The Soft Dramatic Soft Summer Part 2 (and Hair Colour)

Still lunar and fluid like all Summer, still vaporous, but with a dimensional quality, like a silvery apparition, the hologram we discussed in Part 1. Soft Summer does not have a feeling of steps. What these fairly-light and fairly-dark colours do is flow smoothly.

Paisley asked

Can the Soft Summer archetype as you model it have a warmer embodiment? Mostly we’re compared to water spirits (which imagery I do love). I wonder if we could have a warmer side that’s maybe more of a mountain spirit? I do have warm-leaning eyes and some warmth in my hair, but yes, the SA drapes turn me yellow. Even so, gold, brass, copper, and rose gold are better on me than silver or pewter, which tend to just sit there on me.

She makes an important point that applies to many Soft Summer. That warmer incarnation is certainly in my head, but maybe not always in my words and images. Something that comes up often for me is that I see many who are very borderline Soft Summer/Soft Autumn. They’re like the neutralest of the Neutrals, positioned almost even between those two Neutral Seasons. To see the eyes alone, you’ll pick the warmer Season for sure, except that the skin yellows with drapes. On these women, silver (not overly cold and shiny) and gold (not overly yellow and shiny) are about equal.

Soft Summer warms and solidifies significantly relative to True Summer imagery. In my book (over in the right column), we went from a lake to a forest. Hopefully, the Polyvores below portray that.

About shimmer, Paisley said,

As long as the iridescence doesn’t take the color too high, I think iridescent makeup is gorgeous on us. Also your makeup style depends on your Kibbe. Having been identified as a Romantic, I was relieved to read Kibbe’s recommendation that even daytime makeup should have some sparkle. I think very softly glowing making adds to the misty factor, as do finishing powders that are pearlescent. The point being to keep it soft-focus — it’s can’t go toward metallic in any way. But glowing and pearlescent is gorgeous on us, IMO.

And IMO, you’re exactly right, Paisley. I can not say it as well as a woman who lives it.

Seems to me that part of the shimmer, maybe all of it, is explained by the equiluminant property of this palette. Rendered in B&W, it would appear to be just a few shades of grey and much of the detail would disappear. Bring in colour and the combinations are pure melody. Everyone of the 12 Seasons soars depending on what you can do with it. For Soft Summer, it’s in the allure that happens when these colours are worn together on this type of colouring.

Why? Because vision in our brain operates on two parallel tracks. The colour system recognizes faces, objects, and details. The B&W system sees movement, depth, and position. In equiluminant compositions or outfits, the colorblind B&W track won’t quite be able to tell the location of the elements. But the colour track will see the elements well. This disconnect gives these compositions an unstable, shimmery, unearthly feeling. We talked about it in Part 1. Sorry for repeating, it is so amazing to me.

The SD body has presence. The horizontal shoulder line is substantial and the vertical line equally so. I am not a Kibbexpert, but narrow, petite, or slender wouldn’t be words I’d associate with Soft Dramatic. If someone picked those words for you over Amazonian, I’d have to wonder about another Image Identity. If you look at Images for Raquel Welch, she is luscious-yes, dumpling-no. Compared to other body types, these are a little burly. A lot of size, strength, and length in the upper and lower body.

Kibbe Soft Dramatic (SD)

  • broad shoulders, a strong horizontal line
  • a long bold sweeping vertical line
  • drape, flow, light fabric ; soft plush – so far, great on Soft Summmer
  • shiny fabric – for Soft Summer, this looks like the lustre of pearl and abalone shell ; go past it and your colouring will make the fabric shinier than it is and the fabric will make your face more muted


Soft Dramatic Soft Summer 1



Many Summers ask if they look good in pearls. They absolutely do, taking into account your body’s geometry. Classics wear the classic strand(s) better than one big-huge piece. Dramatic bodies need big and geometric shapes to include the necessary angularity that balances who they already are.

We’ve talked about what looks like black and white on you in Black and White for 12 Seasons. Once you learn to manipulate what you wear to look like B&W or black&red or whatever on you without actually wearing those colours, you have cracked the code. You can achieve any look without ever venturing into unflattering colour by knowing how your own colouring exerts influence over what you wear. How do you do this? Wear your 12 Season Sci\ART palette. Job done.

Mr. K talks about bold and dramatic colour combinations. Great. Use your palette and go wild. Don’t compare your bold and dramatic to how Mr. Spock would get there.

Contrast levels are high here. First, it increases the drama and boldness. Second, I’ve rethought this whole contrast thing – 3! videos coming up about that in another post.


Soft Dramatic Soft Summer 2


  • Head to Toe.
  • T shape with rounded edges, always the vertical and horizontal lines.
  • Luxe and glamour.
  • Colour repetition works well to give flow and continue a vertical line.
  • Not stiff, tight, shapeless, sharp of drape.
  • Lots of length. Strong geometrics with soft edges.
  • If you don’t like the muted purples, don’t wear them as clothes. But they make darn good eyeshadow.
  • Wear your hair colour on your feet.


Soft Dramatic Soft Summer 3


Enlarged the jewelry to be big. With her size and the very generous amount of Yang, jewelry needs to be scaled way up or she’ll dial it down into a dime store trinket.

For the day of the week you go to the office, not the opera, there are shoes here that won’t punish your back and feet. The guys wouldn’t put up with that. Why should we?


Soft Dramatic Soft Summer 4



Soft Summer Hair Colour

This came up on facebook but this is a good place to insert it. Whatever your Kibbe or Season,

When do highlights in the hair look right? When the distance between the lightest and darkest approximates that in the rest of the colouring. That’s how the hair can be a realistic extension of the head.

Summer light colours are pastels, more colourful than Winter icy colours. Also, their darks don’t get extremely dark. So there is not a big distance between the lightest and darkest colours. Soft Summer begins from a darker base colour position than the other Summers. Applying the pastel concept, their highlight will be darker than the other Summers too. Message for colourist: don’t overbleach or add back toners that are too light.

Use a taupe highlight, like medium mushroon, for a tone on tone look. The colour is in your swatches. It is cooler than it is warm. But be careful. Someone sees warmth in the eye and the very neutrality of the skin and overestimates the warmth. Soft Summer is often getting coloured way too light and yellow so the face goes oily and yellow. This is not a butterscotch light, it’s taupe.

Also be careful again. That dusty quality in the hair is essential to bring the roses out of the skin. I mean, essential. Don’t stare at your hair colour and not see the whole like we do. Don’t compare your hair to anyone except other perfect Soft Summer hair, like Princess Kate. Would she look better with saturated hair? No way. Highlights? Absolutely not to me.

Start with a colour a couple of shades lighter than the base, usually a medium ash brown And be careful once again. Chemical colour is often very saturated and looks darker than expected, like saturated cosmetics do. So you might even go a few shades lighter than the base to compensate.

If you can keep 80% of the hair as totally unprocessed, much better to give the skin harmony and perfecting potential that chemistry so skillfully removes with chemical pigments. Make highlights filaments, not chunks.

How about this?  Look at the before. Cooler than warm but not pure ash cool silvery brown. The highlights on the right side of your screen (not the model) are pretty good in the lower half of the hair. On the other side, the eye can get caught up on the too-light strands. Soft Summer’s total expression is Summer colours in shade. Still, those too light strands are at least cool beige, not platinum, not yellow or orange. The base is pretty darn good for a Soft Summer. I like it. (IDK if this model is a Soft Summer, it’s just about the hair).



17 thoughts on “The Soft Dramatic Soft Summer Part 2 (and Hair Colour)”

  1. Thank you Christine – a lot of good stuff here.
    I have searched the internet these past days and found a good questionnaire for Kibbe – now if colours have been hard for me and included a few detours, this was fairly easy.
    I have become careful and somewhat suspicious of my secret whishes for being a certain season or in this case Kibbe type, because it has led me astray before, however being as objective as at all possible, yes I am a SD, tall with strong shoulders and a feminine wrapping over those large scale bones. Seeing your descriptions just confirms it. I laughed out loud when I read “amazonian” … that’s me. I can’t count the number of times I have been called that. I now realise that my biggest and most common mistake shoppingwise is to go dull, safe, conservative, classic. I believe this might even explain why I have been struggling so much with Ssu. It was the style that was off – quite possibly not the colours. I’ll see how it evolves over the next few months now that I am armed with this new knowledge.
    I am also very grateful for Paisleys comments on shimmer. I know I can wear satin. I like shimmer in both eyeshadow and lipstick, but yes a subtle shimmer. Thank you also for the note about the warmer colours and eyes – warm greens, both spring greens and autumn greens connect strongly with my eyes. I now often wear green in earrings.

  2. I must be one of those warm leaning Soft Summer’s. I really struggle for balance, but when I achieve it the complements roll in. At my analysis session she used too-yellow foundation to get rid of the pink cheeks even though I warned her I don’t wear it. Paisley is spot on with the benefit of lustre. Pearlescent finishing powder in pink or peach gives me an ethereal glow. Picked up an iridescent silver pendant on EBAY. Fabulous.

  3. I am loving all these discussions regarding SSu. Now, with all this information let’s see if I can put a charge into my wardrobe.

  4. Thank you! As a SSu SD, I feel like I just hit the jackpot! Love! Thank you again!!

  5. Christine — first of all let me tell you how much I enjoy reading your posts — I always learn so much! While I don’t know much about SSu, I do know how SD clothes fit since I am one.
    I think overall your choices are excellent but I would like to make comments on a few pieces that I feel wouldn’t work well. I’ll be curious to hear what other SDs think.

    In the 1st polyvore, the pink mu mu style shirt would make me look as big as a house. Without some indentation at the waist, a fabric like that will fall straight down from a large bust line to a large hip line, visually expanding me from a size 6 to about a size 12. Your mention of Jessica Rabbit in a previous post is a helpful image to understand this concept. Ditto for the off-white trench coat.

    In the 2nd one, I think the aqua shirt and flowing pants together would look too casual – like wearing pajamas. Again, the shirt lacks some waist definition, unless you tuck it in, but then that ruins the long line.

    In the 3rd, that pink dress is pure delight, but the blue chambray color shirt with patch pockets on the chest is a serious no no. To me, chest patch pockets for women never look flattering, but especially for an SD whose larger bust line will make those flap-style pocket tops jut straight out from the body and lay almost parallel to the floor! Also lacks waist skimming. I never buy any button up shirts because, no matter what I do, they always gap between the buttons near the bust line. If I buy a size large enough for that not to happen, the shoulder line is about 3 inches below my actual shoulders and I end up just looking like a shapeless blob.

    In the 4th, that white shirt is much too boxy, the crew neck is too high, and the small buttons on the chest are just wrong in many ways — too small, too symmetric, too repetitive. But I love the short periwinkle skirt! And love, love, love all the green items.

    Sorry to be picky, but I can just tell by looking at those items that they wouldn’t be good looks for me, and probably for most SDs.

    Thank you again for you fantastic work!

  6. I love some of your choices, but I have to agree with Arienne. Having said that, I am actually an inverted v with that strong T shape, but I am petite. I have to pay attention to how clothes fall from my shoulder line (I need some waist definition). I love drape on clothes as long as it is not too overwhelming and despite my height shortcomings I sometimes dress as an SD. It adds interest to my outfits without all the distracting decorations on my upper torso.

  7. I love you, Christine, and your polyvores are usually amazing and spot-on. But I have to say that I think you’ve missed the mark on SD.

    As Kibbe says, SD’s are Dramatic first. Dramatic is long and sleek and, typically – very much – slender. Amazonian would generally not come to mind. (Sophia Loren “Amazonian”? Really?)

    I feel like most of the clothing here is too shapeless and not sufficiently body-conscious. SD’s require shaping. Not waist *emphasis*, necessarily, but the waist *must* be visible.

    It looks like there’s quite a blurring here of SD and FN.

  8. I agree with Rachel—SDs can be long and graceful, like Jacqueline de Ribes.

  9. Hi Christine,

    Well, I’m pretty sure that I’m a soft dramatic now. I can see the D with round edges and I certainly gain weight just like one. I like your description of ‘amazon’ as I think you meant it more as a feeling of presence rather than size. Nic has always called me his amazon and I didn’t really understand it until recently since I’m only 5’7″ (same height as SL) and we had friends who were taller and more Amazonian in build. I see now that the SD amazon thing is about presence, not height or bigness. I get that feeling from Jacqueline de Ribes as well as any other SD. The presence is powerful, strong and fearless with grace. I am only now realizing what my impression to others has been. It took a while. And I must say that I’m liking what I’m learning.

    As for your polyvores

  10. Haha! iPad posted too soon!

    As I was saying, some of the pieces I would wear and some I wouldn’t, but I’m not sure if that has to do with them being SD or not. Maybe it just has to do with my tastes. I find it very difficult to pin down what is exactly an SD piece and I figure that’s what is so fun about being a part of these Kibbe groups, seeing what others have to say and pictures etc to get a better sense of it but even in those groups though I’m not sure exactly what is or isn’t an SD item of clothing, so I play with it like you have. Like sometimes I wear a wide pant if it’s the right kind for me, and I don’t know how to quantify that ‘rightness’ yet, but in general I go for a more fitted boot or straight pant. Also, I have a linen jacket which is loose but looks great over a fitted shirt. I have some chunkier shoes that are ok, but they’re not the norm for me, so I don’t have such strict guidelines but i do tend more toward the basic Kibbe guidelines for SD. But if you look at the SD celebs, their styles vary quite a bit and so there is some room to move, I think.

  11. I’m confused. Some of the colours seem to be outside/brighter than the 12-tone and Sci/ART palettes??

  12. Hi, I’m a long time reader of this wonderful, informative site, but this is my first post. I just wanted to say, as a Soft Summer, I’ve found the most beautiful lipstick! It’s called “Pretty Amazing Lipcolor” by bareMinerals, in the shade “Fearless”. It is very creamy and long-lasting, with no glitter or shimmering frost. Chic, would be the perfect word to describe it, in my opinion. I hope some of you find this post helpful. :)

  13. Your insights—even when they don’t specifically apply to me, are always little treasures.
    I would like to add one more request to your very long list of requests, and that would be for anarticle about Bright Spring Dramatic Classics!

    Many thanks for all your research. JC

    In her description of herself. I have been typed all the winters, every single one and some autumns and even autumn leaning toward spring. I have had my hair changed to suit these findings and been out of sync with myself every single time, feeling something, something intangible was wrong. Silver sits like aluminium foil on me and white gold looks cold. Yellow gold is too yellow and softer rose gold is the only metal that I can tolerate. I also find softer, more muted bronzes harmonise and copper looks like it belongs to, but put me in Autumn colours and they are heavy, dull, leaden, dissonant and wrong! Warm hair colours, even chocolate, are too heavy for my face. These auburns and chestnuts don’t harmonise with my ash eyebrows and make me look like I’ve bleached my hair and forgotten to note my eyebrows are dark.
    So! When I read this, I went over to Soft Summer makeup and put up a very clear and good photo. It harmonised instantly. So, I pulled up all the other makeup bests for each season and they were incongruous. This explains everything. Everything.
    Not content with that, I read about the soft summer attitude and elegance. My son has been saying to me for a few years, Mum, let me chose for you, you are not trendy or edgy you are elegant. I get stressed out when there are a million things to do and a shortage of time. I like to take things a bit slower and I like to have my home neat, clean, orderly, and everything in its place with no glaring colours, or dirty nature oriented colours… no they must be softened, not too grey, but softened and elegant. The whites must be soft white, nothing too cold and the creams can’t be too warm, nothing too heavy. The bedding I chose, the roses I love to have on my buffet, the vases that show case them all need to be soft. My lamps are brass and adorned with just the right amount of beading that makes them elegant, restrained and feminine. This is, I believe, my home. I am very glad I came across this. Now I understand why my hair is so wrong for me and why I have been so confused with the colours I have been told were mine but felt like someone else’s wardrobe. I also have a strong shoulder line and find that halter neck is a great shape for me being an inverted triangle. I was told once that I was a rectangle but the top has always been slightly bigger than the bottom.
    Can say it enough, many thanks for this post.

    Paisley’s quote:
    “I wonder if we could have a warmer side. I do have warm-leaning eyes and some warmth in my hair, but yes, the SA drapes turn me yellow. Even so, gold, brass, copper, and rose gold are better on me than silver or pewter, which tend to just sit there on me”

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