Why I’m Not a Soft Natural

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I don’t like body-type recommendations very much. I much prefer Kibbe’s emphasis on creating harmony within yourself, and not trying to conform to classical rules of beauty and symmetry. That being said, there is obviously a body-type component to Kibbe. You wouldn’t have an apple-shaped Theatrical Romantic, for instance. But recommendations for my type (hourglass–my shoulders and hips are even, and I have a small waist) conflict with FG, and FG works, so that was enough for me to dismiss body-type recommendations as nonsense meant to achieve something that isn’t possible.

While I’m still not their biggest fan, I am now realizing that there is a way they could work for me. Yesterday, one of the members of our Facebook style community began a project mapping Kibbe Image Identities to Imogen Lamport’s body types. Now, of course I went in with my usual suspicion of body-type dressing, especially since I know that my body doesn’t fit the Flamboyant Gamine recommendations very well. I consider myself to have X with a secondary H. The more weight I gain, the squarer my shape gets, my hips especially. This person sees X-H as a Soft Natural shape. I do, too. I see similar shapes to my own when I see Soft Naturals, and I’ve never understood why Soft Natural is just so awful on me. If you read the description of a Soft Natural body, it sounds like me, weight gain patterns and all.

But I think there are words in Kibbe that are loaded. These words are loaded because he seems to use them in a different way than people who aren’t Kibbe. One of these is “curvy.” I think that in Kibbe, “curvy” means a curved line, not just 36-24-36. He describes Soft Naturals as, “slightly curvy, tends to an hourglass shape, but not extremely so.” We tend to think of how curvy someone is in measurements. But I think Kibbe is talking about the line we see. An SN can be mathematically curvier than a TR, especially when you consider that Naturals are often curvier from the side than the front. But the TR will have a curvier line to their bust, waists, and hips.

And this is exactly why Soft Natural doesn’t work for me. I don’t have a slight curve. I have what I described in this post: a very tapered ribcage on top of squarish hips the same width as my shoulders. My torso shape is composed entirely of angles and straight lines, no curve in sight.

Who else had this non-curvy hourglass body shape?


Audrey. Hepburn.

This shows that even a wasp waist is possible in FG, provided that everything is composed out of angles and straight lines, no curves. While an I or a plain V might be more common in FG, I think that if you combine I or H with V, you get the FG version of “curves.” We can only highlight our waists in something that follows our shape exactly, whether it’s from structure or bodycon. We cannot softly emphasize, the way SNs do. A softly flowing curve makes no sense over dramatic angles. I also don’t like to cinch, but your mileage may vary. So this is why both Soft Natural and recommendations for X shapes did absolutely nothing for me. I am an inverted triangle and a rectangle masquerading as an hourglass.

I think that if you are searching for your Kibbe type, read what Kibbe says about bodies very carefully, since he often means something a little bit different than other people. If you have no curvy lines, you can’t be a curvy Kibbe type. You want to match what you’ve got. So even if you have something that may seem to kick you out of a type, like a wasp waist for FG, really look at what is creating these particular details. You may end up with something totally different from the obvious answer.

8 Comments on Why I’m Not a Soft Natural

  1. Jayleen
    February 24, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    I know this isn’t the point of your article, but I would dearly love to know what the results are of that body mapping project. I’m familiar with Imogen Lamport’s body types; I realized through her types that I’m an 8, which helped in many ways, but not as it relates to Kibbe. The high hips of an 8 aren’t classified by him (at least that I could see).
    I also think it’s interesting about your point about curves or angles. My mother is doubting her categorization as a Soft Natural for the same reasons you mentioned. She’s also an H with a V and is more angular like you describe yourself. She and I are going to talk about your findings!

    • stylesyntax
      February 24, 2015 at 4:32 pm

      High hips tend to be associated with Romantics, and you also see them on Soft Dramatics. When the body-mapping project is done, I will definitely link to it if possible. Sometimes, the most helpful Kibbe information can only be found in closed Facebook groups, unfortunately.

      I think it’s really obvious when you put an FG in SN clothes, aka bad. The things that worked for me in “SN”–leggings with a tunic and a waterfall cardigan–were actually FG. Everything else was a disaster. So I would bet that your mom is an FG who feels the same way I did–that her figure isn’t boyish enough for FG and it sounds like SN. But sounding like SN and actually being one are two very different things.

      • Maggie
        March 8, 2015 at 1:39 am

        I’m 5’2″ with a short waist, does that limit me to one of the Gamines? I have yang facial features but my body is curvy but not lushly so. Average length arms and legs, but a short waist, small hands and feet, I’d call them square. My sister is just the opposite, short, skinny, straight body, round face.

        • stylesyntax
          March 8, 2015 at 2:38 am

          No, not automatically, but it’s certainly a possibility for you.

  2. Chiara
    February 26, 2015 at 2:40 am

    I think this is so helpful- you can also see what you are talking about in photos of Ds such as Lauren Bacall/Kathleen Turner when younger eg http://www.messynessychic.com/2013/11/07/vintage-muse-du-jour-lauren-bacall/bacallbogart3/ or http://the-dandy-life.com/fashion-in-film-body-heat-1981/bodyheatkathleenturnershorts/ Both have _some_ waist definition relative to bust/hips, but you can see that lines of the arms, legs and torso are straight (and long).

    • stylesyntax
      February 26, 2015 at 4:41 am

      Both D and FG seem to contain a surprising amount of waist definition. It’s so interesting to see how these patterns repeat themselves. I wonder why Kibbe didn’t include this information in the book, and instead talked about how good Rs are at planning dinner parties. :/

  3. Erah
    January 10, 2020 at 3:15 am

    Can someone be a Flamboyant Gamine and be 5’8”? I am such a mismatch of parts with body type between dramatic/natural but with large natural yin breasts and a decidedly classic face with a shorter, up turned nose that I am at a complete loss how to figure out my type! As you said in your post about SN looking large and sloppy on people with angular frames suits me exactly so I was leaning towards SD as my type but I cannot wear big hair and accessories around my delicate facial features so … what would you say my type might be?

    • stylesyntax
      January 12, 2020 at 4:04 am

      This post is really old so it doesn’t really reflect the way I think about Kibbe now, but while I do know someone who went to David and is an FG and says they’re 5’8″, it’s highly unusual, and you saying you feel in between Dramatic and Natural tells me that you’re probably larger in frame that an FG would be. I don’t think the stuff about your face matters because I think the bigger hair and accessories require a whole look to look normal. Also we just had an SD go who has very delicate facial features.


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