Plus Size Proportions: Hourglass Shape

Probably the most coveted of curvy shapes is the hourglass. It’s never too late to show off your classic curves! You are an Hourglass shape if:

o Your bust and hips are curvy, and similarly proportioned

o You waist is defined, approximately 8-12” smaller than your bust and hips

o If you gain weight, it is generally distributed evenly throughout your body

My oh my, aren’t you a lucky lady!  The Hourglass shape is considered the most ideal body shape in women, and is also the least common. Only 8% of women have a true hourglass shape; however, the curves you have can easily be enhanced with the right clothing. No, this doesn’t mean squeezing into a restrictive corset (we’ll gladly leave this daily torture to the Victorians)—unless you’d like an updated version to imitate those burlesque beauties!

First, start your wardrobe off right with one key element: a properly fitting bra. Just like a clear, even complexion is the perfect base for your daily makeup routine, a good bra is the foundation of your wardrobe—especially for Hourglass shapes who tend to have medium to large busts. Just say no to lumps and bumps! Many specialty lingerie stores have trained staff to help you find the best fit; this is an indispensable service that will most likely improve how your tops look and fit your body.

Now that “the girls” are sitting pretty, don’t hide out in baggy or oversized clothes! Another must-have for hourglass shapes is a top with either a v-neck or scoop neckline. Both styles slim the neck and chest and will make you appear slimmer and taller. If you are showing cleavage and feel uncomfortable, you can wear a body-hugging cami under the top, giving you coverage without distracting from the lengthening effect of the neckline. Try the ‘Smooth Cami’ as a layering piece or pair the ‘Starburst Tee’ with your favorite boot cut pants.

With an Hourglass figure, play off your curves by emphasizing your narrow waist. Wrap around styles easily show off this asset and are a no-brainer for a chic look you can dress up or down. The ‘Posh Tee’ is a classic wardrobe staple and the ‘Bewitch Tee’ is an ultra-flattering must have piece, while the ‘Martini Dress’ takes you from day to night in style.

You can also add instant wow-factor to any outfit by wearing a great belt—this is an area where you can really have fun with current trends and show your personality without big investment. For your shape, wear a belt at the smallest part of your natural waistline to define your hourglass figure in looser tunics and cardigans, or to elongate the line of your legs in skirts and dresses or fitted styles.

When you need your outfit to transition from work to play, the ‘Juicy Jacket’ is a perfect topper. It’s seaming provides a slim and curve-flattering fit that is feminine and sophisticated—great for gals on the go.

My best advice? Love your body and celebrate your Hourglass status by choosing clothing that shows off and compliments your curves. Need a little inspiration? Look to actress Scarlett Johanssen for current fashions and trends suited to hourglass figures, and celebrity chef Nigella Lawson for feminine confidence and strength through modern classics.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Susan Plus Size
    Mar 04, 2011 @ 06:36:42

    I didn’t realize that only 8% of women have the hourglass body shape. Especially since the entertainment industry makes it seem like it’s a lot more common than that…


    • Diane Kennedy
      Mar 08, 2011 @ 13:42:45

      That statistic surprised me too, Susan. Of course the entertainment industry and media as a whole would have us think we should all be skinny too. It’s wonderful that things are changing though! Viva la curves!


  2. Plus Size Dorita
    Mar 08, 2011 @ 11:43:26

    The Martini Dress is an amazing look for women with the hourglass shape. Now if only I had that shape…


  3. sophiajenner
    Mar 21, 2011 @ 15:44:16


    I love your post, i think it’s really important to celebrate women at any shape, and get it going in the fashion industry! It would be really great to see fashion being modelled on women closer to our own sizes.

    Sophia xxx


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