There’s something special about an outfit that’s meant to fit your unique body type. This guide will show you the best ways to highlight an hourglass-shaped body simply by choosing the right clothing. Once you have all the information, dressing your shape becomes easy. Keep reading for clothing suggestions, style tips, and general guidelines to help you think like a stylist and create outfits you can’t wait to wear.
What is an hourglass figure?
Here are some characteristics that often apply:
• Your shoulders and hips are about equal width.
• You have a defined waist.
• You likely have a larger bust and derrière.
• You describe yourself as curvy.
The hourglass is just one of the body types we’re highlighting. (Think you might actually be an apple, pear, rectangle, or something else? Watch our body measurements video to find out. We also have style tips for tall body types, plus sizes, and petite figures.)
3 tips to dress for your body type
If this sounds like your shape, we’re excited to teach you the best ways to dress your frame. But first things first: Here are three all-encompassing ideas every body type should keep in mind.
1. Balance it out
Body shape is almost entirely based on your bone structure—not your weight. Use your outfit to balance your shoulders, bust, waist, and hips.
2. Draw the eye
Use lines to focus the eye where you want it to go. They can help you create curves, lengthen, or emphasize your favorite parts of your body.
3. Think about color
Your eye is also drawn to patterns and light, bright colors more so than solid black or navy. Keep this in mind when choosing separates.
What to wear if you have an hourglass body shape
Now that we’ve established a baseline, let’s get specific. Here are the best tops, jackets, pants, dresses, and accessories to complement an hourglass-shaped frame.
Best tops for an hourglass figure
The good news: Fitted and structured tops look naturally great on your frame.
The perfect top to highlight the good stuff. (We mean your waist!)
A subtly sexy detail to accentuate your curves without being too revealing.
This neckline draws the eye toward a defined midsection.
This top mirrors your shape—a defined waist with volume in the shoulders and hips.
Best jackets for an hourglass figure
Your jacket choice is determined by what you want to highlight: your waist, your curves, or your legs.
A classic moto is a great fall layering piece with some edge.
Draw even more attention to your waist with a belted detail.
The hem lands above your hips to accentuate your bottom half.
4. Longline belted
A long jacket creates the illusion of longer legs.
Best jeans for an hourglass figure
Show off your hourglass waistline with this wardrobe essential.
This rise accentuates your defined waist for a flattering fit.
This silhouette beautifully balances curvier hips and thighs.
Like flared jeans, this style lends proportion to your lower half.
A close-fitting style shows off your natural curves.
Best pants for an hourglass figure
What do all four have in common? They showcase your waist.
If you haven’t guessed by now, belts are your best friend.
These pants follow your curves for a more comfortable fit.
This style accentuates your waist and leaves room for your curvy hips.
A flattering and comfortable rise for women of all ages.
Best dresses for an hourglass figure
From professional to casual to special-occasion options, these are the best hourglass flattering dresses to look for.
Okay, not a dress, but jumpsuits still show your curves and add volume to your lower half.
Creates a focal point to a typically loose-fitting garment.
This dress is constructed to highlight the waist and flow effortlessly from your hips.
It may be form-fitting, but this style leaves enough room for comfort.
Stylish accessories for an hourglass figure
It’s all about where you want people to look.
If your clothing doesn’t give you a defined waistline, a belt can do the trick.
2. Pointy-toe shoes
A pointed toe always makes your legs look longer—whether heeled or flat.
3. Statement earrings
Wear your favorite pair to pull attention toward your gorgeous face and neckline.
4. Nude pumps
On top of pairing well with everything in your closet, nude shoes are leg-lengthening.
Best swimwear for an hourglass figure
Go for structured pieces that accentuate your waist.
1. Bold prints
Tropical patterns play up your curves without overpowering your frame.
2. High-rise bottoms
Put the spotlight on your waist with this vintage-inspired style.
3. Constructed tops
Underwired bikini tops provide much-needed security.
4. Rouched one-pieces
Hugs your curvy shape and supports it.
3 outfit ideas for an hourglass body
General tips are great to have in your back pocket when shopping, but seeing them in action makes it easier to visualize what will look best on your frame. Check out three outfits we’ve built from the items suggested above that look great on an hourglass figure.
We love a cool third piece, particularly a moto jacket in an unexpected color. This pale, dusty rose can work with many things in your closet. Don’t believe us? Look how well it matches an olive V-neck cami, statement earrings, and snakeskin belt. The jacket is not the center of attention, but it’s definitely complementary. Same with a classic pair of dark, skinny jeans—both are excellent (and flattering) staple pieces.
Have a presentation or big meeting on the books? A power outfit helps give you confidence. A printed blouse with high-waisted pants and a comfortable pair of heels is a foolproof combo. Keeping in mind this outfit is for the workplace, a keyhole neckline that draws the eye up without showing too much skin is perfectly appropriate. We finished the outfit with pointed-toe shoes and tapered pants to create a long line from your waist to your toes.
Out on the town
When dressing an hourglass frame, we like to focus on the bust, waist, and hips—a jumpsuit showcases all three of them. The open neckline draws the eye to your collarbone and bust, a fitted bodice shows your curves, and a wide leg adds volume and comfort to the look. Not to mention it’s the perfect piece to carry a bold print. If you’re making a statement with pattern, keep the accessories pretty neutral.
Want to know more?
We’ve compiled answers to some FAQs about dressing an hourglass body shape. Click the questions below for more style advice.
Dressing modestly doesn’t mean hiding your shape. A high neckline top tucked into a pair of high-waisted, wide-leg pants is both modern and discreet. See the sophisticated workwear look above for more ideas.
Of course! Chino-style shorts in a comfortable length are especially flattering on an hourglass. They’re a straight cut that tends to have a high rise and a wide waistband.
The age-old battle between button-downs and large busts. Simply find a shirt that fits the largest part of your body, then make friends with a tailor to take the rest of the shirt in. It’s an investment that’s always worth it.
Although we may advise against oversized clothing on an hourglass shape, there are ways to wear them and still highlight your shape. Tucking in a top or wearing a belt around your waist creates a focal point for the look.
Jeans with stretch are key. They have some give in the hips to contour to your shape, and a high rise will complement your defined waist. Brands that specialize in curvy cuts include Good American, Levi’s, and Joe’s Jeans.
Wear what makes you comfortable, but there are countless other ways to show off your shape that doesn’t involve a bodycon dress. Most notably, wearing tops or dresses that highlight your waist immediately flatters your figure.
It’s up to you how you want to highlight your hourglass-shaped body, so choose outfits based on your level of comfort. You already have curves and a defined waist, so look for clothes that work with your body to complement your natural shape.
Want more style tips? Visit our other body shape pages and find out which looks work best for your frame.