This is a refresher article on how to dress the hourglass body shape with some new shoppable options featuring the spring and summer 2021 trends.
In this part of dressing for your body type series we will have a look at the hourglass figure.
Characteristics of the hourglass body
- Well defined (narrow) waist
- Hip and bust tend to be almost the same and quite big
The hourglass is seen by many as the ideal body shape, although it may also present some challenges if you have a significant bust.
You may also have gathered some weight around the abdomen area in which case you will have some characteristics of the apple body type as well.
You can see tips here on how to dress the apple body shape.
Celebrities with the hourglass body shape
Some celebrities with this body shape include:
- Marilyn Monroe
- Raquel Welch
- Nigella Lawson
- Salma Hayek and
- Christina Hendricks
So, if you have an hourglass figure, you’re certainly in good company!
Runway looks for inspiration on how to dress the hourglass
While many designers cater for the rectangle or inverted triangle because a lot of models are build this way, there are others who celebrate the hourglass shape and don’t shy away from dressing women with a larger bust and hips.
If you’re looking for inspiration on the catwalks, then the runways of Dolce & Gabbana, Alexander McQueen and Roland Mouret are good shows to look out for.
Roland Mouret – Dolce & Gabbana – Alexander McQueen
The aim of dressing for your hourglass body type
You will want to accentuate your very feminine body so fitted clothes (at the right places) are key. Another objective may be to elongate your legs.
You are lucky in that your body is already balanced. Your bust and hips are around the same size. Other body shapes will find that they need to add balance.
So you will want to keep the balance that you have and avoid adding any “bulk” with your clothing.
If you add ruffles or extra width to your bust, for example, you will lose your ideal hourglass shape and end up looking “top heavy”.
If you add extra width to your waist with boxy styles, you will look heavier than you really are because you will hide your lovely shape.
Nikki (above) shows off a good dress for hourglass figure as it accentuates the waist.
Check out these printed dresses from Fraiche by J, Eliza J and Amazon, that you can wear with these similar boots.
How to dress the hourglass body shape
So, now we’ve looked at what you shouldn’t do – ie, not to add extra bulk, what should you do?
- A good bra is essential for this body type. Make sure you get a good supportive bra that will thrust your bust forwards.
- You will want to wear mostly V-shaped tops or tops with a deep neckline. High necklines will just make your bust area look too bulky
- Look for dresses that fit your boobs and elongate your waist. They should fit very snugly around that area.
- If you have some weight around the abdomen then make sure your buy your dress in supportive fabric.
- T-shirts look nicest when they fit your waist, have a V-neck and have some accents on the shoulders.
- Get a coat that highlights your waist and features a V-neck.
- Wear single-breasted jackets that are tailored. They will often look best when left open to create a nice vertical line, which elongates
- Choose shirts that accentuate your boobs and that don’t have buttons all the way to the top.
- Tops that flare just below the boob area and go to below your crutch can be very flattering with trousers.
- Little fitted jackets that tuck in your boobs will look great on you.
- Use light scarves in winter to cover your open V-neck.
- Wear darker colors on top to make your boobs appear smaller, if you want to.
Patricia (below) makes sure that her waist is accentuated with a fitted dress. She adds interest with the detailing on sleeves. Note that her sleeves end at her slimmest part, at her waist, making this an extra-flattering option.
Recreate her look with this similar dress, pumps, clutch, headband and earrings.
- A pencil skirt is a good shape on you as it will go in and out with your curves.
- Bootcut and flared styles will look great on you when it comes to pants as they compliment your curves.
Top wardrobe tips for the hourglass:
- Pencil skirts that fit well are ideal for the hourglass as they accentuate your wonderful curves.
- Other skirts can work too but will usually look better when they end around the knee.
- Opt for flat front boot cut trousers, preferably with stretch for a snug fit.
- Choose shoes that accentuate your curves, such as shoes with rounded toes, peep toes or bows.
Madeline (above) chooses a peplum top that is perfect for the hourglass along with a pencil skirt that ends at the knee. She’s following the basic “rules” of the hourglass and looks fantastic.
Recreate her look with this similar peplum top (plus size option here) pencil skirt and hoop earrings.
A spring and summer capsule wardrobe for the hourglass
If you have an hourglass figure and want to put together all of the tips in one capsule wardrobe, read on for tops, pants, skirts, dresses, shoes and accessories, which are all flattering for your figure, as well as having a nod to this season’s trends.
Also take a look at how to create a capsule wardrobe.
Tops for the hourglass
When looking for tops, you will find that scoop neck styles look good on you as they will show off your collar bone, and the curve of the neck will mirror your own curves.
The other style to look out for is a v-neck. This cuts the width of your top half visually in half by drawing the eye down instead of across.
If you aren’t keen on your upper arms, then look for tops which have slanted sleeves, or where the sleeve ends at a slim part of your arm rather than the widest part.
Peplums, fitted waist styles, wrap tops and belted styles will also look great on you.
Erica (above) opts for a square neckline which can be a good shape for the hourglass as well as making sure she cinches her waist.
Steal her look with this similar belted top, pants, sandals and sunglasses.
ACEVOG drape cardigan – Marks & Spencer floral peplum top – Veronica Beard puff sleeve top – Zeagoo cross front blouse
Jackets and coats for the hourglass
As with the rest of your clothing, your jacket or coat should show off your waist.
Boxy styles won’t do you any favors as they will actually make you look larger than you are, and they will hide your lovely waistline.
The most flattering shapes for you will be those which either go in at the waist which are tailored, or which are belted at the waist.
You could also think about the kind of retro-style bomber jackets that were popular in the 50s (seen on the Pink Ladies in the movie Grease!).
You could look for a classic trench style, a swing coat, a peplum jacket or a tailored blazer.
These have made a come back in recent seasons and have a band at the waistline which would also show off your slimmer waist. Trench coats featured heavily on the spring and summer catwalks this year.
Petra (above) shows off a classic belted style which would work well for the hourglass.
Steal her look with this similar belted coat, pants, pumps, handbag and sunglasses.
Hybrid & Company notch lapel blazer – Grace Karin notch lapel belted pea coat – Karl Lagerfeld Paris drop belted trench coat – Club Monaco trench coat
Dresses and jumpsuits for the hourglass figure
As a general rule, hourglass shapes look fantastic in dresses. A wrap style in a knee-length or midi length is a very good shape for you.
A wrap dress has a flattering v-neck as well as coming in at the waist and then flaring out over your hips.
Choose a style with a tie or a belt so you can draw attention to your waist. Retro styles tend to be a good option too. Fifties-style dresses are made to flatter the hourglass figure.
Julie (above) looks fabulous in a yellow striped wrap dress.
Check out these wrap dress options from Maggy London, Amazon and New York & Company, and wear with these similar wedge sandals, handbag and earrings.
You can read more about Julie’s style in this style interview.
You could also opt for a jumpsuit. Choose a style which is either fitted at the waist, or which you can draw in with a belt. Opt for a v-neck.
Loveappella tie waist wrap dress – Vince Camuto floral belted dress – Karen Kane faux wrap dress – Donna Ricco cowl neck jumpsuit
Best jeans, pants and skirts for hourglass figures
A slightly flared or bootcut style will be the most flattering for your figure as it balances out your curves. Look out for a stretch denim with a high waist.
You can also wear skinny jeans if you want to show off your curves. But make sure to get a stretch denim for a better fit.
Nikki (above) opts for a pair of wide pants and makes sure to show off her waist with a belted style.
Recreate her look with this similar blouse, pants, heels, clutch, necklace and head wrap.
Lyssé boot denim leggings – rag & bone skinny jeans – Vince belted tapered pants – Kate Kasin pencil skirt
A pencil skirt is the best shape for an hourglass as, even though it is straight in style, it will go in and out in all the right places with your curves.
Choose a knee-length to show off your shapely calves. Or, you could opt for a midi-style.
But if you do go for the longer option, you are likely to look best if you choose to wear a little heel with your pencil skirt, whether you opt for a pump or a bootie, because hourglasses, as a general rule, can be shorter in the leg than other body shapes.
Take a look at the most comfortable heels to wear.
Shoes for the hourglass
If you are an hourglass body shape, you are all about beautiful curves. Look out for shoes which mirror your curves.
A round toe is likely to be most flattering for you. Think about ballet flats and pumps you can wear with jeans and pencil skirts.
You are likely to have lovely shapely ankles, so you could draw attention to them with an ankle strap, but if you do have shorter legs, be aware that a strap across your ankle can make your legs look even shorter.
Lizzi (above) wears a neck-tie scarf, round-toe pumps and carries a handbag with curved edges.
Recreate her outfit with this similar jumpsuit, pumps, bag and scarf.
Vionic wedge sandal – Tory Burch ballet flat – Trotters suede pump – Superga sneaker
For more style inspiration, see our article on how to wear short dresses with pants.
Accessories for the hourglass
When it comes to accessories, retro style scarves will flatter your style. But, as hourglasses do tend to be busty, you probably won’t want to add too much bulk to your top half.
As with your shoes, look out for jewelry and handbags which have a rounded shape. This will flatter your figure rather than working against it (as can happen if you choose more angular shapes).
When you choose a handbag, look out for the strap length. If you opt for a style which sits at your bust, you will end up adding width there. Instead, choose a bag which either ends at your slim waist to draw attention there, or a bag which you hold so that it ends on your shapely legs.
If you do feel that a style looks a little bulky or boxy on you, you can wear a belt over the top.
Belts will be your favorite accessory as they draw attention to your waist.
You can simply pop a belt over a coat, a cardigan, a dress or a top to show off your shapely waist. Look out for stretchy styles so you have the flexibility to wear your belt over anything.
Alice (above) opts for a playful bag style. Her outfit would work for many body types.
Check out this similar sweater, blazer, jeans, pumps (affordable option here), handbag and belt
Frances Valentine leather shoulder bag – Kate Spade New York leather camera bag – Ettika starburst earrings – MARC JACOBS cat eye sunglasses – RUESPARI clasp stretch belt – Sterling Forever pendant necklace – Kate Spade New York dot silk twill scarf
What not to wear if you have an hourglass figure
Also, take into account the width of your belt. If you are fairly short-waisted, don’t choose a style which is too wide as this will reduce the space between your bust and your hips.
I’ve looked at what you SHOULD wear to fit and flatter your lovely curves. But, how about what not to wear?
Here are a few tips on what to stay away from.
- Avoid too many frills on your clothes as they will add extra bulk to places where you don’t need it.
- Avoid excess fabric for the same reason.
- It can sometimes be best to stay away from obvious waistbands or belts. Instead, you can let your clothes accentuate your small waist.
- Flat lace-up shoes can be unflattering to your shapely legs.
- Be careful when choosing casual clothes as they can make you look boxy.
9 outfits for the hourglass shape using the pieces above
Below are 9 outfit ideas for you using the pieces from above.
But, there are obviously lots more ways you could mix and match all of these pieces to create dozens more outfits.
Read our ultimate guide to creating a capsule wardrobe that works best for you.
SHOP ALL items above here:
More hourglass inspiration for you
Below is an earlier hourglass capsule I created. You can see that all of the items may be past season but they are timeless so should still provide you with plenty of inspiration.
How do you dress your hourglass shape? What are your favorite pieces and brands when it comes to how to dress the hourglass? Let us know!
P.S.: Please note that the guidelines for the hourglass body shape above are for general guidance only. Everyone is different and you certainly don’t have to stick to the above guidelines on how to dress the hourglass to dress well.
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Feature image by Julie
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Thank you for all your helpful advice. I have just been on calculator. net. With my measurements I received I am a bottom hourglass. Do I still look to what an hourglass figure should wear or are there other things I need to look into please?
You can get inspiration from all articles 🙂 You may like to read the guidelines on body parts you want to highlight or downplay.
This is such a great article. Thank you for making me understand body shapes better
Hi, you have said ‘Flat lace-up shoes can be unflattering to your shapely legs’ but then you have added a photo of converse trainers? Which one is correct?
There are hourglass women of all sizes and for many flat lace shoes are fine. Although I have provided some general guidelines for shoes I don’t think it makes a huge difference to the overall outfit. Focus on silhouette is always more important in my opinion.
Very disappointed that I could not print the suggestions for my body type. It used up all my ink and paper with various letters. I believe that you did this on purpose. What is the value of these suggestions if we can not take them with us when we shop???
Not a very friendly comment considering how much effort and expenses go into our articles that are offered to you for FREE. You could simply take your phone to the store and access all info there. It’s definitely a good suggestion that I provide a pdf and printable version of this article so I will consider that. However, you could have simply selected all text, copied it into a text or word file, made all the fonts regular and just print it like that.
I’m at a loss as to what shape I am now. I’ve always been hourglass-to-pear, no matter what weight/size…but in the last few years I put on a *lot* of weight, and for the first time ever I’ve got a stomach. I’m 5’2.5″. Way back when, at 110 lbs, I was a 32C (a D now, it seems), with a 22″ waist and 35″ hips (0-2P to regular). My natural settling point was probably in the 130-140 range, which put me at the 6-8 P and R) range in most lines. I am now a 34DDD, size 10 – 14 (mostly regular/short regular), am about 10″ larger on waist and hips than at my smallest. I’d figured out how to dress at my curvy 130-140 (wrap dresses, bootcut pants, v-necks, deep scoops, heels almost always, often quite high, form-fitting tees, patterns on top and simpler below …. But now, I’ve put on 25-30 pounds, grew a very soft stomach, have thick upper arms, and the thick thighs and behind I mourned 30 years ago before they were fashionable are now not even in the top 10 on the list of things to figure out how to flatter, and my body feels like a completely unknown thing. Long way of asking: how to dress for curvy when you no longer have the dramatic definition and (waist/belly) delineation that felt like a saving grace before a dramatic weight gain? I’d lije to say I’m getting the weight off, but right now I need to be able to dress for the short curvy soft body I currently have!
Focus on the parts you want to highlight, then follow the guidelines for that. For example if you want to wear clothes that lengthen you and make you look slimmer follow these guidelines https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-look-taller-and-slimmer/ More tips can also be found athttps://40plusstyle.com/how-to-hide-your-belly/
I love your informative posts. I have a hour glass figure and I have always wondered why the wrap top is always the first type of garment to be recommended. They never stay in place and usually are too low, showing too much. The ones that are faux usually are way too revealing. I usually stay with the vee necks and cinched in waists.
A wrap top can highlight your bust and waist beautifully, but yes, you’ll need to find one that fits properly.
If you find that the wrap style neckline gapes open, there are several ways to take care of the problem:
1. Add small snaps inside the neckline exactly where you want it to lie flat and closed.
2. Add sewn in Velcro dots inside the neckline where you want it to lie flat.
3. There is a double sticky tape called Hollywood tape that can be used along wrapped portion of the neckline to hold it in place.
Sometimes wrap dresses or shirts gape at the waist where they are tied. You can use the same three methods above, or use a large decorative brooch or a hidden safety pin to keep it in place.
You should totally try a miravle cami/fake camisole when the neckline is too low. Allows you to wear almost any low cut top without extra layering.
I am an hourglass but I have a longer waist and shorter legs and I am petite (5’3″). Is there a style / placement of a belt that will help balance out my figure?
You’ll want to belt higher than your natural waist. High waisted pants and skirts would suit your too.
I am 5 4″ and not necessarily petite…i weigh 120# and am trying to drop to 115…i wear a size 4 pant.. I am small chested but otherwise hourglass shape. I can’t see myself in the hourglass suggestions. Maybe I should look at pear shape? What do you think?
We are always a combination. You will want to look at what you most want to downplay or highlight. The hourglass often wants to highlight their bust and waist. The apple wants to downplay the belly. The pear wants to downplay the hips. A shorter person may like to lengthen herself. Play with the guidelines that suit you best and find out what works for you!
Do you sell petite clothing? Thank you!
I don’t sell any clothing myself. I just link to great pieces I discover online or wear myself. My recommendations for petites are at https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-dress-when-you-are-short-petite/
Hour glass [with a bit of a pooch} ~ I viewed myself in silhouette to make sure. Just turned 65 in June too. Having to adjust to a little extra weight especially around the tummy & hips, but I’m hopeful. I like wearing booties and cowgirl boots instead of the painful high heels.
I am a very curvy hourglass. However, I am long-waisted. I like sweaters. But I think I should probably stick to long cardigans in dark color. Not sure. I think I need to give away my two thick crew neck boucle and hand-knit sweaters. I think I might need to check into trying wider belts sometimes. Am I right? I am 5′ 2″ and planning to lose some weight. I am warm spring coloring, something I want to incorporate as well.
Very hard to judge as everyone’s body shape is so unique. But I encourage to give different belts a try. We are are able to give specific help in the 40+ style club 🙂 https://40plusstyleclub.com
I believe I’m a plus-sized hourglass because even though my breasts are average size, both my hips and shoulders are wide, I think my shoulders might be a little wider too haha
I have been an hourglass all my life, even when very slim, I am now, since the menopause, a UK size 12(US 8) which is not as slim as I would like! I am also quite tall at 5ft 9 inches, so have always been noticeable; this was a problem to me when very young and shy, I hated people staring at me and covered up the body as much as possible, with excess fabric and clothes that didn’t suit me. From my thirties onwards I was working in an office, then an famous art gallery and museum, so the little suit with knee length pencil skirt and fitted jacket worked a treat to flatter as I gained confidence as a woman, although to be honest, it was always more classic in style than I am naturally, I am not very traditional by nature. Now retired and living in a rural community (apart from shopping trips to local large town etc) I need to wear mostly casual, weather proofed clothing. This is a problem for me, as I just end up feeling scruffy rather than stylish, even though I am naturally rather laid back. The puffer jacket feels scruffy to me, the trench is too classic and no hood, I live in jeans or black stretch slim fit trousers and walking boots are the norm, trendy ankle boots when I visit town, but to be honest, I am so bored with clothing and feel I have lost any sense of style I had.
These clothes are gorgeous but not everyone works in a formal office workplace and some of these are just a bit too dressy. (It is not good form to dress better than the boss!)
Is there anyway that an article can be provided for those that are required to wear denim to work so that it does make us look like we gained twenty pounds overnight and still look polished and professional?
Hi Dia, I wrote this article a while ago on how to dress casual for work. I had a teacher in mind but this could also work for the casual office. https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-dress-casual-comfortable-for-work/ Will definitely write more on this topic in future.
I’m an hourglass with high hips (I call them shelves). I’m only 5′ so it’s like triple the challenge. 🙂 I pretty much stick to fitted sheath dresses, pencil skirts, pants that go straight from my hips or a baby boot — all the things that make me appear taller. less shelf-like hips, and smaller chest. LOL! Love the wine dress with scalloped edge neckline and hem! May have to get it!!!!
Hi Sylvia, this is a great advice for hourglass ladies. I am an hourglass I sometimes wear clothes for a more boyish figure just because I might like the colour ‘not a good idea’ When I wear the right clothes for my shape I look and feel great and will always reach for them again and again
Thanks for your kind feedback. Yes clothes that suit you will just make you shine 🙂
Great article and I’ll be moving on to the pear and rectangle to compare and verify. However, some yeas ago I did some research and learned a couple of things I’d be interested on your take:
-A true hourglass bombshell has:
— a minimum 38″ bust
— same bust and hip measurement, or Very close
-Someone with a smaller than 38″ bust and little wider hips than bust, but not pear, is a squash
My measurements for my wedding dress (I was age 35) were 36-26-38, and now, at age 50, they are something like 36-29-40. Thoughts on where this puts me?
Hi Julie, You can try the calculator on this page https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-determine-body-shape/ However, it’s more useful to just think of the body parts you want to highlight and downplay and focus on that. You’ll hardly ever just fit into one category.
hi i have hour glass shape i was wondering what kind of skirts to wear and pants and is peplum tops ok thanks
Are guidelines are in the article. Yes peplums are very good for hourglass as they highlight the waist.
Tried peplum recently; although it emphasized the waist, my behind exploded and the flounce the peplum gives just overly emphasized my rear end. Not a good look if you have a prominent backside like most African-American women.
Thank you so much for this!
I seem to have a confusing shape. I’m still trying to figure it out. During good times an a hourglass but boobless and buttless. If I gain weight it goes on the waist and I become a rectangle. If I gain more weight it goes on my thighs and I become a pear. Worst if I gain more weight I become an apple. So basically I I can be the whole fruit basket. Now I am an hour glass with a tummy. This is a poor reason or excuse to always clothes shop.
This is very useful, Sylvia. As an hourglass-shaped woman, I can confirm that V-necks, longer, fitted tops and single-breasted, tailored coats look best on me, with anything bulky, chunky or with lots of material making me look really boxy. I did make the mistake of buying double-breasted coats and boxy jumpers, and they just sit in my wardrbe waiting to be donated.
Thank you ..great article with very very useful tips
I’m 43 and being blessed with a hourglass body… and also have dress with the OPPOSITE of my body type all my life! Luckily, is never too late and this web site has help me A LOT!
Time to make the change: I may need to take all my clothes to a tailor but I have a few key pieces in my closet that can help me start.
Whish me luck.
The article holds true for the most part, but I have some differences of opinion.
“Tops that flare just below the boob area and go to below your crutch can be very flattering on trousers.”
Never. Ever. Those tops don’t have a waist, and coupled with wide shoulders and big breasts, will make you look pregnant!
Also, sometimes, ties and belts are what save a dress/top… Even if a dress is fitted, a belt over the smallest part of the waist can draw all eyes there, and make them marvel ‘how did it get so tiny?’ 🙂
Im an hourglass and was wondering about capri pants. Im in Australia and its so hot, too hot for jeans or long pants. Are capri’s ok. Should I get the leg hugging ones or the ones that flare a bit around the calf?
It all depends on your secondary type and your figure priorities. Capris can look good but be sure to create the right balance and proportions in your outfit so it doesn’t shorten you too much. I will release a video soon on this topic so you may want to get on the list to receive it. http://40plusstylecourses.com/accessoriescourse
By the way for capris leg hugging is usually more flattering…
What about jeans for the hourglass woman. I am over 40 and trying to find jeans to fit my body. 5’8 and about 178 lbs. Really struggling with how to dress for my age.
You may like to read the guidelines for the hourglass body shape. https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-dress-the-hourglass-shape/
On the “Hourglass” page, there is a blouse that caught my eye, and I could not locate the information on purchasing it. Do you have a link available to the Plaid V-Neck Wrap style blouse shown in a dark blue or green with the obvious mustard color running through it? It is shown in an hourglass outfit with a mustard colored leather jacket, light jeans, and tan, beige boots. I often have difficulty finding designers with blouses full enough in the arms and chest that still come in at a smaller waist. Most tops that fit the chest don’t give me the shape I need at the waist, and I look as big as my broad shoulders. Thank you!
It’s available at http://rstyle.me/n/bdxqwscmww
Brilliant ~ Thank you!
thats for me!
although my bum&hips are boyish. but i really need to follow your guidelines here – and my own is – knee length or midi skirts to balance the top out and stretch the silhouette. was it instinctively or by purpose that you have mostly that skirt length in the examples?
No I think that knee length is the best length for most hourglass women (and for many other 40+ women too…)
Are Colummbiana jeans a good fit for hourglass shaped women
sure it will highlight your curves even more!
This guide has helped me so very much! Thank you ! I never knew what to do with these curves especially the girls and how to make them appear smaller. I have always had a love for bows glad to read bows on my shoes is a good thing!
An hourglass is a balanced shape. Shoulders and hips will be the same width and waistline will be 9 to 10 inches smaller than the hips. Generally an houglass is buxom and has a shapely derriere.
I dont know what shape i am!!! My bust and hips are around the same size but my shoulders are narrower. I also tend to gather weight on my hips and thighs but my waist is about 8 inches smaller
Hi Claire did you try the little test referenced in this article https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-determine-body-shape/ ?
Please remember though that we are all different. These are all general categories that provide general guidelines.
I think I am an hourglass 40d 31 41. my problem is finding jeans and sometimes dresses that don’t fit in my butt area. I usually need to have them taken in at the waist to have them fit properly (expensive), I didn’t think I could wear dresses with peplums either. Are there certain designers that have garments to accommodate my shape that you know of or do I keep getting everything altered. Is there anything other clothing that I should avoid wearing.
I’m not aware of any brands creating items specifically for hourglasses. It will help to buy pants and skirts that have a bit of stretch in them. I mentioned a few things to avoid in the article above, but in the end every hourglass body is different so try on lots of things and work out what suits you best or what should be on your “NO” list.
I think I’m a combo hourglass/rectangle with a dash of pear, not sure? 38C bust 30 waist and 41 hips. When I gain weight it is in my boobs and thighs.
Yes, few of us are strictly one type.
I find wrap-dresses very forgiving. Hugs in all the right places. If only I could wear one all the time. 🙂
A question: If I wear a knee-high boot with a skinny jean/yoga pant, should I just keep the bottoms dark? This seems to work best for me because a boot cut is just not that trendy right now – any suggestion?
I am an hourglass and have several wrap dresses but am still looking for the perfect one. As for bottoms, I am keeping the bottoms dark – either dark slim jeans with ankle boots or ‘treggings’ (trouser/leggings) tucked into long boots. I have boot cut jeans but they don’t feel right at the moment.
Boot cuts are never completely out of style so if they look good on you, I would still wear them.
It’s not necessary to keep your bottoms dark. I would keep your boots and pants in almost the same color though, which always creates a nicer silhouette in my opinion.
I am an hourglass with a slight A-line and these dresses are exactly what I wear and love.
Fantastic selection, Sylvia!
Annette | Lady of Style
Combo of rectangle and bottom hourglass body type, but small overall, as I am petite. Mostly straight, slightly curving out at butt and upper thigh. Nothing ever does fit in the waist, everything is too big. Belts are a problem, unless I can find one in the girls department that works right.
I am definitely an hourglass and I always find it so interesting that people think it’s the “perfect” shape because finding things that look good can be a challenge.
I have only one button down blouse — a casual one that has some elastic in the sides — because most either look like they are pulling in the front or they are so big in the waist that they add pounds. Similar problems with lower body. If it fits my hips, the waist gaps. If the waist looks good I need to suck in to zip it (never a good idea). And you’re absolutely right, belts seldom look good.
A lot of things that objectively look good on me are also on the sexy side and not appropriate for my conservatively dressed profession.
Yes, you are very right Lisa. Hourglass women need to embrace their bombshell body, which I imagine can be a challenge at work.
Yesterday afternoon was my shopping trip for the season. I’m on a no-more-clothes budget and only had cash for a very few things. I’m glad I read this article before I went. I purchased a couple of tops that were more form fitting than I would normally wear (because I can’t be “too sexy” for work) which with the other cold weather layers end up looking flattering while still wearable for work. Thank you.
There is no denying I am an hourglass. Some people think that curvy means overweight but I have tried to explain it’s about proportions…
Everything you say is right and I know I look better in fitted clothes (although I do like a few feminine frills and flounces). I have struggled in previous summers as baggier, looser clothes are not for me but I now realise I should buy fitted summer clothes.
You don’t mention fabrics – avoid tweed, chunky knits and thick mohair – or patterns, which really help break up expanses of bosom. Scarves are useful for that as well. Statement necklaces distract from the bust. Illusion dresses are great too.
Great additional tips Lorraine!
Great article, Sylvia. I am an hourglass and I definitely adhere to many of these rules, opting to fit my body many times over what might be trendy. And a note for Melody – you are about my same size, and my tailor is a great ally.
: ) Ana
I am fast starting to think this is possibly the best website on the internet. I absolutely love it, and the advice you give. I have a lot of back issue reading to do ( hurrah )
Ps I’m a slight V-shape apple :0)
Thanks for the nice compliment! Enjoy reading all the articles (>500 so it will take some time….:))
ugh this is driving me crrrrazy! iv been told that i have an hourglass shape, but i am 5 2″ and i weigh 130 pounds. i have DD 36 bra size, and wear 6 in jeans. but because im so short, my waist pretty much doesnt exist! i mean it does, but i cant find ANY dresses that fit me! ANYWHERE!! AT ALL!! driving me absolutly crazy….
Hi Melody, Yes finding the perfect dress for your body type can be tough. Don’t give up though! Do you have a good tailor? They can be really helpful. Perhaps you can find something that comes close and then the tailor can correct so your dress fits perfectly. Good luck!
Hi, Melody! I’m a similar size & have had great luck at New York & Company. They have flattering dresses that fit my large bust. GL!
I spend a lot of dressing time figuring out how to DE-emphasize my bust. I have enough I don’t need to draw attention to it. I buy shirts bigger which then makes my waist look bigger. Or, with clingier or tighter shirts I wear jackets and blazers. But I do look better in tailored, structured clothes.
Hi Phyllis, Have a look at this article: how to highlight or downplay your bust (https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-dress-when-you-have-a-large-bust/) which you may find interesting as well.
Thank you for this hour glass article, Sylvia. Just love the ideas.
Do you have a listing of where to get these gorgeous clothes?
Thanks Dale. Sorry I did not keep a record of the clothes. The garments were all found at polyvore.com so you should be able to find them there.
I’m an hourglass with pear tendencies, i.e. I tend to carry extra weight around my hips and thighs. I find it a bit difficult to dress for my body type, because I don’t care much for some of the styles that are supposed to be “right” for me. Like pencil skirts, for instance, they’re just not my style. I do wear dress trousers on occasions, but I’m a jeans girl at heart and really prefer jeans. As for dresses, I prefer empire waistline or shift dress styles. One of the styles I feel most comfortable in, are long, slightly fitted tunic-style tops, skinny ponte pants or jeans and knee-high boots. I think that it balances my slightly short torso and shows off the narrowest part of my legs:)
These guidelines are very general and everyone needs to find their own style. As you know I also like tunics so I’m sure you will look great in them!
Love. Love that blue dress in the first photo on the far right. I can feel a new obsession coming on.
That is my favorite too. I think that would look amazing on you!
hello can you help me for choice the good outfit for job interview.thank you
You can find our tips at https://40plusstyle.com/what-to-wear-to-a-job-interview/
I would love to have an hourglass shape! But don’t! Those are great guidelines to go by. Some of those definately applies to me..
As you indicated everyone is different and you don’t half to stick to those general guidelines. Shopping for a new outfit can get overwhelming! In my opinion having the right style,and a well fitted bra is important with any outfit…
Yes, a good bra is definitely a requirement for every outfit and to develop your own unique style!
I thought I was an “Hourglass” because I am the same size top and bottom. I am not really curvy though. I do have a small waist but I am small all over. Now I am not sure what my shape is. I follow a lot of these guidlines as they tend to make short girls look longer – the V-necks and fitted shirts that don’t button all the way up. I have those in every color. And I have to make sure all of my clothes are fitted or I am lost in them – like I have been sneaking into my big sister’s closet. I am a Petite Petite – that I know for sure. I wear size 0P or 2P and a size 4.5 or 5 shoe. The outfits you show look like the things I wear but I am comfused. I am not an apple or a pear or a rectangle. I am not an inverted triangle. What works best for me is keeping everything balanced – not wearing tops or skirts that hit in the wrong spot – and I know it when I see it. This is making me think.
Hi Suzanne, It sounds like you may be more of a rectangle. Rectangles can still have waists but they are not as defined as the hourglass. In some books you will only get defined as an hourglass if you are really curved and have a considerable bust. In any case the difference between your bust width / hip width and waist needs to be significant to be classified as hourglass. Also you may be a combination of several types. Few women are clearly defined by just one. They are just general categories and can be used as guidelines for dressing. Since you are petite you will probably dress more for your vertical shape. https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-determine-your-vertical-body-shape/ If you are a combination of rectangle / hourglass then you have many options and it sounds that you already have a good idea what suits your petite frame and height!
I just read your post on vertical body shape and that makes much more sense to me. 🙂
I do think I have to make sure my proportions are balanced vertically to look my best. Tomorrow I am going to measure the sections that you talk about to see if I am even or if I have long or short legs. This is all great information!
Ok good luck with that. Another good thing to know for you may be if your are long or short waisted, but I have not written about that yet…. You may want to have a look at this simple way of measuring body proportions as well: http://www.insideoutstyleblog.com/2011/12/how-to-measure-your-body-proportions.html
Could you start with short waisted Sylvia? LOL
Although I am regtangle or inverted triangle, there are still pieces from the hourglass type which I would wear. In order to create that waist.
Perhaps I am an hourglass, since many of these rules definitely apply to me. I’ve never really known how to categorize my shape.
All the main categories are listed on my how to dresss category page: https://40plusstyle.com/category/how-to-dress-after-40/ so you may want to have a look. Please bear in mind though that these are broad categories and we usually have a combination of these types.
oops no hour glass figure over here. 🙁
Luckily all our feminine shapes are gorgeous!