Hourglass Body Shape
An hourglass body shape is defined by bust and hip measurements that are almost identical, coupled with a waistline that is the narrowest part of the body. Despite being equally proportioned at the top and bottom, an hourglass body tends to look fuller and more curvy.
Additionally, women with an hourglass figure are more susceptible to gaining weight evenly across the entire body. This makes the body appear naturally balanced and ideal for wearing diverse silhouettes.
Prominent celebrities that have the hourglass body shape include Scarlett Johansson, Sofia Vergara, Blake Lively, Salma Hayek, Kate Winslet, Christina Hendricks, and Tyra Banks. Many cultures admire the hourglass body and it is considered the most attractive body shape.
These physical attributes may likely be present if you do have an hourglass body shape:
- Rounded shoulders
- A well-defined waist
- A well-endowed bust and hips of the same or similar width
- A full, rounded bottom
- Hips and thighs that are full
- You often come across heavier than you actually are
Fortunately, it is pretty easy to style an hourglass figure and the foundation to it is to dress according to its natural and balanced silhouette while accentuating the waistline, so as to flaunt those killer curves.
This signifies choosing dresses that neither spotlight the top or bottom halves of the body to retain those balanced proportions. Though there is a lot of room to play around when it comes to styling an hourglass body, there are certain tips you may want to take note of.
Given that the waist is an emphasis for this body shape, any shapeless, loose or boxy dresses would be a disservice to those curves. Similarly, striking embellishments or complex prints and patterns will only muddle up the hourglass silhouette.
Here are some dos and don’ts when it comes down to styling an hourglass figure:
- Stick to clean and simple dresses that aren’t cluttered
- Refrain from highlighting the hips and shoulders
- Avoid shapeless, loose, or boxy styles that conceal the waist
- With embellishments, less is more
- Lean towards dresses that are tight fitting in the waist or add on a simple belt
With dresses, those with an hourglass body shape should focus on accentuating the waist without piling on additional volume to the bust or hips. This means that any silhouette that wraps around the midriff and waist would work, with an evident one being wrap dresses.
Other aspects to look out for with dresses are voluminous skirts, like a full circle skirt, with hemlines that either hit right at the knee or below. You may also make your curves look more understated by wearing darker colours or dressing in vertical stripes.
Let’s examine the dress silhouettes that work with hourglass body shapes:
- Fit and flare dress: The form fitting top of the dress will draw attention to those curves and the flared skirt adds balance to the body.
- Bias cut dress: With the fabric cut at an angle, the dress nicely hugs the waist and gently skims over the hips.
- Wrap dress: Wrap dresses will drape over the curves of an hourglass figure beautifully without adding any bulk.
- Corset or panel waist dress: Needless to say, this type of dress draws focus to the midriff and waist, which is really flattering on an hourglass body shape.
- Bodycon dress: Bodycon dresses are heaven sent for hourglass figures as they accentuate the curves like second skin.
- Mermaid dress: Mermaid style dresses look particularly great on curvier hourglass body types as they show off those mega curves in an elegant way.
For hourglass body shapes, it is best to avoid fabrics that are too thick and structured, such as chunky knits and denim. Instead, choose fabrics that are lighter and more flowy, such as silk, cotton, spandex, matte jersey, and leather.
The trick here is to wear dresses made out of form-fitting fabrics that will put the curves on an hourglass figure on full display. Anything too thick or chunky will make the hourglass body look poofier or than it actually is. On that note, be sure that the fabric isn’t overly tight on the body.
In order to keep the balance of the hourglass silhouette, necklines should not visually broaden the shoulder line or have excess volume, such as embellishments. This includes turtlenecks and high necklines that add bulk.
Necklines that work for the hourglass body shape are those that are slightly rounded, like oval and jewel necklines, and lower and wider necklines, such as sweetheart or scoop necklines, that flatter the bust area.
Should you wish to downplay the ampleness of your bust, stay away from those aforementioned necklines. Slimming necklines such as a V-neckline, also work great on an hourglass body as they lengthen the silhouette and draw the eyes downwards.
Here are some necklines that work well with an hourglass figure:
- Oval neck
- Round neck
- Jewel neck
- Scoop neck
- Sweetheart neck
- Square neck
- Off-shoulder neck
With the rule of thumb of keeping the balance of the silhouette in mind, the sleeves on dresses must not add volume or visually broaden the shoulders. Hence, all sleeves that are fitted work best for the hourglass body shape.
With that said, there is indeed a way to go about it should you have the desire to enhance the shoulders with sleeves such as cap sleeves. Simply choose a dress with more volume at the bottom and voila!
Similar to necklines, all embellishments, such as ruffles, should be avoided when it comes to the sleeves. Loose and wide sleeves, like kimono or bell sleeves, will further call attention to the upper half of the body.
Here are some sleeve types that work with hourglass figures:
- Set-in sleeves
- Three-quarter sleeves
- Fitted sleeves
- Bishop sleeves
Skirts are a fun way to flaunt the hot curves on an hourglass body shape. Having said that, the perfect skirt for the hourglass figure should define the waist sans the extra volume at the bottom. One great example is a pencil skirt as it wraps around the body and nips at the waist.
Other skirts that work with an hourglass figure are flip, bias, and A-line skirts as well as voluminous skirts, such as the tulip and full circle skirts. All these skirts cling to the body in all the right places and in particular, the waist.
With hourglass body types, skirt hemlines should be knee-length or longer. Besides that, stay away from boxy and straight styles, and other big skirts with too much bulk or embellishments, unless of course the upper half of the body is balanced accordingly.
Try these skirts to show off your curves:
When choosing shoes for an hourglass figure, it is crucial to move in accord with the rest of the silhouette. If your dress is heavier on the top, select shoes that are more chunky or busier with colour and details. Alternatively, choose more classic shoes if the outfit is already balanced.
As for the type of shoes, ones that work with an hourglass figure include platforms, wedges, chunky heels, court shoes, and kitten heels. Two shoe styles that particularly flatter an hourglass body shape are peep toe shoes and ankle strap shoes.
Experiment with different styles, but opt for those that make you look leaner overall. Your shoes also should ideally underscore your feminine frame and make your legs look longer to lengthen the body vertically. Try those that are pointed instead of rounded at the front for this effect.
Utilising accessories strategically can do wonders for an hourglass body shape. Once again, the key here is all about balancing out the proportions on the top and bottom, and keeping the waistline nicely cinched to play up those curves.
For belts, use thin to medium belts to define the small waist. These belts can also be worn above the natural waistline to further intensify those curves. Be careful not to wear belts too close to the hips as this will make the body look imbalanced.
When it comes to jewelry, bold statement earrings work in your favour as they draw the eyes upwards to the face. On top of that, a large necklace that drops below the decolletage creates harmony between the bust and waist area.
Those with an hourglass body shape should avoid wearing crossbody bags that may disrupt the balance of the body, thick belts that may visually dissect the body, and excessively embellished accessories that will make the entire outfit look too cluttered.
Petite Body Types
Dressing a petite hourglass figure may be tricky due to your height, but it certainly isn’t impossible to navigate. Simply keep this tactic in mind - focus on enhancing a vertical line across the body to visually add length, such as by wearing a V-neckline.
Try vertical stripes and keep the hemlines just above, right at the knee, or just below the knees. Dresses with mini skirts should be avoided at all cost unless your legs are somewhat slender. The same applies for maxi dresses that end at the ankles, which visually stunts the figure.
As for shoes, chunky shoes only add weight and make the body look shorter. Pick out shoes with a slimmer profile that can contribute to that unbroken vertical line that helps you look taller. Any shoes with heels work in this case, and so do knee-high boots and high-top sneakers.
Tall Body Types
Cheers to having the ideal body type and the height to go with it! For a tall hourglass body type, maxi dresses that cut at the ankle work really well. On that note, don’t be afraid to experiment with different patterns, such as horizontal stripes, to break up your height.
With hemlines, make sure that short dresses aren’t too short and fall just above the knees. Anything shorter will make the body look top-heavy and thus, imbalanced.
With that said, there is also no harm in flaunting those mile-long legs of yours by wearing heeled shoes, including strappy stilettos. As far as boots are concerned, knee-highs work just as well as ankle boots.
With a compact midsection, try not to wear dresses that are overly high-waisted as this can make the torso look even smaller as compared to the lower half of the body. If the dress has a seam on the waist, make sure that it sits slightly lower than your natural waistline.
When it comes to accessories, avoid wide belts as the thick width of the belt could cover the waistline completely and vertically shortens the body. Therefore, choose skinny belts or cut out belts altogether.
Another important reminder when wearing belts is to wear it around your hip instead of on your natural waistline. This will give the illusion of balance between the torso and legs, thus equalising said proportions.
Any dresses with a high waist, such as corset or panel waist dresses, will have a good effect on the longer torso by making the waistline look higher than it actually is. This magically shrinks the torso in half.
When choosing fabrics, opt for ones that lightly nip at the waist yet still flow with movement instead of clinging too much to the body. The goal with this is to detract from the long torso and not make it the star of the show.
In regards to shoes, anything with heels, like low-cut shoes, heels and ankle boots, will elongate the legs without adding too much volume to the bottom. You can also try colour matching the dress and the shoes or wear nude shoes to create more vertical synergy.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to fashion. However, there are certainly tips and tricks that you can pick up to style those curves on that hourglass body shape of yours confidently. After all, your curves, your advantage!