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Dress To Flatter Your Hourglass Figure

female hourglass figure

 Lucky you! Your figure is referred to as the ideal body shape.

You have a shapely, balanced figure. Your hips and shoulders are about the same width and you have a well defined waist. 

You have plenty of options dressing for your body shape. 


body shape analysis service

Your main style aims are...

...to emphasize your curves, especially your waist, without adding bulk.

Do wear...

  • Fitted and semi-fitted clothes

  • Soft, clingy, flowing fabrics

  • Low to medium-low necklines

  • Dresses with defined waistlines

  • Straight and gently flared pants

  • Straight and gently flared shirts

Don't wear...

  • Stiff, bulky, fabrics

  • Baggy styles

  • High necklines (unless you have a small bust)

  • Skirts with open pleats

  • Very tapered pants

Combine these guidelines with...

...the guidelines for your vertical body shape.

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Style Makeover?

Dressing for your shape is an essential part of a style makeover.
For professional help, either in-person or online, use my image consulting services.

Please note...

These guidelines only take into account your horizontal and vertical body shapes. The recommendations may change based on other features such as your age, your weight, your face shape, your neck length and any figure flaws you may have.

The online women's estyles program gives you personalized style recommendations that take all your proportions into account.


Clothing Styles for Your Hourglass Figure

The most common problem I see for women with an hourglass figure is that they limit their choice of clothing too much (especially if their preferred clothing style is classic).

There are a large range of styles that suit an hourglass body shape, below are examples of just some of the styles that will work (as long as you don't have a figure challenge that removes them from your recommendations):

Hourglass Shape Dresses

hourglass figure dresshourglass figure dresshourglass figure dress

Images courtesy of ModCloth(click on images above to see if the dresses are still available)

  • Your best dress silhouettes will be those that echo your hourglass shape. Styles with a definite waist, or with shaping at the waist will be your best dress shapes

  • If you do go for a looser, or straighter style make sure it is in a soft, flowing fabric that shows, rather than hides, your shape. Also consider wearing it with a belt

Hourglass Shape Separates

Remember your aim is to echo your hourglass horizontal shape, so look for top and bottom combinations that maintain this balance.

Hourglass Separates
See by Chloe, Siren, Equipment, Warehouse
  • Look for shirts or blouses in soft fabric, that drapes to your body shape, or that has shaping in its construction (such as darts, or seams from the bust to the hemline)
Hourglass Separates -- Pants
St. John, Living Doll, Jaeger, Eddie Bauer

Figure Variations

Of course having an hourglass body type doesn't mean that you don't have figure challenges you'd like to disguise! You may still be carrying more weight than you'd like. Or you may have broad, square shoulders that mean you'll want to avoid styles that overly emphasize this, such as spaghetti straps.

There are also 2 main variations in the silhouette of this shape:

  • Your hips may be widest near your thighs (this is probably the shape that comes to mind most readily when you think of an hourglass figure), or

  • You may have a fairly straight line from just under your waist to the top of your thighs. This may create create a shelf-like look around your midriff.

    For this shape dresses and skirts that are straight, or subtle A-line (an A-line shape that falls straight) from the hip through the thigh area, rather than an obvious A-line shape, will work best. However, a defined, or shaped waist in the clothing is still recommended. Avoid a lot of pleating at the waist,

    Flat-fronted pants will work better than pleats, which are likely to pull open and add bulk at the waist

Outfit Ideas

To me this figure invokes images of the 1950s style of dressing, as shown so well in the recent "Mad Men" TV series. The UK series "The Hour" and the Australian series "Paper Tigers" were also set in the 50s and show great, classical examples of dressing the hourglass figure. Of course, just because you have this shape, it doesn't necessarily follow that your style personality is classic. However, if you do, these shows should give you some great ideas for outfits.

Celebrities with an Hourglass Body Shape

Marilyn Monroe is one of the most famous women with this shape. Others include:

Halle Berry, Scarlett Johanssen, and Sofia Vergara

Related Articles

Please note...

Dressing to flatter your shape is one of the fundamental steps to looking your best. However, it is just 1 of 6 steps. Be sure to check out all of the 6 steps to savvy style to ensure you know all the fundamentals as well as how to build your own inspirational wardrobe.





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