Style tips for hourglass figures

Ask any woman about trying to buy clothes and she’ll bewail the apparent randomness of high-street sizing and she’ll also most likely inform you that certain shops are for ‘giraffe people’ or something of that sort. Buying clothes and getting dressed can be quite a challenge if you aren’t a standard sample size. Which most of us aren’t.

Style tips for hourglass figures

Photographer: Cat Marie Portraits

I’ve always been curvy, regardless of how slim I am (side note, curves doesn’t just mean plus-sized, which is I always find when I look for ideas for curvy girl dressing). Over 2015, I went up a dress size, making me a size 12, but my measurements have kept a pretty similar ratio. An hourglass figure is defined as the hips and bust being almost the same size (within two inches of each other), with a significantly narrower waist (usually considered to be of at least 9 inches less than the hips and bust). I fit that definition, with my bust and hips usually exactly the same size (at most, an inch difference as my weight fluctuates) and a waistline that is dead on 9 inches smaller.

Dressing an hourglass figure can be challenging on the high street, which is cut mostly for straighter figures, apparently the most common shape in the UK. But it can be done! Here are my top style tips for hourglass figures.

Start on a good foundation

If the bottom layer is wrong, it’s much harder to build on it, so start with a good foundation for an outfit. Getting your underwear right is essential. If you’re busty with a narrow waist, chances are you’re an ‘awkward’ bra size. I know I am. Finding a small band size with a large cup can be a bit of a headache on the high street. My advice is to save those pennies and then buy the best you can afford. What you consider ‘the best’ will differ for each of you, so try everything on! Try out loads of brands, try on different styles and get properly measured. Not all bras in your size will work for you. Accept that and find what does work. Personally, I can’t abide the hell of the Primark lingerie department even though they apparently stock larger sizes now. I can never find anything and I end up irritated. I like the nice, tidy, well-organised lingerie departments of Marks & Spencer (great for basics, but I have found some very pretty sets here too) and Debenhams. Debenhams usually have a whole separate section for DD+ ladies, with their own Gorgeous range and collections from brands like Freya and Curvy Kate. Otherwise, I also get on well with Boux Avenue. Their VIP scheme is rather nice too.

Lots of curvy girls swear by shapewear. I only really use it for cosplay, but when I do, I always buy in bra size, not my dress size for things like bodysuits. A size 12 bodysuit will not contain what it needs to on me! Waist training is a bit of a buzzword at the moment, but nobody seems sure how much damage it actually does to your insides, so be careful and always seek advice from someone smarter than me before messing around with waist training or tight lacing corsets. That said, you can accentuate that waist with Spanx or underbust waist cinchers without moving all your organs around (just double check what you’re buying and be sensible!).

Pencil dress for hourglass figure


Your waist is your narrowest point and should be flaunted. Look for shapes that will accentuate, not hide, your waist. In dresses, full skirted, pencil, wrap and fit and flare styles will play up your waist. For skirts, again, I find full and pencil styles best, but try things on and play around with lengths. High-waisted skirts, trousers and shorts are your friend. They hit your thinnest point, showing off slim waists and curvy hips. If a waistline isn’t working for you, whack a belt round it. I swear by thick, elasticated waist belts and wear them all the time. I find them especially useful to counteract that issue of a dress fitting my bust and hips but being a little loose at the waist. Skinny belts around the narrowest point works well too. Cinch it in. Show it off.


If you’re curvy up top, high necklines can make you look matronly. Even a small sliver of a scoop neckline can be instantly more forgiving. V-necks, sweetheart and scoop necklines are most flattering on bigger busts. You don’t have wear low-cut things all the time, as a little can go a long way with these shapes. Necklaces can help balance out an awkward neckline, and help avoid looking like you’ve got a bolster under your jumper.

Red Jumper

Balance it out

Be careful about adding embellishment like ruffles or peplum skirts. They can make you look out of proportion. If you’re adding bulk to the top, balance it at the hips and vice versa. This keeps your hips and bust looking the same size; an hourglass essential.

Bootcut trousers and jeans can be very flattering on hourglass figures, as the extra fabric at the bottom of the leg can help to create a bit of balance with the hips and bum. Of course, if you want to really flaunt it, forget the balance and get on the skinny jeans. If you’re wanting to downplay curves, stick with the bootcut. Big earrings are a downplayer too, as they draw the eye upwards, away from the chest.

Experiment with fabrics. Adding too much bulk with chunky fabrics might not work for you. I struggle with heavy knits, and find finer fabrics, layered lightly, are much more flattering on my figure.


I am a shoe addict and advocate wearing whatever shoes you enjoy. If, however, you’re looking to elongate your figure a little (if you’re a shorter curvy girl like me), get into heels. Peep-toes and rounded toe shoes are generally considered most flattering on hourglasses as the shapes mirror the curves of the body (or something…), but wear whatever you’re comfortable in. Remember that balance though, and beware shoes that cut you off at the ankle. This is a good look on exactly nobody. Unless you have legs up to your armpits and could use them balancing out somewhat.


Embrace your hourglass figure and enjoy it! Girls, any more tips?

Jump in with George

How to wear a jumper dress

That title sounds like a slightly dodgy come on, doesn’t it? It’s not a weird invitation, I promise, I just’s that the lovely people at George at Asda sent me this jumper dress to style up.

Now, I love a jumper dress for at home lounging, but I find them hard to ‘style’. I’m a girl with curves and anything cut straight, as jumper dresses so often are, does me no favours at all. Challenged with my nemesis of dresses I took a while to choose, eventually selecting this little black number. I chose it because it looked simple. I intended to fall back on my usual ‘not cut for curves’ solution and belt it.

But when the dress arrived, I was pleasantly surprised. It is pretty straight cut, but in a strangely flattering way. It skims curves rather than hides them. I was really pleased with the detail too – the sleeves are a different knit and the pockets on the front are trimmed with faux leather. Great details that totally disguise the fact this dress is from a supermarket fashion brand. Nice work, George (the brand, not me…)

In my head, George is where my school dresses used to come from in the Summer, but they have seriously upped their game. This little box clutch is pure high street, and the boots? I might be in love.

Disclosure: This outfit was sent to me by George at Asda, but all opinions are totally honest and my own. 

I Let My Boyfriend Dress Me

Breton stripe top

After reading Amber’s hilarious post about letting her husband pick out an outfit for her, I knew I had to give the experiment a go myself. I sent the link to David, who also laughed a lot, and then informed him I wanted to get him to choose an outfit for me. Luckily, he was up for it and we sorted out some ground rules. David would spend a weekend dressing me, but was not allowed to select cosplay, make me look silly on purpose, or choose something not right for the weather.

The first outfit was for going to lunch and then wandering around town.

“Where’s your Breton top? Let’s have the blogger staple.” says David. I was quite impressed he knew what a Breton stripe is, and that it is part of the blogger uniform. So far so good.
“Which one? I’ve got a few…” I said. I own two actually, but several with thicker stripes and I wasn’t sure the exact difference would have been realised. Brow furrowed, David began a search for the top he meant.

Boyfriend picked my outfit

Breton stripe top from Toast (similar here), black skinny jeans from Primark, over the knee boots c/o George at Asda, bracelet from Accessorize (old).

It turned out he wanted the stripey top because he was going to wear a shirt with similar stripes on the collar.
“So we’ll be coordinated!” Of course. Top he wanted found, he decided on black skinny jeans and my over-the-knee boots to go with it. His goal, he informs me, was ‘understated’. I’m usually all for the bright colours and patterns, so understated is not an obvious look for me, but David himself favours a more low-key look so I wasn’t surprised. I asked him if he wanted jewellery and got a worried face in response.
“I don’t know anything about jewellery,” he protested. I assured him there wasn’t really anything to know and a blue and white striped rope bracelet was selected because it went with the top. And we were done!

My verdict? I liked it. I felt classy, and love the boots over jeans, which I haven’t done yet myself. David was pleased too, and said he felt I looked good, but not flashy.

Red Jumper

The second look was very different to day one. A lot more me, perhaps, but a bit different for David! He was pretty quick in selecting this one too. A full-skirt came first, rapidly followed by the red jumper, because it was Christmassy. I stepped in at this point to suggest a belt, I couldn’t help myself. Is that a rule break? He chose the belt himself though!

Christmas Outfit

Red jumper from Tu at Sainsburys (similar here), stretch waist belt from New Look (similar), skirt from ASOS (similar), boots from ASOS, bag from Next (similar).

Flat, slouchy boots came next and I was declared finished. I did feel super festive in this, and for a day shopping, it was perfect. I was comfy and cosy all day. Definitely a much more ‘me’ look, I think. Next time, I wouldn’t wear the slouchy boots with this skirt, as they refused to stay up and don’t look as nice slouched, but I was glad to be in flats for a day of walking around. When quizzed David informed me the point was that this outfit was more me. Excellent job on that one!

The experiment was kinda fun, and was actually just as quick as choosing for myself in the morning. David says it was a lot trickier than he expected, but he enjoyed. I think there were a lot more choices involved than he’d anticipated, and he did give more than one bunny in headlights looked when I asked questions about shoes and jewellery. Bless him. How do you think he did?