The Hourglass Body Shape

The Hourglass Body Shape

You lucky ladies have the curves that are the essence of what makes a woman a woman but you worry that these curves can make it difficult to find clothes as your big bosom and short waist can contribute to making your whole body look shorter than it really is which has the knock on effect of making you look like you weigh more than you do โ€“ disaster!

Fear not though, hour glass ladies are so easy to dress, its simply a case of realizing you have nothing to hide and accentuating everything you have. Nearly all men enjoy the shape of a woman who looks like a woman so let’s see those boobs and that nice round bottom in figure hugging clothes that show you for what you are you foxy minx

Keep away from
Baggy sleeves
Flouncy blouses
Smocks or anything very lose fitting
Chunky boots

Take a look at
Cardigans with plunging necks
Fitted dresses that stretch the waist
Double button jackets
Pencil skirts

Hourglass Ideas
Classic Lines for a Classic Shape

Classic lines and styles such as V neck knitwear and pencil skirts are your secret weapons โ€“ think 50’s glamour puss and dare to show your curves!

If you think you aren’t quite an Hourglass figure, you could be a similar body shape, take a look at the Vase which is a stretched Hourglass or the Cello which is a shorter Hourglass with a bit more weight.


    • Hi Lisa,
      Yes it can sometimes be quite hard to decide between body shapes in the same group. Deciding between the Hourglass and Cello is very subjective because the only real difference is your overall size and weight. Our Body Shape Calculator asks the question “Are you a plus size” as the final question to send you to either Hourglass (for a “no” answer) or Cello (for a “yes” answer). The problem is of course what constitutes a plus size and everyone has a different opinion of this.

      Many designers and fashion houses start their plus size range at a UK 12 which is absolutely ridiculous because this is the single most popular size in the UK with 31% of all purchases being size 12. Traditionally size 16 was thought of as “a bit bigger” but now nearly a quarter of UK women (over 6 million) wear a size 18 or above.

      I would just say firstly, don’t worry about it too much, both body shapes are the essence of a womanly shape and can be dressed to stunning effect. However, if you really want to nail it down, probably if you’re a size 10 you’re more likely to be an Hourglass and if you’re a 16 its more likely to make you a Cello – sizes 12 or 14 could go either way!

  • Thanks very much! Yes I’m a size 14 and feel I’m not big but possibly a bit too big for an hourglass…still not sure!

    • Cellos and Hourglasses can share a lot of the same clothes and size 14 is a prime candidate for being either a combination of both shapes or in between the two, depending on how you look at it. Because the choice is also subjective, one day you might be a Cello, the other an Hourglass but either way its easy for you to look great!

  • Hi ๐Ÿ™‚ I was wondering if your expertise could help me out a little. I am having a hard time figuring out if I am a hourglass
    or a vase. I took the quiz and got hourglass. I have pretty
    small bones though so whichever can have those I am probably it. I got the shoulders,hips,and
    boobs.I also have a tiny waist
    and thin long limbs (besides my hips which are curvy).
    Accompanied by a short waist. and a full butt.So which shape do I sound like? If I were categorized in the other shape I’d supposedly be called a ectomorph or a cross between that and a mesomorph.


  • Hi there,

    Hmmm, it sounds to me like you probably are an Hourglass.

    The other choices for unsure Hourglasses are normally the Cello or Vase but as you say you have a short waist that probably means you aren’t a Vase as they have generally longer frames.

    It also sounds like you’re not a Cello because of the tiny waist and slim arms and legs, so to me I would say Hourglass sounds just right. Enjoy your lovely shape you lucky thing and don’t forget to show off those wonderful feminine curves!

  • Yea I agree,just had to be sure ๐Ÿ™‚
    Yep I am bypassing the babydoll dresses that are so popular today they just don’t do me justice. I am getting more and more used to wearing clingy skirts since I notice it just right. I used to hide behind baggy clothes when I was younger to avoid attention. But it didn’t matter what I wore. So I am just going to dress the way a girl should and be happy ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hi, I have very broad shoulders and strong arms but shoulders and hips are same width. Waist is defined, and usually flat, but i have a larger bottom and i think chunky thighs compared to slim calves…i am somewhere between an hourglass and a vase I think. (Size 10 all over) Trouble is I am only 5’3 tall so can feel very stocky, any suggestions for jackets-i think double breasted will make it worse?? Thanks! Bex

    • Hi Bex,
      If you’re feeling like you need to get away from a slightly stocky feel, why not take a look at some of the dressing points for the brick body shape? You could maybe benefit from a few these techniques particularly as you mention you have a defined waist and also feel double breasted jackets make things worse. Good luck!

  • I am a little puzzled by my shape as well. I have always thought of myself as some sort of pear, but I also have big boobs. It just always seemed my butt and thighs looked bigger than my top half.

    My thighs are big, and my arms are as well, but my calves and ankles are well defined (no matter what size I am) and my forearms are pretty similar. My shoulders aren’t too broad, a little narrower than my hips. But I have lost some weight, so they are much closer in size than the were, it appears.

    I tend to gain mostly below the belly button, it appears. And a bit in the bust. But I go in visually at the waist, no matter what my measurements are.

    Current measurements: 41 (33 at the ribcage)-33-43 with a short waist. What do you think fits? I am puzzled about being an hourglass, a cello, a bell, or even a skittle. I tend to have big thighs and no saddlebags.

    • Hi Jaded,

      If your shoulders and hips are close in size after you lost some weight it sounds like you’re either an hourglass or cello. It doesn’t seem like there is enough of a difference there to be a bell and the difference between the hourglass and cello is often simply one of overall size (as they’re similar shapes proportionally speaking) so as you say your thighs and arms are a bit larger, I would tend towards the cello over the hourglass. Hope that helps!

  • I’m a little confused on what my body shape really is as well. I feel as if I have a really strange shape. I am 5ft1 and I have a rather larger frame especially for my height and I commonly wear a US 12/14/16. I am about equally top and bottom heavy, though a little bit more bottom heavy. I have broad shoulders, big bust (40inches), short but defined waist (35inches), bigger hips (44inches), chunkier thighs, and I’ve got a behind as well. I’d say I am plus sized girl and not the slimmest. Any help with this? It would be much appreciated. Thank you.

    • Hi ShyGirl,

      From what you said and your measurements, it sounds like you are most likely to be cello. The fact that you’re more or less balanced top to bottom and the nearly equal measurements of bust and hips means your curves give a basic hourglass shape which in a plus size is a cello. Hope that helps.

  • Hi! ๐Ÿ™‚ I have the most confusing shape of all! I am slim with very small boobs but ample hips and thighs- and broad shoulders! 34-26-38 are my measurements, which sound like a pear, however pears don’t have noticeably broad shoulders like I do! My silhouette from behind looks a little hourglassy- though my shoulders are slightly broader than the widest part of my hips…yet I have tiny boobs, unlike hourglass figures by definition. My waist is high and the broadest part of my hips are just above where the thigh starts. If you were to ignore my shoulders…I look like a pear-but when you factor them in, plus my tiny boobs-what am I? Totally confused!

    • Uff, you’re confused? You’re not the only one! You really have a tricky body shape to categorize โ€“ but at least you can say you’re unique! No one shape seems to fit 100% and as you mentioned it is really the shoulders that move you away from the classic pear. That said, I think the pear is the closest shape and can only suggest you seem to be a pear with broader shoulders. Sometimes it’s not in the dimensions but more the overall feel of the body shape and from what you say, it seems that your bottom, hips and thighs dominate your shape more than your shoulders so this brings it back to a pear, albeit not a classical one!

  • Oh yes- I forgot to mention, I’m 5’4″, have an ample rounded behind, but slim on the arms, torso and from knee down. Don’t have a “shelfed” hip, my waist(26) gradually slopes out to my hips (38), without factoring in my butt my hips might measure like 35″. And I repeat, rather broad shoulders and tiny bust (34), I wear cup size 32B. Can you define my shape?

  • Hello!

    I’m pretty sure, I’m an hourglass, but a vase also sounds right.

    I’m between 5 foot 8 and 5 foot 9, my bra size is US 34F and UK 34G, my waist narrow compared to my hips and bosom and I guess my overall british size would be a 12 or usually a medium.
    only problem is that I’m 17 and when I wear pencil skirts, a blazer and a pair of heels, people mistake me for my aunt (who is 35 and properly botoxed).

    Can you give me some ideas, maybe some brands, that sells clothes that will flatter my figure without making me look like a high class business woman in school? I love heels and will never ever give them up, and a lot of dresses in teen-stores (as well as lingerie) are designed for girls, who has absolutely no curves to talk about.

    Thank you for your time!

    • Hi Kamilla,

      Being a lovely curvy hourglass or vase at such a young age can certainly be a problem, though itโ€™s a problem many of us would love to have! The blazer you talk about is an unavoidable part of school uniform I guess? I think coupled with high heels and a pencil skirt it is always going to be really difficult to avoid looking like a business woman in school but what about trying a really sassy patterned pencil skirt? The norm is dark for the restrained business look youโ€™re trying to get away from but there are some very vibrant colour/pattern mixes available that freshen the look and move you away from your aunt and Marilyn Monroe. The saying โ€œstyle never goes out of fashionโ€ is really one of the keys to dressing the hourglass figure but itโ€™s also one of the difficulties as it can often be hard to feel fashionable when such classic lines suit your shape the best, hence the suggestion of a boldly styled pencil skirt.

      Can you wear jeans at school? If so what about straight-legged jeans that are cropped at the ankle or bootcut jeans to work with and balance your curves but transport you a million miles away from the office? Iโ€™d also try to find some shops that are not โ€œteen storesโ€ – there are shops that target slightly older women (say up to late twenties) but are not old and frumpy in style. A lot of teens canโ€™t and donโ€™t think about shopping in these places because they are very well catered for in the shops that have nothing for your curves but you could maybe find some inspiration by taking a look in shops you might normally avoid.

  • Iโ€™m not sure if I am a Cello or a Hourglass. My height is 5โ€™4 and my measurements are 38-27-38. I have a short, clearly definied waist, but sometimes it looks wider because I tend to have some fat on side of stomach. I have a size 10/12, but because of my bust I sometimes take 14. In my opinion, my hips are not wider than arms. What do you think I am?

    • Hi Mira,

      Because of your overall shape and size it sounds much more likely you’re an hourglass rather than a cello as cellos tend to be a bit on the chunkier side which doesn’t seem to fit your shape – enjoy your womanly curves!

  • I like your tips for fashion according to body shape, which is practically why I’m here. I’m confused about my body shape, in a way.

    My measurements are 40-30-39, I’ve been told I’m an hourglass, but I’m plus size and I’m 5’3 tall.

    • Hi Anne,

      From what you say it seems like you are a cello which is basically an hourglass type shape but in a plus size – this seems a good fit for your measurements and height.

  • First of all: I love your calculator! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Second – I too find it hard to define my body shape type.

    I’ve always thought, that I was an hourglass, but I don’t have that big boobs. I have broad shoulders and strong arms but shoulders and hips are same width. Waist is defined, and usually flat, but I have a large bottom and chunky thighs compared to slimmer calves. I think I have short legs, but when I meassure them, they’re slightly longer than my upper body. I’ve read about the “cone”- body shape, which is not mentioned here…but is that what I am?

    • Hi Anne,

      Have you considered you might be a Cello? It’s hard to definately say but you mention broad shoulders, a large bottom, chunky thighs and short legs which makes me think you could be a Cello, which is basically an Hourglass with a little more size overall. Cellos also don’t necessarily have to have large boobs either which could fit.

  • Hi, I am so confused about my body type.

    I feel comfortable in A-line tops and dresses and very low waist jeans rather than normal waist, because i feel that makes my tummy look wide. I think hig waist would look better but I can’t seem to find those anywhere.

    I have a 100 cm bust, 75 cm waist and 100 cm hips and my shoulders are even broader, at 105cm.
    I don’t seem to fit an hourglass in the sence that my waist is really small, but it’s almost directly under my bust and then it seems like my hips are straight under that… Do you understand what I mean? Sometimes I feel like I’m mostly hip and my upper body always looks really small compaired to my legs.
    I am 172cm tall, I wear a size 40 which is maybe a 10 in the UK? A medium, usually.

    Can you help me out? I want clothes that fit my figure but I can’t decide what I am. I feel like I’m a brick and a goblet and a cello but I don’t think I’m a plus size?

    • Hi Isabelle,

      It sounds to me like you’re actually an Hourglass. It’s very often the case that women with this body shape feel their middle gets lost in between their upper and lower body and a lot of the dressing techniques for this shape are mainly designed to try to add some distance between boobs and hips/bottom.

      From your height, dress size and vital statistics, it seems you’re definitely not a Cello or Brick and you seem unlikely to be a Goblet because they don’t normally feel their upper body is small in comparison to their legs, so I’d say an Hourglass.

      Keep looking for clothes that help to s-t-r-e-t-c-h your waist by stealing a little from your hips and boobs and adding to the sense of space in the middle. If you haven’t done it already, it’s also worth making sure you’re wearing the right size (and style) bra so you get the correct amount of support to help with the feeling of creating space in your middle.

  • Height: 1.77m (69.68in or 5’9 .68 “)
    Shoulders and glutes: 107cm (42.12in)
    Top of the breast: 90cm (35.43in)
    Breasts and hips: 99cm (38.97in)
    Below the breast: 77cm (30.31in)
    Waist: 70cm (27.55in)
    Feet: 27cm (10.62in)
    Crotch or inseam: 88.5cm (34.84in)

    Do I have an hourglass body? I’d really feel balanced and proportionate figure.

    Infinite thank you very much, have a wonderful day ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Maria,

      Yes, from those vital statistics you definitely are an Hourglass you lucky thing!

  • Thanks BSC!

    Ok probably an hourglass then ๐Ÿ™‚ yes I wear the right size bra (I got measured), they cost me hundreds of euros because I can barely ever find 75F in the cheaper shops ๐Ÿ™ they only have granny bras in my size.

    So am I on the right track with empire and A-lines and highwaisted skirts, pants and shorts? And can I wear skinny jeans or would it be better to be wearing straight? I’d rather not wear bootcuts because I have such pretty shoes that don’t show then ๐Ÿ™‚ and in my career you get to show only your shoes I’m afraid.

    Oh and I love maxidresses and high waist maxiskirts, can I keep wearing those? They make my lower body look even longer but somehow it’s not that bad I think? They’re so pretty.

    I’m sorry I have so many questions, I just want to finally find a pair of jeans I feel beautiful in. I always feel that for looking nice I am stuck in de skirts and dresses department but I’m a med student and under a white coat it is really not that comfy to be wearing pencil skirts and heels, especially when you have to make sure you keep up with the surgeon who’s running up 4 floors in less than a minute.

    Thanks for all your help!

    • Hi Isabelle,

      Yes, you’re on the right lines with empire and A-lines and high waisted skirts etc, I’d just experiment with skinny and straight jeans, nothing is set in stone.

      If maxi dresses and skirts elongate your lower half that’s good, just make sure the added feeling of length doesn’t lead to a visual compressing of your middle. Hourglasses can sometimes suffer from a lack of space and separation between top and bottom and this is something to be aware of.

      Good luck with keeping up with the surgeon, at least its good exercise!

  • I’m confused about what body shape I am. I’m 5″10 and my measurements are 38-29.5-40, but my shoulders align with my hips and I’m a slim mesomorph, when I gain weight it’s all over the place. Because of my height I give the illusion of a long waist, but I’m actually short waisted, as in I can fit less than two hands between my breast and waist. But my waist doesn’t go in quite as dramatically as an hourglass. Does that make me a mix of the two? Or a ruler?

    Any advice would be helpful. Thank you so much.

    • Hi Liz,

      The key thing in what you say is that you “give the illusion of a long waist”. This is why we base our calculator on visual assessment rather than measurements (plus the “vital statistics” approach usually ignores shoulders and other important measurements).

      The important thing is the overall look and as you’re tall and appear to have a long waist along with some of the curves of an Hourglass but not as pronounced, it sounds very much like you’re a Vase, which is a lovely graceful body shape and a delight to dress!

  • Thank you for all your advice ๐Ÿ™‚ I bought two high waisted shorts and people asked me how I lost weight so quickly haha.
    I definetly don’t emphasise my waist enough.

    Yes, running after the surgeon is definitely nice to stay in shape ๐Ÿ™‚

    About the maxidresses and skirts: I usually wear a very big belt with them, instead of the small belts that usually accompany a dress/skirt like that, because I feel then it doesn’t steel too much of my upper body. Otherwise I feel rather chubby. Maybe that’s the key? It makes my waist look longer I think. Or I hope ๐Ÿ˜›

    Thanks for all your advice. I am going jeans shopping today ๐Ÿ™‚

  • hi there my vital stats is 36-29-38 and i’m 5’1, but i couldn’t define where i belong..hour glass, cello, or vase..

  • Hi…I’m confused about my shape. My bust-waist-hip size is 37-30-41 inches. But I can’t say I’m a pear cause I my shoulders are broad and its the same size as my hips “41 inches”.I’m 5 ft 4 inches tall and have a short waist.low waist skirts make my hips look bigger. Help me.thanks!!

    • Hi Amy,

      From the broad shoulders and short waist it sounds to me like you’re probably a Cornet. Take a look at the dressing tips for this body shape and see if any of them might work for you.

  • 37- 30.5-39 . 5’1″ broad shoulders, bottom heavy, chunky thighs, little bit tummy fat? any ideas