Types of Clothing That Make Your Hips Look Wider in All the Right Ways

We all want that sultry hourglass silhouette, but if curves aren’t exactly your strong point, you may be left wondering just how to make them pop. Yes, you can do squats to boost that butt — but, in the short term, your wardrobe can be just as effective as your workout.

Follow these sartorial moves for instant curve appeal. These 10 types of clothing will give you an hourglass frame in no time flat.

1. Trumpet or pencil skirts

woman wearing red skirt with striped handbag clutch and sunglasses

A figure-skimming pencil skirt shows off your hips in the right way. | iStock.com/visoook

While looser skirts simply disguise your hips, a surefire way to show off your backside and make your hips look wider is with a pencil or trumpet skirt. A pencil skirt features a close-fitting silhouette that widens at the hips then narrows towards the legs, while the fit-and-flare styling of a trumpet skirt adds a curvy shape from the waist through the hips creating something of a booty-shelf. Plus, the feminine flare draws the eye down to the butt area making it a focal point.

2. Structured pleating

Diane Kruger

Put structured pleats to work in widening the hips. | Julien M. Hekimian/Getty Images

To make your hips look wider, you want to add bulk — but in the right way. We are all familiar with those tulip skirts and bubble skirts that pouf out and certainly add volume. But, more often than not, it isn’t the most flattering of ways. Instead, look to a skirt with structured pleating to add more figure-flattering heft. It’s important that the pleats are rendered in a fabric that’s sturdy enough to support them. Scuba fabrics work well for this.

3. Horizontal lines or color-blocking

Smiling beautiful young woman in black and white striped dress

Horizontal and diagonal lines will widen the hip area. | iStock.com/loco75

We all know the rule — vertical lines, always. But, fashion rules are meant to be broken. And, when you’re trying to make your hips look fuller, it’s a good idea to skip the verticality. Why? Those up and down lines provide the illusion of lengthening and elongating, which can de-emphasize the hips and butt.

Instead, use geometry to your advantage with the widening effect of horizontal or even horizontally diagonal lines. Horizontal color-blocking is another great option, in which one panel of color meets the other panel of color right below the butt.

4. Bold prints

Neelam Gill attends the Elle Style Awards 2017

Bold patterns draw attention to the hips. | Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

As with stripes, a graphic print or pattern manifested in a skirt or pants can create instant curves — and instant hips — as it draws attention to the area you want to enhance. An added bonus? They’re never boring. So, don’t be afraid to go bold!

5. Waist-cinching silhouettes

A model poses at the Frame Denim presentation during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Cinch in your middle with a high-waist skirt and a belt. | Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Speaking of the midsection, silhouettes that nip in at your natural waist are an effortless way to make your backside look round. It’s all about tricking the eye again here, as the smaller your waist looks, the bigger and wider your hips will appear. So, instead of shapeless shift dresses and low-rise pants or jeans, wear hourglass-shaped frocks, sophisticated peplum styles, and high-waist skirts and pants. Or, try nipping in the waist with a wide belt. Cropped tops and jackets are also a great way to highlight a narrow waist.

6. Body-con dresses

Lady in black dress with lace back

Body-con dresses give your hips a boost. | iStock.com/grinvalds

Body-con dresses that cling to your figure can be an excellent option to enhance your hips. This is especially true if that backside has gone into hiding with the looser dresses that may be in your closet. Don’t be afraid of the tighter silhouette, either.

7. White or light colored pants

A guest during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Pastel pink pants are totally allowed when it comes to enhancing your backside. | Timur Emek/Getty Images

It’s usually advisable to stick to black or dark colors for the most slimming, flattering appeal. But, if you’re trying to boost your butt, there is no need to walk on the dark side. Come into the light with white or light colored pants. They’ll naturally direct attention to your hips and backside because of their lighter hue. 

8. Skinny jeans with stretch

teen girl's thumbs hooked in jeans beltloops

Skinny jeans will cling to the hips — in all the right ways. | iStock.com/MrPants

Jeans can be your best friend when it comes to enhancing the hip area. Swap out any baggier or straight styles that just promote a flat backside for skinny jeans. The tighter fit will immediately draw attention to the hip and butt area. But, you want to be careful that your jeans feature a curvy fit and a stretch fabric that hugs the booty in all the right ways. If your skinny jeans are too tight, without the right fit and stretch, they will squash down the butt instead.

9. Small pockets

close-up of a zipper on some jeans

Put optical illusions to work for you with pocket size and placement. | Pixabay

When you’re choosing jeans and pant styles, make sure to pay attention to the pockets. They should be on the smaller side and placed a bit higher on the butt than usual. This will make your backside and hips look curvier.

10. Structured fabric

Fashion concept

Structured looks can enhance the hip area. | iStock.com/SomeMeans

The type of fabric and its tailoring plays a big role in how wide your hips look. Flimsy fabrics, most notably used in skirts and dresses, can hang limp around your hips, disguise any shape whatsoever and make your hips disappear. Structured fabrics — as in an A line skirt or a tailored dress — should be worn instead, as they will provide the right shape and prevent any visual sagginess.