The New York stylist David Kibbe came up with his image identities system more than three decades ago and if you ask me, it withstood the test of time.
David Kibbe still works as a stylist and you can book an appointment with him, by the way. His views and system have evolved over time and you can learn about it from modules in Facebook group ‘Strictly Kibbe.’
I’m writing about Kibbe’s system as I understand it and for me the only ethical option is to acknowledge that there is such a group and David Kibbe has a website. I’ve used this system successfully, I post my thoughts about it, and I always give credit where credit is due.
At the same time, there is no way anyone can guarantee that your expectations will be met if you choose to check the group or website out. Nobody can predict the experience you’ll have or that you’ll be able to determine you image ID quicker.
Over the years, Kibbe’s system has been discussed a lot and misconstrued a lot. It is always easier to just take what’s on the surface and skip doing the research. Today, the interest to Kibbe is still very present, while the amount of misconceptions has increased thanks to, in my opinion, fake and fraudulent self-proclaimed ‘Kibbe experts.’
Kibbe’s system offers a unique approach to self-perception and self-expression. It can offer a lot of value to anyone, so let’s clarify some major points to be able to get it:
- Quiz isn’t accurate. David Kibbe doesn’t recommend the quiz anymore and for a good reason: it’s often perceived as a math formula or equation of some sort that suggests that simply counting A’s, B’s, C’s, D’s, and E’s will with 100% certainty tell you your exact image identity. In my opinion, the quiz can be useful for learning what Yin and Yang are (that’s why I have a fully illustrated quiz on my blog).
The misiformation is rampant and it twists Yin and Yang for many who are just starting with Kibbe. However, this is the only reason why I think the quiz is useful. In my case, I landed on Theatrical Romantic, while being a Soft Gamine. Good thing I determined my image ID before taking the quiz and didn’t take the quiz seriously at all – otherwise I’d probably get stuck.
- Think in terms of yin/yang balance, not specific types. It’s important to learn and see how yin features are combines with yang features in you and then replicate that in clothing. As Kibbe says,
The point is one of overall balance on the scale, meaning that there may indeed be slight alterations here or there in your physical makeup. Strive, instead, to define which of the themes you most closely resemble, and use this as your guideline. Don’t, however, define youself as a mixture of themes. The themes don’t mix (‘Metamorphosis’, 1987).
- Kibbe image identities DO NOT mean specific style and/or personality. Let’s take a look at Cate Blanchett – she’s a verified Kibbe Dramatic, meaning a lot of yang (sharp, long features). Does this mean she’s got to be a Dramatic personality? Or, maybe, Maleficent-style evil woman because of the sharpness in bones? Do all Classic women have Princess Diana attitude? I think you can guess the answer. These are just silly stereotypes made up by those who don’t know Kibbe system enough.
- There is NO such thing as Gamine, Romantic, Classic, Dramatic, or Natural lines! If you hear about lines and that once someone looks good in presumably some certain image ID’s lines, then that’s their type, just know that you see a fake ‘Kibbe expert.’ In Kibbe’s system, your body, facial features, and bone structure go first. That’s the whole point of the system – evaluating yin/yang balance in your own appearance and then replicating that balance in your clothes, makeup, accessories. YOU ALWAYS GO FIRST.
- Don’t start the test wishing to get specific image ID. Kibbe’s system is about celebrating YOUR OWN features. For Dramatics it’s beautiful long vertical line, for Romantics – luscious curves, for Gamines – unique cocktail of opposites. You can create any style using suggestions for your image identity, so no need to wish to be someone else. You already have what it takes to let your star shine!
- Guessing celebrity image IDs is fun, but don’t let it confuse you. How many plastic surgeries has \insert any celebrity/ done? There are rumors that even Marylin Monroe had it done (chin & nose). Who actually knows the height and measurements of any celebrity, except for themselves? I am yet to find a person who believes that Kim K’s behind is measly 40 inches! Celeb pictures are good to train your eye how to distinguish sharp/blunt/rounded, but don’t try to find lookalikes, thinking that you have same type as they do.
Takeaway: Kibbe’s system has a lot of potential for anyone who is ready to toss all misconceptions aside and learn from its author himself (e.g. through his book and/or Facebook posts)
I’ve made the quiz easier to take by adding examples for all 5 options in each question – click here to check it out.
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