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How To Dress A Figure of Eight Body Shape So It Looks Perfectly Balanced

Figure of Eight Body Shape (Sometimes Called Neat Hourglass)

I struggled with identifying my own figure for a long time.  I just didn’t quite fit into any of the mainstream figure types of hourglass, pear, rectangle, inverted triangle or round. After much research and deliberation, the penny finally dropped when I attended a talk by Carlas Mathis, one of the top image consultants in the world and a Certified Image Master. Her book ‘ The Triumph Of Individual Style’ is the bible for many image consultants around the world. She talked about a variation of the stereotypical hourglass called the Figure of Eight body shape. The figure of eight body shape name is somewhat confusing as it suggests a rounded curved shape but I would suggest that this figure type would be better described as athletic looking with a small high waist. This body type is strong and athletic in appearance and is made for sport! The characteristics of the figure of eight body shape are:

  • Shoulders are curved and are relatively as wide as your hips/thighs;
  • Waist is distinctly narrower than shoulders and hips/thighs (8 -10 inches smaller);
  • Weight tends to accumulate on the high hip and tummy  just below the waist (Not so much on thighs/ low hip as happens with an hourglass);
  • Small waist and sudden jut out to high hip give a shelf-like appearance to the waist;
  • Waist tends to be short due to high hip – Gets shorter with weight gain as shelf gets higher;
  • Legs can be long and slim (Not always the case).

I have seen this figure type called a neat hourglass in some books. I used to think my figure type was rare but once I made the distinction, I realized it was much more common. The high hip and shelf can be found on other figure types as well as the 8.

Dressing a figure of eight:

Follow the rules for an hourglass except for the lower part of the body where the 8 does better with tapered designs in skirts and dresses.

  • Soft drapable fabrics such as knit and jersey are key to working with your curves. Wrap dresses are great, especially those with a straight or tapered skirt.
  • Sharp tailoring and waisted jackets are great for giving definition to curves. A peplum on a jacket or top is especially great for a figure of 8 as it accommodates the high hip.
  • Jeans/ Pants with a very slight taper, straight to mild bootcut are best.
  • V necks and scoop necks look best on big busted 8’s.
  • Make the most of your small waist with belts (Medium-scale belts that tone with your outfit will minimise shortening your waist further).
  • You can also try belting at the low hip forming a V at the front with the belt to lengthen and slim your body. This will only work with fitted tops though. Baggy does not work on an 8.
  • You can wear a longer skirt but make sure that it does not flare until the knee or lower.
  • Wear shapewear such as control vests and corsets to control tummy and midriff area’s as these tend to be the areas of concern.
  • For accessories, try bangles and earrings and avoid too much detail at the neck especially if you have a shorter neck or bigger bust.
  • Avoid tucking in tops as this will shorten your waist further; instead, opt for untucked and finish the look with a belt.
  • Try light-fitted layers as these will cover a multitude of sins at the midriff and create a more interesting look.
  • Opt for a look that’s clean and uncluttered as fuss and frill will add bulk/ weight to this curvy frame.

If you dream of being a personal stylist and would love to be able to do body shape analysis confidently for other people, then check out my Unstoppable Style Program here.

Figure of Eight – What not to wear:

What Not To Wear Figure Of Eight
What Not To Wear Figure Of Eight
  • Tunics have been a popular fashion trend in recent years, but for women with an 8-shaped figure, they may not be the most flattering option unless they have waist definition.
  • Boxy and straight tops and jackets should also be avoided as they do not create balance for 8’s.
  • Wide trousers and flares can widen the figure, so they should be avoided as well. It’s important for 8-shaped women to choose tops that show off the waist and avoid ones that are too tight around the hips.
  • Pleated skirts can create a bubble effect over the hip, so it’s best to avoid them, but sewn down pleats that release around the leg crease can be flattering.
  • To achieve a smoother, more flattering line, it’s recommended that 8’s stay away from clingy fabrics and bias cuts that wrap tightly around the hips/ hip dip curve.

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  1. Thank you so much!! I have struggled for such along time trying to figure out my body shape, this is exactly me! finally, yay! One question, i really struggle with the waistband of my pants, high waisted are uncomfortable and don’t fit right, any recommendations?

    1. I tend to alter a lot of the waists on my pants as if they fit the crotch area, they are often tight around the tummy. A hidden elasticated waist or an inserted panel at the back/ side of waistband can really made a difference to the fit. I find flat-fronted pants with a side zip are also very flattering.

  2. Finally I feel like my bodyshape is not abnormal, just not a type that is shown often. Always hated the hip shelves and hip dips, but happy that you can mostly hide them enough with clothing.
    Any tips on bikinibottoms? Any form of hiding or compensating is quite difficult in that type of wear.

    1. I find printed swimwear distracts the eye from resting on any particular feature and keeps the eye moving so this can distract from the hips. A short, side tied sarong will make the best of your small waist and great legs while disguising your hip dips.

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