Many women are obsessed with their body and perceive it to be lacking. According to a study done by Triumph:
- 70% of women are not happy with their body, but 79% of their partners ARE happy with their partner’s body (women, listen to your partner, they love your body and think its great!)
- 82% of women would rather a different body shape.
- 17% of women want to change the size of their thighs
- 47% want to change the size of their stomach, an issue which I’ve addressed here.
Having said that, and my experience with many clients, and a question that wasn’t asked was how do you feel about your hips – which really incorporates a bit of bottom and the tops of your thighs, and I’d guess that a lot more than 17% would say they would like to change them in some way as I notice that so many women dress that part of their body first, before even considering what they should wear near their face (which is where we’re all looking 90% of the time!).
Interestingly, I get a lot of emails from women who have discovered that they are an 8 body shape (different from the traditional X – hourglass shape) and feel that knowing this about their shape has really helped them dress their hips in way that makes them feel happier about their shape. You can see the difference between the two versions of the hourglass body shape here.
More women want to make their hips look smaller, but there are a proportion who feel, as they describe it to me, ‘boyish’ and want to create more curves so both these issues will be covered here.
How to Flatter Your Curvy Hips
1. Know your shape – an X or A shape will dress their hips, bottom and thighs differently from an 8 Shape, even though they may feel that they want to make them look slimmer or smaller (but not all do!).
2. Understand your proportions – as much as body shape, dressing in a way that is proportionally pleasing will help to balance you as a whole.
3. Look for fabrics that drape – stiff fabrics that don’t drape smoothly past your curves will accentuate them.
4. Be careful of pockets – frequently on so many garments the pockets can add extra unnecessary detail to your hip region.
5. Ensure distressing on denim is not around your groin region, but do look for vertical fading on your jeans which creates a flattering elongating line!
6. Make sure that fabrics have enough weight and are not flimsy.
7. Wear dense patterns that they eye can’t focus on.
8. Wear darker fabrics on your bottom half. Dark denim, brown, black, charcoal or navy dress pants etc.
9. If you wear a patterned bottom, take the light or bright colour from the bottom to wear on your top and draw the eye upwards.
10. Be careful where you end your tops – never on the widest point of your hips!
How to Add Curves to Your Hips
1. Look for pockets around the hip region.
2. Look for fabrics that have some body and volume.
3. Wear lighter colours on your bottom and darker on your tops.
4. Wear patterned and coloured bottoms.
5. Tapered jeans were made for you.
6. Look for pleats in skirts to add some volume.
7. End tops on your widest points around the hip area.
8. Look for tops that have volume down low
9. Get the body shape guidelines for your I or V shape
10. Choose fabrics with some sheen or shine
Not sure of your body shape? You can discover your shape and get your body shape bible with my body shape calculator quiz here. Or if you’d like my professional opinion on your body and colouring, this is just part of what you receive in my 7 Steps to Style program.
Where to End Your Tops Based on Your Body Shape
What guidelines to follow when your body shape isn’t standard
What to do with conflicting figure flattery advice
Thank you for great tips! The difference between dense patterns and bold patterns were new to me, but makes a lot of sense. Agree with the point about proportions; I’m a medium sized person and so are my hips, but they are proportionally a bit big compared to my upper body. What to you feel about wearing skinnies and balancing out the hips by adding volume on top in stead of by wearing flared jeans?
Sigrid – you can wear volume on top with skinnies, or add boots to balance – either way works!
Thanks for this. I’ve appreciated your website ever since I found out I was an 8. I had spent years reading elsewhere that I needed a-line skirts to minimize my hips – and I always felt “big” when I wore them so they’d languish in my closet – If I’d have found you sooner I would’ve saved a lot of money wasted on A-lines – and spent it on cute pencils instead!! A tip for some slit pockets on skirts – I’ve sown them shut in a couple of cases as they just make the skirt gape and that is not flattering!
Beth. Yes that’s a great tip about sewing the pockets closed
I stumbled upon your blog last week. I want to say : thank you. I’ve learned more in one week than in the last ten years I’ve been interested in fashion. I’ve read quite a few books about style and they were more confusing than useful. This blog seems a lot of work and you sound passionate about what you do, so, I just wanted you to know that this work is really helpful.
Isa. Thanks so much for your lovely feedback. Yes sewing pockets closed is a great tip
Isa thanks so much for your lovely feedback. Yes it is a labour of love but I’m glad that it can help you discover what works and save you money
This is great – thanks for the tips! looking forward to hearing what you have to say at Blogopolis tomorrow! I’ll be the one with the enormous bottom 🙂
Catherine. Come say hi!
Peplums for the hip-less!
I trust and respect your work 100%. Today I’ve been reading your blogs related to Body Shapes but still have doubts choosing my body shape. I’m between a Type X or a Type 8.
Please, can you tell an example of body measurements from a Type X and a Type 8, respectively? That way we can feel safer choosing which is our body type. Thanks a lot in advance.
Alison – I can’t give you body measurements as they are never accurate – but if you take photos of yourself as the people in my body shape posts have done – and then look at this blog post https://insideoutstyleblog.com/2010/11/body-shapes-explained-defining-points.html and see which you are more like you should have your answer.
Once again, you rock, Imogen! I’m an 8 and love these hip tips.
Thank you for your information on Figure 8 body types. It has made a huge difference in how I’m shopping and dressing (and looking :)).
Where should jackets/tops fall if you have the Fig 8? My hips appear almost rectangular and the high and lower hip measurements are the same. Should I stop my tops between the two or go longer?
PJ if you are the same width then you want to look at you proportions and find the most pleasing point based on them
I’ve been consulting your blog for several months and have been meaning to leave a comment for ages just to say thank you. I think you provide really useful and practical advice. The info on body shapes is the best I’ve encountered – I am one of those girls who realised that I am an 8-shape, which I had never seen reference to before. Keep up the fantastic work.
Gervase – thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment – I really appreciate your kind words.
Thanks for your very useful advice on dressing for our shape. I have a problem with which jacket lenghts are most flattering and most versatile.
I notice that the shorter blazers are better with skirts and the longer ones only go with trousers. Is that observation correct? What if one only wants to buy one jacket, is it better to go shorter?
I am a H shape.
Also are cropped jackets a no-no on a short H with a short waist?
As a pear shape who Is clearly bottom heavy, other than in a dress, can I ever wear color on my bottom half , perhaps in a muted cool color, as both of those are receding in nature? How about if I reduce the total amount of the color and use it in culottes or a skirt instead of in a pair of trousers and then draw the color up to my facial area in a print and a color topper that matches the colored bottom , or with a scarf , earrings, or necklace ? Or should I stick to neutrals for my bottoms ? Sometimes I just want to expand what I can wear and use to create outfits ! What about a stone color on my bottom with an accent colored top ? Add a stone colored topper to create an outside column to avoid the value contrast ? I am a light fair, muted Autumn . Thank you — I have learned so much from your posts !
No you’re not stuck just wearing plain and boring bottom halves – check out this post https://insideoutstyleblog.com/2018/02/how-to-wear-pattern-on-your-lower-half-x-and-a-shapes.html
I am another figure of 8 shape with a high hip, I hated being this shape when young,especially as they stuck out from a small waist and a top half with very little bust and sloping shoulders. I taught myself to sew from an early age as I could not find clothes to fit my large hips that we always at least one size bigger than the rest of me. Fortunately, as I grew older, I grew a bust and with that small waist, developed an hourglass figure. This was still difficult to dress, but I did learn to love my new shape with time. Your advice about about 8 shape is dead on, it is possible to find things in shops nowadays, but it takes time and effort. Hurrah for the wrap dress and coats with belts, on the whole, there is so much variety of clothing out there today, I find it much easier to dress now than when I was young.