Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (2024)

Contents

  • I. Characteristics
  • II. Styling
  • III. Tops
  • IV. Bottoms
  •  Shop The Wardrobe Guide
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Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (1)

The shoulders are slightly round and the legs are in proportion with the upper body.

Read if you are concerned about:

- Defining your waist

- Maintaining balanced proportions

- The body is too curvy

Note: The body shape theory is somewhat outdated and best used to conceal or balance out particular body parts. If you are interested in a more comprehensive styling theory, check out style essences.

I. Characteristics of the Hourglass

  • Slightly round shoulders
  • Bust and hips are of the same width
  • Small and defined waist
  • Bottom and hips are rounded
  • Bigger thighs
  • Weight gains typically distribute evenly throughout the body

Other body shape tendencies

It is difficult to categorise your body into just one of the basic body shapes. Be open to a possible secondary body shape:

  • You lean towards an inverted triangle shape if you have slightly fleshy upper arms, which make your shoulder line appear wider.
  • You lean towards a pear shape if you have a slightly fuller bottom or extra weight around your hips.
  • You lean towards an apple shape if you carry extra weight around your waist.
  • You lean towards a rectangle shape if your waist is undefined.
The Wardrobe Guide

Learn how to build a flattering and functional wardrobe tailored to you.

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Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (2)

II. Styling the Hourglass

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (3)

The hourglass body shape isbalanced naturallywith a defined waist.

The key to dressing this body shape is tofollow its natural silhouetteby proportionally dressing the top and bottom of the body while accentuating the waist.

You need to ensure that youdon't unbalance the body frameby making it either top- or bottom-heavy.

Follow the natural silhouette

This means maintaining the body's naturally balanced proportions without drawing attention to only the lower or upper body.

  • Invest in a good bra
  • Choose clothing that shows off your curvy silhouette
  • Opt for simple, clean garments, which don't clutter up the silhouette
  • Avoid drawing attention to the hips and shoulders in order to maintain the natural balance of your body's silhouette
  • Steer clear of straight cuts and boxy styles, that hide the waist
  • Avoid shapeless and loose clothing as well as eye-catching embellishments

Define the waist

Wearing anything that draws attention to the waist helps bring out the body's balanced proportions.

  • Accentuate the waist with belts or nipped garments
  • Wear darker colours around your waist area - such as a dark belt
  • Steer clear of straight cuts and boxy styles, that hide the waist
The Wardrobe Guide

Learn how to build a flattering and functional wardrobe tailored to you.

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Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (4)

III. Tops

Necklines

Necklinesmust not unbalance the natural silhouetteof the hourglass body by either visually widening the shoulder line or adding unnecessary volume to it (e.g., through embellishments).

Slightly rounded stylesare great - such as oval, deep oval, rounded or jewel necklines. Because they are not extremely wide or narrow, they don't draw any attention to them.Lower and wider necklines- such as scoop or sweetheart necklines, will show off your bust.

If you don't want to show off your bust,avoid wide necklines,like the ones mentioned before, square and boat necks, as well ashigh necklinesandturtlenecks,as they will add volume to that area. Instead, opt for slimming necklines (like a V-neckline).

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (5)

A selection of flattering neckline styles:

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (6)

Sleeves

Just like necklines, sleeves must not unbalance the natural silhouette of the hourglass body by either visually widening the shoulder or hip line or adding unnecessary volume to either.

The best type of sleeve is a fitted one. Set-in sleeves work great as they follow the body’s natural curve. If you opt for light shoulder-enhancing sleeves (such as cap sleeves), make sure to balance the extra volume out on your bottoms.

Avoid embellishments, as well as loose and wide sleeves that would draw attention to the upper body.

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (7)

A selection of flattering sleeve styles:

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (8)

Shirts, T-Shirts & Other Tops

Look for shirts that willaccentuate your waist and maintain the balanced lookof the hourglass shape, i.e. tops should befitted.

They should nip in at the waist without adding bulk to your chest (unless you have a smaller bust). Belted tops and wrap tops are great to accentuate the waist.

If you want to de-emphasise your curvy hips, choose tops thatextend right to your hipbone.

This will help skim over the curves and make you look thinner.

Avoid big ruffles, bows or any other embellishmentsthat would add a lot of volume to your upper body (unless you add some volume to your hips to balance it out). And steer clear ofextra bulk on the waist,which would hide your waist’s natural slimness.

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (9)

A selection of flattering shirt & top styles:

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (10)

Knitwear

Like with anything else, it’s all about that waist for the hourglass body. This shape is already very proportionate, so the goal is tomaintain that proportionality and not lose it in excessive fabric.

Alightweight, form-fitting sweateris the best option, especially since it highlights your curves.Beltsare also great to further highlight the waist.

Lightweight fabrics and fine knitswill complement your shape by highlighting your silhouette.

Avoid chunky, heavy knits and loose sweatersthat hide the natural hourglass shape.

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (11)

Jackets

Jackets shouldfollow the natural body line and draw in toward the waist.

Form-fitting and beltedjackets are great.Single-breastedjackets are best since they don’t add extra bulk as double-breasted jackets do.

Short jackets that stop just above your hips accentuate your curves. If you are petite, stick to shorter jackets that end at your hips.

Avoid straight and boxy stylesas these do not show your waist and so make you appear heavier. And steer clear ofheavy detailing and embellishmentsthat let you appear top-heavy.

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (12)

A selection of flattering jacket styles:

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (13)

Coats

Like jackets, coats should beform-fitted and tailoredto follow the hourglass body's natural silhouette.

Styles that achieve this are trench coats, long coachmen coats, and also A-line coats.

To keep the silhouette uncluttered,keep coats simplewithout too many details or embellishments, which could make you end up looking unbalanced. If you opt for a coat with embellishments around your bust, make sure you add the same amount of volume around your hips.

Puff sleeves or epaulettesto emphasise your shoulders are great.

Avoid boxy and straight coat styles- such as empire line and drop waistcoats, as they hide your natural waistline(unless they can be belted in).

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (14)

A selection of flattering coat styles:

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (15)

The Wardrobe Guide

Learn how to build a flattering and functional wardrobe tailored to you.

Learn More

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (16)

IV. Bottoms

Trousers

Trousers for the hourglass body shape should be in balance with the rest of the body and outfit. Always coordinate trousers with the top you're wearing.

Wide-leggedandloose-fittingtrousers that go straight down to the floor are best.Slightly tapered, boot-cut or flare-outtrousers are also good.

Trousers should bemid-waisted;low-waisted styles would widen the hips.

Avoid pleats, darts and embellishments or pocketsaround the hips. Keep your trousers on theslimmerside, not too baggy or extremely wide.

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (17)

A selection of flattering trouser styles:

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (18)

Jeans

Just like trousers, jeans should be balanced with the upper part of your outfit.

Generally, simple and clean styles such as classic bootcut or straight leg are best for the hourglass-shaped body. Wide-legged, loose-fitting, and slightly tapered jeans styles also work well.

Jeans should bemid- or high riseto elongate the legs. Wide waist bands are great.

Avoid low-rise jeansas they tend to make the hips look wider and the legs shorter.

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (19)

A selection of flattering jeans styles:

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (20)

Skirts

The right skirt for the hourglass body shape accentuatesthe waistwithout adding too much bulk at the bottom.

One skirt that achieves that is thepencil skirtsince it clings to the body and comes in at the waist. Flip, bias, and A-line skirts (shaped around the hips and in structured fabric) that are adjustable at the waist also work well.

Voluminous skirts- such as a full circle or tulip skirt, are also great because they make the waist look even smaller. Make sure your skirt ishigh-waisted to highlight the small waist.

The best hemline isknee-length or longer.These skirts will hug the hips and hang off them naturally.

Avoid boxy and straight skirt stylesas well asstiff fabrics.Keep away from skirts with bigvoluminous pockets, ruffles, dartsor otherembellishments around the hipsunless you balance them with details around the chest. Finally, stay away fromlow-waisted skirtssince these would add bulk to the lower body.

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (21)

A selection of flattering skirt styles:

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (22)

Dresses

Dresses for the hourglass body shape shoulddraw the focus to the waistwithout adding extra volume to the bust.

Nipped and belteddresses are excellent.Wrap dressesare great too, as they create a nice silhouette, accentuate the waist and tailor the midriff without making it look boxy.

Opt forvoluminous skirtson dresses such as a full circle or tulip skirt as they make the waist appear even smaller. But make sure they are in a simple style. The hemline should be no shorter thanknee length.

If you want to appear more curvaceous, add volume both to bust and hip through ruffles, embellishments or pockets. If you want to downplay your curves, look for a dress in dark colours or vertical stripes.

Avoid dresses with straight lines or boxy cutssince they cover your curves and make you appear heavy. Andsteer clear of embellishments or pocketsin either the hip or shoulder area.

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (23)

A selection of flattering dress styles:

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (24)

Shorts

Shorts for the hourglass body shape must not unbalance the naturally balanced figure. To make the waist appear smaller, opt forhigh-waistedshorts withcontoured waistbands.

Make sure to tuck your top into the shorts for even more definition around the waist.

Avoid shorts that are cut straight up, darts and stiff fabrics.And stay away fromlow-waisted shortsandheavy detailingthat would unbalance your figure.

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (25)

A selection of flattering shorts styles:

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (26)

Jumpsuits & Playsuits

Jumpsuits for the hourglass body shape shouldhighlight the natural balanceof the hourglass silhouette.

Belted and form-fittingjumpsuits and playsuits are the best to accentuate the natural body line. Small pleats around the waist can give you a nipped-in look. The leg should not be too tapered (flared styles are better).

Asimple styleis mandatory since undue ruching and embellishments would unbalance the body.

Avoid too many details and embellishments at the hips or the shouldersthat would draw attention to those areas.

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (27)

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (28)

A selection of flattering jump- and playsuits:

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (29)

Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide | the concept wardrobe (2024)
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