Vintage/Retro Style for the Hourglass figure

As a 15/16 year old I aspired to the tall, slim aesthetic of current fashion. I wanted to dress like Kate Moss, Sienna Miller (boho chic was in) and Keira Knightley. The messy festival look appealed. I could kind of get away with it. My boobs were at a C cup and I was a UK size 8.

kate moss

Kate Moss: Not an hourglass…

But as I passed the 18 mark and entered my twenties, my body started to change. My C cup bras were replaced by E cups but unfortunately my taste in clothes did not change. I carried on with “relaxed-fit” t shirts, layering with chunky cardigans and squeezing myself into skinny jeans. So in the past few years I’ve grown dissatisfied with the wardrobe that used to excite me and it’s frustrating to browse through hundreds of untailored clothes in shops. In that time I realised I was an hourglass and that current fashion trends are not flattering for my shape. The hourglass is supposed to be the idealised type but that’s not to say that shopping for flattering clothes is any easier!

The poster girl for the hourglass shape is Marilyn Monroe. She looked great in all kinds of waist-hugging dresses. Formal occasions are quite simple for me. I throw on a dress or a pencil skirt and I’m ready to go but for everyday I prefer a more causal and comfortable style  (at university or when shopping for example). Perhaps hourglasses will always have to look a bit more formal than everyone else in the room. We can’t pull off anything loose-fitting so to look good we have to look neat. No boho-chic for this hourglass!

marilyn monroe hourglass

Trinny and Susannah, the slightly annoying duo from What Not To Wear, suggest the styles illustrated below. This is obviously all very suited to 40s, 50s and early 60s style. The options are very classic looking, meaning that hourglasses will indeed look quite dressed up if they dress for their shape.

Vintage hourglass

The list of “don’ts” is also very enlightening. (from

Baggy clothes – baggy clothes are never a good idea for anyone but where a Column or Pear might be able to pull it off you will not. You must work with your shape for best results and that means fitted clothes.

Tops with extras – avoid an flounces, frills, bows or other decorations on your tops. Also be aware of printed t-shirts. What looks great on the rack may take on a life of it’s own when introduced to your breasts.

Big belts – you have a short waist so putting a big belt in it will make it entirely disappear.

Pointy shoes – a pointed shoe will contrast with your curves and make you look curvier, something you don’t need any help with.

It’s quite simple really. Always fitted on top. Fitted or flowy on the bottom.

Hourglass inspiration

Rita Hayworth <3

rita hayworth hourglass

Sophia Loren

sophia loren

Brigitte Bardot

bardot hourglass


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