Body Shape Style Guide - The Hourglass figure

This is the lady with a curvy figure - she has both wide shoulders and a full bust.  Her hips are highish and curvy, and are as wide as her shoulders.  Her waistline is 10 inches or more smaller than her hips.  This was the ideal figure during the 1950's.

It is not easy to find garments that fit curvy figures.  Clothes need to fit the figure as otherwise you look larger than you really are.  You look great in dresses.


  • You look good in wide legged pants in a fabric that drapes.
  • Trousers that are boot cut or flare balance your curves.
  • Fabrics with a stretch component work well to fit your curves.
  • Trousers styled for curves work best - mid rise, or higher rise at the back, with a lower contour in the front.
  • Don't wear baggy trousers of any sort.
  • You do not need details such as pockets near your hips.     


  • Wear styles that showcase your waist
  • Wrap dresses with waist tie look fantastic
  • Side ruching will show your waist and also accommodate your curves
  • A shaped dress works well - if it is strapless, make sure it has built in boning or a foundation.
  • Necklines that highlight your waist include sweetheart, V and scoop shapes.


  • You look fantastic in shaped tailored garments with garments that dovetail the waist.
  • Princess seams can be made to fit curves beautifully.
  • A jacket with a peplum is made for you.
  • Jackets should button up underneath the bust
  • Jackets and tops look wonderful belted. 
  • Don't wear anything that is boxy and shapeless.
Tomorrow's post will be on the inverted triangle (top heavy) figure.   By the end of the week I hope we have your figure type covered (pardon the pun).

Do have a lovely evening or day wherever you are in the world.

Sarah Liz :-)



  1. I have the double challenge of being curvy and short. I think I am mostly an hourglass, though the difference between my waist and hips is not 10 inches - more like 5. =) I guess that makes me an hour and half! Hah. The suggestions here match the types of garments I tend to like.

  2. Hi L, you are a petite - next week I will be posting some guidelines for petites. If you are short with a larger bust and hips, you are still curvy, but if you are short as well there is no way you can get waist ratio - your body isn't long enough.

  3. I am petite with a somewhat hourglass figure. It was more pronounced when I was quite thin. My measurements are 35-29-39. I could also be classified as a pear figure, but the hourglass recommendations appeal to me more! :-)

    1. Hi Mary, yes, you have characteristics of both, but I thknk more a pear. I love the hourglass recommendations as well, but it could be that it is the style that we like - who wouldn't love these uber feminine clothes? I'll write up some petite guidelines soon.


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