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Hourglasses - gather here and share your top tips for looking fabulous

(66 Posts)
Chorltonswheelies422 Sat 26-Mar-16 16:49:40

what are your favourite styles for work suits,
dressing casually
dressing for evening (casual and elegant)
Coats and jackets

Chorltonswheelies422 Sat 26-Mar-16 16:51:29

Bugger - pressed post too soon and cannot work out how to edit

Also, what are your favourite brands/shops?

herecomesthsun Sat 26-Mar-16 18:29:30

Waists. Stuff with waists, or else you look shapeless. also, waist needs to go in just where your waist goes in. Ties can help sometimes with this.

Jackets either need to go in at waist or be short enough to show off waist. Belts help if a thin hourglass but less if an overweight hourglass. Coats with a belt or an inside adjustment to pull in the waist are good.

Necklines - V neck, scoop, boat, cowl can all be good. Trousers are a challenge as either the waist tends to be too big or the hips too small. I found that fitted waist and wide legs worked best when I was younger (14" difference), though I don't much bother with trousers now.

Glam evening dressing was easier than casual.

I wear pencil skirts a lot to work and have some wrap dresses.

I got itno buying Boden on maternity leave actually because they give garment measurements - and if it dos n't fit you can send it back easily. Also Bravissimo/ Pepperberry. St. Bustier have a nice website but were a bit funny about returns, haven't shopped there since.

It really helps though to hit a big store and just try stuff on and see what suits you.

Rinceoir Sun 27-Mar-16 09:36:38

I'm bumping this as looking for ideas! I'm not quite an hourglass or a pear, my hips are 14inches wider than waist, bust 12inches wider with narrow shoulders. Pre c-section I had a lovely flat tummy but now it's flabby (working on this at the moment).

I find it very hard to do casual as well, even at my slimmest I just don't suit the skinny jeans with longline loose top combo that is so popular. I got a lovely high waisted ponte tube skirt in the White company recently and have been teaming that with tucked in tops or fitted cardigans for work. Shape wear for the tummy. For weekends I'm in dresses if out and about, high waisted jeans and shirts/fitted jumpers for running after toddler. My sister is straight up and down with broad shoulders-we are roughly the same size but she looks fantastic in skinny jeans/leggings and a loose top that hangs. I'm always so jealous as she looks really stylish and comfortable, whereas I would look like I'm wearing a potato sack in the same outfit.

MentalLentil Sun 27-Mar-16 11:22:43

I need this thread so badly! So often I have tried to find advice online for how to dress the hourglass figure, but what I run across always seems to be some variant of 'if you're an hourglass, you have it easy! You'll look good in anything.' Which has not been my experience.

I know it's a desirable body shape, and that people who aren't it would like to be it, but no way is it easy to dress this shape and look good! Jeggings, leggings, skinny jeans all look bad on skinny legs and big hips. Tops that flow over the bust but don't nip in at the waist create an overall impression of potato-sackness. Adding a waist belt just makes a belted potato sack.

Waist belts, grrrr. I've never been able to manage a waist belt as an accessory without feeling ridiculous, but maybe this is just a personal problem. I look at belts as a functional thing, to hold up trousers or skirts, or to go through belt loops when a shirt is tucked in or on a dress with belt loops. To add a waist belt when there are no belt loops just feels silly to me -- for instance in jeggings (which I wear even though they're not flattering) with a top that hits at the normal place, down on my hips, I can add a waist belt to draw attention to the relative narrowness of waist compared to bust and hips, but it's just a belt sitting over top of a jumper or t-shirt and I think it looks weird.

Belting the waist does help, I can see that it does when I'm wearing one. But I always end up taking the thing off after about three minutes because I feel so silly just wearing a belt for no structural reason. Do I need to get over this? I don't recall ever seeing another person wearing a waist belt this way, though it's all over the internet advice for hourglass shapes.

I did read somewhere that an hourglass shaped person usually looks best 'dressed up' rather than in casual trousers and tops. Pencil skirts and fitted blazers always look amazing, and so do well-fitted shift dresses and shirt dresses. I look great in certain dresses and skirt/top combos, but that's not my everyday style at all. I want to look great in jeans and a t-shirt, but I don't. Unless I belt the t-shirt.

Nepotism Sun 27-Mar-16 11:38:16

Definitely true about better dressed up than down.

I find tucked in shirts look better than t shirts.

Best buy has been Boden Aurelia dress, I feel gorgeous and Nigellaesque in it.

Still look better naked than clothed, even in my fifties!

Rinceoir Sun 27-Mar-16 11:45:38

I bought a fabulous black wool coat about 6 years ago- belted, single breasted, no buttons and it is probably the single best purchase I've ever made. MentalLentil I feel the same about belts, I never quite get the look right.

Chorltonswheelies422 Sun 27-Mar-16 11:58:10

Thanks for all the ideas. Nepotism - I looked at the Boden dress and it looks fab but I thought a v neck or scoop neck was needed if you were an hourglass?

I still feel overwhelmed by trying to put stuff together on my own - I think I'm just going to use the personal shopper service at John Lewis

OurBlanche Sun 27-Mar-16 12:10:35

I've just posted similar on another thread...

If you have decent charity shops or frock exchanges nearby you could do what I have spent a couple of years doing. Buy all sorts of stuff you think looks good. Ask friends and family for honest opinions. Decide what shapes really do suit you.

I buy in one town and sell on the unwanted stuff in another. I know have a fairly good idea of what does/does not look good on me and can confidently buy stuff in the sales smile

stumblymonkey Sun 27-Mar-16 12:24:09

I've put on weight so wouldn't consider myself hourglass anymore unless fat hourglass is a thing?

But...before I had for an evening look I swore by dresses from The Pretty Dress Company...they fit an hourglass shape divinely!!!

If you're feeling flush check out Bombshell online...some of their liberty print dresses are to die for! It's what Nigella wears innit.

herecomesthsun Sun 27-Mar-16 12:24:20

Chorltons, I also have the Aurelia dress, it veers towards a boatneck which is fine for me (34H).

I looove square necks too.

The finish on the Aurelia is not all that good, I have sent one back because the hem came down and I didn't have time to mend it. Also, the fabric is a bit heavy, and I would like it an inch longer. But quite a nice dress.

stumblymonkey Sun 27-Mar-16 12:24:59


HappenstanceMarmite Sun 27-Mar-16 12:29:35

As already mentioned, structured smart is easy for hourglass. I always feel best in pencil skirt, shift dress or evening dress. But I envy the casual day look of skinny jeans or leggings with slouchy top and flat boots. Just does nothing big for me.

simonettavespucci Sun 27-Mar-16 12:31:44

Hourglass/pear here, and I totally agree about belts - I am always buying them, as I can see that they look better, but they always feel unnatural.

I mainly wear wrap/jersey dresses for work. For casual I tend to wear jeans and a t-shirt even though it doesn't really suit me. I quite like a ballerina cardigan over the top - you can tie it tightly to emphasis your waist. A blazer with jeans also works well, though it looks more formal.

For coats, rather counterintuitively, I prefer ones that are more straight up and down - ones with a nipped in waist make me look like a caricature.

If you do get a personal shopper at JL, let us know what they recommend.

JamieVardysParty Sun 27-Mar-16 12:33:05

I also really struggle with casual although I am a tall fairly slim hourglass so can do leggings, boots and long top. I've got a very short torso so need something that makes it look longer.

I recently bought a denim midi pencil skirt from Glamorous which really suits. It's slightly high waisted and looks great with tshirts tucked in or out.

I have the tendency to either look to glam and over the top or too matronly and mature. Not what I want in my mid twenties.

Annecyinyourpantsy Sun 27-Mar-16 12:33:53

My one bit of advice is get Levi jeans that come in curve styles. I'm a demi curve and the best fitting jeans I've ever had.

StephenKatz Sun 27-Mar-16 14:19:37

Lurking for tips. I always end up looking really top heavy, skinny legs and baggy tops over my boobs do me no favours but I still keep doing it!
I'm liking the idea of a denim pencil skirt for casual. I like wearing shirts tucked into jeans but need to wear knee high boots with it to balance me out. I also have the additional issue of a very damaged Mummy tummy to disguise!

WhoisLucasHood Sun 27-Mar-16 14:37:08

I'mm currently wearing high waisted bootleg jeans, not popular at the moment but the bootleg balance my hips out and the high waist nip in at the waist so suit my shape. I have a plain tight fit scoop neck top with a ballerina cardigan on top.
I love pencil skirts and love that they're back in the shops. I like my belted coats but I'm on the look out for a jacket/ blazer fitted enough. Even though I'm not slim, I stay away from baggy clothes or long tops as they add lbs.

Ifonlyiweretaller Sun 27-Mar-16 17:26:22

Another who doesn't quite get belts here. And the clothes i go for, like Jamie, end up making me look formal a lot of the time.The best i can do for casual is tunic tops from masai/white stuff/Capri with legging and boots .

I recently ordered far too many a number of items from Pepperberry based on MN recommendation, and have to say i am quite impressed! Of 8 ordered I have kept 3 which is pretty good going for me! Not the cheapest, but they are lovely quality.

I did buy a Bombshell dress in the Black Friday sale pre-Christmas but it isn't the best fit - mainly because i am too short I think. Have had it altered a few times to get it to fit right, but am still not totally convinced.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sun 27-Mar-16 17:31:38

Learn how to sew waist darts in shirts and take other tops in at the side seams to get a better fit.
For dresses, either pick ones with waist ties or look at whether there is elastic etc to bring them in at the waist.
I have never got on with belts either - they look too fussy on me.

RaisingSteam Mon 28-Mar-16 00:04:43

What a great thread! I'm hourglass, short waisted, size 14. Cannot wear a belt or tuck in, but clothes need to be shaped at waist. Tops and blouses are a nightmare at the moment! Best is a fitted shell top but they are rare to find.

this I could never afford but I like the look.

Work suit:
Waisted jacket not too long, black bootcut or straight trousers, jersey top under not a shirt.
Pencil skirt to the knee
Or jacket over fitted dress. Look for petite ranges.

Casually - thin, not too baggy jumpers layered over contrasting top, slim or slim boot jeans.
Evening - no social life!
Coat - single breasted, not too fussy, not a big collar, semi fitted (i.e. not a frock coat but not a cocoon either).this and the variations is quite understated but could be accessorised and comes in petite.
I buy a lot of jackets on ebay, bit hit and miss TBH but at least there is some variety.

Currently favouring Hobbs, Uniqlo, Boden, Pepperberry. I know Pepperberry are expensive for the quality but you are paying for the choice of sizes and fits as well.

Chorltonswheelies422 Wed 30-Mar-16 23:02:45


OneMoreForExtra Wed 30-Mar-16 23:34:19

I know we're not supposed to mention them on here but Trinny and Susannah's Body Shape Bible honestly has been a stylesaver for me. First thing is to make sure you actually are an hourglass, and the number of posters claiming to be an hourglass / pear, or an hourglass with skinny legs, suggests there is some variation in what people think it is. But if you've checked and you are (big boobs, smaller and relatively high waist, big hips, chunky upper arms and thighs, quite small hands and feet), then their tips are brilliant. I've saved a fortune on mistake buys and gained confidence by:

defaulting to bootcut trousers (balance out the bum) and scoop or V-neck jumpers / cardigans (neat, slim fit)

nothing flouncy or ruffly, we're feminine enough with all the boobage and anything frilly looks like a 70s horror show. Similarly, bulky material, thick scarves, heavy jumpers, all drown us and we just look like a shapeless blog.

fitted knee-length dresses with a nice stretch fabric, plus boots to balance the heavy calves, plus fitted jacket for smartness (my work uniform)

in summer, cropped trousers and cute shoes, plus fitted blouses rather than t-shirts

Principal boy silhouette works well - fitted tunic to top of legs, plus thick leggings and boots (do not be tempted by trainers)

small prints (big ones swamp our smallish frame)

avoid high round necks and closed collars (look like boobs solid to the waist), batwings (look like boobs trying to escape sideways) and, I'm afraid, thick feature belts, which chop a short body in half and make us look shorter and wider still (the hourglasses that suit belts are actually vases).

Curvy shoes good, pointy shoes bad.

10% smarter than everyone else to look the same (ie we look 10% less smart than everyone else as we are borderline frumpy in shape)

HermiioneSnape02 Thu 31-Mar-16 08:12:09

IfonlyIweretaller Thanks for the link I've just bought the Pepperberry gingham dress.

Also joining thread, as I have a basic understanding how to dress, but I don't want to look like I'm going out everyday in inner city Birmingham. So in reality, walking around the shops, I have no idea what to buy and what looks good casually.

Higge Thu 31-Mar-16 08:13:23

I'm a tall hourglass, size 12.
My rules are:
Dresses can be low waisted, loose but not waisted, definitely not belted - the waist is always too high...I've given up searching. The important thing is a bitching bra and a good neck line, the right length and suitable footwear.
Gap Slim Straight Jeans are brilliant.
Love slouchy trousers, no pleats.
Bootcuts highlight thighs - awful things who wants skinny looking knees?
Tops need to fall mid hip or be semi tucked.
Skirts - A line is good but top needs to be either tucked or fall at top of hip. Pencil good too. Full skirt can work if it isn't gathered from the waist - needs to be flat and neat around the waist.
Uniqlo white shirts are brilliant - out of stock atm but they are stretchy and fitted without being restrictive.
Scoop necks are flattering but a bit I avoid.
No pattern except spots and stripes.
Knitwear - cardigans must be straight edged, no belts or v necks. No chunky or patterned knits, try to stick to fine merino or cashmere.
Coats - how I love a good coat/jacket. No tied belts - they emphasise my large boobs and butt - awful things. Gok would not agree but he is wrong! Straight edges are surprisingly good - Trinny and suzannah would not agree - but they are wrong.
Something plain underneath and a stunning coat/jacket is easy dressing, imo.
No casual t-shirts, no knitted linen, no shiny fabric. Only fabric that retains it's shape and does not highlight the movement of my boobs when I walk - you know the jiggle thing - not good!
Scarves are good - cashmere and silk.
Footwear - I'm all about blister-free feet, love white trainers, blundstone boots, brogues and in the summer saltwater sandals for daily wear. I have heels for going out but they scream pain at me.

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