Wedding Dresses for Neat Hourglass Shaped Brides

You know how on Say Yes to the Dress (go on, we all watch it sometimes), there are those moments when a bride comes in and she’s adamant about a specific shape of dress she wants, and when she puts it on it just looks… wrong. And then, if she’s smart, she tries a shape the consultant suggests instead, and is instantly transformed into a goddess? I love those, because I KNOW the feeling of trying something on and it looks nothing like how it did in your head or on the hanger and you feel desperate because omigodnothingisevergoingtofitmeorlookawesome. Trying something on that is right for your shape is the opposite of that feeling, but the truth is that it only happens when you let go of some of the pre-set ideas you have, and work with reality. That’s what this series is about – making our brides feel like a zillion dollars, whichever of the seven gorgeous body shapes they are rocking. Today we are all about neat hourglass shapes, and I’ll be giving you some tips for dressing this shape to perfection as well as swooning over some dresses from the latest designer ranges.

I know a lot about this body shape, because it just happens to be the one I have had for most of my life (although I am more of a fuller hourglass now). Neat hourglasses have their shoulders and hips roughly in line with a defined waist in the middle. They have a neat (but full) bust, a curvy bum and neat hips. Think Scarlett Johanssen, pretty much. I always laugh when I read descriptions of this as the ‘perfect body’ and the ‘easiest to dress’ – although I have also come to believe it’s an absolutely gorgeous shape, I definitely didn’t see it that way when I was younger, and other hourglasses will know that most standard shops don’t cut their clothes for us, whatever the designers might do. The great news is that, if you haven’t fallen in love with your feminine silhouette yet, you’re bound to do so in a wedding dress. Because the one rule for this shape is that you have to accentuate it. Try to hide an hourglass and you’ll go from fab to drab in one move.

Another thing that makes me laugh is when I see empire lines recommended for hourglasses. This is complete and utter nonsense. Not only do they not fit, they squash your boobs and disguise your nipped-in waist. I have made this mistake countless times – don’t do it on your wedding day. Sheath dresses, low waists and loads of ruffles or layers (especially around the cleavage) can also look unfortunate. However, fit and flare (aka mermaid) silhouettes, ballgowns, and A-lines will all look amazing. The golden rule is to follow your body line – do this and you can’t go wrong. And the best part? Boning and structure in many wedding gowns will give you the kind of support that you have only dreamed of.


There are so many more celeb hourglasses now than when I was a teenager, which is actually pretty awesome. They definitely show how to rock this silhouette! Selma Hayek’s wedding day look was absolutely perfect – a neat bodice (with detailing that doesn’t add volume and a v-neck that still flatters in terms of the amount of cleavage), a defined waist, and a beautiful a-line skirt. I’m not sure what Scarlett Johanssen wore to her first wedding, but many of her red carpet looks are great wedding dress inspiration, including this gorgeous fit and flare creation. Look how perfectly it follows the line of her body. I also really loved Katherine Heigl’s dress in the last scene of 27 Dresses – if you love the soft look of sheath dresses, this A-line with a deep v neckline is a perfect hourglass alternative. Check out Katherine’s own wedding dress as well – another great example!

Dress credits (l-r, top to bottom): 1- Ulla Maijer Couture; 2- Kelly Faetanini; 3- Ulla Maijer Couture; 4- Victor Harper Couture; 5- Tara Latour; 6- Modern Trousseau; 7- Sareh Nouri; 8- Simone Carvalli; 9- Jim Hjelm; 10- Liancarlo; 11-Pnina Tornai; 12- Eve of Milady


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