How to Dress Hourglass Body Shape

Silvana Patrick
by Silvana Patrick
10 Minutes

Today, I want to talk about how to dress an hourglass body shape.

But, before we start, I'd like to say that I don't really like to label bodies, because there are so many variations and nuances within each type.

For example, an hourglass body is usually described as having the shoulders in line with the hips combined with a small waist. That includes me, but I also have a smaller bust than is common with this shape.

Some people would even call me more of a pear shape, but I have a very athletic upper body.

There's really no such thing as a perfect hourglass body shape. What I'm going to do here is dress for my body type and give you tips on how you can adapt my styling to your specific body.

Take my suggestions as guidelines and be your own judge of what feels comfortable to you.

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Fit and fabric

1. Fit and fabric

These two words are the key to dressing for all body types. Size and color are much less important. 

The golden rules for hourglass body shape clothes are to highlight your waist, avoid adding volume and choosing mid-weight fabrics.

Stiff fabrics will add extra bulk and very thin fabrics are too pliable and therefore unforgiving.

Aim to follow the natural outline of the body by dressing the top and bottom in proportion, while accentuating the waist. 

Choose the right bra that gives support to a bigger bust and creates space around your tummy and upper body.

Don't wear boxy tops or jackets that "square you off" and hide your waistline, but look for ones that cinch your waist.

Best necklines

2. Your best necklines

Necklines shouldn't visually widen the shoulders or add unnecessary bulk, for example with embellishments. A boat neckline creates a line across your shoulders that draws attention to their width. 

Deep scoops and V-necks are your best bet if you have a large bust.

If you have a smaller bust you can wear tops that are more covered, such as turtlenecks.

Best shirts

3. Your best shirts

Look for shirts that accentuate your waist. They should be fitted at the waist, or be belted.

The hourglass body is already very proportionate, so the goal is to maintain that and not lose it in excessive fabric.

Best sweaters

4. Your best sweaters

A lightweight, form-fitting sweater is the best option, especially since it emphasizes your curves. Fine knits complement your shape by highlighting your silhouette.

Avoid chunky, heavy knits and loose sweaters.

Best jackets

5. Your best jackets

As I said earlier, avoid boxy jackets like the one on the left above. They do nothing for your shape.

Form-fitting and belted jackets are great and single-breasted is always better than double.

Best coats

6. Your best coats

Styles to choose are trench coats, long coachman coats and A-line coats.

Keep your silhouette uncluttered with simple coats, without too many details or embellishments. 

Best bottoms

7. Your best bottoms

Wide-legged, loose fitting trousers that drop straight to the floor are best. Slightly tapered or boot cut pants are also good.

Trousers should have a high waist, mid-waist or low-waist styles widen the hips. Keep them on the slimmer side.

Best skirts

8. Your best skirts

Choose a skirt that's shaped around the hips in a structured fabric, such as an A-line or pencil style.

Voluminous skirts, full circle or tulip skirts, also work well because they make the waist look even smaller.

The best hemline is knee-length or longer.

Best dresses

9. Your best dresses

Wrap dresses are great, because they create a lovely silhouette that accentuates the waist.

Simple dresses that follow your curves without adding bulk always look good.

Best shorts

10. Your best shorts

Tuck your top into your shorts, for even more definition around your waist.

Avoid baggy shorts in stiff fabrics and stay away from low-waisted shorts or heavy detailing.

Best jumpsuits

11. Your best jumpsuits

Jumpsuits for the hourglass body shape should highlight the natural balance of this body type.

Belted and form-fitting are the best styles to choose.

Hourglass body shape outfits

How to dress hourglass body shape

I hope you've found this helpful in choosing hourglass body shape outfits, whether you have a classic hourglass shape or have a smaller bust, as I do.

If you choose simple, clean styles that show off your silhouette, you won't go far wrong.

Avoid drawing attention to your shoulders and hips by adding more details there, such as extremely puff sleeves or large pockets. 

Defining your waist is one of your main goals. You can wear pretty much anything as long as you belt it!

Do you know your body type and is there a particular shape you’d like me to style? Please let me know in the comments.

Check out my post on How to Accessorize Any Outfit.

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