X, what not to wear

I have a couple of posts in drafts waiting for me to take photos illustrating posts’ ideas. And I have an unwritten lament about one of online shops which took my money then forgot about my order and haven’t answered to my enquiry about order status. I’m going to give them one more day, because I still have some hope that my wonderful Panache Loretta Plunge will find its way to my lingerie drawer big clear plastic box I use for my bras. But if there are no answer by Monday evening I’ll publish the name of the shop and I will open PayPal dispute.

Meanwhile I’m going to add one more post to theory category.

There are a lot of lists about what to wear and what not to wear if you have the hourglass (X) body type.Most of them has one main common no-no-never-ever: clothes that hide your waist. And this is for a good reason: without waist definition quite broad shoulders and a chest that is one the larger side plus curvy hips could easily create an illusion of a wide rectangle. You can get away with a top without waist definition only if it’s made from some very lightweight fabric, so it shows of your waist when you move or has some transparency. This is a very convenient option for summer clothes, but not always work appropriate.

Boat necks. They could make you really boxy. But there is that graceful combination of boat neck and small whole-cut sleeve typical for New Look which is a happy exception.

New look dresses.

As you can see, shoulders don’t look boxy as it would be if there were set-in sleeves. It’s also important that shoulder lines are gently sloped. If you feel that it’s to much chest then add a long necklace or scarf (vertical lines help the eye to move from neck to waist instead of from one breast to another). Print also helps.

Crew neck. Just don’t!

Turtle neck made from plain jersey worn without a jacket, scarf or long necklace always looks boxy. Some prints can save the look, but it’s tricky.

Puff sleeves, This is a real no-no. I see them a lot at speciality shops which cater a big bust and while it could be very flattering for pear with a big bust (yeah, not all pears are small busted! see explanation here), but it’s a sartorial disaster on hourglass.

No-no lists often contain skinny jeans, but I think it depends. If you have a healthy BMI and legs long enough dark skinnies could be a great solution for casual. On most X they look the best paired with mid-thigh length top or cardigan. Just don’t forget that socks on display can completely ruin the look.

Embellishments on the bust and shoulders. Bigger than average breasts are already something that catches attention (it’s not always sexual, but it’s always attention), there is no need to cry out for it with all that sequins and stuff (Pepperberry I’m looking at you!). Well, I’m ready to make an exception for formal gowns, but not in the day light, please! Shoulders of a true hourglass aren’t the most delicate feature, so most of the time it’s better to play them down.

Waist line which is moved from your natural waist. Every inch will make you look 5 pounds heavier, do you really want this?

Jeans distressed or washed on hips. This makes hips wider and not in a flattering way.

Pants, bulky on hips (e. g. having patched pockets, jodhpurs). Very wide pants with folds going from the waist. Reasoning is the same.They can make your hips enormous.

Stiff fabrics. They tend not to work with curves.

Am I forgetting anything?

12 thoughts on “X, what not to wear

  1. AZGirl

    A-line skirts without a definite “A”. It either needs to be a definite triangle or it needs to be fitted to hug the hip/thighs (such as a pencil or wiggle skirt).

    Flared skirts that come in gently at the bottom making a slight “pouf” are the absolute worst.

    A straight skirt without a taper (not an A, not a pencil) doesn’t work for me, either. Doesn’t show the curve of my thighs and I just look boxy and wide.

  2. CCR@Hourglassy Tina

    ooops,I seem to brake several of your no-no rules. Absolutely love my crew neck Wallis dresses and skinnies I wear all the time – with boots though. Interesting how people view things differently. Totally agree on the turtleneck comment though, I love them but they need a scarf or a jacket. The rest don’t really apply to me since I’m not really that much of an hourglass shape.

    1. nothingeverfits Post author

      Crew neck could be saved by smart placing of seams and/or pattern, but as general rule they make shoulders and chest look wider and on hourglass it’s most of the time quite unflattering. Shoulders are wide enough already and with waist definition top part of the torso becomes almost triangular, so without a really wide skirt it’s all completely out of balance. If there is no sharp waist definition then even with quite wide shoulders it’s not that bad, but right scarf or long necklace always makes outfit look better.

      I think that you are in the middle between rectangle and true hourglass, so you can wear all the best of both and look fab!

  3. Maggie

    Dresses with inset waists. Bust darts on dresses,and drapey knit tops a must,or it will look like a maternity top. Flat front trousers, no pleats, welt pockets, no sides seam pockets, your hip bones will poke them open. I’m short waisted so I look for petite tops and dresses, skirts I don’t have problems with I wear an average length pant, petites are too short. Wrap dresses don’t look good on me unless they are petite. My wardrobe consists of printed tops with various sleeve configurations and usually a solid pencil skirt. I wear a solid color cardigan that has a v-neck. I use a lace trimmed cami bought same in all the colors I wear so I’m not showing cleavage at work. I look for embellished tops so I don’t have to wear a necklace in the summer, or I wear a pair of interesting earrings to bring the eye up. Pointed toed pumps with dress pants, peep toes or sling backs with skirts. I love two toned shoes. Winter, pencil skirts or pants, smooth knit sweaters, with scoop or v neck, faux wrap. I use scarves and necklaces (I prefer vintage or ornate styles, or a brooch pinned high on the lapel. Patterned tights in either neutral or basic colors to go with either the hem or the sweater color. (Diamond, herring bone, pinstriped, lace but it is in grey and I wear it with a grey skirt so it is very monochromatic, don’t try to look sexy for work. My body says it all I don’t flaunt it. I have three pairs of black knee high boots. One to tuck in skinny jeans, with a biker girl edge, a pair of high heeled leather for dry weather and a pair of vinyl for wet weather and so the leather isn’t street salt stained. I never wear texture on the top it makes me look bulky. Fitted jacket over the skirts and pants. When I told my co-worker I only have five sweaters, she couldn’t believe it because I’m always changing up scarf & jewelry configurations. Keeping your jackets, pants and skirts in neutrals, basic sweater colors and unique scarves and jewelry can take you a long way.

  4. Maggie

    Thought of some other things, I have an average bust, my shoulders are broad, I always have a waist even though I gain weight. I meant to say the cardigans pick up the colors in the tops underneath and my shoes do to, it makes the eye move up and down which in the mind, says vertical line. Petites are recommended to wear prints on top solids on the bottom, so I do. It’s cold in my office, they run the a/c year round, so I have to dress warm. The dress code says no spaghetti straps so I wear sleeveless tops if it’s really warm and take my cardigan off when I leave. You can either button the cardigan or wear it open with a belt, otherwise my problem is that the cardigan fronts end up riding on the outside of the girls and then it’s wearing me instead of the other way around. I have purchased some high collared tops with small prints, one has a bow at the neck but it is real drapey Both of these need no extra cami, they totally cover the girls but my shape is still evident just not out there. I wear not so dangly earrings with these. If you match your skirt and cardigan/jacket it creates a “column of color” ala Imogene Lamport’s Inside Out Style Blog. I’m what she calls a figure 8 hourglass, probably because of my short waist. One of the best books I ever read on petites was from the 80’s was called Petite Style and was put out by Plume publishing. The pictures are old but the advice is very good.

    1. nothingeverfits Post author

      Hi Maggie!

      It looks like you pretty much nailed it down. And yep, from what you described you are more 8, and it’s quite important: short waist and more steep hip curve makes a difference, another one is that 8-shaped women usually have more narrow shoulders and slimmer torso (this makes dark solid bottom + bright top combo so good on 8-shape). It also is a reason why “Flat front trousers, no pleats, welt pockets, no sides seam pockets” – 8 shape gives you more steep curve of hips. For X shape distance between waist and widest point of hips is larger, so slimmer X-shapes usually can wear small pleats and side seam pockets and it can be even beneficial if done correctly (main point – they should go higher than widest part of hips, but it’s always a thin ice, there are a lot of nuances and half of an inch here or there, fabrics, textures make a huge difference).


  5. Maggie

    Not only am I short waisted but I’m shorter in the back than in the front. Jackets want to ride up as well as full skirts, that’s why pencil skirts and cardigans have become my staple wardrobe pieces. My jeans go up in the back hardly ever have a problem with underwear showing unless I wore super low waisted, but then I would have a muffin top. I did find a new love, though, I bought a “cascade” unstructured cardigan made of jersey fabric, it hangs nice goes past the dreaded short waist and doesn’t ride up. I wore it with a pencil skirt and top and the next time I wear a dress I’ll try it with it. I got it at Dress Barn in the sale area, in navy. So glad I found it. I never understood why I couldn’t wear a pleated from the waist skirt as I’m not a super curvy hourglass, then I discovered stitched down from the hip pleats, love love love. Any recs on good fitting jeans for my type?

    1. nothingeverfits Post author

      For jeans I would try all the curvy lines until something fits really well (Levi’s and Gap have them, PZI is specialized), also I had really good results with True Religion (not all their models, but sometimes I can find there a very decent fit). Elie Tahari is not specialized brand, but sometimes there are decently fitting options. Dolce and Gabbana is one more luxury brand which worth a try if you can afford and justify the price tag.

      And as for pleated from the waist skirts: pleats should fall and if you have really curvy hips pleats got broken and it makes you look much wider than you really are, stitched down pleats is one option, another one is yoke.

  6. Maggie

    Me again. I’ve been reading about different kinds of breasts and I think mine are what might be called wide root, but shallow. As I lose weight they point upwards and my bra cups don’t fit at the top anymore, I can pinch about an inch of fabric. The gore continues to fit well. I need nipple coverage though because of the cold office. I only started to have average breasts after my hysterectomy and I started taking hormones. I was always small and never had a problem there just getting tops to fit my shoulders. Any recs for bras, style, websites?

    1. nothingeverfits Post author

      It sounds like you lost volume, but your root is the same. It might look counter intuitive, but look for cups opened on top and not high, cups of this shape are usually not deep. Many demicups or halfcups will fit. You can read my reviews by tag “review“, most of them are about bras. Venusian Glow had fabulous post about shallow breasts here, there are examples of how shallow breasts look in different sizes and a lot of models and brands that fit shallow breasts are listed (also in comments). You might also check Bratabase.com, it can give you recommendations based on your measurements and bras that fit you. If you have this option I would definitely try going to specialized bra boutique with a good reputation, as for chains: Bravissimo and Nordstrom. Not Victoria Secret!! Their fitting techniques are usually horrible, they almost certainly put you in a wrong size.

      Happy bra shopping,


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