Do you want to learn how to dress an hourglass shape? This master style guide will help you create the most flattering outfits for your gorgeous curves!
The best way how to dress hourglass shape is to work with your curves. This can be difficult with today’s fashion industry favoring oversized and boxy styles. Coming from a family of different types of hourglass women, I know firsthand how frustrating it can be to find clothes that fit.
With much trial and error, I’ve determined the most important style tips and tricks to create looks that will fit your hourglass body to a T. This method will help you look at clothing in a different way, and easily make many styles work for you. You will look amazing and feel confident each day you step out the door.
Ready to master the art of how to dress an hourglass body shape? Read on for all the details!
This post is all about how to dress hourglass shape.
How To Dress Hourglass Body Shapes
Characteristics of Hourglass Body Shape
The most important factor in how to dress hourglass shape is determining whether you have an hourglass body shape, yourself. What is an hourglass body type?
An hourglass body is naturally balanced, meaning the top half of one’s body is balanced with the bottom half. An hourglass body type carries the most volume in the chest and hip areas, with a cinched-in waist. This creates the look of an hourglass or “X” shape if you trace the silhouette of the body, with natural curves on the top and bottom halves.
Proportionally, the bust and hip circumferences of an hourglass body shape are near equal and sometimes equal in size. This is what gives the balance. The waist is smaller in circumference than both the bust and hips. In fact, the waist is the defining factor of an hourglass body and when measured averages about 25% smaller than both the bust and chest.
Shoulders, thighs, and booty are typically rounded too. This figure is all about curves.
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Types Of Hourglass Figures
Like all body shapes, there is no one-size-fits-all code for an hourglass figure. Hourglass women can be petite, plus-size, slim, extra-curvy, slightly curvy, and everywhere in between. Many people often think of the hourglass shape as having a big bust, a big booty, and a tiny waist, also known as a full hourglass. That’s definitely one of the flavors of hourglass (the rarest and the most easily definable per se), but there are more types of hourglass figures than that.
Not all women with an hourglass body shape have a large bust, in fact. Although the chest is definitely wider in proportion to your waist, it doesn’t mean the bust is always large. You can have a small bust, but a wide chest and you may find that certain tops are actually tight in your bust area due to your measurements.
Additionally, you may have a slim hourglass or neat hourglass width when measured from the front, but your booty makes up for the rest of your curves on the bottom. Bottoms will be tight in the booty area and you may have trouble finding styles that fit well throughout your body and don’t gape at the waist. This is my experience as a slim hourglass with a wide chest and a booty.
Other variations include a large bust, a smaller booty, and wider hips, or a wide chest, wide hips, and a smaller, round booty. It’s important to examine yourself and measure a few times to determine how to dress hourglass shape.
This is why measuring the circumference around your chest, waist, and hips is important because you can’t always tell just from a forward-facing photo if you have hourglass body measurements.
Where Do Hourglass Figures Gain Weight?
Hourglass women typically gain weight in their bust and booty first, and also proportionally throughout the rest of their body. This makes it completely normal to have an hourglass figure with a tummy due to the proportional weight gain.
Even when it comes to losing weight. A true hourglass won’t be able to get rid of every curve, no matter how much weight is lost. This is because your body distributes weight based on your bone structure, which is why it’s so hard to “get an hourglass figure” if your bone structure isn’t as such.
Pear-shaped women are sometimes mistaken for hourglass women, especially slim pear-shaped women. Once enough weight is put on, however, the pear shape will become dominant, because the weight gain is focused on the lower half of the body as opposed to an hourglass with evenly-distributed weight.
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How To Dress An Hourglass Figure
Now onto how to dress an hourglass figure. Women with an hourglass body type have a balanced silhouette to start with. How to dress for your body type is all about learning how to create balance with different shapes and styles of clothing. The hourglass figure is already balanced with a natural curvature, so the primary focus is to maintain and emphasize balance.
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There is no right or wrong way to dress your body as long as you aren’t harming yourself or others. However, there are definitely ways to dress so that the clothes look like they were made for your body. That’s what we’re deep-diving into in this article. Many women’s bodies have components of two or more shapes, so learning about all the shapes is also best to know how to dress your body.
Hourglass figure clothes emphasize your natural curves, which means they’re fitted to your curves while maintaining waist definition. The best styles for an hourglass figure include bodycon, fitted, and semi-fitted styles. Focus on soft, curvy pieces as opposed to sharp and straight pieces. Baggy and boxy styles will do the opposite and hide the curves of an hourglass figure, which is not as flattering.
Key Factors For The Most Flattering Hourglass Body Outfits
Important criteria when styling hourglass body outfits:
- A well-defined waist
- Balanced chest and hip volume
- Balanced top half and bottom half (of the body)
- The waist is the focal point between your top half and bottom half
- Draws the eyes up and outward (think of the top of an hourglass or the top half of the “X”)
- Draws the eyes down and outward (think of the bottom of an hourglass or the bottom half of the “X”)
- Clothes flow with the natural curves of the body as opposed to hard edges and choppiness
- Natural curves are maintained (and not hidden)
- A vertical line down the center creates length, which complements curves
Dark colors hide volume while light colors and bright, busy patterns add volume. Keep this in mind when color-blocking and styling outfits. If you add volume up top with a light top and have a dark pair of pants on, you may choose a light-colored shoe to match your top and balance out the volume. Tonal or monochromatic dressing is a great way to maintain balance in an outfit.
Keep these points in mind whenever you create outfits for how to dress hourglass shape. If you don’t have a natural hourglass shape, the best workaround for how to get hourglass figure is to cinch your waist and wear clothing that balances your top and bottom halves.
How To Dress A Top Hourglass Body Shape
A top hourglass body shape is a type of hourglass where the chest is larger than the hip area. So if your chest circumference is larger than your hips, but your waist is still about 25% smaller than both chest and hips, you have a top hourglass body shape.
The best way to dress a top hourglass body shape is to create and maintain balance with your top half and your bottom half. Since your chest is visually larger than your bottom half, you need to add volume to your bottom half to balance proportions. Styles that are looser (not baggy) or flare out in terms of skirts and pants will help you achieve this. Also try light colors, patterns, pockets, peplums, and other embellishments to add volume to your bottom half.
You also don’t want to add volume to your top half, so slim-fitting clothes are the way to go. Avoid embellishments, strong shoulder pads, and anything that adds weight to your top half. Dark-colored clothing can help minimize volume on your top half as well. Always maintain a well-defined waist with cinched styles or waist belts.
These hourglass style tips are high-level, but we will dive into the exact styles for how to dress hourglass shape below.
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A bottom hourglass body shape is a type of hourglass where the hip area is larger than the chest. So, if your hip circumference is larger than your chest, but your waist is still about 25% smaller than both chest and hips, you have a bottom-hourglass body shape.
The best way to dress a bottom hourglass body shape is to keep the key factors for flattering hourglass figure clothes at the front and center. Create balance by adding volume to your top half to make it proportional to your bottom half. The best way to do this is with tops that add volume through light or bright colors, patterns, or are slightly looser.
You also don’t need to add volume to your bottom half, so stick to slim-fitting clothes that hug or drape over your figure. Stay away from anything that adds additional weight to your bottom half, which can look unnatural. Dark colors can also help to minimize the volume and balance the bottom hourglass shape. Ensure your waist is emphasized by waist-cinching styles and belts.
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Now, let’s dive into the best clothes for an hourglass body!
Hourglass Tops For Women
One of the biggest issues for how to dress hourglass shape is finding a top that isn’t too tight in the bust area. I already mentioned this could be due to having a big bust, or a wide chest in general. Where a smaller top may fit in the waist, shoulders, and arms, you might still need to size up for the chest area. This is definitely frustrating at times.
The best tops to maintain the balance and curvature of the hourglass body are slim-fitting tops with stretch fabric. Tops that are boxy, loose, or baggy in the waist or hip area hide your curves and make you look frumpy. If you choose to add volume to your top half you need to balance proportions by also adding volume to your bottom half to create symmetry and maintain the hourglass body shape.
Necklines that draw the eyes up and out such as v-necks, scoop neck, square neck, ballet neck, boat neck, off-the-shoulder, sweetheart, Queen Anne, and bateau style are very flattering tops for hourglass shaped women. Slim-fitting styles in turtlenecks, mock necks, crew necks, and halters also help to emphasize the hourglass shape on top.
Unless adding volume to your top half (in case of a bottom hourglass shape), avoid embellishments in the chest, neck, and shoulder area that may cause imbalanced proportions. Also steer clear of heavy fabrics, heavy shoulder pads, and other styles that add weight up top.
Opt for fitted sleeves in any length or long sleeves that taper at the wrist such as bishop sleeves. Cap sleeves are especially flattering for an hourglass body. Raglan sleeves are also great for your body type. Avoid wide, billowy sleeves that add volume to the wrong areas of the body.
Let’s review some specific hourglass tops for women.
Bodycon & Fitted Tops
Bodycon tops follow the natural curvature of your body, so balance is maintained.
Wrap tops are universally flattering on every figure and no different for an hourglass. The best styles are more fitted to the body to maintain your curvy silhouette.
Peplum tops were created to add curve from the waist down, so they work well with an hourglass body shape. Ensure the peplum starts are your waist, with your natural curve (and not higher).
Fitted Collared Shirts
For the business casual woman or your capsule wardrobe, a slim-fitting collared shirt should be in a stretch fabric to provide more give at the chest area. Look for styles with no-gape technology, especially if you have a big bust. More relaxed styles should be tucked into high-waisted bottoms, or cinched at the waist with a slim belt.
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Hourglass Figure Sweaters And Cardigans
The best knitwear for an hourglass figure is slim-fitting styles that don’t add bulk to your top half. Opt for fabric with some stretch to it to hug your curves and follow the same guidelines as tops for hourglass shaped women.
Fine-knit fabrics such as cashmere, polyester, and acrylic blends are warm without being bulky. Slinky fabrics and ribbed-knit styles create length down the body, which is a great balance to curves.
Cinch long cardigans at the waist with a belt or tie to maintain your natural curves; or style with a fitted outfit underneath and let your cardigan hang loose.
Cropped styles should be fitted so as not to add bulk to your waistline.
Oversized chunky knits will add volume and hide curves, so don’t go too oversized, and style with a waist belt to not lose your shape completely.
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Hourglass Dress For Women
The best hourglass dresses for women are ones that emphasize the hourglass, or X figure. Slim-fitting and figure-hugging styles complement your curves. Loose fabric should smoothly drape over the body while the waist should always be emphasized.
V-neck dresses and styles that draw a vertical line down the body help to create length, which is a nice balance to curves. This is especially helpful for a petite hourglass shape.
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Avoid boxy, loose, overly embellished, too drapey, and overly structured styles that will work against your curves. Typically, tent dresses, trapeze dress, empire dresses (that hide the waist), and shift dresses should be avoided. Steer clear of heavy fabrics, lots of ruffles, and too many embellishments which will drown out your curves and cause an imbalance in proportions.
Here are some of the best dresses for how to dress hourglass shape.
Mermaid gowns are showstoppers and look amazing on a curvy figure.
An hourglass body shines in a bodycon dress. Invest in good shapewear if you have a tummy as that will help emphasize your natural curves.
Like the top, the wrap dress cinches or ties at the waist to emphasize your natural curves. The v-neckline is flattering and draws the eyes up and outward while creating a vertical line to create length in your top half. Stick to stretchy or slinky fabrics like stretch cotton, modal, stretch knits, polyester, silk, or satin.
Shirt dresses can be very flattering on an hourglass body type as long as the waist is cinched with a tie or belt. Try a slim-fitting style for the most flattering look.
The beloved sheath dress…such a classic and made to flatter an hourglass body shape. If you’re extra curvy, fabric with a bit of stretch will ensure the best fit.
A-line dresses create an A-figure on the body, so ensure the top half is fitted while the bottom half effortlessly drapes over your curves.
Too full of a skirt may cause an imbalance; however, that can look lovely on dresses and gowns to create an ultra-feminine aesthetic, so it’s not a bad thing when you’re going for extra. Always make sure there’s some type of belt or visual detail at the waist to define it.
Fit And Flare
Fit and flare dresses are similar to A-line, but with a more fitted bodice and a definite flare out at the hips. Emphasis is on curves, so they look amazing on hourglass women.
Bias Cut Dresses
Dresses cut on a bias are when the fabric is cut at a 45-degree angle as opposed to straight down. This style is made to drape over curves nicely. Definitely look for this feature when shopping for a slip dress for an hourglass figure.
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Jumpsuits For Hourglass Figure
Focus on styles that cinch at the waist and are semi-fitted with minimal embellishment when shopping for jumpsuits for an hourglass figure. Bodycon styles such as a stretch denim jumpsuit that zips down the front will give you length with the vertical line created by the zipper.
A slim-fitting romper with a cinched waist will also be cute on an hourglass figure. Avoid oversized styles and lots of drapey fabric.
The best pants for an hourglass shape work with the natural curves of your waist, hips, and booty. High-waisted styles are the most flattering because they help emphasize your small waist and also maintain the focal point of balance between your top and bottom halves.
Fabrics don’t have to be skin-tight to maintain the curvature of the body, but they need to drape smoothly over curves without bunching or causing additional width. Opt for styles that are slim-fitted through the waist and hips, and feel free to add a waist belt for additional emphasis on your curves. Ponte-knit fabric is great for workwear pants and professional styles as it provides stretch without being too bodycon.
Trousers look nice when they’re fitted around the waist and hips. Opt for a straight leg, wide leg, flare, or bootcut in full-length to help create length in the body.
Cropped styles can often make you look shorter, so stick to a monochrome look, or wear heels to create length. Pants with a center pleat also help create vertical lines lengthening the body. Slim-fitting trousers are flattering and maintain balance with the natural curves of an hourglass body.
Avoid large pockets and embellishments at the waist and hips that would add volume and cause imbalanced proportions (e.g. paperbag waists). Heavy pleating is a no-no for how to dress hourglass shape because it will add too much volume to your hips. Also avoid low-rise styles that will throw your natural balance off (and potentially cause the dreaded plumber’s crack).
Best Jeans For Hourglass Figure
Similar to the guidelines for pants, the best jeans for an hourglass figure are high-waisted styles, fitted through the waist and hips.
Full-length jeans are best to create length against your curves, while cropped styles above the ankle can make you look shorter. Stretch denim is best to ensure a proper fit over time. 100% cotton denim has the tendency to stretch out while you wear it and over time, which is not as flattering on a curvy figure.
Styles that are relaxed through the waist and hips such as mom jeans, girlfriend jeans, and boyfriend jeans will hide your shape and look unflattering. Steer clear of embellishments at the hips and waist, and pay attention to pocket placement at the back. Sometimes the pockets flatten your booty, while other times they make it look good.
With jeans, the back is just as important as the front, fit-wise. Curvy styles may help you avoid the gaping at the waist that often comes with regular-fit jeans. However, I’ve found my jeans always need to be altered anyway and I account for the additional cost in my shopping budget.
The most flattering styles of jeans for how to dress hourglass shape are high-waisted skinny, trouser-style, flare, bootcut, slim, wide-leg (not overly wide), and straight-leg jeans. Again, ensure the waist and hips are fitted and the denim has stretch to it.
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Shorts For Hourglass Figure
Stick to the guidelines for both pants and jeans in terms of shorts. The best shorts for an hourglass figure are high-waisted and fitted through the waist and hips. Opt for a flared style with an emphasized waist that hits about mid-thigh.
A fitted biker short is also flattering. Be sure to maintain shape with a fitted top or a style that’s tied or tucked into your shorts (or even half-tucked).
Skirts For Hourglass Figure
The best skirts for an hourglass-shaped body complement your curves without over-emphasizing them. High-waisted styles that emphasize your waist is always key. There are two avenues to go with skirts. The first is fitted to semi-fitted where curves are hugged. The second is a fabric that drapes over the curves.
Avoid overly-structured non-stretch fabric, heavy pleating, and styles that restrict movement and hide your shape. Also, steer clear of embellishments at the waist and hips that add too much volume.
These skirt styles are the best hourglass body clothes.
High-waisted and fitted through the hips, the pencil skirt is extremely flattering on an hourglass body type. I consider the pencil skirt a key wardrobe staple for the office, date nights, and other occasions where you can look sexy without looking too sexy. Stretch fabric is great if you’re super curvy or plus-size.
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Try pencil skirts in maxi and midi length for a flattering fit as well.
The mini skirt is the pencil skirt’s younger, college-age sister. It’s definitely sexy, figure-hugging, and more appropriate for what to wear to a bar or concert.
Like the A-line dress, the A-line skirt is fitted at the hips and flatters any hourglass body type.
A slip skirt cut on the bias drapes over your curves and looks amazing.
Full Or Circle Skirt
Opt for fabric that moves and flows with your curves.
A gored skirt is fitted through the waist and hips and flares out through the hem. Stick to a stretchy fabric such as Ponte or denim to ensure it complements your curves.
Jackets For Hourglass Figure
The best hourglass clothing for women when it comes to jackets is slim-fitting and contoured to the curves of your body. Single-breasted blazers and styles that cinch or belt at the waist are perfect for the hourglass body type.
Styles that create a vertical line down the body are fantastic for adding length to curves.
Make sure casual jackets like bombers, moto style, and jean jackets taper in at the waist.
Tailoring should be soft without being heavy and sharp. Avoid heavy shoulder pads and embellishments at the chest, shoulders, and hips. Avoid large pockets that add volume at the midline. Boxy and oversized styles hide an hourglass figure and make you look frumpy.
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Skip puffy, boxy, and oversized vests (or add a waist belt to minimize bulk). Instead, choose styles that contour your figure.
Coats For Hourglass Figure
The best coats for how to dress hourglass figure help complement the curves of the body. Look for A-line fitted and semi-fitted styles tailored to the shape of your figure (e.g princess coats, wool coats, and trench coats) that cinch or belt at the waist.
Soft wrap coats are also incredibly flattering.
Avoid oversized and puffy styles that hide your figure unless it comes with a heavy duty belt or waist buckle to add shape.
Hourglass Body Shape Accessories
The best accessories for an hourglass shape help to maintain the balance of natural curves and femininity. If you’re wearing a more masculine-style outfit, you can balance that with feminine accessories and vice-versa.
Shoes For Hourglass Figure
The best shoes for an hourglass figure help elongate the body. Do this with heels or platforms that help lengthen the legs or with pointy-toe, or almond-toe shoes that create a vertical line. You don’t need to go too high with your heels, because this can throw off your balance, which is what you need to maintain as an hourglass.
Avoid overly chunky boots, chunky sandals, and slouchy boots that take away from your feminine frame. So if you opt for a chunky heel, try it in a suede, velvet, or patent leather to balance the masculine with the feminine.
Classic styles can also balance out a bodycon outfit (sexy vs classic).
Best Handbag For Hourglass Figure
The hourglass body is naturally balanced, so the right handbag should maintain balance or create contrast. Petite hourglass ladies should opt for smaller handbags while tall hourglass ladies can go larger. It’s all about maintaining balance.
Be careful of oversized crossbody bags (such as messenger bags) that would add unnecessary bulk. A stylish leather backpack is a better choice instead.
Another way how to dress an hourglass figure is to play with contrast. If your look is slinky or stretchy (e.g. a sweaterdress), try a structured handbag.
If your look is structured such as a tailored suit, try a slouchy hobo. There’s no right or wrong as long as the look maintains balance and you feel good wearing it.
If your outfit has more volume on top, or you’re a top hourglass, style with a crossbody bag to balance the volume in the hip area. If your outfit has more volume on the bottom, or you’re a bottom hourglass, style with a shoulder bag that balances the volume in the chest area.
Jewelry For Hourglass Figure
Again, because of the natural balance of an hourglass figure, you can wear most styles of jewelry.
Big-busted hourglass women might avoid large necklaces that add volume to the top half to maintain balance. However, statement pieces help draw the eyes, so long, dangly earrings or a long slim necklace or lariat are great for creating length.
Other Accessories For Hourglass
Scarves can add volume to your top half, so skinny scarves are a great choice for what to wear for an hourglass figure. Opt for fine-knit fabrics in the fall and winter while slinky silk and satin fabrics are best in spring and summer. Avoid infinity scarves that will add too much volume and throw your proportions off-balance.
The best advice when styling hats on an hourglass body is to maintain balance. A large hat may throw your proportions off while a small hat can do the same. You can balance a large hat with platform heels, boots, or wide-legged pants, so play around with different styles until you find what works.
Last but definitely not least, the best accessories for an hourglass are waist belts. I’ve mentioned belts countless times in this post because they’re the best accessory to emphasize a slim waist. Waist belts are your secret weapon for turning anything loose, oversized, or boxy into something flattering for your curves (e.g. a poncho or blanket scarf). And if you don’t like slim-fitting or bodycon styles, they are necessary in this case. I never leave the house without trying a belt with my outfit first!
What’s the biggest struggle you’ve had when dressing your hourglass figure? Comment below!
This post was all about how to dress hourglass shape
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