Hourglass Figure Help


Feb 7, 2008
I'm pretty stylish, but really need help. What are the best styles for an hourglass figure? I know anything that shows the waist well, but hardly anything fits like that.

I'm short...5'3" 119 pounds and my bra size is 32D/32DD. So my measurements are 36-26-38. I know hip and bust should be equal but I always read you can give or take 2 inches. My shoulders are the same width as my hips and my bust really doesn't look smaller than my hips. So that's why I say hourglass instead of pear...I seriously dislike my body shape though. I'm like a size 8 and I just feel huge because I loove the female body shape with narrow hips and bust and I can't ever have that.

I don't really have a big bum (lol), I just have a very wide-set bone structure and my hips are wide and pop out a lot.

So basic shirts can even be a problem for me. I tend to buy medium (when I'm buying online) as I'm too afraid to try small, but medium always does crazy things. It'll fit in the bust, but then I'll have inches of fabric around my waist and sides so I look bigger then I am. It always gaps and drapes and stuff in the back. I just deal with it though you know?

Dresses....apparently I'm not supposed to wear empire waist...I can sometimes find dresses that fit perfectly, but hardly ever. I have big arms too with red bumps/keratosis pilaris on them and it's just blehh! So I always want dresses that are 3/4 sleeve at least.

My torso is longer then my legs, and since I have wide hips I'm not supposed to wear skinny jeans. Bootcut, however, look AWFUL on me!!! I find I look shorter even and I look bigger. SKinny jeans are so-so on me and that is what I've been wearing. My sass & bide straight legs are okay too but still make me look short? I feel like jeans just are NOT meant for me? :tdown:

I've also been told no bermuda shorts, capris, or mini skirts. I have a few pencil skirts/ knee length skirts I love but they are quite fancy and don't wear them often. Sometimes longer skirts are just annoying though?

I know you don't always have to follow these rules, but gosh...I just have no idea anymore. Everything makes me look big. Cardigans even. If I don't absolutely have anything cinching my waist in, I just look huge everywhere!

Sorry it's just super frustrating! It's not really a big deal but I'm just wondering if anyone has any tips for me?? I'm always searching online and finding help sites but they are always different with what I should wear.

So if anyone who has a similar body could help and give me a few suggestions, that'd be really great! Thanks!

Sorry this was soo long haha.

Edit: I know I can have things tailored, but it's kind of a hassle to have everything done. So I only get really important things tailored..dresses and what not


Sep 17, 2007
totally understand, I would love to hear what suggestions people have. I'm 5'1 and am a size 2/4, and in jeans 26/27 but seems like a lot of jeans make me look a lot more shorter, so Ive been wearing a lot of shorts, but kinda getting hard since winter is coming up.

Something that has worked for me while wearing jeans, is wear boots that have a heel and tuck the jeans into the boots. That for sure lengthens me out!


Lover of moto jackets, vintage, and cats
Sep 26, 2007
Have you tried jeans that have a higher waist to try and lengthen your legs? I'm 34-25-34 and 5' 7". Straight legs might look good, too. Just make sure that if you fold them they don't cut you in half.

And as for the bumpies on your arm, I have them too. I exfoliate them every day with a loofah and a dove exfoliating wash. It's definitely helped with the redness.
Sep 25, 2008
Hmmm. No miniskirts? I find that shorter skirts work on shorter women - in fact anything below the knee is often unflattering. How about a mini (possibly denim), a pair of black knit tights and a pair of black ankle boots (with heels)? That should lengthen the look of your leg.

I'd stay away from high waisted jeans because they can get a little 'mom jeans' on hourglass figures, I find. Try tops with v-necks and slightly longer torsoes than usual. Theory does some good blouses/sweaters/tops with 3/4 length sleeves.

Hope this helps a little. I have an hourglass figure too but am just over 5 foot 5 so I don't quite consider myself petite, although I have a long torso as well.


Jun 18, 2007
I'm also very hourglass...

Look for things that accentuate the waist, since that's the smallest part of you. Also, make sure you get fitted for really good bras. When you have a bigger chest, and you get a REALLY good bra, you'll look thinner and more proportionate.

My go-to outfits are:
-Wide leg jeans in a dark wash (or wide leg trousers), heels, a fitted v-neck top with 3/4 sleeves and pretty accessories.

-3/4 sleeve wrap dress with a cami underneath, heels, pretty accessories.


I'm done!
Jan 16, 2007
I'm extremely curvy and have a long torso as well, and I've adopted the 'belt' look with open arms! I wear longer shirts/sweaters with low-cut jeans (Joe's Jeans curvy 'Honey' work out really well! They come back in at your waist and are very flattering, same with James Jeans. Try bootcut, stay away from wideleg) and heels. Since my legs are a bit short for most jeans I wear shoes with some lift so my legs look much longer. I snag a wide belt and put it around my natural waist or a bit lower to accentuate it, and it works really well.
Also, dresses are really great if you're curvy. Get dresses that seem to wrap or cinch around the waist/just under the chest, and are A-line and come with a belt of some sort to match. It accentuates your curves, comes in to the waist, and then comes out again to hide the hips!
I totally agree with claireZk about a proper bra. They are VERY IMPORTANT and if you've never had a fitting or been measured go ASAP!!!
So many styles just aren't built for curvy girls, especially during the summer. It's a shame, especially if you love fashion. Don't worry about what people say you can't wear, wear what you like and ROCK it!!!


Sep 5, 2007
I'm a petite hourglass shape, and I find "vintagy" clothes inspired from the 40's 50's 60's work best on me. Light colored tops and darker bottoms look better imo, and a bit of decolletage works wonders. I also wear shapewear often, to make figure smoother, it helps a lot with how the clothes fit, even if someone is slim. I don't need to mention good underwear.

Depending on age and legs someone can easily wear short dresses. But the best bet is something like this..

My torso is longer then my legs, and since I have wide hips I'm not supposed to wear skinny jeans.

Skinnys definately need skinny legs. Try cigarette line pants (not jeans, jeans are chunky) and a bit of a heel. The same goes for capris, if you wear a bit of heel, even a platform for better support you will elongate your legs.
As for the wide hips you mention, Mischa Barton has huge hip bones, and all she wears are skinny jeans. And her legs are short. There are no rules, you just have to try different things and see what works.

Avoid big thick sweaters and very long wide skirts at all cost, they will make you look pregnant.
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one fifty

Dec 22, 2008
V necks! I find other necklines make my chest look huge and just makes me look boxy and heavier than I am. I am also petite and curvy size 6 to 8 but I left 119 pounds waaaaaaaaaay behind some years ago :blush:

Avoid things that would flatter smaller-chested girls, like a lot of ruffles over the chest area or scrunching (ruching?) and other decorative elements there. I love some of those styles but they are not flattering on a hourglass with boobs!


Apr 21, 2008
It sounds like your figure is very similar to mine. I find wrap styles very flattering, both in dresses and tops. I've also been told to seek out dresses similar to what Charlotte from SATC wore -- little bitty waists with big, feminine skirting.


Jan 5, 2007
that would be my advice too. Its fortunately one of the easier things to do in most cases. You have a great shape, e,brace it and dont let the premade sizing dictate how you feel about yourself.

If you ant inspiration try charlotte from sex and the city, ayumi hamasaki or anything 50s 60s NEW LOOK. Its a very glamourous, feminine and 'fun' look.

I have some of the same problems, I use medium because of wide bones in the shoulder area (and good posture ;) ), but I m a small around the waist because there arent really that many bones there..
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Chic, not cheap.
Feb 6, 2007
I agree with the above posts - your figure is not naturally catered to by the RTW/off-the-rack world. Buy the best you can afford - quality fabrics, good linings and be prepared to have things a size too big for your waist to fit your bust and tailor them to your waist.

Some brands I rely on: Miu Miu, David Lawrence (Australian high-street), DvF (*some styles only, the wrap dresses are often to exposed for girls with breasts to wear to work).

Styles I rely on: v-neck and boat-neck fitted tops, silk blouses that aren't stiff and so will drape over the bust, pencil skirts, straight-leg and classic boot-cut jeans.

Good luck!


Feb 6, 2007
I have a very similar shape except I'm a bit larger on top. I know how you mean it's hard to find things that make you look like you have a waist.

Here's what I have found works:
1. For the larger chest wear open necklines (no turtlenecks, crew necks). Something like a wide scoop or v neck will help keep you looking top heavy. You're best bet is sweaters since they will stretch over your curves. For jackets look for open necklines too and small lapels. I have found some great tops by DVF (may have to wear with a cami), abercrombie, and BR that fit the chest and come in at the waist. For jackets I've had luck with BR, Classiques (nordstrom brand), and nanette lepore.

For dresses I love wrap and empire waist styles. Both come in and spotlight a small waist and curves. Here I've had luck with DVF and Ann Taylor.

You can also use acessories like belts to cinch and highlight your waist.
2. For skirts you can go pencil and show off your shape. Since you butt is small you can go a-line and straight as long as you are on the thinner side. Jeans I have the best luck with straight leg. You will probably have to buy for you hips and tailor in the waist.


Jan 19, 2009
I'm the opposite of you, I would love to have an hourglass shape as oppose to a reverse triangle. My body type, I think is the most difficult to dress. I find that women with hourglass shapes look great in anything.

I suggest NOT going by what the recommendations are for your body type. A lot of times those body type guides are "off", especially the ones on the web. Best thing to do is go into a retail store as oppose to ordering on-line. Try on all of the items that you really like. Select your favorite colors or perhaps think out of the book and pick a print or color you never considered before.

Study the garment on your figure to see if the lines are smooth and flow well on your body. Does the fit and cut of the garment flatter you, enhance your best assets and cover up the ones your not comfortable with? Does the color or print make your skin and hair pop? Do you feel chic and sexy in it? When you come to that point, then you know that's the right outfit or dress! Your confident level will go up and you'll be ready to head straight to the checkout line.