8 Best Prom Dresses for Hourglass Figures
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Hourglass figure is commonly thought of as the ideal figure of a woman. Even though everyone’s beautiful in their own way, an hourglass figure is something that’s naturally appealing to the eye. Similar to how everyone likes tanned skin rather than pale, a woman with her shoulders and bust roughly the same in circumference as her hips is seemingly achieving the perfect figure. The downside of this, though, is that it’s not easy to fit.
A parallel can be drawn with tall and muscular men, who usually have trouble finding suits that fit them well because of their physique – it’s either long enough but too wide, or tight enough but too short. Women who’ve developed an hourglass figure have a similar problem, only on the other side of the spectrum. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for you to get dressed and look dashing if your figure looks like this – if anything, it means that all eyes will be on you if you dress well.
In today’s article, we’ll be taking a closer look at all the styles you can try for your figure, and we’ll be showing our pick of the litter for the dresses we think can fit you well.
Let’s get started!
1. Wrap Dresses
The wrap dress is actually quite an old design, designed by Diane Von Fursternberg in 1974, but the design quickly became very popular and it made her an absolute icon of fashion at the young age of 28. It’s been over 40 years, and wrap dresses are still grasping their place at the top very tightly, as there are almost no dresses that are as versatile, convertible, workplace appropriate, and great for day-to-night.
This dress is very flattering if you have an hourglass figure, but they work very well on all petite women. Victoria Beckham had famously said that wrap dresses are another thing you can’t understand how you’ve lived without, once you start wearing them.
The reason they fit so well on hourglass-shaped women is that they accentuate your waist and hips, and enhance your small waist additionally. Some women are often worried about distastefully highlighting their curves, and they’re right to do so, but this dress won’t need you worrying about that. Your curves will be shown, but not overblown.
Here’s an example of a wrap dress, and it’s something that you have an advantage at if you’re curvy – as thinner women don’t fit the style as much as curvy women.
2. Fit and Flare Dresses
Fit and flare dresses are another great option if you want to emphasize your curves in a classy way. The top of these dresses is fitting to form, so your bust is going to be noticeable, but it won’t be forced upon anyone – while the bottom (which is flaring out, hence the name fit and flair) will balance it out and won’t be too revealing.
Wearing this sort of dress will create a silhouette in the shape of the letter A, and that vertical line will lengthen your frame – making you appear taller.
When you’re wearing a fit and flare dress, feel free to wear a coat over it. This is, of course, only if your prom is taking place during some nasty weather – in which case you can wear a coat until you arrive on location. Also, looking for a deep V-neck fit and form dress is only going to accentuate your figure more.
Fit and flare dresses usually have a more old-fashioned look, so don’t be afraid to build upon that and put on a pair of old-fashioned heels with a pattern, and a clutch purse in the same color tone.
Here’s an example of a fit and flare dress, with this one being perhaps a classier option.
3. Bodycon Dresses
Even though a lot of women tend to panic when they hear about bodycon dresses, hourglass-shaped women are actually at a decent advantage when it comes to this. Bodycon dresses offer a stunning way to enhance and showcase their natural beauty.
Women naturally stray away from bodycon dresses because they’re wildly, and appropriately so, connected to not being able to breathe and walk – as they’re so skin tight! However, if you choose the right size, a bodycon dress is just a dress that fits closely – it doesn’t have to effectively suffocate you.
If you have an hourglass shape, wearing a bodycon dress is a very direct way of flattering your body shape, as bodycon dresses will always enhance your natural curves. One thing they also help with is creating an elongated shape – especially if the dress goes all the way down below the knees – this makes you appear taller. While if your body shape is more stocky, the tightness of the dress will make it appear more proportionate.
You can add more texture to a bodycon dress with layers. And adding a belt will only add more grace to the style. Even though we’ll be talking about belted dresses as a category of their own later – adding a belt to a bodycon dress is a great way to make the dress look less monotonous. Solid color dresses, despite being perfectly formal, are often considered to be boring. Adding a belt is a great way to end this monotony, and it also helps you flaunt a slim waistline and it creates illusive curves on a straight waist.
A belt, be it a narrow one or a wide one, will accentuate your waist. The width of the belt is very important – as a skinny belt fits better for women with a straight waist or shorter torso. A full belt is better for women with an extended body or bumps and bulges you wish to hide.
When choosing jewelry with bodycon dresses, make sure not to overdo it. Simple pieces of jewelry that turn to the minimalistic side are all that you need to make your outfit perfect. If you choose a dress with a plunging neckline – then long necklaces and noticeable pendants are okay. However, if you decide to wear a scoop-necked or strapless dress that shows off your bare shoulders, focus on wearing longer earrings instead of longer necklaces.
The size of your bag should be disproportionate to the formality of the event. The more formal the event – the smaller the clutch. So, since you’re going to prom, we recommend that you take a small clutch, one that can fit all the essentials. Here’s a good example of what a bodycon dress should look like and how it should fit.
4. Belted Dresses
Belted dresses will help to accentuate your waistline and will, quite frankly, make you even curvier in the best way possible. If you add a belt, you’re instantly creating a waistline, belts give shape to boxy dresses, and stylish belts instantly upgrade your look.
Fit and flare dresses can also be belted, despite already having a well-defined waist. This will add a special something and it will break the dress up a little bit. Maxi dresses can also be fit with a belt, as they’re long and often need something to break up all that fabric – do that with a thin belt.
During the summer, it’s always good to focus on a skinny brown belt – they go very well with white dresses (black belts go very well with them too). Black belts, however, are preferred during the colder months of the year. Belts should always aim to be skinny, but that’s not necessarily a rule you have to follow.
You can also aim to tie your belt in many different ways. You can, if you wish so, do your belt traditionally – but there are many fabric belts, for example, which have to be tied into a knot – instead of being done with a clip.
5. A-line Dresses
A-line dresses are another fantastic fit for women with an hourglass figure. They’re not as skin-tight as bodycon dresses, for example, so they’re not going to accentuate your curves as much, but they can still make for a beautiful fit.
A-line dresses are some of the most popular silhouettes, and the most common type of A-line dresses are form-fitted in the bodice and flare out at the waistline – they form a triangle. That’s what makes them reminiscent of the letter A, hence the name. These dresses are made to emphasize a narrow waist, wider hips, and bust line. They’re also flattering to all body types.
A-line dress is a term also often used to describe any dress with a hem much wider than its shoulders, regardless of a cinched waist or corset-style top.
These dresses were first designed in 1955, when the world-famous Christian Dior released what he called “the A-line collection.” The design was later continued to be experimented on by Yves Saint Laurent, when he started fitting the line in the shoulders and flaring them out into an A shape.
The popularity of this line resurged in the 2000s and is now one of the most popular silhouettes.
These dresses are characterized by fitting in the shoulder or the waist, flaring toward the hem, and embellishments in the skirt. An A-line dress needs to have a narrow fit near the top of the dress to create the point of the letter, and this requires them to be fitted up top, either fitted at the shoulders or remaining fitted from the shoulders to the waist.
In order to create the classical triangle shape of the letter A, these dresses flare out as they move toward the bottom hem. A wide bottom shape can be made by flaring the dress out from the shoulders or from the waist. Since these dresses flare out comfortably from the hips, they don’t include details that would affect the drape – pockets, and slits. Simple sewing tricks, like darts and seams, are used to get the right shape. Here are two examples of beautiful A-line dresses.
6. Structured Dresses
It’s sometimes necessary for curvier women to wear more structured dresses to hold all the more pronounced curves in. These dresses will not add bulk to your shape, which is why it’s most flattering to the hourglass figure. A well-structured dress will provide enough support for your bust, while it highlights your waist and your hips.
Structured dresses are simply sturdier than other dresses, so they hold everything together much better. Here’s an example of a structured dress, and this one even has a cape!
It’s sometimes debated that V-neck dresses are overly fancy and don’t show the beauty of your body enough – but there are incredible examples of V-neck dresses that work very well with curvier women to emphasize all the beauty and keep in everything that’s supposed to be kept in.
These dresses can pair very well with necklaces and that makes wearing V-neck dresses more natural. Wearing a black long sleeve deep V-neck bodycon dress and adding any sort of silver necklace will finish the outfit perfectly. Sky blue is a color that works very well with this style, as it allows for a more refreshing look – and if your skin tone is darker, then you’re at an automatic advantage with this color. This will allow you to achieve a very unique, refreshing, and sexy look. Match the sky blue dress with light grey heels to create an excellent look.
These dresses are also very useful when if you’re aiming for a more minimalistic look – pairing a black tank deep V-neck mini skater dress which you’ll pair with a pair of black suede pointed toe heels will complete the all-black outfit perfectly.
Lace is always another fine touch to this outfit. Choosing a V-neck dress with black lace will look great, especially if you match it with a black leather clutch bag and a few lowkey accessories.
Long sleeves shouldn’t be overlooked either – long-sleeved dresses always look more mature and make you look more mature. A black dress with a V-neck and black sleeves is a great option, and it can easily be paired with black ankle strap open-toe heels for elegance. Here’s a very elegant V-neck dress.
8. Empire Waist Dresses
An empire waist dress is a dress that’s fitted with a bodice that drapes out under the bustline, rather than at the natural waistline. The effect of this design is slimming and lengthening, something that’s definitely going to help if you’re short and want to appear taller. The cinch at the bustline creates a high, thin waist and a longer line of billowy fabric from bust to hem than if you were to cinch the dress at your natural waist.
That’s why these dresses are a great choice for petite women or plus-size women who want to redirect attention from their hips to their busts.
These dresses are incredibly versatile – the neckline can be V-neck, halter top, or turtleneck – while the sleeves can range from long to short, and even sleeveless.
This design is actually the oldest out of all the designs on this list, as it began its rise in late eighteenth-century Europe when Greek and Roman cultures became very popular. Greco-Roman art is what inspired this design, as women started to copy the flowy outfits – back then, they featured thin ribbons cinched just below the bust line of long, drapey dresses.
Then, Napoleon Bonaparte established French rule over the largest part of Europe, and Joséphine de Beauharnais – his first empress – made the design very popular, that’s why it’s known under the name empire-style waist. As the design became more and more popular, more and more details were added: ruffles, sequins, floral print, pleated or ruched details, chiffon, and shawls.
A resurgence was witnessed in the 1960s, as these dresses became especially popular at the time. Nowadays, they’re very common in offices and formal events.
They’re very similar to A-line dresses, but there are some noticeable differences. The waistline, for example, is different. Even though both designs definitely aim to make the wearer look thinner, A-line dresses aim to draw attention to your natural waist by using a fitted bodice. Contrary to that – empire waist dresses aim to draw attention to a line above your natural waist, directly below your bust. That’s why these dresses are very flattering to women with thicker waists – this design doesn’t rely on a thin waist to give it its shape.
The lengthening effect of this design is also apparent. Since these dresses cinch above your natural waist, they’re creating a long line of fabric from the waist to the hem. The consequence of this is a lengthening effect – that makes the wearer look taller and slimmer, that’s why it’s suggested to shorter women.
Designers agree that this is the reason why this design is paired best with maxi dresses – the line from your bust to the floor elongates your frame. A-line dresses, on the other hand, are cinching at your natural waist, and they can’t elongate your frame like an empire waist dress.
A-line dresses are also known as flare dresses since they’re all about the flare, and the fabric will tent out around your body to create the look of a capital letter A. On the other hand, empire waist dresses don’t flare out around your body, as they drape straight down from your bust line to elongate your frame.
When you’re wearing an empire waist dress, try to avoid gathered material and billowy fabrics. That’s because all gathering or pleating under the waistline will make it look as if you have a few more pounds in the stomach area, while billowing fabrics will actually hide your shape. Designs that appear to be hugging the body are much more appreciated in this regard.
When you’re choosing your dress, make sure to avoid bottoms that will add volume – wide-leg trousers and A-line skirts, for example. Even though the style of the skirt looks flattering as part of an empire-waist dress, if you take them as separates – they won’t pair well. You should go for slim styles instead – skinny or straight-leg pants, which will offset the more voluminous upper-body and help in the creation of balanced proportions.
Deeper necklines also go very well with this design! V-necks, deep scoop, and sweetheart neckline are just a few examples of something that goes very well with an empire waist dress. This will only add length to the natural neckline of your figure, and your body will appear to be even thinner and longer! Click on the button for an example.
A Dressing Guide for Hourglass Figures
If you have an hourglass figure, your shoulders and hips are about equal width, you have a defined waist, you likely have a larger bust, and you’re curvy.
When you’re dressing, find a piece of clothing that’s going to flatter your body. Dresses that accentuate your waist are really good in this regard, and that’s because an hourglass figure is slimmest at the waist. Find clothes that are nipped at the waist, as they’ll help you show your curves. If you find dresses that wrap around or tie at the waist, consider them as a serious option, as they’re really flattering for your shape.
Clothes that are shapeless or are too tight should be avoided. Baggy clothing will swallow your figure and you’ll end up looking boxy, not curvy. The other side of the spectrum is wearing clothes that are too tight, which will leave you looking uncomfortable – as well as they draw attention to areas that may have some excess weight.
It’s best to look for clothes that skim lightly across your figure.
A part of your body that you really have to accentuate is your bust, and the best way to do this is by wearing V-necks, scoop necks, or boat necks. These cuts will really flatter your bust, as the neckline creates an angle or a curve. Wearing a V-line, for instance, can help by making your bust look smaller, because of the sharp angle that draws attention downward toward your waist.
In comparison, a boatneck is cut in a horizontal line from shoulder to shoulder, and as such – it’s placing focus on your collarbone, rather than your chest. A scoop neck will frame your face and show off your collarbone area, but cleavage remains untouched, unlike with the V-neck.
High-necked styles, like polo tops, turtlenecks, or tight crew necks – should be avoided, as they’re only going to make your chest look larger. Also, avoid pieces with extra fabric covering the bust or the hips – so, ruffles and pleats around the waist and hips. Adding more volume to the areas that are already curvy will only make you appear larger, and your body will seem disproportionate.
However, vertical ruffles on the bust are an exception, since they can help minimize your bust. Horizontal stripes are also to be avoided, as they create an optical illusion and make you seem wider.
Using belts to draw attention to your waist is something that we’ve already discussed. Flowy dresses can use a belt to add extra emphasis to the waist. This mostly depends on your personal preference and style, but you can add a glamorous skinny belt on top of a flowy dress while adding a wide belt can help stylish a trench. Wear the belt over the smallest part of your waist for maximum effect.
Also make sure to wear supportive undergarments that fit well, as your bra should comfortably lift your breasts, but the straps and back shouldn’t dig into your skin. Curvier women often have a problem with finding the right bra, so they sometimes have to get it professionally fitted for them.
An easy, flattering look can be achieved by wearing empire-waist dresses. These dresses are cut so that the waist of the garment hits just under the bust, which emphasizes an area that’s usually narrow on an hourglass figure. The rest of the dress will simply flow over the stomach and hips, so it’s perfect for hourglasses of all sizes.
Jumpsuits are also an option in this regard – a jumpsuit that’s nipped-in at the waist looks very elegant. Materials you should aim for are chiffon, lace, or crepe – these jumpsuits can be just as elegant as dresses, but you have the added comfort of wearing pants. It’s important to find a style that will flatter your waist without constricting your bust or hips – this will make you feel more comfortable in your clothing.