While your hips may not be the most obvious location for a tattoo, they are an excellent placement for both small and large designs. Popular particularly – though not only – among women, tattoos around the hip area allow lots of room for creativity and flair.
Specific placements of hip tattoos
The phrase ‘hip tattoo’ refers to a design placed basically anywhere in the vicinity of your hip bones. This could mean:
- The side of your hip – from the top part of the thigh to the lower part of the stomach
- The area just below the front of the hip bone
- The area just above the front of the hip bone
- On the hip bone itself
- Just ‘inside’ the hip bone – on the lower stomach
The size of the design you choose will be one of the determining factors when it comes to deciding on the specific place. Small designs can go just about anywhere, while larger ones will need a bigger, relatively flat area. Large designs can stretch all the way from the side of your stomach to mid-way down your thigh.
Hip tattoo design ideas
When it comes to great-looking designs for hip tattoos, the sky is the limit. Hips are a versatile area that can accommodate any kind of design, from tiny and minimalistic to large and bold. Here are some popular design ideas to consider:
- Flowers – flowers and floral patterns are among the top choices for hip tattoos for girls in particular. Hip tattoos are generally considered to heighten femininity – unsurprisingly, since they enhance the shape of the hips – so feminine floral motifs are a natural choice. Whether you opt for a large, colorful design with several flowers or a simple design with one flower, you can’t go wrong. Floral tattoos involving just a black outline have become particularly popular over the past couple of years – the simple outline is balanced with the intricate level of detail, and results in an elegant, modern-looking tattoo. Keep in mind that many flowers, such as roses, daisies, and lotuses, have interesting symbolic and/or cultural meaning.
- Writing – writing is a common choice for all tattoo placements – hips are no exception. One of the advantages of placing a writing tattoo on your hip is that you can easily keep it private – hips are one of the best areas for tattoos that you want to keep to yourself, since they’re easily covered up with clothing. Names, dates, single words or longer quotes – any kind of writing will be a great choice.
- Symbols – for many people it’s important that their tattoos have symbolic or metaphorical meaning. Hence, symbols such as anchors, hearts, yin-yang, or infinity are always a popular choice for tattoos. Many animals also have symbolic meaning – birds, butterflies, lions, and deer are some common examples.
- Mandalas – mandala tattoos are usually done in all-black and involve a high level of detail. They’re circular in shape by definition, and like circles, they represent ideas of wholeness, eternity, perfection, and balance.
- Mythical creatures – dragons and phoenixes are great choices for large, colorful designs – and the side of the hip provides the perfect placement for such tattoos. If the idea of a mythical creature design appeals to you, consider a Japanese-style tattoo for a bold, intricate, original look.
- Tribal hip tattoos – tribal tattoos are usually abstract or semi-abstract patterns made up of curved lines which are thicker in the middle and come to sharp points. Traditionally done in black ink, it’s not uncommon nowadays to see tribal designs done in differently colored ink, or even shaded in several colors.
- Geometric hip tattoos – as the name suggests, this style of tattoos relies on the use of geometric shapes as the basis for a design. Usually done in black, geometric tattoos depend primarily on straight lines and strategically placed dots. Even abstract-looking geometric hip tattoos can have deep meaning behind them – within the concept known as ‘sacred geometry’, symbolic meanings are ascribed to geometric shapes and proportions. If you’re interested in this style, have a look at our dedicated article on the subject.
- Watercolor hip tattoos – if bright colors are what you’re after for your hip tattoo, watercolor style might be the right choice for you. This type of tattoo is intended to look like a free-form watercolor painting and is suitable for a whole range of designs and subjects. The design can either be done entirely in watercolor, or only have a watercolor background with a black symbol or image in the foreground.
- Biomechanical hip tattoos – designs in this style are defined by the combination of organic elements and mechanical pieces. Often done in a hyper-realistic 3D technique, biomechanical hip tattoos are inspired by the sci-fi genre and make for original, striking designs. They generally look best as large tattoos, so again the side of the hip will be the best choice of placement here.
- Symmetrical hip tattoos – another cool idea is to get matching mirror-image tattoos on both hips. One of the best placements for these are the areas along the hip bones on the lower stomach – elongated tattoos, such as feathers, arrows, or tribal patters that follow the line of your hip bones will work best. These types of tattoos are great at drawing attention to your stomach and enhancing the shape of your hips. They also create depth, giving your lower stomach a toned look.
Tattoos in your hip area are likely to be hidden by clothing a lot of the time, though of course this depends on the exact placement. This could be an advantage if you’d rather keep your tattoo private or aren’t interested in showing it off. Conversely, for those planning on having the tattoo in plain view most of the time, you’ll have to plan your clothing accordingly.
We all have different pain thresholds for different kinds of pain, but there’s no denying that a tattoo is going to hurt. Exactly how much it hurts will depend on your pain tolerance, exact placement, and the size and level of detail of the tattoo.
If you already have tattoos, you probably know what to expect. However, if the hip tattoo you’re considering will be your first one and you’re concerned about the pain, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when making your decision.
First off, for most people the pain from tattooing is at its worst in areas where there is little muscle or fat. Therefore, getting a tattoo on the hip bone itself – where there’s not much tissue between the skin and the bone – will likely hurt the most out of all possible hip tattoo placements.
Having said that, if you’re opting for a large design that wraps partway around the top of your thigh, the back and inside of the thigh are highly sensitive areas. Expect relatively high pain levels there, too. The side of your hip and thigh is generally the area that’ll hurt the least.
Secondly, the size of the design and the level of detail involved will naturally influence how long the tattooing process is – i.e. for how long you’ll have to put up with the pain. Small, simple designs such a line of writing or a basic shape may only take half an hour. Meanwhile, very large or complex designs will take several hours and may even require more than one session, with at least a couple of weeks in between to allow the tattoo time to heal.
If you’re thinking of going for a large design with a lot of detail and/or color as your first tattoo, you may want to consider getting a smaller one first, just to make sure you’re okay with the pain and comfortable with the commitment of a tattoo.
That being said, most people can handle the pain without too much trouble. If you’re still concerned, talk to a tattoo artist you’re thinking of hiring for your tattoo – they’ll be able to give you advice specific to your idea and your circumstances.
Celebrities with hip tattoos
There are plenty of celebrities who chose to get their hips inked, including:
- Kylie Jenner – Kylie has a small writing tattoo on her right hip. The letters form the phonetic spelling of the word ‘sanity’, and are done in red ink.
- Cara Delevingne – Cara has a tattoo on her right hip – ‘DD’, inked in black stylized lettering. This is supposed to be a matching friendship tattoo with model Jourdan Dunn.
- Jessie J – Jessie has a lyric tattoo on her right hip, which says ‘Don’t lose who you are in the blur of the stars’.
- Lea Michele – Lea has two hip tattoos – one is a small green bird on the front of her left hip bone, supposed to symbolize freedom. The other is a blue butterfly on the back of her right hip.
- Cardi B – Cardi B has a large, colorful peacock tattoo on her right side, stretching from her waist to mid-way down her thigh.