The Hourglass Body Shape: Ultimate Guide To Building The Perfect Wardrobe

The hourglass shape is possibly the most sought-after body shape if you are feminine-presenting. As we all know, there is no one body shape that is better than another, though!

If you have done the work and come to realize that you have this hourglass shape, you might be asking yourself an important question – what now?

The Hourglass Body Shape: Ultimate Guide To Building The Perfect Wardrobe

Learning how to style your body shape is an important step for many people.

Once we determine our body shape, we often feel like doing an entire wardrobe change to make us feel more confident in our bodies. This is great, but not a necessity by any means! 

Looking for new clothes to “suit you” can be a lot of fun, but it isn’t for everyone. Truth is, you can dress however you like.

There is no “right” or “wrong” – simply because it is your body, and everyone has preferences. 

You might absolutely hate some of the classic “rules” for hourglass fashion, and that’s fine! You need to ultimately wear what you love, and what works for you. 

However, if you are hoping to learn a little more about the hourglass shape, and find out which styles are the most flattering for it, just keep reading.

We are going to cover everything you need to know in this article. 

Understanding The Hourglass Body Shape

Before we jump into everything, let’s have a recap. In order to really get into the nitty-gritty of what usually works for most people, it’s worth going through the basics.

If you have not yet determined your body type, we will go through the basics so that you can find out if what we have to say could be beneficial to you. 

Hey, even if you aren’t an hourglass, you might love some of the fashion suggestions, so why not stick around anyway?

Characteristics Of This Body Shape

Not entirely sure what an hourglass body shape is? There are a few notable characteristics of the hourglass body type that we have mentioned below:

    • You have a smaller, defined waist

    • You have rounded shoulders

    • You have larger hips and bust

    • You typically gain weight evenly

    • Your body may feel “fuller” compared to other body types

Most people with an hourglass body shape will have similar to equal hip and bust measurements, and a well-defined waist.

The waist is usually around 25% smaller than the hips and bust, as is typically the part of the body that you will want to emphasize with fashion.

The majority of people with this body shape will also have larger thighs, which can make it difficult to find comfortable clothing.

Most people will want to accentuate these features, so you will need to know which silhouettes are traditionally the most flattering.

However, if you like, there are also things that you can do to achieve the opposite look. So, ultimately, pick whatever you are comfortable with and feel the best in!

What Are The Usual Guidelines For This Body Shape?

There are a few guidelines that you can follow if you would like to accentuate the hourglass shape. If this is not something that you want to do, that’s fine, too!

You can essentially do the opposite of what we recommend if that is what you feel more comfortable in. 

The truth is, you are going to look incredible either way, so do what makes you happy. 

Some general guidelines that you might want to keep in mind:

    • Good shapewear is your best friend 

    • Stay away from boxy clothing  

    • Love your curves 

    • Define that waist 

    • Make use of well-placed lines  

    • Careful with stripes 

The Hourglass Body Shape: Ultimate Guide To Building The Perfect Wardrobe

Building The Perfect Wardrobe To Flatter Your Hourglass Body

We will go through all the main things you need to know about building up the perfect wardrobe if you want to accentuate your hourglass shape.

Please bear in mind that these are all just guidelines, and you might love or disagree with what we have to say. 

There may be things that don’t work for you and others that are wonderful. So, just be sure to try out a bunch of different things, and find what makes you feel good. 

Which Necklines Always Look Good?

The good news is, most necklines will work well for you. The ones mentioned below are probably going to be a winner and work with your hourglass proportions. 

Just bear in mind that the occasion will matter with these! It might not be suitable to show up to the office in an off-shoulder fit when a high neck works best.

Generally, low necklines will work great, but you can also pull off turtlenecks and high necks. Most things will work for you, so just try out different styles and find what you feel great in. 

Try out these necklines:

    • Scoop

    • Sweetheart

    • Square

    • V-neck

    • High neck/turtleneck

These could also work, but might depend on your particular proportions and styling goals:

    • Crewneck

    • Halter strap

    • Queen Anne

    • Boatneck

    • Off-the-shoulder

The Best Sleeves

Since you want to balance everything out, avoiding large or poofy sleeves is going to be a good call. Elongate your body with fitted sleeves that do not distract from your natural shape.

However, short sleeves can also work beautifully, as long as they do not accentuate your shoulders too much

Avoid anything with too much volume, or anything that is too busy. You will often find that keeping it simple is the best for this body shape.

Try out these sleeves:

    • Sleeveless

    • Sap sleeve

    • Fitted full

    • Fitted ¾ 

    • Set-in sleeves

Avoid these sleeves:

    • Sleeves with open-ended volume

    • Bell sleeves

    • Padded shoulders

    • Embellished sleeves

    • Dolman sleeves

    • Ruffle sleeves

Picking The Perfect Shirt Or Top Style

Due to the visual width of the hips and bust, the hourglass body shape is perfect for fitted shirts.

However, stay away from things like ruffles, shoulder epaulets, and all other kinds of bulk that will add yet more volume to these areas.

Things like peplum shirts, wrap tops, and belted tops are perfect for the hourglass shape. They start and stop in the perfect places to accentuate the hips.

For things to avoid, clothing items like cropped and boxy tees usually don’t work so well since they do not define your waistline. 

Remember, though – wear what you feel good in!

Try out these shirts:

    • Belted shirts

    • Wrap tops

    • Fitted blouses

    • Fitted keyhole blouse

    • Peplum tops

    • Fitted, fine gauge sweaters

    • Fitted tees

Avoid these shirts:

    • Shoulder pads

    • Ruffles

    • Embellishments

    • Chunky knits

    • Boxy cups

    • Anything with lots of volume

The Hourglass Body Shape: Ultimate Guide To Building The Perfect Wardrobe

What Kind Of Jackets Should You Go For?

Keeping in key with defining your waist, you will want to put some thought into which jackets you get if you want to accentuate your features.

No boxy or shaped shoulders, and avoid anything too cropped. Steer away from fits that have too much fabric, or else it will simply bulk everything out. 

In many cases, you will probably find that you want to tailor your jackets to be perfect for you. Ultimately, you just need to make sure that the jacket you choose will balance with everything else you are wearing.

Allow your jacket to follow the shape of your body, but don’t let it cut off too soon or too late. 

Try out these jackets:

    • Fitted leather jacket

    • Belted blazer

    • A-line jacket (cinches at the waist)

    • Fitted blazer

    • Wrap cardigan/jacket

Avoid these jackets:

    • Straight cuts

    • Padded shoulders

    • Boxy cuts

Coats For The Hourglass Body Shape

You are mostly going to want to avoid anything too boxy or straight, Like the sections above, opt for something that cinches in the waist a little to help accentuate your hourglass shape.

Anything with larger buttons or front bulk usually won’t work as well. 

Remember – you want your waistline to pop, not disappear under all the fabric! 

Try out these coats:

    • Wrap coats

    • Belted or fitted trench coats

    • A-line coats

    • Princess seam coat

    • Frock coat or fit and flare

    • Fitted swing coat (depending on the fit)

    • Capelet coat  (depending on the fit)

Picking The Right Bottoms

Picking out the right bottoms for an hourglass isn’t always easy. Overall, we will be recommending a lot of mid to high-waist options and anything that doesn’t have a lot of volume.

Most (if not all) fits will not have pleats or other additions – especially around the hips.

We will cover jeans, trousers, skirts, and shorts here, to take notes!


The best thing you can do for jeans is to go for a medium or high waist since a lower waist will accentuate your hips. If you want to do that – great! If not, you know what to avoid.

You will notice that we suggest a lot of wide or straight-leg options that allow you to cinch in your waist. 

However, when it comes to jeans, almost anything goes! You can enjoy skinny, slim, straight, wide-leg, or flared depending on your mood.

Try out these jeans:

    • Wide leg (fitted through hip)

    • Straight

    • Bootcut

    • Flared

    • Slim fit (high rise)

    • Skinny

Avoid these jeans:

    • 80s style

    • Mom jeans

    • Low rise 

The Hourglass Body Shape: Ultimate Guide To Building The Perfect Wardrobe


Although finding the right pair of trousers isn’t usually too difficult, you will still want to bear a few things in mind.

Generally, mid or high-rise works best as they will help to lengthen your body. Depending on the occasion, you can really find a style for everything. 

Straight leg options work well for professional settings but try to avoid pockets and other bulk around the hips.

Likewise, avoid darts and pleats if you can – unless you find something that truly blows you away. There will always be exceptions! 

Try out these trousers:

    • Straight leg

    • Belted trousers

    • Cropped w/ a slight flare

    • Wide leg

    • Slim trousers

    • Soft fabric wide leg (without gathering or pleats)

Avoid these trousers:

    • Pleats

    • Gathering

    • Busy patterns

    • Low rise

    • Flat front pockets

    • Embellishments 


Skirts can be another troublesome thing to get right for anyone with an hourglass figure.

However, when they are done right, the results can be astounding and fill you with a confidence you never knew you had. 

With the right fit, you can elongate your body and define your waist like a goddess. To do this, you should avoid any kind of skirt that is too boxy, as well as mini skirts.

Anything that is too stiff will make your outfit look unbalanced and take away from the curves. 

Pencil skirts work beautifully to keep everything proportionate, define the waist, and highlight the curves.

Anything you wear should allow the natural curve of your body to show, not stifle it in a sea of straight fabric. 

Take a moment when looking for the right skirt, because you might be surprised to find what works.

You might need to try all kinds of styles to find the one that works for you because personal proportions will impact everything (even the ones we suggest you try out). 

Try out these skirts:

    • Gored skirt

    • Full/circle skirt

    • A-line skirt

    • Pencil skirt

    • Soft fabric full ski or slip

Avoid these skirts:

    • Gathering

    • Peplum skirts

    • Pleating

    • Front flap

    • Anything that widens the hips


Any hourglass knows the struggle of finding the right pair of shorts. Too often, shorts are horribly ill-fitting or uncomfortable, or simply not flattering.

Since many people with this body shape tend to have fuller thighs, there are other issues to deal with that can be unpleasant, especially on those hot summer days. 

Generally, high-rise shorts are going to be a winner. These shorts should ideally end around mid-thigh (any higher will cut off the vertical line and will emphasize the hips too much).

They should be fitted at the waist, either via seams or stretch, but avoid paperbag waistlines or anything too boxy.  

A French or full tuck works great to ensure that your waist isn’t lost. This can go a long way, especially when you are wearing longer shirts that go over your belt line! 

Try out these shorts:

    • Flared shorts

    • Fabric with defined waistband

    • Bike shorts

    • Tapered shorts

    • Fitted Bermula-length

    • Peddle pushers

Avoid these shorts:

    • Low rise

    • No defined waist

    • Straight or boxy

    • Paperbag waistlines

The Hourglass Body Shape: Ultimate Guide To Building The Perfect Wardrobe

Finding The Perfect Dress

Getting the perfect dress for your body time can be a surreal experience. In all honesty, the right dress is your most powerful weapon when it comes to showing off that hourglass shape.

Besides, there’s nothing better than not having to coordinate a dozen different things to get a comprehensive and perfect look. 

There are dresses for every occasion, but you still need to be conscious of what might be seen as inappropriate for certain settings.

Yet again, rules can be dumb, because no single body should be deemed inappropriate when another body type can wear the same thing and be praised for it. 

Nonetheless, avoid very fitted or stretchy dresses if you feel the need to be “business-appropriate”.

Overall, try to go for styles that don’t weigh down the bottom of the cress too much, and balance your vertical line with dresses that will elongate your waist.

Make sure your waist is highlighted if you want to get the classic hourglass silhouette.   

Try out these dresses:

    • Fitted sheath

    • Wrap dress

    • Fit and flare

    • Stretch fabric (but be careful of the silhouette)

    • Paneled or corset waist dresses

    • Bias cut

Avoid these dresses:

    • Pleats

    • Gathering

    • Anything too full

    • Anything without waist definition

    • Careful with any prominent diagonal lines

Which Accessories Should You Gravitate Towards And Avoid?

Accessories can be very personal. Not only that but what works and what doesn’t might depend on a variety of factors that only you can decide.

Everyone is different with different proportions, which means that any accessory could work wonderfully for you!

Remember – everything we talk about here is just guidelines. You could be the exception to the rule, so feel free to try out all kinds of things and see what works for you. 

Generally, you should try out these accessories:

    • Pointed stilettos

    • Thin belts

    • Statement earrings 

    • Ankle-wrap shoes

    • Wedges and heels

    • Classic sneakers 

If you are wondering what kind of accessories or styles to avoid, you can start with these:

    • Too many layers

    • Crossbody bags

    • Baggy styles

    • Anything too straight or boxy

    • Too much embellishment 

Be bold and try different things. There could be variations that you find will work wonderfully for you! So, try out a bunch of things you like the look of, and go from there.

Maybe some rules (guidelines) are meant to be broken!

Celebrities With The Hourglass Shape

Want to look for some inspiration from celebrities across the board? Take a look at these stunning people, and maybe learn a thing or two from them if you want to feel like the star you are:

    • Bridget Bardot
    • Kathrine Heigl
    • Emilia Clarke
    • Sofia Loren
    • Marilyn Monroe
    • Halle Berry
    • Nicki Minaj
    • Raquel Welch
    • Blake Lively
    • Beyonce
    • Vivien Leigh
    • Salma Hayek
    • Cristina Hendricks
    • Scarlett Johansson
    • Kat Dennings
    • Kate Winslet
    • Elizabeth Taylor
    • Sophia Loren
    • Kourtney Kardashian
    • Jayne Mansfield
    • Dita Von Teese
    • Jenna Dewan
    • Kim Kardashian
    • Jennifer Lopez
    • Sofia Vergara

Some Great Hourglass Outfit Ideas

There are lots of fantastic outfit ideas out there to explore, but consider these as a starting point.

Remember – you can wear whatever you like, a sling as it makes you feel like you! Maybe you will love these ideas, maybe not. Just give them a try. 

Try This Beautiful Navy Blue Dress!

A Stunning Emerald Green V-Neck Dress

A Beautiful Peplum Shirt With Skinny Jeans Will Do The Trick

A Simple Striped Shirt Tucked Into A Skirt Can Look Great

A Few Brands With Fantastic Hourglass Clothing Options

Ready to go shopping? Take a look at some of these stores to find your new favorite items of clothing or your hourglass shape: 

Final Thoughts

If you want to accentuate those, feel free to follow the advice we’ve given in this article!

Just remember that not everything will work for you, so always be willing to try out different things and experiment. There are a lot of fun options that you could discover!

Jessica White
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