A Personal Stylist’s guide to dressing an hourglass body

Written by:

Updated:

February 27, 2024

I’m a personal stylist (you can find out more about me here), and over the past 18 years, I have helped thousands of women (many of whom are hourglass-shaped) to find clothes they love wearing, and build and develop a capsule wardrobe that is easy to use and fun to wear.

I understand the frustrations you’re experiencing when it comes to dressing your hourglass shape's natural curves, and I know how to solve those frustrations, so if any of the below resonates with you, you are right where you need to be.

  • Dresses that fit your waist are often too tight across the bust, but if you size up you feel boxy and shapeless - If you try a fit and flare dress or wrap dress you’ll avoid this problem but there are lots more options below!
  • Tops often pull across your bust - especially button-ups that gape and pull: Try tops that have a low neckline - V-necks work as best they draw the eye in to narrow your bust, and down to highlight your narrow waist, but there are plenty of other great options I’m sharing below).
  • Coats are tricky, you’ll often size up to accommodate your bust, but end up feeling frumpy, top-heavy, and larger than you are  - my advice is to opt for fuss free, Crombie style coats that have long lapels and a button that fastens below the bust to. Want more options, scroll on down!
  • Pants and jeans sometimes gape at the back of the waistband because you have such a defined waist: Shop curvy fit collections! These are created specifically for the hourglass body shape so they have a smaller waist and a little extra room across the butt and hips.
an infographic illustrating how the hourglass shape can overlap with the 3 other body shapes

If those frustrations sound all too familiar, I am pleased you found me!

This post is a culmination of everything I’ve learned about dressing the hourglass figure over the past 18 years.

It is based on first-hand experience of solving my hourglass clients' frustrations, and shares my hard earnt knowledge and tips.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand how to dress your hourglass shape, or that many clothes you try look bad on you, because I DO understand how to dress your shape, and I can explain why some clothes work better than others.

I know exactly which clothes fit and work for your hourglass shape, and I know where to shop to get them and I’m sharing all of that with you below.

 So scroll down, and finally start putting outfits together that you enjoy wearing!

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product via these links I will earn a small commission. This does NOT make the price higher for you, and I NEVER link to products that I wouldn’t recommend to my clients, or purchase myself. 

what is an hourglass body-type?

An hourglass body shape has balanced shoulders and hips, a well-defined waist, and a large bust.

It’s one of the 4 primary body shapes (the 3 other body shapes being apple shape, pear shape, and column shape). I call those 4 body shapes “primary body shapes” because they are the core body types, but they are not the only body shapes.

The characteristics of a true hourglass, pear, apple, or column are so general that very few women slot neatly into one of the categories.

 Most women align with two - a primary body shape (this is the shape you have the most characteristics of) and a secondary body shape (this is another shape that you also have a few characteristics of).

For years we’ve believed that our body shapes should align with one of those body types, but the truth is it probably won’t. And it’s OK. It’s more than OK; it’s normal!

If you think you have an hourglass shape, but you’re not sure - you probably have some secondary body shape characteristics. I chat more about those further down, but first I want to share the core characteristics of a true hourglass shape.

An illustration of a curvy hourglass woman, annotated to show the 4 main characteristics of an hourglass body shape - a defined waist, a large bust, balanced shoulders and hips, and great legs

what does an hourglass body shape look like?

What are the core characteristics of an hourglass figure?

The hourglass body shape is one of the most balanced and in-proportion body shapes. 

You’re curvy; whether you are a size 0 or a size 20, and it’s your bust and defined waist that are your biggest frustrations when it comes to dressing and finding clothes that fit.

The core characteristics of an hourglass figure are:

THESE ARE THE COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF A true hourglass shape

  • You typically wear the same clothing size on the top half as you do on the bottom half. With that said, you do sometimes have to go up a size in tops dresses, and jackets, to give you the room you need across the bust.
  • You have a large bust and this can make it difficult for you to find tops, dresses, and jackets that fit you. It’s often a compromise - you either purchase the size up to fit your bust, but look and feel boxy. Or you purchase the size down and deal with the item pulling across your bust.
  • Your waistline is very well defined - this is true whether you’re a size 2 or plus-sized. It's one of the things that all the other body types envy, but it’s the characteristic that makes it difficult for you to find pants and jeans that fit well. They sometimes gape at the back of the waist, even if they fit your bum and hips. 
  • You have great legs that look fantastic in skinny or wide-leg jeans
  • Your hips and shoulders are almost the same width, which gives you a well-balanced silhouette
  • Your torso may be a little shorter than your legs, and this, combined with your large bust, can often make you feel top-heavy.

Those are the core characteristics of a true hourglass shape. 

You probably recognize most of them (or all of them), but there’s a high chance you didn’t identify with some.

For example, you might have a small bust, or your hips might be wider than your shoulders.

If you didn’t recognize all of them or felt your shape had some characteristics missing from the list, read on as you may well have a combination shape.

does your hourglass body-shape overlap with another body-shape?

While your body shape might have many of the characteristics of an hourglass body shape, it might also have some characteristics that aren’t typically attributed to an hourglass shape.

You might have a small bust, for example.

Or maybe your hips are wider than your shoulders - a true hourglass shape has hips and shoulders that are balanced.

When your shape has the characteristics of multiple body shapes, it makes it difficult to identify what your shape is... because it doesn’t slot neatly into just one box.

But what if I told you that your body shape can be a combination of 2 body shapes?

Your body shape could be an hourglass AND pear shape.

Does that sound more like something you can identify as?

an infographic illustrating how the hourglass shape can overlap with the 3 other body shapes

Most women have a combination of 2 shapes:

The first body shape is the primary body shape: this is your main body type, the one that shares the most characteristics.

The secondary shape is the body shape that your primary shape overlaps with because it also shares some of that shape's qualities.

An hourglass body shape can overlap with all the other 3 body types, so let’s see if your hourglass shape has any of these secondary shape characteristics:

does your hourglass shape overlap with a column shape? 

Your hourglass body shape might overlap with a column body-shape if:

An image of an hourglass shaped woman who has some column body shape characteristics
  • You are slim
  • Your waist is less defined than a classic hourglass - meaning that your hip-to-waist ratio is less than the typical 25%
  • You have a small bust

does your hourglass body-shape overlap with a pear shape? 

An hourglass body shape can overlap with a pear body shape if:

Hourglass or pear?  You can be both! This illustration shows what an hourglass shape looks like when it overlaps with a pear body shape
  • Your hips are a little wider than your shoulders (for example if your hip-to-shoulder ratio is slightly greater than 5%).
  • You’re curvy, but you also have a small bust and a narrower upper body
  • You carry more weight on your lower half than you do on your upper half.

does your hourglass body-shape overlap with the apple body shape? 

Your hourglass shape might overlap with an apple body-type if:

Hourglass or apple shaped?  You can be both! This illustration shows what an hourglass shape looks like when it overlaps with an apple body shape
  • Your waist is less defined than a classic hourglass shape, with a hip-to-waist ratio of less than 25%
  • Your shoulders are a little broader than your hips
  • You carry a little weight around your middle

does it really matter what your body shape is?  NO!

With all this chat about body shapes, I want to add a note to say that while it’s useful and somewhat reassuring to label your shape, it’s not hugely important.

Yes, it will give you a great reference point for researching what will work best for your shape. But, as with most things, the best way to learn is to just try things out and experiment; tweaking and improving as you go.

So, take some time to understand your unique shape. Look at your proportions, your assets, and your unique characteristics, and watch how different clothing styles alter this - for the better or the worse….depending on what your goal is (balance, highlighting, disguising…).

As you experiment, become more familiar with your shape, and understand which clothes enable you to achieve what you want; how you define your body shape will become less important to you.  You’ll instinctively know what to shop for and how to combine outfits that work.

If you would like to get a better understanding of your shape, I have some resources below that will help you.

And in the meantime, use this article in the manner for which it is intended - a guide, a reference point. Not hard and fast rules you must follow.

here are some resources to help you get a better understanding of your body shape

  1. My FREE body-shape quiz  will help you get clearer on what your primary body shape might be
  2. This blog post shares some of the reasons why you’re struggling to identify your body shape and gives you 3 simple exercises to learn more about your shape
  3. This blog post will give you an overview of the 4 primary body types
  4. For only $27 you can purchase my Body Shape Analysis and I'll tell you exactly what your body shape is, so you can move forward and start having more fun with your outfits.

tips for dressing and styling an hourglass body shape

If you’re wondering “How should an hourglass shape dress?” you’re in the right place.

With 18 years of experience dressing and shopping for hourglass-shaped women, I have a wealth of hard-earned knowledge to share with you.

These tips are for a true hourglass shape, so if your hourglass shape overlaps with one of the other body shapes, you will want to tweak and adapt these tips to suit you (or you can purchase a tailor-made guide from me, and I’ll create you a personal guide to dressing your specific shape).

With that in mind, here is my ultimate guide to dressing your hourglass shape.

7 important things to consider when dressing an hourglass shape

The hourglass body shape is one of the most balanced, and in-proportion shapes.

When I’m dressing a pear shape or an apple shape, it’s normally about balancing an unbalanced frame to create a more hourglass silhouette.

With an hourglass shape, I’m trying to maintain your balanced silhouette. Whilst also considering your defined waist and large bust.

balance

An hourglass frame is fairly well balanced, so when you’re choosing clothes and pulling outfits together, you might want to consider what happens to your frame when you wear them.

A black and white image of an hourglass

Ideally, you will want to maintain your balanced silhouette so consider that if an item of clothing adds extra weight to your top half, you could look more busty or top-heavy.

And if an item of clothing adds bulk to your bottom half, you could look bottom-heavy and unbalanced.

sleeves

The type of sleeve and length of the sleeve matters - if a sleeve ends in line with your bust, it will draw a horizontal line right across your arms and torso, and this could make your top half look much wider than it is.

Sleeves that end above or below your bust line will be far more flattering.

An sheer sleeve on a women's dress

When it comes to sleeve type, a wide sleeve can add extra bulk across your torso, so you might prefer to wear fitted sleeves.

prints

This one is tricky because there are so many factors to consider when determining if a print will work for you: your height, size, and colorings all play an important role in how good you look in a particular print.

But if we put those aside for now, and focus on shape - the best prints for an hourglass shape are small prints that keep the eye moving (floral, polka, leopard etc…), and vertical stripes that narrow the bust.

fabric weight

The weight and thickness of the fabrics you wear can impact how flattering (and comfortable) your clothes are.

Thick, starchy, stiff fabrics tend to add bulk and weight, so you may want to avoid these, particularly around the bust area.

sheer clothing for an hourglass body shape, hanging on a washing line in the sunshine

Fluid, lightweight fabrics can hug and contour your figure without being clingy, so are a great option if you’re not keen on wearing figure-hugging clothes

Fabrics with stretch are also a great option, especially for tops, as they give you a little extra allowance around the bust area.

necklines

I’ve seen some advice recently that says hourglass women should wear turtle necks and high necklines - I don’t typically agree with that advice.

I mean you can wear a high neck, and they can look great when styled well; but if your goal is to prevent your bust from looking larger, and to wear tops that do not pull across your boobs, you might want to avoid a high neckline.

A photo of an hourglass shaped woman wearing a scoop neck top

A more comfortable, and flattering neckline for an hourglass shape is a low, open neckline; whether that’s a v-neckline, a scoop neckline, a square neckline, or a sweetheart neckline.

The key is that the neckline draws the eye in across your bust, and down to your waistline - this could make your bust look a little smaller, but will be a better fit than most high-neck tops.

your curves

Covering up your curves can make your hourglass shape look boxy, bulky, and, sometimes, frumpy.

A photo of an hourglass shaped black woman smiling

The most flattering clothes for your hourglass shape will be clothes that hug and highlight your beautiful curves, so try to embrace your beautiful curves, rather than hide them.

your bra 

And last, but definitely not least - please make sure you are wearing the correct bra size.

Wearing a bra that fits you properly and supports you well, will give you the best chance of finding clothes that fit you well.

A photo of a nude colored bra on a bed

If you’re not sure whether you're wearing the correct bra size, I highly recommend you head on over to this post where I share 5 tell tail signs that you are in the wrong size bra and give some advice on finding the correct size.

what kind of clothes look good on an hourglass figure?  

These are my tried and tested tips for dressing your hourglass body shape.

choosing tops for an hourglass body shape 

When you're choosing tops for your hourglass shape, you might find that they pull across your bust, or they fit your bust but are loose everywhere else, or they fit your bust but are too big across your shoulders.  With that in mind, here are some tips to help you shop for tops that fit and flatter your shape:

The most flattering, best-fitting tops for an hourglass shape are: 

  • Necklines that fit and narrow your bust
  • Tops that have structure to fit and highlight your natural curves
  • Simple, unfussy styles that showcase your shape without adding extra bulk

The least flattering, worst-fitting tops for an hourglass shape are: 

  • Tops styles that draw a horizontal line across your hips can make your waist look less defined, your hips wider, and your shape less balanced
  • Top shapes that hide your defined waist can make you look and feel boxy
  • Necklines that highlight your large bust, add extra bulk and broaden your torso
An illustration of 7 different top styles that work for an hourglass shape
  • Cross-over, ballerina, and wrap tops and blouses - these are a great choice for hourglass shapes. They typically have a v-neckline that will draw the eye in to narrow your torso and bust, whilst also fitting your fuller bust well, and the waist tie conches in your slim waist whilst also giving you the ability to tie it as tight or loose as you need to get the perfect fit.
  • Tops with structure and shaping - do a great job of fitting and enhancing your curves
  • Tops that have waist detailing such as waist ties, waistbands, or belts - highlight and enhance your waist to prevent you from looking and feeling larger than you are.
  • Low necklines will be the most flattering and will fit your bust best -  They won't pull across the bust, will narrow your top half, minimize your bust, and draw the eye down to your fabulous waist. My favorite low necklines for hourglass shapes are V-necklines and plunging necklines, scoop necks, square necklines, and sweetheart necklines
  • Loose, lightweight blouses - these are pretty on your shape, especially when tucked in(half or full). They add to the femininity of your frame and show off your shape without adding the unnecessary bulk of button-ups. If they have a necktie, simply leave that untied, or tie it loosely under the bust to avoid adding bulk across your bust.

choosing pants and jeans for an hourglass body shape 

When you're choosing pants and jeans for your hourglass body, you might find that they gape at the back of your waistband, or they add bulk that makes you look bottom heavy. Here are some tips to help you find trousers that look good on your hourglass curves.

The most flattering, best-fitting jeans, pants and trousers for an hourglass shape: 

  • Styles that hug and highlight your defined waist
  • Styles and design elements that showcase your great legs
  • Design elements that enhance your curves

The least flattering, worst-fitting jeans, trousers and pants for an hourglass shape: 

  • Pant styles that hide or add bulk to your defined waist
  • Elements that add bulk to hips and thighs could make your balanced frame appear bottom-heavy
  • Straight cuts that work against your natural curves

these are the best jeans, pants, and trousers for an hourglass body shape:

An illustration of 6 great pant styles for an hourglass shape
  • Skinny jeans or pants are a fantastic way to showcase your great legs! Always go for a high rise as this will hug and highlight your defined waist, it will also lengthen your legs. If you suffer from a gaping waistband, try curvy fit jeans that are created specifically for an hourglass shape
  • Wide leg - Wide leg pants (cropped or full length) are a very flattering style on an hourglass shape, they hug and highlight your waist, skim your hips and thighs, and glide down to lengthen the leg. They are the most flattering when the rise is high and sits on your waist as this will highlight and enhance your waist.
  • Flares - Flared jeans and flared pants make great choices for your hourglass frame, especially when they are a high rise. The volume below the knee enhances your curves; the rise defines your waist and elongates your legs.
  • Bootcut styles are a great option - they hug your waist and legs then flare out slightly at the ankle to balance hips and enhance curves
  • Cigarette leg (slim leg) - Cigarette pants sit at your natural waistline to enhance your defined waist, and the slim leg narrows to a tapper at the ankle to show off your great legs. 
  • Paperbag waist - these styles have a high waist that is belted to cinch you in, and they have a little volume below the waistband which can make a defined waist look even more defined. They are a good choice if you want to enhance your gorgeous curves. A word of warning though - I recommend always wearing paper-bag pants with your tops tucked in, otherwise you'll add extra bulk around your tummy, and will completely hide your waist.
  • BONUS TIP - Following on from that last tip - If jeans often gape at the back of your waistband try 'Curvy' styles. These are cut for an hourglass figure - they have a smaller waist and extra room in the bum and thighs. Madewell, Weekday, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Everlane are my go-to's 👌

choosing skirts for an hourglass body shape: 

When choosing skirts for your hourglass body shape you might find that some styles gape at the waist, or they might make you feel boxy and hide your waist.  Here are some styles that will hug your curves and fit you well.

The most flattering, best-fitting skirts for an hourglass shape :

  • Skirts that hug and highlight your defined waist.
  • Cut's and fabrics that contour your curves to show them off
  • Styles that showoff your great legs

The least flattering, worst-fitting skirts for an hourglass body shape:

  • Styles that hide your waist
  • Design elements that add bulk and extra volume that makes your frame look unbalanced 

these are the best skirts for an hourglass body shape:

An illustration of 6 great skirt styles for an hourglass body shape
  • A-line skirts are a classic -  They hug your waist and gently flare out to skim your hips and thighs. They'll make your waist look a little more defined and look great in mini, midi, or full length.
  • Skirts with a trumpet hem (also known as a mermaid skirt) - will hug your bottom, hips, and thighs and then kick out below the knee to enhance your amazing curves.
  • Pencil skirts - these are gorgeous on your hourglass frame.  they hug your waist and enhance your natural silhouette
  • Bias-cut slip skirt - Bias-cuts do a fantastic job of hugging curves without being super tight. They gently contour your natural curves and highlight your waist.
  • Wrap - Wrap skirts are a great option for hourglass shapes, but they are particularly good if you struggle to get skirts to fit your waist and your hips as you can wrap as tight as you need, and tie tightly to cinch you in at the waist
  • Full skirts are A-line skirts on steroids - The waist hugs and highlights your waist (especially if you choose high-waisted skirts), and the full skirt flares out fully, to enhance your narrow waist and create a statement look

choosing dresses for an hourglass body shape: 

The biggest problem when it comes to choosing dresses for your hourglass shape, is getting them to fit your bust and waist, because you typically end up going up a size to accommodate your bust, which makes the dress a little too large everywhere else.  

Here are some styles that will fit your curves!

The most flattering, best-fitting dresses for an hourglass shape :

  • Dresses with necklines that fit and narrow your bust
  • Design elements that hug your waistline
  • Cuts and fabrics that contour your curves
  • Dress styles that show off your great legs

The least flattering, worst-fitting Dresses for An hourglass shape are dress styles that: 

  • Necklines and design elements that add bulk and weight to your large bust
  • Boxy dress styles that hide your waist
  • Design elements that add extra weight and bulk that could make your well-proportioned shape look unbalanced

these are the best dresses for an hourglass body shape:

An illustration of the 7 best dress styles for an hourglass shaped woman
  • Slip dress - Slip dresses (also known as bias-cut dresses) are a great option if you want to wear a dress that contours your shape without being tight or revealing. The bias-cut will gently hug your natural curves to fit well and showcase your shape.
  • Wrap dresses are perfect for you! They can be tied to fit the figure well, the waist that wraps and ties at the side to define your waist, and the v-neckline breaks up the line across your bust and draws the eye down in a vertical line to draw attention to your small waist.
  • Wiggle dress - A wiggle dress (or mermaid dress as it's sometimes known) is fitted through the bust, waist, hips, and thighs, and kicks out either gently (with a trumpet hem) or dramatically (with a mermaid hem) to enhance your gorgeous curves.
  • Form-fitting dresses - such as bandage dresses or bodycon dresses will cling to every curve, enhancing and highlighting your hourglass silhouette. 
  • Fit and flare dresses - these are another great option for an hourglass shape. They do exactly what they say they do! They fit your tip half and flare out below the waist to enhance your waist and show off your curves.
  • Structured dresses - that have some sort of waist detailing such as a twisted front or knot are a great option for hourglass shapes, especially if you're carrying a little weight around the middle. They do a fantastic job of hugging your curves and cinching you in, whilst also creating a little ruching that disguises a tummy.
  • A-line dresses - hug the waist and flare out just below to add extra definition to your waist. They can be worn any length, but the most flattering skirt length is typically one that ends just below the knee.

For a comprehensive post on the best dresses for an hourglass shape, check out this post I wrote. It shares my advice on what to look for and what to avoid when choosing dresses that work for an hourglass shape. And I share my top picks for dresses for an hourglass frame in 2024.

how to choose the best coats, jackets, and blazers for an hourglass body shape: 

Here are some tips to help you choose jackets and coats that fit your bust and don't feel boxy.

The most flattering, best-fitting coats and jackets for an hourglass shape: 

  • Jackets that have low necklines that fit and narrow your bust
  • Design elements that hug and highlight your waist

The least flattering, worst-fitting coats and jackets for an hourglass shape: 

  • Boxy styles that hide your waist and curves
  • Have design elements that add bulk and weight that could make your well-proportioned frame look unbalanced
  • Have necklines that add bulk to your bust

these are the best coats, jackers, and blazers  for an hourglass body shape:

An illustrationof6 great coat, jacket and blazer styles for an hourglass shape
  • Princess coats are a pretty style for hourglass women - They have shaping that cinches you in at the waist, before flaring out gently below the waist to enhance your waist and highlight your curvy frame.
  • Asymmetric jackets- these  draw attention to a defined waist and do a great job of narrowing the bust and torso.
  • Single-breasted, tailored coats or blazers are a good choice - These have a single button that fastens under the bust so it won't pull across your boobs, and the long lapels will narrow your bust and torso. 
  • Crombie style coats - these are fuss free styles with a single button that fastens just below the bust. They hint at a defined waist, and fit your best well.
  • Belted Jackets and coats - these are a failsafe option for an hourglass shape - they cinch you in and fit well.
  • Wrap coats, jackets, and blazers are a great shape for an hourglass shape  - The long lapels will fit your bust and narrow your torso, and the tie around the waist will cinch you in and highlight your curves.

If you are looking for the ultimate guide to the most flattering coats for an Hourglass body shape, check out this blog post!

want more detailed information about your hourglass shape and which clothes work for you?

My simple guide will show you exactly what the most and least flattering clothes are for your shape, so you can start creating outfits that look good on you!

what if you don't like showing off your curves?

What if you don’t enjoy showing off your curves, or don't like to wear figure hugging clothes or fabrics?

I have several hourglass clients who just don’t want to wear tight-fitting clothes or clothes that showcase their curves because that look doesn’t align with their much more androgynous personal style preferences

If this is you, then here are some tips to help you develop a more androgynous look, without feeling shapeless or frumpy:

opt for simple, structured pieces

Choose simple, structured, pieces that gently follow your curves without feeling restricting or revealing.

Tailored jackets, pencil skirts, and high-rise tailored are some great staples to add to your collection.   These will hint to some shape, without being clingy.

combine a fitted piece, with a loose item

Combine a fitted piece with a loose piece to create a relaxed yet polished look that eludes to the fact you have curves, without drawing full attention to them. For example, try a fitted tee with a pair of wide leg tailored pants.

choose lightweight, fluid, or sheer fabrics

Stiff, thick fabrics can add bulk and weight, so opt for lighter, fluid fabrics instead.

For example, a pair of wide-leg tailored pants in a fluid fabric looks fantastic teamed with a fitted tee and layered with a loose button-up or blazer. Or try a slip skirt with a tight square neck top, layered with an oversized blazer.

Sheer or mesh tops are a good option if you want to wear a high neckline but don’t want to show cleavage.

the details matter

Focus on the details - loosely tuck your top in to hint that you have a waistline. Cuff your sleeves to reveal a narrow wrist. 

layer!

Layering is a great way to create shape - if you don’t want to wear low necklines, but high necklines leave you feeling boxy or frumpy, layer a high neck with loose open layers to break up the line across your torso and narrow your bust.

accessorize

Add a belt to your pants/jeans to draw attention to your defined waist. Add a narrow waist belt to a long button-up to bring you in at the waist. Throw a necklace on to create a V-shape that narrows your bust and torso.

these are the best PLACES TO SHOP IF YOU HAVE AN HOURGLaSS SHAPE: 

  • REFORMATION -  This is my absolute favorite store for hourglass shapes - they’ve nailed the sexy, minimalist look, and they cater to petite, standard, and plus sizes.
  • BANANA REPUBLIC - this is a great retailer to visit when you're looking for workwear for an hourglass body
  • SEZANE - French retailer Sezane does chic, sexy clothes, with a relaxed aesthetic. Their low-cut blouses, figure-hugging dresses, and featherweight knitwear are perfect for hourglass shapes. I particularly love that their knitwear is designed to be worn in reverse - it’s like 2 for one!
  • MADEWELL - If you are looking for jeans that fit an hourglass shape, go here! Their fantastic selection of curvy-fit pants and jeans is second to none. Almost every style of their standard range of jeans has been re-engineered to fit hourglass curves. They sometimes have a selection of curvy-fit skirts too. And if that’s not enough reason to shop Madewell, they offer, petite, standard, tall, and plus-size collections!
  • EVERLANE - Everlane is another fantastic shop for jeans for hourglass-shaped women. Their selection isn’t as large as Madewell, but what they do have is good - it’s current, and the fit is fantastic
  • GOOD AMERICAN  -  This brand is all about showcasing curves! Their jeans are a fantastic fit for curvy girls, but I highly recommend you check out their dresses and body suits too. 
  • ELOQUII - I  head here anytime I have a plus-size hourglass client. Their collections are bold and sexy. They hug you in all the right places and truly showcase your gorgeous curves. If you’re looking for pants or jeans for a plus-size hourglass shape, their classic fit is for you. If you’re an hourglass shape with some pear shape tendencies, their Viola range is for you.
  • MODERN CITIZEN - This is a chic, minimalist brand that focuses on good quality, well-fitting clothes with shape and style. I love their dresses and tee-s that cinch in at the waist. Perfect for casual outfits for hourglass shapes. 
  • VINCE - This is an effortless, timeless dressing. Slip dresses, slip skirts, and fine knit v-neck tops are their specialty. They have a fantastic range of t-shirt dresses that hug hourglass curves - perfect for casual hourglass outfits.
  • ANTHROPOLOGIE - I often head hear when I'm shopping for pants or skirts for an hourglass woman.
  • DIANE VON FURSTENBERG - wrap dresses. Need I say more?
  • BRAVISSIMO - my go-to when sourcing underwear or swimwear for hourglass-shaped clients.
  • MASSIMO DUTTI - if you like a relaxed silhouette that will fit your curves, take a look at Massimo Dutti. In the summer, their range of linen is second to none - fantastic quality at a great price, and in an unbelievable range of shapes and colors.

HOW TO TELL IF YOU HAVE AN HOURGLASS BODYSHAPE? 

The simplest way to tell if you have an hourglass body shape is to take some measurements:

Measure the circumference of your shoulders, waist, and hips.

  • If your hip-to-shoulder ratio is less than 5%
  • AND your hip-to-waist ratio is greater than 25%


You probably have an hourglass shape. But if you’re still not sure here are some other things you can do:

  1. Take my free quiz to find out what your primary body shape is
  2. Sign up for my $27 body shape analysis and I’ll tell you what your shape is
  3. Purchase a tailormade-guide and I will tell you exactly what your true body shape is and will show you exactly which clothes are the most and least flattering for you.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE A PEAR OR AN HOURGLASS? 

If you are a true pear shape, you will have a small bust, and a defined waist, and your hips will be wider than your shoulders

If you are a true hourglass shape, you will have a large bust, a very well-defined waist, and your hips and shoulders will be the same width.

But as I mentioned earlier, your shape could be a combination of both those shapes!

WHICH Celebrities ARE HOURGLASS-SHAPED?

Your beautiful hourglass shape is in good company!  

Selena Gomez
Priyanka Chopra
Scarlett Johansson
Katherine Ryan
Niecy Nash
Oprah Winfrey
Kate Winslet
Salma Hayek
Cristina Hendricks
Dita Von Teese

what necklines should hourglass figures wear? 

You might want to avoid high necklines as these can add bulk to your bust.

The biggest offenders are turtlenecks and crew necklines.

what type of jeans is best for an hourglass figure?

I love most jeans styles on an hourglass shape, but the best are high-rise or high-waisted, curvy cut, skinny jeans.

For a detailed  post all about the best jeans for an hourglass shape, check out this post I wrote. It shares 5 tips for buying jeans for your hourglass shape, and I show you my favorite jeans for hourglass figures in 2024!

should an hourglass figure wear skinny jeans?

If you want to, yes, absolutely! They are a fantastic jeans style for showcasing your defined waist and great legs.  

I share my favorite skinny jeans for hourglass shapes here.

how to dress an hourglass shape casually? 

All the advice for dressing an hourglass shape is to wear form-fitting clothing, showcase your curves etc… so it can be tricky to know how to apply that advice to casual outfits.

When you think of casual outfits you think of looser fitting, relaxed clothes - which can sometimes make you look and feel a little boxy or frumpy.

My advice is to look for simple, stylish, structured clothing, in relaxed fluid fabrics. So, fluid-tailored pants, with a simple v-neck t-shirt would be a great combination.

Or a pair of high-rise jeans (skinny or relaxed), lightweight, v-neck cardigan loosely tucked into the waistband.

Or a slip skirt, with a cosy scoop-neck sweater.

The key to dressing casually when you have an hourglass shape is to have your bust and waist at the back of your mind at all times - so find ways to define your waistline ( shaping, belts, tucking in), and choose necklines that flatter your bust (low necklines like v-necks, scoop necks or sweetheart).

Because it’s clothes that hide your waist, and enlarge your bust, that are the clothes that will make you feel larger, boxy, and frumpy.

conclusion

Throughout my time as a personal stylist, I’ve really tried to avoid giving my clients hard and fast rules to follow when they dress their shape.

Rules can stunt creativity, and keep you stuck in a bit of an outfit rut. But, I’m also aware that they can make life a little easier, especially when you’re learning.

While I don’t like to tell you what you should and shouldn’t wear, I do want to help you build a closet that you feel excited to open each morning, and so I wrote this article to give you suggestions for what could work and to explain why some styles might not.  

It’s a guide, so please use it as such, to help you understand what works for you, and to help you choose clothes that make you look and feel how you want to feel!

You have a gorgeous hourglass shape, with beautiful curves - if you want to dress to show them off, I hope you’ll find the info in this post helps you to do just that.

If you don’t want to showcase your curves, I hope you also find some info in this article to help you dress how you want.

Getting dressed should be fun, empowering even! So keep going, keep experimenting and trying new clothes and looks - and if you’re wondering if a look is wrong…it’s only wrong if it makes you feel crap.

Hi, I'm Niki

author and personal stylist

Over the past 18 years I’ve freed thousands of women from the frustration of disappointing outfits, by showing them how to dress to make the most of their shape, and helping them build a closet that's easy to use and fun to wear.  My blog shares the tried and true tips and knowledge I've developed, to help you stop wasting money on disappointing clothes, and build a closet you enjoy wearing.


You can find out more about Niki here

And you can get in touch with Niki here