Welcome to the second body shape guide for Polka Dot Blonde, all about how to dress your hourglass body shape and accentuate your body’s best features. An hourglass body shape is when your hips and bust have the same measurements, and your waist is well-defined. You fall into this category if your waist is about 8-12” less than your bust/hips. For many years, “36-24-36” has been considered the perfect measurements for a woman’s body. It makes me think of the song, “Baby Got Back,” because Sir Mix-A-Lot says, “When it comes to females, Cosmo ain’t got nothin to do with my selection…36-24-36…haha, only if she’s 5’3”! 😛 However, no matter your height, similar measurements would make you an hourglass body shape. If you are an hourglass, it doesn’t mean that you have to be completely voluptuous. Audrey Hepburn AND Marilyn Monroe both had an hourglass body shape. Audrey Hepburn was 5’7” with the measurements 33-20-34, and Marilyn Monroe was 5’5” and 36-22-36. Marilyn’s shorter height and larger measurements made her appear more curvaceous…still the same body type though!
The first body shape guide that I wrote about is the one that I feel like I mostly belong to, the pear body shape. I wrote in this blog post about how I don’t like the idea of trying to camouflage your body. Since my lower half is curvy, I don’t necessarily want to cover that up or play it down, but it seems like that’s what women are told to do. For all body shapes, there is an element of trying to achieve visual balance when you select your outfit, which I understand. It seems as though dressing the hourglass shape has a fairly simple formula when you are trying to achieve balance. If you wear a voluminous top, you should balance out your bottom with volume as well. If you wear a form-fitting top, you can make your bottoms more form-fitting. The most important part of the formula- accentuate or belt your waist! As Ulla says in “The Producers,” “When you got it, flaunt it!” (God, I love that song. :-))
The Hourglass Body Shape
Not sure what your body type is? Calculate your body shape here. Are you hourglass? Great! Then you can learn more about the guidelines that I’ve created for you. First of all, an hourglass body shape is when your hips and bust have a very similar, almost exact measurement. In addition, hourglass shapes have a small, defined waist (typically 8-12” less than the bust/hips). Most of these suggestions discuss how to achieve balance by highlighting your waist, and achieving balance between your upper and lower body.
Please, if there is anything on this list that is not your style, don’t do it. I like to wear heels on the right occasion, but you’re not going to catch me wearing them to work with my kindergarten students in order to achieve elongated legs. Get out of here! LOL. These are all merely suggestions!
I also want to point out that some of the tips for pear shape and hourglass shape seem to overlap a little bit, so even though this isn’t my body type per se, I could kind of fake it and make myself appear to be more of an hourglass due to the pieces that I chose to wear for my outfit.
- Wear Form-Fitting Tops in Soft and Stretchy Fabrics
- V-Neck and Rounded Necklines Highlight Your Decolletage
- Accentuate Your Waist With a Wrap, Belted, or Peplum Top
- Button-Down Shirts Should Be Form-Fitting, Tailored, and Leave Room for Your Girls
- Layer Your Outfit With Belted, Fitted, or Cropped Jackets
- Try Bustiers, Halters, Cowl-Neck, and Crop Tops
I was serious when I said when you got it, flaunt it! The fabrics that you should choose are generally clingy and form-fitting, rather than thick fabrics that make you look boxy. The styles of shirts also follow the form of your body, showcasing your top assets and your tiny waist. There is a fantastic company that makes form-fitting button-down shirts that work for bustier ladies (Campbellandkate.com). It’s super annoying when button-down shirts fit everywhere else but then gape at the boob area. I’ve also done a button-down shirt blog post about how to wear them from work to dates (here), if you need any button-down shirt inspo! Crop and tie-front tops are so in style right now, and they were made for your body type! Here are some current styles in tops that I thought you might like. Click the links below to shop. 🙂
- Colorblock Halter Sweater (New York & Company)
- Crop Plunging Neck Buttoned Front Top (Shein)
- Candie’s Mixed Media Zipper Tank Top (Kohl’s)
- Levi’s Ultimate Western Denim Shirt (Kohl’s)
- Leather Bustier Top (Shein)
- Plunging Neck Knot Hem Bell Sleeve Plaid Crop Top (Shein)
- Stripe Linen Wrap Crop Top (New York & Company)
- Knot Hem Crop Top (Shein)
- 7th Avenue City Stretch Linen Flex Pink Belted Jacket (New York & Company)
- Gabrielle Union Collection Red Crop Pullover Anorak (New York & Company)
- A-Line Skirts Will Be Your New Best Friend!
- Wide-Leg, Flared, and Bootcut Pants for the Win
- Straight Leg and Skinny Jeans Are Close Behind
- High-Rise and Mid-Rise Bottoms are Best
- Show Off Those Curves With a Fitted Jumpsuit
- Try a Knee-Length Pencil Skirt for the Perfect Fit
Women with hourglass figures, you are in luck again! You can pretty much wear any type of bottoms that you want. Remember what I said about wearing form-fitting fabrics? You can forget about that for your A-line skirts. A-line skirts nip in at your waist and flow outward to the knee or below the knee, and they really on heavier, thicker fabrics in order to hold their structure. Pencil skirts are another fabulous fit for an hourglass shape.
Wide-leg, flared, and bootcut pants add some balance to your frame, but that doesn’t mean that you should avoid straight leg or slim pants. If you do choose the latter styles, it may shorten the appearance of your legs. One suggestion to remedy this is to wear heels with your skinny jeans in order to elongate your legs. High-rise and mid-rise pants, jeans, skirts, and shorts are best for your body type, because they will highlight your tiny waist. Tucking in your top or shirt into your bottoms will also draw attention to your waist and emphasize your shape.
- Contrast-Trim Pencil Skirt (Forever 21)
- Eva Mendes Party Collection Striped Maddie Skirt (New York & Company)
- Eva Mendes Collection Black Floral Maddie Skirt (New York & Company)
- City Stretch Linen Flex Brown Belted Cargo Skirt (New York & Company)
- Surplice Wrap Belted Sleeveless Jumpsuit (Shein)
- Soho Jeans Embellished Straight-Leg Jeans (New York & Company)
- Soho Jeans Super High-Waist Wide-Leg Jeans (New York & Company)
- Apt. 9 Tummy Control Midrise Bootcut Jeans (Kohl’s)
- Accentuate Your Waist With a Wrap Dress or Empire Waist Dress
- When in Doubt, Belt It
- Emphasize Your Curves With Sheath, Tank, Fit and Flare, and Strapless Dresses
- Choose Soft Fabrics to Drape Along Your Curves
- Wear a Body Shaper If Needed
Highlighting your waist is again the key to choosing the right fit. Wrap dresses, belted dresses, fit and flare, strapless, and empire waist all cinch in at the waist to do so. Tank and sheath dresses are form-fitting the whole way down, so you won’t have to do much to make these dresses look amazing. However, if you’re like me and you enjoy pizza and cookies (not necessarily together), you may want to wear a body shaper if you’re going to wear a super snug dress. I got a shaping slip for Halloween for a very tight and white dress from Yummie.com. I definitely recommend this brand! You can also take a loose-fitting, flowy dress and use your own belt around your middle to give it some shape.
- Ruffle Hem Single Shoulder Overlap Dress (Shein)
- Cutout Sleeveless Bodycon Sheath Dress (New York & Company)
- 7th Avenue Striped V-Neck Wrap Sweater Dress (New York & Company)
- Button Through Ruffle Hem Striped Belted Dress (Shein)
- Colorblock Cotton Fit and Flare Dress (New York & Company)
- Double Breasted Belted Dress (Shein)
- Strapless Black and White Dot Maxi Dress (New York & Company)
- Foldover Cold Shoulder Button Through Dress (Shein)
Outerwear and Accessories
- Wear Necklaces Right Above or Below Your Collarbone
- Belt Your Waist
- Choose Pumps and Heels to Elongate Your Legs
- Wear Form-Fitting and Belted Styles for Jackets
- Wear Cropped Jackets to Flaunt Your Curves
If you have this particular body type, you should invest in lots of belts in many colors and widths. You can honestly get away with wearing many styles of shirts and dresses if you have a belt to cinch your waist. I have several kimono tops that are very loose, and I wear a wide black obi belt around my middle to make them look more form-fitting. Many of the jacket styles featured below will also accentuate your waist, such as trench coats, fitted blazers, or cropped jackets.
- Chunky Faux Suede Heels (Forever 21)
- LC Lauren Conrad Cropped Trench Jacket (Kohl’s)
- Woven Buckle PU Belt (Shein)
- Goldtone Faux-Pearl Collar Necklace (New York & Company)
- Navy Topstitched Trench Coat (New York & Company)
- Goldtone Beaded Collar Necklace (New York & Company)
- Self Tie Belt (Shein)
- Faux Leather Strappy Heels (Forever 21)
Hopefully, after reading all of this, you are feeling pretty good about the best styles for the hourglass body shape. There are plenty of other styles that look great with this body shape. Are there any styles that you already wear? Are there any suggestions that you might try?