How to Dress an Hourglass Shape

Crystal Schwanke
dress
Belts are flattering for hour glass shapes.

Learning how to dress an hourglass shape may feel impossible if you're trying on styles made for ladies who are heavier on top than on bottom, or vice-versa. Learning to play up the balance between your upper and lower halves and accent your small waist will serve you well, keeping your silhouette looking its best whether you want to appear sultry and seductive or elegant and classy.

Learning How to Dress an Hourglass Shape

Many women with hourglass shapes try to hide their curves and by doing so, wear clothes that do not fit them properly. Instead of choosing big, baggy clothes to hide your shape, choose clothes to enhance what you have. By knowing the best styles for your particular shape, you can dress with confidence and always look your very best.

Show Off Your Waist

Since hourglass shapes typically have well-defined waists, drawing attention to your waist with a belt or a top with a fitted waist will accentuate this great asset. Do not be afraid to show off a small waist! It is often most flattering to draw attention to your smallest part of your body.

yellow belted casual dress

Foundation First

An important item for an hourglass shape to have is a well-fitting bra. A bra is the foundation to all your clothing and if it doesn't fit properly can make your clothes look sloppy or unkempt. Since most hourglass figures are well-endowed, a properly fitting bra is a must-have wardrobe staple. Remember that a bra that fits will show off your bust and lay a smooth foundation for all your tops.

Tops

Another must-have for hourglass shapes is a top with either a v-neck or scoop neckline. Both styles slim the neck and chest and will make you appear smaller and slimmer. Wearing a boatneck or a turtleneck style can cause the area around the bust to appear larger, creating a more top-heavy look than a balanced one. Any sleeve length is fine, but if you tend to carry extra weight in your upper arms, steer clear of cap sleeves that could call attention to the area and make you appear larger on top than bottom.

Halter styles are also flattering on hourglass shapes because they reveal bits of skin and break up the area of the torso with straps and color. Just be sure to find a supportive bra to maintain the balanced proportions and draw attention to a slim waist.

Pants

flare jeans and fitted sweater

The best pant styles for an hourglass shape are:

  • Flat front trousers
  • Boot cut jeans
  • Pants or jeans with flared bottoms

Pants that fit properly will give you a slim look that will enhance your figure. As a general rule, a waistband that hits at the navel or just below it will be the most flattering. It won't draw attention to the fullest part of the hips and will instead draw the eye to the waistline, where your body is thinnest.

Skirts and Dresses

There are many styles of skirts and dresses that work perfectly for hourglass shapes. Curvier women should choose skirts that accentuate your curves and flatter your legs. Some styles to try include:

  • Pencil skirts
  • A-line cut skirts and dresses
  • Wrap skirts
  • Wrap dresses

Some other figure flattering items are belted jackets, cardigans and wrap-style coats.

Outfit Ideas

Because your proportions are already balanced, you won't be adding bulk in one place but not another in order to create the illusion of the hourglass shape. For the best effect, wear lightweight fabrics that conform easily to your curves, and don't go with anything too baggy on the top or the bottom. For example, try:

  • Straight leg jeans with a fitted top that features a V-neck.
  • A pencil skirt with a button-up shirt. Tuck the shirt in.
  • A fitted tunic sweater that hits below the hips, plus pants that hug your curves will show off your feminine shape, especially if you wrap a thin belt around your waist to counteract the potential bulk of the sweater. If you want to wear skinny jeans or leggings, try wearing boots to add a little bulk and balance at the bottom. Straight leg and slight bootcut pant styles will also work well.
  • Retro style dresses are your best friends. They tend to cinch in the middle, just where hourglass shapes need it.
  • Flared pants work well with a loose, flowy top in a lightweight fabric because there's additional material on top and bottom, but not a lot of extra bulk.
  • A fitted low V-neck shirt tucked into an A-line skirt that hits near the knee (above or below) will make your feminine shape more pronounced.

Style Tips

There are many tips to follow if you are an hourglass shape. Keep in mind the importance of dressing for your body type. Some things to keep in mind when choosing an outfit are:

woman in a scoop neck top and a-line pleated skirt
  • Wear a darker bottom and lighter colored top to emphasize your waistline and to minimize your curves.
  • A monochromatic outfit with a slim belt will slim your figure and balance your body.
  • Buy clothes in the correct size. A top that is too big will only make you look bigger and sloppier and clothes that are too tight will also make you look larger.
  • Choose lighter weight fabrics without extra bulk to give you a lean look.
  • Tuck in your shirt when possible, or put a slim belt on top. Shirts that drape straight down from the bust can make you appear larger than you are.

Embrace Your Curves

Hourglass figures can show off their curves and camouflage their imperfections by knowing how to dress an hourglass shape and choosing the right styles for their particular body type. By wearing clothes that fit properly any woman can look stunning and feel confident. Embrace your best assets and don't hide behind improperly fitting clothes.

How to Dress an Hourglass Shape