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Body shape focus: the hourglass

The last in my series of body shapes, I’m going to turn the focus on the hourglass figure. If you have bigger thighs, a smaller waist, a rounded bottom and hips and a full bust, you dare probably an hourglass. Since you’re a curvy lass, your main aims when choosing the right clothing for your figure will be to avoid looking like a potato sack or over-emphasising the curves. Therefore, the best clothing styles for you will be those that have fitted shapes, while bulky clothes or anything that adds volume to your curves should be avoided, for example, details and extras around your tummy, thighs and bust, as well as straight shapes that hide your waist.

Dress for your figure

Starting with tops and dresses, look for necklines such as sweetheart, V, scoop or square necklines, or try a yoke neckline with a drapes or gathers to hide a heavy bust. Avoid high necklines or any bulky detail if you have a bigger bust. For the sleeves, look for those ending at the wrist or above, three quarter or cap sleeves. Cross over or wrap tops will look good on you. Fitted tops are good styles for the hourglass, and vertical stripes will add length to your torso if needed. Avoid baggy shirts, but add a waist belt to loose tunic tops.

Similar to your tops, wrap, bias-cuts and back-tie style dresses will suit you, since they will emphasise your waist. Strapless dresses are also worth trying, and if you have bigger upper arms, add a shrug to de-emphasise them. If you have a large bust, avoid bows and other extras on the bodice. A good hemline for you will end at the knees or longer.

Skirts that fall from the waist, instead of sitting at the hips, will look great on the hourglass figure. Bias, flip or full circle skirts, adjustable at the waist, are good choices, as are pencil and A-line skirts, especially those with a split at the side or at the back. Again, watch the hemline length as you don’t want it shorter than knee length.

When it comes to jackets and coats, look for single breasted, fitted styles and jackets with wide lapels sitting above your bust. Tailored coats and jackets fitted at the waist, such as belted styles, will look lovely. If you have a bigger bust, choose V-necks.

Now for trousers and jeans. Since your figure is rather balance between the top and bottom, most trousers will suit you, however flared trouser or jeans or those with wider legs will better emphasise your waist. Straight shapes will also look good, especially if you have quite slim legs. Choose flat-fronted trousers with a side zip in straight. Look for simple styles too. Avoid skinny jeans if you have bigger thighs, but don’t go too baggy either. Detail on the pockets will add volume so are better avoided.

Hourglass shapes are not limited when it comes to shoes, since they can usually flaunt a good pair of calves. Try a medium to chunky heel, wedges or platforms, opt for rounded or square toes, and find something colourful with detail. Perhaps avoid ankle boots as they hide your ankles.

Last but not least, accessories! Bags can be chunky if preferred, and sit near your waist but not near your bust. A great accessory for your figure is the waist belt. Try them in different colours and match them up with your accessories. Don’t wear belts on the hips. Where jewellery is concerned, go for cute rather than huge and angular.

Food and exercise

An hourglass diet plan will aim to lose fat around your waist, i.e. to lose a muffin top, should you have one. Their suggested diet focuses on lean proteins and foods with a low glycemic index that will burn fat, as well as lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.

Body2shape.com recommends a diet and fitness plan specifically for the hourglass. The diet plan should have equal amounts of fat, carbohydrates and protein., which should be spread over five meals throughout the day, two of which are lighter snacks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, such as carrots, cucumber, celery, apricots, dates, prunes, rice cakes, oatcakes, almonds or brazil nuts. Breakfast will consist of cereal with skimmed milk, a fruit smoothie, a bagel, omelette, porridge or toast with sunflower seeds. Have your choice with a bit of fruit and a small glass of fruit juice. For lunch, go for pasta, pitta bread, sushi, baked potatoes or rice salad. Mix things up by choosing from extras such as walnuts, red peppers, cottage cheese, salad, chicken, turkey and salmon. For dinner, they recommend grilled chicken breast, stir fry, chicken salad, salmon and vegetables.

As for exercise, upper body training is most important to increase strength and to decrease the waistline. Pilates and ballet are suggested as great exercise options as they improve posture and balance.

The exercise plan consists of two weeks, changing between different exercises each day, and then repeating the cycle. In week one, it is upper body weight training for thirty minutes on Monday, light swimming or swimming aerobics class for forty-five minutes on Tuesday, a rest day on Wednesday, spin aerobics for an hour on Thursday, pilates for an hour on Friday, a rest day on Saturday and rowing on Sunday. For week two, Monday is a rest day, Tuesday is upper body weight training for thirty minutes, Wednesday is a tai chi or yoga class for an hour, Thursday is a rest day, Friday is ballet dancing for an hour, Saturday is jogging for forty-five minutes and Sunday is another rest day.

This is, of course, only an example and not all of these options may be possible. In this case, choose similar exercises instead. For example a different type of cardio or other training that works the same muscles.


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