Winning formula for hourglass figures


Ok, this may be number 1 of many ‘winning formula’ posts…Here I attempt to define principles for dressing the hourglass casually.  These are principles which don’t have to be always adhered to in casual dressing, but will probably (I think) make you look better when you do adhere to it.

So here we go with my foolhardy attempt at universal principles J

  • Always have a nipped-in or fitted waist à makes you look a whole lot thinner and avoids a world of pain.
  • Find some shapes or styles of outfits that suit you, and stick to this as a formula/uniform

Ok, now for illustrations.  Are we sitting comfortably?

The WAIST principle

Here is me wearing a casual outfit that ignores the waist;  I’ll often resort to this type of outfit because its comfy and get-away-withable.  But in my opinion, it bulks up my frame more than the nipped-in-waist of the second photo.  The nipped in waist can be applied to a whole bunch of outfits.  And another bit of advice: if you are short-waisted like me, you don’t have a whole load of spare space around your middle, so you will need a thin belt to nip in your waist.  If you are longer in the midriff and tend to suit thicker belts, wear thicker belts to nip in your waist.

How do you find out if you have a short waist?  Well there’s lots of stuff online if you google the term – some sites tell you how to measure your proportions and calculate it etc (I very much like the website ‘The Joy of Clothes’ and here is a link to their ‘Body Proportion’ page:  Another easier way is probably as described above – do you suit thick belts or do they overwhelm your figure/not look quite right?  Do you suit thin belts better?  If the latter is true, you probably have a short waist.  And to my understanding, it means you don’t have a lot of space between your true waist and your bust (so, the upper torso is proportionally shorter), and this can have a knock-on effect on how the proportions of your outfits work, and on what suits you.

The UNIFORM principle

I have come to believe this is actually a principle that many if not most stylish women stick to.  They know what suits their body, and they stick to it.  Instead of introducing outfit variety through different silhouettes, they introduce it through colours/textures/fabrics and accessories.

Now I am a person who LOVES variety in everything – hairstyles, make-up, clothing, food.  I’ve often made the mistake of substituting a silhouette that works well for a less-flattering silhouette that is novel – just for variety.   And there’s nothing wrong with that.  But I’m aiming to look GOOD most of the time rather than just novel or fashionable, so I need to ensure any novelty introduced to my wardrobe is somewhat similar to my most flattering outfits.

Now in my mind, I’m envisioning a selection of ‘uniforms’ or ‘blueprints’ for outfits for us hourglassy types, not just one type of outfit.

For example, when I wear skinny jeans, the top half of my outfit ought to be XYZ; when I wear dresses, they need to conform to a vague set of rules that ensure my waist is nipped in, the length is X or Y…and so on.  If I fancy a shorts and T-shirt outfit, I need to know that the shorts conform to my most flattering shape, whether I buy denim cut-offs or smart city shorts.

Hopefully this is making sense.

So here is some of my personal ‘uniforms’ or ‘blueprints’ which I’ve found work for me with my stats.  I tend to bend the rules a bit for garments I particularly like, but I stick vaguely to these blueprints and it seems to ensure I look good when wearing casual.

  • Short dress blueprint – fitted at waist, either straight skirt or skater, length 3 ins above knee, round neck ideally.  Below are a couple of examples from my closet to illustrate the shape I mean.
  • Maxi dress blueprint – fitted at waist, thick or thin straps or strapless ok, length to the floor, straight not poofy styles. Grey dress, and brown dress
  • Casual Jeans and T shirt blueprint – jeans ought to be 30ins inside leg, ‘straight’ cut better than spray-on skinny, top half must be fitted and length of top must be to hip.  I love the look of these Levi’s® Revel Low-Rise Demi-Curve straight jeans


    Image courtesy of Levi jeans

  • Workout gear blueprint – cropped lycra leggings to just below knee, fitted tank-top or t-shirt with length to hip. Sweaters must be waist-fitted and down to the hip.


    Workout top and cropped trousers from Warehouse (NZ)


Once you figure out the right shapes of clothes to buy, you can tweak the colours until they suit you perfectly.  Then you can also buy more investment pieces because you know what works and will remain a useful part of your closet for years.


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