Style Tips and Tricks for the Pear Shape

Have you all seen that Old Navy commercial for the Pixie pant with Amy Poehler?  I guess advertising works because I saw that girl’s bum and I thought, “I want my butt to look like that, maybe it will if I have those pants.

pixie pants

Guys, I just fell for a classic, dirty, rotten LIE.  My bum will never look like that.  Even if I lost ten pounds and did a few hundred squats a day, it will never, ever look that narrow. But, I bought the pants anyway because they’re super comfy (Old Navy still calls that a win).  Apparently everyone else in my size hoped for the same miracle tush, because out of all the patterns and colors they had available, these black ones with the tuxedo stripe were the only ones left.

pixie pant

I’m getting a track pants kind of vibe.  Oh well, sporty chic is in, no?

All of that to say, it inspired me do a post on dressing for the body you have, and more specifically, creating optical illusions to help you pull off some of those styles you thought you couldn’t.  First of all, here’s the cold, hard reality of my body shape:


While these hips may not exactly lie (tehehe), I can at least help them stretch the truth a bit with what I choose to wear.

Julie’s Two Golden Rules to Dress for a Pear Shape:

* Don’t knock it till you try it

* If at first it doesn’t fit, try, try again

Generally, pears are supposed to stick to A-line silhouettes in skirts and dresses and wear things to draw the eye upward, but I think there are always exceptions with the right fit and proportions. Peplum is a style that comes to mind that pears typically should avoid, but I wanted to wear it anyway.  I tried on a lot of unflattering peplum before I found a top that hit me on the right point at my waist with a small enough ruffle, which allowed me to get away with it.  Pattern, fit and length can all be game-changers and ultimately, you won’t know until you try it on.

Rules for Tops:

I try to avoid wearing anything tight on top because I feel like people just want to give me hamburgers.  I stand up to receive said hamburger (because I’m generally not one to refuse food) and their eyes travel downwards and they’re all like, “oh, wait, never mind, you’re good.”  Moving on. When I look for a top, I concentrate on detail.  Those details can include collars, bows, draping–anything to draw the eye up and out.  Pears have narrow shoulders, so sleeves and necklines that create an illusion of width are your best friend.  Boat necks, shoulder pads, and gathered sleeves are all pear-friendly. Try to avoid extremely fitted (tight), solid, or sleeveless tops that cut into the shoulder.  To disguise a small bust, layering, pattern, ruffles and other details on top will help a girl out.


In terms of length, look for tops that hit you just above the widest part of your hips, unless you plan on wearing it tucked in, or it’s a flowy, tunic style. I tend to want to put myself in tops that hit below my hips to hide them.  However, it actually does the opposite:


Breaking the Rules:

Pretty much the only time I will wear a fitted, solid top by itself is if I can tuck it into an a-line skirt.  I will wear the skirt closer to my natural waistline (the narrow part) to shorten my torso so my bottom half looks longer.  I will also often add jewelry or a scarf to create detail to help keep the focus on the clothes, rather than my body shape (you know, to avoid that, “where them boobies at?” visual quest.  Trust me, it happens and it’s just as awkward as it sounds).

Rules for Bottoms:

For the bottom half, fit is key.  I feel best in skirts and dresses that nip in at the waist and flow away from the hips and legs. Lines that taper in or are meant to be straight like pencil skirts and sheath dresses are a little more difficult for the pear to get away with.  If I’m buying a sheath dress, I have to go up at least three sizes to get the bottom to fit, and then alter the top.  Even then, unless there is enough detail on top (like draping, ruching or ruffles), I’m not going to be happy with how it looks because it’s following the true lines of my body which are not proportional.

Breaking the Rules:

pencil skirt

In terms of length, at or above the knee is where it’s at.  Any longer and you start cutting into the precious little leg length you have.

But…what about those midi length skirts? They’re so cute, right?  Ok, let’s try it:

midi skirt

If you’re a pear shape, you have probably heard that you should wear dark solids on the bottom and keep your bright colors and patterns on top.  It makes sense and I try to abide by those rules, but sometimes, my bottom half wants to have a little fun too.

Breaking the rules:



Unfortunately, heels are the best way to help a pear’s legs out.  Case in point:



I have heard that wide-leg pants are a good style for pears, but I haven’t found a pair yet that I thought were particularly flattering on me.  I feel good in a skinny pant if I can wear something layered or flowy on top, and if they hit at or above my ankles.  This is where fit and length can make all the difference on something that’s technically not meant for your body shape.

That’s a Wrap

So, there you have it.  Clothing Basics for Pears.  Again, I hope you take away that it’s more about creating illusions of more even proportions and not so much about the list of do’s and don’ts. There are usually ways around those silhouettes you wish you could wear but thought you couldn’t.  Nothing extreme here, just some eye trickery tactics.  Now go forth and show those clothes who’s in control!

One Piece Many Ways: The Midi Pleated Skirt (Day 211)

Linking up with Putting Me Together for the One Piece Many Ways challenge, I chose my yellow pleated midi skirt because let’s be honest, the midi is an awkward length for anyone under 6 feet tall, so I put my thinking cap on and defied it’s impracticality by creating five different looks:


Break it down *cue music*

Exhibit A:





My hubby couldn’t decide if I was going for a little Spanish flair here, Little House on the Prairie, or if this was my proper librarian getup.  All I can say is, pink and yellow warm my soul.  And someone bring me some tea and crumpets, stat!

Exhibit B:





Sunflowers? Crop top? The 90s are calling.  But that’s ok, because 90s are the new 80s.  I remember when crop tops were around the first time.  I was in the 6th grade and everyone was wearing them.  Except for me.  Luckily, I wasn’t one to beg for clothes “like everyone else was wearing,” and I was painfully modest anyway.  We’re talking “wear three shirts so no one can see my training bra lines” kind of modest here.  And look at me now, flaunting that little strip of skin.  No telling what fashion risks I’ll be taking in my 50s.  Funny story about these sunflowers.  They were at someone’s house about a block away from us.  The couple inside were having a loud domestic dispute, but I took my chances.  Phen kept saying, “hurry and smile so we can get out of here before they come out with a shotgun.”

Exhibit C:





Would you judge me if I told you that this top is actually my nightgown?  Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t…but if it is my nightgown, isn’t it nice that all I have to do is remove the skirt and slip straight into bed? I’d call that a win. A hypothetical win of course.

Exhibit D:




Yo, yo, yo.  And that’s all I have to say about my motorcycle-vest-meets-grandma’s-skirt action.

Exhibit E:





Shouldn’t I be doing the salsa?  This was not the scarf I intended to use, but of course I couldn’t find the one that I wanted.  Also, I should have skipped the lazy and finished buckling my shoes, but I’m over it so you should be too.

So let’s talk about the midi skirt.  I tried to pair it with some flats and sandals and it was a definite no-no.  I think the trick with this length is to make your legs look as long as possible and be mindful of proportions.

Hope you enjoyed the show.  That’ll be a virtual buck fifty.  Thanks for playing.