Real Life Body Shapes – X


real life body shapes X shape - learn how to flatter and dress this hourglass shape

X body shapes (hourglass figures) have defined waists, but their shoulders and hips are the same width (unlike the A who has wider hips than shoulders).  There is a longer straighter slope from waist to hips (unlike the high shelf-like curve of the 8 shape).

You can see that the X shape has a much lower widest point than the 8 shape.

X shapes are often longer through the body, but the length can vary (like all body shapes there are a myriad of options)

Some Xs as they gain weight will start to lose their defined waist and become more H shaped.  Others will keep a more defined waist and become more of an A shape.

How to dress your X shape:

  • It’s all about highlighting your lovely waist.  Wearing a well supporting bra will help to enhance your waist and make it more defined.  Don’t to forget to adjust your bra straps every 3 or 4 washes.
  • Don’t be afraid to tuck and belt.
  • Try belting over cardigans and jackets as well as tops.
  • The wrap dress is ideal for you.  Dresses in general can really enhance your feminine figure.  From sheath dresses to shirt dresses, try them on for size.
  • Bootleg jeans are ideal for your shape.  If you want to wear skinny jeans, wear with knee-high boots over the top to balance, or a tunic top to mid-thigh.
  • Avoid whiskering and distressing of jeans.
  • Patch pockets on pants or coats should be avoided.
  • Avoid low-rise jeans – commonly X shapes have a longer rise, and need a higher rise so that when they sit down their underwear is not exposed.
  • You will often find that wide-waistbands sit better on your waist than narrow ones.
  • A-lines are your friend – whether in dress or skirt shapes.  Make sure the fabric has as soft drape so that it doesn’t sit stiffly away from your body.
  • Skirts with pleats and gathers that fall from the low hip are flattering.
  • You will often find that more open necklines are the most attractive, they draw attention up toward your face.
  • Gored and trumpet shapes can work well.  Look for fabrics with some weight (but not stiffness) that doesn’t cling.
  • Keep tops to just under your high  hip bone, avoid pulling your tops down to hide your bottom or thighs, as this will actually draw more attention to them.
  • Darker bottoms and lighter tops are more flattering for you than the other way around.
  • You will probably find that skirts that end around the knee are the most flattering length.
  • Single breasted jackets are more flattering than double breasted.  Avoid ones that end just under the bottom, keep them either shorter, or 3/4 length.
  • Many X shapes have shorter legs, and will find it hard to buy trousers that don’t pull across the crotch. Skirts can often work better for your shape, especially if you have a longer rise.
  • To elongate your legs when wearing trousers, match shoe colour to your trousers, and keep the hem as long as possible, without dragging on the ground.  Cropped trousers are not as flattering on your figure.
  • Creases down the front of your trousers will also help elongate your legs.
  • Look for denims with a vertical weave.
  • Boxy shapes are not a good fit for your body.

Celebrities with X shaped body include Fergie, Halle Berry and Scarlett Johansson.

For more on dressing your X shape read up here.


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  • I had the impression I was an X but wondered how I could differentiate it from the 8 shape. You showed the difference in such a clear and didactic way that I must write HUGE thanks to you!!!

  • Erica – it's the fabulous readers who have been brave enough to be models who need to be thanked!

  • This is great Imogen! And truly a big thank-you to all the models for making the post practical and relevant to us readers.

  • I have never been able to figure out my body shape — I believe you have clarified it for me at last — I'm an X! Thank you, and thanks to the models.

  • Great post Imogen. I am pretty sure I am an X too. My legs are longer and body shorter than your examples. (I have emailed you a photo). I often wear pencil skirts – are these ok for an X? I have been wearing more belts lately too, however I find them a bit constricting when sitting down all day at the desk – probably due to my short waist. I find the shorter jackets much better than long ones too.

  • I forgot to mention – I also appreciate seeing heavier/"fluffier" versions of the body shapes, and understanding how one shape can morph into another when one gains weight. My SIL is just over 5' and 200+ pounds, and I'd like to sew some more flattering clothing for her than the tent-like t-shirts and baggy jeans she usually wears, but I want to be sure that the things I make for her will highlight her assets. That is, if I can convince her to let me take her measurements someday!

  • Can you explain more about why trousers pull across the crotch on X shapes? I am an X and whenever I buy a new pair of pants my husband always says they don't fit right – and I tell him, they are the right size but ALL my pants have the little horizontal pull line at the bottom of the crotch.

  • Wow, this post has been a revelation! I am a new reader and absolutely love these real life body shape features, please keep them coming!

    I now believe that I am an X as well and I have the same horizontal line at the crotch problem mentioned above. Would love some clarification as to why this happens, thanks.

  • I love this series and it's so interesting to see this comparison, Imogen! Would the 8 shape have a tendency to put weight on her high hip and the X shape have a tendency to put weight on her low hip?

  • Came across your blog today from I love it. What great advice and wonderful posts! I will be a regular reader.

  • Thank you very much for this. I had always thought I was an A because of my prominent hips and almost nonexistent bust. (My hips measure 6" larger than my bust….and I'm size 0/00!) But the width of my shoulders is about the same as my low hips…does that mean I'm really an X and bust size doesn't figure into it?

    Luckily the advice for what clothes work for X and A shapes are very similar, so I guess it doesn't really matter a whole lot?

    Like others, I'd be interested in hearing about your thoughts on the cause of the horizontal lines and how to eliminate them as well.

    • Hi
      I have the exact body shape as you described. Not much bust, wide lower hip with roughly same as shoulder. Im also short 5ft 2. I have also been trying to figure out where i fit in. An x or an a. I see tou never received a respose to your question snd Ive searched numerous sites and still am unsure my exact body type. Would be great if you could share info you may have gathered that may be of help.

  • Hello! I would like to ask you wich body shape I am… My measurements are 36C-28-39. I have high waist. My boobs are bigger than booty. I tend to gain weight in high hips and legs, but my widest area are still low hips. I also tend to gain weight in my stomach, but I can make it smaller just in a week. My legs look heawy. My shoulder are as wide as my hips. They are straight and skinny. My height is 169 cm.

  • Hi Imogen,

    Thanks a lot for this post. I am totally an X (including the typical features you mentioned – long rise, short legs, etc).

    What complicates my life is that I am a relaxed/natural personality, so skirts and dresses are not an obvious choice, though I use long skirts with flat shoes successfully.

    My body also hates being tied up, so no belts of tucking in – drives me nuts.

    I suppose I am lucky to live in the age of knits, where my waist can be shown off without discomfort that way.

    Like you said, finding pants of the right size is a nightmare esp. with the popularity of low rises. I find Mavi Molly jeans do the trick more or less.

    Would you have any tips specifically for a natural/relaxed X?

    Thanks a ton for all your posts! If I lives closer to you, I'd be a client for sure.

    – tall & slim anon

  • Good to see this! I am the woman who asked about dressing plus-sized Xs a few months ago (though I may have gone into an A shape at this point). What would an X or A do when she has gained a lot of size in the high hip area (but still is larger in the lower hips)? Will A-line skirts still work?

  • I've only just come across this post but I just wanted to say thank you! I'm most definitely an X-shape – and I too could never figure what Trinny & Susannah would define me as.

  • This is an amazing post! I can never figure out if I'm an hourglass or a pear (my measurements are 40, 32, 45) But reading this I was like "oh that's so right on target! the widest point of my hips is actually quite a few inches under my hip bones. Well now I know. Thank you!


  • Am I correct in assuming that an X has a straight shoulder line while an 8 has sloped shoulders? I'm thinking the difference between the 2 shapes has something to do with the shoulders as well as the hips and thighs. Also, can an X be short waisted (with a long rise)?

  • What should an X shape with a tummy do with respect to rise? If I want to wear pants at my natural waist, they tend to dig in when I sit down.


  • This is the best page ever! I’m so happy I found it! Now I know I’m an X shape with a small waistline and thanks to your tips, I no longer need to look like shit! 🙂 LOL Yay

  • I have always thought myself a spoon and with weight gain a pear.. but now I think I may be a hybrid x after all! Being a petite gal just shy of five feet, dressing my lower body it’s pure’ve showed me the light that all my normal or low rise pants simply do not work on my long torso!
    Always compromising between my small waist and big thighs, the largest point of my body that collects the most fat. I normally get the larger size up so The waist band is always loose but at least the pants fit comfortably around the thighs. Also pants are always too long but hey that’s a given.

    I have given up on pants and go for skirts.I strongly advise against any detail that brings attention to the thigh area. Pockets zips and the like, no rouching either. I may be a size xx small but my lower body just feels so out of proportion to my upper body! Small bust and narrow shoulders. The only good thing is that I can pretty much layer on as much as I want and not look huge

  • I am confused on whether I am an X or an 8. I have the shelf described in the 8 shape. However, if I measure circumference, my hips are wider lower down like X, but I don’t feel the X description really describes me as I have no problem with low-rise jeans (bootcut or skinny both look great). My shoulders are slightly less or exactly the same width as the widest part of my hips. The 8 description sounds closer to what I normally wear (if I am dressing correctly for my shape anyway). I can’t really relate to the pictures. It’s the waist to hip ratio that is throwing me off. I realize there are variations since no 2 bodies are exactly the same, but is it possible to be between 2 shapes or am I just too used to seeing myself to tell?

  • Hi, recently discovered your blog and LOVE it, just the kind of blog I was looking for, some general tips on how to wear, not just loads of outfits. But, I have to say that I discovered I’m an 8-shape but don’t like the skirts, so I’d rather dress like an X-shape (love A-line skirts). I wonder if it’s better to dress like your personality tells you or like your body tells you.
    Really thanks for your blog (which I visit several times a day, and will continue in the future)

  • Hi I love this site, you have saved my sanity. After years and even more so recently, stressing and worrying thinking I was going mad as couldn’t find jeans or trousers to fit me properly at all or be comfortable, it is ok to know that I am not the only one who has this problem and it is ok to wear skirts and tunics etc. I came across this site and have worked out I am an X, here is the new beginning.
    Thank you so much and keep up the great work.

  • Hi, I am loving your blog / website and find the information so so helpful and reassuring too. One question, from your information I am an X shape, I am having trouble with skirts in that the waist bands are gappy and therefore, the skirts rise up, making me feel uncomfortable and they then bunch up at the front, particularly if wearing a front zip up one, making my stomach look even bigger than what it is. Is this something other X’s find and if so, is there a way round it or a way to disguise it at all or should I stick to dresses and tunics? Any advise would be appreciated. Many thanks. Lou x

    • You need to have the waistband taken in. Manufacturers aren’t making for your shape. All Xs need to have waists of most of their clothing altered to fit – find a great alterations person to make sure all your clothes fit correctly.

  • Hello again, is anyone able to offer some advice through their own experiences or Imogen another brain storm from you would be majorly appreciated. As I have found out and said before, I am an X, I love the look and style of jeans with boots etc but have found that I cannot find any to fit me properly, gappy waistbands, muffin tops etc but have recently come across high rise jeggings, now my question is how can I wear these with layers and not just tunics or dresses that I seem to live in at the moment, I looking for a bit of variety. Any help is welcome. Thanks and keep up the fabulous site!

    Lou x

    • continuing from that, I have just done the body proportion video and it shows that I short waisted and longer from chin to breast, my legs are short but in proportion if that makes sense? Help please x

      • sorry and….. I am feeling a bit frumpy wearing dresses/tunics everyday, Please and thanks for any assistance, early days to all this but loving the information. L x

  • Dear Imogen,
    thank you for sharing your insights. I enjoy reading your blog since a long time now. Searching for a good skirt I wondered if you would help me determine my body shape. I wanted to send you a picture of me but it does not come up in the comment. Is there another way to send it to you?

    Thank you!

  • Does anyone know where to get longish skirts for an X shape? A lot of skirts are boxy with high shelf hips.

    Can those skirts be altered by removing that extra fabric from the hips?

    • Joy – most skirts and garments these days are sewing for a straighter shape, so you will just need to get them taken in around the waist and high hip where they don’t fit you, or alternatively have something made or learn to sew! It’s cheaper to sew straight lines than curved, so most manufacturers these days sew a fairly straight shape into skirts and pants.

      • Thank you, Imogen. This is the most genuine resource on my body shape I have ever seen. It finally all makes sense. God bless you.

  • Like others said this is right on! And to me it’s frustrating when I try to lose weight with diet & exercise because my arms and stomach get very skinny but that low set hip area won’t budge and I never like how skinny jeans and leggings look on me but they’re the style at my school. I weigh 125 lbs but my friend guessed 140 lbs because it looks it in skinny jeans. Time to rethink my wardrobe.

      • Thank you and I did discover some new styles.. I went to the missus department instead of juniors and liked Vera Wang and rock & republic jeans. They’re more a relaxed but still kind of stretchy type. More expensive but they looked so much better. I really do dislike this shape but now that I know it’s not something I can change I’m not going to diet crazy because I kept telling myself “how can I look this fat when I weigh 125 and am 5’4″ and a half and jog 2 miles every day and won’t touch chips, and some of my friends who weigh and eat more look so much better” but yeah I need to find some belts and shirts to highlight the waist now and think I’ll look better.

  • Recently found your site. Thank you for the fantastic information! LOVE this.

    I am a V on top and have a defined waist (X) so I should follow X bottoms. Given all of this, should I dress dark colors on top & light bottoms (as recommended for Vs) OR light on top and dark bottoms (as recommended for Xs).

    Lastly, when it comes to column of color, should I follow X or V?

    Many thanks in advance! Cheers!

  • This is kind of frustrating for me. I’m somewhere between an X and an 8 shape, and as such, none of the clothing recommendations suit me at all. I feel like these style guidelines are written in mind for taller X-shaped women, perhaps?

    • No – for all X shape women – what is it that you don’t find works for you? maybe it’s something to do with proportions or scale (which are JUST as important as body shape is) that may throw off the balance for you.

  • Oooh, you responded! Thank you. 🙂

    Things that don’t work:
    -Tucking and belting is the most unflattering thing in existence UNLESS everything is very snug and the tucking happens at my natural waist.
    -Belting over cardigans makes me look frumpy. 🙁
    -I find wrap dresses are not crisp or structured enough.
    -Bootleg jeans are okay but not my best shape.
    -A-lines (especially skater skirts) are great but you mentioned draped material, which makes me look frumpy. Slightly crisp (but not stiff) seems to be better.
    -Double-breasted wins over single-breasted for me.

    Everything else is a fit, though. I do have a relatively long torso and inseam for my height (5’2.5 tall), but overall, my bone structure is petite but rounded with a hint of sharpness. Picture for reference!

  • My shape is like 8 shape. ‘m only 22. slim, but my waist area is big. i do some exercise, still the fat around this area is not decreased. how can I get this done, I want fat around my hip and breast area. what kind of diet and exercise should I follow?

  • Thanks for this information about shapes. You may want to include specific attention to proportions, since these don’t change even after diet and exercise (unless you have surgery). Few women consider how a high waist or wide-set breasts can affect how a garment fits. I used to sew, and I still recall an article in Vogue magazine that urged customers to consider their proportions when choosing a pattern. At the same time, Vogue began to include body shapes on its patterns. This saved me and others the frustration of making a garment, only to be disappointed in the results. Although I haven’t sewed much recently, I keep my proportions in mind when I buy a ready-made garment.

  • Sorry, I meant my waist is 24 1/2 and my hips are 35 1/2, so I have an 11″ difference between waist and hips. Can someone be a combo of I and X? Just trying to figure my body shape out since I have trouble finding what I should wear as well as the other ladies here. Sorry for the inconvenience.

  • Hello!
    I’m 5’3 ft tall with an X body shape (shoulders 34 in, waist 24 in and hips 34 in. The advice here have been a great help. However, I’m not sure how I should take my petiteness, long waist/short legs, slim arms and chunkier legs with small calves into account.
    Is there any advice you could give me about these?

    • Without seeing you it’s hard for me to help – my ebook Never Short on Style has specific petite tips, and then everything else just search up c petite, long waist etc on the blog and see the general recommendations. In the end you need to figure out what matters most to you (and what you’re happy to compromise on!)

  • Hey Imogen! I’m having trouble determining my shape, I can’t decide if I’m an 8 or an X, because I think my hips form a shelf but i definetely have saddlebags and my widest point is at my low hip. Can I e-mail you a photo in form fitting clothing for help? Thanks!

  • Hi 🙂

    Thank you very much for all your informatives posts ! However, I am still struggling to determine wether I am a true 8 or X.
    I am thin but I definitely have some love handles that cause a hip dip.

    On the other hand, I think my low hips are the widest point of lower body. And I have a defined waist.
    Is it possible to send you a picture of me wearing a fitted dress so I can get your opinion ? Of course, you can decline, I get that you have a lot of work

    Thank you again !! 🙂

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