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How to Dress an Hourglass Body Type

Our Body Type Series continues with How to Dress an Hourglass Body Type. This series is designed to help break down the basic guidelines for dressing all body types. To get started, use this mathematical equation to figure what you are; you may be surprised!

A naturally occurring hourglass body shape is by far the rarest. So, of course, popular culture considers it to be the gold standard for women’s bodies. 

In our conversations here, I hope that we start to change this narrative that one body shape is somehow superior. Women’s bodies are a marvel, and 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. 

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. 

The Hourglass

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, and can highlight their features with 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.

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

Let’s start with Scarlett Johansson. She’s a beautiful example of a petite hourglass. Here, she’s wearing a high-waist style skirt that highlights her waist and extends her legs, and gives her height. 

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. 

Then we have the stunning Christina Hendricks, who is 5’7 and considered “plus-size.” Which is about as crazy to me as it was when I was expecting at 38 and called a “geriatric pregnancy.” 

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 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. 

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 a high-waisted,  flare leg pant, that helps 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, scooped, and wraps and 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 that show off your waistline. A tie or belted waistband is a fun accessory to include. 

You can wear almost any shape leg from wide to narrow, be sure you balance your top half and cinch in 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, wrap, and fit and flare 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. 

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. 

Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

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How to Dress an Hourglass Body Type

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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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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!