Dressing for Your Shape – Hourglass Shape

A hourglass figure has well defined bust and hips which are balanced and aligned, being of the same size. The waist is also defined and in most cases the bottom is well rounded. This gives a well proportioned figure with killer curves. The upper body is proportionate in length to shapely legs. There may be weight gathered on the tummy so this will give some of the characteristics of the apple shape. Hourglass-body-shape-bella-naija-march-2016

The hourglass outline is balanced so the aim is not to hide your defined waist with a wide mid section, avoiding bulky clothes and layers around your middle. Also avoid big ruffles or bows on your fuller area which will make you look bigger.

Look for snug tailored pieces – everything from your casual clothes to more formal dressing should be fitted, nipping in slightly at the waist. Stretchy materials hug your curves and work especially well if you have a flat stomach.

Solid colours are best although muted patterns may also work. Try having contrasting shades above your waist and below your waist, or you can stick with a single, solid color top or dress to keep your bust evenly balanced with your hips.



Go for soft fabrics like knits and silk blends. These materials gently drape over your natural curves, keeping your bust in proportion with your hips. Avoid stiff fabrics, since these may end up making you look boxy. Flowing tops that are banded at the waist, showing off your amazing curves, create a dramatic hourglass effect.

Wear tops with a defined waist or define your waist with a slim waist belt. You can also wear tailored and well fitting shirts which are not too tight.

Marks & Spencer Collection White Long Sleeved Shirt


Wear low, slimming necklines such as V-necks, V-neck halters, sweethearts, and scoop necks. Narrow necklines slim down your bust, keeping it looking balanced, and low necklines draw the eye closer to your narrow waist. Avoid wide necklines like boat necks and squares, since these tend to make you look top heavy.

Wrap-style tops accentuate your waist and enhance your hourglass figure. T-shirts look best when they fit your waist, have a V-neck and have some accents on the shoulders.

Jacques Vert Purple Fitted Sparkle Lace Sleeveless Top Orig Price £79 v

A top that stops just short of your waist will accentuate your curves, but if you would rather slim your curves down, look for a top that lengthens your torso by extending just below your hipbone or past your thighs.


Choose either form-fitting jackets or jackets that nip in at the waist with a flare at the hip. The flare should be balanced with a structured or princess shoulder.


Wear single-breasted jackets that are tailored. They will often look best when left open to create a nice vertical line, which elongates. Little fitted jackets which tuck in your boobs look great.

Choose dark colours on the top for slimming effect.


Bodycon and pencil skirts of all lengths emphaise your hips particularly with a high waist or belted. Look for stretchy or draped soft fabric rather than stiff fabrics.

M&5 BLACK Bouclé Pencil Skirt with New Wool

Full skirts are flattering when paired with a top that adds fullness to your bust and shoulders while accentuating your waist. This look creates a very dramatic hourglass effect but are best knee length. Or add a flounce around the hem to balance fuller tops and jackets.

Marks & Spencer Red Crepe Wrap Skirt with Drop Hem & Buckle Fastening

Wear straight cut jeans and trousers for a structured look.  You have slim legs so show them but be careful with skinny fit which may be fattening unless you have long legs.

Marks & Spencer Classic Nutmeg Linen Blend Straight Leg jean Style Trousers.jpg

Wide-leg and boot-cut styles keeps the bottom portion of your leg in balance with your wide hips. This also creates a longer, slimmer appearance for your legs.

INC International Concepts Zipper-Pocket Bootcut Pants

Avoid low-rise pants, since these may make your hips look wider and your legs look shorter. Mid-rise and high-rise cuts elongate the leg. Styles with wide waist-bands are especially flattering.

Avoid bottoms with too many details at the hip. Your trousers should have flat fronts and pockets without flaps or large buttons. You should also avoid decorative embellishments or other decorations at the hip.


Look for dresses that fit your boobs and elongate your waist. They should fit very snugly around that area.Wear dark colors and vertical stripes if you want to downplay your curves, to slim down your upper half wear dark colors, vertical stripes, or vertical pleats.

Marks & Spencer Per Una Red Cap Sleeve Bodycon Dress Orig Price £39



The wrap dress is perfect for flaunting a slim waist.

Major highstreet Store Red Empire Fit & Flare Dress 1

Avoid too many frills on your clothes as they will add extra bulk to places where you don’t need it. Stay away from ruffles, bows, and other dimensional details that add volume. If placed at the bust, these details may make you look top heavy. If placed at the waist, they detract from your waist’s natural narrowness.


A good bra is essential for this body type. Make sure you get a good supportive bra that will thrust your bust forwards.

Marks & Spencers Almond Total Support Mesh Lace Full Cup Bra


Large and interesting bracelets draw the attention of the eye to your waistline as well as the wrist.

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A bright splash of color at your neck can add personality to your outfit. Look for short necklaces that hug your neck

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or long necklaces that come down in a V – necklaces that hang low and wide over your chest may make it look larger and unbalanced.

Long necklaces with a pendant close to the breast or waistline will draw attention to your waist.

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Your curvy hips may make your legs look thick and short when you wear flat shoes. Heels elongate the leg, however, creating a slimmer, better proportioned look.


A belt worn around the narrowest part of your waist acts as the focal point of your entire outfit. Skinny belts often work for hourglass figures of all heights, but wide belts may shorten the torso if you have a short waist or petite height.

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Choose tops with straps that sit in the center of your well balanced shoulders.Keep the color across your bust and hips is the same. Match unpadded tops with simple bottoms cut straight across your hips or padded tops with embellished bottoms.

Bandeau tops are flattering on an hourglass figure. Pair simple bottoms with simple bandeau tops or embellished/ruffled tops with embellished/ruffled bottoms.

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One piece bathing suits with a wrap or banded waist will enhance your hourglass figure. Make sure to stick with suits that have the same pattern or color across the bust and hips.

Choose tankinis with a balanced top and bottom. Pair simple tops with simple bottoms and pair embellished tops with embellished bottoms.

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