Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

I wish I were an hourglass


The imperfect figure most of wish to be is the hourglass. Obviously. Men love it, and it's in proportion so you can find clothes that fit.

19 comments:

Glamourpuss said...

As an hourglass, I'm afraid I can report that it is preety difficult to find clothes that fit - especially dresses. Garments fit on the hips and bust, but the waist is too big, or vice versa. While we apparently have the 'perfect' hip-to-waist ration as defined by scientists studying the laws of attraction, clothes designers feel otherwise. I buy a lot of vintage for the very reason that it is often made for the hourglass figure.

Puss

Ma Fraser said...

Glamourpuss is dead right - I am always having to take in the waist of shop bought clothes because the designers don't appreciate our shape. I have dusted off my old sewing machine and am going to start making my own again as I am fed up with this. Why should I pay good money for something that I have to alter before I can wear it?

Toby Wollin said...

And another factor is how long in the waist you are. I'm pretty short-waisted, so on commercial clothing, I end up with this unintended blouson effect, so sewing my own is the way I go also.

pennyarrow said...

Yes - I've shopped with a friend who is a classic (slim) hour-glass and nothing fits right. I voted for boyish because clothes always seem to look good on the boyish figure - you only have to look at themodels they're designed around to see that.

lagatta à Montréal said...

I think Nigella is a bit taller than I am - moreover I have put on some weight - have managed to lose some but still not Nigella-shaped again. Interesting to note that she is 48 years old! Of course, background helps there...

But I can't imagine being any other way. Best friend is boyish and very easy to fit (well into middle age) but I do find curves appealing on women (and I'm a heterosexual woman).

I have found some clothing in Italy that fits very well -

The pear shape is common in several Latin American countries, and can be very sexy too.

Anonymous said...

There might be a height for which hourglass is the default shape for clothes, but if so, I'm several inches below it. And then some of us have a little more room for speedy sand flow than others!

I think it's a myth that there's any size or shape that largely fits into clothes straight off the rack, and that women spend a lot of time thinking that everybody else is just grabbing, wearing, and going when in reality we're all standing in front of mirrors thinking if we only had a different [insert body part here] clothes fitting would be a breeze.

berry said...

I've the feeling that most of the RTW is designed for the rectangular figure. As an hourglass I hardly find something wearable - too much bosom for the tops, too small a waist for the trousers. So meanwhile I draft my patterns myself, because even in the patterns you can buy the measurements aren't "hourglass-friendly" - a little better relations can be found in southern european pattern-magazines like e.g. the spanish "patrones"

greetings from switzerland: berry

Kelly said...

Agreed with everyone! I have a great hourglass figure that people envy when I dress to show it off, but do you know how hard that is? My waist is a size 2. My chest is a size 10/12. Try finding one garment to fit and flatter that difference, and you'll understand why I always look grumpy when I'm out shopping.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the other commenters. I have an hourglass figure (which starts to get a bit pear-ish if I gain weight) and buying clothes is a nightmare. Everything has to be altered and it's hard to find stylish clothing. You also have to be careful to not overdo it with tops that are too low, tight, or are too boxy or big.

I need to lose some weight for health reasons and I know I'll be the same shape but I'm not sure clothes shopping will be any easier.

And I definitely can't go into the chain store for the "cheap and chic" look...those looks are cut for more boyish figures than mine.

Lori said...

Have to agree with all the ladies above. I am a twenty-something hourglass with a short waist, and I have always had a difficult time finding things that fit well. I usually avoided buying dresses unless the piece is worth taking to a tailor, because they aren't usually cut for a perfectly proportioned hourglass. When things are cut in enough in the waist I risk being too curvy, too buxom. And, while my husband tells he would be disappointed without so many curves to enjoy, I don't want to look like a fifty's pinup when I'm in public.

Cat said...

Yet another hourglass here and I agree with everyone that finding RTW is almost impossible! I have taken up sewing again out of mounting frustration. I though am of a longer torso and very stumpy of leg proportion so tops are always way too short, most look like crop tops on me. And if I can find trousers or jeans which go over the hips and thighs and will fit around the waist I will still have to cut off many inches of fabric (usually over 6").
With dresses the waist usually is around the lower part of my ribcage.
Then there is the other issue with button up shirts and blouses.
Sometimes I wish I was more rectangular but then my DH loves the curves.

Don't even get me started on smock tops!

Phyllis said...

Being short-waisted is, I think, the most common fitting issue for women along with a full bust adjustment (e.g. being bigger than a B-cup, which is the standard for both factory clothing production and home sewing patterns.)

I also think that many women, due to being short-waisted, are actually a petite size even though they are technically over the petite height range of 5’ 5”. That's certainly the case with me.

Pear Belle Helene said...

I am a happy pear with the "ideal" hip to waist ratio and I don't think that as an hourglass, fit would get better on skirts. As a pear at least my weight gets itself attached to my tights, where I can hide it. With all those empire dresses nobody gets to see my tights. An ideal slimming solution. I still get the wow effect if I desire, since I am not an extreme pear. but a hourglassy one. At the moment I have the feeling that neither the garment industry nor the fashion industry knows how to fit women of any shape at all. The later one at least seems to fit the model type, slim and tall. But models will probably run into problems outsize the sample sales. So we are all equal, nothing fits.
I see the it bag and shoe phenomena as a hint for a dying garment industry. The future will be fully automatic made to measure garments.

E said...

I'm a tiny hourglass. I'm 110, 34-24-35 and a 30DD. I usually wear the smallest size available, and it always has one or several of the following problems:
it's huge at the waist, it does not fit at the bust or its too big/short all over.

So far, I've never found a pair of pants that does not gape at the waist. Shirts are even worse: if they fit at the bust, they're huge at the waist, even for supposedly 'fitted' ones. Add to my problems the fact that I'm tall, with a 35 inches inseam in flats, and you see why I'm having a lot of troubles. More and more companies are making clothes for taller girls (they're realising that no, not every girl can live with an inseam of 34 inches), but they insist on starting their tall sizes quite large. Think jcrew that starts at tall size 2 (what, no 0? but their 0 is barely wearable!) or the worse offender... Gap. But it's true though that I can't even fit in their xs/0 to begin with. I'm quite proud of my figure, but the clothes a not cut for hourglasses, they're cut for people with an undefined waist. This leads to a lot of frustration.

Early Modern Grad said...

I am technically an hourglass as well, though I have a very small bust (I am a 39-26-28 and an A cup) so I understand the challenges in finding clothes. I do find that wrap dresses are very flattering and the 'curvy' fit pants offered at some chains- like banana republic, gap, and ann taylor do actually work well and require little to no tailoring at the waist.

Miss Janey said...

Miss J agrees w/ the hourglass women who have problems with fit. If slacks fit the hips, they're large in the waist. If a button-down top fits everywhere else, it gaps at the bust. She persoanlly voted to have a boy shaped body. Then of course, she'd wish she was hourglass shaped.

lagatta à Montréal said...

At least Nigella is aspirational. In slightly younger photos I could be her sister (and I look rather like her in general, though I am NOT a Tory Minister's daughter, or the daughter of anyone of means).

We are pretty much the same general "form", unlike all the photos of wraiths adorning this blog, or gutsy Beth Ditto, who is a much boxier or sturdier build.

It is so unusual to see a woman who isn't model skinny, or on the other hand a warning against obesity (on websites) that it is rather startling. Bizarre.

It would be splendid to be able so see pretty clothes on many different types. I don't mean people unfit, but just an acknowledgement of the many variations on the human form, female or male.

rb said...

I'm a slightly bottom heavy hourglass. I used to have troubles with waists being too big but having a couple of babies seems to have taken care of that problem. I can generally buy clothing off the rack now, albeit in a larger size than I used to (US 14.)

My problem is buying pants. I'm 5'11" and though most of my friends complain about the "amazons" pants are made for, they are still mostly too short for me.

Meg from The Bargain Queens & All About Appearances said...

I'll chime in, too. I'm an hourglass and have an awful time finding stuff that fits. If a top fits around my chest and shoulders, it's huge around my stomach. Pants are worse. To get things around my hips, I have to go probably two sizes larger than my waist would predict. Then they pooch out. Even pencil skirts are tricky.

As a result, I stick mostly to snug knit tops, a-line skirts, and jersey wrap dresses. And when I can't find those, I drown my shopping sorrows in the accessories department.