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.
Figure of Eight – What not to wear:
- 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.