How to dress a petite hourglass shape

Written by mimi abney
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How to dress a petite hourglass shape
Dressing for the curvy petite body type (Posen image by Angelika Bentin from

Coco Chanel once opined, "Fashion is architecture; it is a matter of proportions." For the petite woman with an hourglass shape, finding the proper balance between your tiny waist and your hips and shoulders is essential to dressing your body type well. To amplify your assets and enhance your curves, choose smart clothing options to make the most of your body type.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Fitted sheath
  • Wrap dress
  • Peplum jackets
  • Corseted blazers
  • Short shorts
  • Long trousers
  • A-line skirts
  • Gored skirts
  • Pleated skirts
  • Wrap top
  • Wide belts
  • Collared dress shirts
  • Pencil skirts

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  1. 1

    Choose dresses that complement your shapely body. According to the experts at "On Dressing Well," the petite hourglass figure looks best in a fitted sheath with a V-neck or a sweetheart neckline. A fitted sheath creates a continuous long line from shoulders to knees. A wrap dress is another option that pulls tight to your curves and accentuates the body with strong angled lines. Keep hemlines short, above the knees.

  2. 2

    Aim for coats and jackets that cinch the waist. Select peplum jackets and corseted blazers that feature a small waist and follow your natural curves. Wear a trench coat with a belt that pulls tight at the waist and features structured shoulders. All other coat styles should fit at the torso and not fall below your knees.

  3. 3

    Wear shorts, trousers and skirts that make your legs appear longer. Marie Claire suggests that petite women choose short shorts to lengthen the legs. Wear long trousers that hit the top of your shoe; avoid cropped or capri styles. Select A-line skirts, gored skirts and pleated skirts to reveal curvy hips and a small waist. A pencil skirt's straight lines hug your hourglass curves while creating the semblance of height.

  4. 4

    Avoid baggy clothes. Too large or billowy a blouse can overwhelm an hourglass petite body. With your curvy shape, large clothing will have a body-shrinking effect. Ensure that clothes fit well and skim your petite frame without clinging. Flatter your figure with structured shapes, including collared dress shirts with two to three buttons opened.

  5. 5

    Feature your small waistline with wrap-tops and belts. Wrap-tops show your collarbone while highlighting the smallest part of your body. Cinch your waistline with a wide belt that matches the hue of your shoes.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid knee-length boots; go for ankle-length.

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