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Which dress for hourglass-shaped bodies is best?

One of the keys to looking and feeling your best is choosing a dress that enhances your body shape. Out of all the body types, the hourglass shape is considered the ideal type because of the feminine proportions of an hourglass, in which the bust and hips are wider than the waist.

If you consider yourself an hourglass shape, the Calvin Klein Tulip Sheath Dress can help you achieve a balanced silhouette. 

What to know before you buy a dress for hourglass-shaped bodies

Basics for dressing your body type

No matter what shape or size you are, look for outfits that play to your body shapes strengths and create a proportioned frame that’s aesthetically appealing.   

  • Create balance: Balance different parts of your body, such as your shoulders, bust, hips and waist, by using the outfit’s fit and dimensions.
  • Draw attention to the right places: Create the illusion of a balanced frame by using the outfit’s lines to highlight certain body parts, lengthen and create curves.  
  • Use color to your advantage: Know how to mix and match your outfit colors. We are generally more drawn to fabric with bright and light colors than black and navy ones.  

Those with hourglass shapes should look for outfits that draw attention to the waist without adding extra volume to the hips and bust. Create a pleasant silhouette by accentuating the waist and tailoring the midriff.

Measurements and shape tendencies

Hourglass shapes are mostly easy to identify, but there are times when they can be confused with other body types, and your body may mix features of the hourglass and a shape such as pear, apple, inverted triangle or rectangle. To ensure that you have hourglass proportions, check your measurements with a measuring tape.

Keep in mind that your bone structure determines your body frame more than your size and weight. The hourglass is considered voluptuous because the hip and bust appear larger, but a slim and small-framed person can also have this body type.

Strengths of the hourglass body shape

People with the hourglass body shape are said to have the most proportionate body type. The key to dressing this body shape is to follow its natural silhouette. Accentuate and define your waistline while proportionally dressing the top and bottom of your body and focusing on your curves.

Best style of dress for hourglass-shaped bodies

People with an hourglass shape have hips and shoulders of proportional width and defined waist. Almost any dress that’s well-fitted around the bust and waist and that accentuates their silhouette will look good on them.. Avoid dresses that add volume to the bust and hips and boxy dresses that hide your waist and change your proportions. Choose soft fabrics and stay clear of anything made of spandex. 


Fit-and-flare dresses feature a fitted upper body and a full skirt. The dress design is ideal for spotlighting the waistline because of the nip in the middle section of the body. The result is more definition around the waist, and a bottom half of the dress that flows elegantly from the hips.  

Belted shirt dress

If you’re looking for a more relaxed, casual look, consider wearing a shirt dress. This menswear-inspired piece is cut without a seam at the waist, which gives it a looser fit. Adding a belt is essential for defining your waist, an important dressing rule for hourglass shapes.

Wrap dresses

Wrap dresses flatter every body shape but look especially good on hourglass frames because of their V-shaped neckline and the wrap around the back at the waist that hugs the wearer’s curves. With a tie waist that cinches on the torso, the wrap dress also provides a slimming effect.


Like the sheath of a sword, sheath dresses are form-fitting on all body parts but still leave enough room for comfort and movement. The tight fit hugs your curves and its midi length helps you appear taller by creating an elongated silhouette. 

How much you can expect to spend on a dress for hourglass-shaped bodies

Regardless of your body type, the amount you spend on dresses ultimately depends on the quality of the fabric. Depending on where you shop, you can find midrange dresses for $50-$500 and inexpensive ones that run $15-$40. If you’re open to splurging, a wrap dress by iconic fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg costs $1,000 and above.

5 ways to accessorize dresses for hourglass-shaped bodies

Elevate your look by wearing these statement pieces and accessories that add balance to your proportions.

  • Belts: Belts will draw attention to your waist and enhance your shape. They can add definition to your middle when you wear looser outfits.
  • Statement earrings: Create a beautiful neckline by wearing large earrings with intricate, delicate designs.
  • Wedges and heels: These shoes add length to your silhouette and help balance your curves, especially useful for wearing a tight-fitting dress.
  • Nude pumps: These leg-lengthening shoes go well with almost every dress.
  • Pointed-toe shoes: This is another type of shoe that lengthens your vertical line and makes your legs look longer. You’ll find them in both flat and heeled styles. 

Dress for hourglass-shaped bodies FAQ

How do you highlight an hourglass shape without wearing tight clothes?

A. Wearing what makes you comfortable is just as important as wearing clothes that complement your shape. There are many ways to flatter your natural curves that do not involve a body-con dress. Choose styles and fabrics that don’t hide your hourglass shape and softly highlight your hips and bust while defining your waist. Picking the right accessories can also help in drawing eyes to your assets.

What are some styles you should avoid with an hourglass body shape?

A. Avoid oversized, baggy and boxy clothes. These outfits fall straight from shoulders to hip and conceal your waist. Statement shoulders created by shoulder pads or embellishments distort your already proportional shoulders and hips. Steer clear of heavy flounces and statement prints that draw attention to your fuller bust. 

What’s the best dress for hourglass-shaped bodies to buy?

Top dress for hourglass-shaped bodies 

Calvin Klein Tulip Sheath Dress

Calvin Klein Tulip Sheath Dress

What you need to know: Create a polished look in this tulip-sleeved dress that puts a modern spin on the traditional cap sleeve sheath.

What you’ll love: The dress is made with flexible materials such as spandex and polyester to make it comfortable to sit in. The princess seams highlight the waist and create a flattering frame. The tulip sleeves add balance to this versatile piece that can be worn as day and evening wear.

What you should consider: The dress is unlined, which may affect the fit. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top dress for hourglass-shaped bodies for the money

Lark & Ro Classic Cap Sleeve Wrap Dress

Lark & Ro Classic Cap Sleeve Wrap Dress

What you need to know: This flattering wrap dress has a side gathering that draws eyes to the hips and neckline.

What you’ll love: Made with comfortable and lightweight fabric, you can wear this dress when you’re on the go or at work. Its fashionable cut can be paired with different types of footwear. This budget-friendly dress is available in 25 colors and patterns. 

What you should consider: The dress is unlined, so the fabric that hugs the body can make panty lines visible.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Grace Karin Women's Sleeveless Wrap V-Neck A-Line Dress

Grace Karin Women’s Sleeveless Wrap V-Neck A-Line Dress

What you need to know: A dress with a retro or vintage feel that can be worn for special occasions such as cocktails, parties, or weddings.

What you’ll love: This dress will accentuate your curves by highlighting your waist and shoulders. The gathered straps and crisscross bodice add an elegant touch to the simple design, and the swing skirt adds movement and comfort. You can choose from dozens of colors. The back zipper is well-concealed and discrete.

What you should consider: The fabric is not of the highest quality. Some petite wearers did not like the fit of the hemline. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Seline Shenoy writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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