How to Dress If You Have a Hourglass Body Shape

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How to Dress If You Have a Hourglass Body Shape

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I remember as a young girl being intrigued that some couples appeared visually mismatched. One was either better looking or perhaps had a healthier physique. It seemed odd and incompatible to me. As I grew up and started to date, it became clear to me what the magical link was to these seemingly contrary relationships. The one I visually judged less superior was oozing with confidence. This person was genuinely comfortable in their own skin. They had a genuine like and appreciation for who they were. They were not supermodels, models, or even considered beautiful by societal standards. Yet, they were a magnet to strangers, friends, and partners. They loved themselves without judgment, and others wanted to be connected to that positivity and acceptance.

I realized as a young woman, that was who I wanted to be. No matter how much I nitpicked at what I considered flaws in my physical appearance, I was not going to be ruled by them. It didn’t matter that I had a crooked nose, deeper-set eyes, thunder thighs, chicken legs, or frizzy hair. I was going to love me for me — a smart, happy, positive, funny, accepting, loving, and energetic individual. And, more importantly, I wanted others to feel confident about themselves too. If a friend was ever down in the dumps and obsessing over an imperfection, I would ask them to name three constructive attributes. These three things about them always positively outweighed the one shortcoming.

I also came to realize there is no one perfect body shape. Everyone assumes that it is an hourglass body shape for a woman. But it is not. Some of the most famously beautiful women, like Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce, do not have an hourglass shape. They have a triangle body shape. A healthy body is what we should be striving for. Do not be concerned about inches, placement, or symmetries. Recognize and respect them, but do not be ruled by them. Guys are lucky in this respect. They really do not care. Maybe a little, but on average, it does not manipulate and creep into their daily psyche the way it does for a woman. Perhaps that is why men are attracted to women to have a healthy respect and acceptance of their bodies.

I love helping women feel more happy and content in their own skin — no matter what the body shape. As with all shapes, it is not about how big or small your frame is, it is about your specific proportions. My mom assumed she had an hourglass shape because of her curvy figure and smaller waist. Yet, she was bothered when I told her that she was more on the pear or triangle spectrum. She was like, ‘how can be a more bottom-heavy pear when I have big boobs’? Body shape characteristics are determined more by your shoulder, waist, and hip widths versus your chest or butt size. Think of it more as looking directly straight on (shoulder, waist, & hips) versus the side view where you notice the projection of the chest and derrière more. Even though my mom has ‘big boobs,’ her shape is defined by her shoulders being more narrow or slender than her hips.

Hourglass Body Shape Typical Characteristics

  • A proportionally balanced upper body and hips;
  • Typically an average to larger bust;
  • Hips and derrière are more curvaceous;
  • Your waist is smaller and more defined than average;
  • Your shapely features are your best assets.

Some of the most celebrated, beautiful, and body-loved celebrities with an hourglass body shape are Christina Hendricks, Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, and Selma Hayek. I would be described as an hourglass body shape. My shoulders and hips are equal widths, and my waistline is smaller (thank you, mom!). Even with a seemingly straightforward form to dress, I encounter many challenges when trying on clothes. I am petite — an excellent way of saying that I am short. I have a longer torso, yet my legs are super short. More petite, hourglass shapes like myself, Scarlett, and Selma have to be extra careful with proportions. An outfit can quickly take over our Oompa Loompa height.

Thankfully today, there is more optimism, approval, and self-acceptance when it comes to embracing and loving your own body. It is about time! It is not about being big, small, tall, short, or trying to look like someone else. It is about being aware of your shape and highlighting the areas you love most about your body. Here are a few tips on how you can make your hourglass shape highlight your favorite features. As always my suggestions go from least to luxe in each category.

Items to Wear for a Hourglass Body Shape

  • Fitted and structured tops wrap naturally on your frame.
  • Wear peplum tops to give even more shape and definition to your waist.
  • Select tops or dresses with “V” and “U” necklines draw the eye toward your defined waistline
  • Belts that sit at your natural waist will help to emphasize this area.
  • Wear anything belted, overtop of a blazer, poncho, sweater, dress, or pants.
  • Emphasize with your waistline by selecting patterns and light, bright colors to draw attention to this area of the body.
  • Cropped tops, sweaters, or jackets that stop at your natural waistline.
  • Wrapped tops and dresses are your BFF.
  • Wear pants that are bootcut, flared, wide leg, or palazzo to balance out your shoulders and hips.

Tops For a Hourglass Body Shape

Jacket Types

Dresses and Jumpsuits for a Hourglass Body Shape

Hourglass Skirts

Denim and Pants for a Hourglass Body Shape


Clothes to Avoid with a Hourglass Body Shape

  • Avoid boat neckline and wide scoop neckline. This will make your shoulders look broader.
  • Avoid shoulder pads, pleats, ruffled, ruched, and billowy sleeves that will make your shoulders look broader unless you balance it out with a flared skirt or pant.
  • Avoid wearing high neck tops and dresses as it will add visual weight to your bust area.
  • Avoid button-down blouses or dresses. They are almost impossible to keep from pulling apart between buttons if your bust is more abundant.
  • Keep away from an overall boxy, tunic, or baggy tops and dresses.
  • Avoid sashes and belts that hang below your natural waist.

Hourglass Body Shape Summary

Healthy is what we should want for our bodies. Do not be concerned about inches, placement, or proportions. Concentrate on your well-being, health, strength, flexibility, and endurance. That is your magical power. You are trying to be the best version of yourself. There is no one else like you on the planet, nor will there ever be. So be yourself and love yourself. Because you know what? No one will ever give you the love, support, patience, motivation, strength, or grace as much as you should give yourself. No one. It comes from within. So start listening to yourself a little bit more.

Share your body shape outfits, experiences, or lessons learned in the comment section below. I am here to answer any questions on how to dress if you have an hourglass body shape. Let’s connect!

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