How to Dress for the Pear-Shaped Body - dummies

How to Dress for the Pear-Shaped Body

By Jill Martin, Pierre A. Lehu

The most common figure proportion for women is the pear shape. What that means is that the widest part of your body is below your waist, around your hips. Remember, you can be tall, short, heavy, or skinny and still be pear shaped.

A pear-shaped woman.
A pear-shaped woman.

If you’re a pear, your fashion goal is to elongate your figure so that you look less bottom-heavy. The first line of attack to reaching this goal is to balance your hips and your shoulders while showing off your curves. The key here is to accentuate your top half. For example, if the eye is drawn to your cute top or the scarf around your neck, it takes the focus off your bottom half.

Always wear something darker and slimming on the bottom, like dark jeans or slacks, or a dark knee-length pencil skirt or A-line skirt. And, no, that doesn’t mean that you always have to wear black on the bottom, but make sure that the bottom is solid in color and darker than whatever you have on top.

As a pear, you want to direct attention to your tops. Fun colors, prints, or details at the neck all serve the purpose of drawing the eye away from the hip area. Just make sure that your tops don’t end at your hips because that draws unnecessary attention there. For example, you can combine a tailored, flared pant with an attractive, eye-catching top can play up a pear’s best features.

The perfect outfit for a pear.
The perfect outfit for a pear.

Read on for even more pear-pleasing suggestions:

  • Go for clean, tailored lines on the bottom. Whatever you wear on the bottom should always be more tailored, such as flat front pants. With skirts, the A-line or flared skirt is a great piece to use as a base to accentuate a beautiful selection of tops. Stay away from pleats, side pockets, or anything that is going to add dimension to this area.

    If you wear a belt, make sure it’s slim and the same color as your pants (a wide belt draws more attention to the area you’re trying to deemphasize). If you belt a dress, make sure the belt sits higher up at your waistline rather than your hips. Better yet, wear a top that’s gathered around the stomach. Doing so hides your tummy if you need to, while creating dimension someplace other than your hips.

  • Wear pants or jeans that have a flare on the bottom. A flared leg draws the eye away from your hips and creates a more flattering line for your whole body. Conversely, stay away from capri or tapered pants. They drive the eye right to the hips.

  • Check out tunic tops or dresses. You can wear a tunic top or dress as long as it fits properly. (Don’t wear a tunic top or dress if it’s in any way clinging to your belly or your hips.) One that fits properly gives a clean, elongating line while camouflaging everything underneath. The great thing about this style is that it accentuates your arms and your whole upper body and makes you appear taller and leaner at the same time.

  • Make use of jackets. Jackets are great for pear-shaped people because they usually have interesting details around the neckline and give more structure to the shoulder area, where you’re trying to direct the focus. When wearing a jacket, choose one that ends past your hips, not at them. A longer jacket, such as a cute blazer, creates a long, lean line and covers the hip area.

  • Experiment with different necklines. A deeper, more plunging neckline elongates your upper body and draws all the attention upward. Try wearing a long necklace to fill in the neckline, which also adds to the lengthening of your upper body.

  • Show off your shoulders. The shoulders are a great and sexy part of a woman’s body. Especially if you’re pear-shaped, you want to show them off by wearing off-the-shoulder tops that expose one or both shoulders. These tops immediately attract attention and steer the eye exactly where you want it. Ruffles or puffy sleeves on your top are also great for pears.

When you keep it simple on the bottom, you have so much room to play with tops and accessories. You can start to stock your wardrobe with great fitting pants, jeans, and skirts, and then play with colors, prints, and less expensive, trendier items on top. Try a fun scarf around your neck, a fabulous necklace, or a great pair of earrings. These items all serve to draw the eye up to your best feature — your face!

Choose materials that hold their form like wool slacks or denim. They flatter and streamline your shape. Avoid any tight knits on the bottom because they cling and accentuate your width.