Recently I’ve been asked to cover the topic of hip dips and how to dress them to make them less obvious.
Hip Dips are also known as Violin Hips and are most common on the 8 shape, A shape and X shape bodies (but can come on any body shape). They are an indentation between the high and low hips that are normal and are part of the skeletal structure. They don’t come from wearing your pants waistband on this point. So please stop hating your hip dips, just like much of your body shape, they are just part of your bones and can’t be changed. It’s time to love your violin hips and realise that most likely it’s only you obsessing over them (nobody else probably even notices them!).
Take a look at this image – what you see is that the top of the pelvis bone and the top of the femur have a gap in between. The gluteus medius runs in between these bones. So a hip dip is just part of being human and having a skeleton, totally normal. So why is some people’s more noticeable?
What you can see in the image above, is that the further away these two bone are from each other, the larger the hip dip becomes. So you will often find that hip dips are much more prominent or pronounced on those who have a larger or longer pelvic region (which also results in a longer rise) as there is more space for the muscle and flesh to fall back in the gap between these bones.
A more prominent high hip bone (found on 8 shapes) will make the hip dip appear more obvious too, as will a more muscled thigh.
What to Wear if You Have Hip Dips
Now what to wear to make you hip dips less apparent (if that’s what you want)?
Lightweight fabrics that cling to skin will accentuate them as there isn’t the weight to pull the fabric down to glide over the hips. Look for heavier weight fabrics that aren’t stiff, but also don’t cling. Anything body-con (super tight) will accentuate your silhouette. Fabrics that skim but don’t cling are what’ you’re looking for.
Where is your waist? It’s between the top of your pelvis and the bottom of your rib cage yet waistbands on many trousers are not anywhere near here as low rise is low down on the hip (in the dip) which will accentuate it, mid rise, slightly better if it doesn’t increase a muffin top, but can be a little low for some (can depend on your proportions and how long a waist you have). You will find that a higher rise trouser or jean that fits well at the waistband will flatter your hips more (and not create a muffin top either).
Depending on your body shape, different skirt shapes will suit best. A flared silhouette will skim outwards and not pull in at the hips creating a more flattering silhouette – fit and flare dresses are ideal if they also suit your body shape.
For 8 Shapes that find a straighter shape is best, avoid anything too clingy, such as thinner stretch knits, instead go look for either thicker scuba knits that aren’t too tight or woven fabrics that have a lining as this will help in disguising the dip.
These are perfect for you as they cover the gap between the high and lower hips so don’t accentuate dips.
Longline or Waterfall Cardigans
A longer cardigan such as a waterfall or mid-thigh length cardigan skims past your hips will cover the area if you’re worried about them looking noticeable in your clothes.
This is awesome … and oh, so timely.
I have hip dips and a bit of saddlebag on my slightly overweight A-shape. Panties and swimsuits often are difficult for me because they seem to cut right at the hip dip. Who knew there was a musculoskeletal explanation for this?!?!?!
I recently found my perfect swim bottoms … a swim skirt with a pair of boyshorts built in rather than a panty. They were so perfect that I purchased a back-up. Now I know why … those pesky hip dips! It reminds me of a saying which I have read, perhaps on your blog, that “it’s not you, it’s the clothes.” 🙂
Thank you for helping me love and accept my body just as is.
How great that you’ve found a fabulous swim solution (as swimwear is often the hardest thing to find as it’s so revealing!). You are perfect and beautiful just as you are!
You can sew some horsehair braid along the side seam line of skirt or pants to keep the fabric from falling into the dip. Horsehair braid is made of polyester these days. It’s a little stiff but still lightweight & flexible. I have found it works for woven fabrics. It can be sewn in by machine or hand. It needs to be a couple of centimetres longer than the dip, but not so long that thigh bulge (if you have it) causes it to ‘ski-jump’ out.
Thanks for the tip Michelle!
Thank you for giving a name to this phenomenon! I could never figure out why mine seemed so prominent (I’m a petite 8 shape) and in clinger bottoms, I always felt as though the waistband of my underwear was accentuating the indentation.
This is very interesting. I’m tall, wide-hipped and have muscular thighs, so I have serious hip-dips! I’ll feel better about them now.
Thank you so much! I have hip dips and I’d never been able to figure out why that was or how to wear fitted clothes that don’t draw attention to it. This makes so much sense and is very helpful!
Thanks, Imogen! I am a petite 8 shape with a hip dip, and have been wondering why I love my peplum jacket, coatigan, fit+flared dress, and scuba pencil dress so much. Now I know why! An important piece of the puzzle is revealed!
I find hot weather harder to dress for than colder weather. When I wear my lightweight high waist chambray trousers the hip dip is accentuated. Would drape tops with waist definition over these trousers be okay as long as they are not too clingy?
I also have a pair of combat/harem trousers that look ok with hip length petite Bardot tops.
Ever since my teen years I have had hip dips but could work with them until I had hip replacement surgery and now they have gotten much worse. I have been forced to wear a line skirts and only structure pants. I have found boy shorts for bathing suits work the best. Sure wish fashion recognized the female shape.
Aha! This piece was super informative, Imogen. I have a balanced body, short-waisted 8 with a long rise and I have hip dips. (Never knew that was a “thing”). So my rear end, though curvy and full, has always looked oddly boxy in clingy skirts. On top of this, my natural waist though small, is located where the upper third of my body ends, above my “Barbie” hip shelf. The hip dips mean I have a muffin top, no matter how much I weigh. Skimming over the mid section of my body, while defining it with princess seams and vertical lines, works best for me. I can also wear slightly cropped tops as long as they are not fitted at the waist. This seems like evidence that, in my case, vertical proportions are more important than my body shape – I think I look better (and feel more confident) dressing as an H, than an 8.
How can we reduct this?
I’m not sure what you mean by Reduct
Could you please make an article about swimwear for 8 body shape. I was becoming traumatized that I still look not “slim” even tho my bmi is 23 , I have kids so the stretch marks doesn’t help but these high hips make me look fat in swimsuits! I don’t want granny swimwear but also dont wanna look like this are love handles. Help!!!
50s style is the best shape for 8s
I have been trying to find a term to describe my hip shape. I have a short rise and what ive always called “high hips” in that, skeletally, the pelvic flare is the widest part and my femur attachment is narrow, sort of buried under my pelvis. This also means that “thigh gap” is never going to happen for me. Im grateful that i grew up before that was a thing–in my teen years thigh gap was gross and “scrawny”. Even when i was a 5’8″ 125lbs of svelte yoga instructor, my thighs still touched! But hips! Imagine a silhouette of hip dips, but then erase the lower half to the width of the dip. Or, like, my hips are just a speed bump along the silhouette of my body. I dont know how else to explain it, but i never see any fashion advice for this body shape, though i have to be careful with waist heights on pants, shorts, and swimsuit bottoms because the wrong cut will make my pelvic area look like a balloon! Can someone please tell me what this is called?
This is great Thanks
There is exercises all over the internet to get rid of these pesky dip hips as well! Its hard to wear anything without them showing but these will help you get that permanent side you want!
Anyone got suggestions for the best underwear for hip dips? just regular underwear … not padded!
I’d just go for underwear that has very smooth edges that doesn’t dig in