Body Shapes Explained – X Shape Hourglass


Defining the X (Hourglass) Shape

The X shape body has shoulders and hips relatively the same size, and a defined waist. The widest part of the body is the thighs, not the bottom, when viewed from the front.  This is a defining point in distinguishing between the two hourglass body shapes (8 and X) you can read more about this here and see photos to compare yourself to.

Bust of an X Shape

Bust size may be large, medium or small.  Bust is not a factor in body shape (it’s a body variation). It’s bone structure of shoulders, waist and hips, not bust, waist and hips!

Waist of an X Shape

The waist is more than 9″ smaller than the hips or shoulders and must also look considerably smaller when viewed from the front.  If you have a prominent bottom, you may have the measurement of a defined waist, but not the visual appearance of a defined waist, so this number this is just a rough guide, as it really depends how your body holds weight.  But your waist should look significantly smaller than hips and shoulders.

Hips of an X Shape

The hips are widest at the upper thigh and there is a gentle slope outwards from waist to hips.  If you’re not sure – check out this post which has pictures to show the difference between an X and an 8 Shape hip.

When you feel the back of the hip from the waist, the hand should glide smoothly down, there is not a ‘shelf’ at the high hip.

Body Shapes Explained X Shape - what to wearWhat to Wear X Shape

  • Look for A-line skirts, or skirts with some flare.
  • Wrap dresses are great for your body as they highlight your waist and should fall smoothly over your curves.
  • Bootleg jeans are the most flattering as they balance the hips, ensure that they don’t narrow too much at your knee, but fall straighter from your thighs to knees, then have a slight flare at the hem.
  • Trousers should be either straight or bootcut, wide-legs are fine too if you have longer legs. A centre crease will slim and elongate your legs.  Super skinny legs are not your best friend, try wearing a longer shaped cardigan that falls past your hips to your mid-thighs with these style jeans.
  • Add detail to the upper body, and keep it simple and detail-free on your lower body, especially around the hips, so no patch pockets on jeans or trousers, no big pockets at the hips on jackets or coats, and no cuffs on trousers.
  • If you want to wear a pattern on your lower half, such as a print skirt, look for one with a more dense or busy print, then take the lighter or brighter colour from the pattern and wear it in your top.
  • To dress your X shaped body, look for A-line skirts, garments that define the waist – show off that you have a small waist, and broaden the shoulders and draw attention up to the face by wearing wider necklines such as wide Vs, square, scoop and sweethearts.
  • Tops and jackets should end around the waist,  hip bone (or high hip), if you wear longer tops they’ll draw attention to the size of your thighs and make them look larger.
  • Coats should end above the knee if you don’t have long legs. Look for ones with discreet pockets in the seams of the jacket and is fitted at the waist.

What Not to Wear - X Shape

Body Shape Bible: Understanding How to Dress X Shape Bodies


Find out your body shape and download your free Body Shape Bible – take the quiz now here.  

If you’d like my professional opinion on your body shape – you can get this as part of my 7 Steps to Style program (along with a colour analysis as it’s a total image program).

whats my body shape

Are you an hourglass but a different kind?  Find out about the 8 Shape hourglass here.

 More Body Shape Tips

What Does Knowing Your Body Shape Really Tell You?

Easy Style Guide to the Best Pants for Your Body Shape

How To Wear a Column of Colour For Your Body Shape

How to Choose Swimwear for Your Body Type

Where to End Your Tops

More on How to Figure Out Your Body Shape

What to wear on the X shape hourglass body shape - body shapes explained - how to flatter your figure - tips from a leading image consultant - Imogen Lamport - Inside Out Style


I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

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  • Hmm, I am sadly not an x. I am going to look at your old post and see if I can find myself in the body types. I am a pear with broad shoulders and not much of a waist. Ooh, that sounds really unattractive when I type it out for all to see. I am so going to the gym today.

  • I think in my pre-Mom body I might have been a pearish X-shape. These days I am holding on to my waistline with all my effort. I have found a wonderful (for me) new v-neck “boyfriend” cardigan from Target that looks good on me. Time to go back and get it in every color. Thank you for these posts. Every little bit helps.

  • More body shapes to come – don’t abandon hope.

    Body shape is largely created by your skeleton, which is something that is not fixable by going to the gym (not that the gym won’t keep you fit and healthy, which is a fantastic thing to be).

  • Wow great site!! Im definately an x shape with fat legs. With weight gain Im slowly turning into an H. I never fitted into any of Trinny and Suzannahs body shapes and felt like a freak! Anyways Great clothes advice thanks.

  • Looking at myself (front) in the mirror I look like an X (lower hips/shoulders same width aprox, lower hips quite a bit wider than the higher with a gradual slope). My measurements are waist 72 cm, lower hips 106 cm. However, when I ” feel the back of the hip from the waist” I do have a “shelf”, a bothersome spot for me. I´m wondering what this makes me, X or 8? I also think I have a fairly short waist and a bit longer legs for my height.

  • Hii I think I am an X shape cuz I have all the descriptions, except the part of the waist. Does the waist necesary has to be 9 inches or more?? Cuz I have a very defined waist and the diference is only 8 inches, only 1 inch less. That’s my only doubt. Lovee your articles!!

    • The reason I don’t use measurements in my consultations is that they don’t work. I’ve only got them here as a guide. A photo will be much more accurate in showing your silhouette. If you think you look like an X then you most probably are.

  • I have a bit of belly fat just below the waist, can I somehow define my waist without showing the “love handles”? Thank you in advance for any help.

  • Hi, I love that I found this site! I did the quiz and think that I am an X but, becoming an H. I have a tummy, maybe rounded shoulders and am not sure if I have an average or short waist. What shape do I follow to look my best? Where can I send my pictures to get your opinion?

  • I am torn between the V and X. My concern is this: bust size and arm flesh do not factor into body shape because they are soft tissue and not actual skeletal structure. But when looking at my hips; you ask if we have a high hip or a low hip. My hip bones are where they are supposed to be, but the widest part of my lower body is the upper thigh or “saddle bag”. That is in no way a part of my skeletal structure, but it should still be considered? My shoulder bones and hip bones are quite in line, but my saddle bags protrude beyond my shoulders. Why are we considering soft tissue on the lower body but not the upper?

    • Are your shoulders wider than your hips or not? Wider pelvis also tends to make for A or X shape – do you want to add more width to your hips? If so go for V shape, if not, go for X shape.

  • Ha! What a great article. Who knew there were different types of hourglass figures? I knew I wasn’t the:
    – traditional 8 hourglass build, as I don’t have big boobs (except when nursing lol).
    – athletic H build, as my hips and thighs are not small compare to my waist.
    – slender I build, as my hips and thighs are not small compared to anything.
    – pear A build, as my shoulders are not small.

    None of the tradional descriptions fit. Now I know I have an X figure. I just needed to include my bigger shoulders in the calculation along with my smaller chest, longer waist, smallish waistline, noticible hips and noticible thighs.

    People would compliment my “cute figure” usually when wearing dresses, I thought it was because I was dressed nicer than the typical jeans and top. Now I now dresses are my friend and even more important how to make the most of what I’ve got when I’m wearing pants (95% of the time). Thanks

  • Hello,

    I’m a 26 year old girl and have trouble determining my shape.. Could you please have a look at my picture and tell me your opinion? I do have some hip dips/love handle tendency and my lower arms and legs are very slim. I think my waist is quite defined;

    thanks a lot in advance 🙂

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