Originally Posted by gargleblaster
This is incorrect. The hips and bust do not have to be exactly the same, nor does the waist need to be over 9 inches smaller. Hips and bust about the same, smaller waist. Fat tends to accumulate on upper and lower body parts (arms, hips, thighs, rear).
gargleblaster, according to popular culture and the women who were the original embodiment of that hourglass shape, those are
the requirements. The waist needs to be quite tiny in proportion to the similarly proportioned bust and hips. An inch or two out between hips and bust is allowable, but the hourglass shape really is defined by a proportionally tiny waist. Otherwise - well, going out at the shoulders, in at the waist and out again at the hips is really a pretty standard shape for most of female humanity who's within the bmi classification.
The 'perfect woman' stats of 36-24-36 have been referenced broadly in popular culture for over 50 years and appear to have originated in some post world war II 'make our boys happy' propaganda out of America.
If you take the classic hailed and recognised hourglasses through history - Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, so on - they all conform to that body standard of evenly proportioned bust and hips with a tiny waist ratio.
It's worth looking at the work Trinny & Susannah did on body shapes with regard to clothing choices - they took the four body shapes (apple, pear, banana, hourglass) and broke some down into further subsections and I think added some more, to come up with about 12 shapes altogether.