Style and Styling

Is Your Shape Gr8?

The 8 Body Shape

Happy day, my dear reader!

Welcome to this third style school refresher about body shapes! If you missed the first two, you can read about the A Shape here, and the X Shape here. I’m not playing fair with the title today… It’s a trick question! All shapes are great! And it is so much easier to shop and dress if you know your shape and what works best for it. The shape I want to talk about today is near and dear to my heart, the 8 Shape.

If you have been with me all along, you might remember that in the last post I talked about there being two hourglass shapes. It’s true, there are, and the difference in bone structure makes a world of difference in dressing these two curvy waisted shapes. Like the X, the 8 is also a balanced shape, meaning that the visual width of the shoulders and hips is equal (or very close). If you are an hourglass who never looks right in the silhouettes described for an X, you may very well be an 8! I can empathize. I’m an 8 Shape, and all my life was told that those silhouettes were perfect for me, but often they made me look short-er (I’m already short!) and heavier than I am. I didn’t understand why, until I was introduced to the 8, and how differently she dresses.

Finding Your Body Shape

Put Away That Measuring Tape! We have all heard the old 36-24-36 ideal of curvaceous womanhood, but the numbers aren’t the important part! You could be a 36-24-36 A, X, or 8, and each of these shapes has different ways to best maximize her assets. Let’s get brave! To determine your body shape, take a photo of yourself in leggings and a form-fitting cami, or if you are feeling extra brave, a one piece swimsuit. (PS: You may want to delete it as soon as you are done if you share cloud storage. I’d rather not go into it…)

Printing out your picture is even better; it helps to be able to lay a ruler on it. Draw a straight line from your shoulder bone (not the outside of your arm) to the widest part of your hip. For some women this will be the hip bones. For some, the widest part may be across the leg crease. (If the widest part is across your thighs, you’re most likely an A Shape.)

If the line from your hips to your shoulders is vertical (not angled in or out), and your waist is well defined, your body shape is an X or an 8. What? Yes, like I said above, there are two “hourglass” shapes. The difference is the structure of the hip bones. (And that completely changes how to dress these two shapes!) An X Shape’s waist widens smoothly to the hip line, like the legs of that X. The 8 Shape has high hips that create a shelf. Think about a (naked) Barbie doll. Her tiny waist pops right out into her hips. No smooth transition from waist to hips. Another hint that you may be an 8 rather than an X: 8’s are often short-waisted; there’s not a lot of room between the ribcage and those high hipbones. (Love handles are another common 8 feature. No matter how slim we are!) Like the other shapes we’ve discussed so far, 8’s can be very thin, or very curvy; that doesn’t change the fact that they are still 8’s! Some 8’s change shape when they gain weight, depending on where it settles. They may become more H-like (We’ll get to them soon!), or others like me gain in the backside and thighs and become more A Shaped.

Now that you know if you are an 8 Shape, here are some helpful hints. Your body’s scale, proportions, and variations (like bust size, etc.) play into your best choices, but in general…

8’s: What to Wear

Like the lucky X Shaped woman, the 8 already has a balanced figure, but needs to highlight it in a different way than her X Shaped sister. An 8 Shape also wants to create a waist focus, but without creating a “poof” that will further widen the hips. Where the X looks great in an A-line, the 8 looks better in a pencil skirt. Likewise, a sheath dress (especially belted) is usually a better choice than a flared one for the 8. If you are an X that becomes an A when you put on a few pounds (like yours truly), a slight A-line skirt may be more forgiving than the pencil. Longer-waisted 8’s can wear a belt, but many 8’s find belting causes clothing to pop out making the tummy and hips look larger than they are. A belt in the same color as the top or dress brings focus to the waist without shortening it. Fitted pieces belt better than blousy ones, depending on the fabric. Finding trousers that are high enough in the back to cover the “handles” can be a challenge; thank goodness higher rise trousers are making a comeback. Those that hit mid-love-handle or ride below them make an 8 look heavy or sloppy. Well cut peplum tops and jackets flatter an 8; they leave room for that high hip! Tops should end just below that high hipbone. Finding fabrics that drape, but do not cling is key to looking smooth, and not lumpy. Belted coats are fabulous on an 8! They draw attention to that waist, and still have hip room.

8’s: What to Avoid

Tunics, which have been everywhere the past few years, are generally not 8 friendly, unless you find one with waist definition. 8’s should avoid boxy tops, and straight tops and jackets. Wide trousers and flares should be left in the shop, as they widen the figure of an 8 rather than creating balance. The 8 Shaped woman should steer clear of tops that hide the waist, or are too tight across the hips. Pleated skirts are also to be avoided as they can bubble out over the hip, but sewn down pleats that release around the leg crease are often flattering. Staying away from clingy fabrics, and bias cuts that Saran Wrap themselves to your curves will create a smoother, more flattering line.

When You Love It Anyway

If you can’t live without that tunic, belt it! Want to wear that wide legged jean? Then tuck in the front of your top to draw the eye to highlight your waist. Even a 1/2 tuck will do! This particular 8 finds the 1/2-tuck a blessing! It gives definition to my waist, while creating a drape in back that covers my “handles.” If belting a top or jacket creates too much “poof”, try sliding the belt up a little higher, and loosen it a notch to highlight your waist and ease the fabric. And always make sure to shift most of the gathers created to the front and back, away from your hipbones! Tee too blousy, or too long? Create a waist by gathering fabric on the reverse side and securing it with a rubber band  (known as a Kimtuck), or pull the excess together at the hem, slip the tail through a belt loop, and into your waistband. (You can see here how pulling the fabric in creates a waist focus.)

So how about you? Have you found your body shape yet? If you are an 8, did some lights go on as you read this? Or are you an X who has been trying to dress in the shapes that work better for an 8? Share your experience in the comments below… I love to hear from you!

Stylishly yours,





  • Sal

    This makes SO MUCH sense to me…I always thought I was a pear as was very self conscious of what I saw as big bum/thighs but while getting a bra fitted the lady said I was in fact hourglass…I know the bottoms for each could be ‘pouffy’ and made me look wider but fine knits and slim skirts didn’t! Now I know why!
    Do you have any tips on casual styles as I feel it’s quite ‘dressy’ ?

    • Liz K

      We 8’s usually find a narrower bottom (It doesn’t need to be a “skinny”) with a mid-rise most flattering, Sal. The back of the jeans or trousers needs to come up over the hips. Half-tucked tops show off our waists and leave the back loose to cover any possible love-handles! Figuring out I was an 8 rather than an A or X was wardrobe changing!

  • SH

    Hello, I read your article and I think I finally found out why I never could find out my body type. I never heard of Nr 8 shape before.
    It is very clear to me (since ever!) That I have a short waist and high hip. I am medium sized (1,68 m and clothes size 38/M) with medium breast (European size 80B). This never really fitted into the body types I knew.
    I have a question concerning the belly. I have 4 children and they left a soft and bit rounded belly, that is not extremely prominent but it is definitely there.
    I always prefered pencil skirts and straight trouser legs. I usually wear top pieces that are not tight but close to the body or have a waist . But it’s not easy to find the perfect top piece, because empire waistline and peplum make me look a bit pregnant.
    I often wear higher waisted skirts and trousers and tuck in the top because I think this shows my (high) waist.
    Do you have a tipp for other cuts that I might try?
    I look forward to answers and I must say I really like your information! 🙂

    • Liz K

      Hi, Sarah! It’s tricky being an 8-Shape; I should know, I’m an 8, too. Welcome to the club! So many style gurus lump both the hourglass shapes into one and what works for the X doesn’t always work for us. Sounds like you are on the right page with pencil skirts and straighter/more narrow trousers. One 8-Shape challenge is with finding bottoms that rise over our hip and curve properly into the waist. I need to get a good 75% of my bottoms altered. Trousers that are too low in the rise (especially in the back) leave much to be desired. Empire tops can make LOTS of shapes look pregnant, Sarah, so you’re not alone there. Some tips: Don’t give up on the peplum–Look for those that don’t have gathers, but rather a smooth cut, like an A-line skirt. That should give you less “poof.” Try dresses in both petite and regular sizes; sometimes the shorter waist on a petite dress will create a better line, especially if it flares. When belting, I often belt at my ribcage, which is larger than my waist; this gives more space for my hips and creates less of the “poof.” AND keep an eye open for wrapped or ruched waist tops to wear over trousers or jeans. Hope this helps!

  • Claudia

    Any tips on knits/sweaters and cardigans for an 8 shape? In winter time I find it really difficult with all those boxy knits that hide your figure. The only thing that looks good is a turtleneck but I’d like some variation in my wardrobe. Many thanks!

    • Liz K

      Thank you for commenting, Claudia! The sweater struggle is real, especially 2021-2023. So many of the sweaters (AND blazers, ugh.) are long and boyfriend-y again (Read: Shapeless); it’s a struggle for a curvy or waisted shape to find a flattering topper. When searching online, I look for the descriptor “cropped”, or hunt for petites since they will be shorter in length. Also looking for lightweight knits rather than bulky or “chunky” sweaters will be more adaptable to your waisted shape. Belting sweaters, jackets and cardies can be an 8’s best strategy. A belt in the same color as the sweater/topper is a great way to extend the line creating a flattering look. Another option with a boxy sweater is half-tucking the front to define your waist.

  • Irena

    What do you suggest for the workout type clothes? I am an 8 shape and started taking an adult ballet class. I hate how I look in leggings and a t-shirt and I dislike wearing anything fitted, those hips and hips shelves make me self-conscious.

    • Liz K

      Hi, Irena! Sorry about the delayed response. I’m only checking in weekly or so right now. I don’t think you’re going to like what I have to say, but here it goes: You are taking a ballet class. It’s important to be able to see your body and placement in the studio mirrors. If you don’t like leggings and a tee, try ballet tights and a leotard. If you want to downplay your hip bones, wrap on a ballet skirt. Hip shelves are just bones! Do your elbows sticking out make you self-conscious? Or ankle bones? Your skeleton is beautiful and has been supporting your body and carrying you about all your life long. It’s hard to learn to love the things we think are flaws, but I know plenty of women who would love to see a waist and hip shelf… Embrace your unique shape and beauty, Irena!

    • Liz K

      I LOVE this question, Christina! 8’s are more likely to have hip dips and love handles. A’s are more likely to have “saddlebags”. I’m a combo 8 and A. When I put on weight, I’m blessed with the handles and the ‘bags. Just lucky I guess. When I’m more trim, I get the handles and the ‘dips. Are you feeling like you are more an 8, X, or A?

      • Christina

        HiLiz, I am not sure. I think I might be an hourglass, but I don’t know which one of them. I think I had saddle bags when I was heavier. My bust is very small, but I guess hourglasses too can have small busts.

        • Liz K

          Yes, Christina, you can have a small bust and still be one of the two hourglass figures! Body shape is about your skeleton and bust size is about fatty and fleshy tissue. Many other body shape typing systems work off measurements rather than your frame, or skeleton.

        • Liz K

          Yes, Christina, body shape analysis is one of the services I provide to my clients. Please email me and let me know if you are interested!

          • Liz K

            That is the correct address, Christina! And comments do not show until they have been moderated… When I first started blogging, I ran afoul of some trolls and had to change my comments setting. I’ll reply to your email later today!

    • Liz K

      Yes, 8-Shapes can carry some tummy weight, particularly after menopause… Depending on how much tummy, peplum tops are great for 8’s and can be good for hiding tummies! My suggestions will vary depending on how tall or not you are. A column of color is also a great way to draw attention away from the mid-section. If the tummy protrudes past the bust, we move into O-Shape territory and grabbing some tips from there should help. Thank you for reading and commenting, Carillee! Hope that helps!

  • Tracy Nelson

    I am definitely an 8 shape. I can’t wear low rise jeans because my waist is so short and it will create a muffin top or love handles. I have to wear mid wise and high rise jeans. I love wrap dresses and peplum tops.

    • Liz K

      Sounds right, Tracy! Finding out I was an 8-Shape (and not an hourglass) changed not only how I dress, but how I feel about my body and my wardrobe! All those guides that lump both hourglass shapes (X and 8) together and dress them the same frustrate me. Thank you for coming by and commenting!

  • Chelsea

    I have always struggled with figuring out my body shape but just had an epiphany recently. Everyone would say oh you are pear shaped because I was big on bottom but I always had balanced shoulders. I didn’t feel totally right identifying as hourglass but looking at my slim up top sister who is a true A shape, I knew it wasn’t right. I realized I’m short waisted and I have a tiny waist that immediately juts to a wide hip with full bust and tendency to gain weight in upper arms and upper thighs as well as belly. I’m an 8! I’ve always loved straight cuts! Skirts, pants, leggings, and jeans. It all makes sense now!

    • closetplayadmin

      Thank you for the visit, Chelsea! As a fellow 8-sister, the struggle is real! So many of those silhouettes that work for other hourglasses just don’t for us… Even though we are technically hourglasses, too! Glad to be of service.

    • Sally walker

      Hello ;l have wide hips and shorter waist but still have a high hip,am l still a figure 8 hourglass figure?am beggining to doubt it

  • Gail Hanlon

    Definitely an 8 – some lights went on as I was reading this! Tunics and boxy shapes (denim jackets) are terrible on me. I do like belts, the wide waist-defining sort which have some elastic at the back to avoid the poof! Great series Liz.

    • closetplayadmin

      Glad you found it helpful, Gail! I just leave tunics behind, or pretend a dress is a tunic, but I have found denim jackets work if they have the right shaping! That elastic in belts can be a godsend…

        • Galram

          Hello, wonderful article. My question is regarding wedding dresses. I know I’m an 8 and would like to get an idea of what kind of wedding dresses would be more flattering for my body shape. Any out of the box ideas welcomed. 🙂

          • Liz K

            We 8 Shapes look better in sheath style dresses rather than gathered skirts. Think princess seams and tailoring to create fit, rather than a waistband and poof. Most mermaid dresses have the shape I would look for through the torso. I’d also avoid a strapless dress, the straps create a longer line from the hip to the shoulder and with our higher hips, we can use that extra length! A nice straight or gentle A-line skirt would be best. Hope that helps!

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