Tips for Working with Your Body Shape: Beyond Apples & Pears

Curvy Hourglass

Jennifer Hudson looks sleek and curvy in a solid grey dress cinched at the waist.
Jennifer Hudson looks sleek and curvy in a solid grey dress cinched at the waist.
Stephane Kossmann/Renault/Getty Images

The Goal: Keep the balance, slim it down.

If a great-looking figure is about balance, and it typically is, a curvy hourglass has a leg up. This body type is already proportionally balanced top-to-bottom. To meet today's beauty ideal, all that's left is slimming down those curves a bit for a sleeker look.


There are lots of ways to fake slim. Color is an easy one -- darks and solids tend to create the illusion of leanness. Choose black, chocolate brown, navy or charcoal, for a start. Simple cuts are best, and a lot of frills will just add bulk.

An hourglass has a small waist compared to her bust and hips, and that womanly feature is one to accentuate. A belt (not too skinny) at the natural waist can be a great way to highlight that femininity.

Adding "bulk" to the very top and/or the very bottom can make everything in between look smaller, so wide-leg or flare-leg pants can be a great way to go on the bottom. If you're feeling particularly sassy, you might consider trying a brimmed hat. Hats aren't the easiest thing to pull off, but they can really draw the eye upward, away from any problem areas (and up to a great-looking makeup job).

Styles to Avoid

Large prints, especially light-colored ones, are not the curvy woman's friend. They tend to make big things look bigger, and sometimes a little sloppy.

Other likely no-no's for the Rubenesque woman trying to achieve a slimmer look include skinny jeans, jeans with whiskering or fading on the thighs, pencil skirts, and Spandex. That last one is a no-no for almost everyone. Ultra-dainty shoes, fantastic as they are, don't do much to slim a larger body, either.

Look to Try: Wide-leg pants in a ponte knit, long-length fitted cami, lightweight cardigan with a wrap-around waist, platform boots.