Are you an hourglass?

There are three very common myths about the hourglass body type.

Hourglass (X) means big breasts. False. Actually you can be average and be hourglass.

Any woman with more than 10″(12″) difference between bust and waist and almost equal bust and hip measurement is hourglass. False. You can be pear or rectangle with such measurements. Or you can be hourglass despite the fact that your have less than 10″ difference (petite frame with broad shoulders and hips).

Any garment looks good on X because X is the ideal body type. That’s not true. Actually there are a ton of limitations if you want to look your best.
X tends to look bulky and frumpy in wrong clothes.

What is important is not inches or centimetres, it’s silhouette (profile should be considered, too, but it’s completely different story). The most accurate method of identifying body shape I know described in this post (BTW, if you happened to be pear shaped, I highly recommend the blog). I want to accentuate that breast size isn’t very important for silhouette. It definitely affects fit and it should be considered, but shoulders are more important for styling.
So slim torso, narrow shoulders, waist ~ underbust and curvy hips = pear.
Note that 26J girl most likely is pear or very slim rectangle.
More massive torso with quite broad shoulders, nipped in the waist and curvy hips = hourglass. True hourglasses tend to need larger bands even if they are slim.
Large bum doesn’t count for curvy hips, it’s completely different story.
Shoulders almost equal hips and underbust ~ waist and streamlined silhouette is rectangle. Slim rectangles usually do have a waist. And it could be 12″ difference between bust and waist for larger busts, and nice bum could be responsible for even bigger difference between waist and hips. But it’s still rectangle. Outfit accents should be in totally different places than for hourglass shape. E. g. imperial waist tend to look gorgeous on rectangles with average to large breasts and it’s total disaster on hourglass.
If shoulders are broad and hips are not curvy it’s V shape or inverted triangle. And again, slim triangles have a waist, but there are no curvy hips. Band size tend to be bigger for the same BMI.
As you can see, band size identified correctly could give some hints about body shape, because bigger band size correlates with broader shoulders for low BMIs. For higher BMIs it’s less reliable: it’s not only about skeleton structure as for low BMIs, it’s also about hormones etc. It’s possible to have different body types in different BMIs, but usually we stay the same body type in any weight.

I want to accentuate that there is no ideal body shape actually. Women of any shape can be beautiful, it’s more about how to create outfits which are in harmony with a body. I strongly believe that clothes shouldn’t work against body. I don’t think that we should try to pretend to be another body shape. When pear shaped girl hides her beautiful delicate arms and collar bones under something bulky trying to pretend hourglass and calls it balancing it makes me sad.

I’m more experienced in dealing with hourglass body type, so I concentrate on it, but please don’t take this as discrimination.

238 thoughts on “Are you an hourglass?

  1. Amanda

    Hi, I’m really confused if I’m and hourglass of inverted triangle, when I look in the mirror my torso look quite large but I also have a pretty nice curve with my waist and hips. Here are my measurements:
    Shoulders: 33
    Bust: 29
    Waist: 21
    Hips: 32
    Sometimes I also think I’m a ruler since on some pics I look very *flat*. If you could please explain my confusion that would really help. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. nothingeverfits Post author

      Hi Amanda!

      From your description it mostly depends on length of your torso: you are really slim, so if you are also tall with long torso, it will visually put you in the slim rectangle category, especially if you don’t make an effort to accentuate your waist, if you are more on a short side then I would rather go with slim hourglass aka Vase.

      Wishes,
      Malica

      Reply
  2. Khade

    Hi there!
    I’m having a hard time deciding on what my shape is. Your article was very insightful and I would love if you could help me out please and thank you.

    Height- 5 ft 6″
    Weight 132 lb
    Bust- 35 1/2
    Waist 30″
    Hips 42″
    Shoulders 39 1/2

    I lose weight easily, my legs are long and I have thick thighs, small arms, wrist and ankles. I gain weight on my tummy easily but my waist stays defined

    Reply
    1. nothingeverfits Post author

      Hi Khade!

      In your case it’s really hard to tell from measurements if you are pear or hourglass. I would try pencil test with a friend and trying to put things into context: what is the effect of accent details to shoulders? more balanced body (pear)? or it makes you look like an (American) football player (hourglass)? Is bottom of your body looks visually heavier (pear) than upper body when you look at yourself at full length mirror (no clothes or very form hugging clothes/lingerie close in shade to your skin color, if not close to skin color then same color and long sleeves, tight crew neck/mock neck and ankle length leggings) or it’s pretty balanced (hourglass)

      Wishes,
      Malica

      Reply
      1. Khade

        Yes! I do have the weird american footballer shoulders that I hate sigh and yes everything looks balanced when looking in the mirror. What do you recommend I wear? Oh also I live in a very tropical country.

        Thanks again for everything love

  3. Mai

    Hello! I’m a bit confused about my body shape; my measurements point to an hourglass figure (39-27-39), but my shoulders can look a bit wider than my hips (maybe because of excess weight, not sure), they also are quite sharp rather than sloped. I also have hip dips and a relatively big butt (without working out) which can make them look a bit narrower in my opinion. I think I can appear a bit top heavy but I wouldn’t consider myself an inverted triangle either. My waist is sudden and waspish and I don’t usually gain weight there; it’s usually evenly distributed in other parts of my body.

    Hopefully I explained everything without sounding like a dummy. If you could help me I’d be extremely delighted, thanks!

    Reply
    1. nothingeverfits Post author

      Hi Mai!

      I would still definitely go with hourglass as a base and do a little adjustments here and there (like taking into account those hip dips when choosing skirts and pants (I find very clingy and really thin and not pleated bottoms to be not very flattering if hips have dips, but semi-tailored, pleated or more stiff fabric allows to go around the issue easily). As for shoulders to be little bit wider than hips – I strongly believe that what’s important is general impression, not exact measurements, you can easily create perfect visual balance, but what is important is that inverted triangle is definitely top heavy and that is defining feature, something that you notice right away,, but it sounds like that’s not your case. Instead your waist is what stands out! And that is exactly the reason why I would go with hourglass.

      Almost nobody falls into classic description of body shapes to a t, but most of us are definitely more close to one or another, some people are almost the same distance between two, so I prefer to think about body shapes as starting points for finding what fits best than something that once found explains it all.

      Wishes,
      Malica

      Reply
  4. Vanessa

    Hello, for a long time now, I have found it very difficult to determine my True Body shape. My body measurements are:
    Height- 5 ft 8
    Shoulder-43 inches
    Bust- 39 inches
    Waist – 29 inches
    hips – 40 inches
    I think i’m an inverted triangle, but my body is somewhat curvy. I have a slightly curvy long torso, slightly curvy hips, and an average butt. So overall, I look like an hourglass, but I have very broad shoulders that appears wider than my hips. And when I use a body shape calculator, it tells me that I have an hour glass body shape but I doubt it because my shoulder looks wider than my hips. So if you could help me determine my true body shape, I’d be truly grateful.

    Regards!
    Vanessa

    Reply
    1. nothingeverfits Post author

      Hi Vanessa!

      You are totally right about inverted triangle. But at the same time you definitely do have waist and hips, so I would actually mix and match recommendations for inverted triangle and hourglass. E. g. usually when you see inverted triangle recommendations they say ‘don’t accentuate your waist, accentuate your legs’, but in your case you can totally rock wide belts and other waist accents, because you have rather defined waist and you definitely don’t have to hide it to look better. So just try to see the goal of the body shape advice and decide if it is applicable to you or not. Most of inverted triangle advice for balancing hips and shoulders should be totally applicable, everything about hiding midsection – no, advice about hips and legs – hard to tell, a mirror will be the best judge.

      Best,
      Malica

      Reply

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