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Dressing the Hourglass Body Type

The Hourglass shape is characterized by shoulders and bust that are equal to the hips and a waist that is well-defined.


The main challenge for Hourglasses is fit. Button front shirts pull across the bust, and pants gape at the waist. One misconception about an Hourglass shape is that as they change sizes, they are no longer an Hourglass. However, because body shapes are about proportion, not size, if your bust and hips change as well, chances are, you’re still an Hourglass. Also, some Hourglasses, as they age, will find their waists have less definition than they used to, but that doesn’t necessarily mean their shape has changed. You may be less Hourglassy than you were before, but if you still have the same fit challenges, you’re still an Hourglass.

The goal for Hourglass bodies is to maintain the balance between the upper and lower body, and highlight your curves. Hourglasses often want a flowy, oversized, “boho” look. In reality, these styles hide curves and make Hourglasses feel boxy.


Choose the right neckline:

Higher necklines, like turtlenecks, mocks and crews flatter a smaller bust and longer neck, while more open necklines, like v’s and scoops are better for a larger bust and shorter neck. Because Hourglass bodies come in both variations, pick the neckline best for your upper body.


Often, Hourglasses have slightly rounded shoulders. Set in sleeves and boat neck tops will help strengthen the shoulder line. Drop shoulder styles will make your shoulders appear broader and rounded. Knit tops are ideal for Hourglasses, because they define your curves, instead of hanging straight like woven tops do. If you don’t want a body-con fit, still look for knits, but choose, lighter, drapier fabrics instead of fitted items with high stretch. Look for blouses and tops with wrapped waists, belts, peplums or ruching to highlight your shape. If you have a larger bust, watch out for large pockets on the chest, or extra embellishment between your shoulder and your bust.


Avoid a horizontal line across the widest part of your hips by having your tops end a little above, or a little below your widest spot. The best jackets and coats for Hourglasses have lots of vertical and princess seams. Belted jackets and coats are also a great option. Avoid round collar, boxy jackets, and beware of jackets with breast pockets.

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