The concept of vertical line in Kibbe’s system has to be one of the most curious ones, but integral to using the system in the first place. I’ve decided to devote a whole post to it and share my own understanding of the vertical line in Kibbe’s system. Without further ado, let’s start!
Before I begin, let me premise this post by saying that I’m not a Kibbe system expert. I am a passionate researcher and the goal of my posts about Metamorphosis is to share my understanding of the system with those who is interested about learning and using it. Since David Kibbe doesn’t certify or officially approves anyone to practice his system, it goes without saying that the only expert is he himself when it comes to typing other people and theory behind his system. Besides, everyone interested in his system can become their own personal experts and use this system. You are free to study his system any way you prefer, but it’s my duty as Kibbe’s system researcher to let you know that there’s a Facebook group called ‘Strictly Kibbe’ where David Kibbe himself explains his system. I’m simply informing you about it and if you choose to join it, there’s no way of knowing if your expectations will be met. In my posts about Kibbe’s image identities (aka Metamorphosis) I follow the theory David Kibbe highlighs in his book Metamorphosis (1987) the way I understand it. My goal is to share my own findings with everyone who wants to learn and use this system. I don’t offer typings (goes without saying – the reason mentioned above) and always make sure that whatever I post goes in line with how David Kibbe himself presents his system. David Kibbe website.
First Things First: Let’s Clear Some Major Stupid Myths Out Of The Way
1.Vertical line is how tall you look and you can look considerably taller/shorter than you actually are. This is simply silly and it’s usually coming from those who type people by pictures. What I mean is, the only real method of determining a person’s vertical line and image identity is in person, and when you meet a 5’3” person IRL you wouldn’t mistake their height to be 5’9” right? Tall people also are obviously tall and it’s impossible to mistake a tall person like Taylor Swift to be 5’3”. In practice, people can have elongated vertical line even if they aren’t that tall, but here you’re not guessing someone’s height – you evaluate whether their body shape is elongated (e.g. Audrey Hepburn – she wasn’t THAT tall, yet her elongated body shape was her key feature).
2.Head size vs shoulder size is a good indicator. OMG this is simply beyond ridiculous. Whoever came up with this joke, please answer one question: do you really think petite women all look like bobblehead toys?! How are you actually supposed to measure the head size and compare it to the shoulder/body size? Kibbe’s system isn’t that complicated and it surely isn’t offensive to anyone in any way. This head size vs shoulder/body size thing is stupid, misleading, degrading, and once again stupid.
3.You can evaluate vertical line by pictures. Despite how much those self-proclaimed ‘Kibbe experts’ would want this to be true to sell this lie to their clients, image identity is extremely difficult to tell with 100% confidence by pictures only, if possible at all. Even David Kibbe himself does it only in person after meeting with his clients. The wonders of camera angles in pictures and videos are limitless – they can make anyone twice as thin as they actually are and significantly taller or shorter. Add makeup, costumes, and Photoshop to the mix and you’ve got a VERY unreliable source. As I’ve mentioned in the illustrated Kibbe image identity quiz, celebrity pictures are often useful to learn to understand Yin and Yang features, but they aren’t the kind of sources to rely on.
What Is Vertical Line?
The concept of a vertical line refers to elongation and height. It means length. Vertical line is closely related to height and there are several nuances I’ll try to elaborate on. A person can have a long vertical line and elongated limbs (usually it’s people who are pretty tall), or only elongated limbs (for instance, a petite person can have elongated arms and legs while having moderate or short vertical line – it’ll also add Yang to the overall Yin-Yang balance). For instance, I am a Soft Gamine and my key features are petiteness and curves, which gives me a lot of Yin. At the same time, my arms and legs look elongated, which adds Yang and along with sharp bone structure creates the juxtaposition of opposites.
Does Vertical Line = Height?
If you’d like to use Kibbe’s system, then it’s important for you to accept the rules of the game. Elongation in Kibbe system means Yang, shortness and petiteness mean Yin. If you still think that Yang=masculine and Yin=feminine, you need to go read my post about the meaning of Yin and Yang in Kibbe’s system:
Read more: The meaning of Yin and Yang in Kibbe system
Now let’s return to the concept of vertical line and how it refers to height. If a person is very tall, it automatically means a long vertical line. Typiccally the taller a person is, the longer the vertical. So if you’re very tall, your body overall is elongated, your limbs are elongated, and it’s pretty easy for you to proceed with it.
What is ‘tall’ in Kibbe system? Why someone like Rihanna can’t squeeze into a petite image identity such as Theatrical Romantic? Is it unfair that David Kibbe calls 5’7” tall if you’re 5’7” and want to get a chance to be a Theatrical Romantic too, but can’t because Theatrical Romantic is a petite image ID?
Read more: Why Rihanna ISN’T a Theatrical Romantic
You’ve probably noticed that in Kibbe’s system, it’s around 5’7” or 170cm height where ‘tall’ starts. Why so? When in doubt, I apply logic and here’s what I think: the heights in this system aren’t just taken out of nowhere, but from real life (shocker, I know 😂). You can look up average female heights on this Wikipedia page. The average female height worldwide is around 5’2”-5’4”, while the tallest are European and Central Asian women – around 5’5” or 165cm on average (see source here for more details). It makes then perfect sense why David Kibbe divided the image identities by height the way he did – to make the system inclusive for everyone. There are ‘tall’ image identities, average, and petite ones, and while there are exceptions sometimes, you need to understand that to be 5’7” or 5’8” or 170cm or 173cm tall for a woman would be considered pretty tall worldwide. The average height of supermodels, a profession where being very tall is pretty much a requirement for a variety of reasons, is 5’9”-5’10” or 175-178cm, and they often belong to Flamboyant Natural, Soft Dramatic, or Dramatic image identities because they are extremely Yang-dominated due to their height, or long vertical.
As I’ve mentioned above, a petite or average height person won’t have same vertical line as a very tall person. However, the vertical line can still be elongated. How to tell if a person has that extra elongation? Length can come from both body shape and limbs. As much as I hate using pictures as examples, I need to illustrate the point here (click on the image to enlarge it in a new tab):
Take a look at these three women, all of them same height (that is as claimed by Google sources). All their image identies are verified by David Kibbe. Which one of them has obvious elongation? I’d say Suzanne – she looks like her limbs are narrow and elongated, her whole body shape gives the feeling of length, but she appears very balanced. Nothing upsets this balance and evenness – her curves are moderate, she doesn’t have noticeable width. Surely, this elongated build gives her a bit of extra Yang, but it’s not enough to upset her balance. Here you can see how balance is combined with elongation – this makes her a Dramatic Classic. For instance, if she would be 5 inches or 13cm taller, the strong vertical line combined with her narrow and sharp bone structure would throw this balance off and make her Yang-dominant, putting her in the Dramatic image identity.
Betty Grable next: it’s not elongation that we notice first about her, but her curves and petiteness. Take a look at her shoulders – they look like there’s an additional width to them compared to her hipline. She isn’t overweight, but still appears short-ish and curvy – her flesh isn’t elongated like Suzanne’s either. Her vertical line looks short because she lacks elongation in her shape and limbs.
Tina Turner: she appears to have quite a bit of width (blunt Yang), but at the same time her limbs and especially arms look elongated compared to her body. At the same time, her body looks petite – more so than Suzanne’s, and her vertical line is short. The Yang in bone structure, petiteness, and Yin in flesh are what make her a combination of opposites with an extra dollop of Yang – Flamboyant Gamine.
There’s a reason why vertical line is the first question in the quiz (at least I think so) – it’s because the whole body shape is built around it. As you can see, three women of the same height have different vertical line characteristics. Suzanne is the average height woman with an elongated vertical line, while Tina Turner and Betty Grable both have short vertical lines, but Tina has additional Yang in elongated limbs.
Now let’s consider taller women as well as a Romantic:
Ava Gardner strikes me as tall, narrow, and a woman with a prominent hourglass shape – this is what makes her a Soft Dramatic. As you can see, her limbs look long same as her overall body, yet she’s an obvious hourglass with a cuvy bustline and hips. Her hourglass is as if stretched out compared to the compact hourglass of Elizabeth Taylor. Her shoulders are narrow and limbs are narrow (take a look at how delicate her arms look).
Elizabeth Taylor is also an hourglass, but a much shorter one. Her features are very rounded and petite.
Shirley MacLaine has a long vertical line – it’s obvious from her body shape and limbs, which are elongated, tall. Unlike Ava, Shirley isn’t narrow – there’s width to her bone structure, which is obvious from her shoulder and upper back area. Her limbs look long, but also wide, even though she and Rita would probably wear the same size in clothing. This is what makes her a Flamboyant Natural.
Q: Can any Classic (Dramatic or Soft) be very tall?
A: The key to the Classic ‘formula’ is the evenness – this is their primary feature. If it’s a very long vertical line that’s the key feature, it’s not any Classic anymore – elongation means too much Yang for the very balanced and moderate Classic ‘formula’. You might have noticed that even in the quiz all answers C are ‘not too sharp and not too rounded’ or ‘moderate’ – this is what creates a Classic. Too tall or too petite will add too much Yang or Yin and throw the balance off too much. Sure, Dramatic Classic can have that elongation (like Suzanne Pleshette), but it shouldn’t become the primary feature of a person. To reiterate: any Classic will be balanced and then have a tiny bit of Yang or Yin to make them either Dramatic or Soft. A Classic won’t be very wide or extremely tall, won’t have petiteness or curves as their primary characteristic.
Q: Can a Gamine be tall?
A: To fit a Gamine (Soft or Flamboyant) a person needs to have a juxtaposition of Yin and Yang, which makes them a combination of opposites. Soft Gamines will have an additional amount of Yin and Flamboyant Gamines will have an additional amount of Yang, but they will always have that combination of similar amounts of Yin and Yang. If a Gamine is very tall and therefore has a strong vertical line, Yang will become very dominant, which doesn’t fit the Gamine ‘formula’ anymore.
Read more: Why Taylor Swift ISN’T a Gamine
Gamines, however, can also be quite tall. Brigitte Bardot, a Soft Gamine, is 5’6” or 166cm tall, but when you look at her, it’s not her vertical or tallness that stand out – it’s her curves and petiteness. Elongation gives her enough Yang to contrast her Yin features. On the contrary, Flamboyant Gamine Audrey Hepburn has an obvious vertical line and her limbs are quite elongated too, which gives her that extra Yang to make her a FG. The key word of any Gamine is ‘COMPACT’ – not tall. Even if the actual height of Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot was around 5’6”-5’7”, they still were compact – that’s what made them Gamines!
As you can see, vertical line isn’t a feature that is difficult to understand. I think it’s the misconceptions surrounding it and lack of very detailed explanations in the 1987 book Metamorphosis that caused the confusion in the long run.
Of course, every person’s Yin-Yang balance needs to be analyzed individually and all of these examples are just to illustrate the point and help you understand the concept of a vertical line. You can rely on height to an extent as well as your key features.
Hope it helps!
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