by Joanna Davis
Hourglass body types can typically be described as being equally balanced between your bust and your hips with the narrowest point being at the waist. This shape naturally occurs with women who have both wide hips and broad shoulders or large breasts.
The subtle “S” curve that is created is considered quite feminine and is therefore also the shape referred to “curvy” or “curvaceous”. Though the curve can be more striking or more subtle, hourglass shaped women usually have a strong contrast between the outermost and innermost parts of the curve. If this difference is quite small or non-existent then the shape is leaning more towards being an “apple” then hourglass. Some women fall in the middle; if this applies to you then you're probably best off looking at both types and choosing which fashion tips and advice would be most appropriate.
If you are lucky and already have a good balance between your top and bottom curves, you are best off choosing a style that will focus more attention on your waist while being careful not to throw off the balance you already have.
The most important thing is to draw attention to your inner waistline. A fun way to do this is by slapping a big chunky belt on your midsection. Use it as a bold accessory with matching coloured heels to create a bold bombshell look, or go more subtle with neutral tones or matching tones. Remember though, the emphasis is on the waist. Look out for fitted tops that taper inward or dresses that are cinched at the waist to express your curvy nature. Choose a dress that highlights and narrows the area slightly above your navel for the maximum curvaceous expression. With dresses, go for a fitted look. Fitted doesn’t mean skin-tight by the way, but rather shaped to follow your body's natural curves and flexible like our Fitted Bandage Dress which can adapt to your shape without being uncomfortable.
Try to avoid extremes that will unbalance your proportions; a high neck line like a crew neck, t-shirt or polo neck will overplay your upper proportions, while a very wide neck like a slash neck will only exaggerate the horizontal proportion of your shoulders.
Choose designs that show medium amount of bust and accentuate a soft curvy nature like a v-neck, or scoop neckline. Have a look at our Abstract Wrap Over Top which strikes a perfect balance for balanced curves.
Avoid straight cut strapless and spaghetti strap dresses that create an awkward horizontal line across your top. If you want to show your shoulders off, you are best with a classic halter neck or scalloped strapless that also expresses your body's curvy lines. This look also works well with an asymmetric shoulder strap, again as the lines flow diagonally across the body in harmony with the direction of your curves.
When choosing pants, be sure to opt for a straight cut or slightly flared. Avoid very tight or tapered cuts that may make you look top heavy. If you want to get some length in your legs, go for a higher waistline instead. This will also place the focus higher on your waistline and make your waist look more narrow.
Shoes are easy with the hourglass shape. Choose something that will help to balance the proportions of your upper and lower halves. If you have long legs, stick to flats or lower shoes. If you are longer on top, heels are a great way to balance things out. Stay away from ultra thin or ultra high heels though as this may create an unbalanced appearance with so much curve going on above.