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A Change in Naming Convention

Published 2 months ago.

As I learn more about body types through clients, research, and through making content, I’m starting to develop my own approach to body typing that has important differences from others’. Rather, it’s not that my approach is changing, it’s always been the same, but now that I’ve developed it more, I’m starting to realize just how different it is. There won’t be any deep differences in my videos or the kind of content that I post. It’ll all basically be the same—I couldn’t do it any other way. So you have nothing to worry about! Here I’ll describe the change I hope to make and the reasons for it.

First, let me talk about why I didn’t change the naming convention for the body types earlier or even in the first place. Why did I use ‘Kibbe body types’ and all the names of the thirteen body types as they were originally named? It’s because for a while, it seemed unfair to basically use directly what I felt was David’s system, with the body type’s quiz, all thirteen types, the line recommendations, and not use his name and give credit where credit is due. I will obviously continue to reference that I was inspired by his system when appropriate, but I feel the time has come to differentiate my approach. This is because now it seems more and more inaccurate and even unfair to call the body types and the system I use the Kibbe system because of a few reasons.

Either way, I understand some people will always be unhappy. If I keep the same naming convention, some will say that I’m inevitably misrepresenting his approach by simply offering my interpretation. I’m sure that once I change the naming convention, there will be new issues, such as claims that I’m ‘ripping off’ David’s approach. But anyway, I’m not making this change necessarily to make people happy or unhappy, but because I feel it’s right, and more accurate.

How I see David’s approach:

You can search online for David’s philosophy, but I will do my best to represent it here. David’s public and online presence is quite minimal, but I found a public post David made on Facebook discussing his approach:

https://www.facebook.com/davidkibbemetamorphosis/posts/924451974340467

From what I understand from this and other things I’ve read, David is all about finding your Star Quality, and this is the Metamorphosis. Recently, his approach seems to be focused even more on the Image ID (which is still called Gamine, Romantic, etc). It’s almost like an essence—which is seen as a combination of your inner being and the lines of your body type, which also are connected to each other. And all of this has a certain energy and it’s something for you to discover, and come into your true self, to see yourself more clearly, and to express this to the world and become the Star of your own life.

I think this is a beautiful idea, and I’m actually not categorically against the idea of energies and how they manifest, your body type being connected to your energy being connected to your inner being, and all of this even having a spiritual component. It’s simply not the approach I choose.

Again, David’s online presence is very minimal, and a lot of the things that he is said to say himself are filtered through others. For example, even through me as I’m writing this. Or through some people who are in touch with him now. So I’m not sure if this next point is accurate in how David himself would describe it, and I suspect it’s actually not accurate and a misinterpretation or twisting of his ideas, but this is what I saw:

I saw some talk online about how, for Image ID, either David himself can tell you what your Image ID is, or you can discover it for yourself. but no one else can give it to you. That is, I can’t give you your Image ID. But David can, and you can give it to yourself too, but I can’t. So basically only David and you can find your Image ID.

This is because it’s a soul searching journey in a way. And a way to discover yourself, a Metamorphosis. But to me, I feel that if it’s truly a soul searching journey, I don’t believe anyone can give this to you except for yourself, not even David. Or if it is something that David can give you, others would be able to give it to you too. But I don’t think it is. I think no one can tell you who you want to be in the world, give you your personal style, or tell you how you want to present yourself. Even in that Facebook post David himself says that he would guide you here and there, but doesn’t imply that he can tell you who you are—he wants to be a style liberator after all! I’m even skeptical if David himself believes this idea of ‘only he or yourself can give you your Image ID’ exactly as I’m describing it, but this is something I saw online about David that I felt had to be addressed here.

What I believe is really happening is that David is a highly intuitive and possibly spiritual person. When he meets someone, he can intuitively understand who they are, and through getting to know them, and also through his artistic intuitions, he can give people their Image ID—he can see people’s essence and help them express it through their lines. You can imagine when you meet someone, you get a sense from them, how they are, their essence, and you see their lines as well, and you can see how they can put this together into a style that would magnify their unique personality. You could do this for others, or I could do this for others, but I still believe, and I don’t think anyone can disagree, that the ultimate person who can do this is you.

How I see my own approach:

So….if I don’t tell people what their style is or who they are, what do I do? I was inspired by the thirteen body types that David described in his original book, and I feel he saw something very special through his intuitions. Sort of like when long ago, we as humans found certain musical notes that sounded good together that we now call musical chords. Now, there’s nothing mystical about musical chords, and anyone can learn them—it’s not a soul searching journey to learn them. And out of these chords, you can make your own music. I believe what David saw is, just like these musical harmonies, he saw the harmonies in the lines of the body, and how they relate to the lines of the clothing.

I believe the lines and harmonies is a part of what he saw, and intuition can guide the technical aspects. Technical is never better or worse than intuitive—they are complementary. We found the musical chords through an intuition of what sounded good—the intuition came first, and then following this, we formalized it and made sense of it. This is in part what he did in his book inevitably, described the body types into 13 groups. And I aim to build on this technical aspect of the lines themselves and further make sense of them, not to ever tell you what to express, but to guide you in how you can express it.

I’ve always interpreted the body types this way. Simply the lines, and nothing to do with personality or who you should be in the world, and not a way of self discovery either. Self discovery is a journey that has nothing to do with how you look. Rather, as you learn more about yourself throughout your life and your experiences, you can use the tools that you have (your body type’s lines and your colors) to express yourself accurately and communicate who you are through your personal style. Just like when you learn the musical chords, you’ll be more able to create music that expresses who you truly are and your message to others. This is my goal with everything I do—to give you the tools to express yourself in a way that’s true to you. It’s a lofty goal, but I do my best.

But finding your best lines and colors shouldn’t be a long journey of self discovery, it should be simple. In other words, it’s not that deep. What you look like isn’t that deep—your body simply looks the way that it looks, and it has nothing to do with who you are on the inside. It’s just the exterior, it’s kind of like your house—your body is where you live. But it’s also important for us to feel good about the space and the bodies that we live in, and feel that our look and our space are both accurate reflections of who we are. This way we have alignment. And who knows…maybe finding your true expression through style can also give you the inspiration to pursue your true expression through other ways in life as well if you haven’t already. So perhaps that part is deep. ;) This is the journey. But the tools you use for this journey, those are and should be simple—the lines and the colors. It’s how you use them that’s the real journey that only you can find. I, and others, can only ever give you the tools, but we can’t tell you what you’d want to do with them.

There’s a reason I don’t use the term Image ID in any of my content—it’s because I’m not talking about Image ID. I’m talking about body types and only the lines that make up the body—the fundamentals only. Nothing more and nothing less. My goal with all the systems that I use in general is to distill the ideas of both body typing and color analysis into what I believe matters the most when it comes to what looks best on us aesthetically. Basically, my goal is to find the crux of the matter. Just like music theory and color theory, I guess you could call what I hope to do ‘style theory’.

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

At that time, I didn’t realize the gravity of this ‘discovery’ so to speak, or just how fundamentally different this is from other approaches, and potentially even David’s approach. Just like I didn’t realize the ‘gravity’ of the muted skin tone when I first presented it, and the skin undertone spectrum ‘discovery’ that now is the basis of my own color analysis system. I truly thought that my color analysis ideas weren’t that different from others’, and until recently, I thought that my body typing ideas also weren’t that different from others’ either.

It took crystallizing my ideas and developing them to really see the differences in my approach emerge. Perhaps you may even think my approach isn’t that different from others’, but these differences are important for me to communicate my message clearly.

My Two Reasons for the Naming Convention Change:

1. There’s a lot of stuff online that I simply always have to ‘fight’ against when we use the same terms to mean different things. Then we waste time arguing about what the same terms mean because we use them differently. For example, some people use Romantic as a body type alone (including me), and others use Romantic as an essence. And some use a combination of those two. This results in the idea that Romantics must be feminine, and maybe sexy. And some even go a step further, and go so far as to say that without dressing in a very feminine way, romantics can’t be beautiful, or worse, aren’t expressing ‘who they truly are’, or even worse, ‘aren’t comfortable with who they truly are’. Which is ‘feminine’. I don’t believe this is the case for Romantics.

To be clear, I’m very firm about Romantics as I interpret and see them not having any one specific personality or style—they simply have soft lines to their bodies. Nothing more and nothing less. They can work with their soft lines to achieve the looks that best represent them as individuals. So this is the first issue that I see with the naming convention—and certainly, it’s an ‘issue’ as I see it. Others may not see it as an issue at all. But for the purposes of my communication, it dilutes my message.

Even the word ‘romantic’ isn’t the message that I want to send, and I feel like it prevents so many people from understanding the beauty that lies in finding harmony within their own lines, and working with their bodies instead of against them, simply because the word ‘romantic’ doesn’t resonate with them. Or they think they aren’t a Natural, or don’t want to be a Natural because they don’t identify with bohemian style, which I don’t connect with the Natural body type, but some others do. Using the same naming convention for things that seem similar but are different is extremely confusing and dilutes everyone’s message!

It’s the approach of separating personality from the lines that has resonated with a lot of people. And with good reason—we don’t want to be told that the way we look implies the way we should aim to be in the world because it’s not true. Instead, I attempt to think creatively about how people with different lines can achieve different looks, either by using their own lines, or combining their own lines with others’ in an intentional way. This is the fun part—the self expression!

So that summarizes the first issue—simply that the names that I’ve been using—Gamine, Romantic, etc, have a lot of other things tied to them that dilute my message.

2. The second issue is related. it’s the dilution of my message with David’s, or the dilution of David’s message with mine. Or the dilution of my message with others’. All of these are equally important to me. And this doesn’t only go for David’s approach but for other stylists as well who use the terms Gamines, Romantics, etc. To use the same naming convention implies that we use the same approach. And I can’t speak to David’s approach or to any others’. It’s never my intention to tell you what David or anyone else is saying—it’s my intention only to tell you what I’m saying. I was simply inspired by David’s approach, and out of this inspiration, came my own approach.

So this is the second issue—the dilution of David’s, other stylists’, and my approach when we use the same naming convention for things that seem deceivingly similar but are quite different (Image ID vs Body Type vs Essence).

Here are the changes I would like to make:

1. I will stop using the words yin and yang to describe the features. Really, yin and yang are such loaded words that I feel they can cloud our understanding of what should simply be lines and artistic principles, rather than the loaded ideas of ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’. I will use these words instead. Here’s a key to translate:

yin: soft, lush, short, shapely, less visual weight
yang: structured, long, sharp, straight, angular, blunt, more visual weight

2. For the body types that I use, I’ve decided to rename them (and if you guys have better ideas, leave them in the comments, my hope is to have only visual descriptors that have nothing to do with personality or a certain style):

Dramatic: Sharp
Natural: Blunt
Classic: Balanced
Romantic: Soft
Gamine: Mixed

The five main types after all are split into the bone structures, not the flesh or facial features, so these descriptors I feel very accurately describe the bone structures of the five main types.

For a Soft Dramatic, I would simply say this is a Sharp body type with some softness added on top. This is truly what it is, and without the ‘sexy and feminine’ descriptor, it’s less likely to be off-putting to some who don’t identify with this, and less likely to be confused with theatrical romantic too (which is also not necessarily feminine or sexy, simply ‘Soft with a touch of sharpness’).

For a Classic body type, I would say this is simply the Balanced body type with either some softness added (Soft Classic), or a bit of sharpness added (Dramatic Classic).

I will still use the thirteen body types format for the most part and their lines, but I also feel this naming convention will really help with people being able to find their type more easily—having the distinct names be the five main names and really focusing on that. It also gets rid of loaded terms like yin, yang, and romantic/dramatic/natural that we tie to so many things and further cloud our judgment. And after you find your bone structure, only then do you take a look at if you have more softness to your flesh or not.

Much simpler than thinking about if you come off sexy or cute or elegant, trying to fit your body type into the style that you want and letting that cloud your judgment because style and body type is so confounded with the current naming convention, swinging in the other direction and saying you’ll accept it if even if you’re a Classic even though you want to be a ‘fun Gamine’ because you want to be sure that you’re being objective, and then also thinking about a million other things and trying not think about yin and yang when you’re thinking about how feminine you are or not and what this means for you, etc. You would simply for example have the Balanced body type.

This will give the same end result of actually finding your best lines, and moving on to the real journey, which is using your lines to express yourself!

Let me know your thoughts below, and let me know if you have better ideas for the names before I finalize them!



Comments

Enter Name





Cher    (2 weeks ago)   (Reply)
Hi Merriam,
I like the ancient terms of yin and yang but understand why many people would like a system that has less judgement and gendering in its language.
I also support the direction you're going with to be more objective with naming conventions. It's about lines (straight or curved/rounded) and angles (sharp or blunt), and the scale; the visual length, visual weight.
A move towards more 'evidence' will be helpful to people trying to find their best lines


Jeanette Casiano    (3 weeks ago)   (Reply)
Hi

I have received my order from you, but you have sent me the wrong item.
as you can see here on this photo, http://item.pictures/orderwrong
Please help me, i will sent the order back to you. i just want the good order.

Yours truly

"Sent from my iPhone"


Anonymous    (3 weeks ago)   (Reply)
Hello, I’m a fan of your videos. I liked your redhead undertones video, i’d like to contribute to your video with some of my pictures you don’t have to use them but maybe they can help you, where can i send you them? :)


Elizabeth Kirkeide    (1 month ago)   (Reply)
I think your descriptors are very useful. I did not understand the types at all from David's descriptions.
I think speaking directly about the bones vs flesh is ueful. I think David's esoteric descriptors are confusing.
I thought comparing defining this system to music was accurate.
I do not mind the five original Type Names they are more flattering than your five type names. I think Angular would be better than Sharp and Curvy may be better than Soft.


Maria    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
Hello, Merriam:

I think what you're doing is great!
Streamline all, leave the essence.

One book I highly recommend for you is
"The Triumph of Style" by authors Mathis
and Connor. SO good it's my bible.

Some alternate words for NATURAL:

RAW ROBUST RUGGED REGULAR

All the best!

~Maria


Christine    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
Just great, I am so pleased you are changing the names as the current names misrepresent people. Not all curvy women are romantic!! The skeleton and flesh determine the body type. Surely personality and essence determine style. Look forward to more videos.


RosemaryClub member
   (2 months ago)   (Reply)
Congrats Merriam on this move.

I think it is a great idea and about time. The existing terms are so laden with meaning and connotation that they cause confusion and can be a real barrier to finding and embracing your type.

I must admit that I have much less of a problem with Yin and Yang than I do with the Dramatic, Romantic, Natural, etc. categories. I think that finding a really effective substitute for Yin/Yang may be much harder than the categories because the concept of Yin and Yang is so ancient and so elegant to me and I personally don't get bogged down in the masculine/feminine thing.

But I have complete confidence that you will find the right vocabulary for all of the body typing descriptions so that you can do for body typing what you did for color analysis.

I love how you distilled your color analysis to what's most essential and I think this is in part why you are the first stylist to type me correctly!

So I think that a similar perspective on the body types will be a welcome change.


AndreaWClub member
   (2 months ago)   (Reply)
I need technical help with this web site. As a club member where can I ask a question for help?


               
rsefraouClub member
   (2 months ago)   
I think if you go to community, you see a little FAQ link , maybe see there ?


MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
You can email me! merriam.amani@gmail.com


Nocturius    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
As a non-binary person, i like seeing more of your new system! For me body lines and clothes are art, this is great to learn about without the loaded language of gender.


Heidi    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
I absolutely agree with the idea of renaming!

The only word, that does not sound like a word for bone-lines is "soft". Maybe rounded would be a better word. Well, romantics do not have rounded bones, in their case it is the flesh. So if you want to do the main categories about the bones "short" or "small" could be better. But naaah, not correct, could be gamine, too. Maybe delicate. I don't know, it' late, i just wanted to support your idea and to mention the one word, that stands out for me.


               
rsefraouClub member
   (2 months ago)   
I have the feeling that in R , the bones are not dominant , I don't know how to say it , but like for me D are more "bone dominant" , it is the bones that create the frame, whereas in R we do not see the bones as much, it is the flesh that creates the frame ? I am not sure of what I am saying...


Anonymous    (2 months ago)   
What's wrong with "Soft"? Romantics have soft bones, but they aren't delicate so, the term "delicate" wouldn't work. Soft Naturals have soft flesh, but we aren't delicate so it wouldn't work their either.


Rexy Smith    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
Just read the naming conventions changes : YES , YES ,YESSSSSSS. I always thought the names were really confusing at first. It is totally off putting because most people don't associate with the name of what they are , it also feels somewhat more judgmental. or something. I didn't feel "natural" I would believe lot of women much prefer to associate with sexy or feminine or cute than Masculine . Anyway all this to say I think you are taking the right direction by dissociating your technique names with the rest and simplifying with only visual lines adjectives for descriptions. Will probably help way more people that way and not be scared off right away , because you feel insulted or misrepresented in your body type name. I don't want to be told who I am , just want to know what clothes fit my body shape so I look better and stop wasting money haha


Anonymous    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
I liked the the idea of using the word "blended" instead of "balanced" for classic, as someone wrote below. I think "balanced" can be confusing because we're all kind of balanced within our own bodies, and also people always strive to be or to feel balanced. So that might give an impression that this type is better than the others.


               Anonymous    (2 months ago)   
This reminds me of Aly Art constantly explaining that you get a Classic if you put a Romantic and a Dramatic in a blender and blend-blend-blend them well.
Also, in fact, Classics are more balanced and more attractive. If anything, Kibbe's system proves that:they need least amount of distraction from their own looks by garments and accessories. You got what you got, you're not doing anyone a favor by being sensitive about something as shallow as looks.


Emma    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
Hi Merriam,
I've never commented before, but I think it's a good idea to change the names if you are going to veer slightly with your own interpretation. I think it worked really well with your colour analysis (I remember all the complaints you used to get by swapping the names for summer and winter). There'll be a bit of adjustment but everyone will get used to it. I still love all the other kibbe youtubers and blogs out there, but I'm excited to see where this is going.


SuseKuss    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
Hi Merriam!
Good idea to change the names, as you have your own vision. I agree with the person commenting on you creating a new test. This is because, as you have sometimes said, bone structure has more weight/importance than flesh. So bone structure answers, for example, could count double. Just an idea, I am sure there are even better ways of doing it!


               
gitteClub member
   (2 months ago)   
I would say bone structure + plus facial features (bones & flesh in the face) count the most, then the flesh on the body is just kind of...A thing to consider. But fi the bone structure and facial features for example are definition TR but the flesh not so much, the person si still a TR. Mila Kunis for example.


MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
Thank you for the comment! Completely agreed with both of you. I'm not 100% sure on facial features counting more than facial flesh....for example it would be interesting to see TR bone structure and skeleton and everything, but wit more yang facial features. I wonder how this would actually look, and I wonder if we had the opposite of Mila, TR bones, taut facial features, but then soft flesh, if they would still be just as TR as Mila or not. Not sure yet. The counting of bones double of flesh is a good idea!


Anonymous    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
I Love this!!


Andrea Winchester    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
Hi Merriam,

I very much agree that your new naming conventions help to clarify rather than perpetuate existing confusions over type. I have always liked the terms yin and yang, and I think that continuum is the source of Kibbe's original insight and why it works. However I also agree that he went on to create stereotypes for those types, and undermined his own system. I love your approach and I think you definitely have your own original ideas to share and develop. I hope you keep going!


               
MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
Thank you Andrea for such a lovely comment! <3! I do love how succinct and accurately yin and yang describe the lines. But even yin and yang has the 'feminine' and 'masculine' connotation. I was thinking structured for yang and soft for yin. I think that would help keep the generalization of the concepts. For example, structured fabrics are also heavier weight, and structured things are more geometric. And soft fabrics are either soft or otherwise lightweight. What do you think? Anyone else can chime in too!


gitteClub member
   (2 months ago)   
Merriam, I think those names are very good!


Lo    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
What a relief! I love that you want to make this clear and uncomplicated. I’ve been using those simple words for awhile, instead of the “loaded” words. I’ve been trying to figure this quiz out for decades.. The quiz left me with very conflicting results that didn’t fit into any category. And it left me this way every time I’ve taken it. And it left me this way every time I’ve taken. The quiz is very difficult to interpret, but listening to your videos and the videos of Aly Art have been very helpful. I have also tried to fix the problem by using multiple systems including personality systems. It would be such a relief to understand my body type, coloring etc. in such a way that shopping for a wardrobe and getting dressed each day is not only simpler but gets better results. All these years of studying different types has made a positive difference I think, but I’m not where I want to be yet. When you show the examples of the women who became more elegant but editing their look, it was a nice epiphany moment when you explained that personality and body type had nothing to do with each other, the nail in the coffin of wrong thinking that one body type expressed a theme in particular. I think you have always given credit where credit is due, and I’m really happy with what you are bringing to the table,i and really happy with how you articulate it.


               
MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
Aw thank you Lo!! I hope this 'new system' or reformalizing it in this way will help you finally find your lines! I also do believe body types are simply tendencies, not boxes, so perhaps you have certain tendencies of some body types and others (for example, SG can flow into TR as you get more sharpness to the bones, and one can be a soft classic or a very soft classic, I have a blog post on that as well), and you can put the knowledge together into your own unique set of lines! <3


JackieW    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
First of all, I really love your videos, Merriam! You really have an eye for these things and have helped me and tons of others to understand themselves better! I always watch your new videos as they come out.
But.. I don't really see the need for the name change. After all, you are using the Kibbe body types so why not just call them what they are? I think this only creates more confusion.
I fully understand where you are coming from, though. I am a member of the Kibbe Facebook groups and like others have said, the atmosphere is a bit.. odd. Some of the members seem fanatic and are looking for excuses to put new members down if I'm honest. I don't think this was ever the purpose of the groups. Anyway, I struggle to follow the practices on the groups sometimes, they can be a bit cryptic. Your videos are easier to understand, and you have done a very good job putting David's system in a nutshell, simplified. But the base idea is still the same, so why change the names? I don't think you're ripping David's system off at all, (I'm so sorry if someone has actually accused you of that!) but giving it a new name isn't the best way to proceed in my opinion. But I will certainly keep watching and enjoying your videos, whatever the new terms are. :)


               
MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
Thank you Jackie! I think in some ways there will always be confusion! Really, the body types I use aren't exactly David's anymore because they don't have that essence attached to them that's attached in his book and also all over the internet! The difference in my approach will be the focus on the bone structure and hopefully this will also make the system more accessible and less 'cryptic'! And thank you for your support! <3!


Sue    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
Thank you again Merriam. It always feels like you put a lot of thought into the subject. If I’m right in understanding what you’re getting at, the body types are really about geometries, that is, shape? It does feel a bit off that someone’s shape is called “Natural” or “Romantic” or “Flamboyant”. That didn’t tell me anything about body shape, but had a lot of meaning in terms of style, which is not what the system is necessarily being used for, at least not by you. And while the nomenclature that you suggest here might not be purely shapes, it neutralizes the body types closer to that and removes much of the excess connotation and ambiguity from the Kibbe categories. Kibbe does seem like a person that’s very intuitive and maybe that’s why he chose the words that he did, but intuition can’t get very far as an analytical tool over the internet, which is why I find your approach much more beneficial. Any robust system evolves and mutates so I really appreciate your thought process. And frankly, I needed a legend just to decipher SN and DC and FG.


               Sue    (2 months ago)   
I might add, not just shapes, but also scale. There’s probably more too I suspect.


MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
Hi Sue! Thank you for your comment and words of support. <3! I agree scale and the idea of 'visual weight' is important as well!


Chris    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
I think the new naming convention is a good idea. It definitely helps to define the basics of the system and how it works ie. simply an analysis of the bones, flesh and proportions and how that can be reflected in clothing that creates harmony which results in beauty. When we understand our own individual lines we can make better decisions about clothing choices. This removes the emotional part which can trip is up because of our own preconceptions and emotional and intellectual “baggage”. We can then express freely our own personality which can only be really known by the individual and their own journey of self discovery. Certainly your system has worked amazingly well for me. Sorry, this went on a bit longer than originally intended.


               
MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
Thank you Chris for your words of support! I couldn't agree more that we can get tripped up simply using the wrong descriptors that have all this 'baggage' attached to them!


Anonymous    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
Maybe you can make your own body lines quiz? Something I always wanted you to do was make a video on what exactly, say, answer A cheekbones for example, LOOK LIKE, because the big problem I have always had with the quiz is that it's actually hard for me to tell which answer I am because I have no idea, say, what is a C answer compared to a D.


               
MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
yes that's on my long list!! <3!


Anonymous    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
I really think that we should start to differentiate between body types with more B answers vs. more A answers. A blunt classic is different to a sharp classic. I'm not sure if that translates to the lines that work best for them. Same goes for romantics and gamines.


               
MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
I'm still thinking on this!


DS    (2 months ago)   
I agree so much on this idea of expanding possibilities with B answers! I think the kibbe system has been described in a linear way, with a dramatic, classic, or romantic, differentiated by moving one way or the other: dramatic, but with soft elements = soft dramatic; romantic but with sharp elements= theatrical romantic; classic but (moving to one side or the other) with sharper (dramatic classic) or softer elements (soft classic). I feel like B answers would move things in a third dimension, as in, dramatic with blunt elements, classic but with blunt elements, etc. I can think think of celebrities that would fit these “natural hybrids.” Personally, I’ve never been able to figure out which body type I am because my bone structure answers are mostly C (some B), but my flesh and facial features are mostly B (some C).


Zoe4321    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
I really like the new naming system and I hope it could eventually lead to more than 13 types, or even better, get rid of the types entirely and just evaluate yourself in terms of 'this skeleton plus that vertical line plus this flesh' instead of trying to fit in a box. I have been trying forever to find my type and I've found that I truly do not fit in the system, but I do have a good sense of what lines my body is made of.

So my body type for example would be: balanced vertical line and proportions, a balanced and blunt features. This translates very well to my clothing: I keep my base medium in length (tops usually end exactly at hipbone level), narrow, with blunter accessories, but not too irregular. It's basically Dramatic Classic but then without the elongation and with more and chunkier detail.

I think a definite downside of yin/yang to me is arbitrary coupling of sharp/blunt with elongated and round with short, as well as medium/balanced length with minimal detail. In my case atleast, that doesn't translate into real life at all.


               Zoe4321    (2 months ago)   
That's meant to say 'balanced flesh and blunt features' instead of 'a balanced and blunt features'.


MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
It's great that you found a way to incorporate the principles without boxing yourself into one 'type'. I think this is really important. In reality, there aren't textbook types always. I think the tendency of my systems is to go toward a 'continuum' type approach (like with the skin undertone spectrum), but not to make more categories because if we made categories, there would be as many as there are people! I'll think more on coupling the elongated and sharp vs the short and rounded. It's my suspicion that somehow that works extremely well for some reason that I'm still thinking on! And also that answers B and answers D are truly on their way to A and E in a technical way. But still thinking on that!


Heidi    (2 months ago)   
Hi Zoe4321,
a very interesting comment for me. I am not at the point to know my type yet, but i think it could be something similar with my lines. Elongated and blunt, but alltogether somewhat balenced in itself. Like a natural in a balanced way. The recommened lines for long and blunt (natural) are too lose and unconstructed for my eye. Balanced lines can be too constricted, there is more body than that. So - maybe there is a way to combine the new names (lines) in more variations. Something to think about.


Heidi    (2 months ago)   
I forgot to tell, what this means for dressing. I like my clothes the most if they are slightly elongated with blunt edges. But also slithtly tailored (a little definition at the shoulders and waist) and clean (not too much detail, pattern, stuff, especially near my face). This is why i don't find a matching type.


Anonymous    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
I don’t see any terms that really work to replace yin and yang. From the Dramatic perspective most Dramatic faces look more androgynous than other types. Will be interesting to see how this plays out.


               
MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
I think I might have found it--structured for yang and soft for yin. Structured fabrics also have more weight because they must to be structured. And it also allows me to use 'structured' both for soft and bold yang. I've been brainstorming a lot! But we can't use yin and yang because of all the connotations!


Anonymous    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
As a Dramatic I do not relate well at all to naming that
body type Sharp!!! Elegant works better. Everyone I know who is a Dramatic body type ( and there are many in my family) is innately elegant without even trying just because of the way the bones align both moving and still. My eight year old grandson and his four year old sister look like models in every photo with their long and lean bones. Sharp is not a nice or appropriate word for a dramatic.


               
gitteClub member
   (2 months ago)   
Sure, but that just reimposes the beauty standard. Maybe you didn't realize yet, but the well-criticized runway models are often dramatics. Calling a bodytype that's already the beauy standard in plenty of places a nice word like 'elegant' doesn't exactly the other types feel better. Sharp or long and narrow may not sound 'nice', it doesn't sound 'bad' either. It's just a descriptive, objective, and that's kinda the point. But nice for you you're happy with your bodytype!


Anonymous    (2 months ago)   
You completely missed the point Merriam has been continually trying to make during her presence on YouTube and on this site: no type is more elegant, or sexy, or cute, or whatever than any other types. Sharp is not a 'not nice word', it's objective, there's nothing negative about it. And dramatics can look just as awkward as any other body type, just look at Keira Knightley when she tries to pull off soft gamine lines!


Heidi    (2 months ago)   
Well, I think I understand where you're coming from. We all want to look good in our own way and can't deny, that this is about beauty somehow. And for a woman — regardless of the actual beauty standard — to be called "sharp" is somehow not flattering. In fact some softness, even the slightest bit, is the possibility to differentiate a woman from a man only by silhouette. "Broad" is not a good word, in my opinion, for the same reason.

It does not have to be a flattering word, but it should not be a word, that most women would not like to hear about how their lines look. Maybe it is the wrong road, but if it is the intention to create more neutral words, then "constructed" would be really the better choice.


CalaLillyClub member
   (2 months ago)   
Try having someone refer to your body type as a sharp and see how you like it! It does not feel good. It sounds prickly, pointy and generally unfriendly. No matter how gawky someone might be those dramatic bones still read elegant in photographs, hence all those dramatics who are models.


Anonymous    (2 months ago)   
I'm somewhere on the Dramatic spectrum and the word "sharp" really helped me to see that those really are my core lines. I really like the word "sharp," it evokes "well-dressed" to me and clearly helps me to see how it differs from the other types. I do not find it insulting at all, but if most people with those lines are going to find it off-putting, perhaps another word can be found. "Sleek"?

Thank you, Merriam, this naming change really helps me to see my lines. I agree that "balanced" is a bit misleading because everyone is balanced within their own form to some extent. I hope you will use different words for D and E "soft" answers, there is both delicate and lush "softness."


Mel    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
What about Counter for Mixed? The features are counter to one another rather than blended in the balanced category.


               
MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
I think mixed is good because I want to use the blender vs mix analogy. Like a strawberry and pineapple smoothie (blended) vs a strawberry and pineapple fruit salad (mixed).


Anonymous    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
I love this new approach and I think it relates to another youtuber Watchmeglowup who talks about ethereals. Because she talks about how sometimes we dont fit into the kibbe lines and i see some people misstyping themselves because they like the energy of another kibbe type. I think you should do a collab! I am also excited for her glow up video where I hope she is going to talk about how to mix ethereals and kibbe. I love your videos and i will keep supporting!


               
MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
Thank you! Ethereal is always interesting to me, and I agree, oftentimes people *think* they don't fit into a body type....in my opinion in part because they don't truly understand the lines of each type (i.e. put on a draped minimal top as a soft classic and not realize that this is a soft natural top for example), and write off the body typing system all together! Not to mention ethereal is just cool!


Anonymous    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
Great! I’ve been in the strictly kibbe Facebook groups and quite frankly it wasn’t too pleasant. Kibbe is active in there and acted as if anyone using variations of his system or quiz was just stealing his work. I had to leave because the vibes where just too weird, people acted almost as if kibbe was some sort of god. You can’t question his words. Sure he’d be supportive and have people’s backs at times in the comment sections, he seemed caring and eccentric, but it’ was a little much. An image ID is an expression of the soul, yet it was about body type (sort of) I’m glad I left.


               Anonymous    (2 months ago)   
I'm with you on that. I was also part of the groups but decided to leave as well.


Zoe4321    (2 months ago)   
This is exactly why I left too. I just wanted to get some style inspiration and suddenly there were posts about how he'd help you get ahead in your career etc. as if I'm not already perfectly happy with life... :/


Club member
   (2 months ago)   (Reply)
Well, this renaming is a good idea! I echo what others have said about its clarity. There will always be unsatisfied people, but I think it's easy to understand that your system comes from Kibbe's but focuses more on one aspect (lines) than the other (ID).

1. Something that took getting used to when I was introduced to Kibbe typing was that yin was "rounded" AND "short," and yang was "sharp" "tall" AND "blunt." How about "architectural" for yang and "aqueous" for yin?

2. For people arriving at your typing system from other non-Kibbe body typing systems (typical fashion mag fodder) will instinctively look for the "best" type (the oval face that goes with anything, the hourglass shape that doesn't "need" to be disguised like pear or apple). I think removing loaded terms like "romantic" will help with this, but there may be confusion about "balanced" being the Ideal Type (versus sharp or soft, which could evoke masculine or fat). That was one nice aspect of Kibbe's naming system: each type is named something flattering to help get the point across. Maybe "blended" is a less evocative approach than "balanced." "Mixed" would then be confusing; "juxtaposed" might be clearer. Or if not renaming the two types, then figuring out how to get the idea across quickly that no type is ideal.


               
MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
That's such a good point about 'balanced'. I should change it to 'blended.'


MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
oh and thank you for taking the time to come over and read this and share your opinion! <3


La Danse Banana SlugClub member
   (2 months ago)   
Yes well, thank you for building a small body typing empire upon which to comment.


Kathryn    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
Merriam, I love your thoughts! You are truly an intellectual.

I have had similar thoughts and once considered becoming an image analyst myself because it was so darned interesting. And I'm sure a lot of the reason you do this is because you love helping people and you love aesthetics. Bravo!

One time I asked John Kitchener what he thought of capsule wardrobes because I was thinking of creating one. He said that it went against what he was trying to do, freeing women up to be creative (paraphrasing from memory). I thought about that some more and concluded that a capsule wardrobe can be more than a uniform. I had actually been thinking about all the other ways I could express myself outside of an assigned image I.D. And knowing who you want to be and where you want to go is part of the private journey, but if you also have the knowledge of your best lines and colors, you then have the tools to create a capsule wardrobe that best expresses you in most of your social situations.

I don't see how that's not creative--for example, my primary image in John's system is Natural/Angelic. But I was getting tired of all the boho stuff and experimenting with something that speaks of "cool jazz." That's when I started stretching my mind to ask "How can I do X?" Like if I wanted, I might ask, "How with my lines can I look regal? dramatic? sexy? like a cowgirl? like a surf girl?" Or anything else.

The best book I ever found on deciding what consistently "sings" to your heart day in and out is "Style Statement" by Carrie McCarthy and Danielle LaPorte. It changed my life and gave a consistency to the things I chose for my clothes and my home decor. I never tire of my choices anymore either. Totally recommend it to anyone as a supplement to your best lines and colors.


               
MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
That's so awesome that you're exploring your style in different ways. Agreed, sometimes it's fun to change it up! Thanks for recommending the resource. <3


Marina Murphy    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
I think this is a great idea that will make this system more accessible! However I think more catchy names for the body types would probably make it easier for people to want to use your system instead of the original. But in any case, I think referring to the sub-types as “soft mixed” or “sharp balanced” for example would already be a big help.


               Marina Murphy    (2 months ago)   
And maybe "soft and sharp/blunt" is a good substitute for "yin and yang" too.


MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
Yeah that's not a bad idea either, keeps it simple. As you know, I'm not that great with creative or fun names!!!!! I agree the names simply aren't catchy. But I don't know what else to call them without making them mean something they aren't! I was thinking Gamine can be Dynamic and this isn't too emotive, but I still feel like some people would say 'I'm not dynamic I'm elegant' or something like that.


noeliaClub member
   (2 months ago)   
I like the names you made up because they're descriptive, not evocative. Evocative often ends up creating stereotypes. I wish I'd come to know my type as 'sharpness with softness on top' or 'soft sharp' or something like that, and immediately been shown a mundane example of softness on top of sharpness, instead of sentences such as 'these women look very lush, very sexy' like Aly Art says every time she introduces SDs all the while showing pictures of Sofia Vergara, Sophia Loren and Tyra Banks on the background. I'm not about to start a lingerie top modeling career or be casted as a the next Bond girl, my god.


MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
Noelia I love you lol!


Liz    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
I like the new names because they describe the lines of the bones accurately. Even blunt for natural. I agree with Penelope - I think yin/yang is useful but yeah lots of people don't like it because of yang being linked to masculinity which society hasn't yet realised is a part of both male and female bodies... I think renaming yin/yang too would be a good idea. Advancing/receding is quite good. If the goal is to avoid having emotive words that people could view subjectively like 'romantic' etc then I think energy/peace could be misinterpreted? Advancing/receding is good because it represents yin/yang ideas without being too emotive like dominating/submissive or something could be. How about yang= + and yin= - that gives the impression of yang being heavier more dynamic and yin being lighter and more gentle. Like the original meanings linked with yin and yang. Its kind of like advancing/receding but as a symbol and I think you can use it with less confusion. For example flamboyant gamine could be mixed+ and soft gamine could be mixed- What do you think?


               
MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
It's a good idea, I sort of like advancing/receding. I like the idea of -, + too, like negative and positive space almost, but I also feel like I don't know how I would say 'negative' and 'positive'. Those are sort of emotive. Or 'plus' characteristics and 'minus' characteristics. Then people would say plus is plus size, etc?


Penelope_PClub member
   (2 months ago)   
I agree that +/- might not be specific enough. Like Liz, I would also like to keep yin and yang, because really, it's the perfect concept, when people don't translate it with feminine and masculine.

What we have so far:

Advancing/receding (sounds a bit awkward though)
Negative/positive
Dark/light
Still/agile
High/low
Rough/gentle
Stark/faint
Intense/mild

Nothing like yin and yang :)


noeliaClub member
   (2 months ago)   
I personally like 'visually heavy' and 'visually lightweight'. It's how I would summarize their opposite visual effects.


noeliaClub member
   (2 months ago)   
Another idea: 'low note' as yang, and 'high note' as yin, to keep the analogy with musical notes.


MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
oooo I love the low and high notes idea. I wonder if I can pull that off!


Liz    (2 months ago)   
Oh you are right about + and - I didn't think about that. The musical note thing is a really good idea actually it could work


Anonymous    (2 months ago)   
Minute shares the root of minus without the negative connotation while also implying attention to detail. Also: major/minor like music, majuscule/minuscule like letters


Marcia    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
Great idea! I think we view fashion in different ways as the years go by. An update and new twist might be just what the modern woman is looking for!

Making the body type quest a simple process is also a good idea. The language is VERY important. Women have such easier access to information now, it’s important to streamline and make it more user friendly for such a fast paced society! Who has time to study this?

Thank YOU for taking the time to reflect, analyze, and inform! I’m looking forward to sharing your journey, and learning from your process!


               
MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
<3!!!


Penelope_PClub member
   (2 months ago)   (Reply)
I agree that it's a nice idea to rename the body types. Though I must admit I like yin and yang as catch-alls for what you listed (soft, short, etc. vs. structured, long, etc.). Maybe we could find something to replace yin and yang with one word so we all know what we're talking about. For example, I don't really know ... yang = energy, yin = peace (it's just as stupid, but I'm just giving examples.). Advancing/receding, etc.


               
MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
That's also a good idea. Energetic vs Peaceful isn't bad. Or maybe lightweight vs energetic, I don't know. But that's a good idea to have some catch all terms, if you have any other names for yin and yang that I can substitute (or anyone else reading this), then let me know!


Liz    (2 months ago)   
I agree with you - I think yin/yang is useful but yeah lots of people don't like it because of yang being linked to masculinity which society hasn't yet realised is a part of both male and female bodies... I think renaming yin/yang too would be a good idea. Advancing/receding is quite good. If the goal is to avoid having emotive words that people could view subjectively like 'romantic' etc then I think energy/peace could be misinterpreted? Advancing/receding is good because it represents yin/yang ideas without being too emotive like dominating/submissive or something could be. How about yang= + and yin= - that gives the impression of yang being heavier more dynamic and yin being lighter and more gentle. Like the original meanings linked with yin and yang. Its kind of like advancing/receding but as a symbol and I think you can use it with less confusion. For example flamboyant gamine could be mixed+ and soft gamine could be mixed- What do you think?


MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
Yes, advancing receding is a bit less emotive. I like plus and minus because it's sort of like positive and negative space like yin and yang in a way, but then in practice when I think about talking in the videos, I'll say plus minus and it'll be confusing because then there's plus = plus size? And also then I could say positive and negative but that has emotive tones too.


Penelope_PClub member
   (2 months ago)   (Reply)
Merriam, will you also rewrite the recommendations at some point? Get rid of all the shoulder pads and make it a little bit more technical yet still relatable?


               
Penelope_PClub member
   (2 months ago)   
And what I mean by this is not so much listing everything that you should or shouldn't wear, for example wear ruffles/don't wear ruffles (although this might be useful to). But more something like a toolkit where you can personalize everything based on your core type and your individual lines. For example, what skirt length is advised for people with answer A/B/C/D/E vertical line, and so on.


MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
Yes that's a great idea! The concepts of the lines will stay the same, but maybe more accessible. <3


noeliaClub member
   (2 months ago)   
I would be extremely grateful if you rewrote the recommendations, YES! I feel like your style of speech is so much more objective than you wouldn't even need to add pictures for explanation. Kibbe, on the other hand, talks about 'sweeping' lines or 'flowing lines' and I'm not sure if I understand the difference, even when I look them up in an English dictionary. Or talks about 'even' and 'uneven' hemlines but doesn't explain WHY that body type needs them one way or another with certain skirts, so I end up having to look for pictures of said body type with hemlines both ways to discover why for myself. It's MENTALLY EXHAUSTING to have to put so much of my own work into his words.


gitteClub member
   (2 months ago)   (Reply)
I totally support you in this. I have been in the stricly kibbe group and follow some other kibbe-related youtubers and it's obvious hwo different you are from them, so I was kinda of waiting for this. But, seconding what Sophie said - this could also open the ways to not just the oldschool 13 bodytypes. Flamboyant gamine? Let's say: Mixed with some sharpness and bluntness, or mixed with extra sharpness, or mixed with extra bluntness etc. It is not just the 'flamboyant gamine' anymore.


               
MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
Thank you Gitte. Yes it might in some ways be easier to 'split' them into more types now that I think of it because we can say 'Mixed with sharpness' vs 'Mixed with bluntness' and not make it a huge deal so to speak. And just say this adds some unconstructedness to the silhouette of the lines they wear or some stiffness/angularity to the silhouette.


ZoeA    (2 months ago)   
I love this idea! I've always felt like there should be a "balanced with bluntness added" type and there currently isn't...unless that's just pure natural. But I like that the descriptive language can allow for new ideas and possibilities in body typing :)


Sophie DrtClub member
   (2 months ago)   (Reply)
Dear Merriam,

I agree that these new terms would make it easier to accept any body type. I just wondered if you should really stick to the 13: we had this issue with the Flamboyant Gamine which had many B answers being different from having many A answers. I think the same applies to dramatic classic for Example. The examples I have seen were flattered by different lines. It felt like it makes a difference.


               
MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
That's an interesting thought and I feel like there's some truth to it (that I sort of discussed in my Sexy Flamboyant Gamine video on Club that you might have seen).! Right now I'm hesitant to expand into more than thirteen because I feel like it's already overwhelming enough for people so I really want to make the approach more accessible, but somehow without losing the necessary information.


Anonymous    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
This is a great idea Merriam! I think you're onto something. I really appreciate your thoughtful approach.


               
MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
Thank you! <3!


Anonymous    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
It does mean I can no longer sub you the Kibbe Queen but I'm sure some other monika will become apparent. :)


               
MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
Haha, maybe one day I can be the 'Body Typing Queen'!


MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
I'll still be giving the same advice as I always have, but just changing the names! <3


Anonymous    (2 months ago)   (Reply)
Hi Merriam, I think it's a great idea. Personally I think I 'get' the interpretations of Romantic, natural (which I think of as closer to have by some athleticism rather than BOHO, I'm not sure how that comes in to play. Boho as most think of it is way too overworked for a Natural. But perhaps it's confused with a type of essence, Wild for example. Anyhoo, looking forward to living forward with your next videos and interested to see how perceptions change or understanding grows.


               
MerriamMerriamStyle
   (2 months ago)   
Oh I'm happy Natural isn't as heavily associated with boho as I expected. Perhaps 'Athletic' isn't a bad name for Natural, but I wonder if that will confuse soft naturals because it's more about the bones that I'm talking about when I'm trying to call the body type 'Blunt' although I don't know if that's the best name.


P.    (2 months ago)   
As a Soft Natural, I think "Athletic" is a good name for Natural. I've been told I look strong, like a tank character from a video game, even with all the softness. Hmm... Perhaps, "Strong" or "Sturdy" are some other words you can use, since those can apply to bones as well?