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How to Dress an Hourglass Body Shape

The ideal for Hollywood bombshells since the 1950s, an hourglass body shape is the single most iconic feminine body shape.

Hourglass figures can be any size, including a plus-size hourglass body shape, but curves define the figure. Your shoulders and bust are full, your waist is thinner, and your hips are rounded.

Buying the right women’s clothes for your elegant body shape can build your confidence and show off your figure. If our body shape quiz gave you the hourglass figure result, now is a great time to look at the clothes that flatter your shape.  

Keep reading to learn more about the characteristics of an hourglass body shape, tips for dressing to feel your best, and ideas for what to wear – including styles of tops, jeans, pants, dresses, and more.

Characteristics of an Hourglass Body Shape

The primary characteristics of the hourglass body shape are: 

  • Your shoulders and hips are around the same width.
  • You have a very well-defined waistline.
  • Your bust and butt are full.
  • You would describe your body as curvy.

The most famous hourglass figure in history is Marilyn Monroe’s, but there are also more contemporary stars with hourglass shapes. For instance, Christina Hendricks, Sofia Vergara, and Dita Von Teese all rock incredible curves. Check out what they wear on the screen, while walking the red carpet, or out and about to see examples of what styles could work best for your body shape.

3 Style Tips for the Hourglass Body Shape

Your body is curvy and well proportioned, so many looks are designed just for you. To know how to dress an hourglass, we suggest following your natural curves, staying balanced on your top and bottom while emphasizing your waistline. Here are three ideas to help you get started.

1. Balance Your Top and Bottom

Since your shoulders and bust have the same approximate measurements as your hips and butt, always be sure to create a balance between both halves of your body. You can do this by choosing a similar color for your tops and pants or skirts.

2. Draw Attention to Your Waist 

Your waist is what defines an hourglass figure. Accentuate it by adding a belt or wearing clothes that draw attention to your mid-section and hug your curves to show off your natural silhouette.

3. Keep It Simple

With your stunning figure, you don’t need a lot of bells and whistles to show off your body. The right hourglass body shape clothes don’t have a lot of embellishment. You look great in solid colors.

Dressing the Hourglass Body Shape: What to Wear

Now that you know the characteristics of the hourglass body shape and have read some general suggestions about dressing yours, you can put these concepts into practice. Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind next time you add to your wardrobe.

Tops

Tops for hourglass body shapes should be fitted and structured to show off your bust and shoulders. Some great choices for tops and blouses include:

  • Wrap: A classic wrap top cuts in at your natural waistline, accenting your curves.
  • V-neck: A v-neck top draws attention to your shoulders and bust to accentuate your figure.
  • Keyhole: A keyhole top has an open spot below the collar. This fun detail can look great on your hourglass figure and adds a little extra visual interest without being overly embellished.
  • Off-the-shoulder: Show off your fabulous shoulders and draw attention to your proportions with an off-the-shoulder look.
  • Sleeveless: Your arms are gorgeous, so show them off with a sleeveless top or tank top.
  • Fitted: Pick shirts fitted to your figure that are slimmer at your waistline. Don’t hide your curves!

Jeans

When shopping for women’s jeans, the essential things to consider are defining your shape and getting the right fit. The best jeans for an hourglass figure should balance out your form in cooperation with the top you’ve chosen.

Keep it simple and let your body do the talking, remembering your hourglass body shape looks great in pretty much every style of jeans, such as:

  • High-waisted: Since you want to emphasize your waistline, choose high-waisted jeans that accentuate that area rather than low-waisted jeans that sit across your hips.
  • Skinny: You look amazing in skinny jeans that show off all of your curves.
  • Flared: Flared jeans also accentuate your body shape and add more, well, flair to your silhouette.
  • Straight-leg: A pair of straight-leg, high-waisted jeans are a classic that flatters your figure.
  • Bootcut: Another classic, the bootcut also looks excellent, especially when paired with a great pair of boots, as the name would imply.
  • Wide-leg: With your waist accentuated, wide-leg jeans can balance out your top and bottom halves.

Pants

Jeans don’t work for every occasion, so you’ll need a few pairs of other types of pants in your wardrobe. From casual to professional pants, here are some options for your hourglass figure:

  • Belted: Showing off your waistline is the best way to accentuate your hourglass figure. Chose pants with a wide belt feature that falls at your waist.
  • Wide-leg: Pants that hug your hips and fall straight show off your waist when balanced with a great fitted top.
  • Flowy: Chose flowy fabric bottoms with the drape of a skirt but the convenience of a pair of pants, like palazzo pants.
  • High-waisted: It’s never a bad idea to choose a high-waisted pant to help draw attention to your waistline.
  • Stretch: You can look fabulous in a pair of stretch slacks that hug your body and show off your curves.

Dresses and Jumpsuits

Dresses and many jumpsuits can go from casual to professional to formal, depending on how you style them. Choose dresses for your hourglass figure that flatter your shape and make you feel fabulous. Some options are:

  • Sheath: A form-fitting sheath dress is designed for your body type and looks impressive at any event.
  • Fit-and-flare: The key is always to accentuate your waist, and a fit-and-flare dress is perfect for drawing the line of the garment toward your middle.
  • Wrap: Wrap dresses that tie across your waist help draw the eye to that area by accentuating your hourglass figure.
  • Paneled waist: This dress style gives structure to the dress between the bust and the hips, giving you a tailored look, thanks to their different fabric panels sewn together.
  • Bias: Your figure is perfect to pull off a bias-cut dress. This means the dress’s construction uses fabric cut in a diagonal fashion, which allows the fabric to flow and drape.
  • Jumpsuits: If you don’t want to wear a dress, jumpsuits in all styles are a perfect option for your body shape. Add a belt to accentuate your waist.

Skirts

The best skirts for your hourglass figure include a lot of styles, but always keep “structured and classic” in mind when you’re shopping. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Pencil: The classic pencil skirt might be your go-to style. Its hip-hugging form accentuates your natural curves.
  • Belted: Choose high-waisted skirts with wide belts to bring attention to your waist.
  • Gored: This dress construction method involves sewing triangle cuts of fabric to create a flared shape. Since they usually fall at your waist rather than your hips, they accentuate your waist and curvy hips simultaneously.
  • Knee-length: Consider skipping short skirts and choose ones that fall to your knee, as these are often better for showing off curves.
  • Maxi: You can go longer, though. A maxi skirt looks best when the shape hugs your hips and defines your waist.

Jackets

You can finish off your look with a great jacket or coat for your hourglass body shape. When there’s a chill in the air, grab one of these out of your closet:

  • Fitted leather: For a casual look, choose a fitted leather coat to show off your wild side.
  • Belted blazer: To channel your inner “Devil Wears Prada” in the workplace, choose a belted blazer.
  • Moto: A fashion-forward look on a classic European leather jacket style looks fantastic with your figure because it’s wider in the shoulders and narrow in the waist.
  • Cropped: A cropped jacket that falls just above your waist shows off your fitted-waist outfits.
  • Long-belted coat: When it’s cold outside, reach for a long-belted coat that hugs your hips but shows off your waist.
  • Trench: You will always look classy in a traditional trench-style coat.

Swimwear

Finding the perfect swimsuits for hourglass figures is an incredible feeling. The right one can make you feel fabulous and confident. These swimwear styles show off your figure at the pool or the beach:

  • Bold print tops: While we recommend solids for other types of clothes, when picking out two-piece suits, don’t be afraid to choose a bold print for the top. The rules that apply to day wear can be thrown out the window on the beach.
  • Triangle tops: A triangle top bikini shows off your skin and your curves.
  • High-rise bottoms: For your bikini bottoms, choose a high-rise style that frames your waist. Retro styles look great on you.
  • Constructed tops: If you have a full bust, choose a constructed top to support your chest.
  • Retro one-piece: Your classic hourglass figure looks amazing in a retro-style one-piece. Channel your inner Marilyn Monroe.
  • Halter: A halter top swimsuit, whether it’s a bikini top or the style of a one-piece, flatters your curves and shows off your shoulders.

Shoes and Accessories

Accessories can perfect the look of any outfit. Picking out the right accessories is an art and a science. Here are some accessories to consider when piecing together your hourglass body shape outfits:

  • Belts: Belts are your very best accessory. If you have a short torso, choose a medium-width belt. If you have a longer torso, a wide belt looks terrific.
  • Pointed-toed shoes: A pointed-toe shoe elongates your leg and plays up your classic figure.
  • Classic nude pumps: Since you want to draw attention to the center of your body, don’t go over the top with your shoes and choose classic nude pumps.
  • Statement earrings: Bold, statement earrings can give you the pop of style you need and draw attention up to your face.
  • Long necklaces: A long chain that draws the eye down to your waist is a great look.
  • Short necklaces: A simple, short necklace can provide just a pop of detail at your neckline.

3 Easy Outfit Ideas for an Hourglass Body Shape

Now, let's put all this into practice. Here are a few ideas for hourglass body shape clothes for any occasion.

For Everyday

Are you hanging out with a friend or just running errands around town? Choose a pair of skinny jeans with a sleeveless top in a bold color. Add a belt to complete the look and throw on a pair of comfy sneaks. If it’s chilly, grab your leather jacket out of the closet.

For an Event

Okay, so maybe you’re not going to be walking a literal red carpet, but a formal look can get you through a wedding or black-tie party. Pick an off-the-shoulder, hip-hugging, knee-length classic dress in a bold fabric. You can pull off metallics, too. Wear classic nude shoes to let the dress be the star of the show.

For the Office

Be bold and confident in the workplace in a professional yet fun outfit that shows off your hourglass figure. Begin with a belted blazer in a dramatic color like blue, red, or green. Pair that with a black pencil skirt and a black v-neck top. Complete the look with the classic neutral pointed-toe shoe and some statement earrings.

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