How to dress a pear-shaped body to best flatter your figure

Everything you need to know to make the most of your pear-shaped body

pears on a pink background
(Image credit: Getty)

Not sure how to dress for your pear-shaped body? No problem. Shopping for outfits that best flatter your figure will become a whole lot easier once you gain a better understanding of your body shape.

In this guide, we’ll be looking at the key features of a pear shape, alongside some sartorial dos and don’ts.

What is a pear-shaped body?

While deciphering which body type you have can be a tricky task, you should be able to tell if you have a pear-shaped body by simply looking in the mirror. Do so while wearing either your underwear or a form-fitting outfit - anything that will allow you to get a proper idea of your silhouette. If you’re still unsure, taking measurements of your shoulders, bust, waist, and hips and comparing them will help.

“A pear has narrow shoulders and a small waist,” says stylist Susie Hasler. “Their hips are broader than their shoulders, and they tend to gain weight easily on their bottom half.” You’re also likely to have a relatively modest bust, curvy thighs, and a generous bum. 

You probably wear skirts and trousers at least one size bigger than your tops and may struggle to find clothes which fit around the waist and hips. 

Clothes size and height don’t come into body shape - you can be a petite pear shape, a plus-size one, or anything in between. 

What clothes look best on a pear shaped body?

There are two key ways to approach dressing for a pear-shaped body. Firstly, you can take advantage of your curvaceous bottom half and draw attention to it with figure-hugging silhouettes. Or, you can distract from the area by keeping clothing on your bottom half dark and understated (think indigo jeans and black trousers), instead adding extra interest to the top half of your outfits. 

“Use visual tricks such as V and scoop neck tops, chunky necklaces, and earrings,” advises aesthetics specialist Dr. Galyna Selezneva. These, plus colorful, printed tops,  will draw the eye up and away from your hips.

If you're clever with your styling, you could even create the illusion of a much-coveted hourglass figure. It all comes down to striking a balance between your narrow shoulders and wider hips by adding extra bulk up top. Double-breasted jackets, ruffles, pussy-bow detailing, and statement sleeves will all boost your bust and broaden your shoulders, evening up your proportions. Tucking tops into high-waisted skirts and trousers, opting for fitted dresses, and choosing cropped jackets will also help. And never underestimate the transformative power of cinching in your middle section with a belt, or even throwing on some shapewear to streamline your shape underneath. 

How to dress a pear-shaped body 

To get you started, here are some pieces that work especially well for pear-shaped body types:

  • Bardot neckline tops
  • Tops that end on the hip bone
  • A-line dresses
  • Wrap dresses
  • Wide leg trousers
  • Bootcut and flare jeans
  • Fit-and-flare skirts
  • Structured blazers

What should pear shapes not wear?

If you have a pear-shaped body, there may be particular pieces you feel more or less confident in than others. But it’s all down to personal preference, not hard and fast styling rules.

“One of the most common things I’m asked by my clients is what they should wear for their body type,” says stylist Karen Williams. “However, whilst I am always aware of different body shapes, I don’t let these fashion rules dictate what works and what doesn’t, and I’m reluctant to put women into boxes as I find this can cause an unhealthy body obsession.” 

“I want women to dress for their own gaze, not the eye of others, to trust their instinct and to go with the things that make them feel great.” We couldn’t agree more.