The Kibbe Soft Dramatic (one of 10 image identify types described by David Kibbe) exists as sharp yang with a yin undercurrent, expressed by vertical lines and soft flesh structure.
Are you here because you think you might be a Soft Dramatic type in Kibbe’s system?
Soft Dramatics have a powerful and lush beauty, showing up in stately curves. If you’re ready to learn more about how to embrace your Soft Dramatic Diva Chic, then keep reading for all the details.
The is a comprehensive guide to the Kibbe Soft Dramatic image ID in the 10 type (previously 13) system. Keep reading to discover the overall body types, celebrity examples, clothing lines and silhouettes, outfits to capture the Soft Dramatic look, hair and makeup, and the essence of the Kibbe Soft Dramatic woman.
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Table of Contents
The 10 Kibbe Types (formerly 13)
The Kibbe typology is based upon his book Metamorphosis (1987) which describes 13 different type of styles/types/identities. These are based primarily on body type, including bone structure, flesh composition, and facial bones and features.
The quiz found in the book is no longer considered the standard for typing, and you can read more about that in this post.
In the original book (out of print and pricey, but I own it) you’ll find there are 13 different types. In recent years the 3 pure types of natural, classic, and gamine have been discard. In this series you’ll find style guides for the following 10 current image id’s.
- Dramatic – pure yang, vertical x2
- Soft Dramatic – yang with yin undercurrent, vertical + curve
- Flamboyant Natural – sharp and blunt yang, width + vertical
- Soft Natural – blunt yang with yin undercurrent, width + curve
- Dramatic Classic – balanced yin and yang (extra yang), balance + vertical
- Soft Classic – balanced yin and yang (extra yin), balance + curve
- Flamboyant Gamine – mixed yin and yang (extra yang), petite + vertical
- Soft Gamine – mixed yin and yang (extra yin), petite + curve
- Theatrical Romantic – yin with yang undercurrent, curve + vertical
- Romantic – pure yin, curve x2
Kibbe Soft Dramatic Body Type
Every Soft Dramatic woman will look slightly different. It is the overall dominance of sharp yang, vertical line and noticeable yin curve that makes a Kibbe Soft Dramatic.
These overall themes exist in the Soft Dramatic body, but don’t throw out the whole type because you don’t fit perfectly in every category. I am summarizing the information in the book with addendums gathered from all over.
The initial thought is that a Soft Dramatic must be tall. And while women 5’7” and over automatically have vertical and will be either Dramatic, Soft Dramatic, or Flamboyant Natural, there is no LOWER height limit.
The shortest verified example of a Soft Dramatic is Mae West, at 5’0”.
The expectation due to obvious vertical is that the long limbs and overall length will result in a tall body, but it seems that the overall essence of the Soft Dramatic overcomes short stature.
Body type refers to the overall impression of the body, including some flesh and some bone structure.
The Soft Dramatic is very flesh, in the bust and hip areas, and can also become flesh in the upper arms and thighs as most with Yin flesh do.
The arms and legs are typically long due to the heavy dose of Yang in the bone structure.
The waist is moderate, and can thicken with weight gain.
Bone structure includes the body and the face (remember from the test that it is rare for the facial bones to NOT match the body bones).
Bones are angular and sharp (does the elbow feel pointy like it will cut you, or soft and gentle, for example).
Shoulders are square, but typically narrow.
Hands and feet are long and narrow, in proportion to height. They may also exhibit some width.
Facial BONES are sharp: angular cheekbones, prominent nose, sharp jawline. The narrowness of structure can lead this type to think they are ‘delicate’ but that is not apt.
The facial features of the Soft Dramatic are yin in nature and include large eyes, full lips, and fleshy cheeks.
The yin face is often characterized by such words as lush, sensual, full, and exotic.
Hair will lean to the extremes, either very course and curly/wavy or very fine and wispy.
Soft Dramatics “tend” to be distinct in coloring, think of extremes: ultra fair, bright and fiery, dark and vivid.
Soft Dramatic Weight Gain Patterns
One of the hardest parts of typing yourself occurs when you are not at an ideal weight. Understanding how adipose tissue congregates can be helpful when the bone structure is less obvious.
The Soft Dramatic type tends to gain first in the fleshy areas of the body, including bust, hips, waist, thighs, upper arm, and specifically in the face.
DISCLAIMER: NONE OF THESE WOMEN ARE HEAVY AND WE ARE NOT FAT SHAMING. MANY OF THE EXAMPLES SEEN ARE OF YOUNG WOMEN AT THEIR LOWEST WEIGHT. TIME CHANGES US ALL, AND I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO SEE EXAMPLES THAT MORE CLOSELY RESEMBLE THE AVERAGE WOMAN.
REMINDER: No one element defines your image ID. It is an overall look and way of accommodating your God-given bone structure and flesh type. The Kibbe Soft Dramatic will always need to dress their vertical line, and will have to accommodate additional curve.
Kibbe Soft Dramatic Celebrities
These are the celebrities found in the book and later verified by Kibbe. I am including their heights (in inches) so you can see that Soft Dramatics aren’t just tall women, they can be those of smaller stature as well.
- Mae West – 60
- Angela Bassett – 64
- Barbara Streisand – 65
- Fran Drescher – 65
- Marlene Dietrich – 66
- Raquel Welch – 66
- Rachel Weisz – 66
- Rita Hayworth – 66
- Ava Gardner – 66
- Sofia Vergara – 67
- Christina Hendricks – 67
- Anne Bancroft – 68
- Maria Callas – 68
- Sophia Loren – 69
Kibbe Soft Dramatic Clothes
Before going into these details it is worth noting that David Kibbe has repeatedly said that clothing doesn’t belong to a specific type, rather that it’s how you put a piece into an entire outfit that makes it appropriate.
Fabric & Detail
The Kibbe Soft Dramatic needs fabrics that are lightweight, ones that drape and flow easily. Soft and plush textures with deep pile, and shiny fabrics: silk, crepe de chin, linen, jersey, merino wool, and cashmere.
Detail is bold and oversized, featuring statement elements. Necklines can be deeply draped or dramatically high. The Soft Dramatic uses bold yin elements such as beading, applique, oversized bows, and luxurious pleats to add drama to clothing.
Color & Prints
Following the expectation that the Dramatic typically has bold coloring, the recommendations for color include pairing dark colors with bright colors. A monochromatic pastel look can also work. Full monochromatic outfits can work so long as there is vivid accenting through accessories.
Prints should be bold but also slightly soft. Such as brightly colored large watercolors, vivid oversized florals, animal prints, and irregular shapes.
Separates should be part of an all-over look, so consider your tops as to how they fit into the entire outfit.
The Soft Dramatic is aiming to create a T-shaped silhouette, so choose soft, draped tops with broad shoulders. The neckline and sleeves can be draped. Detail is large and oversized. Fabrics are lightweight, soft and/or shiny.
Tops to avoid: very tailored tops, plain tops with no excitement, delicate tops, wide, boxy, or shapeless tops.
Bottoms should also fit into a full outfit design.
Pants should be long, straight cut, and softly draped. Details such as deep please, shirring, gentle cuffs can work for the Kibbe Soft Dramatic.
Skirts should be straight and long, around mid-calf. They can be draped, but detail should be running lengthwise to continue the vertical.
Shorts can be knee-length, especially when paired with a longer top or jacket.
Bottoms to avoid: stiff pants, tailored pants, wide or baggy shapes, full skirts, overly fussy skirts.
One piece such as dresses are great for the Soft Dramatic woman as they form a single item and create an unbroken silhouette. These should be elongated and draped.
Dresses should have broad shoulders, and may have a wide neckline. The neckline may also be low and draped. Simple, clingy sheaths are a great option.
The Soft Dramatic looks best in dresses with a dropped waist.
Dresses to avoid: sharply tailored dresses, shapeless or unconstructed dresses, flouncy or fussy styles, overly fitted dresses.
Outerwear for the Soft Dramatic should be long (thigh-length) with broad, strong shoulders. The fabric should be lightweight versus stiff to allow the softness of movement. Lapels should be soft and draped.
Outerwear to avoid: stiffly tailored jackets, traditional blazers, cropped outerwear, delicate styles.
Tailored and angular shoes work best. Look for tapered toe and heels, and high and narrow heels. Barefoot styles are also excellent.
Avoid chunky shoes, or delicate shoes with lots of trim.
Jewelry should large, bold, and ornate. Bold geometrics with a hint of softness, lots of sparkle, glitter, and shine. Wild costume jewelry is perfect.
Purses and bags should be oversized and rounded. Evening bags should be ornate and fabrics should be luxurious. Avoid plain bags in symmetrical designs or small bags.
Belts for this type are wide, made of pliable leather, large. Choose large and ornate buckles.
Kibbe Soft Dramatic Outfits
The Kibbe system focuses on creating head to toe looks (HTT) that honor the lines of your silhouette. For the Dramatic type, the primary determinant is dressing the vertical. Sharpness and angularity are part of the outfit.
Many outfits for Kibbe types show examples that aren’t appropriate for daily life, fancy ball gowns and dressy looks. The Kibbe system discourages the use of a capsule wardrobe and simplification, instead promoting “dressing for the event”.
My goal here is to help you simplify, not overcomplicate, so I’ve tried to create outfits that both honor the Kibbe Soft Dramatic type, but also feature clothes that could be worn in multiple ways.
Kibbe Soft Dramatic Hair and Makeup
Hair styles for the Soft Dramatic woman should follow the theme of lush and large. Choose a bold shape such as asymmetrical, but soften the look with curls or waves. Elaborate and fantasy styles work well.
Hair to avoid: soft styles, wispy hair, hair that covers your face.
The following hair colors are recommended for the Kibbe Soft Dramatic, based on color season.
- Rich Honey Blonde with gold highlights
- Bright Red or Strawberry
- Bright Golden Blonde or Yellow
- Warm White
- Medium to Soft Ash Brown
- Any Ash Blonde
- Deep Chestnut with red highlights
- Deep or Bright Auburn
- Vivid Copper
- Warm White
- Dark Ash Brown
Haircolors to avoid: muted colors, overly lightened hair.
The following are examples for each season for makeup looks. Soft Dramatics should choose smokey, matte eyeshadows. Lips should be matte and covered with gloss.
Spring Color Season
Summer Color Season
Autumn Color Season
Winter Color Season
**These looks are from the book published in 1987 when blue eyeshadow was hot hot hot. I have tried to tone them down a little bit to make them more modern.**
Kibbe Soft Dramatic Essence
Style Essences are a different category, but Kibbe simplified it to include the 5 types.
The Kibbe Soft Dramatic essence makes up your inner scheme and outer being, and is comprised of both the Dramatic and Romantic essence.
The Dramatic is described as bold and charismatic, a born leader. Taking authority is natural and second nature, and she will naturally be found leading others.
She is direct and forceful, and doesn’t shy away from making difficult decisions. Leading, managing, and delegating are easy for her.
She is an intensely private person and may come across a cold, aloof, and unfeeling to those that don’t know her.
The Romantic is described as artistic, charming, and diplomatic, with a true appreciation for beauty. Creating beautiful environments and experiences is a natural expression, from her own appearance to the office and entertaining.
She is intuitive and empathetic, and often seems to naturally understand what others are feeling and get to the heart of the matter.
She is magnetic, charming, and enchanting, and gathers people to her like bees to a beautiful flower.
The Diva Chic, is all of these things, and is a combination of strength, power, passion, and magnetic charm.
Final Thoughts on the Kibbe Soft Dramatic
The Kibbe Soft Dramatic woman is a powerhouse of bold yang and soft yin! She leads with her vertical presence and lush curves and needs to accommodate both in her styling choices.
Kibbe Soft Dramatic repesents dominant sharp yang bone structure and secondary soft yin flesh.
Are you a Kibbe Soft Dramatic? Let me know in the comments.
Related Style Articles:
- Create a Personal Style Mood Board
- Find Your Personal Style in the Past
- Wardrobe Perfection starts with a Color Palette
The Kibbe Soft Dramatic Image ID is marked by sharp yang bones and soft yin flesh, and needs to accommodate vertical lines and curve emphasis in her personal style.
Stacey is the owner and creator behind Radiantly Dressed. She is a certified image consultant and AICI member focusing on creating simplicity in wardrobes via color and style.