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!

76 thoughts on “Style Tips and Tricks for the Pear Shape

  1. This is a really awesome post! You have such a great knowledge on how to style for proportions. I’m I guess what you would call an hourglass meets apple (? or whatever the opposite of a pear is) shape. Knowing your body really opens up a wealth of styling options!

    Hope you have a great day!

    • thank you so much! Yes, apples are just the opposite, with the majority of the weight on top with a smaller bottom half. So basically, just flip all these rules around and there ya go! 🙂

  2. Okay, this post is pretty much amazing. I don’t even know where to begin! I love that you posted your measurements online and that we are so similar (I’ve got one inch on you when it comes to hips, but my eh, top portion is a few inches bigger as well – yay for being a B cup!). I love all the rules and graphics. I totally wear almost everything the way you do – love those pencil skirts. The only thing that I don’t do is wear heels (as you know), but I do prefer that they make my legs look longer. Maybe I should to a post about dressing a crazy long torso. There have got to be others out there…

  3. Wow this was a great post !!! I’m a rectangle shape but you’ve just given me the idea to try and do something like this for myself and try to figure out what would work for me. I love your blog !!!

  4. Great post–this seriously was an awesome read. I’m constantly trying to follow the next fashion-forward style, and ignoring the body shape that it is meant to embrace. This often causes me to buy clothes that don’t fit or don’t look right, all in an effort to get that commercial look. Wasted money and time.

    I’m also doing the no-new-clothes-for-a-year challenge, and just hit my six month mark on March 6th! 🙂 It’s amazing how much stuff I have that I can’t wear anymore, as well as the hidden gems I forgot about. Keep up the good posts!

    • I hear you all the way!
      Congrats on the challenge!! I did it last year, but didn’t quite make it the full year without a few slip-ups. I love that you’re doing it and have already made it halfway, good for you!

  5. Hey, this was an AMAZING post and you do dress super well and make the most of your shape! I, on the otherhand, don’t really think that I dress that well for my shape but you have given me tons to think about!! 😀 I rate this post A++++ with a gold star!

  6. Pingback: Dressy Sweats and the Happy Challenge |

  7. I really enjoyed reading this post! I’m not really pear shaped, more hour glass (I unfortunately have broader shoulders/large bust) but I loved seeing the differences. You clearly know what you’re doing when it comes to dressing yourself!

  8. Thank you for this post. I am so tired of hearing advice to avoid bright colors on bottoms, and all the other rules for pear shapes. And “You need a hamburger… oh wait, no you don’t”? Yes. Yes. and yes. I am following you now and can’t wait to see what other kinds of tips I can pick up from you!

  9. I cant for the life of me figure out why youd want a narrow butt when that girl should kill to have yours. Your shape is spectacular.

  10. I enjoyed your post. The pictures are super helpful. I also appreciate that you show how to break the rules. It would be helpful to know how tall you are as well. Maybe I just missed it. I think there is a difference between a pear who is 5′ 6 and a pear who is 5’2″ . Some things still apply but some don’t. For example. The picture of you in the bright coral t- shirt, if I wore it pulled down that far on my hips I would look like I had stubs for legs. Even if I’m not tucking I would wear it so it looks a little more like your tucked in picture. And I don’t wear heels for everyday. Thanks for what you have done here though.

    • Louise, I am 5’7 and I agree, different heights and proportions are going to require a little adjusting in length and where clothes hit the body, but I think the same “rules” can generally apply. And just to be clear (if I’m understanding your comment correctly), the picture where the coral shirt is untucked was showing what not to do. Totally understand about the heels, I think a pointed toe flat can get similar results. Thanks for reading and for the feedback! 🙂

  11. This has to be the absolute best information on the pear shape. Showing your measurements and clothes on a real person rather than photos of just the clothes or modeled by someone who isn’t pear shaped. I turned 50 and am having a hard time finding age appropriate clothing as well as fit my shape (which has changed due to gravity as well lol). My hips are the same as yours. You have given me the confidence and know how of what to look out for to accentuate my best assets. You look absolutely stunning as well as classy! Thank you for taking the time to show others how to dress with confidence. I am truly grateful 🙂

  12. Wow! I am gonna follow you for this! I am afraid of buying clothes myself because I’m not really sure what fits me best. I usually broke most of the rules u said, such as wearing fitted tops. jeans are my only escape for my bottoms. I never knew any flattering clothes until I saw. You’ll be my fashion icon from now on. Hope you can advise me some of office work clothes. Thanks and see you soon!

  13. such great ideas! Unfortunately, I have pear shape AND cankles so a midi skirt will never work for me. :/

  14. You are one absolutely beautiful woman. That body is awesome just the way it is. With that body you would make a burlap sack look great. Perfect measurements. Nothing to hide at all.

  15. Thank You!! I bought the most beautiful pencil skirt and your tip on how to wear is great. Thanks also for the tuck in tip – I am an untucker cause I thought that was better, but seeing the difference is great. Keep up the great tips looking forward to more

  16. Thank you for this post…..I have exact body measurements as yours, and all outfit tricks are so helpful. You rock all outfits perfectly, absolutely flawless !!

  17. I realize this is several years after your original post, but wanted to chime in with the others and say that this post was the best on pear shapes that I’ve ever read. My measurements and height are very close to yours and it was SO helpful to see your pictures! They helped me to realize a couple of things I was doing that weren’t very flattering. Also, the picture of you in the red pencil skirt is stunning!

  18. This post was so helpful! You know one other thing I do to achieve that balance? Long hair! Any time I have short hair it brings my pear shaped body (.75 ratio) way out of proportion. Long hair is my friend. 😀

  19. Thank you for not only being thorough and informative, you are so cheeky, clever, positive and inclusive! You have a very inviting way about you and I truly appreciate that! Maybe I missed it in a previous comment, but would you mind referencing the brands of the items in your pictures? Not only would it give me ideas for where to shop, but I’m a huge fan of second hand sites like Thred Up and Poshmark. I know it’s a lot to ask, but I need all the help I can get! Thanks again for helping this “hippy” girl out. ❤

  20. Thank you for posting this! You are so beautifully shaped and made me see my own extremely pear shaped body in a much better light pear 🍐❤️😊

  21. Great post! Straight forward and informative. I can really relate. I’ve spent my whole life adjusting waist of pants and skirts. Adjusting top of dresses because I had to buy two-three sizes too big to fit my hips. No matter if I was small or had weight on I was out of proportion.
    Thanks informative.

  22. Thank you so much for this! I struggle a lot to find clothes to fit my shape, I literally rely on my husband to dress me 😅 (he does a really great job). But as a female I need this knowledge for myself.
    Keep up the good work! 😊

  23. Love your post!!! I’m a pear and know most of these tricks😊
    I’d love to see a photo of you in slim pants because I’ve always loved Old Navy’s pixie pants but didn’t think I could look good in them.

  24. It’s not just me who has this body type!
    I’m short legged, with small shoulders and no bust. Your article is very helpful!! Thank you!!

  25. I’ve never felt inspired to leave a comment on any post till now. Thank you for the comparison photos; they are truly illustrative.

  26. Hi, I’m going to a wedding and I’m a pear shape and I’ve bought a dress which I really like but it’s got thin pleats on the bottom but the fabric is quite floaty.
    I’ve just read that pleats on a pear shape are a no no,
    I’ve got heels to go with it so I look taller.
    Am I making a big mistake wearing pleats for my body shape.

  27. A (well-formed) pear shape is very attractive for many men… So, please, don’t hide those pretty feminine hips and bootie behind a wide skirt too often… Unless you need full attention somewhere else… : A girlfriend I had in the past, who is a communication trainer, always hid her pear shape if she had to train men – otherwise their concentration tended to wander away from what she said, to her pretty hips… and they failed the tests miserably 🙂 (And, yes, I am a man 😉 )

  28. Hi, I know this post is old but I stumbled accross it in Pinterest – and loved it! My body shape is very, very close to yours so the post was very useful, but also made me laugh (because I recognize the comments you made).

    Thank you and greetings from Finland!

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