attached to specific clothes. So people would think about Taylor Swift in Tilda Swinton style and conclude she would look strange and therefore can’t be Dramatic. But there are millions of ways to dress a long, narrow body. We just have to put our own spin on it. For example, I have broad, short feet. My shoe size is average, I know this because I can never buy shoes on sale, that size is always sold out (but 90% of all shoes are too narrow for my feet anyway). So my feet are average in length compared to all women, short compared to myself. The width of my feet is in line with my overall FN width, but their length is Yin; again, compared to myself, it could be Yang on a petite person. Now, in the old Kibbe recs for FN it says «angular shoes without sharp edges». But angular shoes would attract all eyes to my feet and make people chuckle. I found my perfect shoe in Duckfeet – it’s wide and sturdy, perfectly comfortable, and in line with my overall FN vibe and wardrobe, although it’s very round around the toes. It accomodates my overall width, sturdiness and angularity, an overall blunt Yang shoe, but with that Yin curve at the end, exactly the place where I have a hint of Yin. I have caught myself feeling attracted to shoes with big polka dots (I didn’t buy them though…), while I normally feel repulsed by polka dots on blouses or dresses or pants. They are too Yin for me, yet my feet seem to know they are half Yin (small polka dots wouldn’t have spoken to my feet!).

              In a video of the sort «which ID is this shoe», the Duckfeet wouldn’t achieve enough Yang to be labeled FN (or much dumber: it’s not angular, so it can’t be FN). Perhaps another FN with different feet would never ever wear those shoes, and rightly so. But the shoe has no ID, it’s just the perfect shoe for my particular FN-ness. It’s actually interesting how many people point out Duckfeet as extremely ugly shoes, while nobody ever found them ugly on me, very much the contrary. Everything depends on context.

              So Taylor Swift would find her own Dramatic twists that would indeed be very different from Tilda Swinton style or Keira Knightley style, and nobody would ever doubt her D-ness just because she has less sharpness in her face.

              I think it’s all about what comes after we understand our ID as a general outline, finding our very own ways of „accommodating our bodies“ (I like that phrase from Style Syntax, sounds like: come in, dear body, and feel at home).

            • stylesyntax
              October 24, 2019 at 2:25 pm

              It’s how David puts it in the line exercise: what do you need to accommodate in your body? And yes, everyone in an Image ID has their own style, as I’ve mentioned before. The things he has told me would suit me, style-wise, are not at all what he has told other people whom he has also pushed toward FG. He says different things to every individual.

              Re: shoes… you can’t think of your feet as having their own yin/yang balance. 😉 I have very tiny, narrow feet. My feet are even smaller and narrower than my mother’s, who is two inches shorter than me and an SG. You speak of being able to wear more yin in your shoes… actually, I googled the shoes you’re talking about and they’re not yin at all. What I have heard from Rs and TRs who have seen David is that for them, he recommends very delicate shoes, with narrow straps, etc. So just because these shoes are rounded doesn’t mean they’re more yin. I really don’t think anyone but an FN could pull them off, as much as I am loathe to assign a single Image ID to any item. 😉

              The important thing to remember about really any item of clothing is that we’re not seeing it in isolation. So just the fact that I have tiny, narrow feet doesn’t mean that I am going to wear the same shoes as my other sisters with similar feet in Image IDs that are much more yin. I prefer my shoes on the chunkier side, but not too much, with not very high heels, and I don’t go too delicate on things like straps. It just wouldn’t work with the rest of my outfit. If you were just looking at my feet, sure, they’d look fine in the very delicate shoes my sisters in TR wear. But with the rest of what I’m wearing, it would look out of place.

              As far as polka dots… maybe they just feel safer as far away from your face as possible? But I think some big ones could be fun in a sweater or something.

            • cactus gardener
              October 26, 2019 at 3:54 am

              Haha, yes, after I wrote that comment, I thought for a second how funny it would be to assign each body part its own ID, but realized immediately how useless that would be. It’s more what happens when people linger forever in the quiz, or in the essences-conundrum.

              Oh, I see „my“ shoes on all kinds of people, and they rarely look out of place, always depending on the person and what they are wearing. The cutesier styles with straps are definitely no longer FN appropriate, or at least they wouldn’t suit me at all, and there are other styles that look more rustic classic to me.

              Thanks for the suggestion about polka dots. Interesting! It makes me think, because it never occurred to me that I might want to put on my bodily outposts what doesn’t feel safe nearer to the cockpit. It’s indeed possible, I’m not yet sure. I realize that I sometimes like polka dots, when they are large, irregular and fuzzy at the edges. Maybe dots in different sizes and colors. Or when they have a hole in them or another dot within the dot (ringlets?, double-dots?), I actually have those in my wardrobe. What happens often with patterns though is that designers take them all the way to dramatic once they decide to blow them up. Bigger polka dots seem to come almost exclusively in the starkest of contrasts, black-and-white, extremely bright hues, or candy colours, combined with a strictly geometrical layout. Something like this or larger than that (only referring to the pattern, not the style): https://www.memorandum.com/polka-dot-bell-sleeve-dress/

              Patterns are great as a guide to sharpen intuition I found, along with textures. With patterns and textures my instincts were always dead-on right before I learned Kibbe-ing, while cuts and colors can still be hit-and-miss sometimes.

            • cactus gardener
              October 26, 2019 at 4:04 am

              Afterthought: you ARE right! Looking in my socks drawer, yes yes yes!, I put everything on my feet that I could never wear on a top. So hilarious.

    5. Caitlin
      October 29, 2019 at 8:04 am

      I’m going to have to somewhat agree with Merriam here, or at least am willing to see her point. I don’t think Merriam is confusing Kibbe lines with “essence” as she makes that distinction frequently in her videos. It’s not about Taylor looking good in stereotypical Gamine “style”, it’s a question of her looking good in Gamine LINES and not looking so good in Dramatic lines. The only “Dramatic” line that I see suits her are long lines because of her obviously long vertical line and that’s pretty much it. However, she also wears short, broken Gamine lines just as well. She looks best with small details and shapes on clothes, whereas large ones easily overwhelm and distract from her. I’m not saying Merriam is 100% correct, but I think there’s something to be explored here re: height, vertical line and body type.

      (Keep in mind that Kibbe himself even broke his own supposed “height rules” with Charlize Theron who was at one point classified as TR, and Rihanna as TR etc.)

      And no offense to David Kibbe, but I think when criticizing other analysts we have to be mindful that though they may or at some point may have used Kibbe terminology or his quiz, they are NOT claiming to be “official Kibbe analysts”. They have their OWN opinions and system that cannot be simply dismissed with “well, Kibbe says this, therefore this person is wrong.” He is not the end all, be all when it comes to body types and lines (he wasn’t even an originator), he is simply one voice of many (although of course, the most famous one.)

      I just believe Merriam should be critiqued on the basis of her arguments alone, NOT on whether it fits Kibbe’s system because that was never the point, she has her own observations that go far beyond Kibbe so comparing her to him is NEVER a valid argument.

      • stylesyntax
        October 30, 2019 at 7:29 pm

        People claiming that David broke his own height rules say so because they are tall people who want to be a short Image ID, to put it bluntly. David believes Rihanna is 5’4″. Charlize he was asked briefly about on the spot when people were seeing him for a Metamorphosis and recanted it when he had some time to really look at her. If he saw Rihanna and she is as tall as many of us think she is, he would absolutely no longer categorize her as a TR.

        If she doesn’t want to be judged by how well she sticks to David’s system, she should leave his materials alone. Whether or not she adds in the little disclaimers here and there that she has her own ideas is immaterial when people use her work as their material on his system and use them to determine their Kibbe “body type”–not the Merriam body type. Basically, don’t use his quiz and make videos on his work unless you are going to actually follow what he says and understand it.

        Her arguments are based on a fundamental misunderstanding of yin and yang anyway, and what the Image IDs entail, so until she deletes all her videos that mention him and stops using his quiz and stops using his work to make money, it is 100% valid to criticize her on her understanding and teaching of David’s work.

        Trying on clothing is not how you find your Image ID. This is a fallacy that she and other teach, but it’s not the correct way to go about it. And what may look like a “Gamine” look on her may look very different on an actual Gamine. Women who are 5’10” have too much of a vertical to be the juxtaposition of yin and yang. There is no other argument. As far as “lines” go, again, this is not something David really teaches. He talks about accommodating your own outline. Taylor only has a vertical to accommodate. But accommodating a vertical doesn’t necessarily mean you only wear long lengths. It has to do with connecting the outfit throughout the body, and may indeed include a short skirt or what people on the internet consider to be a “broken” line.

        • LL
          November 20, 2019 at 10:48 am

          I appreciate your come-from Caitlin, however, I whole-heartily agree with SS. What I’m about to say isn’t directed to you personally, it is directed to this very subject. Frankly, I am very concerned about where our collective moral compass has gone (in some) in regard to this. Case in point…There are actually LAWS to protect artists from having their work Copied or Stolen. In fact, Kibbe’s very name falls under Trademark and copyright law. Look, we keep this up this mass brainwashed thinking / justification for wrongdoing and I fear that artists will no longer feel safe to share their genius with us. If there is any question of how wrong this is, please educate. Read trademark and copyright law. Under the Law Kibbe IS “the end all be all” because it IS HIS SYSTEM. If we use any argument to justify the actions of anyone copying his work, (especially that “he is just a copycat of others”) then Where Is The Proof of this? Show us all where he has plagiarized another system. We need to be careful that we do not throw such accusations at anther unless there is legitimate verifiable proof to support this. I have heard this before and what comes up often is using the feeble argument that because he uses the term Yin and Yang he has copied another system. This is short-sighted, and here is why. The term Yin and Yang has been around since the 9th century BCE so we can scrap that from the argument. In other words, no one has the patent on its use for it would be like claiming the copyrights to the word “Nature”. As far as Merriam is concerned, I think it natural (for some people) to start to feel “Self-Important or “an expert” after having the approval hit of 10,000 subscribers on YouTube and then lose sight of basic Humility. She is, after all, a young pup of 28 and has a lot to learn about Mature Human Integrity. Just food for thought. … We need to ask ourselves how we would feel if our life work or work of art was trivialized in such a public way while at the same moment, stolen from. It’s pretty twisted. Think about it. And please, this is not about you Caitlin, this is about the subject matter in general. You get to have your point of view and I respect that, and I get to have mine. It’s just points of view. Maybe there is a happy middle somewhere? All I know is that I think I would respect Merriam more if she were to market herself as someone that attempts to interpret his work to help others in their process – such as Aly Art But the deed is done now, she used his name and stood on his shoulders to get where she is in this regard. Not to say she has no merit on her own with her color education videos, but one can’t help to wonder that If she didn’t use his name or system in any shape or form, what kind of following she’d really have???

          • Alexandra
            November 20, 2019 at 4:01 pm

            I wholeheartedly agree with Style Syntax and you, LL. I know that David shifted away from his Kibbegories, but for me this system was truly groundbreaking and I’ve discovered it through Aly Art’s videos. I am truly delighted to see her genuine respect to his work and her honest and sincere urge to help people discover their true beauty through his theory. Like her, I am a Soft Gamine and struggled my whole life with that my curvy and luscious body just didn’t ‘match’ my personality and I never saw myself as womanly. I wasted so much time and money trying to develop my own style that would convey my essence. When I discovered Kibbe, it all ‘clicked’ just like Aly said it clicked for her. I have a blog and will write about Kibbe because I want to spread his ideas. These ideas are genuinely effective if they are understood. It strikes me as strange that, as Merriam herself said, she’s learned about Kibbe from Aly’s videos. However, instead of trying to understand these ideas and his unique approach, she decided to take a parasitic path. In one of her videos, she said that it is awesome to just be a YouTuber and do what you love and people will pay you money for consults. She can’t even understand her own image identity, so how can she consult other people? She decided she wants to be a SG as it appears simply due to the fact that she likes this style. I also find her claim that ‘Gamines are all the leftovers’ outrageous. Difficult to imagine that she could confuse herself as a SD, SC, and then SN, which are so obviously different even to someone who is new to studying Kibbe. I completely agree that she got the majority of her following thanks to exploiting Kibbe – there aren’t that many YouTube videos about it and the algorithm automatically suggests her videos when someone’s searching for Kibbe. As for her color education videos, it seems that she learned from Pinterest pictures. The wording ‘artistic license’ might maybe sound professional to some people, but it means “deviation from fact or form for artistic purposes,” i.e. she can twist anything and state that its her right to do it. At the same time, Kibbe’s color theory has a truly clear approach to coloring. I would disagree only about one thing: being 28 has nothing to do with integrity – it has everything to do with ethical principles of a person. Finally, I feel truly sorry for her clients paying her their hard earned money for her uneducated and biased opinion.

            • Silverroxen
              November 20, 2019 at 6:42 pm

              “Like her, I am a Soft Gamine and struggled my whole life with that my curvy and luscious body just didn’t ‘match’ my personality and I never saw myself as womanly.”

              Yes this is my exact sentiment! I even used the word luscious recently while trying (I was gettting ahead of myself lol) to do an exercise in the group. I think I found Aly around the same time I found this blog and while I’m in Strictly Kibbe now, I still respect her for mostly sticking to the book.

              “In one of her videos, she said that it is awesome to just be a YouTuber and do what you love and people will pay you money for consults.”

              I knew I wasn’t the only that noticed that she said this. This is when I stopped watching her actually. Plus its kind of sad that people aren’t willing to put the work in to figure themselves out. It shows a lack of self-awareness through refusal to do self-introspection. As many of the commentors have eloquently stated in these recent posts, it lacks the self-love and self-appreciation that Kibbe espouses in his system.

              IMO Merriam seems too blunt (at least her face) to be a SG.

            • stylesyntax
              November 21, 2019 at 4:24 am

              Luscious, you say? Definitely something to keep in mind as you do the exercises!

              There’s just no way she could be an SG at 5’7”. SG is nearly half yang to begin with, and more height would make the yang overtake the yin.

            • Alexandra
              November 21, 2019 at 6:30 am

              To tell the truth, I was also baffled by this (that Kibbe allegedly didn’t use the Kibbegories anymore)! The categories convey the essences of image identities so well. Kibbe’s wording overall is clear to me. For instance, calling bone structure ‘bevelled’ doesn’t make it look less blunt, so here we go with people trying to escape their nature instead of embracing it.
              I am doing exercises now and will keep that in mind!
              By the way, is the body type quiz still a valid tool for Kibbe? I think that it is very helpful for evaluating the yin/yang balance – at least for me it was.

            • stylesyntax
              November 23, 2019 at 5:37 pm

              David doesn’t recommend it. His exercises are a much better way of getting to your Image ID. It was intended as a starting point, not the end.

            • stylesyntax
              November 21, 2019 at 4:27 am

              David hasn’t moved away from Image IDs—I’m not sure how that rumor got started or what it even means when people say it.

              And yes, ethics are not something that comes with age. 🙂

          • stylesyntax
            November 20, 2019 at 6:06 pm

            Yes, obviously there is a lineage, but the way he uses Image IDs is absolutely unique to him. He has very little in common with McJimsey, as much as people like to put them together. Kitchener is closer to her. It is convenient for Merriam to do “research” (and get basic facts wrong, like she said Northrup was in the 1950s) to justify typing people in a system she has no ownership of.

            As to actually breaking laws, that is up to David. He takes a pretty lax approach, and seems to prefer other means of getting his points across than the legal system.

            As far as AlyArt goes… I don’t watch her videos, but my understanding from the place people are in when they come to SK having watched her videos is that her interpretation/teaching is not much more accurate, but she at least does not take money for typing people in Kibbe, so I wouldn’t write a blog post about her, haha. I agree that it is unlikely that anyone would have been interested if she had started out with her own original system.

    6. cactus gardener
      October 31, 2019 at 6:47 am

      I just tried to ID myself according to Merriam and using the quiz. I’d end up as yet another tall Gamine… My flesh is all Natural, my facial features are Natural with a hint of Dramatic; but my bones, without taking actual size into account, wouldn’t be Natural. My head is big in relation to the body, my neck short, my arms aren’t elongated, my legs are downright short. The only long part of me is the torso. Without taking height into account, I look quite a lot like Tina Turner (although her legs seem longer), while being a far cry from any verified FN celeb (not to mention the 80ies supermodels). I’m all sturdy, stocky, muscular strength, not at all long and willowy. If I had that exact same body in a much smaller version, I’d be indeed an FG, not a small FN (my vertical line is short) and much less SN – the Yin would then come from the small bone, the flesh remaining Yang. But simply being tall makes me all Yang, and FN is the only thing I can ever be. Anything else wouldn’t make sense. Although I like FG as an ID a lot, I’d end up unhappy and uncomfortable if some Youtuber had convinced me that I am one, or if I had just looked at a lot of pictures and found my shape more often among FGs than among FNs (in the meantime, I have seen non-celeb FNs who look a lot more like me than like supermodels…).

      Merriam not only factored height out of the Yin-Yang-balance (which takes the „system“ basically back to the level of the fruit types – so Taylor Swift „looks good“ because you can see how thin she is and how long her legs are, not because of how much she is in harmony with herself…), but also „spirit“ (or whatever you want to call that thing which other people sense in you, whether it pleases you or not, and which isn’t personality, nor essence). When I learned that I’m Natural, I suddenly understood how people see me and why they react the way they do towards me. It was very different from the way I used to see myself at the time. I used to be frustrated a lot because I felt that people „misjudged my personality“ or some such rubbish – the real problem was that I had no idea of the image I projected into the space around me. I was incongruent with myself. That part was as much a revelation as the first objective view on my body. It helped me learn how to manage my energy levels and relationships just as much as how to dress my body. Setting boundaries, because Naturals indeed can seem too approachable (while I could observe how people are often intimidated by my introvert D friend, which makes it hard for her to socialize; I wonder what would happen if she got into Kibbe).

      In other times, you grew up to continue your father’s trade if you were a boy, or marry and have a bunch of kids if you were a girl, or go to the monastery if you were the youngest of the family. Women wore their hair this way, men that way. You lived your whole life where you were born, or where your in-laws lived. You had to conform to what was allotted to you by birth, regardless of your inclinations.

      Today many of us can choose among millions of professions or even invent our own, we can still marry, or we can live alone, or with several partners, we can dye our hair unicorn-color, get tattoos, body modifications, cosmetic surgeries, and if we’re not happy with our biological sex we can take hormones and change our names – we can basically choose whatever we want to be, it’s socially accepted, at least much more than ever before (sometimes I get the feeling that it’s even socially expected to invent yourself – what if I don’t want to? If I just want to let myself be what I already am? It’s seen as lazy). But – all of our inventions won’t change what we are underneath. We can’t choose that, no matter if we like it or not. Kibbe is there to show you what you are underneath. If we do Kibbe, we will embody outwardly what we are underneath. We won’t magically „look good“. We will just look aligned with ourselves. Some people will like it, some won’t.
      Many other style systems, including Merriam’s, are a tool to „look good“. Yet another opportunity to invent yourself and be whatever you want to be. You can be a giant Gamine if you want, of course you can. Yellowgreen is not in harmony with my skin tone, but I want to wear Yellowgreen, so I do when I feel like it.
      Up to everybody to choose what your goal is. Either get to know yourself, including every part you don’t like (yet) – or invent yourself a Fantasy-You. It’s true that stylists should clearly state what the goal of their system is and use their own terminology, so that people can make their choice and won’t mix up systems. Maybe Kibbe himself could have prevented a bit of the confusion if he had chosen his own names for the IDs than those which were already in use for «style personalities», which were again about what you prefer, not what you are.

      • stylesyntax
        October 31, 2019 at 2:22 pm

        You are broader, though, right? That actually would rule out either Gamine for you, even if you were short. If you have width to accommodate and you’re not curve dominant and you don’t have a vertical, I think that you make you SN, even if you’re not that yin in, say, curves, because then the yin would be the height.

        I think probably half of all people end up a Gamine of some kind by her methods. Gamine as a designation is absolutely meaningless in her stuff. Like I said, it’s a “kitchen sink” designation.

        I absolutely agree that pretty much everyone who “teaches” Kibbe or uses his work in some other way turns it into what you said: just something to “look good,” but frankly I don’t think they even accomplish that. I mean, putting more thought into something is going to lead to better results than not thinking about it at all, but because the theoretical foundation is lacking, it doesn’t work. Like all these Amazon Gamines make no sense, and how are these people now supposed to dress?

        I don’t think it matters that David uses Dramatic/Natural/Gamine etc. These terms work well for what they represent, IMO and his ideas don’t deviate that much in terms of what these “personalities” represent, just in how you apply the information.

        • cactus gardener
          November 1, 2019 at 7:27 am

          Width, yes, but I imagined the shrinking in all dimensions proportionally, so the broadness would lessen as much as the height. It’s really more or less Tina Turner‘s body that would come out (don’t know if she is verified FG though). Maybe shorter legs/longer torso than her, somewhat stronger shoulders, but basically that same compact square muscled body with a big head. As my «mini me» would be half Yang half Yin with Yang dominance, I think it would perfectly qualify for FG described as „broadly angular, square shoulders, slightly wide bones“. While SN is specific insofar as the Yang has to come from the bone, the Yin from the flesh, not the other way round.

          Well, it’s hypothetical and doesn’t matter really – my point was that you can’t deduce that just because you look more often similar to people in ID X than in ID Y, you must be X, because similar body shapes occur in different IDs. Especially if you have that same shape but are much taller or much smaller, so once again, height is a huge part of the Yin-Yang-balance (sorry for repeating what we all know here, but maybe some Youtube watchers stop by too).

          Yes, indeed, defining Gamine as «a mixture of Yin and Yang» without any other specifics makes almost everyone a Gamine, of course. Even Ds and Rs will rarely or never be totally «un-mixed», and Cs would find enough reasons why they’re more mixed than blended. I wonder also if stereotypical «G-styles», especially SG, are simply on trend right now among the young, they seem to crop up everywhere, so that may have an influence on what people aspire to.

          «Look good» tools never worked for me, that’s for sure. If I’d been pushed into thinking that I’m a Gamine, I would be back to where I had started: trying to dress a much smaller body than I have, trying to «soften» it, and thus feeling and looking outsized and ridiculous. (If something looks plain bad on me by no matter which standard or system, it’s short jackets – I couldn’t even fake to be a tall Gamine.) I believe «look good» doesn’t REALLY work for anyone, but maybe somebody who is nearer to average in height, width, curve/straightness, and is neither very long- nor short-waisted can get away with dressing someone else’s body and give an almost believable impression of «looking good».

          Problem is, «looking good» is no longer in the eye of the beholder. It’s become a very specific set of features, and if we don’t match those exactly, we’re forever lacking, no matter how close we come to the ideal by dressing a body we don’t have. „Look good“-tools change your body, Kibbe-ing changes the way we see while leaving our bodies just as they are.

          Here’s a nice example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaJ50RpfOJg
          A lady comparing two dresses on herself (let’s leave the questionable ID-ing of garments aside here). She concludes that the second dress «looks better» on her, because it «softens her angular features» and gives her «more curve». Everyone in the comments agrees, with the same arguments. Sadly, nobody seems to see how much more stunning she is in the first dress, especially that upper part, which underlines her strength and angularity beautifully. (Haha, I believe to have an informed guess on what her ID is.)

          Another example, within „look good“ systems, long legs are good, short legs are bad. I no longer try to make my legs look longer, either I let them just be, or I even underline how short they are. It feels right and at home, it looks like myself, I love how it looks, but for all the people in the brainwash-soup who meet me, I probably don’t „look good“, certainly not better than back when I tried to optically lengthen my legs. I underline my length (good in „look good“ systems), I underline my witdh, my square-ness, my relative absence of curve, the shortness of my neck, the strength of my jaw (all really bad in „look good“ systems). It would be interesting to send my „after photos“ to Merriam and let her disect how it all „looks separate from me“, and then photoshop me into „Gamine lines“ to show how I could „look good“. The problem is not only in misunderstanding Yin and Yang, but mainly in the inability or unwillingness to let go of the social agreement on what „looks good“. In that mindset, „softening“ a tall sharp woman like Taylor Swift with „Gamine lines“ is the logical thing to do, the tired old balancing, correcting, highlighting „assets“/camouflaging „liabilities“. A real Gamine should then do vertical monochrome in order to „lengthen“.

          Also, there’s a big adversity against Yang, except when it happens to be a supposedly „feminine“ feature such as a long leg, a sharp cheekbone, or paradoxically, being (moderately) tall. But in reality (or in Kibbe), we just „look“, not good or bad, not masculine or feminine or whatever, no single feature is an asset or a liability, it just is as it is.

          Off topic, a question: I’d be very much interested in how to reconcile conflicting ID with coloring. Like in my case, a flamboyant ID, but soft coloring. No matter what I do, it’s very often either too bland or too much. Has Kibbe written about that specific problem somewhere ?

          • stylesyntax
            November 1, 2019 at 1:49 pm

            No, because it doesn’t exist. 😉 The “Flamboyant” moniker doesn’t mean that the person is Flamboyant. It’s just his way of conveying more yang, versus “soft.” Even for FGs, I have seen him give people styling suggestions that really aren’t “flamboyant” at all. I get “flamboyant” suggestions, because it fits me. But as far as coloring goes, David does not go as soft as other systems like Sci\ART. His seasons are all pretty vibrant. You can find out more about his color theory in Four Season Freedom on Facebook.

            I think you are a little too stuck to the book… Whenever what David says deviates from the book, I go with 2019 David, not 1987. Most of the book is still valid, but obviously, since he has gotten rid of N/G/C, things have changed. Tina Turner is FG, but I would caution about looking for a body twin. Photographs only tell a certain story. What David says for gamines is that they must be “waifs,” by which he doesn’t mean skinny, but a narrow bone structure. He says that if you have width that needs accommodation, you are probably not SG/FG but SN. He says they are “compact and shapely,” which is a different thing than curvy. If you maintain the same proportions that you see as width in your tall FN self, that would still be too wide for FG. And you may even remain an FN–that’s why I emphasize that FG is not a “short FN!” You need to have that juxtaposition of yin and yang. As far as the book description of SN goes, that’s just one way to be SN. There are many paths to each type. I don’t exactly match the FG book description either, and neither do some other people David has nudged in that direction. If you have width to accommodate, but you don’t have a strong vertical, that petite/compact quality is going to be your yin. I have definitely seen women nudged toward SN who don’t have a soft look to their body, but rather broad and strong, with no length.

            That is a good point that “look good” systems go right back to why David was revolutionary–they go back to symmetry, really. It’s the old mindset dressed up with a different name.

            I’m sure you’d be a Gamine in Merriam too, because why not? 😉

            • cactus gardener
              November 2, 2019 at 12:21 pm

              „Four Season Freedom“, cool title and sounds liberating, thanks! It goes to my check-out-list for the day I’ll succumb to the facebook temptation. I wish I never got into season, really… Somehow I firmly believe it’s bullsh*, and can list many good reasons why, but as so many others, I’m still unable to completely flush it down the toilet. In the meantime, I just go with an eclectic mix of tones and shades plus a few bright accents, and avoid the worst colors near the face. I’m sure that’s enough – yet on bad days I have that urge to nail it once and for all and stick to the five best colors for the rest of my life, like capsule wardrobers do. But that probably works well only for Classic souls. It’s so fascinating and so annoying.

              ———– (Disclaimer : I hadn’t yet read your entire comment when I wrote this first part, see further down.)

              Well, yes, without facebook, it’s better to stick to the book than anything else. I looked up almost all the verified FGs last night, at different ages and weights for each. Some are very narrow, and some clearly do have some width. That only makes sense, as the Yang influence can either be sharp or blunt. If you‘d grow Tina Turner taller, she wouldn’t remain a Gamine either, but probably end up in the N-Family, while other FGs never ever. The same way as I in short version would no longer qualify for N, lacking the vertical for FN and the Yin flesh for SN (shapely or curvy, I’m truly neither). Ns are as specific as Gs or any other ID, otherwise N becomes the „doesn’t fit anywhere else“ category (which it often is treated as too, by the way – not balanced enough for C, not curvy enough for R, not juxtaposed enough for G, not sharp enough for D, that must be some kind of N, it often gets a pedestrian tinge). If the same body would always remain the same ID or ID-family if it were proportionally smaller or taller, that would actually mean that Merriam is right about height not being a factor, and body twins would be a thing. I’m certainly not saying that I’m a tall Gamine (lol!), or that Gamines are small Ns and Ds, or that every tall person would be a Gamine if they were smaller. I was emphasizing that height matters while body twins indeed do not, because if you change height and nothing else, the overall Yin-Yang-balance shifts so much that it’s highly probable to move that body into another ID. If you grow or shrink a Classic enough to become clearly Yang-dominant or Yin-dominant, she isn‘t Classic anymore, that’s perhaps the most obvious example.

              „Waif“ translates to: homeless person, orphaned child, abandoned pet, flotsam, can also mean gaunt-looking (I looked that up too just to be sure, as I’m not a native speaker; I had the image of something like „street urchin“, so not that far off). So it must refer to the spirit or charisma, not bone structure, and even „gaunt“ just means the starved impression a homeless person or an orphan make. As weight isn’t a factor, it doesn’t refer to the body either, but again to the aura.

              It’s another hint that you can’t trash charisma anymore than height. I think it would be hard for an N to give off a homeless vibe, she looks either at home or abroad, and it’s practically impossible for Ns to come across as gaunt. Yet within an ID, things can fluctuate a lot, depending on individual spirit, and mainly proportions on the body side (plus perhaps coloring), as there are many different ways to get to the same specific Yin-Yang-balance. The same as the FNs with considerable sharp Yang influence aren’t just as wide as those with mainly blunt Yang (though still clearly wider than Ds), the same would go for the FGs depending if their Yang is more sharp or blunt. As I said elsewhere, sharp or blunt Yang is the same amount of Yang, just another quality. If there weren’t a place within FG for the blunter small person with short vertical and Yang flesh, she would literally be a homeless person. There’s no other ID allowing for that. Yang flesh can only occur in D, N and G. For D, SD and FN you need vertical, SD and SN are not options for Yang flesh. This certainly doesn’t make G a left-over category, nor conflict with the Yin-Yang-balance required for FG.

              That’s at least what I understand from the book excerpts. If Yin-Yang balance doesn’t work this way anymore in 2019, then I haven’t any grasp on the modern IDs at all and should basically switch to essences.

              Just logged on and realized that my e-mail only transmitted the first part of your comment, and wrote this offline. I only got to where you say „FGs are not small FNs“.
              I leave it as is because in the end, I’m still on the same standpoint, although I’ve also repeated a few things you already said in your comment, sorry for that (all the better for everything we can agree on!).

              Now this part is interesting: that compact width can be Yin. If that was the case in the 80ies already, I might have misunderstood the book excerpts myself. I see width as part of the bluntness, as long as it is straight bone width and/or muscle width, as opposed to the soft rounded width in R (yet it’s not width that makes Rs the most Yin, but softness and roundness – a straight object can’t be round, so that kind of width is just auxiliary, not the Yin itself). I used the example of men because it’s more obvious: does anyone see less Yang in a broad, muscular man than in a sharp narrow man of the same height? I don’t. I also see the same amount of Yang in an elephant and in a giraffe. The elephant might even be rounded, but its sheer mass alone makes easily up for that. I see rather more Yang in a blunt heavy workhorse than in a sharp Arabian thoroughbred of the same size, the latter I would even associate with Yin grace. It’s just not logical for width to be Yin, because small is Yin, big is Yang, no matter which way you turn a 3D-object in space. For me, width and height are both equally Yang. Lying down or standing up or turning around doesn’t change our Yin-Yang-balance either, so it doesn’t matter in which direction the length is (it’s not the same as overall size). It does matter for an object what shape height and width form. Circle is Yin. Square is blunt Yang. Triangle is sharp Yang. A square is more compact than a rectangle, and one might say it’s less Yang because it lacks elongation. But it’s still a 100% Yang, the rectangle just being blunt Yang with sharp Yang influence. A square can be Yin in size next to a bigger square, but it’s always Yang next to a circle of any size. So compact square flesh can’t equal shapely rounded flesh.

              If anything that has no sharpness (elongation) now can mean Yin, even a square, that would put everything on it’s head in my eyes. It would even mean that I could be SN (though probably still too tall). Hm… I always felt that SN is more or less what I tried to do before Kibbe, in order to „soften“ and make „more feminine“. I don’t think it would work. But then I think that some of the FG celebs would also be shifted to SN, including Tina. And somehow it would indeed mean that the Ns are now the leftover category (SN without the Yin flesh requirement would then no longer be a specific ID).

              Long story short, I’m not convinced. But in the end, the actual topic was: Why you can’t be a Gamine if you’re tall. And there was never any disagreement about that.

            • stylesyntax
              November 2, 2019 at 6:31 pm

              I don’t mean that “compact width,” or flesh, is yin. I mean that if you have width, and not enough length/vertical for FN, you’d end up in SN, with the yin coming from height. The difference between the SN described in the book and SN now is that, as we’ve discussed, N no longer exists, so the line is now between FN and SN, and not FN, then N, and then SN. So you would have needed to have more yin to be SN than you do now. People who would have been in N didn’t disappear; they just fall in one or the other now. So if you shrunk and kept your proportions the same, if the length you have is really just literally because you’re tall, and you wouldn’t have a vertical to you as a short person, then I think you’d go into SN and not FN. If you retain a vertical and just happen to be short, like SJP, then you’d go into FN.

              The “waif” thing came about because I think the book gives the impression that FG can be broader than it actually can be in reality. David wanted to emphasize that Gamines are narrow/small, even if they carry weight. I am not thin, but I still have a narrow/small build. A lot of people who were calling themselves FGs when David came to the groups were either too broad or too yang to be FG. As far as Tina is concerned, I looked to see if he had mentioned her, and he said that she is “tiny” in real life.

              It’s hard to go entirely by the book for the Image IDs that have lost the “middle” Image ID, because the definitions have expanded. It is much easier to just go into the groups for all the Image IDs and see how David is explaining them now.

            • cactus gardener
              November 3, 2019 at 6:01 am

              SN goes up to 5‘7, FG to 5‘6, they were both always on the moderate to petite size anyway (though I already anticipate that FGs need to be smaller now, too…?). It basically means that the FG-profile has been considerably narrowed down, literally, although Gamines also have lost their in-between pure ID. Gamine Yang can only be sharp now. A person who has the exact Yin-Yang-balance required for FG (juxtaposition of Yang shape and Yin size) is now dumped into SN if she happens to get her Yang from the blunt side, even if she doesn’t have the Yin-Yang-balance required for SN or any other ID. She has to do with flow and drape and loose waist emphasis, which are quite poisonous on Yang flesh. (But wait, the recs are no longer valid either.) It’s thus true that Ns are now the leftover category.

              If the elimination of N really led to an impossible flood of new FGs, so that an artificial ( = not Yin-Yang based) numerus clausus had to be introduced for FG, and the profiles for SN and FN weakened to anything goes, then pure Ns weren’t that rare. Pure types being rare is the only possible reason so far that I’ve heard for the elimination of N, G and C, and it’s not even a good one. Maybe a thing that is already perfect shouldn’t evolve further… In the 80ies system, there were no left-over categories and no people who didn’t fit anywhere to make such a category necessary. At least I couldn’t think of a set of features so far that wouldn’t find a place, or a person I couldn’t narrow down to max. two IDs in my head.

              If Tina is tiny in real life, then they must have photoshopped her 90ies music videos already. I once sat two tables across from her in a restaurant, though unfortunately, I didn’t study her bone structure back then. But I’m quite sure I don’t remember her as narrow.

              Sorry for sounding a bit cynical, but really, I’m not happy with this. With so many changes it’s no longer possible to DIY Kibbe, even if you got the hang of Yin and Yang. Well, we have to accept that, although I got the impression that Kibbe wrote the book with the intention that people actually can DIY. So maybe we shouldn’t criticize those too loudly who try to make it easy to understand again, as it once was, and who can blame them if they’re sometimes on the wrong track. It was actually the simplicity and logic of it all that first won me completely over to Kibbe. It was brilliant and elegant, now it seems uselessly complicated and clumsy with too many blurry lines. It’s no longer purely based on Yin and Yang, so understanding the basic principle will not help. In some IDs are now so many exceptions to the overarching rules, and in other IDs the fundamental rules no longer apply. I’m always happy and willing to learn; but I don’t want to learn a language in which every case is an exception to the underlying grammar. Just not worth the effort.

              We’re down to the following possibilities: go see Kibbe (yet, who can); put photos of us in underwear into Zuckerberg empire and get further confused; find another style system that works for you; stick to the book, because what worked back then still works perfectly today. I’ll certainly do the latter. It’s timeless. Lycra just means that any ID can now do figure-hugging if so inclined, because it automatically showcases the body as it is. Style is the contrary of fashion/trend, so if shoulder pads are part of your style, you can wear them in any decade. I think I don’t care for a modern version of the system (and I actually still find that N fits me slightly better than FN does).

              All that said, I’m no less grateful for Kibbe and how Kibbe-ing changed my life for the better, and I’m certainly not spitting acid at you, Vanessa, because obviously I enjoy reading your blog and spending time to join the discussion. I appreciate it all! A lot. I only just begin to understand why so many people are frustrated. I didn’t get that until now.

            • stylesyntax
              November 3, 2019 at 11:01 am

              Oh, dear. I think I must have not been clear in my comments, because you have seem to have drawn conclusions that are the exact opposite of what I was trying to say!

              1) People who were FG then would not be SN now. My impression from David is that he had seen Tina, from the way he wrote his comment, and he said she was “tiny.” The elimination of N was not the cause for an influx of FGs who are now in SN. These two things are completely unrelated and it just has to do with one person reading the book a certain way and spreading that to everyone else. I don’t think anything has changed at all in terms of who is SN and who is FG. David says there is a phenomenon where he sees SNs with a Gamine spirit, so I think that is a bigger factor–people relating to FG’s essence. There has been nothing “artificial,” or not based on yin/yang, that has been brought into FG. He has just had the chance to really explain what a Gamine is and what the juxtaposition looks like in reality, in a way that brings clarity after 30+ years of people having the book, because of course before you publish the book you have no idea what will confuse people, and additionally, most people going by the book haven’t read the whole book, and I think a lot of important stuff isn’t in the Image ID chapters, but the ones where he clarifies his theory.

              2) The profiles for FN and SN weren’t “weakened.” They just expanded to include women who would have been N. And the woman who you are talking about would do far worse in FG. I actually found the Tina comment in a thread in FG by a woman who is exactly what we are talking about (short, muscular, broader), and in it, she was saying that she hates having Audrey as the FG style icon because none of us can really dress like her and those clothes only fit Audrey in the first place because of the starvation she endured during the war. And I was so confused, because even when I’m overweight, there is nothing that Audrey wears that I wouldn’t at least want to try on. But it’s because she ended up being SN, and now she is very happy there. There needs to be accommodation of width in the clothes that FG doesn’t provide, and they provide a stronger frame for clothing, and I haven’t heard from any SNs who are less fleshy/curvy that it is a struggle for them to be in SN.

              3) We don’t encourage people posting in their underwear! We don’t type people from photos. We provide support for people going through the exercises David has written, and that doesn’t include underwear. I strongly urge you to reconsider wanting to abandon David-as-he-is-now altogether and at least join so you can hear what he says directly from him. I would never go back to just having recommendations, honestly. I have seen people do amazing things with their style from learning from him.

              (David still actually likes to an encourage a shoulder pad if the outfit needs it, haha.)

            • cactus gardener
              November 3, 2019 at 1:36 pm

              Thank you, it really gets much clearer now, and I did misunderstand a big part of it.

              1) Still, Kibbe must have changed his mind about FG himself, as „broadly angular“ can’t really be interpreted as „narrowly angular“ even by a sloppy reader. SN is no longer defined by Yang bone structure with Yin flesh, but Yang bones with any flesh. That’s a lot less specific than it was.
              As for relating to the spirit of one ID while being another, I can see how this can be a problem, although I don’t have it myself. Maybe that’s where the essences people are on to something, and the integration of a secondary ID for a personal twist on the main ID might solve the problem. Or water down the first ID, I’m torn about this. But then, essence is not really something you can control, know inside out or even partly choose like personality, as it’s more how other people see you, wether you believe you are like this or not at all. (For example, I don’t want to be approachable for strangers, but I obviously have that approachable vibe.)

              2) I can’t know about that for the non-shapely SNs, it’s just from my personal experience that flow/drape/waist don’t work on Yang bone and flesh. It’s hard to imagine that being small would change that, on the other hand, FG in large wouldn’t work for me either.
              The aim is to be happy and feel good in your clothes, so I’m glad for them if it works. Realizing that weight doesn’t change a thing is also very liberating, I’ve experienced that too (in my case, even the size didn’t change when I lost lots of weight, and being thin didn’t make waist emphasis suddenly work; once the weight came back, I didn’t care at all, it’s even better to fill a bit of that extra fabric around the torso).

              3) I apologize for the underwear. I thought so from what you told us about the facebook groups, and was carried away a bit because I was upset. Sorry!
              I might succumb to the temptation one day, but I really really hate facebook. It just happens that I finally found a copy of the book at a halfway reasonable price right this afternoon. I hope it arrives before Christmas and is in a readable condition… (Haha, but it might lead me to stick even more to the 80ies for now – shoulder pads forever!, though I really don’t need them personally.)

            • stylesyntax
              November 4, 2019 at 3:33 pm

              I don’t think it really changed–he just clarified his vision. I don’t think that anyone who he would have typed as FG would now be SN. He hasn’t walked back his typing of any FG celebrity and he doubled down on ones like Tina.

              I think the main point is that SN is Soft Yang with a Yin Undercurrent, not the specific math of the flesh vs bone structure. I have seen a lot of variation of ways to get to each yin/yang balance. It had to have expanded to include people who would have been Natural but have a little yin, but not so drastically. I think perhaps you are confusing Romantics with Soft Naturals (there are a lot of Romantics who are mistyped as other things out there)–the thing with Naturals of either stripe is that they have a strong frame. The frame has always been more important than curves–that is why they are a Natural first and foremost! They are not curve-dominant. They are width-dominant. Many of the Soft Naturals I have seen who have gone to see David have a body type that I would describe as the kind of figure that is very much in style right now–curvy, but with strength underneath. An SN wouldn’t dress around their curves the same way Rs and TRs do. The curves are always secondary to their strong frame.

              He definitely said Gamine “spirit,” not “essence,” and I think that’s a big difference. They’re not going to give the same impression as a Gamine, but rather have a little bit of the fun that is inherent to Gamines.

              I really hope you reconsider your feelings about Facebook! David gives so much information all the time.

            • cactus gardener
              November 5, 2019 at 9:34 am

              Here’s how I understand this so far:

              Old system: both FG‘s and SN’s bone structures were described as petite, angular, slightly broad, square shoulders. Both tended to have some muscle and Yin facial features. The differences were Yang flesh for FG versus Yin flesh for SN, and sassy FG spirit versus fresh and sensual SN spirit. Straight body type was a deal breaker for SN.

              New system: FG bone structure sharp Yang (dramatic Yang), angular and narrow, Yang flesh, Yin face, sassy. SN bone structure blunt Yang (natural Yang), angular and slightly broad, flesh and face can be either Yin or Yang, and sensual would then depend on whether Yin influence is there or not (maybe there’s a new spirit description too). FNs and former Ns have some fun ascribed to us too. So the former Ns would have imported that into SN.

              The change I see is exactly that it now does matter which Yang an FG has, while it did not in the old system. Sharp Yang and blunt Yang were equivalent back then, while now they are separate somehow. FG becomes more strictly defined (less different ways to arrive at that exact Yin-Yang-balance), while SN became more generic. I see how the elimination of N could have made this necessary. But then why…? I don’t think it’s a good move. I’d have a hard time making my peace with «sensual» if all the Yin I had were in size.

              «Curvy but with strength underneath» is precisely what I imagined an SN to be in the old system, and of course SN was always Yang-dominant. But a Yin undercurrent apart from being petite was required then. I’m thinking of those petite women who just have a Yang frame with the strength on top and no Yin softness added. Their Yin is in size, but that’s the case for FG too. So an SN today can actually have „juxtaposition of Yang shape and Yin size“ but still have an ID requiring „blunt Yang with Yin undercurrent“, if her Yang is in two dimensions instead of just one, despite the absence of additional Yin. Thus, figuring out your Yin-Yang-balance doesn’t inevitably lead to the right ID anymore, which makes DIY harder if not impossible. So I remain puzzled (and continue wondering why Tina and her broader FG sisters wouldn’t have been moved into SN).

              I’m repeating myself, and we seem to be stuck on this. Either I still don’t get what you’re saying, or you don’t see what I mean. Or more probably, we both understand what the other means, but in your eyes it’s not a problem and in mine it is. (In a way, if Tina & Co. still are FG, it’s not a problem – although if I had her body, I would now think that I must be SN because there’s no sharp Yang present.)

              I believe that I’ve become quite good at identifying the Yang in people. Where I really have a hard time is with Cs (what is balanced in real life people who aren’t as smooth and made-up as celebs?), or between R and SC. Although it can be difficult between R and SN too, but once you smell the blunt Yang, you don’t get it out of your nose. Probably I’ve just become too much of an „equal rights for blunt Yang“-defender, lol.

              Hate was the wrong word, I don’t have feelings towards facebook. Of course it’s an illusion to use internet and think you keep your data to yourself, but at least I take care to avoid the worst offenders, as well as to forgo the distraction of social media in general. I hope the groups will move onto a more serious platform one day, who knows… I guess having to open an fb-account keeps a lot of people from joining.

            • stylesyntax
              November 5, 2019 at 10:40 am

              Again, I don’t think the difference is what you think it is. The difference is that FG expanded to include people who have a higher concentration of yin than the FG in the book and who would have been Gamine (but not enough yin for SG), and SN expanded to include people who have less yin than the one in the book and who would have been Natural (but don’t have enough yang for FN).

              I don’t think that anyone who would have been FG in the 1980s would now be moved to SN. He hasn’t done so with any celebrities, and has never given an indication that he has changed his thinking about FG over the years except that now the line is between FG and SG, and not FG, G, and SG. I think he just probably worded it in the description in a way that didn’t properly convey what was in his head and made it seem to people that you can be accommodating width and end up an FG. When he joined the FG group, the first he did was go, wait, hold up, THIS is what a Gamine is and many of you are actually SNs. But I don’t think that if it had been 1987 that it would have been the case that any of the people he gently redirected would have been FGs. The 1987 recommendations don’t accommodate width. Tina is not broad, according to David–he said “tiny.”

              And basically the soft yang (soft is already there!) with yin size acting as the main undercurrent results in a compact frame, if what we’re talking about is really an SN. I think the frame is the same, even if someone doesn’t look that soft. You can be literally petite and FN, so I don’t think the conflict you’re talking about really happens, because anyone who would just be SO yang would end up in FN, IMO. I couldn’t tell you who in the SN group would have been a Natural in 1987 and who would have always been an SN, just like in the FG group I wouldn’t really be able to tell you who would have been a Gamine. I might have been a Gamine, who knows, but it seems immaterial to me since I understand my personal yin/yang balance so well. (And this is partially why getting rid of the middle types makes sense to me! In practice, it seems to just… work.)

              I honestly have a hard time keeping up with requests to join the Facebook group as it is, so I don’t think many people end up being turned off… Some people do register just to join the groups, and we’re not like some that take the newness of a profile when considering whether to add someone. As far as switching to another platform, I don’t see that happening (and I’m the creator!), because I don’t think there are any other platforms where we could get the features we have for free, and I don’t want to move it to any kind of public, open forum. Facebook is the best place considering the needs and purpose of the groups.

            • cactus gardener
              November 5, 2019 at 10:31 am

              Just followed the links in your new „curvy gamine“ post: http://stylesyntax.com/blog/2015/06/24/why-im-not-a-curvy-fg/

              There you said exactly what I’m saying now. Is it outdated too?

              But that post shows how the narrowness has been imported into FG from the eliminated G category. So old system: pure Gs had mainly sharp (dramatic) Yang, FGs had mainly blunt (natural) Yang. That also explains why FG is slightly more Yang than G was, because Yang in two dimensions is more Yang than just in one dimension (assuming the height is the same).

              Just as FN and SN had to take in the former Ns, FG and SG had to take in the former Gs. Most likely, FGs can now be either narrow OR broader. Now that would be a logical evolution to me.

            • stylesyntax
              November 5, 2019 at 11:02 am

              If something is from four years ago, it’s outdated! I have no idea what I was smoking, honestly, after reading that. I don’t have broad shoulders at all. I gained weight over the course of my 20s and I think I saw myself incorrectly because of it. I have a lot of posts, so it’s hard to keep track of everything I need to add a disclaimer to and to take actually take the time to do it. Thanks for pointing out its existence, since I didn’t notice the disclaimer in the older post had a link in it when I went to get that link. I wrote that before David clarified things for us in Gamineland and I was working without that knowledge.

              No, David is very clear that neither Gamine is broad. He has said this very, very directly. FGs are not and never were, but the way the he wrote the original description seems to have given the impression. Having some B answers on the quiz doesn’t mean you have width to accommodate. What you’re really looking at it is upper back and shoulders, most of the time. And, honestly, people who are broader struggle with being in FG when they place themselves there the same way that Taylor would struggle as a 5’10” Gamine. The Gamines don’t honor them and it is something I have seen very distinctly as the admin of the FG group.

            • cactus gardener
              November 5, 2019 at 12:10 pm

              Okay, then, let’s leave it there. You are the expert on modern Kibbe, not I. Maybe we simply don’t have the same hypothetical body before our inner eye and in real life we would totally agree on who is FG and who SN or something else. We agree that Tina is FG after all (she is indeed tiny, in the sense of petite, but as I said, not what I would call narrow, but maybe you would).

              As the blunt-Yang-defender, I’d just like to correct this: the „soft“ in SN refers to the Yin undercurrent, not the blunt Yang. I know that blunt Yang is also called soft Yang because it’s not sharp, but it’s an unfortunate name because the erroneous idea that blunt Yang is in between sharp Yang and Yin on a spectrum must stem from there. There’s no spectrum. (Ds are taller on average than FNs because more one-dimensional Yang is needed to equal two-dimensional Yang, after all, see giraffe and elephant.)

              Also, petite and compact wouldn’t be FN, as compactness shortens the vertical further.

              Oh, and never forget to note down what you’re smoking, so you can look it up later on! Just kidding – I find it great and courageous that you don’t take down your older posts with which you no longer agree, it’s very interesting and instructive.

              Thanks for explaining about facebook, too.

            • stylesyntax
              November 5, 2019 at 12:33 pm

              “Soft yang with a yin undercurrent” is how he describes the Soft Natural balance in the book. I referenced the book when I was responding to the comment and that’s why I used it. I try to keep to the words David used. 🙂 He actually doesn’t seem to use “blunt” at all in the book, from a quick scan—“strong” for FN and “soft” for N and SN. I remember he said something about word use and Natural some time ago, but I have to see if I can find it on facebook.

              EDIT: I found it and he says “soft yang” he now considers an oxymoron and he uses “blunt” or “strong” for SNs. 🙂 So that’s something he has changed, but a change you will like! But he does seem to describe it as a spectrum, with extreme, sharp yang being on one end, extreme soft yin on the other, classic in middle, nothing in between soft yin and the middle, but blunt yang being in between classic balance and extreme sharp yang. That is a summary of what he wrote over the course of a couple of reveal posts in Strictly Kibbe, where he shows an SN and an SD. It seems that “strong” can also refer to SDs, but not “blunt.” Confusing, but he says to just look at the actual people in question.

              Yes, I was saying “compact” is SN, but you can be 5’2” and FN.

            • cactus gardener
              November 6, 2019 at 11:28 am

              That’s a very good change indeed to no longer use the term „soft Yang“, I applaud! 🙂 Thanks for looking that up, now this makes me happy of course.

              «Blunt» was rather everywhere within the N body profiles, bones, facial features etc. I could identify with this so much that it stuck, I should actually wear a „proudly blunt“ pin on my jacket. I literally adopted it.

              Last night I wondered if it even made sense to break it down into such minute details of bodily characteristics, fabricating hypothetical bodies to explore the exact dividing lines between IDs, as in the end, Yin-Yang-balance is all about spirit (but I can’t help enjoying this also as an intellectual challenge, suspecting that you do, too). Outside and inside do line up, once it’s all integrated. I think that was already clear in the book, but from what I gather about modern Kibbe, that’s the side he is pushing much more now instead of meditating over the shape of our big toe. I could imagine indentical twins, looking almost exactly the same, but having different IDs. (By which I don’t mean that we can just choose an ID based on what we think our personality is.)

              Likewise, putting blunt Yang in between sharp Yang and Classic doesn’t make sense at all in the material world, both are 100% Yang, and both can only be softened by adding Yin. But spirit-wise it does make sense – hence that a D’s Yang can come across as aloof and intimidating while an Ns Yang friendly and approachable. Again, like giraffe and elephant. (Please regard those as equally positive and negative, neutral that is – an an N, I can attest that it would sometimes be nice to look intimidating, while my D friend says the contrary).

            • stylesyntax
              November 6, 2019 at 3:18 pm

              I feel like this is a game of telephone and you really just need to join Strictly Kibbe and read what David says for yourself, lol. I don’t feel right copying and pasting, so I’m paraphrasing and I’m afraid some things are getting lost.

              No, identical twins would be the same type, barring some kind of difference in development that affects one and not the other. Honestly, forget “spirit” and anything else until you already know your yin/yang balance and are working on your personal expression of style. Basically all that matters is how clothing falls on your body. So the big toe will not affect it, but neither will anything else that doesn’t affect how clothes interact with your body. As I’ve mentioned, I get the very flamboyant side of FG from David, but some FGs don’t get that kind of advice from him at all. Basically, forget anything except what you’re accommodating. It is actually much simpler than people make it out to be, and why I say we know and the exercises are intended to get you to understand yin and yang and remove resistance. So details of faces and toes and all that don’t come into play, but it is definitely not at all about spirit, and really not at all. Spirit won’t make an R body into an D body or even a SC into a DC. So as you know you’re FN already, you can think of your personal expression of FN, but nothing about your personal expression would change your literal Image ID.

              I do think that it is yin that is blunting blunt yang and adding width. He does portray it as a scale, both in the book and in the reveal I was paraphrasing from (if you do join, it is in the Soft Natural and Soft Dramatic comparison reveal). At one end, you have extreme yang, and on the other, extreme yin, and in the middle, a perfect blend of the two.

            • cactus gardener
              November 7, 2019 at 6:05 am

              Ah haha, now you made me do it, I opened an fb account, lol lol lol! (I’m sure you will recognize me in the stash of joining requests.) In fact I’d really like to do the exercises, and just simply read from Kibbe directly. … Should I join all ID subgroups or just mine?

              Of course I didn’t mean that spirit can change an R body into a D body or vice versa, as I said, body or spirit, we can’t chose what we got. There are (in general, not just in Kibbe), basically two ways to get to know yourself and your place within the universe: inside out (all kinds of spiritual practices, meditation, contemplation, prayer, trance, joining a religion, you name it) or outside in (reflection you get from the world around you, sports, professions, interests/hobbies – or in Kibbe’s case, style). It’s best to go about it both ways, because resistance and distortion is everywhere. Everyone talks about «body dysmorphic disorder» as if it were some cruel new disease that affects only a few especially fragile souls – but it’s just the human condition! It’s normal to not see ourselves objectively, and the same goes for spirit.

              Kibbe introduced something for Westerners that’s similar to what martial arts monks did in the East for centuries, that’s how I see it. My physical goals are accomplished (namely: feeling at home in my clothes, seeing why certain things won’t work and thus avoid buying them), and a lot more than that (namely: learning that I’m a Natural instead of a freak of nature; no longer being ashamed handing my coat over to someone because it has XL at the neck, never again worry about weight because my skeleton alone would still be at least size 12 etc. – that part happened within an afternoon!, just because I had lacked a word like «blunt Yang»). If it were only about how clothes fall on our bodies, I wouldn’t be sticking around for years, as I’m still not that much interested in clothes as such. I don’t mind if many wouldn’t agree with this. There’s nothing wrong with doing Kibbe for style and what great style and confidence might get you in the world, same as lots of people do martial arts just for sporty ambitions, yoga to get rid of back pain or Buddhist rituals to relax.

              That an outside-in way is even possible and effective apart from martial arts & co. didn’t ever occur to me personally before Kibbe. I did all kinds of spiritual practices in my twenties and early thirties, and didn’t get to know myself much better. I tried to be good at sports that require agility or endurance as a youngster, and never got more than mediocre at it. It never occurred to me then to look at my body and see what it is made for, and that I could have been excellent at something requiring strength. Much less did I think that clothes could have anything to do with it, they were just a necessary evil and constant hassle, so I kept it minimum maintenance, T-shirt and jeans. For me, the outside-in part is the Kibbe-revelation (or on a more earth-bound note: that wearing clothes and even caring for them can be fun and bring joy, I never guessed that). But for somebody else, who was always into the right sports, who always dressed well instinctively (maybe in the «look good» kind of way), but is still just as clueless as I was because she never explored the spiritual approaches, the Kibbe-revelation would inevitably be the inside-out part.

              That’s what I meant by «it’s about spirit», and that’s what I believe Kibbe means when he says things like «remember what you liked as a child» (I don’t think he means only clothes). I forgot though to separate the two stages of the process, A) finding your ID, and B) where to go from there once you settle into your ID. You’re right of course that finding the ID occurs through the body, because no matter how much BDD (human condition) we suffer from, it’s still easier to recognize. You are completely right on this. Though also, when someone is stuck on something like «am I SN or FG», instead of quibbling over what exactly is narrow or broad enough, it could certainly be helpful to jump around between outside-in and inside-out to see which ID feels more genuine, or neither (for the time being). The hard part is to feel the difference between those 3: what we hope – what we fear – what really is, regardless of our feelings.

              So to be more precise: it’s half about spirit, half about matter (body). Wouldn’t you agree?
              Understanding Yin-Yang-balance will help with both after all. As Yang-dominant, I was always ashamed of my bodily Yang (although I didn’t call it that then, as I never had the idea to apply spiritual principles to such earthly matters), but I also suppressed and sabotaged my spirit Yang, because that’s not what a woman is supposed to express. A Yin-dominant woman might find she hid her spirit Yin as much as her bodily Yin, because it’s a dangerous and tough world out there. When I faked Yin to attract men, it didn’t work, when she faked Yang to get into a leading position, it didn’t work, body and spirit, for example. Had we just been what we were, we would have got what we wanted with much higher probability, without getting tired and sick over trying. (That’s exactly what Chinese medicine is about I believe, aligning your inner and outer Yin-Yang-balance, but I’m not an expert on that.)

              I agree that the „blunting“ comes from Yin and thus softens, but the square width is additional Yang and thus neutralizes the Yin again. That’s why sharp and blunt Yang are both just plain Yang, not something like 100% and 80% (Yin and Yang are bipolar, there’s nothing in between them; they can just be mingled in matter, as matter has dilatation, so a Classic body becomes possible). Square width is not the same as auxiliary width in R that allows the Yin to come through in roundedness, as I tried to explain with squares, rectangles and circles.

    7. h
      November 4, 2019 at 4:17 am

      this comment thread has been a really interesting to read.

      it clarified some things for me on how kibbe works now and what yin/yang actually means in kibbe. and this, as well as reading the introduction/rules of the fb group, actually made me want to know more and possibly even join the group after mostly staying away from everything kibbe-related for a while since most of what he writes seems so grand and i’m really only interested in looking at feeling like myself but now i feel like it might be applicable after all. (although i’m still hesitant to try to join the group, i’m very uncomfortable with the idea of joining under my real name and if i were to set up a second account there’s always the risk of being banned and/or having to prove your identify).

      do you know if he plans on adding more material to his website later or if he wants to keep it to the fb-group?

      • stylesyntax
        November 4, 2019 at 3:21 pm

        I think he is planning to add more to his blog, but we are fine with people joining under a second profile. If Facebook doesn’t catch you, we won’t say a word! I go under my real profile but I don’t post anything about Kibbe on my timeline. Some people create a filter just for color and style friends. In addition, in the Facebook groups David will give you advice directly.

    8. Silverroxen
      November 5, 2019 at 6:43 pm

      All of this discussion is making me want to join the Strictly Kibbe group lol. Although I have a better sense of what my style is, I’m curious as to what advice David would give me.

      • Silverroxen
        November 14, 2019 at 3:02 pm

        I sent a request a few days ago. Hopefully I’ll be able to join. 🙂

    9. Elektra
      November 11, 2019 at 11:14 am

      In all honesty, I think the height is more about the vertical line than actual height. Beyonce is a romantic but she is 5’7 and according to Kibbe romantics cannot be taller than 5’5. Beyonce looks shorter than she is, however, which is a reason why is a romantic. So to literally say “she cannot be a gamine because she’s one inch taller than 5’5” is not accurate either. But Taylor’s vertical line is very tall, and she is more of a dramatic than gamine. I do remember Merriam saying the face doesn’t matter as much as the body. Taylor’s body doesn’t match her face, because her face is more gamine. However, her body is entirely dramatic and that’s why she’s a dramatic and not a gamine. I’ve been critical to Merriams categorisations since she still claims Charlize Theron is TR, despite Kibbe reassigning her to FN. Since she said that, it’s rather contradicting that she puts Taylor in the gamine category and Charlize in TR based on their faces. I just got more confused about her videos since she says not to take everything literally. Such as a theatrical romantic doesn’t need to have a defined waist, which is essential for romantics in general. Really appreciate this post because someone tries to take Kibbe’s rule somewhat seriously and literally. Your post about SN made me sure that I’m not one whereas Merriam’s method never gave accurate results.

      • stylesyntax
        November 13, 2019 at 4:45 pm

        I have covered this in the Kibbe FAQ I wrote. If David says a celebrity who is supposedly taller is in an Image ID that he says is under a certain height, that means that he believes that the celebrity is shorter than reported. Many, many celebrities are shorter than their publicists say they are. A short person may or may not have vertical; a tall person definitely has it by virtue of being tall. Also Rs can be up to 5’6″, I believe–it is important for SGs and TRs to be shorter because they do have yang. More height would tip their balance too much.

      • karen
        December 8, 2019 at 4:20 am

        I agree Beyonce doesn’t look 5’7 she looks average height so 5’5 her vertical line is shorter than most 5’7 women.
        I also think that mistyping from maybe persons is the fact that they use the test yes but they use it seeing the vertical line question for instance as just one answer among others (which Merriam said herself if I recall correctly) when in fact the vertical line is kind of the basis of the overall appearance of someone and therefore should matter more than other questions.
        it’s the big picture and Taylor Swift has not a gamine big picture/overall appearance at all.

        • stylesyntax
          December 8, 2019 at 4:24 am

          If David says someone is a certain Image ID and they’re too tall for it, it means he thinks they’re shorter than their reported height, which is very common with celebrities.

    10. Cher
      November 19, 2019 at 2:26 am

      Hey, I’m no expert in Kibbe’s system but it’s obvious that Taylor looks her best when in gamine lines and not so good when she wears the natural or dramatic lines. Shouldn’t that be the proof?

      • stylesyntax
        November 19, 2019 at 2:33 am

        No, because what you are being taught as being “gamine lines” are not “gamine lines.” That is not how David works at all. You are the Image ID—not your clothes. And the actual garments that seem to give an impression of what is stereotypically understood as “gamine style” would look very different on an actual SG or FG. She is all sharp, extreme yang! I explain all of this in the post. And truly, the best evidence of all is that David has already said what she is. Her being any kind of Gamine is absolutely impossible if you know the basics of yin and yang in his work.

    11. Alexandra
      November 20, 2019 at 7:44 am

      Reading your post is like a breath of fresh air. I am – just to be honest – appaled by Merriam Style and her absolute absence of work ethics. She twisted Kibbe’s methodology into something completely different and charges people for her ‘style analysis’ reports. The misinformation she’s spreading is a whole another story, unfortunately. I have joined the Stictly Kibbe group recently and there’s a lot to learn still, but Taylor Swift is so obviously not a SG, same as Merriam! And this talk about ‘lines’ – it’s absent in Kibbe’s teachings! Aly Art on YouTube provides a much more tuthful representation of Kibbe and respects him as the author of this method. Thank you for your post – it is valuable for those, who are just starting to learn Kibbe.

      • stylesyntax
        November 20, 2019 at 6:10 pm

        AlyArt’s representation of Kibbe has its issues too–people do not come to SK from her with a solid understanding of Kibbe, and have to do just as much unlearning. But she has a reverence for the material/David that Merriam lacks.

        • Alexandra
          November 20, 2019 at 6:36 pm

          Exactly my point. Since there is no Kibbe certification, the best thing to do is just go to the source. Only he can teach about it and by far, SK is the best option. The comments on Merriam’s video about her ‘body geometry’ say that the method from his book is outdated, but they just aren’t aware about that Kibbe teaches nowadays. Sadly, the reach of SK is much smaller than YouTube’s.

          • stylesyntax
            November 21, 2019 at 4:25 am

            I think David wants to make his way over to youtube, and I hope he does!

            • Alexandra
              November 21, 2019 at 5:50 am

              Fingers crossed!

    12. Giga
      December 7, 2019 at 1:59 pm

      Merriam herself does not look like a Soft Gamine, and especially not with her height of 5’7…impossible. If she was 100% certain of herself being SG, she would have used her own body as an example, but we never get to see her other than from the shoulders up. Aly Art looks like a Soft Gamine (I don’t know how tall she is, I think 5’5), and she’s used herself as an example plenty of times. I haven’t seen a full body image of Merriam, but from her videos, she definitely has more Yang than Yin…if she is even a gamine of any kind, then she could be a Flamboyant Gamine, like Audrey Hepburn. She doesn’t look good with soft or cutesy details either, and tousled hair looks very unkempt on her. She could also very well be a Dramatic Classic with a Gamine essence, who knows? Just not Soft Gamine.

      • stylesyntax
        December 8, 2019 at 4:27 am

        I don’t think that’s a thing. He has only said he sees SNs with a Gamine spirit—not essence, and only SNs.

        • Giga
          December 16, 2019 at 4:37 am

          SN with a gamine spirit sounds interesting…is that like Selena Gomez?

          • stylesyntax
            December 16, 2019 at 4:54 am

            I don’t think so. It has to do more with styling, I think.

      • Silverroxen
        December 8, 2019 at 4:53 pm

        I was thinking Dramatic Classic as well.

        • Giga
          December 16, 2019 at 4:44 am

          Yeah, now I’m really seeing DC for Merriem. I watched a video of her typing some tall girls (including herself) as gamines, and now that I’ve seen her top to toe, she looks Dramatic Classic to me (long vertical line balanced angular look etc), even the lines she wears and looks good in are DC, I don’t know why she’s attached to the SG type. Her proportions, bone and face structure are extremely similar to young Jackie Kennedy. Also I see this huge misconception floating about it that only gamines look good in color blocking (so they automatically assume gamine iif colorblocking looks good)…dramatic classics and some dramatics look pretty fantastic in color blocking too.

          • stylesyntax
            December 16, 2019 at 4:53 am

            Colorblocking is determined by outfit, not ID. 🙂

      • Gitte
        December 18, 2019 at 3:51 am

        The real life gamines video 😉

    13. karen
      December 7, 2019 at 2:50 pm

      I used to like her work until… TAYLOR types as a Gamine.
      Merriam bases her typings on the test and each feature separately! Yeah it’s good to see which feature is more yin and which is more yang but the overall effect is more important.
      The first thing we see about TS is her long vertical line, the long and narrow silhouette and her taut flesh … so Dramatic to me.
      I’ve seen her video on real life gamines where she uses herself as an example of SG and I don’t see SG for her either.
      SG are p.e.t.i.t.e. and look petite. Again I don’t see a mixture of opposites I see a yang bases for Merriam .
      I really think that Kibbe should do a video where he explains why G can’t be tall and explains more his process and just put a final point to all the misunderstandings! (would be a dream came true ahah)

      • stylesyntax
        December 8, 2019 at 4:25 am

        David has talked about a YouTube channel. But really SG isn’t on the table for either Taylor or Merriam.

    14. cc
      December 22, 2019 at 10:42 am

      Thank you for a really interesting comment thread and a very, very interesting blog! But I have to say that I think it’s “Jumping the gun” a bit to say that IDs have nothing to do with spirit and have only to do with the way that clothing accommodates the line and shape of the body. David himself has said that “we aren’t there yet” with regard to how to choose clothes based on the shape/lines, so it seems like we are quite far away from an understanding of the image IDs? And so to me it seems premature to draw conclusion about the fact that Image IDs only have to do with shape/line.

      • stylesyntax
        December 22, 2019 at 8:35 pm

        I try to stick to what David has said to the best of my ability and memory–he doesn’t want us to draw a straight line from the exercises to Image IDs, but many people have naturally gotten to their Image ID and he has been very direct with some people. I think it’s clear from all of his comments that spirit won’t change your physical yin/yang balance. If you look at what he said about “SNs with a gamine spirit” in the FG group, for example, it’s clear that the yin/yang balance of these SNs is no closer to a Gamine.

        We wouldn’t choose clothes based on shape and line. That’s the way other people turn his work into boxes. You understand how to work with your yin/yang balance. It’s not like one day David will just put up a new list of exactly what each person in an Image ID would look for. My suggestion is to read all his comments: There are a lot of gems that David has left in comments throughout the years! 🙂

    15. Brian B.
      January 2, 2020 at 4:59 pm

      Hi Vanessa! I’m new to your fantastic blog and somehow stumbled here when I typed “Taylor Swift Gamine” on Google Search because of the very confusing video Merriam posted typing Taylor as a Gamine. I’m a relative newbie to the Kibbe System and it revolutionized how I perceive the lines of my own body. I’ve also introduced the system to a few of my close female friends who have used Kibbe’s advice very effectively. Being a cisgendered male, I cannot join the Strictly Kibbe Facebook Group, so my capacity to access his updated approach is very, very limited.

      I was wondering about Kibbe and his system when applied to men? I saw online somewhere that Kibbe typed himself as Theatrical Romantic, like his wife. I’m not sure if this is true, but does this mean that Kibbe also uses his system for men? I was hoping you could help me and enlighten me on if and how the system works for men.

      For example, you mentioned that women who are of above average height, like over 5’8″, will only ever be Dramatic, Soft Dramatic, and Flamboyant Natural because their height immediately makes them yang-dominant. My guess is that takes into consideration the average height of women in the U.S. to be 5’4″-5’5″? But for men, the average height is 5’9″. I’m 5’10.5″, and I’ve vacillated between being a Flamboyant Natural and a Soft Natural. I do look tall, my bone structure tends towards length and blunt angularity, but my flesh tends to be softer looking, as if there is a layer of fat just below the skin’s surface, even at my thinnest. Even my cheeks tend to be on the fleshy side. Personally, I believe that Kibbe’s Image Identity system can help men as well because it can inform fit, color scheme, design details, fabric choice, and accessories, especially now that men’s fashion is diversifying.

      Anyway, I believe I might be rambling.

      I do really love your blog and will continue to read up on your posts. I’ve backread several of your posts tagged “Kibbe’s Metamorphosis” over the New Year holiday.


      • stylesyntax
        January 2, 2020 at 5:57 pm

        Hi Brian!
        This is timely, because two tasks relevant to you are on my To-Do List this month. First, we actually do have a group for men, with David’s participation just like in the groups that for women only: It’s called Style Typing for Men and you can find it here. I had been meaning to add the link to the quiz, but I kept on forgetting and I did it just now. 🙂 Second, David gave me permission to add the exercises from SK to the men’s group, so I’ll be doing that very soon.

        As far as how the system applies to men, the group is definitely the best place for that. But Color for Men by Carole Jackson actually features a section on style types written by David back in the day. It only has Dramatic/Classic/Gamine/Romantic/Natural, but it should still help you and you can get it used on Amazon for pennies.

        (And just a warning that my old posts are generally inaccurate! It’s only since David came into our Facebook lives that I have really understood his work properly.)

        • Brian B.
          January 2, 2020 at 7:23 pm

          Thank you so much, Vanessa!

          I just submitted my application to join the Group.

          A few months ago, I found pictures of Kibbe typing male Old Hollywood Celebrities. He typed Elvis Presley, who was 5’11”, as a Romantic, and Fred Astaire, reportedly 5’9″, and Johnny Carson (5’10.5″) both as Gamin. I’m guessing that the height requirement for each type is adjusted for men?

          Also, I found this scanned page of the part on Romantics. and he wrote that the “Romantic man is moderately tall with an athletic but not overdeveloped build–strong but not bulky. Romantics tend to have beautiful eyes and skin and thick hair–curly, wavy, or straight, but always luxurious. Your face is expressive and well-proportioned, important to your overall look. Sophisticated and sexy, you’re influenced by current fashions and have a love of soft fabrics and luxurious colors. A rather formal dresser, you choose clothes fitted to show off your body symmetry; all detail serves to frame your face.”

          It’s wonderfully flowery writing. Very much a Kibbe-trademark He has the heart of a poet.

          Thank you again!

          • stylesyntax
            January 2, 2020 at 11:01 pm

            Women start with a baseline of curves; men start with a baseline of length and width. The height guidelines are moved up for men, although it is still true that at a certain point, you are automatically yang-dominant, just like with women. 5’10.5″ is a height that is like being 5’4″ or 5’5″ in the women’s system where I think you could be anything.

            • Brian B.
              January 3, 2020 at 5:45 am

              Oh dear! Here I thought I had narrowed it down already! I also found the list of Natural men Kibbe verified, including an excerpt of the description of Natural men having craggy, irregular features with square jaws. I look nothing like that.

              I’m so grateful that the Facebook Group exists. It seems I am starting from scratch again.

              Also, I appreciate how in many of your posts about Kibbe and his system, you have emphasized how finding one’s Image Identity is a personal journey that no one external from oneself can dictate or decide. It seems like an empowering journey of self-discovery.

    16. julianne
      May 9, 2020 at 5:37 am

      Hello there! The confusion with typing comes from many points, I guess. There’s something nobody has discussed yet and that is – not feeling ‘right’ for the body typing even if a certified Kibbe stylists will type you as such. For instance, most of the tests I took don’t talk much about height as much as ‘looking taller/shorter”. What if a tall girl has a bigger head than normal (and I’ve had a classmate like that, she would be called a tadpole for her big head, she ended up being a stunning model) but because of her head she really looked smaller. Or if one doesn’t like being wearing romantic type clothing and wants to add more dramatic elements and vica versa even if they are Romantics or any of the Dramatics. TO such people essence becomes really helpful as it allows them to express even more individually suiting clothing and accessories. Is Tailor Swift a Gamine or can she pull it off looking gamin-ish? Does she even want to? Can a shorter girl pull off long hair and ankle length pants that are very fashionable but will make her look smaller? Can a tall woman wear high heels and still appear in the crowd or in the pictures not as an amazon but smaller than she is if she wants to? I am not dissing anyone, on the contrary, I think the more we expand to incorporate the rules and breaking of the rules, the more we each benefit personally.

      • stylesyntax
        May 18, 2020 at 2:47 pm

        Well, the first point is that there are no certified Kibbe stylists. Anyone except for David who is charging you money to “type” you is no more qualified than any person on Facebook or Reddit, and frequently even less qualified. The whole “head” thing isn’t what David talks about. When he has you consider your own body and what you need to accommodate, the head isn’t even included.

        And here is the thing that all of these “certified” people miss: It’s not about fitting into a box at all. As David said, your outer self is finite and your inner self is infinite. You can express yourself and remain true to your yin/yang balance. It is not about fitting into “lines” or “Sweaters for FGs.” Now, I wouldn’t suggest someone tall try to make themselves look shorter or whatever. That’s resistance. But a Dramatic expressing a romantic or sweet mood? Sure. Or a Romantic woman looking badass? Yes. By understanding your yin/yang balance and how to address it and put together a full head-to-toe look, you learn how to portray the best version of yourself and all of who you are.

        • julianne
          May 23, 2020 at 3:40 pm

          I don’t like my yin-yang balance. I feel if I followed what’s supposedly looks better for my yin-yang, I don’t like the look, I feel ‘boxed’. I haven’t chosen my appearance, it was passed down onto me from my ancestors and that’s to it. I might appear ‘more balanced’ in HTT look but that won’t be MY LOOK.

          • stylesyntax
            May 24, 2020 at 12:37 am

            Haha, ok. These posts are geared toward people who are interested in their Kibbe Image ID. 🙂

    17. Anabee
      March 15, 2023 at 7:13 am

      Totally agree with you. Claiming Taylor is Gamine is plain ridiculous. She looks incredibly tall. All her proportions point to height. I am Soft Gamine myself (at 5’4” 1/2) and I actually hate it, bc I identify so much more with the Dramatic essence and styles. Well.. we are what we are and have to work with what was given. I will forever look younger than my age, and even with massive wrinkles, there will always be something youthful and “cute” about me, whether I want it or not. I’ll be fighting for the rest of my life to not be underestimated in my job and to not be constantly hit on by large men, who think I need special protection. I envy FGs and Dramatics for having this inherent independent, commanding presence without even trying.

      • stylesyntax
        March 26, 2023 at 10:55 pm

        I think us Soft Gamines can still have a commanding presence! We will have this presence leaning into what we are, rather than trying to be what we are not.


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