This article will show you a Soft Classic shopping guide — from casual to formal outfits, accessories, makeup, and coloring.
Not sure how a Soft Classic looks like? This article will show you with pictures and examples. It will also show you the styling principles.
The following were taken from the book Metamorphosis by David Kibbe, the image professional who created the Kibbe system.
Soft Classic Shopping Guide
Dresses should be graceful, flowing and elegant. Flared shapes are best, and waist definition is essential (although it may be slightly dropped in very clingy fabric). Soft detail with a suggestion of intricacy is excellent. Draping is always perfect.
- severely tailored styles
- wide, unconstructed styles
- overly fussy or flouncy styles
Use carefully and sparingly. Separates are effective only if they are part of a well-matched, “ensemble approach” to your head-to-toe appearance. Keep the colors, textures, and fabrics elegantly blended and avoid a staccato look.
3. Jackets and blazers
Jackets should be softly tailored with curvy shaping (subdued, not fussy) that gently shows the waist.
Short to moderate lengths are best, although a longer length is possible in a belted jacket or one that has a very understated peplum.
They can have slight shoulder definition with crisp pads, and are best with such added detail as shoulder tucks or gathers and tapered sleeves. Again, such detail should be subdued and understated, not fussy or overdone.
- overly tailored
- sharp-edged, stiff jackets
- long, straight jackets that hide the waist
- overly fussy or flouncy jackets with excess trim
- extremely cropped jackets that are crisp and “perky”
Skirts should be soft, smooth, and gently flowing.
A straight skirt should be lightweight and slightly tapered at the hemline to avoid stiffness. Flared skirts are best, with an uneven hemline that softly flows.
Hemlines on a straight skirt should be short– never longer than one inch below the knee. Uneven hemlines will always be longer, gracefully grazing the mid-calf area. Slits should be small and elegant, suggested rather than overstated.
Waist detail should be soft and subdued with slight gathers or soft pleats that are stitched down through the hip. Bias-cut pieces that are added to the bottom of the skirt are also possible.
- voluminous circles
- long, straight skirts
- sharply tailored skirts
- wide, unconstructed styles
- extra flouncy skirts (except for smoothly flared or clingy skirts)
- excess detail that is overdone (dropping, shirring, full gathers, ultradeep folds, etc.)
Pants should be of softly tailored styles in lightweight fabric. Soft pleats, slight gathers, and a slightly tapered leg are nice details. Hemline should be just below the top of the ankle so as to show a touch of the foot or shoe.
- wide, unconstructed, or baggy styles
- man-tailored styles with sharp edges
- overly fussy pants with excess trim or detail
Blouses should be soft and elegant with soft edges or a suggestion of intricate detail. Soft bows, slight lacy edges, jabots, and draped necklines are excellent. Subdued trim– appliqué, shirring, gathers, beading, etc.– is also good as long as it’s not overdone. Fabric should be lightweight– with the slight sheen of silk best. Very soft and sheer lines, batiste, voile, etc., are also elegant.
- sharply tailored styles
- animated, perky styles
- wide, unconstructed styles
Sweaters should be soft and smooth. Lightweight knits are best, particularly when the finish is luxuriously soft to the touch. Cashmere, bouclé, angora, and silky weaves are all excellent. Lengths should be short to moderate. Subdued, intricate detail (appliqué, beading, shirring) is good.
- perky patterns
- rough or thick knits
- skinny-ribbed knits
- oversized, bulky sweaters
8. Evening wear
Symmetrical, flowing shapes. Slightly ornate detail. Lightweight, draped, and sheer fabric. Slightly sparkly fabric. Smooth fabric. Slightly ornate trim (but not fussy). The following are some examples:
- silk dresses
- chiffon ball gowns
- beaded bodices and jackets
- long gowns with flowing skirts
- elegant dinner suits with fitted jackets
- ornate and fitted jackets over gowns (shoulder tucks, shirring, etc.)
Delicate, tapered shoes. Narrow heels and toes. Slightly bare (slingback, open toe, etc.). Delicate, feminine, flats.
- plain pumps
- chunky styles
- angular styles
Small to moderate size. Rounded shapes with slight trim (gathers, shirring, etc.). Clutches or moderate straps. Supple leather.
- overly large styles
- angular shapes
Narrow to moderate width. Elegant, slightly ornate buckles. Exquisite leather, skin, or fabric.
- wide, stiff styles
- overly ornate styles
Small and elegant with rounded shapes and clean, crisp brims. Picture frame or garden party styles with soft detail (silk flowers, etc.).
- small, perky caps
- large, unconstructed hats
- severe, man-tailored hats
Moderately sheer styles are best. Slightly opaque styles in light shades are also good. A “light leg” that blends the stockings and shoe one or two shades lighter than the hemline is your most elegant and sophisticated look.
You can also match the shoe and hemline while wearing a light stocking for a more casual or fun look.
As for going for the “one long line” effect or matching the hemline, stocking and shoe, use it with caution or it can be very dowdy on you. You can use it when your colors are light or medium tones. It is terrible on you when the colors are dark.
The only exception is in the evening, when the dark stocking is ultrasheer; then it is a good choice if you wish.
- one long line of dark color
- heavily textured stockings
- extremely opaque stockings
- three-color looks (stocking/ shoe/ hemline contrasts)
Jewelry should be clean, elegant, and softly feminine. It adds a touch of sophistication and delicacy to your look. It doesn’t need to be overdone; simply suggesting your glamour with a hint of dangle, a hint of sparkle, and a hint of intricacy is quite effective.
Shapes are round, ornate, and flowing while always remaining symmetrical. Circles, slight dangles, swirls and clusters are all excellent. A slightly antique approach to your jewelry is best.
- no jewelry
- sharp geometrics
- rough, ethnic styles
- heavy, chunky pieces
- overly flashy jewelry
- too much jewelry
Hair should be controlled, smooth, and soft; an elegantly clean outline with curved edges. Curls and waves are lovely as long as they aren’t overly teased or cascading. A well-kept and meticulously groomed style is essential.
Blunt cuts are best; a very subtle layering to frame the face is important. Lengths should be moderate to long, but the longer your hair, the more likely it will require a set to retain the stylization necessary for your sophisticated look.
Likewise, if you opt for perms or processing, you will have to do some extra styling– with hot rollers or a curling iron, for exmaple– to maintain a controlled style. An unkempt or uncared-for hairstyle will spoil your total look more quickly than any other element of your appearance.
- wash ‘n wear styles
- boyishly cropped styles
- severe, geometric styles
- overly ornate, teased styles
- overly layered, “wild” or “manelike” styles
Your haircolor should be soft and luxurious. Realistic and natural colors are best. Don’t stray far from your natural haircolor. Lightening your hair a shade or brightening it a shade is possible if your original color is blond, red, or medium brown. You might also choose subtle lowlights if your hair is in these color ranges.
Brunettes should always avoid lightening or highlights because the result is very aging and tiring, particularly after you’ve begun to gray.
- unrealistic or theatrical haircolors (blue-black, fiery red, platinum blond, etc.)
- overstreaked hair
A well-polished makeup is a vital touch. Soft to bright shades, beautifully blended in a watercolor effect, create your most elegant, slightly feminine face. A hint of sparkle around the eyes, rosy cheeks, and slightly glossy lips complement your Soft Classic face to perfection.
- neutrals (too aging)
- smoky colors (too cold)
- minimal, “no makeup” looks (too harsh)
- overly sparkly makeup (unsophisticated)
- heavy contouring with sharp edges (too stark)
Soft Classic Shopping Guide & Styling Techniques
Soft, curved shapes with rounded edges. Smooth, symmetrical shapes that flow gently. Circles, ovals, subdued swirls.
Line and silhouette
Smooth, soft, symmetrical silhouettes with slight shaping. Gently flowing lines that flare or swirl. Clean lines that are unbroken. Smooth, horizontal, or diagonal draping.
- sharp, severely straight lines
- overly ornate or intricate lines
- wide, unconstructed silhouettes
- hard-edges geometric silhouettes
- straight lines without flow or shaping
- overly crisp and fitted silhouettes with staccato lines
Fabrics should be those of light to moderate weight that will drape softly and flow easily without being clingy. Finish should be slight matte or slight sheen, with a soft or plush surface (silks, cashmere, challis, crepe, suede, velvet, handkerchief linen, raw silk, shantung, etc.).
Textures should be very light and soft. Fabrics that have a high-quality, imported look are excellent. Knits and wovens should be supple, light, and drapable without being clingy.
- bulky knits
- heavy, stiff fabrics
- overly sheer fabrics
- overly clingy fabrics
- rough, thick textures
- extremely dull-finished fabrics
- extremely shiny fabrics (except for evening)
Detail should be smooth and symmetrical, composed of rounded shapes with slightly intricate edges. Detail provides that extra touch of Yin, so it is meant to further soften and feminize your look. It is used as an afterthought, and should only suggest a Romantic streak. Be careful not to overdo it.
Slight definition through the shoulders: small, crisp pads; shoulder tucks; gathers; beading; slightly ornate trim; etc.
Clean, soft necklines. Draped necklines, soft cowls, jewel or scooped necks, subdued intricacy (gathers, shirring, soft pleats, or folds, etc.).
Tapered sleeves and a defined waist. Subdued trim is possible (beautiful and unusual buttons, or small, elegant belts, soft gathers, etc.).
- sharply tailored detail
- animated, perky detail
- minimal, “no detail” looks
- wide, unconstructed detail
- overly ornate or fussy detail
Your accessories should be clean, elegant, tapered in shape with a slightly ornate or intricate trim. Be careful not to overdo!
Your use of color should be soft and luscious. Pastels and moderately bright tones are best while light neutrals are quite elegant in luxurious fabrics. Color combinations should be softly monochromatic, with intensities blending together rather than sharply contrasting.
Note: This does not mean “all one color” but rather that tones should softly harmonize. Light/ bright color combinations are especially effective on you. Dark colors will need softening and brightening; either use them in accents or add a touch of soft texture or sheen tot eh fabric to damp their starkness.
- sharply contrasting
- multicolored splashes
- head-to-toe dark color schemes
Prints should be soft, flowing, and watercolor. Abstract rounded shapes that swirl into each other are excellent.
- “cute” prints
- sharp, geometrics
- small, symmetrical prints