How to Get an Hourglass Figure

Four Methods:Dressing the PartExploring Corset TrainingExercisingEating Right

Ever dreamed of having a beautiful, curvaceous, hourglass figure like the screen sirens of old? What woman hasn't? An hourglass figure is technically defined as one where the bust and hip measurements are at least ten inches wider than the waist - resulting in that famous hourglass shape. Although your natural body shape is decided mainly by genetics, you can achieve or give the appearance of an hourglass figure, through diet, exercise and wearing exactly the right clothes. If you're looking for a more extreme solution, you can also try corset training, which can actually reduce your waist size by inches. Read below to find out more.

Method 1
Dressing the Part

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    Accentuate your waist. Hourglass figures are all about the waist, and even if you don't have the traditional hourglass measurements, you can create the illusion of a tiny waist by wearing the right clothes and accentuating your waist whenever possible.[1]
    • Go for dresses that nip in at the waist, then flare out from the hips.
    • Wear trench coats or jackets with adjustable waist belts which you can tighten to give an hourglass silhouette.
    • Add belts of all shapes and sizes to any outfit to draw attention to your waist.
    • Go for jackets or tops with padded shoulders which will make your waist appear smaller by comparison.
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    Avoid low-rise jeans or pants. Low-rise pants or jeans are those which sit on your hips, resulting in the dreaded muffin-top effect. Even if you don't carry much weight around your middle, low-rise jeans can push the smallest amounts of fat upwards, making you appear wider across the middle. This is definitely not what you want when aiming to achieve an hourglass figure.
    • Opt for high-waisted jeans which reach just under your belly button and keep any extra fat safely tucked away.
    • Go for dark wash jeans which make the leg appear slimmer and are more complimentary to curvier figures. Lighter colors are unflattering on all but the slimmest silhouettes.
    • Go for boot cut or flared styles, rather than skinny jeans, as these will even out the effect of the high-waist and avoid giving you a "mom jeans" effect.
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    Wear push-up and padded bras. Hourglass figures are renowned for their fuller busts, but even if you're not naturally well-endowed you can achieve the same effect by investing in good quality bras. An under-wire bra will help lift the breasts, while a padded bra can give the appearance of greater size.[1]
    • If possible, go to a high-quality lingerie store where you can be measured and fitted for the right size bra. It's amazing how many women believe they are one size when they go to get fitted, only to find out that they have been wearing the wrong size for years.
    • A perfectly sized bra will work wonders for your confidence - and that's before you include any push-up or padding features - so if you suspect you may be wearing the wrong size, your first stop on the way to an hourglass physique should be the lingerie department!
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    Wear high heels. High heels are the perfect accompaniment to an hourglass figure. They make the legs appear longer and more toned while also lifting the butt. They improve posture and allow women to stand up tall and be confident, while also providing a sexy wiggle while you walk. For ultimate bombshell factor, aim to wear heels of at least three inches.
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    Wear the right size clothes. Clothes look their best and are most complimentary when they fit your body perfectly. For this reason, you should avoid limiting yourself to one particular size and just go for what looks best on you. You'll feel more comfortable and confident in clothing that fits like a glove, so forget about the number on the tag.
    • Unfortunately, many women are stuck on the notion that they should be wearing one size and one size only, not taking into account that individual brands may be sized differently from one another and that a size twelve in one brand may be equivalent to a size eight in another.
    • Shop around and try to find a clothing brand or selection of brands which produce pieces that suit your body shape and make you feel comfortable, yet sexy.
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    Buy vintage. Many of the clothes produced in the 40's and 50's were much more flattering for curvier women, so consider rooting through vintage stores and thrift shops for dresses, skirts and blouses which produce an hourglass shape.
    • You might be lucky and find some amazing bargains, or you may want to invest in a vintage designer piece which will become a wardrobe staple for years to come.
    • Nothing will make you feel more like a real hourglass-shaped pin-up girl than replicating her wardrobe with authentic vintage pieces!

Method 2
Exploring Corset Training

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    Opt for a steel-boned, under-bust corset. If you are new to corset training, you should opt for an under-bust corset, rather than a full corset. This is because a full corset can feel very constricting and uncomfortable to someone new to corset training and it is important that the corset training process is not a painful one. Steel-boned corsets tend to be very well made and can significantly reduce waist size with proper wear and care.[2]
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    Get a corset 4–5 inches (10.2–12.7 cm) smaller than your normal waist size. In order to reduce your waist size, you will need to choose a corset that is 4–6 inches (10.2–15.2 cm) smaller that your existing waist size. For example, if you currently have a 26 inch (66.0 cm) waist, you should opt for a 20 to 21 inch (50.8 to 53.3 cm) corset (though beginners should lean more towards the 4 inch difference than the 5).[3]
    • You can measure your current waist size by standing in front of the mirror and winding a measuring tape around the narrowest part of your waist, which should be an inch or two above your belly button.
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    Break the corset in. To avoid hurting yourself or damaging the corset, it is important that you break the corset in before tightening it fully. The corset needs to adjust to your body shape before it can do it's job effectively. To break in the corset, tighten the laces so that it sits snugly around your waist. It shouldn't feel tight. Wear it like this for a few hours everyday until the corset looses some of its stiffness and adjust to the position of your ribs and hips.[3]
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    Tighten the corset a little more each day you wear it. Once the corset is broken in, you can start to tighten it a little everyday, to begin the process of waist reduction. Be aware that you should not attempt to close the corset fully until you have been wearing and gradually tightening it for several months. Only tighten the corset to the point where it still feels comfortable - you should not feel any pain or feel like you have difficulty breathing.
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    Wear for three to six hours a day. The corset should be worn for three to six hours everyday, to get the full effects of waist reduction. Do not wear the corset for any longer than feels comfortable. You can wear the corset during most of your daily activities, though wearing it during exercise is not recommended.[3]
    • Note that although some corset training sites recommend sleeping in your corset, this is not advisable. Corset training can be done in moderation and wearing it for 3 to 6 hours a day is more than adequate.
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    Progress to a smaller sized corset. Once you have managed to comfortably close the corset and have achieved a full 4 to 5 inch (10.2 to 12.7 cm) waist cinch, you can progress to a smaller sized corset to continue waist reduction, if desired. Be aware that you may reach a point where you are no longer able to close a corset fully, due to rib placement and body shape. This is perfectly normal and you should never attempt to force the corset closed - as this may cause you to hurt yourself or damage the corset.[3]
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    Be aware of the risks involved in corset training. Many people are opposed to corset training as extreme waist reduction can cause rib bones to move and internal organs to shift. Although this is not normally dangerous, many people view it as being unnatural and unnecessary. In addition, corsets that are pulled too tight can reduce blood circulation, leading to poor muscle tone and the appearance of cellulite, so if you decide to go down the corset training route to achieve an hourglass figure, make sure you consider all the pros and cons first.

Method 3

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    Do cardio. Cardio workouts can help you achieve an hourglass figure by slimming down your midsection and providing you with toned and lean legs. Cardio also helps to keep your heart healthy and allows more oxygen to reach your muscles, so it's great for your overall fitness and health. Cardio is one of the best thing you can do to burn calories, helping you to maintain a healthy body weight, which is important for achieving your ideal pin-up girl look.
    • Running, cycling, dancing, step aerobics and swimming (to name but a few) are all great cardiovascular workouts, which will help you to trim the fat and tone as you go.
    • Interval training is one of the best exercise options if you're short on gym time but still want an effective calorie-busting workout - warm up on the treadmill for five minutes, exert yourself at full speed for 45 seconds, then slow down to recover for 90 seconds. Repeat this ten times, then cool down for another five minutes. Remember to stretch afterwards to loosen the muscles.[4]
    • Ideally, you should be doing 30 minutes of cardio five times a week.
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    Firm and tone your butt. Hourglass figures require a sexy booty, so rather than trying to slim down your butt, you should be focusing on getting it firm and toned. Think along the lines of Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and Nicki Minaj, whose rounded rear-ends perfectly offset their tiny waists. You should be doing lots of glute-friendly exercises which lift and round the butt, such as lunges, squats and leg curls.
    • Lunges are performed by starting with your feet shoulder-width apart, then stepping forward with your right foot into a lunge position, bending both knees until they form 90 degree angles. Your front knee should not extend over the toes and and your back knee should not touch the floor. Step back into your starting position, then repeat with the other leg. To make this exercise more intense, hold a dumbbell in each hand and keep your arms straight by your sides.[5]
    • Squats are performed by standing with the legs a shoulder-width apart, with the toes pointed outwards at 45 degree angles. Resting most of your weight on your heels, slowly lower your body straight down into a squatting position until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Return to a standing position, and repeat.[5]
    • Do leg curls by standing with your feet a shoulder-width apart, holding on to a bar or placing your hands on the wall for support. Curl your right leg backwards, as far as it will go, trying to touch your heel to your butt. Return to a standing position and repeat with the other leg. You can use ankle weights to increase resistance and the intensity of the exercise. You can also use the leg curl machine at the gym to perform this exercise.[5]
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    Work your legs. Toned, shapely legs that you can show off in pencil skirts and swimwear are the perfect complement to an hour-glass waist. Toned legs look great in heels and will help you to put a strut in your step! Remember that you want to maintain a hip size that is significantly larger than your waist, so don't focus too much on slimming down your thighs - just try to get them firm and fabulous! Lateral step-ups, side lunges and Pilates exercises specific to the legs are great for this.
    • Lateral step-ups are performed using a step that's about 12–18 inches (30.5–45.7 cm) in height. Stand with the step on your right-hand side and place your right foot on the step. Lean your weight onto your right foot and spring up and over the step, replacing your right foot with your left. Continue to spring over the steps, alternating sides.[4]
    • Side lunges are similar to front lunges and are great for working the thighs. They are performed by placing your feet a hip-width apart and raising your arms in front of you, til they are parallel, at shoulder height. With your right foot, take a huge step out to the side, lowering your body into a lunge position. Your right knee should be at a 90 degree angle and should not extend over your toes. Hold this position for a moment, then return to standing and repeat with the other leg.[4]
    • Pilates is a fantastic form of exercise for sculpting and shaping the legs, and you can see results in just a few short weeks. If you're already familiar with pilates, think about introducing Cadillac and reformer workouts into your routine, to truly add definition to your legs!
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    Shape your upper body. Curves are fantastic, but having a little extra meat on your bones can lead to unwanted wobbly bits which you may wish to avoid. Exercises which shape your upper body - particularly the arms and shoulders - are an important part of any hourglass-focused workout routine, as they will help to bust any excess flab. Just think of how well your toned arms and shoulders would complement an hourglass figure in a strapless, waist-cinching gown! Bench dips, shoulder presses and arm circles are all good options.
    • A bench dip is performed using an exercise step or kitchen chair. Sit up straight on the edge of the bench or chair, extending your legs in front of you. Firmly grip the edge of the bench or chair and slowly slide your body off the bench, lowering yourself towards the floor. Keep your back straight, and keep lowering until your arms from a 90 degree angle. Push your body back to the original starting position and repeat.
    • A shoulder press is performed by holding a dumbbell in each hand and lifting the weights so they are at shoulder-level, with your elbows bent underneath. Slowly straighten your arms, lifting the dumbbells above your head. Don't lock your elbows. Hold the dumbbells above your head for a second or two, then slowly lower them back to the starting position and repeat.
    • Arm circles are easy exercises that can be performed anywhere. Th perform arm circles, stand with your feet about a shoulder-width apart and extend your arms straight out to the sides, so they're in line with your shoulders. Begin rotating your arms forward in small, circular motions, without moving your wrists or elbows. After about 20 circles, change direction and begin rotating your arms backwards. You can increase the intensity of this exercise by holding dumbbells as you do it.
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    Increase the size of your chest. Hourglass figures aren't just about tiny waists and curvaceous butts, they're also famous for their fuller chests. Although too much cardio exercise can actually reduce breast size through weight-loss, there are some muscle training exercises you can do to build up the pectoral muscles beneath the breast tissue - giving the impression of a fuller chest while helping boobs to stay firm and perky. The best chest exercises for this include push-ups bench presses and the dumbbell fly.
    • To do push-ups, lie face-down on a solid floor, keep your legs together and prop your feet up on your toes and the balls of your feet. Place your hands palms-down on the floor, approximately a shoulder width apart. Raise yourself up, using just the strength in your arms, until both arms are fully extended. Slowly lower your body down again until your elbows form a 90-degree angle. Raise yourself back up into the extended arm position and repeat.
    • To do bench presses, you will need a barbell and an exercise bench. Place the barbell with the weights of your choice on a bench rack and lie flat on the exercise bench underneath it. Reach up and grasp the bar with your hands spaced about a shoulder-width apart. Slowly lift the bar off the rack, positioning the bar directly above the middle of your chest and extending your arms. Slowly lower the bar down to your chest, bending your elbows out to the sides. Press the bar back up to the starting position, and repeat.[6]
    • To perform a dumbbell fly, lie on your back and extend your arms directly above you, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your elbows slightly and lower your arms out to the sides until your body forms a "T" shape. Hold the position for a moment, then slowly raise your arms to the starting position and repeat.[7]
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    Trim your waist. Reducing the size of your waist is perhaps the most important part of achieving an hourglass figure. To do this you will need to combine weight loss with targeted core workouts. Be careful though - many traditional core exercises - including those often practiced as part of pilates workouts - can actually bulk up the core muscles causing the waist to flatten out and become wider. This is the last thing you want when aiming for an hourglass figure! Instead, you should do core exercises which focus on the lateral and oblique muscle groups, in order to tighten and trim the waist. Side crunches, side planks and pull-ups are good options for targeting these muscles.
    • To do a side crunch, lie with your back on the floor, put your hands behind your head and lift your knees in the air, bent at a 90 degree angle. Raise your head and shoulders slightly off the floor and bend upper body sideways to the right. Imagine that you are trying to touch your right hip with your right elbow. Remember to keep your lower back and hips firmly in place as you perform the exercise. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
    • To do a side plank, lie on your right side on the floor, with your feet stacked on top of one another. Use your right elbow to prop yourself up - your forearm should be flat on the floor, perpendicular to your body, and your right elbow should be directly underneath your right shoulder. Your entire body should form a straight, diagonal line from your head to your feet. Hold this pose for 30 seconds (if you can!), keeping your abdominal muscles and glutes tight. Repeat on our left side.
    • To perform pull-ups, you will need an exercise bar. Grasp the overhead bar with your fingers facing towards you - this is a difficult pull-up position but is best for exercising the lateral muscles. Pull your body up towards the bar, until your chin is slightly above it. Hold for a second or two, if possible, then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position. Try to avoid extending your arms completely as this will keep your muscles engaged. Repeat.

Method 4
Eating Right

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    Cut your calorie intake. Getting an hourglass figure is all about hitting the correct proportions - you don't want to drastically reduce your weight as some curves are essential to achieve this particular body shape. On the other hand, you are trying to reduce your waist size, which will require a certain amount of dieting. A healthy diet will also reduce bloating and water-weight, which is particularly good for shaving inches off the tummy area.
    • Cutting your total calorie intake, as well as being aware of the type of calories your are consuming (such as calories from fat, from protein, from fiber etc.) will help you to achieve your goals.
    • An ideal body fat percentage for an hourglass figure would be somewhere in the 17%-25% range - you want a certain amount of body fat to achieve those fabulous curves, but you also want to be trim and healthy.
    • If you need to lose weight in order to achieve a body fat percentage in this range, remember that one pound is equal to 3500 calories, so you will need to cut that many calories from your diet in order to lose weight.[5]
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    Eat six small meals a day. Maintaining a healthy diet is almost impossible if you are trying to starve yourself. Luckily, it is possible to lose weight and keep your stomach happy by eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.
    • Eating more often means that you don't allow yourself to become too hungry between meals, which significantly reduces the risk of overeating.
    • It also stimulates your metabolism, helping your to burn calories faster. Aim to eat six small, healthy meals a day, rather than three larger ones.
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    Cut out processed foods. Even if you cut your calorie intake and reduce our portion sizes, your weight loss can be painfully slow or non-existent if you are eating the wrong types of food. Processed foods with high sugar or starch contents can limit weight loss and lead to the build-up of harmful toxins in the body.
    • Processed foods often have a high salt content too, which leads to water retention and a bloated appearance. Instead of ready-meals and frozen foods, opt for fresh, organic produce and whole grains.
    • Watch out for "non-fat" versions of foods like yogurts, cheeses and other foods, because although their fat content may be low, they are often packed with sugars and other empty carbohydrates which provide no nutritional value.
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    Keep healthy snacks handy. Always having an array of healthy snacks at your disposal will help keep you satisfied between meals and prevent you from turning to fattening or processed options like potato chips and cookies. Try to keep a supply of delicious, seasonal fresh fruit in your kitchen, along with other healthy nibbles such as nuts, raisins, wholewheat crackers and rice cakes.
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    Eat plenty of fruits and veg. You've heard it before, but increasing your daily intake of fruit and veg will do wonders for helping you to maintain a healthy diet. Fruit and vegetables are natural, unprocessed foods which contain none of the nasty additives or preservatives that pervade so much of our food today. They have a high nutritional content and are very low in calories - which basically means you can eat as much fruit and veg as you want!
    • Go for different colored fruit and vegetables to add interest to your mealtimes while benefiting from a wide range of vitamins and nutrients. Dark, leafy greens such as spinach, kale and cabbage are a particularly good option, as they are packed with vitamins and minerals which contribute to a healthy immune system.
    • If you're in need of a sugar-hit after a long day of work or a hard cardio workout, reach for a banana. They will provide you with the carbohydrate -filled energy boost you need without the accompanying crash that comes from eating chocolate and other junk food. Bananas also lower blood pressure, help the digestive system and improve your mood. What's not to love?[8]
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    Drink more water. Water improves the appearance of skin, hair and nails while also flushing harmful toxins out of the body. Drinking a glass of water before mealtimes will also help you to eat less, as it stops your body from confusing symptoms of thirst with hunger.
    • If you have implemented an intense workout routine, drinking water is also important to prevent dehydration, which can cause headaches and a loss of muscle function.
    • You should replace any carbonated drinks - regular and diet - with water. Carbonated drinks are full of empty calories and harmful, processed sweeteners which build up your system and cause bloating and weight gain. They should be the first thing to go when you're trying to shed pounds!


  • Have confidence! Even if you don't turn out to have a complete hourglass figure, don't be disappointed, you are as close to it as you can get!
  • Maintain your diet, exercises and techniques for keeping that gorgeous figure.
  • Skirts and sweetheart neck dresses are also very flattering.
  • Don't expect a perfect hourglass figure; body shape is something that your born with and you shouldn't have to change that.


  • Do not pull corsets too tightly. They may restrict blood and air flow.
  • Consult your doctor before trying out any of these workouts if you have had a past injury.

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Categories: Losing Weight | Nutrition and Lifestyle Eating