Figures Tips: Dress Style Guide for an Hourglass Body Shape

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Figures Tips: Dress Style Guide for an Hourglass Body Shape

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If you have an hourglass figure, understanding your body shape is an important step in the evolution of your style. Next, we’ll tell you what styles to wear for an hourglass figure, and what styles to avoid or adjust, and we’ll build a wardrobe full of dresses you love.

There are many ways to dress to help you find the right dress, whether you want something sexy or powerful and cool, so you can feel confident on any occasion.

What is an hourglass figure

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What is an Hourglass Figure?

Common Features of an Hourglass Figure

The hourglass figure is a body shape that is curvy with some distinctive features. The edges of your body more rounded than other body types. This body type is dominated by the following characteristics:

  • The shoulders are a bit rounded.
  • The bust and hip are the same width.
  • The waist is small and well-defined.
  • Full hips and breasts.
  • Weight gain is usually evenly distributed throughout the body.
  • The overall figure has clear curves.
  • The waist, chest, and hips are well-defined.

Data Judgment of Hourglass Figure

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An hourglass figure can usually be determined by looking at the proportions of your waist, shoulders, hips and bust. However, it should be noted that everyone's body shape has certain differences. The following are some general proportion guidelines. These numbers are only reference values:

  • Waist: The waist is usually a unique feature of the hourglass figure and should be the thinnest part. Generally speaking, waist circumference is about the middle value between bust and hip circumference. Usually, the waist-to-hip ratio is between 0.6 and 0.7, but it also varies from person to person.
  • Hips: Hips are usually slightly wider than the waist and shoulders, and the ratio to the shoulders is also close to 1:1 or slightly larger than 1:1. 
  • Bust: The chest of an hourglass figure is usually wider than the waist, but this ratio varies from person to person.

This hourglass characteristic gives a very symmetrical appearance. Because of its special look, which many find attractive, it is often highlighted and celebrated in the fashion and beauty worlds. 

But remember, everyone’s body is unique and you shouldn’t be overly pursue these numbers. Confidence and good health are the most important.

Differences from other basic body types

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Differences from Other Basic Body Types

In addition to the hourglass figure, there are other major body types, each with its unique characteristics. Here are the characteristics of each body type and the differences between the hourglass figure:

Apple Shape

Characteristics: People with an apple-shaped body usually have relatively broad shoulders, fuller breasts, thicker waists, and may have significant abdominal fat accumulation.

Difference: Compared with the hourglass figure, the waist of the apple-shaped figure is thicker and not thin enough.

Pear Shape

Characteristics: People with a pear-shaped body shape usually have narrow shoulders and wider hips and thighs, and the hips may be fuller.

Difference: Compared with an hourglass figure, a pear-shaped figure has narrower shoulders and wider hips and thighs.

Rectangle Shape

Characteristics: People with rectangular body shapes usually lack obvious curves. The circumferences of shoulders, waist and hips are relatively even, and the waist has no obvious protrusion.

Difference: Compared with the hourglass figure, the long figure lacks the curve of the waist and has a straighter waistline.

Inverted Triangle Shape

Characteristics: People with an inverted triangle body shape have broad shoulders and narrow waists and hips.

Difference: Compared with the hourglass figure, the inverted triangle figure has a narrower waist and hips and wider shoulders.

One body type, diverse Women

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One Body Type, Diverse Women

Having a defined waist doesn't mean you need to have an absolutely tiny waist. It's all about proportion. In other words, you can have an hourglass figure, or you can be tall, short, slim or curvy.

Accept your body and learn how to highlight your strengths and improve your confidence. There is no ideal body shape and it is important to recognize the specific characteristics of our bodies and learn how to showcase it with clothes that we feel comfortable with and identify with.

Body shape issues you may be worried about

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Body Shape Issues You May Be Worried About

  • Not sure how to define your waist size.
  • The shoulders are slightly rounded and the legs are out of proportion to the upper body.
  • The body is too curvy.

Like Berry AC said: Of all the body types I feel like hourglass people are treated like we want to objectify our bodies and that’s frustrating. Any tips would be awesome. 

It'll all be addressed next: Body confidence and beauty depend not just on your specific body shape, but also on how you recognize and showcase your unique features. Fashionable clothing choices are based on one's comfort and personal style, rather than being restricted by society's stereotypes of the ideal body shape.

Dress Design Inspiration for Hourglass Figure

Dress design inspiration for hourglass figure

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Hourglass Body Style Goals

Dress Style Targets for Hourglass Figure

Someone said: A lot of the styles Marilyn went for while sexy due to her shape were also really strong looks. So that’s helped me anyway.

Next, our style will tend to be this kind of dressing, which is beautiful and powerful.

The key to dressing an hourglass body type is to follow its natural silhouette, dressing the upper and lower body in proportion while accentuating the waist. Let your hourglass figure naturally balance with your chiselled waist.

We're going to introduce some rules to make sure you don't throw your frame out of balance by being too heavy on your upper body or too heavy on your lower body.

Suitable dress rules

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Suitable Dress Rules

When designing a dress for an hourglass figure, there are some rules and techniques you can adopt to make your curves stronger. Here are some rules:

  • It’s important to wear the right underwear to provide support and feel comfortable in your outfit. Help improve body lines and waist curves.
  • The key feature of the hourglass figure is the prominent waist, so one of the dressing goals is to emphasize and maintain the curve of the waist. You can choose something with a belt, a cinched waist or a slim fit - wear something dark at the waist or a dark belt to accentuate your waist.
  • If you want to look curvier, add volume to your breasts and hips with ruffles, embellishments or pockets. If you want to downplay your curves, choose a dress with dark colours or vertical stripes.
  • People with an hourglass figure can choose from a variety of slim-cut skirts and dresses, as they accentuate the waist curve and emphasize the body’s strengths.
  • Don’t be afraid to try different styles and trends to find an outfit that suits you.
  • Use strategic lines to achieve an elongating effect. The hourglass figure has all the curves in the right places, but due to the width of your hips and shoulders, you may need to elongate your silhouette a little with strategic visual lines.
Dress styles to avoid

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Dress Styles to Avoid

When designing a dress for the hourglass figure, there are some rules to avoid without creating an inappropriate visual effect. Here are some rules to avoid:

  • Avoid straight-cut and boxy loose styles that hide your waist. If you don't accentuate your waist, your chest and hips will be the only obvious features and make you look much wider than you are.
  • Although decoration can increase visual appeal, avoid excessive decoration. Simple and sophisticated designs are usually more suitable for hourglass shapes.
  • The cut of the dress should be slim-fitting, but should not be overly tight. If the gown has a belt, make sure it fits properly and doesn't make the waist look too tight or unnatural.
  • Top tops with high collar designs may cover up the lines of the neck and chest, which is not conducive to highlighting the curves of the body. Choosing a V-neck or low-neck design may be more suitable.
  • Skirts that are too short may not be appropriate as they may make the body look off-balance. Proper length helps maintain an overall sense of proportion.
  • If you wear clothes with stripes, make sure they are not too wide or thick. For an hourglass figure, they should be thin and narrow.
Embrace your natural body shape

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Embrace Your Natural Body Shape

Beauty in the world comes in a variety of body shapes, sizes and features. Diversity makes our society richer.

Fashion is a way of expressing yourself, your natural silhouette determines the clothing that best suits your body type, and finding a style that works for you can help you feel more confident and comfortable.

It is important to remember that your worth is not determined solely by your appearance, but by your character, behavior, and kindness. Show your unique charm and value in life.

Neckline that suit your hourglass figure
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Tips for Choosing a Neckline That Suits Your Hourglass Figure

The parts of the neckline that have the greatest impact are the shoulders, neck and chest, next when we deal with larger busts and smaller waists, we need to consider proportion, emphasis, and clothing goals. Do you want to look curvy, or do you need to opt for a more casual look?

Because of the inherent roundness of the hourglass figure, a slightly rounded neckline is a good choice, such as a bateau neckline. Because this neckline isn't very wide or narrow, it doesn't draw any attention to itself.

  • If you want to show off your bust, go for a lower and wider neckline, such as a scoop or sweetheart neckline.
  • If you don't want to show off your bust, avoid necklines that are too wide and ill-fitting, as well as high necklines, as they can add volume to the area. For example, the type of slim v-neckline.

Recommended Neckline

Off shoulder dress
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Off Shoulder Dress

Among the types of necklines suitable for hourglass figures, the off-shoulder is a unique and flattering choice. This style means that the neckline extends downward to show off the lines of the shoulders and neck. Let’s discuss the characteristics of the shoulder neckline:

  • Narrow waist accentuation: Since the off-shoulder design usually falls on the shoulders from the neck to the waist, it helps to highlight the unique waistline of the hourglass figure.
  • Effortless yet stylish: This style generally gives a relaxed and stylish feel and is suitable for casual, summer or holiday occasions.
  • Suitable occasions: Off-shoulder necklines are suitable for wedding parties, bachelorette parties, New Year's Eve parties, back-to-school parties, beach vacations, evening performances, etc.
  • Accessories: You can choose to wear a necklace or earrings to increase the charm of the girl while maintaining a simple look.
V-neck dress
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V-Neck Dress

For women with an hourglass figure, the V-neck design is both a fashionable and practical choice. It accentuates the curves and proportions of the body and is suitable for a variety of occasions. Additionally, it is also a great choice for summer and hot weather as it helps dissipate heat and keep you cool.

The line of the V-neckline extends to the neck, visually elongating the appearance of the upper body. It also creates a clearer curve for the waist. V-neck designs are very versatile and suitable for a variety of occasions, from casual everyday wear to formal evening wear.

Sweetheart dress
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Sweetheart Dress

Here are the features of the Sweetheart neckline:

  • Highlight curves: The sweetheart neckline is known for its heart shape, which accentuates the curves of the shoulders very well. 
  • Emphasize the waistline: A sweetheart neckline usually forms an arc just below the bust, which helps emphasize a narrow waist. This is a characteristic of the hourglass body shape and therefore suits this body type.
  • Gentle Curves: The gentle curves of a sweetheart neckline usually harmonize with the curves of an hourglass body shape, making the overall look smooth and attractive.
  • Neck modification: Sweetheart necklines are usually not too deep, which helps showcase a woman’s neck and makes the overall look more graceful.
  • Variety: Sweetheart necklines can be found on all types of clothing, including wedding dresses, evening gowns, and regular everyday wear. This means that women with an hourglass figure can choose the right Sweetheart neckline garment for different occasions.
Scoop neck dress
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Scoop Neck Dress

The scoop neck is characterized by its U-shaped, rounded, slightly curved design with an open front. It can vary in depth, with some scoop necks being deeper and others being milder.

Scoop necklines are often considered flattering because they elongate the neck and emphasize the collarbone area. They can fit a variety of body types. The scoop neck is suitable for all seasons, and can be used for both lightweight summer clothing and warm long-sleeve styles for cooler weather.

The scoop neck has a classic and timeless quality. It is also associated with vintage and vintage fashion, especially mid-20th century fashion.

Bateau neckline dress
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Bateau Neckline Dress

A bateau neck is a neckline that is shaped like the bow of a small bateau, wide and flat, close to the neck. bateau necks typically span the collarbone area, exposing some shoulder skin, but not too much. This neckline design creates an arc on the garment, resembling the front of a bateau, hence the name.

The bateau neck is generally considered an elegant and stylish design that is suitable for a variety of occasions, from casual to formal. This neckline design can be used in a variety of fabrics and styles, making it a suitable choice for different seasons and occasions. It also suits all body shapes, whether slim or plump.

Square neck dress
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Square Neck Dress

The square neckline is characterized by the straight and horizontal lines it creates, usually below the collarbone or higher on the chest, and is associated with an elegant and timeless look.

The straight horizontal lines of a square neckline can be flattering on a variety of body types. A square neckline is a great opportunity to display necklaces and jewellery, and an open neckline provides a frame for accessories.

The square collar has a vintage influence, particularly associated with mid-20th-century fashion. Their styles are inspired by the 1950s and 1960s.

Sleeves that suit your hourglass figure
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Tips for Choosing the Sleeves That Suit Your Hourglass Figure

One of our goals is to balance the gaze and elongate the body. We have lots of sleeves to help add a vertical element to your look. This is easiest to do with fitted sleeves, usually full sleeves or 3/4 length.

Short sleeves and sleeveless are also acceptable, but be careful not to accentuate the width of your shoulders.

Avoid wearing wide sleeves such as bell sleeves, flow sleeves, and anything with a lot of layered volume. Avoid Dolman sleeves as they add bulk near the bust line. And their flexible lines will make you appear shapeless.

Recommended Sleeves

Set-in sleeve dress
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Set-in Sleeve Dress

Set-in Sleeve is a garment sleeve design that is characterized by the sleeves being made separately from the main body of the garment and then sewn into the shoulder and armpit seams. This sleeve design connects seamlessly to the body of the garment. Here are some features of set-in sleeves:

  • Slimming effect: Because the sleeves are connected to seams at the shoulders and underarms, set-in sleeves often have a slimming effect.
  • Suitable for high customization: Set-in sleeves usually require more craftsmanship and production steps, so they are common in high customization and high-quality clothing. This helps ensure a good fit and quality build.
  • Style Choices: While Set-in sleeves are typically flat and slim-fitting, the length, width and shape of the sleeves can be adjusted to create different styles based on design needs.
Full-length long-sleeve dress
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Full-Length Long-Sleeve Dress

Full-length sleeves completely cover the arms, often extending to the wrist or even longer. This sleeve style provides extra coverage and warmth. Suitable for different seasons, it can be used for cold-weather jackets, autumn dresses, spring dresses, etc. The full-length sleeves in lightweight fabric are also perfect for cooler summer evenings.

Full-length sleeves are suitable for all body types. They can balance the proportions of the upper and lower body, emphasize the lines of the arms, or provide comfort for wearers of different body types. Full-length sleeves allow the addition of various details at the wrists and cuffs, such as decorative buttons, pleats, ruffles or wrist charms. These details can add visual appeal and personality to a garment.

Sleeveless dress
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Sleeveless Dress

Sleeveless is a style of clothing with sleeves that refers to a design without sleeves, providing maximum breathability and cooling, leaving the arms completely exposed.

The sleeveless design is suitable for a variety of styles and occasions. They can be found at a bachelorette party or as part of an evening gown for a formal occasion.

Sleeveless gowns are often used for large celebrations or outdoor events, such as beach vacations or outdoor rustic wedding parties. They can provide greater comfort and freedom of arms.

Cap sleeve dress
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Cap Sleeve Dress

The cap sleeve is a design of clothing sleeves. Its characteristic is that the cuff is based on the shoulder and extends downward to cover the shoulder and a small area of the upper arm. The shape is slightly like the brim of a hat, hence the name: cap sleeves.

Cap sleeves are a short-sleeved style that usually only covers the shoulders and a small portion of the upper arms. They are shorter than full-length or three-quarter sleeves. Cap sleeves help flatter the shoulders, making them appear wider and softer.

If you choose lightweight shoulder-enhancing cap sleeves, be sure to balance the extra volume at the bottom. The cap sleeves are very flattering, especially with the rounded armholes and hem.

Bishop sleeve dress

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Bishop Sleeve Dress

The key feature of the Bishop sleeve is the elasticated cinch at the wrist, usually achieved with a rubber band or elastic band. This design makes the sleeves puffy at the wrist. It is often combined with vintage-style clothing, such as Victorian or Bohemian.

Bishop sleeves suit the hourglass body shape because the fitted cuff gives the sleeve a visual end. This sleeve style, usually long sleeves, got its name from the medieval bishop's robe, as the style was very popular during that era.

In cold weather, it can provide extra warmth; in warm seasons, Bishop sleeves made of lightweight materials are also very popular.

3/4 sleeve dress
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3/4 Sleeve Dress

3/4 sleeves are a mid-length sleeve design characterized by sleeves that are approximately two-thirds of the length of the arm and usually extend below the wrist but do not completely cover the wrist. This sleeve style is very common in the fashion world and is suitable for various seasons and clothing types.

The 3/4 sleeves provide a certain degree of arm coverage while also being easy to put on and take off. This makes them a comfortable choice for many people, especially if they need to move their arms frequently. They offer a middle-of-the-road option that is both moderately cool and adaptable to hot weather, making them a favourite for many.

Recommended dresses
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Recommended Dresses

Everyone has a different aesthetic, so the dress is designed to accentuate an individual's sense of beauty. Work with our designers to help you find the best dress design for your hourglass figure.

Burnt orange bias cut dress
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Bias Cut Dresses

A bias cut is a garment-making technique in which the fabric is cut at a 45-degree angle, rather than perpendicular to the yarn direction of the fabric. Very beneficial for certain body types, such as the hourglass body shape.

Bias-cut dresses are more stretchy and soft because they span the yarns of the fabric, allowing the fabric to better conform to the curves of the body. Creates a beautiful sense of flow, making the garment more elegant when walking. This effect is very attractive for occasion wear such as weddings, evenings or hen parties.

From simple everyday hen party guest dresses to Haute wedding bridesmaid dresses, they can create different stunning effects.

dusty sage green wrap Dresses
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Wrap Dresses

The wrap dress was popularized by designer Diane von Fürstenberg in the 1970s and has been a wardrobe staple ever since. Its timeless style makes it suitable for any age.

A wrap dress is a dress style that features a front closure that wraps around the body and ties at the waist. It's a versatile fashion piece known for its slim fit and feminine silhouette.

Wrap skirts are versatile and can be worn in both casual and formal settings. They come in various lengths, from mini to extra-long, and can be styled in different ways.

Vintage mauve fitted sheath dresses
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Fitted Sheath Dresses

The fitted sheath dress is a very popular women's fashion style. Its design features are relatively close-fitting but not tight, highlighting the curves and lines of the body. Due to its diverse designs and options, it can meet the needs and preferences of different individuals and is suitable for various occasions and seasons.

This type of dress usually has a slim fit that hugs the body and emphasizes the waist, hips and curves. This fitted sheath dress uses stretch fabric, and stretch satin for comfort and a snug fit.

Burgundy mermaid Side Slit Dresses
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Mermaid Side Slit Dresses

Overall, the mermaid side slit gown is a fashion style full of dramatic and fairy-like charm. This kind of gown is famous for its high slit, slim cut and special embellishments, which can help the wearer show a charming appearance.

Mermaid side slit gowns usually taper from the hips and widen to emphasize the curves and lines of the body. One of the features of this gown is a high thigh-to-floor slit on one side of the skirt for added romantic.

Such gowns are often made from high-quality, flowing fabrics such as satin materials to enhance the fairy-like effect.

Panelled dress
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Panelled Dress

A panel dress is a dress style characterized by the use of multiple panels of fabric sewn together to create the overall design of the dress. Using different panels allows for a precise fit and can emphasize or create curves in the right places.

The design possibilities with patchwork dresses are endless. Designers can use different panel shapes, sizes and arrangements to create unique and eye-catching patterns and silhouettes. For example, A-line shapes, mermaid shapes, and fit-and-flare shapes are all available. The seams where panels meet can be used as a design element that is both stylish and flattering.

Fit and flare dress
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Fit and Flare Dress

A fit and flare dress is a style of dress whose silhouette is characterized by being fitted at the top and then tapering out from the waist down. This type of dress is a popular and versatile choice for a variety of occasions. Here are some key features and details of a fit-and-flare dress:

  • Various necklines: scoop neck, V-neck, sweetheart neck, halter neck, etc. to create different styles and looks.
  • Length Options: These dresses are available in different lengths such as mini, knee-length, tea length and full length, suitable for both casual and formal occasions.
  • Versatility: Fit and flare dresses are versatile and can be dressed up or down. They are suitable for parties, weddings, office wear, and even everyday casual wear.
  • Skirt styles: A-line skirts, round skirts, pleated skirts or pleated skirts, etc. Each style has a slightly different look and fullness.
  • Fabric Variety: Fitted and flared dresses are available in a variety of fabrics, from cotton and jersey for casual wear to satin and lace for more formal occasions.
Peplum dress

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Peplum Dress

A peplum dress is a style of dress with ruffles, a skirt or a peplum attached to the waist of a dress.

The hem can extend down from the waist to add a flared or peplum element to the dress. A hemline that emphasizes the waist works well with a variety of body types. It can create curves or enhance existing curves, making it a versatile style that suits different body types.

Peplum dresses are known for their ruffle details that emphasize the waist, which add a stylish and flattering element to the dress. They come in a variety of styles, fabrics and lengths to suit every occasion from casual to formal. Their timeless appeal and versatility make them a must-have for women's fashion.

Summary about hourglass figure

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By emphasizing the waist, choosing the right cut, a variety of colours and designs, adapting to different occasions, and focusing on lingerie choices, you may be able to find your dress that expresses your confidence and beauty.

There's no one-size-fits-all dressing for an hourglass figure (or any body type), so consider your body's strengths and weaknesses and make adjustments that work for you!

Ultimately, no matter what clothing you choose, true beauty comes from your heart and love for your body, and that can’t be replaced by any outfit.

FAQs about hourglass figure

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Do Hourglass Figures Have Big Thighs?

Contrary to the body shapes of most supermodels, the hourglass figure is more rounded and curvy. Thigh sizes vary widely among people with an hourglass figure, just like people with other body types.

Body shape is highly individual and there is a wide range of natural variation. Some people with an hourglass figure may be born with fuller thighs, while others may have thinner thighs.

Can You Get an Hourglass Figure if You Don't Have One?

While you can't change your natural body shape, you can use clothing, exercises, and styling techniques to create the illusion of an hourglass figure and enhance your natural proportions. 

  • Choose clothing styles that emphasize your waist and create curves. Look for dresses with a cinched waist, ruffled designs, or wrap styles.
  • Strengthening the muscles in specific areas, such as shoulders, chest, and hips, can help create wider proportions in those areas, thereby enhancing the hourglass appearance.

Can Hourglass be Chubby?

Yes, this body type can appear in people of all body types, including those who may be considered chubby or heavier.

Having an hourglass figure isn't about being thin or having a specific body type; This depends on the relative measurements of the bust, waist and hips.

What are the 2 Types of Hourglass?

Pear Hourglass and full Hourglass.

  • A full hourglass figure tends to have pronounced curves and a smaller waist, creating a classic hourglass figure.
  • Pear Hourglass figures still have a well-defined waist, but the hips are slightly wider than the bust. The difference between the bust and buttocks is slightly less pronounced. A variation of the hourglass body shape.

Where do Hourglass Figures Gain Weight?

People with an hourglass figure usually gain weight in a balanced manner. If an hourglass figure gains weight, it will gain weight first in the chest and then in the hip area. And this balance tends to remain the same as you gain weight.

Which Actress Has an Hourglass Figure?

Many female stars in the entertainment industry have hourglass figures. Marilyn Monroe, Salma Hayek, Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, Halle Berry, Jessica Alba, and Christina Hendricks.


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