Don’t Waste Your Money – 8 Shape


Nancy K put in a request (and yes I’m doing all the body shapes) for an 8 shape – so here are some guidelines.

If you are an 8 Shape (high hip and bootylicious) you are best to avoid trying on garments that:

  1. Flare from the waist – such as dirndl or circle, or any sort of pleat from the waist.
  2. Tulip or overly tapered skirts or trousers
  3. Short shorts
  4. Longer jackets that don’t have lots of waist shaping and flare from the waist
  5. Anything that is not fitted at the waist or can be belted to fit your waist.
  6. Pocket flaps and lots of pocket detail on jeans

What do you 8s always avoid taking into the change room?


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  • OFF TOPIC: How's your Happiness Project coming along, girl? I'm finally starting my own and would love to know what stage you're at, yourself, at the moment.

  • I'm a mostly-8. I don't bother with jackets with patch pockets or trousers with back pockets that have flaps. Or shirts with patch pockets over the boobs.

  • I'm a large 8. love belts! Can't stand any of those tops that gather into a band on the hips — worst possible shape! OTOH high waisted dresses and tops are my best friends. Don't like tight/skinny pants unless I wear a really long top over them. otherwise I look like a skittle.

  • I know that I am an 8, but with about 20 lbs too many at the moment, I feel fat when I belt things. I was planning on making a jacket that was less fitted than usual, and now I am not so sure about it! I did shorten it and it has a pocket based dart that with the resultant side bias, it seemed to be fitted enough when I made the muslin. I shortened it too, so that it hit kind of the middle of my hip. I guess I feel more confused. I am also planning a couple of dresses for summer that are not fitted. One is a semi fitted cross between a shift and a sheath, and a definite shift dress that bypasses my waist, but soft in a knit. As I said, more confused than ever.
    My favorite top is one that has a v neck, mock wrap with a gathered side front into a lower shape.

  • I went back and re read your tips and definition of the 8 shape, and I feel a tad more confident! I think I do need to look for a better jacket pattern though.
    What would I bring in the dressing room or what patterns do I look for.
    v neck, tops that skim my body. Mock wrap tops. Single breasted jackets and coats.

  • Nancy K – you don't ever 'have' to belt, you just need waist definition.

    8s usually need a peplum style jacket (which is right in when you look at current Christian Dior fashion show pics).

    You may find that with your extra weight you're erring toward an H shape.

  • Just found this and I have to say it's really amazing! I'm stuck between two of your shapes the V and the 8, as I have wider shoulders than hips but a high waist. Any advice?

  • Most empire waist garments are a no-go as they tend to go straight from rib to hip, skimming over the waist. Unfortunately, it can be quite hard to find non-empire waist dresses right now!

  • As a short (I’m all of 5 ft and 1 cm!) figure 8 with a very well endowed bosom(which makes me cringe at times!) and thick thighs, There are what I avoid.
    – high neck cardigan
    – turtle necks
    – high neck / crew neck / mock turtle neck tops
    – baby doll tops
    – capri pants
    – shapeless dresses
    – double breasted jackets / blazers / coats
    – just wearing a singlet / camisole for a top

    what works:
    sleeveless shell top
    sheath dress with a nice big round or square or sweetheart neckline
    mock wrap top or dresses
    real wrap necklines
    v neck tops or dresses
    bootcut jeans or trousers where it is tight near the thighs and the flare start right below that.
    straight cut pants

  • I´m an 8 with small breasts and Austrian at that. I agree with the dirndl shape not being good in general, but a REAL dirndl dress with a balconette (widening) and a pretty blouse and a skirt that´s gathered in just the right place (they sit pretty high on the waist) – well, there is nothing more flattering. Wish I could wear that all the time.

  • Love your blog Imogen! As a side note, I’m an 8, with thighs, and I do like a little high up pocket flap or detail on my jeans–I think growing up in Miami being a little extra on bottom was considered just right–and I like that part of my shape so I think it really works for me 🙂 plus it balances the thighs even though theyre about the same width as my high 8 hip.

    So for other 8s, with thighs, you may end up liking a little pocket detail 🙂

  • I’m a 6-foot-tall 8 with a big, high bottom and thighs, a fairly high waist, a long rise, and a relatively small bust and slightly narrower shoulders. I just spent literally HOURS at Old Navy today and walked away with some great tops and sweaters. What I avoid:

    -Skinny jeans
    -Boxy tops
    -Square necklines, or rounded necks that are too low
    -Tops that hit at my hips
    -High-waist pants
    -Tennis dresses (eek)

    What works really well:

    -Halter tops
    -V-necks or sweethearts
    -A-shaped empire waists, i.e. not straight across
    -Fitted tops that hit just above crotch level
    -Cowl necks
    -Baseball shirts/boat necks
    -Skirts that flare from the widest part of my thigh or from the knee
    -Short skirt and loooooong jacket. 🙂

    • That’s really interesting. like you, im a 6′ tall 8 shape but have a small and low derrière. The clothes that I absolutely avoid are:
      Low rise pants (they give really bad muffin tops)
      Figure hugging jersey dresses or tops
      Skinny jeans

      What I love:
      High waisted pants/skirts! (They smooth my figure and accentuate my small waist)

  • Dear Imogen, I love your blog, but right now, I am panicking… I seriously need advice.
    You recommend not to use flare from the waist – why is that?
    As an 8-shape, I go for flared high waist skirts all the time. In order to keep myshort wasit from shrinking even more, i avoid fluffy blouses on top but choose plain, tightly fitted tops to tuck in, similar to this:
    I get complimented very often whenever I wear this style, so I thought, I was on the right track and bought even more skater skirts… I thought they were flattering, as they accentuate my (very short) waist and create the illusion of a bigger booty. Also, they seem to soften my boxy hip line. Could you please explain a bit more, why you think 8-shapes shouldn’t wear flared high waisted skirts?
    Also, why no shorts? I love to wear shorts, since my slim legs are the only part of my body I really love to show off…
    My whole closet is full of skater skirts and skater dresses and tiny shorts… what do you think, keep or thrift shop?

    About my body: I clearly have an 8 shape from the front with high hips, wide shoulders and a wide ribcage, but i have a flat butt (which looks terrible with my hip fat) and a small bust, which is why i go for usually clothes which add curve to my body.

    Now I’m totally confused. Have I really been so wrong all the time?

    • Margee – most 8 shapes don’t have flat butts (most don’t want more booty). You are unique and need to wear what suits you. The skater skirt is a fun option and I’m guessing you’re also fairly slim. It’s the 1950s silhouette that works with your shape. I don’t remember ever saying that you can’t wear a high waisted skirt as an 8 shape. If you think they look great on you, wear them. Body shape is just one small piece of the style puzzle – and no more important than all the other pieces.

      • Thank you so much for taking your time to answer me! Well, maybe then I’m not an 8-shape at all? I should probably hire you for shopping advice 😀 Unfortunately, I’m on the other side of the earth, in Germany…

  • I have found all of your recommendations for the 8 shape to be spot on, now I understand why flared skirts or any kind of poof around the “high waist” look so bad on me! why no short shorts, though? I like to wear fairly short shorts to show off my slim legs and also make me look taller & leggier (helpful, at 5’2″)

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