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9 Hourglass Dress Styles You Need to Know About

The hourglass shape is celebrated for being sexy…by those who don’t have the task of dressing it! Actually finding the right hourglass dress styles isn’t easy. When you know where to start looking and which silhouettes are going to best display your shape, having an hourglass figure becomes fun and fashionable. You’ve got the curves. Time to learn how to use them. 

Woman wearing hourglass dress

Types of Dresses for the Hourglass Shape

Finding the right clothes for an hourglass body shape isn’t easy. Do you have trouble finding stuff that fits the right way? Is it too tight around the chest, too loose around the waist and not loose enough around the hips? Knowing which dresses you can wear will help you always look your best at any event and any occasion. 

1. A-line

Atizon Casual Long Sleeves Dress for Women V Neck Swing Elastic Tunic Short Wrap T Shirt Dress with Pockets

The classic A-line silhouette is well-suited to an hourglass body type. It fits around the waist and then flares out wide to literally form an A shape. This silhouette still shows off the hourglass figure but it’s not form-fitting or tight. A sweetheart neckline with this A line skirt dress silhouette works especially well on the hourglass body.

2. Ball gown

LALAGEN Women's Plus Size Off Shoulder Long Formal Party Dress Evening Gown Red XXXL

Ball gown styles are perfect for the hourglass figure. The fitted bodice hugs the bustline and waist, while the wide, flaring skirt complements the flare of the hips. This gives the hourglass figure a slenderizing effect.

3. Fit and flare

SheIn Women's V Neck Spaghetti Straps Sleeveless Sexy Backless Wrap Flare Dress Large Black#1

The fit and flare dress is extremely flattering to the hourglass shape. It fits around the waist and flares out from the hips to complement your natural curves. The focus is on the fitted waist, which is exactly the part of your body you want to emphasize to show off your shape. The flaring skirt of this dress style also hides your upper thighs and rear end. Rounded necklines are flattering on an hourglass shape.

4. Mermaid

Ever-Pretty Women's Sweetheart Mermaid Off-Shoulder Long Evening Dresses for Women 2021 White US10

The mermaid silhouette skims the curves of the body, hugging the chest, waist and hips. At the knees, the mermaid dress flares out to create a distinct shape. The mermaid silhouette hugs all those curves to display that hourglass frame and narrow waist well. The little flare at the end adds a touch of fun elegance.

5. Peplum

Vfshow Womens Black Pleated Crew Neck Peplum Work Business Office Church Bodycon Pencil Sheath Dress 3593 BLK XL

The little extra flare of fabric on a peplum dress is well displayed on an hourglass-shaped body. Peplum dresses are fitted all over like a sheath. The addition of the extra ruffle helps minimize the waist, which is a great way to show off those hourglass curves.

6. Sheath

Vfshow Womens Elegant Navy Blue and White Striped Cocktail Party Slim Zipper up Work Business Office Sheath Dress 2619 BLU S

The clingy sheath dress style was made to hug curves and that’s what the hourglass figure has to offer. Slide into a sheath when you’re ready to show off your curvy figure. In a longer length with a blazer, a sheath is a great professional look. In a shorter length and heels, this is a hot dress for date night or a night out with the girls because it shows off the bustline and your fuller hips. A bodycon dress style is a clinging type of sheath that works great as a party dress or a cocktail dress.

7. Shirt dress

Haola Women's Summer Short Sleee Slim Fit Shirts Mini Dresses Juniors Dress Top M Red

Made to look like a long shirt, the shirt dress is a somewhat loose-fitting dress in a straight style that skims past your curves. But when you add a belt, the dress changes entirely. Now your defined waist is emphasized and now, you’re showing that great figure. The loose fit of the shirt dress is comfortable and this creates a cute, casual look. Shirt dresses are usually made with soft fabric that fits well. With a belt, this is a perfect hourglass figure dress.

8. Tube

BORIFLORS Women's Basic Sleeveless Tube Top Sexy Strapless Bodycon Midi Club Dress,X-Large,Black

The form-fitting, strapless tube dress is shaped like a tube and that’s why it fits your body like a glove. This outfit will hug your curves all over to display them to their best effect. This is a great casual dress and it looks super sexy on hourglass shapes. It’s a flattering dress for curvy women and the tight fit provides a little support, which is always helpful.

9. Wrap

GUBERRY Winter Dress for Women Wrap Velvet Christmas Party Ruched Bodycon Guest Wedding Dress Long Sleeve(Large,Wine)

The wrap dress looks like it was made for the hourglass shape. This dress style really helps you make the most out of your curves by emphasizing the waist and still providing definition in the bustline area as well. Wrap dresses also hug your hips just a bit to show off the curve here. In other words, this dress should really be your go-to when you have a curvy hourglass shape. The wrap dress shows it off to the best effect and luckily, wrap dresses are a classic style that’s always trendy. You just can’t go wrong with this dress, which can be worn for all occasions and special events. This is one of the best dresses for your body, a perfect dress for the hourglass shape.


Knowing what to wear is only some of what you need to know about having an hourglass figure. Get the answers and the style tips to all the most common questions about having an hourglass figure and finding great dresses to put on it. 

What is an hourglass figure?

How do you know you have an hourglass figure? If you’re often described as curvy, the answer is probably yes. To know for sure, you need a tape measure. Measure the width of your shoulders and write it down. Now do the same for your hips. If the two measurements are very close or equal and you have a visible small waist that has some definition, you are an hourglass shape. You may also have a larger upper body with a pronounced bustline, wider hips and a generous rear end area, which are common characteristics of the hourglass shape.

What is the best style dress for an hourglass figure?

Any dress that emphasizes the waist will work on an hourglass figure. You need something that fits your curves, not something that hides them. If you want to wear a dress that doesn’t look super sexy, try something with a wider skirt. A full circle skirt or tulip skirt will work well.

Show off your curves even more with embellishments. A few ruffles, a cowl neck or ruching that adds a little extra volume will help you look even more curvaceous.

How do you dress conservatively with an hourglass figure?

It is possible to dress conservatively even when you’re curvy. Keep hemlines at knee length or longer. Opt for a long sleeve dress or add a jacket. A cropped jacket or fitted blazer will look great. You can also choose something with vertical stripes in a darker color, as this will downplay your curves a bit. 

Does loose or flowy clothing look good on an hourglass?

Loose, flowing clothing might be more comfortable but it’s not the best way to display the hourglass shape. This will only hide your waist and make you look wider all over. You need clothing that will highlight and emphasize your waist. 

Can someone with an hourglass figure wear shift dresses?

Shift dresses are a type of straight dress that hangs down on the body with no waist definition. It will ski past the curves and completely hide the waist, which typically isn’t a good look for hourglass shapes Hiding the waist will only make you look heavy instead of showing off that shapely, curvy body that you have.

What dresses create a casual look on an hourglass figure? 

A print wrap dress is a beautiful casual look for any event. Pair it with strappy sandals or flats and you’re ready to go anywhere. Sheath dresses are another great go-to casual choice. 

What neckline does not work for the hourglass?

Many necklines look great on an hourglass shape, including the plunging neckline. However, some necklines just won’t work. High, narrow necklines typically make the hourglass figure look top-heavy, so this is a no-no. High necklines can be especially tricky on hourglass bodies. Wider necklines, such as the scoop neck and the boat neck, have the same effect. Square, oval and even scoop and V neck designs will work very well, however. 

What other clothing styles can hourglass body types wear?

Master a few style advice tricks and your hourglass shape will always look great. Avoid high necklines. V-neck tops will always work. You should avoid any garments that add volume to the neck or shoulder area, in fact. Avoid wide sleeves and ruffled sleeves. Fitted sleeves will work best on the hourglass figure. Sleeveless and strap looks work as well. 

Opt for fitted tops when you shop for blouses and shirts. If your shirt is a little too roomy, belt it! A dark belt is your secret weapon. This will help define your waist and really make those curves pop. Avoid all boxy or straight jackets and opt for fitted styles that are going to cinch the waist. Cropped jackets will also work wonders with any hourglass outfit

When it comes to trousers or jeans, look for high-rise pant styles that fit around the waist. Low-rise styles probably won’t fit you well and they put the emphasis in the wrong place. You can wear lots of different styles of pants, including skinny jean styles and slim fits. Straight leg cuts, wide leg and bootcut styles also work well on the hourglass shape

Look for slimming skirt styles that hug the body, such as pencil skirt styles. Flaring skirts work well, too. However, straight styles just don’t suit the hourglass body.

What should hourglass shapes wear under dresses?

You always need a supportive bra no matter what type of dress you’re wearing. Invest in good bras, including one strapless bra, that give you lift and support where you need it. Stick to bras with separate cups, rather than relying on sports bras. While sports bras are both comfortable and supportive, they also moosh your bustline together and don’t provide definition. Your bustline needs definition or dresses won’t be displayed on your body as well. 

Which support garments and shapewear work best for hourglass figures?

Good shapewear can help smooth out your silhouette to make dresses look even better. Choose something that fits around your torso, cinching your waist while providing support for your bustline. This can be a short one-piece or one that provides some rear end and thigh coverage, as long as it provides a close, supportive fit everywhere. Test your shapewear. Be sure you can wear it comfortably before you get stuck wearing it all night while you’re in a dress and heels! 


  • The Concept Wardrobe – Hourglass Body Shape: A Comprehensive Guide
  • Essence Brides – Best Wedding Dresses for Hourglass Shaped Brides
  • Idealist Style – Body Type Hourglass: Your Best Looks
  • Nordstrom – What is an hourglass figure?
  • Our Everyday Life – Dresses That Flatter an Hourglass Figure
  • Stitch Fix – Ask a Stylist: I have a classic hourglass figure. What are some dress silhouettes that would be flattering on my body shape?