Hips… we all have them, we all use them, but what exactly are they?
In technical terms, your hips are the ball-and-socket joints where your thigh bone meets your pelvis. Which is great and all, but what does this mean to someone without a degree in biology? And where exactly are the hips?
Not where you think. Most of us think of our hips as the widest part of the body. Newsflash: they’re not. Measure around 7-8 inches down from the narrowest part of your torso, and you’ll hit your hips.
Despite what fashion designers seem to think, there’s no such thing as the ‘average’ body. We’re all unique, and thank the Lord for that. Who wants a world of identikit clones?
Some of us have curves to spare. Others have steely abs and legs to heaven. The one universal truth is that no two bodies are the same… and neither are two pairs of hips. But while each of us is unique, most of us have bodies that fit (at least roughly) into a general category. And a lot of what makes us fall into one category rather than another is down to our hips, and how our hips work in proportion to our waists and busts.
So, how many types of hips are there? 5. Stick with us to find out what those are, and how to tell which type you have.
If you’ve stuck with us so far, you’ll know there are 5 types of hips. But what are the types?
Everyone has their own terminology, but as a general rule, most people would categorize the hip types as:
There’s no point in knowing the names of the hip types if you don’t know which kind you have. So, which type are YOU?
A-Line - If your body curves gradually from the waist to the hips and thighs in a gentle line without any sharp angles or bulges, then congratulations! You have an A-line body shape.
Square Shaped - If your skinny jeans leave you looking more flat than va-va-voom, you’ve probably got square shaped hips. Your hips are likely to measure the same (or come in just a little larger) than your waist and you’re likely to have a wide pelvic area or a few extra love handles.
Heart-Shaped - Got an average-sized waist, narrow hips, and a high hip flare? Then you’ve got a heart-shaped hip structure. Your hip line is likely to curve out sharply from the waist, giving you a slight muffin top when you wear tight pants. But don’t let that muffin top bring you down: girls blessed with heart-shaped hips are likely to have the kind of long, slim legs the rest of us can only dream of.
Triangle Shaped - The triangle shape is characterized by wide hips and thighs curving out almost diagonally from an average waist.
Narrow - Take a look at your body in a full-length mirror. If your hips seem slight in comparison to the rest of your body, you’ve got narrow hips.
Round - If your hips are so curvaceous that your back seems to protrude, you have round hips.
Wide hips are a thing in their own right. But not all wide hips are the same. Some are accompanied by a jutting back and bottom, others flair gently from the waist with no bulges or lumps.
So how do you know if you have round hips, triangle-shaped hips, or A-line hips?
Simple. Stand in front of a full-length mirror and take a look. Preferably, do it either naked, in your underwear, or in something thin and close-fitting.
Take a good look at your profile and work out the widest part of your lower half. Do a few twists and turns. Then refer back to the previous section on hip types to work out exactly what kind of wide hips you’ve been blessed with.
Take a look in the mirror and study your profile. If your hipbone is set above or in line with your belly button and your silhouette is shaped like the number 8, you’ve got high hips… something you’re probably already aware of if you’ve ever worn a pair of low rise pants and seen just how low they ride.
You’ll probably also notice that your torso looks quite short in certain clothes… although, on the plus side, your legs are likely to go on for days.
If your hips are set several inches below your navel, you have low hips. If they’re in line with your belly button, they’re high. And what does it mean? Nothing very much, really. High hips are just as good as low hips, and low hips are a worthy match for high hips. The only real impact it has comes down to the kind of clothes that’ll suit you best.
If you have high hips…
Look for streamlined dresses - Women with high hips can look short in the torso. To add some length, look for streamlined dresses with clean lines that skim over your hips. If you’ve got a tiny waist, emphasize it with a fit and flare dress.
Try a lengthening top - The one thing every woman with high hips wants to do is elongate their torso. Look for V-neck and scoop neck tops that add inches to your length, and choose a loose fit that skims your hips, rather than clings to them. Leaving a shirt untucked can also work wonders at making your body look longer than it really is.
Go monochrome - When it comes to lengthening power, monochrome has it beat. Match a pair of dark pants with a dark top (or light pants with a light top) and a pair of skintone pumps to give the illusion of a long, streamlined silhouette.
Choose high rise pants - If you have high hips, you’ll know that low-rise pants sit low on you. Really, really low. To avoid embarrassment, look for pants with a mid to high rise. And never underestimate the power of a flare or bootcut style to add a more streamlined look.
Avoid embellishments - High hips are nothing to be ashamed of, but if you want a streamlined silhouette, you might want to avoid drawing too much attention to that area with pocket embellishments or details.
Don’t tuck - Tucking your shirt into your pants may look smart, but it’ll also cut your torso in two… something you probably don’t want to do when your torso is on the shorter side.
If you have low hips….
Try shaping underwear - Corsets might not have the best of reputations when it comes to comfort, but these days, you’ll find no end of waist belts, and shapewear that’s as comfortable as it is flattering. If your low hips leave you looking a little shapeless, try one on for size- you’ll be surprised at the difference.
Try a bubble top - If you have low hips, you might want to add a little extra volume to give the illusion of curves. A bubble or peplum top that flares out from the waist can make a dramatic difference to your silhouette.
Narrow hips vs wide hips
If you have narrow hips, your waistline is probably less defined than you’d like. Your hips might also look out of proportion in relation to your chest and shoulders. To make the most of your figure, look for clothes that balance out your figure.
Avoid tube tops - Tube tops can make your body look boyish: stick to crew neck tops or ones with gathered necklines to add a feminine flourish.
Learn the power of a pencil skirt - A knee-length pencil skirt will add curves where there are none. Choose one in a horizontal pattern to accentuate the effect.
Choose a pant with a high pocket - Pop on a pair of skinny jeans with a high back pocket and a low rise and say ‘hello’ to your newly curvy self.
Women with wide hips can sometimes feel self-conscious about their god-given cures. Don’t be. Choose the right clothes, and those hips will be the envy of everyone you know.
Choose an empire line waistline - An empire line top or dress that flows out from beneath the bust will skim your hips and hide any lumps or bumps in the tummy area.
Love an A-line - An A-line skirt or dress will help balance out large hips and make your shape look better proportioned.
Go for separates - If your hips are much wider than the rest of you, you might struggle to find a dress that fits. Learn to love the two-piece: you’ll be able to accommodate those hips without drowning the rest of your figure in the process.
Some women’s hips start at the belly button. Others start several inches lower. If your hips sit low on your torso, you have a low hip flare. As this is usually accompanied by an elegant silhouette and a long, slender torso, embrace it.
Look for clothes that add extra inches to your leg length, and opt for a high waist jean with a tucked-in top to add balance.
10 years ago, thinness was next to godliness. Anyone with more than an inch to pinch was considered as fashionable as tinned spaghetti. And then along came J-Lo, Kim Kardashian, et al, and suddenly curves were in. And rightly so.
Wide hips are considered a sign of fertility in many cultures, and a sign of downright desirability in others. You might spend countless hours bemoaning your bootyliciousness, but trust us, no one else is.
There’s no particular reason why your hips are the size they are. Genetic and environmental factors both play a part, but ultimately, you are what you are.
Don’t feel ashamed of those curves or hide them away under baggy clothes: once you start accentuating and making the most of those feminine hips, you’ll soon start appreciating them.
Some hips are wide. Some hips are narrow. Bodyweight obviously plays a part – if you’re a cardio- fitness queen who dines on salad and water, your hips are naturally going to be less well-padded than someone with a little more flesh on their bones.
But ultimately, there’s no particular rhyme or reason why your hips are narrower than your friend’s (although you might want to take a look at your mom’s hips– if they veer more to the slender than the curvaceous, then there’s your reason right there) and there’s no reason why they should be.
You don’t need a tape measure to work out whether you’re curvy or not. A mirror and a degree of self-awareness will usually do the trick. But let’s get technical for a second. If you want to find out the truth about your figure, measure both your hips and waist.
If the differential between the two is .75, then congrats… you have the kind of curvy body that women want and men go weak at the knees over.
What’s the ideal hip size? From a health perspective, a waist to hip ratio of.80 or less is considered to be healthy or safe. And from an aesthetic perspective? 36 inches. Or maybe 46. No, scratch that, let's go for 38.
Essentially, there’s NO ‘ideal’ hip size, just as there’s no ‘ideal’ body. Love what you have, embrace your curves (or lack thereof), and no one is going to care less whether your rocking 50-inch hips or 32-inch ones.
To measure your hips, stand in front of a full-length mirror with your feet together. Make sure you’ve removed any bulky outerwear before you start.
Find the widest part of your bottom half. Whether you have high hips or low hips, this is the part that represents your hip size. Use a tape measure to take your measurement, making sure it’s snug but not so tight as to give a false result.