Soft Natural vs Romantic in Kibbe System w/Examples

Hello and welcome ❤️ Image identities in Kibbe system don’t overlap – they are like planets in the Solar System and each one is absolutely unique and independent from others, but still exists by the same rules. The whole idea of comparing two image identities thereby can be considered nonsensical because how can one compare incomparable things? That being said, I think looking at two image identities side by side can be very useful in the process of learning them, in order to understand them. So consider this kind of post as not a comparison, but merely a closer look at these image identities that can be often confused because they share several important features. In my previous post I analyzed Soft Gamine vs Theatrical Romantic, now Soft Natural vs Romantic.

Before I begin, let me say that I’m not a Kibbe system expert. I am a passionate researcher and the goal of my posts about Metamorphosis is to share my understanding of the system with those who is interested about learning and using it. Since David Kibbe doesn’t certify or officially approves anyone to practice his system and/or offer typings (determining image identities), it goes without saying that the only expert is he himself when it comes to typing other people and theory behind his system. Besides, everyone interested in his system can become their own personal experts and use this system. You are free to study his system any way you prefer, but it’s my duty as a Kibbe’s system researcher to let you know that there’s a Facebook group called ‘Strictly Kibbe’ where David Kibbe himself explains his system. I’m simply informing you about it and if you choose to join it, there’s no way of knowing if your expectations will be met. In my posts about Kibbe’s image identities (aka Metamorphosis) I follow the theory David Kibbe highlighs in his book Metamorphosis (1987) the way I understand it. My goal is to share my own findings with everyone who wants to learn and use this system. I don’t offer typings (goes without saying – the reason is mentioned above) and always make sure that whatever I post goes in line with how David Kibbe himself presents his system. David Kibbe Official Website.

Why Soft Natural vs Romantic? These image identities can share several key features:

  • moderate to petite vertical line,
  • lush, full facial features,
  • curves and fleshiness,
  • limbs can be short,
  • width is there, but in different ‘amounts’ and of different kinds

When I read physical profile descriptions for these two image identities, I definitely understand the difference:

  • Romantic is delicate, SN is slightly angular
  • R is rounded, SN has slightly square/blunt contours
  • SN can have longer limbs and ‘leggy look’ as it says in the book, but a Romantic usually has shorter limbs because it’s Yin-dominant
  • SN can be up to 5’7” tall, R is usually more petite, up to 5’5” (from Metamorphosis (1987) book)
  • SN can be slightly curvy, but for R curves are the key feature
  • R are small and can be a bit wide, but for SN there’s width through the shoulder area (very important!)

However, it’s easier to discuss it than to actually tell in reality (as always 😊). Hopefully, this post will clarify the situation to a degree where you won’t have to second-guess width, curves, vertical line for Romantic and Soft Natural image identities.

For my primary examples I chose Betty Grable (SN) and Marilyn Monroe (R). The reason is because I’ve got a purrrrrfect example to present to you – a video from How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) where they both participate in the fashion show scene and you can see their shape very well.

For the record, reported height of Betty Grable is 5ft 3-5ft 4 (160-163 cm) depending on the source and Marilyn Monroe’s reported height is 5 ft 5½ inches (165-166 cm), which I’d say is about right judging from their photos and movie scenes alongside other celebrities.

Btw, this movie is quite charming and you get to see Lauren Bacall (a verified Kibbe Dramatic) too, so I’d definitely suggest it to anyone, but let’s move on to the SN vs R.

It seems like the most obvious difference between Soft Natural and Romantic image identities lies in the bone structure – slightly broad and angular vs rounded and small. Now, I find that the easiest way to see the width of a Soft Natural (and Flamboyant Natural for that matter) is in the shoulder area. Take a look at Marilyn Monroe as she turns around to walk to her seat:

Her core feature is curves – it’s hard to ignore them. Betty Grable, on the other hand, has width through the shoulders:

Also, I’d say that Marilyn has double curves (both bustline and hipline are curvy), which makes her curve-dominant, while Betty’s bustline is considerably curvier than her hipline, which means that her vertical line isn’t characterized by very pronounced curves.

In the powder room scene we can see how Betty’s shoulder line is stronger than Marilyn’s, while Marilyn’s shoulders look more delicate and smaller, even though she’s a little taller than Betty:

Seeing Betty and Marilyn side by side also shows the slightly wide and angular (thicker, broader bones) vs delicate and rounded features (smaller, more delicate bone structure):

Courtesy of Google Images

For the lack of a better word, Betty’s bone structure seems more ‘substantial’ as opposed to Marilyn’s delicate, small features, which is especially noticeable through the jawline and cheekbones. Soft Natural will always have a broader, thicker, and/or more angular bone structure than a Romantic.

Here’s what David Kibbe wrote for Romantics in his 1987 book Metamorphosis:

If your bone structure is slightly wide or lush, you may think of yourself as having a large bone structure. This is actually deceiving to you, for the shortness of your limbs and extremities offsets the width. In the context of your overall voluptuous figure, your bone structure is definitely delicate

Metamorphosis, p.37

A perfect example of this is Madonna. Take a look at these pictures of hers:

Courtesy of Google Images

It really does look like her bone structure might be thicker, more angular, and it looks even more so since she’s started working out extensively – muscular and taut look makes her true shape unrecognizeable or at least hard to detect if you rely on pictures only. So let’s take a look at her old pictures from the 70s, 80s, and 90s (click on the picture to enlarge it in a new tab):

Courtesy of Google Images

It’s absolutely clear that she doesn’t have any width through her shoulder area and her bone structure is actually delicate, which makes her a Romantic.

I’ve noticed that sometimes the angularity of a Soft Natural is more noticeable even in facial features. The prime celebrity example for the Soft Natural image identity is Carole Lombard and her andularity and width is present in her facial features (they don’t look as rounded as Betty Grable’s, so easier to identify):

In this video you can see her body shape quite clearly (especially 1:09-1:28):

To sum it all up:

  • Soft Natural will have width through the shoulders as opposed to smaller, rounded shoulder shape of a Romantic
  • Romantics have a curve-dominated vertical line (usually it’s double curves – both bustline and hipline are curvy), while Soft Naturals won’t have very pronounced curves
  • Soft Naturals have a broader and/or thicker bone structure as opposed to smaller, more delicate bone structure of Romantics
  • The width of Soft Naturals is present through the shoulders and often facial features (jawline and cheekbones), while the width of Romantics is in the rounded width of their curves (as opposed to, say, delicate and narrow curves of a Soft Gamine or Theatrical Romantic)
  • Soft Naturals can be taller than Romantics and have a longer vertical line

Yin-Yang Balance

  • Romantic image ID is Yin-dominated: short to moderate vertical line, curves, short limbs, delicate and rounded features. Yang features can be present, but in tiny amounts – otherwise they can upset the balance of this Yin-dominated image identity
  • Soft Natural is Yang-dominated (but the Yang is soft as opposed to prominently angular frame): moderate to slightly small vertical line, width, slightly angular and/or slightly broad frame, slightly blunt or irregular facial contours, can have elongated arms and legs. Yin comes from the softness of the shape (flesh), soft and full facial features, some features can be small (e.g. nose, hands and feet, etc), limbs can be short.

One last thing I’d like to note: if you’re working on figuring your image identity out, I’d suggest to focus on the body features first (vertical line (short, moderate or long) and its characteristics – width, curves, or straight) than facial features.

Other posts you may find interesting:

Soft Gamine vs Theatrical Romantic in Kibbe System w/Examples

Can Gamines Have Long Hair? w/Examples

Waist Shape in Kibbe System. Waistline and Yin-Yang Balance

Misconceptions About Kibbe Image Identities (FG, SG, FN, D, TR, Classics, Gamines)

Why So Many Women Want To Be Theatrical Romantic (and Soft Dramatic) Image ID

Why Kibbe Image IDs AREN’T ‘Kibbe Body Types’

10 Myths About Kibbe That Ruin It For You

Why Rihanna ISN’T a Theatrical Romantic 

Meaning of Yin and Yang in Kibbe System

What Is Vertical Line In Kibbe’s System? w/Examples +FAQ

How I got to know & love Kibbe’s Metamorphosis: My story (feat. ‘Soft Gamine syndrome’)

5 Reasons why you struggle to find your image identity in Kibbe’s system

Height in Kibbe: why Taylor Swift, Lily Cole, and Zendaya AREN’T Gamine

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Author: Alexandra

Passionate researcher and writer. Coffee maniac. Pilates enthusiast. Makeup and skincare junkie. Occasionally - movie and book reviewer. Come join me on my quest!

14 thoughts on “Soft Natural vs Romantic in Kibbe System w/Examples”

  1. I’ve always liked having Carole Lombard as an SN, because most of the other examples are of actresses with very short limbs. I’m torn between SN and FN and seeing Carole with her long arms and slender waist (which is a lot like me) is comforting. I assumed for a time I had to be FN because of the shoulder width, but I really seem to have more curves and certainly NEED waist definition not to look ridiculous.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Couldn’t agree more about Carole Lombard – investigating the verified SN example list truly helped me understand this image identity so much better. To be exact, I’ve realized that every image identity can get Yin and Yang from slightly different features IF the overall Yin-Yang balance is maintained. For SN, Yang can come from angularity and width or elongation and width, but still the Yang is soft. It’s similar to how Audrey Hepburn gets all the Yang from being taller than a FG would be, but maintains the FG ‘formula’ by very small, delicate features.
      As for FN and SN, I’d say that FN has a generally broader and longer bone structure as well as broader and more prominent facial features, while SN is still slightly delicate. FN is strongly Yang-dominated, while in case of SN Yang is very soft and Yin features are quite prominent. Another good hint would be that a FN won’t have a curvy shape or double curves (both hipline and bustline). I think at a glance Carole Lombard might seem to be a FN due to the elongated limbs and her height, but then there’s definitely something delicate about her bone structure and slightly softer, curvier shape, that give her the Yin.
      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!


  2. How would you categorize the older woman in the black dress in the first two frames? I find it difficult classifying people who don’t fit in either extreme end of the spectrum. Examples usually given are of young and attractive celebrities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Took me quite a bit of detective work to find out who this lady was – Hermine Sterler. Unfortunately, I haven’t watched any films featuring her while the pictures are pretty scarce, so I don’t have nearly enough info to even make assumptions, let alone make a statement about her Kibbe image ID.
      It’s not the point here anyway – Kibbe image identities don’t change as we age and you can apply the exact same logic in any situation. Take a look at examples here I Googled the pictures of celebrities from the verified list and it’s obvious that the shapes remain. One thing to note though: I’d say that, in my own opinion, there are only a few instances that are difficult to evaluate at times, that is a very young age (i.e. teens) because the body structure is still developing; and extremely overweight/underweight for obvious reasons. Other than that, I use celebrity examples only because they are easily available and because David Kibbe himself suggested them. That being said, he also stressed the importance of learning to principles of the system itself instead of studying examples. Good luck!


      1. Thank you so much for replying and please don’t think I intended any sort of criticism (English is not my first language). I just meant people in general (not you specifically) use attractive celebrities to exemplify the Kibbe system and unless those are clear D, R, G or FN I’m not sure I see it. I also find it peculiar how many posters in the online community self-categorize as TR or adjacent but are not hesitant at all in categorizing other posters as N. Not to mention certain vloggers who even I can observe have miscategorized themselves. It just seems like there is room for interpretation?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Absolutely nothing to worry about – I didn’t see even a smidgen of any negativity in your comment! I thought I’d just go with straight facts instead of my usual essay-long responses to the comments, so it might have come off as a bit too dry and reserved – clearly not my thing, so I’ll stick with my usual spiel here 😊 Every time I get a question about Kibbe system I get at least a dozen thoughts in response (I feel like it has to be explained in detail, otherwise there’s a lot of misinterpretation happening) and the same with your comments:
        * you asked about the lady in the pictures, Hermine Sterler. Generally, I think that only meeting someone in person can allow determining their Kibbe image ID correctly because movies and especially pictures can make them look nothing like they actually look like (angles, lighting, costume, etc). However, the verified Kibbe examples are all celebrities so that everyone could easily understand what he means, but that’s all they are – mere examples, and I too often see these self-proclaimed Kibbe ‘experts’ taking one celebrity example out of the context and using them as a way to undermine the whole system. I’d say if you are curious about certain elebrities the best way to learn a bit more about their features is to watch movies and interviews, especially alongside other celebrities (e.g. you can clearly see how tiny Audrey Hepburn seeing her alongside a FN like Shirley MacLaine or a tall man like Peter O’Toole), as for pictures – always try to find their photos in a casual setting, e.g. walking on the street, etc.
        * in my opinion, the fact that bloggers use almost exclusively the pictures of young celebrities as examples is nothing short of ageism – life doesn’t stop when a person reaches 30 or 35 and women of all ages deserve equal treatment, equal representation (it’s same with the ‘beauty guru’ community on YouTube, where a woman of 35 is already ‘too old’ *facepalm*). So in the post I linked I deliberately tried to find good pictures of the verified Kibbe examples in their 60s and 70s. I know for a fact that David Kibbe never made such a case of age – he never mentioned it, all he mentioned was describing how every image identity tends to ‘distribute’ the weight if overweight. The ‘Strictly Kibbe’ Facebook group has members of all ages and all of them get equally detailed responses from David Kibbe. So this focus on young celebrities is something made up by the fake Kibbe ‘experts’
        *YES 110% there’s room for interpretation!! Not only there’s room for it – you absolultely have to question everything the certain bloggers say if you want to understand the system and use it. Many, I’d say almost all of them, say so much nonsense that it confuses people very much, besides there’s a lot of negativity in the whole community now due to the fact that these bloggers don’t understand what David Kibbe meant (or deliberately distort what he said, take it out of context to make people turn to them for *paid* help), then blame David Kibbe for it, or call his method ‘dated’ despite the fact that the book is more than 30 years old – of course the examples seem dated, but the system remains valid. Ah yes, they also say that David Kibbe doesn’t do anything to update the system, deliberately not mentioning the fact that he’s been active in the said Facebook group for years and he’s actually altered the system in a way to make it easier to use.
        I see tall and curve-less bloggers call themselves SG because they confuse the Kibbe SG with the SG style and desperately want to be SG’s (which is very wrong – to go in the system already wanting to be something since the whole point is to learn to appreciate what you already are), I see people striving to be TR, or ‘typing’ people as Classics just because they prefer the classic clothing styles. Just a sidenote: FG, SG and TR might be some of the rarest Kibbe image identities. Gamines and TR’s in general are more rare compared to many other Kibbe image identities because of the unique Yin-Yang balance. TR is the most delicate, petite image ID, in my opinion somehow glamorized in the Kibbe community, maybe because of the Femme Fatale descriptor (I even have a whole post about this problem
        Overall, if something just doesn’t seem right to you, you feel like there’s no logic behind it – question it. I’ve delved into many topics about the Kibbe system for the exact same reason, here’s my findings
        Please question my posts too, same as everything else, and if you have any criticism or questions – you’re always 100% welcome to leave a comment. If I don’t see a clear logic behind something, I’ll never post it – logic is my first rule and I am convinced that it’s only through research and discussion that we can differentiate between bulls**t and the real Kibbe.
        *all of the Kibbe image identities are somehow degraded, misunderstood, and stereotyped by those who know squat about the whole Kibbe system, and Naturals (SN and FN) is, in my opinion, is just falsely considered the easiest one to spot, the most ‘regular’ one (maybe the ‘Girl Next Door’ descriptor contributed to this stereotype, we can only guess). Maybe that’s why these fake ‘experts’ just put anyone they can’t evaluate into this image identity. Of course, ‘typing’ by pictures is very hard even for David Kibbe (he once suggested Rihanna was a TR because he thought she was 5’3” and these ‘experts’ immediately took this honest mistake as a way to call everyone they wanted a TR, especially tall women, while it’s clearly said that TR can’t be tall), let alone for someone who doesn’t understand the system to begin with.
        To sum up (I hope you’re still with me cuz boy that’s a long read!) my best suggestion to anyone would be to ignore the petty squabbles about what image identity some celebrities have – that’s not going to help understand one’s own shape, build their own best head-to-toe looks. I’d say go for the root instead, but try to overlook the stereotypes connected to the original descriptions because none of them were meant in a negative way (e.g. people often get agitated by the words ‘blunt’). I absolutely stand by this post of mine – maybe that would be a good starting point.
        If you’ll read any of my posts about Kibbe, you’ll know anyway, but just in case you won’t I’ll say it here: the whole Kibbe system isn’t as complex as some bloggers make it out to be. I’d call it rather simple because it only takes the right source info and a bit of research to understand it. I truly hope all this info will be useful to you! Have an awesome day 💮☀️🌼


  3. Thank you so much for the exhaustive reply! I will continue reading your blog with great interest. One final question: is it possible to be a short DC but with prononunced curves and small waist or would that person automatically fall in TR category? Typical NorthEastern Euro features.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My best suggestion would be to start from the beginning and answer several key questions: what are the major features that determine this person’s shape? is it narrow or wide (width in Kibbe is the width specifically in the shoulder area, best seen from the back)? is the person petite/moderately tall/tall? does the person have curves (ONLY double curves count! having curvy bustline (not only boobs count – it’s the entire ribcage area above the waist that we’re talking about here) and a straight hipline wouldn’t make a person curvy).
      Waistline is a tricky one, I discussed it in this post in detail
      So, the most important thing: Classics CAN’T have any feature except for BALANCE dominating their Yin-Yang ‘formula’! There’s never such a thing as a curvy Classic or tall and narrow Classic – their major and often the only feature is BALANCE, evenness. Of course, they can lean a tiny bit to the Yin side of the spectrum and have a bit of softer, rounder features, but still – it’s not as obvious as a Romantic would have. Dramatic Classic can have a bit of angularity, but it’s never the obvious width that a FN would have or prominent angularity as a Dramatic would have. So, for Classics it’s always balance first and foremost, then a smidgen of Yin or Yang – never anything too prominent except for the overall evenness, balance.
      If a person is obviously petite, they aren’t a Classic 100% – short vertical line becomes the dominant feature. If they have prominent curves – again a lot of Yin already, too much for any Classic Yin-Yang to ‘handle’.
      If you’re asking for yourself, then try to describe your shape (i.e. body line as David Kibbe would say – the outline of the body starting from shoulders to the knee area) in a few words. Could you be still you if you wouldn’t include ‘curvy’ in the description? Or ‘petite’? Then you can work from there. Oh and another thing: don’t focus too much on the facial features – they should be taken into account only if they are extremely prominent (e.g. large prominent nose or huge eyes). The whole ‘face doesn’t match body’ idea is a silly and almost hilarious myth – we’re not Frankenstein’s creatures here 😀. For instance, take a look at Betty Grable (SN) and how her face precisely reflects her Yin-Yang balance – small eyes (Yang), pouty lips (Yin), wide rounded nose (Yin), wide cheekbones and strong jawline (Yang). Marilyn Monroe, a Romantic, doesn’t have a single Yang feature in her face (large eyes, delicate bone sructure, narrow round jawline, rounded cheekbones, smal rounded nose) because she’s all Yin. TR would be all around very petite, narrow, and that slight sharpness won’t be anything prominent like Barbra Streisand’s nose (nothing bad about it – just giving an example, she’s a fantastic woman), but something small and carved in a sharp way like Vivien Leigh’s nose or cheekbones.
      You can go through the physical profiles for every image identity – it’s going to clear things up a bit for you.
      Feel free to ask more – I’ll try to give you more info.


      1. You are ten times too kind to offer these thorough replies to a complete stranger on the Internet. If I’m being altogether honest my questions come from a place of curiosity, not a place of need, and I feel a bit bad in taking up your time.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I type very fast, but haven’t been doing it as much lately, so you actually offered me an opportunity to stretch my fingers out ☺ Besides, I always think about everyone else who’ll potentially read this post in the future – what if our dialogue will benefit them? I always have this thought in mind when responding to comments. Besides, I hate to think about living in a world where we don’t have any desire to be nice to strangers. There’s too much negativity surrounding Kibbe system, people arguing about such trivial things as some celebrities’ image identities – it’s completely worth it to add some kindness and genuine curiosity to the table. So no worries ☺


      3. My reason for asking about DC is (you guessed it) personal. The one actress I probably resemble the most out of Hollywood actresses is Alexis Bledel. Anything she wears looks similar on me, But she is DC whereas I’m the shorter (1,59) and voluptuous version of her. I’m balanced yet curvy at the same time (a natural 28G which should give you an inkling about my narrow ribcage/ waist). But how can Jackie Onassis and Alexis be the same image ID? I look nothing like the former but have the shoulders, neck and (shorter) legs of the other.


      4. I’d say you won’t be able to figure your own features out unless you stop comparing yourself to anyone, especially celebs you haven’t met or seen in person. From the few details you’ve mentioned about yourself, you’re not a ‘voluptuous version of her’ – you look absolutely nothing like her, and, if I’m being frank, nobody should try to figure their features out by comparing themselves to someone – you already have all the info by looking into the mirror. I also haven’t heard David Kibbe assigning Alexis Bledel to the DC image ID, and I know for a fact that he doesn’t encourage relying on celeb image ID’s anyway (even though it can be fun to guess them).
        Also, I don’t know where this info came from, but women that share an image identity don’t have to look same or even similar! I already mentioned it in one of my previous answers to your comment, I believe.


  4. Thanks for this very interesting article! But I have a perplexity: I found some photos of Madonna before she modified her body through exercises: she was really flat and without any curves, nothing at all. I find it really difficult to understand why she is necessarily a R and not (for example) a SG… From a practical point of view, I see that Romantic suits her, but from a theoretical point of view, I can’t find a rational explanation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there, glad you enjoyed this post! Here’s what I think about Madonna: it’s necessary to consider two aspects of her overall appearance, such as whether she’s got a delicate bone structure and whether she’s got double curves. Now bare with me – I know she looks kinda boyish at a young age, however I think it’s more due to the styling and the fact that she’s always done a lot of dancing that shaped her body that way – she looks a little taut, she’s always watched her weight very carefully and always had a low body fat % (I’ve read somewhere that when she was just starting, she didn’t have any money to buy food and ‘was eating out of garbage cans’ and still watched what she was eating – the dedication of that woman is just unbelievable). If you take a look at her bone structure, it’s not delicate at all – it’s thicker, a bit wide (esp. noticeable – jawline, and nose before plastic surgery), but rounded (we don’t see defined and square blunt edges). Even after she’s changed quite a bit due to exercises, she still didn’t look athletic (e.g. like Sandra Bullock or Jennifer Lopez) – she looked more taut, toned, and just a little too thin (to me she seemed exhausted at that point).
      Now about curves: I wrote about waist shape here – I think it’s essential in her case. What David Kibbe says is that the waistline doesn’t have to be very pronounced, but the curves have to be double curves (hipline and bustline). To me her bust and hips are curvy in the same way.
      Overall, I think Madonna invested a LOT of effort to fight her natural shape. In my opinion, the softer, rounder and lush shapes of her Renaissance outfit in ‘Vogue’ video just point straight to her natural image identity.
      I’m sorry for such a late reply, but I hope I could clarify this a little. Have a nice day and thank you for your comment!


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