The 5 Body Shapes

Pear Body Shape:
A Comprehensive Guide

Pear Body Shape

The pear body shape is characterised by large hips which are wider than the bust and shoulders.
This makes the body appear like a pear shape.


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Other characteristics of this body shape are a defined waist, and proportionately slim arms and shoulders.

Read if you are concerned about:
- Wide hips
- Narrow shoulders
- Small bust

Note: The body shape theory is somewhat outdated and best used to conceal or balance out particular body parts. If you are interested in a more comprehensive styling theory, check out style essences.

I. Characteristics of the Pear

  • Shoulders are narrower than hips and may be sloped
  • Small top half as well as small bust
  • A defined waist thanks to larger hips
  • Full hips and / or thighs
  • Legs are likely full or muscular
  • Weight gains tend to first be visible around the hips, thighs and lower midriff

Other body shape tendencies

It is difficult to categorise your body into just one of the basic body shapes. Be open to a possible secondary body shape:

  • You lean towards an hourglass shape if your top half looks heavier because of a large bust.
  • You lean towards an apple shape if your weight gains generally appear first in your bust and tummy areas.
  • You lean towards a rectangle shape if your waist is slightly wider and not very defined.
  • You lean towards an inverted triangle shape if your shoulders are wider than your hips.
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II. Styling the Pear

Styling The Pear Body Shape

The pear body shape is heavier on the bottom which creates an imbalance with the upper half of the body. The key to dressing this body shape is to take attention away from the wider hips and to draw it towards the upper body and defined waist instead.

You want to create the illusion of volume on the upper body while emphasising the waist and de-emphasising the lower body to create a balanced silhouette.

Highlight the upper body

Visually adding more weight to the shoulder and bust area de-emphasises the hips and thighs, and balances the silhouette.

  • Focus on structured shoulders to visually widen the shoulder line
  • Invest in a good push-up bra to lift your chest
  • Wear bright colours on your upper body
  • Use eye-catching prints, textures and details strategically to create interest on top
  • Wear fitted clothes to accentuate the waist
  • Layering on your top half creates visual interest and draws the eye upwards
  • Keep away from boxy tops that hide the waist

Play down the lower body

De-emphasise the hips and thighs to balance them out with the upper body.

  • Wear darker colours on your lower body
  • Avoid skinny and tight bottoms that emphasise the wide hips
  • Steer clear of embellished bottoms that draw attention the lower body
  • Keep your lower body uncluttered and clean
  • Avoid details, patterns, pockets on your thigh and hip area and belts on your hips
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III. Tops


To optically widen the shoulder and bust areas of the pear body shape, necklines should be wide. Narrow and long necklines tend to do the opposite: they vertically stretch and slim the upper body.

Opt for lower, wider necklines such as square, bateau and Sabrina necklines. Off-shoulder necklines add an extra few inches to your upper body.

Another excellent way to direct the eye upwards and add some volume to the shoulder and bust areas is by adding embellishments.

A cowl collar, for example, bulks up the neckline. Big collars, lace trims and ruffles all add volume to your upper body, thereby balancing it out with the wider hips.

Pear Body Shape Necklines Do's and Don'ts - the concept wardrobe

A selection of flattering neckline styles:

Pear Body Shape Necklines - the concept wardrobe


The right style of the sleeve for a pear-shaped body varies with the length of the sleeve. If the sleeve is short, opt for wide and embellished styles, which will add volume to the upper body. Good options are flutter, bell and batwing sleeves.

For long sleeves, however, the opposite is true: you want to keep the volume around your hips to a minimum. In this case, it is best to let the sleeve taper while at the same time adding volume to the shoulder area. This can be achieved, for instance, through shoulder pads, puff and cap sleeves.

A selection of flattering sleeve styles

Pear Body Shape Sleeves - the concept wardrobe

Shirts, T-Shirts & Other Tops

When selecting tops, choose styles that will help balance the lower body while emphasising the pear body shape's defined waist.

Fitted and nipped tops help accentuate the waist.

Bright colours, bold patterns, details and embellishments around the bust and shoulders will draw attention to the upper body and away from the wider hips. Horizontal stripes are also a good strategy to highlight the upper body.

Tops should not go beyond the hips as this would make the hips appear even wider. Opt for either cropped tops that finish at the waist or tops that end at the hipline. Tucking your shirt into your bottoms helps to accentuate your curvy body shape.

Avoid details, embellishments and pockets around the hips, which would draw attention to this area. Also, steer clear of peplums, ruffles and styles that would add additional volume to the hips.

Pear Body Shape Shirts Do's and Don'ts - the concept wardrobe

A selection of flattering shirt and top styles:

Pear Body Shape Shirts - the concept wardrobe


To flatter the pear shape, opt for shorter jumpers that hit just at the hip bones.

A shorter sweater in a chunkier fabric or a loose fit will create volume on the upper body and balance the wider hips.

Loose, long sweaters that hit mid-thighs are also flattering for the pear body shape.

In terms of prints and patterns, try horizontal stripes that create the illusion of having more width in the right places. The stripes should sit on the neck-, shoulder- or bust-line.

Avoid long, clingy jumpers that hit right across the hips - a line going across the widest point will make the hips appear even wider.

Pear Body Shape Knitwear Do's and Don'ts - the concept wardrobe


Jackets for a pear-shaped body should add volume to the bust and shoulder areas while either avoiding the hip area altogether or skimming over it. A cropped jacket will add structure and volume to the shoulder and bust areas while showing off the slim waist. Hitting mid-thigh, a long jacket will elongate the body, making it appear long and slender whilst hiding the wider hip area.

A wrong jacket for this body shape ends right at the hip, accentuating that area.

Embellishments are great to draw the eye upwards. Pockets or details on the bust and around the neckline (e.g. collars) work well. Avoid details - such as pockets - around the hip area and keep this area clean and uncluttered.

Longer jackets in darker colours will help slim your silhouette down. Cropped jackets may be in brighter colours since they draw attention upwards.

A selection of flattering jacket styles:

Pear Body Shape Jackets - the concept wardrobe


To play down the lower part of the pear-shaped body, a coat has to hit at the right length. Coats that are too short accentuate the wide hip area, and those that are too long overwhelm the body frame. The best coat length sits right under the hips and mid-thigh.

Choose dark colours to make your silhouette appear sleeker and look out for shoulder and bust enhancing details - such as big lapels, wide collars, double-breasted styles and belts in the waist area.

Princess and high waistline coats in an A-line are great; fitted waistline and coachmen coats also look lovely. Trench coats work great for a pear-shaped body. The belt creates proportion between the shoulders and hips, causing them to look less full.

Avoid straight cut and boxy coats, as they will make you look heavy and shapeless.

Pear Body Shape Coats Do's and Don'ts - the concept wardrobe

A selection of flattering coat styles:

Pear Body Shape Coats - the concept wardrobe
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IV. Bottoms


The right trousers for the pear body shape will minimise the lower body and de-emphasise the hips.

Plain, flat-fronted, bootleg or plated, full leg line or ankle length are best. Choose relaxed fits that fall straight down from the widest part of the hip.

Trousers should be mid- or high-waisted to hug in the defined waist. Low-waisted trousers that hit just below the waist would further highlight the hips.

Opt for darker colours, clean lines and simple stitching to avoid drawing attention to the lower body.

Avoid details such as whiskering and embellishments - no belt loops, creases, pleats, big pockets, patterns or turn-ups. Also, steer clear of skinny fit trousers and styles that taper at the bottom. These would highlight your wider hips.


Just like trousers, jeans should aim to play down the wider hips of the pear body shape. Jeans should be mid- to high-rise and straight, bootcut, trouser-cut or flare. Relaxed fits work best. Opt for dark denim to avoid drawing attention to the lower body.

Avoid skinny trousers that cling to the hips and thighs, which would draw attention to this area. Also, stay away from big side and back pockets, as well as distressed denim, turn-ups, and other embellishments on jeans. These would attract attention to your lower body and make your upper half look even smaller.

Pear Body Shape Jeans Do's and Don'ts - the concept wardrobe

A selection of flattering jeans styles:


Skirts are an excellent way to cover up the wide hips and bottoms of the pear-shaped body. Opt for lightly gathered skirts that skim the body without adding volume. Skirts with a wider shape at the bottom are effective in balancing out the hips - such as A-line skirts or bias skirts.

The right skirt length for the pear shape is knee-length or between the knee and mid-calf. This length helps to stretch the body visually. Like other bottoms, skirts should be mid- or high-waisted.

Avoid too-full skirts and skirts with heavy horizontal details that exaggerate your body shape, such as frilly tiers. And make sure you select skirt styles that are free from details and embellishments.

Pear Body Shape Skirts Do's and Don'ts - the concept wardrobe

A selection of flattering skirt styles:


Dresses should draw attention to the waist while concealing the lower body. Counterintuitively, dresses with a wider shape at the bottom are more effective in balancing out the hips. That is because tight-fitting dresses accentuate the hip area, whereas looser fits neatly skim over it. Great dress choices are A-line or X-line dresses. The latter will also balance out the upper body and is therefore excellent for a pear-shaped body.

Avoid dresses in thick fabrics as well as dresses with a dropped waist. Any dress with a straight cut will make you look heavier as it hides your waist.

Pear Body Shape Dresses Do's and Don'ts - the concept wardrobe

A selection of flattering dresses styles:

Pear Body Shape Dresses - the concept wardrobe


Shorts for a pear-shaped body should skim nicely over the wider hip area without adding volume to it.

Although the first instinct may be covering up the hips and legs, working with your curves is much more flattering. The ideal shorts styles for the pear shape are simple and tailored. High-waisted options are your best friends since they also show off the smaller waist. They should finish in a wider leg to conveniently hide the wider hips.

Shorts that are knee-length or that extend past the thickest part of the thighs help elongate the legs. Opt for a darker colour to take attention away from the lower body.

Avoid bright colours, details, and embellishments - such as pockets, pleating, and patterns, as these can make the hips and legs appear wider. Also, forego the belt unless it is on high-waisted shorts. And lastly, stay away from super-skinny shorts wrapping around the hips and thighs and so highlighting them.

Pear Body Shape Shorts Do's and Don'ts - the concept wardrobe

Jumpsuits & Playsuits

Jumpsuits for the pear body shape should balance the silhouette by adding volume on top and skimming over the wider hips.

To add volume to the upper body, the upper part of the jump- or playsuit may be in a lighter, brighter colour than the bottoms. Or, it may have patterns and big sleeves. A strapless neckline will expose more of the chest area and so balance out the wider hips. The lower part should skim nicely over the hips. The best options here are to opt for darker colours on the bottom and straight or flaring leg styles.

Avoid skinny or tapering legs, as well as deep and narrow necklines. In addition, the lower part of the jump- or playsuit should play down the hips, so stay away from patterns, bright colours, and other embellishments on the legs.

Pear Body Shape - Jumpsuits Do's & Don'ts
Pear Body Shape - Playsuits Do's & Don'ts

A selection of flattering jump- and playsuits:


Not a Pear?

Check out the other body shapes:

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