How to dress a pear-shaped body

full hips (pear-shape) dressingSo They Tell You You’re a Pear:  How to Dress It

If this is your body shape, you know just what the “pear” is — you’re fuller below the waist than you are in the upper body. You’ve probably read fashion mag’s that described your body type as the beautifully-curved fruit – the pear. Or maybe a “triangle” (personally, I prefer geometrics over fruit labels when it comes to my body), a “spoon,” “bell,” or perhaps the more scientific term “endormorph.” Either way, you’re in a shrinking minority group. (Oh, you thought this article was about the actual shape, shrinking? Sorry.)

A study by North Carolina State University examined 6,000 women’s bodies and found that just over 20% were the ever-popularly-named “pear” shape. That number is likely to grow smaller, though, as waistlines continue to expand (increasing the rectangle and “apple,” or oval, population), and bustlines continue to be surgically enhanced (increasing the inverted triangle camp).

Here’s the upside: no matter the size of the female demographic that sports the triangle shape, there’s no shortage of fashion options to play it up, or down, as your fancy dictates.

If you’re in the mood to de-emphasize your curvy parts these are for you:

  1. Peplums. This body-friendly design feature treats most figures well. Whether the skirted hemline is at the lower edge of a top, or added to a dress, it camouflages the width of the hips beneath it.full hips (pear-shape) dressing: dresses
  1. Halter style necklines. That throat-framing, shoulder-baring neckline style brings attention to the width of your shoulders, visually broadening them. The result is a perception of balance between the hips and shoulders, in essence, causing the hip/thigh area to appear smaller than it actually is.
  1. Diagonal design lines. They tend to confuse the eye by breaking up space, visually. So when the diagonal design is used around the hip and thigh area, it has this magical effect of making the zone appear slimmer
  1. Fit & Flare dresses. A torso-hugging number that unfurls below the waist is a no-fail method to highlight your small torso and conceal a fuller hip-and-thigh zone. It’s an on-trend style that can carry you from office-to-party, to an afternoon tea, or an “after five” engagement when chosen in an elegant or high-glam fabric.
  1. Full hips (pear-shape) dressing: neckline focus Elevated touches. Accents around the face keep attention up there, instead of at the lower body. A statement necklace does the trick. So does an eye-catching scarf around the neck, or interesting details at the neckline of a top or dress.
  2. Simple, clean bottoms. Pants, skirts, and shorts
    full hips (pear-shape) dressing: clean-line bottoms

    Avoid hip-level embellishments

    that are free of embellishments at the hip are your friends if the intent is to downplay bulk. Things to avoid: cargo pockets, horizontal zippers, pleats and draped fabric (i.e. harem pants).

  1. The alternative: Embrace your unique body particulars to full-on celebrate those natural curves. Here’s how to show ‘em off:

Full hips (pear-shape) dressing with emphasisWear form-fitting skinny jeans with close-to-the-ankle hems. The skinnier the bottom edge, the wider the hip zone appears. Contrasting opposites always command attention.

And in defiance of #6, above, choose hip-zone details that Full hips (pear-shape) dressing emphasizedamplify fullness. It goes against common advice, but if highlighting is your game, it helps to know the rules.

Body-type trivia: That widely-coveted hourglass figure you’ve been taught to covet? It’s only possessed by 8% of real-life women. There. Now you can relax and embrace the body nature gave YOU.

What do you think of the “pear” label?  Do you have special techniques of your own?  Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below. I read them all. (You just might be the inspiration for my next blog post.)

Want to learn more? Work with me.

Patty Buccellato Image CoachPatty Buccellato is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups.

Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit or contact Patty.

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This entry was posted in Body-Type Dressing, Fit & Proporion, Personal Image, Women, Women's Image, Women's style & fashion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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