June 21, 2021 4 min read

What is a Curvy Body Type?

Using the term "curvy" twenty years ago, conjured up images of hourglass bombshells with tiny waists and generous busts and hips. It was all about the extreme hip to waist ratio, regardless of size. Today the term "curvy" is used to describe fuller, rounder figures of all proportions. Which ever is the true "curvy" body, we love and celebrate them all. 

Our model, Riley, wears size 18. Black Double Frill Bikini Top and High Cut Pant.

Classic Hourglass

The classic hourglass figure is the original curvy body type. Think retro pinup girls, Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, or even modern day muses such as Kim Kardashian. This body type is revered for its balanced bust and hip proportions with a small waist measurement. More about the proportions than actual size, the classic hourglass "curvy" body type is synonymous with femininity and sex appeal. 

While it is still appropriate to consider this body type "curvy", it is more likely to hear it referred to as "hourglass". Dressing this body type can be both a breeze and a challenge. Stretch fabrics, including swimwear, work beautifully for the curvy hourglass figure. You want to show off these gorgeous proportions with fitted dresses and separates.

Challenges usually arise for this body type when trying to find jeans. Often the waistband is too big and gapes at the back. Fortunately many denim designers have created stretch styles and high waisted jeans that fit hourglass curves properly. 

Swimwear shopping is easy for hourglass curves. Bikinis are made for you and you'll love figure hugging styles that show off your waistline, while fitting your curves beautifully. 


Our model, Margaret, shows off her hourglass figure in size 16. Royal Blue Lace Up One Piece.

Plus Size and Curvy 

Here at Curvy Swimwear, we are experts on fitting generous, plus size bodies in swimwear and clothing that works for the modern day "curvy" body type. These days we have moved beyond using the term "curvy" exclusively for hourglass figures and opened up the category to include beautiful bodies with rounded silhouettes in all sizes. 

It has now become commonplace to use the term "curvy" to refer to bodies that are above the average size, which is an Australian size 16. This is our most popular size here at Curvy Swimwear and we find it baffling that some retailers don't even stock to this size. They are clearly missing out on a huge market crying out for on trend styles that fit and flatter their "average" bodies. 

The way we like to cater to "curvy" women is by providing swimwear that fits and supports larger bust sizes, wider hips and thighs and softer mid sections. These features are consistent throughout the inclusive size range. You can be a size 10 with wide hips and a belly or a size 22 with a G cup bust and a flat booty - to us you are all gorgeous and curvy in your own unique way - and we have a swimsuit for you!


Caitlin wears the Acapulco Criss Cross One Piece in size 18

Curvy Body Shapes

Today, with our definition of "curvy", we're referring more to size rather that proportions, but this doesn't help when trying to find clothes that fit and flatter us. While we don't want to be restricted by too many rules, it can be beneficial to know what works best for our body shape. 

Curvy "apple" shapes are fuller in the middle without a defined waistline. When it comes to dressing the apple shape in swimwear, we take two different approaches. Some women want to create the look of a waistline with panelling, ruching and supportive mesh lining. Others want to cover their fuller bellies with styles that skim over the body, like our 3 tier one piece

Curvy "pear" shapes have a smaller bust and waist, with fuller hips, booty and thighs. Swimwear styles, such as our flouncy, with details on the top half give the illusion of fullness in the bust, balancing the proportions of the body. Look for frills, built-it breast pads and prints to draw the eye upwards. 


Alanah wears our Leopard 3 Tier Tankini Top, perfect for Curvy Apple Shapes

Curve Models 

The average size for women in Australia is size 16, which is our most popular size here at Curvy Swimwear and also one of our sample sizes. We shoot our collection on a variety of models using samples in size 12, 16 and 18. This is very rare in the world of fashion, with most brands opting for one size to present their collections. 

The fashion and modelling industries have moved away from using the term "plus size" in favour of "curve" model to identify talent which is larger than the standard "straight" sample size - Australian size 8. Considering the average Australian size is size 16, according to fashion, the majority of us are curvy women. Our size 12 in-house model is marketed to brands as a "curve" model. 

There is also a new label for bodies that fit in between "straight" and "plus", know as, you guessed it, "inbetweenie". Plus, curvy, straight, inbetweenie, pear, hourglass, apple, rectangle...there is no end to how we label women's bodies. We are running out of types of fruit!  


Our sample sizes - Brooke, size 12, Alanah, size 18 and Margaret, size 16 - wearing the Leopard Sustainable collection.

No Labels

Knowing your body type can be helpful in determining styles that will fit and suit you best. However, it can also be argued that we should be able to wear whatever we like whether it's "flattering" or not. Our bodies are all unique and amazing and we should not be limited by rules dictated by others. 

Curves are beautiful, but so are straight lines. The trick is to embrace what is uniquely yours and celebrate the variety that each body brings to the world. 

At the end of the day, regardless of your body shape or size, you are more than enough. Perhaps if we stripped away labels and just accepted and celebrated each individual we would see greater representation of all shapes and sizes in fashion and the media and negative body image would be a thing of the past. One can only dream... 


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