Height in Kibbe: 2020

A couple of months ago, I rewrote an old post on this blog about the “curvy” Flamboyant Gamine. This blog has been around for a long time now, and the older posts date from before David joined the Facebook groups and changed the way all of us see and work with his system. It feels like the most appropriate thing for me to do, rather than make a whole bunch of posts private, is to continue to rewrite posts to update them to how I understand the Kibbe Metamorphosis system to work now.

Today, I’ll like to go back and write about height in Kibbe. This is a subject of some controversy. You can find all kinds of things on the internet, like height is just one factor of many, and shouldn’t be given more weight than something else. But let’s remember the basics of yin and yang. Yin is short and rounded; yang is long and angular. Your height is key to this very fundamental aspect of yin and yang.

1. Why can’t certain Image IDs be taller?

R, TR, SG, FG, and SC all top out around 5’5″ (SC 5’6″). Why? Because the taller you are, the more prominent yang is, and it starts to become too much length (yang) for these balances. TR is much more yin than people seem to think, especially. Gamines need to be compact, and you would lose that compactness with more length. SC, of course, needs to be moderate, with extra yin, and you cannot have that with length.

2. Why are tall women limited to three Image IDs?

Literal length is automatically yang. At a certain point (which seems to be around 5’9″), a woman automatically has a dominant vertical (Dramatic, Soft Dramatic, or Flamboyant Natural). You automatically have a strong vertical, because it’s literally there. And then what you have is vertical, vertical with curve (and perhaps width), or vertical with width. There is no way to get to moderate, or juxtaposition. You always have that vertical you must honor, because it’s literally there. You cannot ignore it while dressing, or you’ll look like you’re wearing the clothes of a much smaller person.

3. But [celebrity] is taller!

First, celebrities are not intended as data points. They should not be used as points of comparison. They are there as “lodestars,” i.e., inspiration. Some celebrities David has seen in person; others he hasn’t. There is far more emphasis placed on celebrities around the Kibbe-focused internet than there should be. The best examples of an Image ID are people who have actually gone to Kibbe and been given a Metamorphosis by him. Celebrities are fun to watch on screen for inspiration, but should not be taken more seriously than David’s own words on an Image ID. Please, please never bring up Rihanna being 5’8″ and in TR to me ever again. If she is truly 5’8″, she would no longer be in TR. Same with every other celebrity listed with a height taller than the range for the Image ID.

4. Why can shorter women be in the taller IDs?

Women who are shorter but in a taller Image ID (i.e., a 5’3″ SD) are there because they still have a vertical that needs to be addressed in clothing, even if they aren’t literally tall. But you cannot have it the other way around, because literal length always has to be addressed.

5. But what if people are taller in my country?

Your Image ID is the same no matter where you are. It’s not relative to your surroundings. If people tend to be taller in your country, that just means there are more yang people in your country. How your body needs to be accommodated in clothing doesn’t change. This is the same for ethnicities. You are assessed as an individual.


Basically, height comes from the way yin and yang works. If you think about it in terms of the basics I have in the beginning of this post–yin is short and rounded, yang is long and angular–it helps makes sense of why height plays such an important role in your Image ID. If you think about what “moderate” means, for instance, and why Cs are described that way, the fact that Classics aren’t going to be 6′ tall makes perfect sense. And if Gamines need to be compact, they just can’t be tall either. And so on. Thinking about yin and yang will help you make sense of the question of height.

30 Comments on Height in Kibbe: 2020

  1. Red Socks
    March 16, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    Great post! height seems to be a bit of a touchy subject in the “Kibbe community”. I myself used to believe that height was completely irrelevant because of all the misinformation I read online. When I actually took the time to understand how Yin and Yang works within our bodies, it made perfect sense. If height didn’t matter and a 6″ person could be any type the system just wouldn’t work. At all. How would we tell apart SG, SD and TR? The types would become indistinguishable.

    • stylesyntax
      March 16, 2020 at 3:01 pm

      Yes, I think it comes from an over-reliance on the quiz, instead of trying to understand yin and yang. If you don’t understand how yin and yang work, you just see height as a single answer on the quiz, and not worth very much.

    • Tasha
      June 21, 2020 at 4:34 pm

      Exactly. I fail to understand what kind of vertical a person who is 5’3” should have in order to be typed as SD and not any other type, which presumes more moderate or shorter height? 5’3” is considered a petite in women’s wear. SD is typically tall and curvy, with larger body mass comparing to shorter and smaller framed types, if I understood it correctly. Can anyone help me understand, please? Thanks.

  2. Carissa
    March 30, 2020 at 9:31 am

    I agree that at a certain point height is height and you visually have a long vertical line. It might not always appear that way in photos, but it will always appear that way in person. If your clothing works with your vertical line in person then it will look good in a photo, but the reverse is not true because a photo is two dimensional. I can understand why people get confused, as David tends to speak in somewhat black and white terms in the type descriptions of his book, and yet real life examples don’t seem to always match that black and white description. That is not to say his system is wrong or bad, but this is one element that can be confusing. For instance, and please forgive me if I’m wrong, Kate Middleton is verified Soft Classic (which seems very in line with her style/vibe)? And yet she is 5’9. I can’t imagine she’s lying about her height, she has a very clearly long vertical line. She also has what might be described as a “boyishly tapered” waist/hips – which Kibbe describes as Dramatic. Is face taken into account more than we realize? Is there an x factor that simply can’t be described in the book or in type that David simply “senses” with a person? Not expecting you to answer all these questions, lol, these are just my musings.

    • stylesyntax
      March 31, 2020 at 12:04 am

      People he hasn’t seen in person should always be taken with a grain of salt. That’s why he won’t type clients from photos, either.

    • Elizabeth Phillips
      July 15, 2020 at 12:16 am

      I think Duchess Catherine dresses in an SC way, but may not actually BE an SC.

      • stylesyntax
        July 15, 2020 at 1:31 pm

        Yes, if she is her reported height (5’9″?), no way she would be SC.

  3. confused
    April 20, 2020 at 9:07 am

    After reading your post I have no longer idea, what I am.
    When people see me they usually say I am delicate, dainty, frail etc. (sometimes to the absurd level that they’re surprised I can stand up for myself) and they notice “very delicate jawline” and “very delicate hands”.
    Then I learned about Kibbe and did the test. Which didn’t said a lot because my answers are not-mentioned combination (4C, 6D, 5E, skipped hair question) – so I can be as well SC as TR. After reading about it I decided I am TR, because both D and E are yin, so most of my answers are yin and what people think about me matches TR more).
    But I am almost 5’7 (169cm) what makes me out of range for both TR and SC (which can also fit to my answers). Then I look moderate, not tall, people usually gives me around 1inch less, and when I am next to someone who is also 5’7 I am considered as smaller than this person. Also I have completely no A or B answers to be SD or SN.
    So, can there be exception to be taller SC or TR or should I consider something different like Gamine or Dramatic Classic?

    • stylesyntax
      April 20, 2020 at 2:28 pm

      5’7″ is also too tall for either gamine (David doesn’t use just Gamine anymore). Also, remember that a Dramatic Classic is moderate first and foremost, so they wouldn’t really be called delicate or frail. If you’re taller and you hear those words a lot, I’d look into Dramatic, since they are narrow. My friends who are Ds probably hear that even more than I do as a FG!

      • confused
        April 20, 2020 at 4:32 pm

        Thank you, but I can’t see it. There is literally no yang in me, I don’t have any prominent features or straight figure. My face is pure yin and rest of my body is moderate bones with yin flesh.
        I thought about Gamine because I read somewhere (maybe here) B. Bardote is Soft Gamine because her haight is yang and rest of body is yin. So if height is so important factor then that can be my case too. But definitely anything yang dominant is not me, I have too much yin.

        • stylesyntax
          April 20, 2020 at 4:47 pm

          If you are 5’7″, that’s yang. You will have much less yin than you think at your height; length itself is yang and the most yin Image ID open to you is Soft Dramatic. DC isn’t yin.

          If Brigitte Bardot is really 5’7″, she is not a gamine.

          • confused
            April 20, 2020 at 5:11 pm

            I think she is 5’6″.

            Ok, so as I understand I can’t be TR, SC, any kind of Gamine, because I am 5’7″, but I can be SD without prominent facial features and without long arms and legs or big hands and feets. Just, why those factors are even considered if it doesn’t matter… should be just actual height, flesh and muscles.

          • stylesyntax
            April 20, 2020 at 5:54 pm

            It isn’t considered in typing. You are looking at the factors that influence how clothing will hang. Anything else you’re talking about won’t change the fact that you’re dressing a 5’7″ body where length must be taken into consideration. Length, width, and shape are really what is considered.

          • confused
            April 20, 2020 at 7:08 pm

            That’s I agree. My facial bones are not going to change my height, but I thought it is more than that. In the test there are questions about different things, as well as in descriptions, for example:
            “A Soft Dramatic will not:
            Have a boyish figure.
            Have small hands and feet, or a delicate bone structure.
            Be overly petite, or small in stature, with short limbs.
            Have delicate or small facial features.
            Be symmetrical in body type or facial characteristics.”
            I don’t match it, because I have small hands and feet as well as delicate facial features.
            But of course D and FN doesn’t match even more.
            So, as I agree I am rather tall (though for my country standards I am average) and narrow and hourglass and I accept recommendations for this, I think I don’t match description of SD as it was given and the test doesn’t show it (also I don’t really look good in oversized clothes and with big details, more fitted clothes and smaller details or no details looks better, oversized clothes makes me disappear as well as big details). So, if Kibbe explain as you do, then he mistaken us a lot with the test and descriptions and seems also some of the recommendations.

          • stylesyntax
            April 20, 2020 at 7:35 pm

            Well, you have to remember that the book is 33 years old. He has further refined some of his thinking since then–it would be a wasted opportunity for growth if he hadn’t! And also you can’t look at the quiz, or the descriptions, without a foundation in yin and yang as used by Kibbe. If you just go straight into the quiz and then the ID description, you’re not really going to understand how it all fits together. He also isn’t going to dress you like he did in 1987, thank god!

          • confused
            April 20, 2020 at 7:44 pm

            Ok, so as “tall TR” became “veeeeery very soft SD” during this 30 years what are the clothing recommendations for SD now?

          • stylesyntax
            April 20, 2020 at 8:02 pm

            There has never been a “tall TR.” TRs are, by default, small women. If people decided that TR could be tall, they don’t understand what a TR actually is. It is seen as much more yang than it is in reality. Don’t go by celebrity heights; David certainly didn’t have google when he wrote the book.

            Recommendations are not what it is about. I don’t use “FG recs” when dressing. I dress according to my yin/yang balance.

          • confused
            April 20, 2020 at 8:11 pm

            I am not looking at celebrities heights, more they overall look. So if I compare myself to Sophia Loren – not much alike, if I compare myself with Viven Leigh – I see similarity. Though Sophia is more my height. I mean similarities in aura, face expression etc.
            Ok, so if there are no recommendations for types why even take time to find them (except for fun, but then doesn’t matter if I call myself SD, TR or FN, there are just names).

          • stylesyntax
            April 20, 2020 at 8:17 pm

            I can’t really teach you Kibbe’s work in the comments of my blog. If you’re interested in learning more (and would like to become less “confused”), I suggest joining Strictly Kibbe on Facebook, where David is a participant and teaches you himself.

    • Sammy
      May 3, 2020 at 7:24 pm

      Just from my personal experience I’d recommend putting on outfits for the different types, taking photos and then comparing which lines suit you the most rather then relying on the test and height restrictions. You might not fit perfectly into one of the narrow Kibbe boxes but as long as you find out what looks good on you does that really matter?
      I had a really hard time figuring out my type until I just tried different looks and ended up with FG lines looking best on me. At 169cm I’m too tall for this type but I guess since my torso is wide I have a more compact look rather than a long vertical line and the broken up G lines look amazing on me. So I’m just gonna screw the rules and wear whatever suits me 😉

      • stylesyntax
        May 18, 2020 at 2:56 pm

        David does not recommend doing this at all. You will not find your yin/yang balance this way. There is no such thing as “FG lines.” You have found some styles that you like. That’s great! You will probably be able to incorporate them when you find the Image ID that suits someone who has a wide torso and more length than FG. FG is compact and very small, with straight body lines. An FG dressing for their yin/yang balance is addressing their overall small size and short body lines. It’s not about fitting some stereotypical idea of what FG clothes look like.

  4. Erah
    April 24, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    One hundred percent this debate about height is wrong. Kibbe himself met and typed Charlize Theron as a TR and we all know well and good that she is both actually extremely tall and appears to have a very long line. Kibbe HIMSELF has said in more recent years that height isn’t as big of a factor as the vibe a person gives. I think Chatlize is a perfect example of this, she is tall and long and slim – dramatic. But her face is tiny, cute, delicate, Classic in that she has no outstanding features just symmetry. NOT angular and masculine like a Dramatic. NOT broad and blunt like a Natural. And NOT voluptuous or exotic like a SD.
    Even her mannerisms, the way she holds her hands, the way she puts her head down and looks up at you are much more delicate and feminine than any of the “tall” types. That’s why Kibbe typed her differently despite her obvious height.
    I myself have a very similar Classic face to Charlize. The upper half of my body is Natural with Romantic breasts and my lower body is between Dramatic and Classic – long lean legs with small round hips that don’t gain width or flesh when I gain weight, they’re the most consistent and moderate thing about me. SD styles work on my body but the SD hair and accessories overwhelm my Classic face. Every one of the natural styles look a sloppy, hot mess on me. I need stiffer fabrics even if there’s some drape or rushing. Oversized items just make me look fat and natural hair styles make me look like I stuck my finger in an electrical socket – not cute, sexy or breezy. I’m not angular enough in face nor top half to be DC. And I’m not “moderate in everything” to be Classic. Although the Classic hair styles work fabulously with my face the very structured, symmetrical clothing styles make my body look stiff as if I’m shoved into a sausage casing.
    Because of the nature of my figure I HAVE to wear separates (top half is FOUR sizes larger than my bottom half) and they’re often mismatched because I need to wear lighter colors, large prints and bigger shapes on the bottom to balance my broad and curvy top. With all things considered I tend to wear FG but I am 5’8” on the dot and many people guess me taller.
    Based on this height restriction nonsense I can’t be FG but when you’re as big of a mishmash as I am FG is really the only option, plus I look fantastic in pixie cuts and chin length cropped hairstyles! I could possibly be SC because of my face and the touch of softish drape to strategically blend my two disparate halves. But again, by this height logic I couldn’t be SC either. And SC doesn’t align with my very outgoing personality.
    The beautiful thing about FG is you can incorporate clothes that account for having a long visual line and/or angles. That’s what makes FG so special and why I think Merriam says “everything else”, although I really don’t care for her analysis of these types and she is decidedly NOT in the gamine family.
    People are getting taller as a species, it is irresponsible to lump everyone over 5’5’ (Not even average height) into 3 categories. It just doesn’t make sense.

    • stylesyntax
      April 24, 2020 at 3:36 pm

      David never met Charlize Theron. He was asked about her on the fly, TR was what came to his mind, and then he later said that she is FN. We have known for years that he does not see as as TR. But he does not actually “type” celebrities. He will not verify the Image ID of people he has not met in person.

      Everything in my blog post is coming from what David says in the Facebook groups. If you’re interested in what David says, read the post, because it’s my best attempt at summarizing everything we have learned from him about height without using direct quotes. If you’re interested in what Merriam says, we are not talking about the same thing because what she says has absolutely nothing to do with David Kibbe. I wish her well with her Body Geometry stuff, but she does not understand Kibbe’s work at all and is not a good source for information on his work. Neither is Aly Art or anyone else making YouTube videos where they attempt to “teach” Kibbe. I run five of the Kibbe-authorized Facebook groups and do my best to make sure I can find a citation for everything I say in a post like this. I don’t really have time to refute every point you made individually, but it is all sadly incorrect if you are interested in working with Kibbe’s work as he applies it. What I have in this post reflects what he says. At 5’8″, you will not be a combo of opposites. FG and SGs are very small people and gamines as a whole are extremely misunderstood.

      • Annie
        June 27, 2020 at 4:06 pm

        Why is this so important to so many people? I feel like they don’t truly understand the meaning of Kibbes work, it isn’t only about labeling yourself as a body type you ‘desire’, it is much more than that. It’s also in the way you talk, stand, move. Yin and Yang is a whole seperate philosophy and just beacuse you do a stupid quiz n the internet (which is not accurate most of the time) and you dont like the body type you got, doesn’t mean Kibbes words are too stict, incorrect etc… Buy the book, educate yourselves, soon you will find out that it isn’t that important that you aren’t the body type you desire or think i is prettier, yours is the best and learn how to love it and show that to everyone.

        • stylesyntax
          July 2, 2020 at 7:48 pm

          It’s hard for people to let go of what they wish they were, I suppose. People don’t like being told that options are closed to them.

  5. Pat
    August 12, 2020 at 4:12 pm

    Would you please clarify what Kibbes types are possible for someone 5 ft 8 in.
    At that height I think only the dramatics and flamboyant naturals are possible considerations. Is dramatic classic possible at that height?
    If someone is 5 ft 8 in with delicate skeletal bone structure and delicate facial bone structure which of the 3 “tall” types is most likely? There are many tall woman ( over 5 ft 8 in) who have a more delicate frame and face. I don’t think oversized details, oversized clothes or stiff or heavy fabric look flattering because can be overwhelming.

    • stylesyntax
      August 14, 2020 at 12:11 am

      Only the Dramatics and FN, yes.

      Then you have someone like Taylor Swift, I suppose. But Dramatics wouldn’t get oversized. Their focus is sleek. It is all about the narrow column.

  6. Pippi
    August 31, 2020 at 2:18 am

    It does seem that the most confusing factor in determining type according to Kibbe’s book is the fact that he issues absolutes. Repeatedly, people of a certain height are categorized into certain types that “will not have” certain things… But people DO vary. They do NOT fit because they continue to have features in a variety that is not recognized by his type descriptions. If he gave more leeway, and said that a certain type “ USUALLY“ does not have“ certain characteristics, it would make more sense.

    • stylesyntax
      September 1, 2020 at 4:35 pm

      For each description in the book, it says something along the lines of:

      NOTE: The following information should be taken as a broad outline of what makes a Romantic. It is the overall combination of extreme, soft Yin (soft physicality and magnetic essence) that creates this Image Identity category. Therefore, slight deviation here or there is always possible and should not be worried over if it does not upset your Yin/Yang balance.

      So for instance, if someone has large hands and feet, but they are clearly Soft Yin otherwise, they would still be Romantic, since that’s not enough to upset the Yin/Yang balance. He has actually now simplified the typing process so you are really looking at yin and yang in the broadest terms.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.