Body Shapes Edit: Hourglass Dresses

What does hourglass body shape mean?

Simply put, having an hourglass-shaped body is one in the shape of… an hourglass. Also known as an egg timer, but that really doesn’t have the same ring to it!

Why is the hourglass shape popular in fashion?

The hourglass body shape has always been a popular one. From early on with Marilyn Monroe to the 2000’s celebrities like Dita Von Teese and Beyonce. Why, however, is not fully understood. The power of advertising has a lot to answer for!

 

 

Going back early 19th century, the use of the corset was to accentuate the waist of the woman wearing it. With the fuller shape regarded as desirable, there was a want for ways to bring further shape to the frame. This was done by many using a training corset. Painfully, however, these corsets were not always comfortable and could have an effect on both the ribs and organs. The most popular corset wearer of this time was Queen Victoria.

 

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Just like with the popularity of hourglass shapes, fashion trends are ever-changing. Although the hourglass trend was popular in the 19th century, there was a turnaround effect in the early 20th century. This turnaround saw the desire for fuller shapes switch to athletic figures. This type of change allowed for different ways of dressing, including the likes of wearing differently designed bras as fashion items in place of support. The Hollywood era, between the 1920s and 1950s, was when the hourglass figure peaked. With stars taking to the red carpet, like Marilyn Monroe, there was a drive for many women to look similar.

 

 

Having a natural hourglass shape isn’t always possible. Just like being a pear or apple shape, we all develop our own shape that falls into the handful of categories given! In fact, where it would have originally been between hourglass or ruler (straight/athletic) shape, more are now catered to. These include the rectangle, the triangle, the inverted triangle, the round (usually referred to as the ‘apple’), and the pear.

There are many factors that will determine the body type you're born with. These can include genetic, lifestyle changes and your age. Your body shape can also change throughout your life. For example, those who have lost or gained a large amount of weight, or those who have had surgery and/or been pregnant, may find that over the years their shape has changed from one to another. So, with this in mind, the use of using certain styled clothes came into force – ensuring that the centrepiece of an hourglass shape was prominent: the narrowed waist.

How to accentuate (or create!) your hourglass figure

Even if you don’t have the hourglass shape, the shape is easy to dupe. By concentrating on the waist, you can narrow the area down by wearing a belt. Or, alternatively, wearing an outfit that gives the illusion of a cinched waist.

Our Hailey Pencil dress offers a cinched waist effect by having a band around the smallest part of the torso.  Here, you can see that the use of lighter colour against the other, can have a narrowing effect.

a woman model pictured wearing the Hailey pencil dress in Navy Blue and white with text showing the dress title.

Alternatively, our Halle Crepe dress offers a narrowed waist effect by having a triangular colour block on either side of the lower torso.  Like before, you can see that the use of a single colour against a different one, also has a cinching effect.

a woman model pictured wearing the Halle Crepe pencil dress in beige and white with text showing the dress title.

What to wear for an hourglass figure?

What is the best style of dress for an hourglass figure?

Choosing your style of dress is quite easy when it comes an hourglass shape, ensuring you pick the right place!

There are a few things that should come to mind when planning your outfit. These include:

  • How long would you like the dress to be?
  • Would you prefer your cleavage to be fully covered?
  • Would you prefer sleeves or sleeveless?
  • What footwear are you going for?
  • What accessories would you like to wear?

Overall, the best style of dress is one that fits comfortably, brings attention to the waist and one that levels out the appearance of both the shoulders and hips. Being an hourglass shape means exactly that, in the shape of an hourglass. The hips and shoulders tend to be at the same width with the waist being naturally narrower.

One of our most loved dresses is our Madonna dress, however, with the hourglass shape it may not be ideal. Below we have placed two images side by side, one shows our model on the left wearing the Madonna design. Now, although this looks elegant, chic and has plenty of sequins – you most definitely would not be aware of what body shape the model had. This alone makes it the perfect dress for an hourglass if you’re not wanting to define your shape. Furthermore, if you’re an apple or pear shape and want other areas to take the centre of attention this could work for you too. The Madonna dress, for example, brings attention to the arms and leg length.

two images of a model wearing two dresses, side by side, from Diva Catwalk. Dresses featured include the January 3/4 Sleeved dress and the Madonna sequin dress.

Buy now: Madonna £149 (left) from Diva Catwalk & January £159 Sleeved Dress from Diva Catwalk.

The best coat style for an hourglass figure

When it comes to sourcing the best coat for your shape, you may want to aim for the same shape as your frame. Below, for example, we have a few stunning coats, but they aren’t ideal if you’re hoping to define your shape underneath.

 

Now, one of the biggest mistakes you can make when looking for a coat with an hourglass shape is to assume you only have two choices: to cover up or to spend the day sucking in your stomach. This is wrong! Unless you want to wear something skin-tight, you don’t have to – you can still define your waist without having to suffer.

Chic coats like our Taylor coat are designed using our bi-stretch fabric, but the essential note here is that it features a flared skirt. The coat alone, even if you choose to wear an oversized shirt underneath, will give the appearance of a cinched waist. Then, the material will fall thus allowing for freedom of movement and further emphasising the body shape.

a woman model pictured wearing the Taylor coat with text showing the coat title.

Buy now: Taylor Coat £79 from Diva Catwalk

An alternative to the Taylor piece is our Liberty coat. The Liberty coat has similar features but instead of buttons it has a two-way slider metal zip and is available in 3 crisp shades.

Best tops for curvy ladies

When it comes to finding the right top for your hourglass figure, we suggest the following:

  • A scoop, sweetheart or v-neckline: this stops the weight of the body from being in one area and instead the markings on the top bring the eyes downwards to the waist.
  • Wrap-tops: a wrap top allows you to control how your figure is defined. By wrapping the top over you're allowing for the fabric to go neatly into your waist.
  • Peplum tops: These types of tops work perfectly if you have a higher waist with your hourglass figure. Again, it cinches the waist but also allows for the material to fall instead of clinging to the lower stomach.

How to Dress an Hourglass Figure with a Tummy

Having an hourglass shape does not mean that you automatically must be petite. From being a size 4 to a size 40, you can easily have a defined hourglass shape to your frame. If you’re looking to accentuate your waist but would prefer that your lower stomach or legs were blended then our gorgeous Gatsby dress may be perfect! Our Gatsby Sleeved Oversized Collar swing dress is perfect for wanting to wear oversized but not wanting to feel like you don't have a shape! Like with our Taylor coat, the Gatsby dress works on the material flowing downwards, narrowing in at the waist and then flowing out into an A-line shape. By wearing the likes of an A-line dress it means you are able to show off your shape and figure without feeling as though you must suck in your stomach for the remainder of the day.

a woman model pictured wearing the Gatsby sleeved dress in fuchsia pink with text showing the dress title.

When it comes to narrowing your waist but avoiding material clinging around your frame, then the A-Line dress style is your best friend! The A-line dress shape focuses on narrowing at the top and slowly falling outwards as it goes down the frame. Like an uppercase A.

Our favourite A-Line dresses we have at Diva Catwalk include the Thistledown dress and the January Sleeved Swing dress. Both of these dresses come in a number of shades. What’s more, they are perfect for dressing up for the evening or wearing to the office.

How to dress an hourglass plus size figure?

Dressing an hourglass shape is the same, no matter your size. So, if you’re a size 8 or 28, you should still follow the recommendations for the universal hourglass shape!

Celebrities with an hourglass shape

 

Further Tips for hourglass body shapes

We suggest you pin these (publically or privately!) and keep them to look back on.


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