How to Dress an Hourglass Body Shape

Did you know that hourglass body shape is the rarest body shape of all? Beauties with the hourglass figure have a balanced silhouette where the shoulders are as broad (or as petite) as the hips, and both of these features are separated by an elegant defined waist.

The balanced proportions nature of the hourglass body made it a true eye candy of Hollywood’s golden age. Curious to see what celebrities have this body type? Let’s see…

Celebrities with Hourglass body type

Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Vivien Leigh - these are just a few Hollywood beauties who boast the elegant hourglass body type! Here are some more:
Sofia Vergara
Ashley Graham
Nicki Minaj
Salma Hayek

Comprehensive guide on the hourglass body

Here’s the thing: hourglass bodies are versatile. The stereotypical hourglass is too narrow of a depiction that often fails to capture the true beauty and diversity of this shape.

Remember: styling is not about conforming to a non-existent standard. Rather, it’s about highlighting your natural beauty and accentuating your features in a way that makes you feel confident and comfortable at the same time.

Whether in the cuts, shapes, prints, or in the way that it matches your unique inner self to the beautiful outer self through clothing. With that information in mind, let’s explore what makes the hourglass body.

Hourglass features: the upper body

Although it’s mainly about the mathematical proportions, there are a few features that characterize the upper body of the hourglass type:
  • Shoulders are usually rounded, from delicate to broad in size
  • Bust is medium to full is size and proportionate to the curves in the lower body
  • Defined, sharp waist.
  • Round silhouette in the upper body

Hourglass features: the lower body

Pronounced curves in the lower body are sometimes seen as the hourglass type’s most striking feature. Here’s a more detailed view:
  • Width of the hips proportionate to the width of the shoulders
  • Curvy hipline
  • Butt can be of any size
  • Length of the legs is proportionate the the overall length of the body

Hourglass features: an overview

Overall, the hourglass body can be of any size and be as tall or as petite as the come. The key thing is the balance of proportions: the size of the upper body is proportionate to the size of the lower body.

However, this may be a bit of a difficult trait to spot just by looking at yourself in the mirror: after all, precision matters when discovering your type. That’s why you’ll need a pen, a piece of paper and a calculator for the next section.

Traits of the Hourglass Body Type

Hint: If you don’t want to do all the counting and dividing yourself, add your measurements to the Style DNA app and it will do all the work for you!
Calculus is the girl’s best friend! Especially, when it comes to unveiling your body type. Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide:
  • Shoulders: it’s best if you can get a hand with this one. Place one tip of the measuring on one shoulder and take it all the way around the back. Note that the tape should be as high up your shoulders as possible. Jot down the results when ready.
  • Bust: if you are wearing a bra at the moment of measuring, it’s advised that you take it off for a more accurate result. Wind the tape around your bust, but don’t pull too tight! We don’t want to squash your beautiful curves. Put down the result as well.
  • Waist: wind the tape around your waist, aim for the line above the belly button. Ready? Just one more left!
  • Hips: place the tip of the tape below the hip bone on one side, and wrap all the way around the butt.
Now, to the counting part. A person with the hourglass body type has a waist that is about 25% smaller than the shoulders/bust, and as much smaller as the hips.

At the same time, your hips and shoulders are within the 5% difference of each other. If the description sounds like you - congrats, lovely fashionista, you have the hourglass body type!

Ready to discover the styling tips and tricks to accentuate your beautiful features? Fasten the seatbelt - down the fashion highway we go!

Understanding your personal Style DNA is the key to looking and feeling your best

Styling 101 for the Hourglass Body Type

Remember what we said earlier: styling is all about expressing your unique self. And with this detailed guide from Style DNA you’ll make styling work for you, and never the other way around. Keep in mind that the tips we give are not strict prohibitions or rules to follow: choose, mix and match them to build the outfit of your dreams.

Dos for the Hourglass Type

There are many tricks that help accentuate the elegant silhouette of the hourglass body. Here are some of our favorite:
  • If you’re looking to accentuate the natural lines and curves, pick cuts of clothing that follow the outline of your silhouette. Slim-fitting pieces can be your go-to if you’re feeling sexy.
  • When building the outfit that feels comfortable and looks stunning at the same time, shapewear can be your best foundation. Especially so if you have a fuller bust that might need all the support it can get. It’s also important that you find a bra/shapewear that doesn’t feel too tight or too loose. We’re all about balance!
  • As someone with the hourglass body, you boast a narrow, defined waist that you might want to show off (and we’re here to cheer you on!). Belts, embellishments, and slim-fitting garments in darker colors can do wonders to accentuate the waistline.
  • If you’re going for a casual look, you might want to stick to simple, minimalistic pieces that don’t clutter the silhouette with patterns and prints.

Don’ts for the Hourglass Type

Now that we’ve met some of your “styling besties”, let’s check a couple of things that you might want to steer clear of:
  • We’re all for your accentuating the natural curves, however, you might want to avoid giving too much prominence to one single part of your body, since such a move might overpower your elegant silhouette.
  • You might want to dodge shapeless, bulky and boxy clothing that hides the waistline. Tha same goes for straight cuts.

Dressing for the Hourglass Body Shape

In order to build your dream wardrobe we’re going to take it apart piece by piece and see what matches your complexion. Prints, cuts, shapes, volumes, seams, colors and patterns - everything matters when finding your ideal match.

Whichever style you prefer, you may want to make sure that the clothing doesn’t overpower your natural curves and doesn’t blur the elegant lines that make the hourglass stand out. It’s all about celebrating nature’s gifts and feeling confident in your own skin.

What to look for in a top

As someone with the hourglass body type, you already have curves in all the right places! Better yet: your silhouette is all balanced out, which means that your main goal may be in maintaining and accentuating the natural harmony. Slim-fitting clothes that gently wrap around your upper body can be your absolute go-to’s for that.

You might want to steer clear of heavy embroidery, structural elements that add more volume to the torso (shoulder pads, we see you) and any heavy details around the bust so as not to overpower your features.
Best necklines
No talk about tops is complete without the ultimate guide to necklines. Dear beauties with the hourglass body type, this element can do wonders to accentuate the gentle shoulderline, beautiful neck, alluring bust and narrow waistline. Soft, round necklines can accentuate the curves without adding or taking away from them. And, if you’re feeling sexy - low and wide necklines are perfect for showing off your stunning bust.

You might want to steer clear of turtlenecks or the high necklines with a lot of details (e.g. embroidery, bow tie, heavy statement accessories) as they add volume to the torso and can make your upper body look shorter.

Best necklines: Scoop, V-neck, Off-shoulder, Jewel, Oval, Sweetheart, Queen Anne
Scoop neckline
Off-shoulder neckline
Jewel neckline
Oval neckline
Sweetheart neckline
An sophisticated top with queen Anne neckline would look chic on anyone with the hourglass body type
Queen Anne neckline for the Hourglass  Body Type
Ideal sleeves for the Hourglass Body
When it comes to sleeves, you might want to avoid the ones that are too wide or too loose. If, however, you’d like something light and puffy - bishop sleeves are here to save the day!
Short set-in sleeves can become your best friends for the summer, and the same goes for the cap sleeves.

Or say goodbye to sleeves altogether and rock that sleeveless top - your call!

Best sleeves: Set-in, Fitted, Bishop, No sleeves
Set-in sleeves
Fitted sleeves
Bishop sleeves
Shopping for your best Shirts and Tops
If you opt for a look that accentuates the curves - fitted shirts are your perfect matches. Nature has gifted you with a voluminous and elegant silhouette with balanced proportions.

That’s why you might want to stick to clothes that gently highlight your features instead of overloading them with prints, patterns, ruches, pleats and other details. Wrap shirts (fitted or not) and belted shirts can do wonders to highlight your narrow waist!

Best shirts: Fitted, Wrap, Belted, Peplum, Keyhole
A fitted shirt
A wrap-shirt
A belted shirt
A peplum shirt
A keyhole shirt
Best knitwear
Light knits that highlight the proportionate quality of your complexion may become your absolute winter go-tos.

And, since you already boast a voluminous silhouette, you might want to ditch heavy and chunky knits that overpower your natural curvas and hide the gorgeous waist. Here at Style DNA we’re all for giving your complexion a chance to bask in the spotlight!

Best knitwear: Fine/light knit, Slim-fitting, Details around the shoulders and hips
A fine-skin sweater
A slim-sitting sweater
Choosing a perfect jacket for the Hourglass Body
You might want to accentuate your curves without adding more volume to the torso. Blazers with angular details that add sharpness to your soft lines may not be your best choices. Instead, you may want to choose the ones with softer lines, accentuated waist and bust.

Tailored suits and blazers can do a wonderful job of that, but if they don’t quite feel like “you” - an A-line blazer that is nipped at the waist may be the perfect alternative.
When it comes to fabrics, softer ones match the delicate lines of your features.

Best jackets: Fitted, Belted, A-line, Wrap, Fitted leather jacket
A fitted jacket
A belted jacket
An A-line jacket
A wrap jacket
A fitted leather jacket
Choosing the right coat for the Hourglass Type
Here, too, you may want to steer clear of everything boxy, edgy, shapeless and bulky. For example, double-breasted coats that have prominent embellishments and large details (e.g. heavy buttons) can clutter the look. Instead, you may want to pick minimalistic belted coats that accentuate the bust, waist and hips without creating too much volume in your upper and lower body.

Swing coats and capelet coats can work nicely for the lovely fashionistas who dig vintage. Just make sure that the dimension they add to the torso or hips is compensated and the balance may be restored! (or long live asymmetry - we’re loving the look either way)

Best coats: A-line, Princess, Wrap, Belted, Trench, Swing, Capelet
An A-line coat
A princess coat
An artistic wrap coat
An elegant belted coat like this one is perfect for the beauties with the hourglass body type
A belted coat for the Hourglass  Body Type
A classic trench coat
A swing coat
A capelet coat

How to style the bottom of your outfit

If you’re looking to flatter the proportionate nature of your figure, remember to pick bottoms that match the rest of the outfit instead of clashing with it.

For example, an outfit that adds more volume to the torso can be balanced out with the right pair of pants, shorts or a beautifully tailored skirt. You may want to avoid the pieces that have heavy embroidery around the hips if you’re wearing a minimalistic top, since the former might make your hips visually heavy instead of gently accentuating the curves.

Ideal bottoms for the hourglass body shape are the ones that define the narrow waist, highlight the curvy hips and harmonize with the top.
Best jeans for the Hourglass Body
Mid- and high-rise jeans are your absolute besties! They can visually lengthen the legs and give prominence to the waist. Low-rise, on the other hand, can do the exact opposite.
Simplicity may be the key when picking your new favorite pair.

Nature has gifted you with a gorgeous curvy silhouette, which means that there’s no need for extravagant details to give your features a moment to shine (unless you’re building a flamboyant look, in which case: go for it!). Plain and classic jeans cuts like bootcut, wide-leg and straight-leg are your perfect fits.

Best jeans: Straight, Bootleg, Wide, Slim, Flared, High/mid-rise
Straight jeans
Bootleg jeans
Wide-leg jeans
Slim-fitting jeans
High-rise flared jeans
How to find the right shorts
Investing in a few pairs that give your hips support and accentuate the curves can be a good start for all the beauties with the hourglass body type.

As someone with the hourglass figure, you may want to pick the high-rise shorts as they define the waist (usually, with the help of a contoured waistband) and elongate the legs. Stiff fabrics are typically as uncomfortable to wear as they look, so you may want to opt for softer fabrics.

Best shorts: Tapered, Structured, Bermuda, Flared, Loose
Tapered shorts
Structured shorts
Bermuda shorts
Flared shorts
Loose shorts
Finding your ideal skirt
Who doesn’t love a stunning, playful skirt that highlights the waist, lengthens the legs and accentuates the curves in all the right places? The trick to summoning this fashion superhero is to look for the high-waisted skirts from soft fabrics that end at the knee-level (or a bit longer). A pencil skirt or an A-line skirt can be perfect for defining the hips without adding more volume as they simply follow the natural lines of your figure.

For a more playful option, look to circle, gored and tulip skirts. However, you might want to dodge the pieces that are made of stiff fabrics, as well as the ones that have heavy embellishments around the hips.

Best skirts: Full, Pencil, Gored, A-line, Tulip
Full skirt
Pencil skirt
Gored skirt
A-line skirt
Tulip skirt
Most flattering dresses for the Hourglass Body
Dresses for the beauties with the hourglass figure are simple, clean and minimalistic. Your natural beauty is a statement in itself, so there may not be a need for flamboyant dresses with heavy details and peculiar seams. You can knock people’s socks off by just being your gorgeous self!

Best hemline is the knee-length. Here, just like with other bottoms, you might be looking to accentuate the waistline with belts, accessories, or by picking a dress that is nipped around the midline.

Best dresses: Bias, Peplum, Shift, Wrap, Corset, Sheath
Bias dress
Peplum dress
Shift dress
An elegant wrap-dress
Corset dress
Sheath dress
Best jumpsuits and playsuits
This piece can do wonders to flatter the proportionate nature of the hourglass silhouette! Best jumpsuits are, just like dresses, minimalistic in appearance and nipped at the waist.

Flared-leg ones can lengthen the entire silhouette and highlight the legs, giving them a moment to shine.

Best jumpsuits and playsuits: Wide leg, Strapless, Belted & straight, Flaring
Wide-leg jumpsuit
Strapless jumpsuit
Belted jumpsuit
This flaring jumpsuit would look chic on anyone with the hourglass body type
Flaring jumpsuit for the Hourglass  Body Type

Picking the right shoes to complement your outfit

Dear lovelies with the hourglass body type, ready for your Cinderella moment? The right shoes can elevate your look to a whole nother level and add a spark to a minimalistic look. Stiletto heels with pointed toes can be your ultimate go-tos for the cocktail look.

Or, if you’re going for something comfy and casual - sneakers and open sandals are your ideal matches. The key to finding your new favorite pair is to look for the shoes that lengthen the vertical line of your silhouette.

Best shoes: Classic sneakers, Wedge sandals, Open sandals, Pointed toe stilettos
Wedge sandals
Opened sandals
Pointed toe stilettos are a classic that looks gorgeous on beauties with the hourglass body type

Best accessories for the Hourglass Type

Round accessories are your best friends! If you’re looking for a statement piece, you may want to pay special attention to the earrings since they can do a beautiful job of complementing your facial features and lengthening the vertical line.

Best accessories: round in shape
Hoop earrings
These intricate earrings are another fine option with the hourglass body type
Earrings for the Hourglass  Body Type

Outfit inspo for your most stunning look

Ready to unleash the full potential of your natural beauty? Style DNA is here with some stunning outfit ideas for your work & leisure!

  • Party time!
This outfit for beauties with the hourglass body type will highlight their natural beauty
Party outfit
  • Strictly Business
This office look is perfect for the beauties with the hourglass body type
Office outfit for the Hourglass  Body Type
  • Casual
This office look is perfect for the beauties with the hourglass body type
Office outfit for the Hourglass Body Type
  • Out of a cocktail
A cocktail dress like this one would look stunning on anyone with the hourglass body type
Cocktail outfit for the Hourglass Body Type


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