Did you know different body types will more naturally fit into different typed of clothing? We all have different styles and preferences on what we wear and that is a beautiful thing! I absolutely love how fashion can show off our personalities and unique perspectives. If you can’t tell, I enjoy using creative styling to show off my own creative side with the perfect outfit.
But fashion can also change the visual proportions of our bodies. If you want to flatter your figure, you can dress according to your natural body shape. Of course, there are no true rules, but let’s talk about how to look fantastic with a pear-shaped frame.
Our bodies are all kinds of different shapes and we should celebrate that! There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying your amazing body and wanting to dress it up! I am excited to share with you amazing tips for dressing your beautiful body!
What is a Pear-Shaped Body?
Imagine a pear fruit in your head. It is smaller on top than the bottom, right? Well, a pear-shaped body is the same way! If you have narrower shoulders than your hips, your torso starts to take on that pear shape. If your bust measurement is more than 5% smaller than your hips measurements, you have a pear shape. It likely means:
- You may have a slender waist, but your hips are wider
- You have a fuller rear
- Your top half is small or you have a smaller chest
- Weight gains are more likely to show up in the thighs, hips and tummy area
- Legs are full or muscular
It’s important to point out that a pear-shaped body does not mean you are overweight. Bodies of all sizes can be a pear shape! You might be skinny, short, heavy, tall—this does not define if you are pear-shaped or not. Your superpower is that you get away with looking fantastic in very kind of jeans! Your dainty shoulders look amazing in dainty tops.
Other Body Shape Tendencies
There are other shapes besides the pear shape. If the pear shape didn’t sound like your body, you may want to consider the other shapes our bodies tend to fit.
If your shoulders are wide, waist narrow and hips wide, then you have an hourglass body shape. Your waist should be at least 25% smaller than your shoulders or your hips, while your shoulders should measure within 5% of your hip measurements.
If weight gains tend to happen in your belly or waist area, then you may be more of an apple shape body. If your waist measures more than 5% larger than your hips and shoulders, then you may be an apple shape.
If your waist is within 25% of your hips and shoulder measurements, but your hips and shoulders are similar sizes (within 5%). This means all of your measurements are similar, creating a rectangular torso-shape.
Inverted Triangle Shape
The opposite of the pear shape is the inverted triangle body shape. If your shoulders are more than 5% larger than your hips, you have an inverted triangle shape.
Guidelines for Dressing a Pear-Shaped Body
Not every trend is ideal for every body shape, but that is okay. And you can break the rules whenever you feel like it!
The goal for dressing your body is to elongate your figure to give it a less bottom-heavy look. With your clothing choices, you will want to take focus away from the hips and draw the eye towards the upper body. Defining the waist and creating the illusion of volume in the upper torso are two ways to help de-emphasize the lower body.
Highlight the Upper Body
You will want to wear tops that show off your shoulders and draw the eye to the top part of your body. A pushup bra can be a great investment for this purpose, since it will lift the chest. Eye-catching prints and bright colors on the top can help snag the eye. Layering tops can help create the illusion of bulk. Try to find clothing that fits tight to the waist area to draw your figure in tighter. Avoid boxy-shaped shirts and garments that will hide your waist—accentuating your hips. Jackets and scarves can really be your friends here!
Downplay the Lower Body
You may want to get a pair of Spanks or underwear with a control top to help tighten the torso and slim any love handles. Darker colors on the lower body can help shift attention away from that part. Skinny and tight bottoms can emphasize the large thighs and hips. Avoid embellished pants or full pockets.
Best Tops for a Pear-Shaped Body
The right top for a pear shape is going to draw attention to the top of the body without being unflattering. Choose your favorite tops and they will probably pair with a number of your favorite bottoms, allowing you to create multiple outfits from just a few items of clothing.
A tight neckline will draw attention to your bust and waist relationship. Wider necklines that show off a little more of the clavicles will draw the attention more to your chest, neck, shoulders and face. Because the lower part of your body is more noticeable, it is good to subconsciously cause the eye to see balanced proportions so the lower body doesn’t become the primary focal point.
The necklines of your shirt should be wide and short. Some of the best necklines for your body shape will include:
- Sweetheart necklines
- Boatneck or Bateau
- Cowl neck
A really cute or classy look can happen with the right embellishments on those necklines. Floral cross stitching, beading, lace and fringe are all examples of ways you can tastefully call attention to the top part of your body.
You can work with any sleeve length, though shorter sleeves are your friend. Choose thinner tank top sleeve styles with that larger neckline to draw attention to the shoulders. For short sleeve options, there are several styles that will give the illusion of a wider shoulder and narrower waist:
- Petal (variation of capped)
- Open sleeves (peeking shoulders)
- Butterfly (combination of cap and puffed)
- Cape Sleeves
Longer sleeves should be tapered, like flutter, angel and batwing sleeves. A shoulder pad in the sleeve may have you thinking about the ’80s, but it will really increase the visual proportions by bulking out the top a bit. Go for the more modern, slender pads and not the big thick ones we really did wear in the 80’S!
Layer Your Tops
You can use multiple shirt types to help add weight to the shoulders and torso as well. On warmer days, choose a tank under a blouse to get this layered look. Cooler days make it easy because you can add a structured jacket over your tops that brings more attention to your shoulders.
Avoid layers that will add heaviness to your hips. A tank top underneath, for example, should be snug around the hips and not flowy.
Increase your visual curves by choosing a top that will cinch around the waist or adding a high, thin belt. This helps draw in the weight so you get more of an hourglass figure.
Shirts, T-Shirts, Blouses, Tanks and Other Tops
There are so many things you can wear that will accentuate your top and pull the focus there! Here are a few things you might want to look for in your tops:
Bright Colors – Pick the colors that look good with your skin tone, hair and eyes. While many people can wear most colors, there is probably a few colors that aren’t the most flattering to your natural palette. Try to determine the colors that really pop for you. Gemstone blue, coral pink, daffodil yellow and other bold or bright colors will help draw the attention to your torso.
Textured Fabrics – Another way to draw the attention up is with textured fabrics. Ribbed shirts and lace are examples of blouses that have texture that will draw attention to the top. If you want to use a cropped sweater with a smoother long tank underneath, for example, you would draw the attention to your chest and shoulders.
Bold Patterns – Florals, geometrics, abstract, stripes—there are so many ways you can take this! Find tops with strong patterns that emulate your style and you will make your top pop. Patterns can add a fun dimension to your wardrobe, just don’t go crazy with bold patterns on your bottom half. Your goal is to use the patterns in your blouse to keep attention on top.
Details and Embellishments – Lace, beading, graphics and other forms of detailing can draw attention to your upper body. Detailing around the neckline, shoulders or short sleeves can especially add the illusion of a wider upper body.
Shorter Lengths – Crop tops can help draw the attention up and simultaneously allow the waist to appear slimmer. You can choose crop tops, tuck shirts into your pants or choose tees that aren’t too long. A very long tee will accentuate your larger hip measurements and minimize your narrow shoulders. If you do have a long tee you love, you might be able to tie or knot it to get the proportions that are flattering to your body shape.
Shorter jackets, like bomber or crop, can give the same kind of flattering focus as a crop sweater. The right jacket will give volume to your top half, but not add anything to your hips. You want to choose shorter jackets (like a blazer or jean jacket, to really make your top pop and de-emphasize your wider hips (don’t get me wrong, you have amazing and powerful hips! But, don’t let them steal the show!).
You will notice many longer jackets are a deeper color, designed for slimming your silhouette. If you do want to go for a longer jacket, pick a bold color (like red) and look for the cut that will cinch in at the waist and add a little extra bulk to the shoulders (like shoulder pads). Cropped jackets are often lighter or a more textured material (like jean or leather) to pull attention to the upper body. While you can wear whatever feels good, shoot for the cropped jackets on your next shopping trip and see if you like what they do for your look. You can also go with a cropped cardigan sweater if that is more your style!
If you like some of the shorter jacket styles, like a hooded puff coat, then you won’t have an issue with the proportions. However, if you prefer the trench or the pea coat, then you are going to want to watch how it fits on your frame. A tie or cut-in coat is great for helping form your shape. Watch for details in the shoulders, bust and collar area that will help pull the attention up.
The length of the coat is important too. Coats that stop at the hips are just going to add bulk to your lower half and accentuate the larger hip measurement with visual bulk. A longer coat will ideally hit you mid-thigh or well under the hips.
Best Bottoms for a Pear-Shaped Body
The goal for your bottoms should be to shift attention to the upper body. This means that your general rule should be no loud colors, bold patterns or distracting details on your bottoms. Of course, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. If you find that amazing pair of floral slacks or a gorgeous lace skirt, then I say you rock you, girlfriend!
But, the general rule here will be that when the focus pulls to your hips, it will tend to resonate there. Let the focus be drawn up towards your upper body to help balance your look.
Made of a fabric or nicer material, trousers are often worn for more formal settings, like a luncheon or the office. Ideally, you want to find flat-fronted trousers with pleats that will help slim your hips. A full leg line, bootleg, plated or wide leg pant style can help reduce the visual difference of the hip measurement. Avoid any embellishments or bold patterns if you want to keep the focus higher than your waistline.
Most jeans will look good on you, but mid- to high-rise will be the best for flattering your beautiful figure. Not everyone can get away with high rise, but they will support those shorter tops that look so good on your shape! Bootcut, flare and straight jeans will typically work best. Normally skinny will over-emphasize your hips, but many can get away with skinny jeans if you pick a top that adds bulk to your shoulders and draws in at the waist!
Dark denim will be your friend because it will shift focus to your top. Avoid acid wash jeans, since those really pull attention. If you want some bling or flair, add your embellishments to the bottom of the pant leg. Adding details to the very bottom will support the body for a visual of a balanced proportion by drawing the eye both down as well as up when you pick an eye-catching top.
Skirts with an A-line will help slim your hips and pull the initial gaze lower. You can go for any length of skirt, however, knee length to mid-calf is going to be flattering to your figure. A floor length A-line skirt is also going to be flattering, though those are currently a bit harder to find and may feel a little more formal.
You want to avoid full skirts that have a lot of volume. The silhouette of the skirt is not the same thing as volume. You can get single layer skirts in the A-line shape, but avoid multi-layer skirts that add bulk. Horizontal details or too many embellishments will add visual volume, so shoot for more muted patterns (or less contrast) and darker tones.
A high-waisted pair of shorts (like your jeans) will help skim over your hips. Watch out for shorts that add bulk to your hips with belt loops or thick fabric use. You probably want to avoid embellishments—save all your flair for up top! A waist embellishment (like a sash or belt over a tucked shirt) can help define the waist and look amazing.
Slightly longer shorts (mid-thigh) are going to be more flattering because they lengthen your hips. A flared leg can also help slim the appearance of your hips and cause the thighs to look a bit smaller in comparison.
A padded bra can add an additional size or two to the appearance of your bust size. A pushup bra will also help accentuate your figure by lifting your chest and avoiding the sagging look that often comes with age.
If you carry some weight (or excess skin) in your lower abdomen, you can smooth it out with the right undergarments. Using very high-waisted briefs with a thick, tight panel (like Spanx or Maidenform) will eliminate the “muffin top” and reduce your stomach’s appearance to create the hourglass shape.
Best Dresses for a Pear-Shaped Body
We are on a roll and by now you can probably guess what I’m going to say!
Choose a dress that hugs your waist or creates the waist with a cinch, belt or sash. Capped sleeves, broader necklines and flared skirts are all going to be your friends when it comes to dresses! With the right sleeves, a tighter skirt can create a wonderful hourglass appearance. With an A-line skirt and off-the-shoulder sleeves, you will get more of a bell look. A wrap skirt with a defined waist can also look extremely flattering on a pear-shaped body.
Jumpsuits and Playsuits for a Pear-Shaped Body
A one-piece outfit, like a jumpsuit or playsuit, has come back into style within the past few years! These work best for a pear-shaped body when you… Yes! You got it! …when you add volume to the top and slim the hips. Bright colors, embellishments and details are better on top, where the increased attention brings a balance to your look. Try a wide leg or flared leg suit with an eye-grabbing design for the top (like strapless, deep v-neck or ruffles).
Swimwear to Flatter a Pear Shape
We all start thinking about pools, beaches and lake trips when spring rounds the corner. Choosing the right swimsuit to fit your shape is going to help you feel confident in one of the most revealing outfits in your wardrobe. It’s healthy to feel comfortable with your body and rock these looks (and, check out my positive affirmations if you need a little confidence boost).
Ruched tops will help draw the eye up by gathering material in the right places to highlight the chest and give some dimension to the torso for a curvy figure.
Ruffles at the top of your suit can help keep the eye’s attention on the top of the body. Ruffles around the neckline or shoulders will be helpful in visually balancing out your wider hips and thighs.
Asymmetrical necklines can pull the eye up as well. Try a one-shoulder swimsuit and see how you feel about the way it draws the eyes up towards your face.
High-cut bottoms Avoid really small bottoms that will make your backside look larger. Instead, go for high-waisted bottoms or a one piece that has high cuts for the legs. This will visually elongate your legs and stretch out your lower half.
Color contrast can help draw the eyes up. Use darker bottoms to visually minimize the lower half with a bright or bold top. You can even use a pattern in your top to help pull people’s eyes higher up on your body.
Bathing suit coverups are a popular way to look cute and summery, while feeling comfortable outside of the water or beach. A wrap skirt that tightens around the waist can be extremely flattering on the pear body shape.
Accessorize Your Look!
The right jewelry or accessories can really pull your look together. When it comes to dressing according to your body type, pear-shaped women get to rock some of the BEST accessories!
Chunky and loud or long and eye-grabbing—you can use necklaces to help pull the eye up on the body and add weight to the top of your torso. This Fan the Flames necklace is a fiery example of a great statement necklace. The Galaxy in Blue necklace is another example of a necklace that will absolutely pull attention up towards the face.
Bold, Dangly Earrings
Do you know your Energy Type? You can find all kinds of fun jewelry pieces in my shop that align with your Energy Type as well as your body shape for the perfect pieces that represent YOU. Start the Beginner’s Guide for Dressing Your Truth now!
Big, flashy sunglasses are a great way to draw the eyes up toward your face! Oversize glasses are perfect for oval and round faces. Choose a large round shape if your face is a heart, square or oval shape. Cateye glasses are perfect for a pear-shaped face with a wider jawline. Choosing a bright color for the frames will also make your glasses really pop and help balance out the visual weight of your look.
From lightweight muslin during warmer days to heavier wools on cool days, scarves are extremely versatile fashion accessories. When draped loosely around your neck (like a cowl), the scarf will add weight to your shoulders and chest, adding length to your neck. Darker colors in thick textures (like a chunky knit) can add even more weight. Bright and bold colors or loud patterns can also draw a lot of attention up toward the top of your body to emphasize your curves.
Pointy shoes will give your legs a longer look. Heels will also give you some lift that pushes your hips back and your chest forward for a more flattering posture. Of course, appearance isn’t everything, so choose shoes that are supportive and comfortable, because bad shoes will hurt your feet, knees and hips. Bright colors (especially when balanced out with an equally bright color near your face and neck) will help balance your look by drawing interest to smaller areas.
Your Body is Unique—Just Like You!
I want you to remember above all that you are beautiful! Your amazing soul and energy are something we need in this world. Your body is beautiful—just how God made it. Clothing is a fun way to show off our personalities, but these are only guidelines based on our current styles and trends! Throughout history different proportions have been “in style” and so there is really no right or best way to approach your look.
If you do follow these guidelines, you have so much room to play with fun tops and stunning accessories! If you are building your wardrobe, stock up on the pants, jeans, shorts and skirts that fit fantastic. Then, choose tops and accessories that are correct for your Type. Depending on your Type of beauty, you’ll be able to wear items that are more fun and fresh, or soft and subtle, or rich and dynamic, or bold and stunning! I hope you have as much fun dressing as I do. You are beautiful and you should feel empowered choosing the wardrobe you want to wear. For more style tips, you can check out my resources for creating your personal style.
Already love Dressing Your Truth? Become a Lifestyle member and discover how to create a personal style that’s unique and true to you.