A pear body shape is distinguished by wider hips and thighs alongside a narrower bust and shoulder line. This results in a heavier bottom half, thus appearing disproportionate as compared to the upper half of the body.
Also regarded as the triangle, the pear is the most prevalent body shape out there. With that said, one pear-shaped person may have very different proportions as opposed to another. Some pear-shaped people may look slim or even athletic, while others can look vastly curvy.
Celebrities that have an unmistakable pear body shape include Beyoncé, Shakira, Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, and Kim Kardashian. While some of these celebrities’ physiques may look dissimilar, they all in fact have a pear-shaped body.
You may notice these physical attributes if you do have a pear body shape:
- Fuller hips and thighs in comparison to a smaller waist, bust, and shoulders
- Narrow shoulders that could be sloped
- A typically modest bustline that isn’t too prominent
- A defined waist and larger hips
- Thicker thighs with possible hip dips
- Legs that are muscular or well rounded
- A fuller butt is very likely
- Weight gains are more noticeable around the hips, thighs, or lower stomach
Summary of what to focus on and what to disguise
A pear body shape naturally looks heavier on the bottom half, which makes the body look imbalanced as a whole. While it can be intimidating to style at first, it is not impossible as long as you keep a few of these tips in mind.
The goal with styling a pear body shape is to create a harmonious and balanced silhouette by adding more volume to the upper body and defining the waist while diverting attention from the wider hip area. This means that you should avoid dresses that make you look too bottom-heavy.
One notable challenge with styling a pear-shaped body, particularly with dresses, is finding one that wraps nicely around the smaller waist and wider hip while still providing definition to the waistline without an obvious gap in fabric.
Here are the dos and don’ts to visually add volume to the upper body and disguise the heavier bottom for a pear shape:
- Find dresses with more structured shoulders to broaden the shoulder line
- Wear substantial push-up bras that lift the bust
- Wear bright colours or choose fabrics with striking prints, textures and details on the upper body
- Avoid boxy or straight cut dresses that conceal the waist or only hug around the hips
- Add a layer on the top half to draw the eyes upwards
- Wear dresses with darker colours, either on the bottom half or the entire dress
- Avoid bodycon and drop waist dresses that spotlight the wide hips
- Stay away from dresses with embellished skirts and keep the bottom half clean
- Refrain from adding other details on the thigh or hip area, such as belts or pockets
Luckily, there are many dress silhouettes that work with a pear body shape and these include A-line, fit-and-flare, wrap, and off-the-shoulder dresses. The most notable similarities across these silhouettes are a defined waist and an evident flounce in the skirt.
When selecting a dress for your pear body shape, be aware of how the dress hugs the hips and how the upper half of your body looks in it. If you must have embellishments, make sure that they draw the eyes upward.
Let’s break down the dress silhouettes that work with pear body shapes:
- A-line dress: An A-line dress accentuates the waist and disguises the hips with a roomier skirt, thus taking attention away from the lower half of the body.
- Wrap dress: The built-in ties are great for defining the waistline, and the V-neck opens up the top half of the body, which can be flattering
- Off-the-shoulder dress: This dress flaunts the shoulders while making them look broader than they actually are
- Fit and flare dress: Think of it as an exaggerated A-line dress with a more distinguished waist, which is great for a pear-shaped body
- Tulip dress: A tulip dress emphasises the waist while offering a feminine shape to the hips and bust
- Empire dress: With a bodice-like fit that ends just below the bust, an empire dress then flares out and skims over the waist and hips
- X-shape dress: An x-shaped dress has an open neckline that balances the hips, and gives the appearance of a wider decolletage
For pear body shapes, it is best to avoid fabrics that may get tight at the torso area, such as polyester, spandex, and satin. Instead, choose fabrics that can look baggier, like matte jersey, cotton, viscose, and linen.
With the chunky bottom half of a pear body shape in mind, do not wear dresses with fabrics that are significantly heavy or chunky, like leather, wool, and knit. These types of fabrics should be kept only for the top half of the body.
To balance out the heavier bottom of a pear shape, wider necklines do the trick by visually broadening the shoulder and bust areas. For that reason, square, bateau, off-shoulder, and Sabrina necklines are ideal.
Alternatively, embellishments are a great way to direct the eyes upwards and build on additional volume to the shoulder and bust areas. Some examples include rhinestones, embroidery, lace trims, ruffles, and big collars that add balance to the wider hips.
Do be sure to avoid narrow collars or thin straps such as spaghetti straps that may make the shoulder line look smaller. When it comes to V-necks, avoid plunging necklines as they tend to break up the torso and vertically stretch the upper body.
Here are some necklines that work great for a pear body shape:
- Cowl neck
- Boat neck
- Queen Anne
- Wide square neckline
Not only do sleeves add another visual element to a silhouette, the right style of sleeve can do wonders for a pear-shaped body. Wide and embellished styles, such as flutter, bell, and batwing styles, work best for short sleeves as these amplify volume to the upper half of the body.
On the other hand, long sleeves on a pear-shaped body should be tapered towards the wrist while still adding volume to the shoulder line. This can be done through dresses with shoulder pads, puff, and cap sleeves.
The key to choosing the right sleeves on a dress for a pear-shaped body is to ensure that the sleeves balance out your proportions. With this body shape, you most definitely have room to have fun with sleeves and pile on the drama!
Here are some sleeves that work best for a pear-shaped body:
- Puff sleeves
- Structured or shoulder padded sleeves
- Cap sleeves
- Juliet sleeves
- Petal sleeves
- Flutter sleeves (short sleeve)
- Elbow length sleeves
- Tapered sleeves (long sleeve)
For pear-shaped bodies, skirts are heaven sent. Besides concealing the wide hips and heavier bottom, the right kinds of skirts can be super practical for balancing out the body and making it look more proportionate.
The trick here is to stick with skirts that are lightly gathered and have a wider shape at the bottom. In regards to lengths, choose ones that are mid- or high-waisted and cut off at the knee or between the knee and mid-calf.
To avoid exaggerating your body shape and wider hip area, steer clear of skirts that are too full, have horizontal details such as stripes, or skirts that have too many details or embellishments as they will not be flattering.
Dresses with these skirt styles work best for a pear body shape:
While shoes may seem like an afterthought, footwear can make or break an outfit, particularly when your objective is to balance out your proportions on a pear-shaped body. In short, shoes that complement this body type should elongate the legs.
Colour matching your shoes to your skirt or dress will help to create a vertical line that runs from the hips to the toes, hence adding length to the body. While most shoes go well with this body shape, it is best to avoid round toe shoes since it makes the lower body look more stout.
Echoing that sentiment, shoes with ankle straps visually cut off that vertical line and can shorten the legs. A little height never hurts, however platforms can be tricky as they can foil your efforts to look more proportionate.
Accessories are a great addition to help draw the eyes upwards, particularly for a pear body shape. This can encompass scarves, jewelry, belts, hats, sunglasses, and bags that are concentrated on the upper body.
For example, statement earrings, thick scarves, and chunky necklaces that end above the bust line work well. One piece of jewelry that can be avoided are chunky bracelets that may add visual volume to the hips when the arms are not lifted.
When choosing the right bag, make sure that the straps aren’t too long and that it lands above your waist and hip area. Wearing a bag that lands at your hip area will only add volume to the bottom half of the body.
While belts do add definition on the waist by cinching it in, certain belts can play up the width of the bottom half of a pear-shaped body. For belts that will work in your favour, try ones that are thin or tie around the waist.
Petite Body Types
If you have a smaller frame, dresses with more structured tops as opposed to slouchier tops will be more flattering. It is also best to avoid dresses that are too long as these will make you look like you are drowning in fabric.
Regarding the dress itself, a cowl, turtleneck, and boat neckline helps to elongate the body. When wearing dresses with hemlines at midi length, pairing those with heels helps to balance out your proportions instead of making you look short-legged.
Another tip when it comes to shoes is to wear ones that are nude in colour as this helps to create a vertical line that adds length to the overall body. While platforms do add height, they are counterintuitive and can make you look tinier than you already are.
Tall Body Types
Midi and maxi length dresses are practically made for tall body types and simultaneously flatter the pear-shaped body. Look for ones with longer hemlines that skim the calves and ankles at the right spot, and for short dresses, make sure they end about 3-4 inches above the knee.
While many necklines work with a tall figure, high-cut, turtlenecks, and halter styles will further give prominence to your long neck. V-necklines also work great for tall pear-shaped figures as they enhance the silhouette.
When it comes to shoes, ankle straps work wonderfully when rocking a shorter dress by balancing out the proportions. Fortunately, your height also allows for much more leeway in regards to shoes, whether you decide to don flats or heels.
If you have a short torso on a pear body shape, it is best to avoid wearing dresses that have a high waistline. Choose one that rests below the natural waistline, such as a mid-rise, as this will create length in your midsection. Try vertical stripes or pinstripes to add to that effect.
Shorter dresses work for a short torso as this draws the eyes towards the legs and vertically stretches the bottom half. Necklines that expose the decolletage area, like a V-neck or scoop neck, as well as empire necklines will also elongate the torso.
Additionally, shoes that are flat or come with a low heel as well as accessories such as a necklace that hits the bust does the trick to lengthen the torso and keep the silhouette in balance.
On the other hand, high-waisted dresses that end above the knees work like a charm for longer torsos as they balance out the top and bottom portions of the body. Horizontal stripes as well as waist detailing such as belts will also help to downplay the length of your torso.
As far as dresses go, you can also disguise your longer top half through frocks with hemlines that cut right above or exactly below the knees. With that said, mini dresses will do the exact opposite, and so do mid-calf boots or ankle straps.
Darker colours on the bottom half of a dress boosts length in the legs, and colour matching shoes with the hemlines of dresses brings about an unbroken line that goes down all the way to the toes. Nude shoes with some height also do wonders for length.
By thoroughly understanding your proportions and pairing that with some simple strategies, maneuvering a pear-shaped body can be pretty straightforward. Remember - the intention is to establish a balanced and congruous silhouette that evens out the proportions. Good luck!