In order to understand how to dress the pear shape, you need to first understand the strengths and weaknesses of the pear. To summarize, a typical pear shape has slender waist but prominent butt and thighs. In short, the pear comes across as “bottom heavy”, and that is why you need to choose coats, bathingsuits, dresses, jeans , shorts and wedding dresses accordingly to balance out the heavier bottom of the pear.
The best pear shaped outfits I’m about to tell you in this post are inspired by pear shaped body celebrities. By observing what they wear, we can learn what works and what doesn’t work so well.
Pear Shaped Celebrities
The pear body type (sometimes called the spoon shape) is quite common, as I mentioned earlier. So, in today’s Hollywood, you will notice a lot of popular celebs with pear shaped body. Pear shaped women could be skinny or curvy, so here I’m going to give you examples of both.
Hollywood actress Rachel Bilson (5’2″) has the most typical skinny pear shaped body.
Kim Kardashian (5’3″) and Jennifer Lopez are the most typical pear shaped celebs with curves.
Although both of them are often been mentioned as hourglass figure by a lot of fashion magazines, they actually have pear shape figure. Both of them have the main characteristics of the pear shape, i.e. prominent hips and thighs. Also, when they gain weight, it is most noticeable on their hips and thighs.
Both Kim and Jlo are expert of styling themselves well, so that their assets (full chest and small waist) grab all your attention, and then you won’t be noticing their weaknesses (the prominent thighs and hips). That explains why both of them are commonly quoted as the hourglass figure by most media. That’s exactly what I am about to share with you, i.e. some of their top styling secrets, later in this post, so that you know how to balance out your pear figure!
Another celebrity with pear shape is Kristin Davis (Charlotte in Sex and the City).
Remember the episode when the girls were in the steam room together? Charlotte told Carrie “I hate my thighs!” Carrie responded “The problem is not with your thighs. It is with your head, sweetie!”
What Charlotte was saying reflects the common concern of pear shaped ladies, which is they are quite self conscious of their thighs.
I have summarized the tips for the pear shape women on my Youtube video, but I suggest you also read the full post to get all the details you need after you watch the video.
How to Tell if You are a Pear
I believe each body type have their own unique treats and everyone has the potential to be attractive, as long as we use the right dressing techniques to enhance our assets. First things first, let’s take a look at what is a pear shape. If you have a pear shape, your body generally have the following characteristics:
- Your hips are larger than your bust, and your hips are wider than your shoulders. In many cases, your hips are the widest point of your body
- You have a nicely defined waist
- You have an elegant neck and proportionately slim arms and shoulders
- You first gain weight in your bottom and legs flowed by your tummy and upper body
- You have round, sloping shoulders.
- Your buttocks and thighs are full and round.
- You tend to have a long waist.
Above are the typical features of the pear shaped body. However, because human bodies have some many different variations, most likely not one body would fit into all features of one body type. If you feel like you have some but not all of the traits above, it is possible you are a combination of pear shape and other body types. Click on Body Type Quiz to read more and take the quiz and find out what body type is closest to you.
I started writing about petite styling tips for short women since 2016, and my articles have touched the lives of millions since then. Based on my own fashion trial and errors and feedback from numerous petite readers, I have published a book “The Petite Style Bible“, first of its kind dedicated to petite fashion. Click here to learn more.
Dressing a Pear Shaped Body
Now that we talked about how to define the pear shape, it may have become clear to you that the best asset is the well defined waistline, and you may even have killer abs.
When looking for the best pear shaped body clothes, your goal should be to create an hourglass like silhouette through:
- Balancing your narrow/sloping shoulders
- Drawing attention to your narrow waistline
- Showing off your firm abs (if you have them)
Best Tops for Pear Shaped Women
The Length of the Top
Before I get into what are the best tops for the pear shaped body, I want to point out the length of your top is critical. This applies to all tops, whether it’s blouse or jacket or T-shirt.
If you have a pear shaped body, then you want to avoid the length that hits the widest part of your thighs. Because that is going to draw too much attention to your prominent thighs, the opposite of what you want!
For the pear shaped women, generally speaking a longer jacket that bypass the widest point of your hips is the best choice. The cropped length jacket normally draw attention to your hips, which is not the most flattering point of your body.
So, if you do want to wear a cropped jacket, you need to be very strategic. You probably want it really short, and also wear it with black skirts or pants to balance it out. The reason why a shorter length could work on a pear shaped body is it could have the effect of a shawl, which I will talk about in greater details in this post.
This rule of thumb applies to all the tops I’m to tell you about.
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1. Structured Top
So, how can we balance out the sloping shoulders of pear shape? A fitted and structured top is a good choice.
Now, you may have heard the word “structured clothing” many times, but not really understand what it refers to. It is just a fancy way of saying garments that are deliberately shaped and carefully tailored.
Fitted and structured tops look especially well on pear shape, because they create definition around your narrow shoulders and draw attention to your small waistline. A good example is jackets with full or structured shoulders and a nipped-in waist in hip-length. If you have a pear figure, light shoulder pads work the best to balance out your narrow top.
If you are petite, generally speaking, a fitted and structured top is much more flattering to petite women than a loose and slouchy top, because the latter swamps the small frame of a short person.
2. Tops with horizontal neckline
Pear body shape should use neckline to visually expand your shoulders and create the illusion of a wider top. The most flattering neckline designs for pear shape are boat neck and off-the- shoulder.
Both boat neck and off-the-shoulder create the horizontal line in shoulders, which serves to balance out your wide hips.
3. Wrap Top
The slender waist is the valuable asset of women with pear shaped body. You should absolutely emphasize and make that the focal point of your outfit. Wrap tops are top choices to bring attention to your waistline.
Alternative, add a belt to any basic tops, tube tops, knit tops, sleeveless tops, etc. Blouses with built-in waist bands also serve the same purpose of highlighting your slender waist.
This is a well kept secrets that you probably have not heard about. The shawls are a heaven sent for pear shaped figure, because of several reasons.
First, it draws attention above to your face, and strategically expands your shoulders.
Additionally, they are chic and functional at the same time. They keep you warm when you need the extra layer, without adding any bulk to your body.
If you are going to a formal event, you can opt for an evening gown that comes with a shawl like this one. The metallic details will not only make your shoulders look broader, but also draw attention above and away from your butt and thighs.
A-line skirts that gently skim your body help to de-emphasize your bottom, and they are generally flattering to women of pear shape.
Look for lightly gathered skirts that skim your bottom without adding volume. Simple, dark colored skirts with no (or minimal) pockets with a mid-rise or high rise waist will look great on you. For casual looks, choose relaxed fits that fall straight down from the widest part of your hip.
I want to once again stress the length of the skirt.
In general, longer skirts are better for the pear shaped. The reason is the mini skirts will easily draw attention to your thighs, which is something you want to avoid. If you do want a shorter skirt, make sure it is structured and heavy weighted like this so that it does not cling to your thighs.
These two are my top picks from Maje.
Should pear shape women wear pencil skirts?
That is totally up to you, because it all depends on how you look at your body and what you view as the assets of your body shape.
Kim Kardashian has very prominent hips and thighs, and she never shies away from flouncing those curves. In fact, a cropped top with a high waisted skirt is one of Kim’s most famous signature looks.
If you decide to show off the curves of your bottom, then you have many choices when it comes to curve hugging skirts. Just keep in mind that because of your height, pencil skirts of shorter length will create the illusion of longer legs.
On the other hand, some pear shape women are self conscious about their prominent thigh area (remember we mentioned earlier Charlotte in Sex and City was telling Carrie how she felt about her thighs?). That is totally fine and understandable.
Dresses for Pear Shaped Women
1. Empire waist line dresses
Best dresses for pear shaped body? They should draw all the attention to your slender waist! The empire waist line dress is the most ideal for pear shape women. The empire waist is a dress where the waist line is high, which is normally placed just below the bust line.
2. Fit and Flare Dresses
A skater dress (also known as fit and flare dress) with higher waistline is heaven sent for our pear shaped women. The A shape of the dress will perfectly camourflage the heavy bottom of a pear shaped body. Skater dresses do not hug the curve of your bottom, thus they will draw people’s attention away from your butt and thighs.
These two from Anthropologie look flatter on pear shaped ladies because they are the classic A line silhouette.
But again, if you decide to emphasize the curve of your bottom half, then you have many other choices of body conscious dresses that can draw attention to instead of away from the curves of your thighs and butt areas. Your fashion icon? Kim Kardashian (regardless if you like her as a reality star or not) shows your many examples of how to do so. Just copy what you like about her looks, and ditch what you don’t.
3. Off the Shoulder Dresses
Notice how flattering this off the shoulder dress look on pear shaped Tamara?
The rationale is the same as the off-the-shoulder tops. Because the neckline creates a horizontal line, it balances out the narrow shoulder of pear shaped women.
These two from Nordstrom also have the belt to highlight your small waist- bonus point!
Better yet, off-the-shoulder also draws attention to your upper body, distracting from your wider hips.
Best Dress Length
Dressing for pear shaped should always keep the length of the hem in mind. I have talked about this on the tops and skirts,and the same apply to the dresses.
If you have a pear figure, you generally do not want the attention to be drawn to your thighs, especially not the widest part.
So, when you are choose the best dress for the pear shaped body, it is important to go with a length longer than the widest part of your thighs. That means, if a mini dress is not long enough to cover your thighs, then it is not the best option for you.
You could opt for a dress that is just above your knees, or a midi dress which ends between your ankle and your knees.
If you are petite, the former is a better choice, because it makes your legs look longer.
Best Jeans and Pants for Pear Shape
As a pear shaped woman, the important thing in choosing pants and jeans is to keep in mind that you generally want them to be darker than your top.
Since the goal is to distract attention away from your wide butt and thigh, you can achieve that by wearing a brighter top with darker color pants or jeans.
Dark colors generally have the slimming effect, while light colors have the expanding effect. To make your thighs and butt look more slender, you can go with black or navy, or subtle prints.
The Leg Shape
For the pear shaped body, the key is to balance out your wide butt and thighs with your choice of pants. The wide leg pants do a wonderful job.
Your best choice is a pair of dark color wide leg pants which drape down from your hips.
You need the fabrics with enough structure and weight, so that they won’t be clinging to your thighs.
Avoid any Details on the Thigh
Since our goal is to camouflage your prominent thighs, it may sound obvious to you that we should avoid any pants details on the thigh.
For instance, utility pants are a big trend right now. They normally have big pockets on the thighs, which is a no-no for the pear shaped figure.
Should pear shaped women wear skinny jeans?
If you goal is to camouflage your prominent thighs, then you should stay away from skinny jeans. The reason is obvious. The skinny jeans hugs your legs so tightly, they show your thighs and butt exactly the way they are.
Everything Else You Need to Know
I highly recommend you read my other posts on the pear shape: