Natural First, Romantic Second
A Soft Natural is the combination of a blunt or soft Yang skeleton with added Yin to their face and frame. Kibbe describes Soft Naturals as the "Fresh & Sensual Lady". This is characterized by an appealing essence of charisma, ease, and approachability. Note that any two SNs are unlikely to display their Yin in exactly the same way. Just because you are SN, it does not mean you will look exactly like any other SN.
Kibbe's Key Recommendations for Dressing Your Frame:
Let's start with Kibbe's key recommendations for dressing your frame:
Do not restrict or hide your shoulders - wear loose necklines, or high necks that allow for movement.
Keep the edges of your outfit soft.
Always strive for relaxed waist definition - e.g. tucked in drapey shirts. You can go with a loosely defined or slightly more fitted waist as long as you maintain the overall balance in your outfit.
The overall focus of your outfit should be on soft and draped outlines.
Make sure fabric lies flat through hip area.
Wear soft textures and fluid or natural fabrics. Prints should contain rounded, watercolor-like shapes.
Obvious use of separates looks great on you.
You can pull off color-blocking.
And here are the key things to avoid:
Sharply tailored, symmetrical silhouettes.
Monochromatic color schemes.
Wide, shapeless silhouettes.
A Step Further: Understanding Your Lines
Kibbe’s Natural types are known for the strength of their presence (this is probably one of the reasons why most supermodels are Naturals!). Soft Naturals have this same powerful frame with an added dose of Yin around the edges. It is essential to honor the natural lines of your figure when you dress, choosing your items for their Yang energy first, and then adding some round, soft detail.
To capture this essence on a Soft Natural frame, you want to look for unconstructed silhouettes that still have some shaping and figure consciousness to them. If you eschew shaping altogether - particularly at the waist - you risk looking dowdy. You must also not go too far in the other direction, abandoning your relaxed lines for the more structured and tailored look of a Classic. Finding that balance is the key to making the most of your Soft Natural figure. Many SNs suffer under the misconception that their style ID calls for wide, shapeless, oversized styles, or that their style is simply synonymous with modern boho style. While you do want to achieve ease and freedom of motion, you do not need to wear a shapeless tent to do that!
Here’s the tricky thing about waist emphasis for Soft Naturals: don’t do it. At least not the way other types do. What you want to do instead is showcase the waist, suggest the waist, or lightly skim the waist. True waist emphasis involves techniques like accent-colored waist ties and wide waist belts, both of which you should avoid. You want people to know you have a waist, but you don’t necessarily want it to be the first place they look. Instead, look for items with princess seams that gently curve into the waistline, or that fall open to reveal the waist, or that are made of a gently clingy material.
Nothing about your look should be stiff, restricted, or fussy. You can help to loosen the structure of your outfit by adding in asymmetric elements and loose details, such as an uneven hemline, a side-tied shirt, or a slouchy bag. You also want to gravitate towards softer fabrics with drape - bonus points if they are made of natural materials like linen, cotton, wool, or silk.
Use of Color
Color is an essential element of your wardrobe and is not to be overlooked. While Kibbe rarely gives recommendations on exactly which colors to wear, he does have guidelines for how Soft Naturals can best utilize and combine colors for maximum effectiveness. Bright colors and pastels should form the basis of the SN wardrobe, to be mainly combined with softer neutrals. Blacks and other dark neutrals should be broken up within the outfit or used primarily as accents. It is better to combine a light color with a bright one than with a dark. Bright-on-bright combinations of opposing intensities are also striking on you. Patterns should be moderate to slightly large, irregular shapes with soft edges.
Now, let's do a deep-dive into clothing items and combinations that work especially well for Soft Naturals and that honor Kibbe’s recommendations. A note on clothing items: pieces of clothing DO NOT have a Kibbe type, HOWEVER, Kibbe does offer very specific recommendations in his book and in his FB groups on what to look for in your clothing items, and that is what we're going to be considering today.
Understanding the Clothing Levels
This level is best for casual, generally daytime, wear. There is a little more leeway at this level to play around with the recommendations and experiment within your style. At this level, you are more likely to let comfort take precedence over your "lines".
This level corresponds most closely with the traditional idea of businesswear - although what is now considered "business attire" is changing rapidly. Nevertheless, these items are most appropriate for any occasion in which you need to appear professional or simply "put your best foot forward".
Look to your level 3 items for formal occasions - parties, weddings, or just anytime you want to look your absolute, drop-dead best! This level is less about being comfortable and more about incorporating more drama and elegance into your look.
Remember, many of the items within these levels are highly interchangeable depending on how you style them, the formality of your workplace, and your own personal style.
Soft Natural Coats and Jackets
Should be soft and unconstructed. They should show - though not necessarily emphasize - the waist. The length can be shortish if the jacket is shaped through the waist, or longer (top of the thigh area) if it is belted or unconstructed/boxy.
Avoid: Severely tailored jackets. Long, heavy jackets, whether constructed or not. Cropped bolero jackets. Flouncy jackets that are overly fitted and trim.
Levels 1 and 2 Coats and Jackets
Bomber Jackets should hit at the high hip. Belted jackets can be tied or worn open to showcase the waist.
Level 3 Coats and Jackets
The fringe and nubby fabric of the first coat are perfect details for Soft Naturals. Or try a vintage style - like this green velvet beauty from Yves St Laurent in the middle photo.
Soft Natural Blazers
Shawl Collar and Cardigan Front Blazers are a must for Soft Naturals!
Soft Natural Skirts
Skirts should be flat through the hip area, with an overall soft outline. Straight skirts with an even hem should be no longer than the bottom of the kneecap. Full skirts can have an uneven hem and be worn long (mid-calf or below). Small bits of intricate detail (shirring draping, plackets, etc.) are fine so long as they are not restrictive.
Avoid long pencil skirts, A-line skirts, or overly fitted skirts with excess trim.
Level 1 and 2 Skirts
The tan skirt is verging on too much detail, but it could really work with the right outfit.
Level 3 Skirts
Any of these shapes can be made more casual or more formal with the right fabric.
Soft Natural Pants
Pants should be lightweight and slightly draped, and may have some detail in the form of pleats, gathers, or trim. May be straight, draped about the ankle, or slightly tapered.
Avoid man-tailored, wide, or shapeless styles. Avoid anything too plain or fitted with fussy trim.
Level 1 Pants
Athletic styles work well for you.
Level 2 Pants
Vintage detailing is great for Soft Naturals
Level 3 Pants
When wearing shiny fabrics, keep other details to a minimum.
Soft Natural Tops and Blouses
Soft Naturals have so many beautiful options for shirts and blouses, they are almost spoiled for choice! Blouses should be soft, drapey, and slightly loose. Open-necked, draped tops look particularly nice on you, as do cowl-neck camisoles. Shiny fabrics are fine for special occasions, but keep the overall shape simple.
Avoid fussy detail, stiff tailoring, and anything too shapeless.
Level 1 and 2 Tops & Blouses
The chunky texture on the last sweater is nice, and that necklace is a perfect accessory for Soft Naturals.
Level 3 Tops and Blouses
Soft Naturals should feel free to incorporate vibrant color into their wardrobes. Look for loose, rounded, watercolor-style prints.
Nobody pulls off a satin cowl-neck cami like a Soft Natural!
Soft Natural Sweaters
May be light and silky or thick and plush, but never rough. Longer sweaters should be slightly clingy and reveal the shape of the body; cropped or shorter sweaters should be thicker.
Avoid heavy sweaters that hide your shape.
Level 1 and 2 Sweaters
Try a high-low sweater style. Hoodies are great as long as they still show your figure, and the one shown here has a nice texture for Soft Naturals
Wear cardigan styles open to display the waist, or you can tie a belt around them. Don't forget, you can always tuck your sweater in to achieve that subtle waist definition.
Level 3 Sweaters
Color-blocking or detail should be focused towards the bottom.
Soft Natural Dresses
Fuller silhouettes should loosely define the waist, while straighter silhouettes should be more draped or clingy. Detail should be lower on the body; not high up or framing the face.
Avoid wide and shapeless or crisp and fitted styles.
Levels 1 and 2 Dresses
Kibbe really likes sweater dresses for Soft Naturals.
Level 3 Dresses
Soft Natural Accessories
The Natural essence is a connection to the past and the earth. You can show this in the details you choose. Try an antique cameo necklace, or a handmade artisan piece. Your jewelry should tell a story. All of your details and accessories should have an air of relaxed creativity, so feel free to really express yourself with your details and accessories!
For Natural accessories, a little goes a long way. Let your accessories be a nod to your creative and artistic side, without going overboard. Items should be light and delicate, or you can highlight one special piece.
Shoes & Jewelry for Soft Naturals
Vintage beaded bags are a great choice for evening.
Hats and Scarves
Your hats should have lots of softness and a touch of detail.
I really hope you have enjoyed this Soft Natural shopping guide! Don't forget the most important rule of dressing: ultimately, if you feel good in an item, then WEAR IT! You should use this system as a guide, not as a limitation.
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