The pear body shape is characterised by large hips which are wider than the bust and shoulders. Other characteristics of this body shape are a defined waist, and proportionately slim arms and shoulders.
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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.
Visually adding more weight to the shoulder and bust area de-emphasises the hips and thighs, and balances the silhouette.
De-emphasise the hips and thighs to balance them out with the upper body.
To optically widen the shoulder and bust area of the pear body shape, necklines should be wide and short. Narrow and long necklines tend to do the opposite: they vertically stretch and slim the upper body down.
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 area 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.
A selection of flattering neckline styles:
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, embellished styles that 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 through shoulder pads, puff, and cap sleeves among others.
A selection of flattering sleeve styles
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 make the upper body appear wider.
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 finish at the hipline. Tucking your shirt into your bottoms helps accentuating 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.
A selection of flattering shirt and top styles:
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 out 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 wider.
Similar to shirts, 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 area, 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 is one that 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 the attention upwards.
A selection of flattering jacket styles:
In order 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 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.
A selection of flattering coat styles:
A selection of flattering jump- and playsuits:
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