Hourglass Body Shape

"How to Dress Your Proportional Body Shape.
Flaunt it!"

Pear body shape pin

Got an Hourglass Body Shape? Well, you're in luck, because it is considered the most ideal body shape! Out of the 5 silhouettes, the hourglass has the best proportions - with upper and lower half approximately in line with each other, along with a defined waist.

Compared to for example an Inverted Triangle or Pear shape, you've got the curves on all the right places!

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Here are other characteristics typical of an Hourglass body shape:

  • Your full hip-line and your full bust-line are the same width
  • Your waist is defined
  • When you gain weight, the fat usually stores evenly throughout your well-proportional curves

Another way to figure out if you're an hourglass is to measure yourself. Your waist should be 8" to 12" smaller than your hip or bust measurements. This is the minimum in an image consultants book.

Be open for a secondary body type

You may not exactly be an Hourglass, so you probably have a secondary body type.

There are different varieties of the Hourglass body shape. You may have slightly fleshy upper arms which makes your shoulder-line look wider which makes you lean a bit towards Inverted Triangle.

Or maybe you have a slightly fuller bottom that needs some of the tricks from the guide for Pears.

So try to be flexible and follow the guidelines for both your primary and secondary body figure!

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The reason why your body shape is considered ideal is because of its proportions and defined waist. It sounds rather shapist of me to say but it's true! This is the silhouette fashion stylist strive to create on their model. Having the curves on the right places indicates femininity and is appealing (sells better) to the eye.

High 5! Join the Team!

Celebs with hourglass body shape
Image credits: Danjaq/LLC United Artists Corporation, Lester Cohen for wireimage,
Dimitrios Kambouris for wireimage, Kevin Mazur for wireimage

5 star Famous Pears: Megan Fox, Salma Hayek, Scarlett Johansson, Halle Berry, Kate Winslet, Jessica Biel, Kelly Brook, Marilyn Monroe

Yes they all come in different sizes - you can be a skinny, average or curvy hourglass. And no, you don't need to have a big bust to be an hourglass! It's all about that trim waist of yours.

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How to Dress Your Hourglass Body Shape

Even though you have the classic body figure you still might want to review my fashion advice on how to bring out the best in your body shape, and flaunt your waist!

Disclaimer: Have in mind that these guidelines are general and based on your horizontal Hourglass body shape (the shape of your waistline). If you want the ultimate guide to dressing your body figure, including your figure flaws, bust size, height and so on I suggest that you look into the My Private Stylist program.

Also, if your vertical body shape-guidelines seem to contradict with my fashion advice for your horizontal figure, then you need to look at your body proportions as a whole.

Your body shape is much easier to clothe than the other shapes, but you still need to make sure that you avoid anything stiff and that makes you look boxy!

Your best investments are clothes and accessories that accentuate your proportional body figure by using your waist as a focal point.

Now here are some styling strategies to use when you're putting together outfits:

Your Waist as Focal Point

Wearing anything that wraps snugly around the thinnest part of your waist or draws attention to this body part can really bring out your perfect proportions.

Waist accentuating details such as:

Scarlett Johansson has an hourglass body shape
Via Skinnyvscurvy.com
  • Voluminous skirts (including the bottom of dresses) such as a full circle or tulip skirt, because they make your waist even smaller. However A-line and pencil will also look flattering on you, and are best on curvy hourglasses
  • Nipped waist tops, dresses and jackets
  • A dark colored belt wrapped around the narrowest part of your waist
  • Soft fabrics such as knits and drapey silk blends, as well as fabric with a bit of stretch, to really accentuate and complement (flow with) your curves. So avoid anything boxy such as a straight skirt style as well as stiff fabrics
  • V-necks and other low'ish necklines. Your curvy Hourglass body shape needs this slimming neckline. This is especially if you are well endowed

If you have a muffin top and don't dare to wear anything fitted around the waist, wear clothes that skim past the area and make sure you add some interest on top and bottom to make your waist look thinner.

Make sure to keep your top relatively simple and smooth to complement your feminine Hourglass body shape. If you want to wear a ruffle or detailed top, or a funky necklace, you've got to be careful with their placement on your frame.

Downplay Your Curves

I've met Hourglass-shaped women who didn't like their curves (tiny waist and bigger bust and hips). They prefer to look thin and tall, and some also favor the athletic silhouette with strong shoulders.

Here are some tips and styling tricks that downplay your curves:

Gwyneth Paltrow downplaying her hourglass body shape with a long dress, heels and tights
Courtesy of Celebutopia

  • Wear a dark color monochromatic outfit
  • Focus on clothes with vertical details such as pleats, vertical prints, buttons placed downwards, etc.
  • Straight and bootcut pants and jeans that hug around your hips
  • Add heels to elongate your legs
  • Wear a low'ish neckline to slim down your torso
  • Wear tops that extend just below your hipbone or past the thighs. To avoid adding width to your legs and hips, wear leggings with these long length tops

Got some extra weight? Try wearing a body shaper underneath your clothes. Shapewear is celebrities favorite look-hot-and-trim in a snap accessory for special occasions :-)

Yes, if you have a very defined waist along with a short height, the wrong garments can make you look stumpy. My advice is to simply focus on looking taller and slim down your curves with the following fashion advice:

Other Factors to Consider

You may have the ideal body shape but you must also take your vertical proportions (short legged/long waisted or long legged/short waisted?) in consideration as well. Some clothes can shorten your legs and make you look shorter and wider. Or if you're a Petite or Plus Size, some extra outfit strategies may have to apply.

Courtesy of Singer22
Rachel Bilson has short legs and a long waist

Just a warning: If you have short and/or curvy legs I recommend adding heels, especially if you're wearing skinny pants. Shortening the legs of an hourglass body shape make them look frumpy and you'll appear more of a Pear.

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Now over to specific clothing recommendations that complement your Hourglass body shape:

Your Best Clothes

Waist-Defining Dresses, Tops and Jackets

Nipped and belted sweaters, jackets, tops and dresses look elegant on your hourglass body shape.

Nipped and belted tops for hourglass body shape

Courtesy: Topshop, Warehouse, TheOutnet

If you want to de-emphasize your curvy hips (which often come with an Hourglass body shape), look for tops that extend right on your hipbone. This will help skim over the curves and make you look thinner.

Stick to tailored jackets (preferably with a single breast if you are well endowed) and defined V-necklines. Also, wearing your jackets unbuttoned looks slimming and elongating.

    Tip: If you must wear fashionable and sack-like styles such as oversized blazers and boyfriend shirts make sure you pair them with a sleek bottom along with heels.

Wrap Tops, Sweaters and Dresses

Wrap (over) tops, sweaters, shirts as well as wrap dresses - they create a smooth and sexy silhouette, adding a flirty touch to your waist as well as tailoring your midriff without making it look boxy.

Best tops for hourglass body shape

Courtesy: youheshe, farfetch, im-hm.com

If you have a short waist and/or are petite, the wrap will most likely hit on the wrong area of your waist. So I advise you to head to the petite section or have a tailor alter it for you.
    Tip: Having one completely made from scratch is fab because you can handpick all the details. It might come out a bit more expensive but a wrap style garment is your body shape's closet essential which you'll be wearing for years to come! :-)

Bust-enhancing and Slimming Necklines

Bust-enhancing necklines add a pinch of zest to your silhouette - enhancing your feminine, Marilyn Monroe'ish body figure. Yes, even if you don't have a big bust.

Examples are:

    Best necklines and fashion tops for hourglass body shape

    Courtesy: Stylebop, shopbird, Guess

  • Scoop neck
  • Sweetheart
  • Bustier

If you want to slim your upper body and fully flatter your upper torso, wear a V-neck. It will also draw the eye to your waist and showcase your great proportions.

Also try other slimming necklines such as:
  • Open shirt collars
  • V-neck halters
  • Cowls

Have in mind that wide necklines such as boatneck and square can widen your bust and shoulder area and make you appear heavier. Boatnecks look best on small to medium busts and with an average to long neck. However a long pendant necklace and oblong/V-shaped pendants and earrings can help make a high neckline look flattering.

Bottoms that Streamline Your Bottom

Bootcut, flare and wide leg jeans and pants - they look universally flattering on all body shapes, but they look extra elegant on yours. A slightly flared cut will also help balance out your curves.

Examples of ideal bottom styles:

    Best pants, jeans and skirts for hourglass body shape

    Courtesy: Mywardrobe, Bcbg, TheOutnet

  • Wide and flare leg
  • Bootcut
  • Straight leg and pencil skirts if you're comfortable with your curves
  • A-line skirts (they need to be shaped around the hips) and dresses

Skinny jeans will emphasize your curves and can make you look shorter, however if you have long and lean legs or add a pair of heels then you'll be fine!

An A-line top with the skinnys look flattering on you without creating a too-curvy, stubby body frame. An alternative would be straight leg pants which is the closest thing to skinnys.

Other bottom details to look for are:

  • Flat-front
  • Mid-rise
  • Wide waist-band
  • Fabric with a bit of stretch for comfort and a flattering look on your curves


Waist belts - both skinny and wide belts - are your secret weapon for bringing out the best in your Hourglass body shape. They should be worn around the thinnest part of your waist to show off your hourglass figure.

Fashion belts for hourglass body shape
Courtesy: Couturecandy, Monsoon.co.uk

If you have love handles or extra weight around your tummy, stick to belts with a slightly elastic material. Thick materials tend to add bulk and emphasize your cute pudge.

To avoid the extra midriff bits from spilling over, wear the belt with a woven top or dress. Don't worry about the slightly rigid (stiff) fabric - it'll conceal your midriff and the belt will keep the outfit from looking boxy on you.

If you have a short waist, make sure the belt has a similar hue (eg. black with dark navy) as your top to help you maintain a streamlined, lean silhouette.

Peeptoe Shoes

Peeptoe shoes (especially high heels) will give you instant glamour and complement your sexy Hourglass body shape.

Peeptoe shoes look glamorous on hourglass body shapes

Courtesy: Aldo Shoes

If you're bothered by your curves a pair of high heels will visually elongate your legs and make your hips look slimmer.

Because of your curvy hips, your thighs and legs need shoes that are simple to visually lengthen your lower body. So avoid ankle straps (however, T-straps are slimming) or details that visually shorten your legs.

Ideal shoe styles and details:

  • Shoes in similar as your skintone
  • Cone heel
  • Wedge heel
  • Open toe to elongate your legs

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Need more recommendations on what to wear with your Hourglass body shape?

Check out the MyPrivateStylist program for hundreds more clothing clothing and accessory recommendations for exactly YOUR body figure, which includes your height, body scale and other problem areas. Not all hourglass body shapes are alike, so this is a fabulous tool personalized for your body figure.

My private stylist portfolio on how to wear clothes

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Related Content:

How to Dress Your Pear Body Shape How to Dress Your Inverted Triangle Body Shape How to Dress Your Apple Body Shape How to Dress Your Rectangle Body Shape
Guide to Outfit Ideas - How to Put Together Outfits Golden Rules to Dressing for All Body Shapes How to Improve Your Body Proportions with Clothes and Accessories How to Take Your Body Measurements for the Perfect Fit
How to Improve Your Self Confidence and Look Your Best in Clothes Guide to Petite Clothing and Fashion Guide to Womens Plus Size Clothing How to Determine Your Body Shape

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