How to flatter a curvy, aka hour-glass, figure

The other day when I was pre-shopping for a client, a woman in her late teens or early 20’s struck up a conversation with me. (This is precisely why I only charge for two hours of pre-shopping.) The woman was very sweet and proceeded to tell me that she used to wear a size 8. Now she wears a size 18 and just doesn’t know how to dress her body anymore.

She had a curvy figure, which is really just a euphemism for an hourglass figure, as you can see below. We’ve heard for years that the hour glass figure is ideal, but it’s simply not true. The challenge that women with hour glass figures deal with is that their waists are much smaller than their hips and bust lines. If you’re not dressing correctly, it’s easy to look much heavier than your really are.

I gave my new friend a couple of tips and would like to share those and more with everyone today. Looking at the photos of America Ferrara below, the outfit on the left is a don’t and the one on the right is a do. It’s important to show your waist and never wear boxy, over sized clothes like the cardigan. Tailored, semi-fitted blouses always flatter!

It can be tempting to hide your figure in “schlumpy” over sized hoodies. You’re not doing yourself any favors. Clothes should always skim your body. They shouldn’t be overly tight, nor should they be overly loose. 

V-neck tops are always flattering. Whatever you do, avoid turtlenecks, especially short sleeved ones. They tend to give a “uni-boob” look. There’s just too much unbroken fabric. On the same note, avoid high waisted pants like these. You need a little more of your waist showing to balance your figure. (It’s undeniable that Jessica Simpson has a great figure. She’s just doing everything wrong here!)

Wrap dresses are easy and always flatter a curvy figure. You may need a camisole like the one shown for more modesty. If this dress appears a little dull to you, notice you’ve got a great neckline to fill in with modern jewelry. Also, the bracelet sleeves call out for a brightly colored bangle or cuff bracelet.
For a dressy dress, something like the one below is perfect. You’ve got the curves. Show ’em off! This dress is not only gorgeous, and on trend, but the belt will help widen your waist just enough to balance to your figure to make the rest of us jealous.
Halter styles also work for you-with a supportive bra. The deep V is extremely flattering. The cummerbund flatters the waist, and the skirt floats away from the body. What’s important is to make sure there aren’t gathers below the fitted waist or empire seam and the there is not too much fabric that can pouf out and start people wondering if you’re pregnant. Think sleek!

Last but not least is a a top and sweater style to seek out. As I mentioned earlier, wraps are always flattering. You’ll notice in the photo below, the sweater wraps just under the bust line, has a deep V-neck, and skims the waist and hips. A cardigan that buttons just below the bust line and worn over a fitted knit top is another updated style that will flatter your curvy, hour-glass figure.


Before You Go…

6 comments on “How to flatter a curvy, aka hour-glass, figure

  1. Hi! This page is extremely helpful as I am a curvy hourglass shape and always ALWAYS have a hard time finding clothes that look good on me. I have a question though about how to wear a women’s suit with a curvy, hourglass figure. I am a law student trying to find a professional, conservative (going into law) suit that is flattering on my figure. Would you have any tips for this? Thanks!

    1. More important than ever, a perfect fit will be absolutely imperative. You may require alterations to get that perfect fit. Look for jackets that fit over your bust line smoothly, without any gaping. If you prefer pants, remember they need to fit the widest part of your hips/legs and then alter from there. An a-line skirt will be a better fit than a pencil skirt.

      1. This is hugely helpful. I have always been small but never able to tuck in my tops or wear belts ! It really frustrated me because it seemed to me that a size 2 or 4 or even 6 should be able to wear anything but your insights show me it is my hourglass figure that is the reason! At this stage of life (58) I just want to look put together in whatever I wear. Jeans are my favorite look by far so now I start looking for the right rise and tops that are deep v and fall at the right place. Thanks!!!!

  2. This article is so great. I appreciate that somebody understands that “you would look great in anything ” isn’t true when all styles are tailored to average, but you’re fighting with DDD’s an a 28″ waist. Can’t shop regular sizes, can’t go plus size, wear do ya go? It’s great to see somebody who knows how to shop for a dramatic body shape sharing your advice. Thank you! 🙂

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