Here’s how to flatter an hourglass body shape

Everything you need to know to make the most of your hourglass figure..

hourglass on a blue background
(Image credit: Getty)

Hourglass body shapes are among the most coveted body types – and for good reason. Here's how to make the most of yours...

Key features of an hourglass body shape

Compared to apple shapes, pear shapes and rectangle body shapes, hourglasses are the most distinctive. Your top half will be fairly equally proportionate to your bottom half, with a narrow, defined waist. 

Marilyn Monroe and Christina Hendricks are classic examples of an hourglass body shape, thanks to their full busts and curvy hips and thighs. They also prove that body type isn’t dependent on height or dress size, instead it’s all about proportions. You could be a size 8 or a size 28 and still fit into the hourglass category. 

Which clothes look best on an hourglass body shape?

Good news, as hourglass shapes are already blessed with perfect, feminine proportions, all you need to do is dress to enhance your best bits. 

Just as a great primer will help your foundation work harder, investing in the best shapewear is a great place to start. By streamlining your shape, you’ll create a nice smooth canvas to layer your clothing on top of. A good bra will make a real difference too, boosting and supporting your bust. 

Now for the fun part. When it comes to clothes, seek out pieces with a defined middle. That could be anything from a shirt dress, a tailored jumpsuit to a pair of straight leg jeans with a T-shirt tucked into them. Adding a narrow belt will immediately draw the eye, too. 

It can be hard to find clothes that fit both your waist and your hips ‘off the rack’ so look for brands that offer alterations in store, or enquire with your local dry cleaner. It’s money well spent for clothes you’ll love to wear. 

What to shop if you have an hourglass body shape

Struggling to navigate the rails? Overwhelmed by online shopping? Don’t panic. These are the pieces to seek out to best flatter your hourglass body shape.

  • Cropped jacket
  • Belted trench coat
  • Fitted top
  • High-waisted jeans
  • Wide-leg jumpsuit
  • Wrap dress
  • Cigarette leg trousers
  • Pencil skirt
  • Bias cut skirt 

What should hourglass body shapes not wear?

There are no strict rules as to what you shouldn’t wear if you have an hourglass body shape, but there are some pieces that won’t make the most of your enviable figure.

Take straight-up-and-down shift dresses for example. Anything without added waist definition will skim over your middle, making you look bigger than you are. Same goes for billowy tunic tops that blouse over your best asset – that tiny waist – instead of showing it off. 

If your bust makes you feel self-conscious or frumpy, avoid pieces that draw attention to it, or add unnecessary bulk – frills and plunging necklines are among the worst offenders here. Instead try patterned or printed trousers, statement sleeves and detailed waistbands, anything that steals focus.