In a nutshell, a Soft Classic has a balanced body frame with slightly rounded edges. You have a Soft Classic body if your Bone Structure (shoulders, limbs, vertical line) is primarily balanced and symmetrical (answers C) while your Body Flesh (bust, waist, hips) and Facial Features are also balanced and symmetrical but with extra Yin influence (mostly answers C with a few D and/ or E).
However, if you’re still confused about the Kibbe type test, then this article will show you how to visually determine if you’re a Soft Classic, show you the principles of a Soft Classic style, and outfits to avoid. Here’s a complete Soft Classic style guide.
How to know if you’re a Soft Classic
To determine if you’re a Soft Classic, look for balance in your Bone Structure. That’s the number one indicator. Balance on your bone structure means your shoulders and your hips are proportional to each other and neither is wider nor narrower. Take a look at this comparison between Soft Classic Marion Cotillard and Flamboyant Natural Cameron Diaz.
As you can see, Cameron’s shoulders are wider than her hips. If you look at her figure as a whole, her shoulders look more dominant than the rest of her body. Wider shoulders are the trademark of Kibbe Naturals. Because the shoulders are more dominant than the rest of the body, balance, therefore, doesn’t exist.
With Soft Classic, however, balance on the bone structure is the most dominant feature. You can never have wider shoulders than your hips and be a Soft Classic because that would cancel out the balance.
Look at Marion’s frame and you’ll see balance. Her shoulders and her hips are neither wider nor narrower. They’re perfectly proportional. Neither sticks out.
What about a Soft Classic’s Yin parts? Soft Classic’s Yin parts manifest through the slight but present waist curve. The keyword is slight. Look at Marion’s waist. She definitely has a more defined waist than Cameron but the curve remains moderate and unexaggerated.
In short, Soft Classics have a balanced shoulder-to-waist hip ratio with a slight curve at the waist. Not tall, nor short, nor petite, nor extremely curvy. Just balanced with a slight curve.
A Soft Classic will NOT have:
- have an extremely tall figure (more than 5’6″)
- have a large or angular bone structure
- have a boyish or muscular body type
- be extremely tall looking (more than 6 inches)
- be extremely petite or small-boned (like Romantics and Theatrical Romantics)
- have a true hourglass figure (waspish waist with dominant curves at bust and waist)
How to Dress a Soft Classic from Head to Toe
The following are the steps on how to dress a Soft Classic. If you follow these, you should be able to shop for and put together ensembles that will always look good on you.
1. Honor both balance and slight curve.
To dress a Soft Classic, you need to honor both balance and slight curve. This is necessary. The Kibbe system is all about following the natural shape of your bones instead of hiding or faking to look like an hourglass.
Because your natural shape is dominated by balance and seconded with a slight curve, then you should dress according to this.
This might sound counterintuitive if you’re under the notion that the only attractive body shape is an hourglass. But if we approach it from an aesthetic point of view, it makes total sense.
When you follow the natural shape of your bones, you create a coherence that you would not otherwise achieve if you fake your real shape. This coherence results in a pleasing ensemble. Here are some examples showing a Soft Classic style guide.
Take a look at Naomi Watts in these outfits.
These are perfect outfits for her because they honor her balance and symmetry and then proceed to accommodate her slight curve.
Because the fabric stays close to her body and honors her natural shape, you can see how her figure truly shines here.
When a Soft Classic doesn’t wear her lines
Below are Naomi’s outfits when she’s not dressing according to balance and slight curve.
The two outfits above “drown” her. Her balance and slight curve are nowhere to be seen. The white dress is wide at the shoulders (width) while straight at the hips (vertical). No balance, no slight curve.
The black floral dress is unconstructed, straight, and wide at the hips, none of which are flattering for both balance and slight curve.
Here, we have Marion Cotillard, another Soft Classic wearing this wide, striped, unconstructed dress.
I guess everybody would agree that this is too wide, off-balanced, puffy, and severe for her Soft Classic figure. The fabric is stiff and has no trace of flowiness in it. The shoulders, while rounded, are wide and strong and don’t have enough Yin to match that of a Soft Classic. Overall, this ensemble is not Marion’s personal best.
When a Soft Classic accommodates either balance or slight curve but not both.
These black and pink dresses don’t look too bad for a Soft Classic. Here’s why:
While the black dress doesn’t honor her slight curve, it honors her balance.
While the pink dress doesn’t honor her balance (due to the wide shoulders), it honors her slight curve.
While these outfits don’t look as bad as the previous two outfits, they could still be improved by honoring both balance and slight curve in each outfit.
Note: The proceeding recommendations are not hard rules. Generally, they contribute to the overall ensemble of a Soft Classic but they can definitely be bent and broken as long as your balance and slight curve are honored.
Ultimately, the overall suitability of your outfit depends on how it looks as a whole when all details are combined, not when each detail is dissected and treated as a standalone element.
Remember, only tip #1 must be strictly followed.
2. Opt for shapes with soft, curved, rounded edges.
As a Soft Classic, you look your best when wearing smooth, symmetrical shapes that flow gently. Circles, ovals, and subdued swirls are your best bet. These shapes do a great job at matching your Yin undercurrent and slight curve.
3. Go for softly tailored pieces.
Some tailored pieces create a sharp silhouette that looks fantastic on pure Dramatics but harsh on Soft Classics.
So if you must wear tailored pieces, ensure that they’re only softly tailored. You still want some structure on your frame but the tailored feel should not overwhelm your balanced Yin and Yang distribution.
In general, avoid patterns, silhouettes, and shapes that are too sharp, hard, and severe. You want to go for soft details but not too ornate like a Romantic would be. Remember, balance first, softness second.
Know, however, that there are exceptions like this outfit:
While this dress has strong, well-defined shoulders, it still looks flattering on a Soft Classic for the following reasons:
- The flare at the sleeves matches the flare at the bottom (balance and symmetry).
- The wide shoulders are balanced by the flared hem (balance and symmetry).
- The waist emphasis honors slight curve.
- The prints are soft and floral (Yin).
- The fabric is drapey and flowing (Yin).
So you see, as long as the symmetry and slight curve are both honored, an outfit could look many different ways and still look stunning on a Soft Classic.
4. The fabric must flow and drape easily.
Fabrics should be those of light to moderate weight that will drape softly and flow easily without being clingy. The finish should be a slight matte or a slight sheen, with a soft or plush surface (silks, cashmere, challis, crepe, suede, velvet, handkerchief linen, raw silk, shantung, etc.).
5. Create a blended look.
The color you wear at the top should complement what you wear at the bottom. Avoid color blocking combinations as this creates a staccato look that looks great on Gamine but disruptive on Soft Classics.
Keep the color, texture, and fabric elegantly blended, coordinated, and flowing. Create continuity from top to bottom as well as the feel of a balanced, blended, flowy softness. Take a look at Marion’s outfit below.
The black, shiny leather jacket at the top is matched with shiny black boots at the bottom. The same goes for the matching coral top and bag.
Whatever you do, remember that the key to looking coherent with a Soft Classic’s outfit is by honoring both balance and slight curve. Once that criterion is met, the rest (accessories and details) becomes simpler. If not, then the finishing touches simply won’t make any difference.
Kibbe-verified Soft Classic celebrities
The following are Kibbe-verified Soft Classics:
- Marion Cotillard
- Denée Benton
- Kirsten Dunst
- Laura Linney
- Barbara Walters
- Carolina Herrera
- Naomi Watts
- Catherine Oxenberg
- Emma Thompson
- Meredith Baxter Birney
- Meryl Streep
- Constance Bennett
- Donna Reed
- Joan Fontaine
- Catherine Deneuve (reassigned from Classic)
- Grace Kelly (reassigned from Classic)
- Lee Remick (reassigned from Classic)
- Merle Oberon
- Olivia de Havilland
- Norma Shearer
- Veronica Lake
To see more photos of Kibbe-verified SC celebrities, head over to this article: Soft Classic Celebrities with Pictures.
Soft Classic Style FAQs
Here are the frequently asked questions about Soft Classics. If you have more questions, comment below so I can add them here.
What should Soft Classics avoid?
Soft Classics should avoid outfits that disrupt their balance and softness like the following:
- severely tailored styles
- severe, geometric styles
- wide, unconstructed styles
- overly fussy, ornate, or flouncy styles with excess trim
- a staccato look (like color blocking)
- excess detail that is overdone (dropping, shirring, full gathers)
- overly ornate styles
- boyishly cropped haircut
- overly sparkly makeup (unsophisticated)
- heavy contouring with sharp edges (too stark)
Where do Soft Classics gain weight when overweight?
When Soft Classics are overweight, they gain weight on their waist and it’s the first to lose any definition. Their body also becomes very soft while facial features become very fleshy. Overall, it results in a soft, rounded, “thickish” look. Still, the balance remains unmistakable.
Can Soft Classic be short or petite?
Soft Classics cannot be overly short. A short height automatically cancels out the balance which could potentially classify as Yin-dominant (Romantic and Theatrical Romantic). The balance of a true Soft Classic is so dominant that it can only be accompanied by a slight curve and nothing else.
Can Soft Classics be tall?
Soft Classics cannot be overly tall. If you are over 5’6″, that automatically puts you under the Yang-dominant types (Dramatics and Naturals) and the balance would then be canceled out. The balance of a true Soft Classic is so dominant that it can only be accompanied by a slight curve, not tall or short height.
Soft Classic Style Guide Summary
- If there’s one thing you need to remember on how to dress a Soft Classic, it’s this: balance first, slight curve second. As long as you follow this principle every time you shop and put together an outfit, you will never get lost.
- Note that your curve will always be secondary to your balance. Because if you overexaggerate the curves, then you’ll end up canceling your balance.
- You can do this NOT by focusing on each piece of the outfit but by focusing on an outfit’s overall look. Remember, the approach has to be holistic. Your head is connected to your body and vice versa, as with your clothing to your makeup and accessories.
- Being a Soft Classic does not mean you’re a half Classic-half Romantic. Remember that you’re a Classic above everything else. Meaning, when dressing up, prioritize being balanced and symmetrical first and express your Yin softness in small doses. Sure, you want to acknowledge your Romantic side but it must not be the centerpiece but merely the undercurrent.
- Pure Classic has been removed by Kibbe. There are only Soft Classic and Dramatic Classic left in the Classic category.
- That said, please note that these are merely guidelines— not rules. You can break or bend them as long as you’re honoring a Soft Classic’s balance and slight curve.
- Also, to fully understand these tips, you also need to understand what’s Yin and what’s Yang. This article should explain: Yin vs Yang Examples of Kibbe Body Types.
- Know that clothes alone do NOT have a Kibbe type. Therefore, avoid Kibbe-typing a piece of clothing based on its appearance when unworn or worn by other women other than yourself.
- As with dressing other body types, do not focus on each piece of the outfit. Instead, focus mainly on the overall feel and look of the outfit. For a Soft Classic, it’s being balanced in bone structure with undercurrents of Yin softness.
- Just because an outfit looks great on a Soft Classic doesn’t mean it won’t look great on other Kibbe types and vice versa. For example, contrary to popular belief, bodycon dresses aren’t only exclusive to Romantics. Any body type can actually wear a bodycon dress and look great. Each would just look different from one another but with the right detail and customization, any Kibbe type can pull it off.
- In short, don’t be scared to explore and experiment. The Kibbe body typing was made not to box you in but to liberate you so you can present your unique expression to the world.
- A slight deviation from these descriptions is always possible and should not be worried over as long as the overall outline meets the Yin and Yang balance of a Soft Classic (primarily balanced bone structure with Yin-influenced body flesh and facial features).