Real Life Body Shapes – X

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X shapes (hourglass figures) have defined waists, but their shoulders and hips are the same width (unlike the A who has wider hips than shoulders).  There is a longer straighter slope from waist to hips (unlike the high shelf-like curve of the 8 shape).

You can see that the X shape has a much lower widest point than the 8 shape.

X shapes are often longer through the body, but the length can vary (like all body shapes there are a myriad of options)

Some Xs as they gain weight will start to lose their defined waist and become more H shaped.  Others will keep a more defined waist and become more of an A shape.

How to dress your X shape:

  • It’s all about highlighting your lovely waist.  Wearing a well supporting bra will help to enhance your waist and make it more defined.  Don’t to forget to adjust your bra straps every 3 or 4 washes.
  • Don’t be afraid to tuck and belt.
  • Try belting over cardigans and jackets as well as tops.
  • The wrap dress is ideal for you.  Dresses in general can really enhance your feminine figure.  From sheath dresses to shirt dresses, try them on for size.
  • Bootleg jeans are ideal for your shape.  If you want to wear skinny jeans, wear with knee-high boots over the top to balance, or a tunic top to mid-thigh.
  • Avoid whiskering and distressing of jeans.
  • Patch pockets on pants or coats should be avoided.
  • Avoid low-rise jeans – commonly X shapes have a longer rise, and need a higher rise so that when they sit down their underwear is not exposed.
  • You will often find that wide-waistbands sit better on your waist than narrow ones.
  • A-lines are your friend – whether in dress or skirt shapes.  Make sure the fabric has as soft drape so that it doesn’t sit stiffly away from your body.
  • Skirts with pleats and gathers that fall from the low hip are flattering.
  • You will often find that more open necklines are the most attractive, they draw attention up toward your face.
  • Gored and trumpet shapes can work well.  Look for fabrics with some weight (but not stiffness) that doesn’t cling.
  • Keep tops to just under your high  hip bone, avoid pulling your tops down to hide your bottom or thighs, as this will actually draw more attention to them.
  • Darker bottoms and lighter tops are more flattering for you than the other way around.
  • You will probably find that skirts that end around the knee are the most flattering length.
  • Single breasted jackets are more flattering than double breasted.  Avoid ones that end just under the bottom, keep them either shorter, or 3/4 length.
  • Many X shapes have shorter legs, and will find it hard to buy trousers that don’t pull across the crotch. Skirts can often work better for your shape, especially if you have a longer rise.
  • To elongate your legs when wearing trousers, match shoe colour to your trousers, and keep the hem as long as possible, without dragging on the ground.  Cropped trousers are not as flattering on your figure.
  • Creases down the front of your trousers will also help elongate your legs.
  • Look for denims with a vertical weave.
  • Boxy shapes are not a good fit for your body.

Celebrities with X shaped body include Fergie, Halle Berry and Scarlett Johansson.

For more on dressing your X shape read up here.

Comments

  1. ChristineB says:

    The side-by-side comparison of the X and 8 here is so very helpful! Thank you, Imogen!!!

  2. I had the impression I was an X but wondered how I could differentiate it from the 8 shape. You showed the difference in such a clear and didactic way that I must write HUGE thanks to you!!!

  3. Imogen Lamport, AICI CIP says:

    Erica – it's the fabulous readers who have been brave enough to be models who need to be thanked!

  4. Pauline says:

    This is great Imogen! And truly a big thank-you to all the models for making the post practical and relevant to us readers.

  5. I have never been able to figure out my body shape — I believe you have clarified it for me at last — I'm an X! Thank you, and thanks to the models.

  6. Great post Imogen. I am pretty sure I am an X too. My legs are longer and body shorter than your examples. (I have emailed you a photo). I often wear pencil skirts – are these ok for an X? I have been wearing more belts lately too, however I find them a bit constricting when sitting down all day at the desk – probably due to my short waist. I find the shorter jackets much better than long ones too.

  7. ChristineB says:

    I forgot to mention – I also appreciate seeing heavier/"fluffier" versions of the body shapes, and understanding how one shape can morph into another when one gains weight. My SIL is just over 5' and 200+ pounds, and I'd like to sew some more flattering clothing for her than the tent-like t-shirts and baggy jeans she usually wears, but I want to be sure that the things I make for her will highlight her assets. That is, if I can convince her to let me take her measurements someday!

  8. jinnan-tonnyx says:

    Can you explain more about why trousers pull across the crotch on X shapes? I am an X and whenever I buy a new pair of pants my husband always says they don't fit right – and I tell him, they are the right size but ALL my pants have the little horizontal pull line at the bottom of the crotch.

  9. Jesslyn says:

    I love when you do the line drawings on photos! It makes it so perfectly clear!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Wow, this post has been a revelation! I am a new reader and absolutely love these real life body shape features, please keep them coming!

    I now believe that I am an X as well and I have the same horizontal line at the crotch problem mentioned above. Would love some clarification as to why this happens, thanks.

  11. Pearlaceous says:

    I love this series and it's so interesting to see this comparison, Imogen! Would the 8 shape have a tendency to put weight on her high hip and the X shape have a tendency to put weight on her low hip?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Came across your blog today from corporette.com. I love it. What great advice and wonderful posts! I will be a regular reader.

  13. Thank you very much for this. I had always thought I was an A because of my prominent hips and almost nonexistent bust. (My hips measure 6" larger than my bust….and I'm size 0/00!) But the width of my shoulders is about the same as my low hips…does that mean I'm really an X and bust size doesn't figure into it?

    Luckily the advice for what clothes work for X and A shapes are very similar, so I guess it doesn't really matter a whole lot?

    Like others, I'd be interested in hearing about your thoughts on the cause of the horizontal lines and how to eliminate them as well.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hello! I would like to ask you wich body shape I am… My measurements are 36C-28-39. I have high waist. My boobs are bigger than booty. I tend to gain weight in high hips and legs, but my widest area are still low hips. I also tend to gain weight in my stomach, but I can make it smaller just in a week. My legs look heawy. My shoulder are as wide as my hips. They are straight and skinny. My height is 169 cm.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Hi Imogen,

    Thanks a lot for this post. I am totally an X (including the typical features you mentioned – long rise, short legs, etc).

    What complicates my life is that I am a relaxed/natural personality, so skirts and dresses are not an obvious choice, though I use long skirts with flat shoes successfully.

    My body also hates being tied up, so no belts of tucking in – drives me nuts.

    I suppose I am lucky to live in the age of knits, where my waist can be shown off without discomfort that way.

    Like you said, finding pants of the right size is a nightmare esp. with the popularity of low rises. I find Mavi Molly jeans do the trick more or less.

    Would you have any tips specifically for a natural/relaxed X?

    Thanks a ton for all your posts! If I lives closer to you, I'd be a client for sure.

    - tall & slim anon

  16. Kanerou says:

    Good to see this! I am the woman who asked about dressing plus-sized Xs a few months ago (though I may have gone into an A shape at this point). What would an X or A do when she has gained a lot of size in the high hip area (but still is larger in the lower hips)? Will A-line skirts still work?

  17. argylerabbit says:

    I've only just come across this post but I just wanted to say thank you! I'm most definitely an X-shape – and I too could never figure what Trinny & Susannah would define me as.

  18. Heather Fonseca says:

    This is an amazing post! I can never figure out if I'm an hourglass or a pear (my measurements are 40, 32, 45) But reading this I was like "oh that's so right on target! the widest point of my hips is actually quite a few inches under my hip bones. Well now I know. Thank you!

    Love,
    Heather 
    http://heathersdesignblog.com/

  19. Anonymous says:

    Am I correct in assuming that an X has a straight shoulder line while an 8 has sloped shoulders? I'm thinking the difference between the 2 shapes has something to do with the shoulders as well as the hips and thighs. Also, can an X be short waisted (with a long rise)?

  20. Anonymous says:

    What should an X shape with a tummy do with respect to rise? If I want to wear pants at my natural waist, they tend to dig in when I sit down.

    -Rainee

  21. Denim is a twill (diagonal) weave but one can find denim with a visible vertical grain.

  22. This is the best page ever! I’m so happy I found it! Now I know I’m an X shape with a small waistline and thanks to your tips, I no longer need to look like shit! :) LOL Yay

  23. pragmatic says:

    I have always thought myself a spoon and with weight gain a pear.. but now I think I may be a hybrid x after all! Being a petite gal just shy of five feet, dressing my lower body it’s pure agony.you’ve showed me the light that all my normal or low rise pants simply do not work on my long torso!
    Always compromising between my small waist and big thighs, the largest point of my body that collects the most fat. I normally get the larger size up so The waist band is always loose but at least the pants fit comfortably around the thighs. Also pants are always too long but hey that’s a given.

    I have given up on pants and go for skirts.I strongly advise against any detail that brings attention to the thigh area. Pockets zips and the like, no rouching either. I may be a size xx small but my lower body just feels so out of proportion to my upper body! Small bust and narrow shoulders. The only good thing is that I can pretty much layer on as much as I want and not look huge

    • So many of us need alterations to make off the rack clothing work! No matter what your size, there are always compromises and adjustments to make.

  24. I am confused on whether I am an X or an 8. I have the shelf described in the 8 shape. However, if I measure circumference, my hips are wider lower down like X, but I don’t feel the X description really describes me as I have no problem with low-rise jeans (bootcut or skinny both look great). My shoulders are slightly less or exactly the same width as the widest part of my hips. The 8 description sounds closer to what I normally wear (if I am dressing correctly for my shape anyway). I can’t really relate to the pictures. It’s the waist to hip ratio that is throwing me off. I realize there are variations since no 2 bodies are exactly the same, but is it possible to be between 2 shapes or am I just too used to seeing myself to tell?

  25. lk

  26. Hi, recently discovered your blog and LOVE it, just the kind of blog I was looking for, some general tips on how to wear, not just loads of outfits. But, I have to say that I discovered I’m an 8-shape but don’t like the skirts, so I’d rather dress like an X-shape (love A-line skirts). I wonder if it’s better to dress like your personality tells you or like your body tells you.
    Really thanks for your blog (which I visit several times a day, and will continue in the future)
    Ana recently posted..upcycling – transformar un vestido en una faldaMy Profile

  27. Can you be a short-waisted X? And if so, does that change some of the suggestions?

    • Yes your proportions are a different piece of the dressing puzzle You may have a short waist and long rise and still be an X shape

  28. Hi I love this site, you have saved my sanity. After years and even more so recently, stressing and worrying thinking I was going mad as couldn’t find jeans or trousers to fit me properly at all or be comfortable, it is ok to know that I am not the only one who has this problem and it is ok to wear skirts and tunics etc. I came across this site and have worked out I am an X, here is the new beginning.
    Thank you so much and keep up the great work.

  29. Hi, I am loving your blog / website and find the information so so helpful and reassuring too. One question, from your information I am an X shape, I am having trouble with skirts in that the waist bands are gappy and therefore, the skirts rise up, making me feel uncomfortable and they then bunch up at the front, particularly if wearing a front zip up one, making my stomach look even bigger than what it is. Is this something other X’s find and if so, is there a way round it or a way to disguise it at all or should I stick to dresses and tunics? Any advise would be appreciated. Many thanks. Lou x

    • You need to have the waistband taken in. Manufacturers aren’t making for your shape. All Xs need to have waists of most of their clothing altered to fit – find a great alterations person to make sure all your clothes fit correctly.

  30. Hello again, is anyone able to offer some advice through their own experiences or Imogen another brain storm from you would be majorly appreciated. As I have found out and said before, I am an X, I love the look and style of jeans with boots etc but have found that I cannot find any to fit me properly, gappy waistbands, muffin tops etc but have recently come across high rise jeggings, now my question is how can I wear these with layers and not just tunics or dresses that I seem to live in at the moment, I looking for a bit of variety. Any help is welcome. Thanks and keep up the fabulous site!

    Lou x

    • continuing from that, I have just done the body proportion video and it shows that I short waisted and longer from chin to breast, my legs are short but in proportion if that makes sense? Help please x

      • sorry and….. I am feeling a bit frumpy wearing dresses/tunics everyday, Please and thanks for any assistance, early days to all this but loving the information. L x

    • Louise – there are more brands now that make jeans with smaller waistbands – the Levi Curve range may be worth a shot.

  31. Dear Imogen,
    thank you for sharing your insights. I enjoy reading your blog since a long time now. Searching for a good skirt I wondered if you would help me determine my body shape. I wanted to send you a picture of me but it does not come up in the comment. Is there another way to send it to you?

    Thank you!

Trackbacks

  1. […] clear and easy to understand descriptions of body types, and tips for dressing them. Her series on real life body shapes is especially helpful. I spent hours reading through these when I first found her […]

  2. […] some bias: In addition to having wide hips, I have a long rise because I am a strange Figure 8/X Shape hybrid on the bottom half. I have a long, high hip with a low round curve and a very short waist. So, read […]

  3. […] Real Life Body Shapes – X Shape […]

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