*As previously posted by Monty*
A Soft Classic means you are basically balance (features, body shape, etc.) but you have this very soft feminine look that should be addressed in your makeup
and clothing. The book I have was written in 1987, the author, David Kibbe, would update it. However, many of the basic principles today are still viable.
Kibbe runs his own business in N.Y. and runs beauty workshops in groups. He also commands a very heafty price for a day with him on a one to one basis. He is
also overly flowering in his writings and speech - but that is just is way. He really gets into it.
Anyway, for better or worse, here it goes:
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
AVOID: Hard-edged geometric silhouettes. Overly ornate or intricate lines. Wide, unconstructed silhouettes. Sharp, severely straight lines. 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.
AVOID: Heavy, stiff fabrics. Rough, thick textures. Bulky knits. Overly sheer fabrics. Extremely shiny fabrics (except for evening). Extremely dull-finished
Detail should be smooth and symmetrical, composed of rounded shapes with slightly intricate edges. Detail provides that extra touch of Yin (femininity), 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 gathers).
AVOID: Sharply tailored detail. Wide, unconstructed detail. Overly ornate or fussy detail Animated, "perky" detail Minimal "no detail"
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.
Jackets: Jackets should be softly tailored with curvy shaping (subdued, not fussy). 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.
AVOID: Overly tailored, sharp-edged, stiff jackets. Wide, boxy jackets that are unconstructed. Extremely cropped jackets that are crisp and "perky."
Overly fussy or flouncy jackets with excess trim.
Skirts: 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. 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. 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
AVOID: Long, straight skirts. Sharply tailored skirts. Wide, unconstructed styles. Voluminous circles. Extra flouncy skirts-except for smoothly flared styles.
Extremely tight or clingy skirts. excess detail that is overdone (draping, shirring, full gathers, ultradeep folds, etc.
Pants: Pants should be of a 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 foot or shoe. (For extra feminine touch.)
Blouses: 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-applique, 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 linens, batiste, voile, etc., are also elegant.
AVOID: Sharply tailored styles. Wide, unconstructed styles. Animated, "perky" styles.
Sweaters: Sweaters should be soft and smooth. Lightweight knits are best, particularly when the finish is luxuriously soft to the touch. Cashmere, boucle,
angora and silky weaves are all excellent. Lengths should be short to moderate. Subdued, intricate detail (applique, beading, shirring) is good.
AVOID: Oversized, bulky sweaters. Rough or thick knits. Skinny-ribbed knits. "Perky" patterns.
Your use of color should be soft and luscious within your complimentary palette. 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 to the fabric to dampen their
AVOID: Multicolored splashes. Head-to-toe dark color schemes. Sharply contrasting color schemes.
PRINTS: Prints should be soft, flowing, and watercolor. Abstract rounded shapes that swirl into each other are excellent.
AVOID: Sharp geometrics. Small symmetrical prints. Animated, "cute" prints.
Should be clean, elegant, tapered in shape with a slightly ornate or intricate trim. (Be careful not to overdo!)
Shoes: Delicate, tapered shapes. Narrow heels and toes. Slightly bare (sling-back, open toe, etc.). Delicate, feminine flats.
AVOID: Angular styles. Chunky styles. Plain pumps.
Bags: Small to moderate size, Rounded shapes perhaps with slight trim (gathers, shirring, etc.). Clutches or moderate strapes. Supple leather.
AVOID: Overly large styles. Angular shapes.
Hats: Small and elegant with rounded shapes and clean, crisp brims. Picture frame or garden party styles with soft detail (silk flowers, etc.).
AVOID: Severe, man-tailored hats. Large, unconstructed hats. Small, "perky" caps.
Hosiery: 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 lighter
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.
AVOID: Extremely opaque stockings. One long line of dark color. Three-color looks (stocking/shoe/hemline contrasts). Heavily textured stockings.
Jewelry: 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, ovals, and clusters are all excellent.
A slightly antique approach to your jewelry is best.
AVOID: Sharp geometrics. Heavy, chunky pieces. Rough, ethnic styles. Overly flashy jewelry. Too much jewelry. No jewelry.
Symmetrical, flowing shapes. Slightly ornate detail. Lightweight, draped, and sheer fabric. Slightly sparkly fabric. Smooth fabric. Slight ornate trim (but not
Chiffon ball gowns
Long gowns with flowing skirts
Beaded bodices and jackets
Ornate and fitted jackets, over gowns (shoulder tucks, shirring, etc.)
Elegant dinner suits with fitted jackets
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 may be best and 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 setting to retain the stylization necessary for your feminine
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 example-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.
AVOID: Severe, geometric styles. Overly layered, "wild," or "manelike" styles. Overly ornate, teased styles. Wash 'n wear styles.
Boyishly cropped styles.
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 low-lights 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.
AVOID: Unrealistic or theatrical haircolors. (blue-black, fiery red, platinum blond, etc.). Overstreaked hair.
More notes about haircolor: In general, if you're a high-contrast person, you'll need the richness and depth from an overall color process. If
you're a low-contrast person, you may find a subtle highlight quite effective to add a little shimmer, but when covering gray, you must switch to an
overall process. Otherwise, the highlights will either mute down your haircolor (which will fade you) or overly "brighten" your coloring and give a
A well-polished makeup is a vital touch. Soft to bright shades, beautifully blended in a watercolor effect, creates your most elegant, slightly feminine face.
A hint of sparkle around the eyes, rosy cheeks within your palette colors and slightly glossy lips complement your Image Identity to perfection!
AVOID: Heavy contouring with sharp edges (too stark). All Smoky colors (too cold). All Neutrals (too aging). Overly sparkly makeup (unsophisticated). Minimal,
"no makeup" Looks (too harsh).
One of his suggested looks for a Soft Classic with Spring coloring is: Honey Browns, Soft Copper and Sparkly Gold. (Also Olive, Jade, Palest Shimmering Gold
and Chestnut/Copper/Shimmering Yellow). However there are many other options, he only lists these as he can't cover the whole spectrum.
Your effect of your eye makeup is matte with a slight sparkle or frost added as if an afterthought. The highest concentration of iridescence should remain in
Your lipsticks should generally be slightly frosted. Always add moderate gloss over your lipstick.
Your position on the Yin/Yang scale is: balanced, with a Yin influence. Physically, you are basically symmetrical with slightly rounded edges (soft body type
and features). Innately, you are controlled, elegant, and calm with an added refined touch of understated femininity and gracious sophistication.
Always remember that you are a Classic first and foremost! Your Romantic undercurrent should always be used in small doses to gracefully soften the overall
effect of your appearance. It is not a substitution. It is an addition to express that extra bit of Yin present in your being.
Your silhouette is smooth, draped, and flared, composed of softly flowing lines (clean, not clingy) that are very controlled and symmetrical. Soft edges and
smoothly rounded shapes are most important, particularly in details (necklines, sleeves, etc.). Accessories are also clean, controlled, and slightly feminine
without being fussy or ornate. Jewelry shapes are kept in controlled clusters and circles or ovals.
A soft and smooth hairstyles bluntly cut with slight feathering around the face is perfect to complement your refined femininity. Moderate length is best,
unless you are willing to spend extra time styling your hair, in which case slightly longer hair that is beautifully waved in smooth and symmetrical dips can
be quite elegant.
Your makeup will be the watercolor effect, which is artfully blended in circular motions. Soft color on the eyes (within your palette), rosy cheeks, and
slightly glossy lips are used to suggest your Yin undercurrent in the most subtle fashion and complete your head-to-toe appearance most graciously.
This is the best way for the world to see your stunning combination of understated sophistication and refined femininity. We always like to see just a bit of
the charmer, the enchantress, the alluring angle (visually expressed through the soft touches and rounded or flowing shapes), without upsetting the basic
foundation of the traditional, the elegant, the everlasting (which is visually expressed through your use of controlled lines and softly understated
Be careful not to go overboard with your Romantic touches. When you opt for the overtly glamorous, instead of refined sophistication you become a little gaudy.
Too much jewelry, too clingy dresses, over-glitzy makeup and too many curls look silly on you. Your underlying Classic approach to your overall appearance is
On the other hand, please don't go to the opposite extreme by trying to "strengthen" your features. The result here is not at all authoritative,
it's simply frumpy and inelegant! You negate your most powerful tool this way, which is your soft-spoken sophistication. When you overly tailor and sculpt
yourself with excess angles and geometry, the very best part of your being is totally obscured. (Also, the softer lines of your body are not well served by
straight lines; they tend to make you look a little dumpy!)
By far the most effective way to allow your star quality to gleam its brightest is to appreciate your soft symmetry and refined elegance. When this priceless
combination is clearly evident in your appearance, we are drawn to your immediately. You are a lady we will strive and toil in excess for, so much do we
believe in your. One well-thought word of sincere approval from your elegant lips is music to our ears!
(I told you Kibbe was flowery)
It's almost as though you remind us of a gentler age, where manners and form were considered gateways to achievement. When your gracious manners and
refined form are clearly visible, we are uplifted to new plateaus of graceful living. An invaluable quality to project in a modern society!
Guidelines only! Individual likes and tweaking must be done!
SOFT CLASSIC PHYSICAL PROFILE
(Classic with a Romantic undercurrent)
NOTE: The following information should be taken as a broad outline of what makes a Soft Classic. It is the
overall combination of the balance between Yin and Yang extremes with a slight Yin leaning (slight soft physicality with a refined and gracious essence) that
creates this Image Identity category. Therefore, slight deviation here or there is always possible and should not be worried over if it does not upset your
Moderate, up to 5 feet 5 inches.
Symmetrical, with soft or slightly rounded edges.
Straight and slightly delicate.
May be small and sligthly wide (but with soft edges, not square).
Shoulder are tapered or slightly sloped.
Facial contours are slightly small and wide (nose, cheekbones, and jawline).
Hand and feet tend to be moderate to small and slightly wide.
Slightly rounded, tends to slight fleshiness.
Soft arms, thighs, and waistline.
Evenly proportioned bust, waist, and hips.
Possibility of being slightly short-waisted.
Arms and legs tend to be moderately short (in proportion to height).
Soft and full, slightly fleshy.
Large eyes, soft cheeks, full lips.
Symmetrical and evenly spaced.
Any texture is possible, but it usually tends to be slightly wispy if straight.
Any coloring is possible(warm or cool), but Soft Classics usually tend toward blended or low-contrast coloring with a delicate skin tone. (Occasionally, a Soft
Classic will have high-contrast coloring, but it still tends towards an overall subtlety as opposed to sharpness).
Body becomes very soft; facial features become very fleshy.
A "thickish" look is usually the result of excess weight; the waist is the first to lose any definition.
A Soft Classic will not:
Have a large or angular bone structure
Have exotic or prominent facial characteristics
Have a boyish or muscular body type
Have a true hourglass figure, with a waspish waist
Be extremely petite or small boned with extra delicate hands and feet.
Kibbe's prime Soft Classic Celebrity- Olivia de Havilland
Soft Classic example from Kibbe's book
Before & After:
When I met Jane, I knew instantly that she had the potential for an extremely lovely beauty evocative of a gentler era than today's harsh and hectic
times. With a symmetrical bone structure, a slightly soft body type, and somewhat rounded facial features (balanced, with a Yin influence), Jane was an
extraordinarily gracious and genteel lady just waiting to blossom in all her refined elegance.
My prescription for Jane's metamorphosis: Keep everything clean, symmetrical, and flowing. The silhouettes I chose consist of simple lines with smooth
fluidity executed in luxurious but light weight fabrics for understated draping and soft movement. Her accessories are smooth, curved, and tapered in shape,
with a slightly delicate touch, and her jewelry is symmetrical and rounded, again with a delicate, somewhat antique feeling, although never fussy or
Her hair is soft and immaculately coiffed to be in keeping with her gracefully sophisticated total look. We cut it into a smooth bob with very gentle
layering around the face to give it a cloud-like effect. We kept the original shade of soft ash brown, merely creating a formula to cover grey. A simple set
on hot rollers gave it a bit more sweep, but she can also blow it back off her face for an easy alternative that will still provide her with the smooth, halo
effect she needs.
Jane's makeup, from a blue-based palette of dusty shades, complements her cool, blended coloring. Soft neutrals with a hint of subtle color create a
gentle and elegant "face". The products are applied in soft circular motions to emphasize her soft features.
Jane's emergence as the epitome of a gracious lady expresses her uniquely graceful sensitivity and lovely spirit.