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How to Dress an Hourglass Body Type

This series is designed to help break down the basic guidelines for dressing all body types. 

A naturally occurring hourglass figure is by far the rarest. So, popular culture currently considers it the gold standard for women’s bodies. 

But most of the dramatic hourglass body shapes shown on social media and TV are anything but natural.

In our conversations here, I hope we change this narrative that one body shape is superior. 

Women’s bodies are a marvel; we should celebrate them in every shape and size. And no matter our shape and size, we all have features to celebrate and ones we’re not so crazy about. 

How to Dress an Hourglass Body Type

There are a few things to remember about the hourglass body type.

Your shoulders and hips are the same size and you have a very defined waist. 

Women with a hourglass body type are often curvy. If this is you, you can accentuate your curves with form-fitting, well tailored garments, elongating necklines and figure flattering fabrics. 

Hourglasses actually have a lot of options, however, the one main thing to avoid is oversized, shapeless pieces.

To figure out where you land in the shape spectrum, input your measurements into the formula below:

Formula 1: waist ÷ shoulders or bust = ≤ 0.75 . 

In this equation, you want to use whichever measures more, either your shoulders or bust. 

If the number is ≤ 0.75, then your waist is 25% smaller than your shoulder or bust / waist. 

How to Dress the Hourglass

How to Dress an Hourglass Body Type

It’s Important to Note: Bone structure tends to dictate body type rather than weight and height. Of course, we need to consider all these factors when we get dressed, so these guidelines are just that, guidelines.

Think of it like this: 

Body Type is your bone structure. 

Fit/Size is your proportion; you may be “regular,” petite, tall, or plus. 

Weight fluctuates for most of us, so it’s very possible to straddle between two body types if you tend to gain weight in one specific area. 

Below, I rounded-up four images of famous women with a hourglass body types to give you a visual.

I included different heights and sizes to show the diversity in the category.

Famous Hourglass Body Types

Scarlett Johansson, Sofia Vergara, Christina Hendricks, and Jennifer Lopez have an hourglass body shape

Scarlett Johansson

Let’s start with Scarlett Johansson. 

She’s a beautiful example of a petite hourglass. Here, she’s wearing a high-waist pencil skirt that highlights her waist and extends her legs, and gives her height. 

Sofia Vergara

Next, Sofia Vergara embraces her curves and knows how to dress them.

A quick Google image search will show you that she never goes off her track, opts for body-hugging dresses and separates, v-necklines, and bold accessories.

She might not be the poster child for everyday dressing, but let her inspire you to bring some fun and confidence to your looks. 

Wear a bold color, make sure your clothes fit perfectly and use your necklines to draw the eye into your waist. 

Christina Hendricks

Then we have the stunning Christina Hendricks, who is 5’7 and considered “plus-size.”

This is one of the best examples I’ve come across of an appropriate real-life look; everything is perfect.

The sleeves hit at the right length, the asymmetrical neckline is a modern way to elongate her neck and draw the eye in, her knee-length skirt hits at the ideal spot right at the top of her knee.

Even her natural tone shoes with a pointed toe give an elegant finish to her leg. 

And just because the example is a dress, think about how you can break the elements into separates for more outfit ideas.

Finally, Jennifer Lopez. 

Now, listen, it’s common knowledge that J.Lo treats her body like a temple.

Her intense diet and fitness routines are well documented. Not only is she the picture of clean living, but her access to the best of every resource and her incredible work ethic has allowed her to create and maintain her body. I want to make sure we’re all clear that no one simply wakes up looking like this. 

That all said, the lesson here is TAILORING.  For the hourglass body type especially, fit is the key to confident dressing. 

Here’s why I like the look above: she’s wearing high-waisted pants with a flare leg. They help balance her shoulders and hips.

She pairs the pants with a pointed-toe shoe. Again, this is an elegant way to finish the line of your leg. Hourglass body types should avoid round or square toe shoes as they won’t compliment your shape as well.

Then, she tucked in her vertical striped blouse, which brings back her incredible shape, and plays with color and pattern. 

Best Tips for Dressing Hourglass Body Types

As you can see, there is a lot of variety in the hourglass body type. Frankly, you can wear almost anything. The name of the game here is fit. 

What should you avoid? 

Don’t wear anything ill-fitting or oversized.

Avoid tunics and tops that hang off your bust.

Overly embellished tops or ones with high necks may not be the most flattering.

Best Tops for Hourglass Body Types 

So many choices! 

From v-necks, scoop necks, and wrap-style tops, any top with an elongating neckline will be the most flattering. You can even do something like a one-shoulder top if you pair it with a high-waisted bottom. 

Best Bottoms for Hourglass Body Types

Look for high-waisted options, like high-waisted skirts and pants that are great for drawing attention to the waistline. A tie or belted waistband is a fun accessory to include. 

You can wear almost any shape leg from wide to narrow, just be sure to keep your outfit balanced so that it draws attention to your waist.

Avoid cropped pants; they may cut you off at an awkward spot and will throw off your proportions. 

Best Dresses for Hourglass Body Types

V-neck, fit and flare, and wrap dresses are at the top of the list.

You’ll also look fantastic in bodycon dresses, garments with side ruching, or gathering at the waist.

You can wear an aline or a straight skirt, just make sure the length of the skirt hits your leg at the most flattering spot, otherwise the bottom can look too full.

Remember, these are guidelines.  I can’t reinforce this enough. Everyones body type is unique.

Use these recommendations as starting point in dressing well, knowing that you’ll have to make adjustments for your unique needs. 


How to Dress an Hourglass Body Type

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 Join Megan Kristel for a comprehensive, 3 hour long, LIVE Virtual Workshop sharing personal style and shopping tips for women over 40 on March 31, 2023.


Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

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Cindy Pittman

Tuesday 4th of July 2023

Love your website.. I am 60 and have always dressed stylish with the classics. My body has changed and I am totally lost. I love the classics, but feel they just don't git my age.

Nancy Harrison

Saturday 5th of June 2021

Thank you again Megan! Another helpful post! I am an hourglass shape with long neck and torso and short legs! I’ve been following you since January and now find it so easy to get dressed in the morning!


Thursday 3rd of June 2021

I always thought I was pear, but after following your equations, I realized I am actually an hourglass. This post and so many of your previous ones have been so helpful and encouraging. Thank you for your dedication and care to women and what they wear. Fashion is overwhelming to me, but you have helped me to wade through it with grace and hope☺️.

Megan Kristel

Thursday 3rd of June 2021

Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a nice comment - I'm so happy the site is working for you!