Everything you need to know about the pear body shape in 2024

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Updated:

March 8, 2024

I’m a pear-shaped personal stylist with over 18 years of experience dressing hundreds of other pear-shaped women (pear-shaped women make up almost 50% of my client base!), so - if you’re looking for somewhere to learn everything you need to know about dressing your pear-shaped body, you are in the right place!

  • Want to know what a pear body shape looks like?  You'll have narrow shoulders, a defined waist, and broad hips - those are just 3 main characteristics, but there are many more!
  • Want to know if your body shape is a pear?   I've listed the core characteristics below, and if you check them all, it probably is.  I've also shared some measurements you could take if you're not sure whether you have a pear shape or an hourglass shape.
  • Want to know which clothes a pear shape should wear?   My favorite items are wide-leg jeans, and tops with structured shoulders, but I’m sharing a ton more items below that will look great on you!
  • Want to know what clothes you might want to avoid?  Straight leg jeans and slip dresses are difficult to get in a good fit, but there are more items you might want to know about, so scroll on down to see!

Whatever it is that you’re struggling with when it comes to dressing your beautiful pear shape, I hope you’ll find the answer here.

I’ve distilled my 18 years of knowledge and experience dressing a wide variety of pear-shaped women, to give you everything you ever need to know about dressing your pear shape, so that you finally start putting outfits together that you enjoy wearing!

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product via these links I will earn a small commission. This does NOT make the price higher for you, and I NEVER link to products that I wouldn’t recommend to my clients, or purchase myself. 

what is a pear body shape, and what does it look like?

The pear-shaped body is one of the 4 primary body shapes, ( the other 3 are apple shape, column shape, and hourglass shape).

Some other names for the pear shape are triangle body shape, and bottom heavy.  All these names derive from the fact that this body type is larger on the bottom half than the top half. Often so much so that you wear a smaller clothing size on your upper half than your lower half (I sometimes have to go down 2 sizes on my upper half!).

I like to refer to those 4 body types as being ‘primary body types’ because, although they are the most commonly known body types, your shape probably doesn't align with just one (very few women slot neatly into one of the main body types).

Your shape is probably a combination of a primary shape and a secondary shape. The primary is the shape you identify with the most, and the secondary is the one that you overlap with.

If you've been confused as to what shape you are, this is probably why! This, and the fact that there is so much incorrect information floating around the internet.

So, how do you know if you have a pear shape, and how do you know if you have a secondary shape?

a graphic illustrating the characteristics of a pear body shape

how to tell if you have a pear body shape

Two big signs suggest you have a pear shape:

  1. The first is if you typically wear a smaller clothing size on your top half than you do on your bottom half
  2. The second is if your shoulders are considerably narrower than your hips

But that's not all...if your body shape also aligns with these common characteristics below, the chances are that you have a pear-shaped body.

THESE ARE THE COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF A PEAR BODY SHAPE:

  • You often wear a smaller dress size on the top half than you do on the bottom half -and this can make it difficult to get dresses that fit both your top and bottom half – if they fit you on top, they’re often too tight on the bottom...and vice versa.
  • If you put weight on it tends to sit on your bottom and thighs before anywhere else
  • Your torso is longer than your legs and this can make your bottom half look heavier than it is, which only enhances your pear shape. It also means that tops and sleeves are sometimes a little short, and dresses with a waistline don't always sit on your waist.
  • Your shoulders are narrower than your hips so you probably find that tops are a little broad in the shoulders, despite fitting everywhere else. Or it might mean that tops catch at your hips and ride up.
  • You have a small bust which, combined with your narrower shoulders and long torso can enhance your small top half, which highlights your larger bottom half. It also means that some tops are loose across your chest.
  • You have a defined waistline which makes buying jeans, pants, and skirts frustrating as they often gape at the back of the waistband…even if they fit your hips and thighs.

Still unsure if you have a pear body shape? Take my free quiz?

does your pear body-shape overlap with another body-shape?

Many women struggle to fit into just one body-shape category, and this is because the 4 well-established body types only take into account the basic qualities of each shape.

The most likely scenario is that your body shape is a combination of two body shapes - a primary and a secondary shape; the primary shape being the one that your shape aligns with the most, and the secondary being the shape that your body shape overlaps with a little.

So, it's quite possible that your primary body-shape might be pear shape (especially if you checked most of the characteristics I listed above), but your true body shape - the one that takes into consideration ALL off your characteristics - might be a pear body shape with a secondary body shape of hourglass or column.

An illustration of 4 pear shaped women in different pear shapes and different sizes

I share this information because so many women are confused when they can’t slot neatly into one body shape box, but I want to point out that ‘labeling’ your shape isn’t the be-all and end-all.

It’s useful (and reassuring) to know what your shape is, not least because it gives you a starting point for researching what works for you and why, but what is MORE important is that you have a really good understanding of your shape and it’s unique characteristics, and proportions.

THIS is the information that will make it easier for you to choose clothes that do what you want them to do - whether that’s to balance your frame, highlight curves, or disguise an area you’re less happy with.

As you become more familiar with your shape, and the clothing styles that fit you best; how you define your body shape will become less important, and you’ll naturally gravitate towards what works for you and your personal style.

Until then, this post offers you a hand to guide you as you learn more about your shape.  So, let's see if your shape has any additional characteristics, and therefore, a secondary body shape:

does your pear body shape overlap with a column shape? 

If you identify with most of the triangle shape characteristics, but also recognize some of these, then your primary body shape may be pear, with a secondary shape of column shape. 

An illustration of a ear shaped body that overlaps with a column shaped body
  • You are slim - so the difference in size between your top half and bottom half is minimal
  • You have a very small bust
  • Your shoulders are narrower than your hips, but again, the difference is small
  • And your waist is defined, but not so much so that jeans and pants gape at the back of the waistband. 

does your pear body shape overlap with an hourglass body shape? 

If you recognized most (but not all) of the pear-shape characteristics above, and also recognize some of the characteristics listed below, there's a chance that your primary body type is pear shape, and you have a secondary body type of an hourglass shape. 

An illustration of a woman who has both a pear shaped body and an hourglass shaped figure
  • You have a large bust
  • You have a very well defined waist
  • And your shoulders are only slightly narrower than your hips

If you would like to dive deeper into understanding your unique body shape, download my FREE workbook below.

how do you know if you're a pear shape or an hourglass?

The best way to determine whether you have a pear shape or an hourglass shape is to take some measurements:

Measure the circumference of your shoulders and the circumference of your hips: 

  • If your shoulder and hip measurements are the same (give or take a couple of cm), and you also have a very well-defined waistline, you probably have an hourglass body type, not a pear
  • If your hip measurement is noticeably larger than your shoulder measurement and you have a defined waistline, you are more likely to have a pear figure than an hourglass one. 

If you're still not sure, take my FREE body shape quiz

Which celebrities are pear shaped?

I know it can be helpful to see other women who have a similar shape as yours, so here are some of my favorite pear shaped celebrities.

If there's a pear shaped celebrity who's style you admire, follow them on Instagram, or search for them on Pinterest.  It's a great way to develop new looks that work for your shape.

jennifer lopez

kim kardashian

melissa McCarthy

Keira Knitghley

America Ferrera

Mindy kaling

how should a pear body shape dress?

Before we talk about how a pear shaped figure should dress, let's chat a bit about what it is you want to achieve with your outfit.  

I'm not talking the look you want to create, or occasion that you're dressing for; I'm referring to what you want your clothes to do for your shape.  Clothes can add volume, create shape, emphasize, and disguise, so it's a good idea to think about what you want your shape to look like, before you start to build an outfit.

  • Do you want to highlight your curves?  Or do you want to disguise them?
  • Do you want to balance your frame, so it looks more hourglass or column shaped?  Or do you want to showcase your gorgeous pear shape proportions?

Typically, when I'm working with a pear shaped client, she wants to look more balanced, and she wants to look smaller on the bottom half.  

When that is the objective:

⭐The most flattering outfit for a pear body shape is a combination of clothes that highlights your best assets, creates a balanced frame, and fits you well.⭐

To pull togheter a flatteirng outfit for a pear shape that balances your frame, highlights your best assets, and fits you well, you will need to:

  • Choose clothing styles that add volume to your narrow shoulders, to broaden them and give the appearance of a balanced frame
  • Combine this with clothing styles that slim and elongate your legs to make your torso look shorter, and your proportions more balanced
  • And choose clothing styles and elements that highlight and enhance your unique assets - A pear shape’s assets are typically a defined waistline and neat top half; but you will want to identify what your unique assets are and take these into consideration when you’re dressing your pear body shape.  If you need help figuring out what your assets and qualities are, this workbook will help

The photos below illustrate brilliantly, how easy it is to alter your proportions and shape, just by choosing different clothing styles:

This outfit makes my shape appear very unbalanced:

A women wearing an unflattering outfit
  • The thin straps draw the eye in to further narrow my shoulders
  • The top hides my waist and highlights my widest point which makes my bottom half look bigger
  • The length of the top makes my legs look shorter, which makes them look heavier
  • And the skinny ankle makes my thighs look heavier

This outfit makes shape look more balanced:

A pear body shaped women wearing a flattering outfit
  • The halterneck highlights my shoulders which makes them look broader
  • The top sits at my waist to highlight it
  • The length of the top makes my legs look longer which makes them look slimmer
  • And the kick flare balances my  hips to make them look slimmer, and showcases my curves

Which clothes work best for a pear shape?

If you're anything like my pear shaped clients, you've probably wasted far too much time and money buying clothes that you don’t feel good in.  

Outfits never look as good on you as they did in your head, and you can’t find the clothes that fit well:

  • Pants and jeans gape at the back of the waistband
  • Dresses rarely fit both your top and bottom half
  • And most clothes seem to make you look big on the bottom half

Well, no more!  

I'm drawing on my 18 years experience helping pear shaped women like you to create outfits that look good, and am sharing the best clothes for a pear shape so you can turn your body shape into your superpower and make clothes work for you...rather than the other way round!

these are the best tops for a pear body  shape

When you're choosing tops for your triangle body shape, you might have found that some styles are too lower loose around your bust, are too wide across your shoulders, and a little bit tight across your hips.

If that sounds familiar, here are some suggestions for you:

The most flattering, best-fitting tops for a triangle shape are tops that:

  • Make your shoulders look broader as this will help to balance your hips and make you look less bottom heavy
  • Shorten your torso - this will make your legs appear longer, and your proportions more balanced
  • Highlight your narrow waist
  • Add volume and detailing to your small bust and torso - this will balance your lower body and draw the eye up to your slimmer upper body

The least flattering, worst-fitting tops for a pear shape are top styles that:

  • Narrow your shoulders as this can make your frame look more bottom-heavy
  • Draw a horizontal line across your hips, as this can make hips look wider and your legs look shorter and heavier
  • Hide your waist
Images of tops that flatter a pear shape
  • Crew neck tops are great on a pear-shape - they draw the eye up to your skimmer top half and add a little volume to your torso which balances your frame a little.
  • Puff sleeves and flutter sleeves are a great option for a pear-shape -They do a fantastic job of adding a little breadth to your shoulders, and this helps to balance your frame and create a more defined waistline.
  • Off the shoulder tops are one of the best options for a triangle shape - they draw a horizontal line right across your torso and arms, which makes your upper half look broader, and your hips look narrower.
  • Structured shoulders, such as shoulder pads are perfect for pears - in the same way that puff sleeves are - they add some width to balance your shoulders with your wider hips.
  • Sweetheart necklines are great options for pear shapes - these are a pretty option as they broaden your shoulders a little and enhance your bust. They create a curvier upper half to compliment your curvy bottom half.
  • Turtlenecks are a good choice for pear shapes -  they add a little weight to your torso and bust, but a word of caution when wearing turtlenecks - they can elongate your torso, so you may feel better in a polo neck when you team it with a pair of high rise jeans.

If you want more detailed information on the best tops for your pear shape, along with my top picks for 2024, I highly recommend you check out this post

these are the best skirt styles for a pear body  shape: 

When you're choosing skirts as a pear shape, you may find that some styles hug your hips, but gape around the waist (and they subsequently spin round as you walk in them), and you might not like that some skirt styles draw attention to your  hips and thighs.  

With that in mind, here are some tips to help you chose skirts that will fit you better:

The most flattering, best-fitting skirts for a pear shape are skirt styles that:

  • Skim and narrow your hips - this will help to balance your shoulders and make you look less bottom-heavy
  • Elongate your legs - this will make your torso look shorter and your proportions more balanced
  • Highlight your waist area - this is one of the best features of a pear shape so it's worth showing it off!

The least flattering, worst-fitting skirts for a pear shape are skirts that: 

  • Add weight and volume to your hips to make them look wider - paper-bag waists and pleated pants are great examples of this.
  • Hide your waist - when you hide your waist you could make your figure look larger and boxy
  • And shorten your legs - this can make your lower half look bottom-heavy
Images of skirts that flatter a pear shape
  • Skater skirts are a fun option for pear shapes - these hug your waist, flare out to skim your larger hips and show off your legs.
  • Full skirts are the best option for a pear shaped woman - these are my favorite skirt styles for pears. They hug and highlight your waist, elongate your legs, and skim your hips and thighs.
  • Trumpet skirts look great on a pear body shape - These are a gorgeous style for highlighting and enhancing your curvy lower half.
  • Flared skirts are a good choice for pears - the flared hem will enhance and showcase your curves
  • A-line skirts are a good idea for pear shapes - these fit the waist and flare out gently to skim the hips and thighs.

the best pants, trousers and jeans styles for a pear body  shape

Choosing pants and jeans when you're pear shaped, can be a super frustrating experience. It's rare that a pair of jeans will fit your hips and thighs AND your waist - it's usually one or the other.

Here are some tips to help you find pants and jeans that DO fit you!

The most flattering, best-fitting jeans for a pear shape are jeans that:

  • Make your hips look narrower - this will help to balance your shoulders and make you look less bottom-heavy
  • Elongate your legs - this will make your torso look shorter and your proportions more balanced
  • Highlight your waist - this will make your legs look longer, and will showcase your gorgeous curves. My go-to for highlighting a waist is a high waist pair of jeans.

The least flattering, worst-fitting jeans for a pear shape are jeans that: 

  • Add weight and volume to your hips - this can make your hips look wider, and your shape look unbalanced
  • Hide your waist - this may make you look and feel boxy
  • Shorten your legs - this can make a triangle shape look bottom-heavy and less proportioned.
Images of jackets and coats that flatter a pear shape
  • Flares look great on pear shapes - the fullness below the knee balances a pear shapes hips and enhances your curves.
  • Wide-leg pants (cropped or full length) - high-rise wide-leg pants will hug your waist and flare out to skim your hips and elongate your legs.
  • Palazzo pants are gorgeous statement pants for pears! They hug your waist and elongate your legs.
  • Slim-leg pants - these may be more flattering than skinny jeans and pants - the wider the ankle, the narrower your hips will look.

If you are looking for the ultimate guide to the most flattering jeans for a pear body shape, check out this blog post!

these are the best dresses for a pear body  shape: 

When you have a pear shape, many dress styles will fit your top half, but pull across your hips.  Or, if they fit your hips, they often gape on the top.

If that's you, these tips should help you find dresses that fit and look good:

The most flattering, best-fitting dresses for a pear shape are dresses that:

  • Broaden your shoulders - this will help to balance your hips and make you look balanced
  • Elongate your legs - this will help to balance your proportions
  • Highlight your waist - this makes your legs appear longer and will enhance your well-defined waist.
  • Add volume and detailing to your upper half - this will balance your bottom half and draw the eye up to your smaller top half
  • And skim and narrow your hips to balance your narrow shoulders and balance your frame

The least flattering, worst-fitting dreses for a pear shape are dress styles that: 

  • Narrow your shoulders - this can make your frame look unbalanced
  • Enhance your hips - this can make your legs look shorter and heavier
  • Hide your waist - this can make a pear shape look boxy and bottom heavy
  • And shorten your legs - this can make your legs look heavier
Images of dresses that flatter a pear shape
  • Empire line dresses are a good choice for pear shapes - they fit your bust, highlight the narrowest point below your bust, skim your hips and thighs, and elongate your legs
  • Fit and flare dresses do just that - they fit your top half and flare out over your bottom half. They're always a great fit for pear shapes.
  • A-line dresses are a staple for pear shapes - they hug your waist and flare out over your hips and thighs.

For a comprehensive post on the best dresses for pear shapes, check out this post I wrote. It shares my advice on what to look for and what to avoid when choosing dresses that work on your pear shape.  And I share my top picks for dresses for pear shapes in 2024 (spoiler alert, there 22 amazing choices for you this year!)

these are the best jackets and coats for a pear body  shape

Jackets can be a little tricky for pear shapes as they often pull across your hips, or are a little big on your top half, so here are some tips to help you choose coats and jackets that fit you:

The most flattering, best-fitting coats and jackets for a pear shape are:

  • Make your shoulders look broader - this will help to balance your hips and make you look less bottom-heavy
  • Shorten your torso - this will make your legs appear longer, and your proportions more balanced
  • Highlight your waist - this will elongate your legs and showcase your curves
  • Add volume and detailing to your small bust and torso - this will balance your bottom half and draw the eye up

The least flattering, worst-fitting coats and jackets for a pear shape are : 

  • Narrow your shoulders - this can make your frame look more bottom-heavy
  • Draw a line across your hips, as this can make your legs look shorter and heavier
  • Add weight across your hips
  • And hide your waist
Images of jackets and coats that flatter a pear shape
  • Belted jackets and coats are great for pears - you can adjust the fit to work for you. They also highlight your great waist and help to make your legs look longer
  • Military style jackets - have a ton of volume adding design elements that will help to balance your frame.
  • Trucker jackets have pockets and shaping - add a little sheep and volume to your upper body
  • Moto jackets are a great option for triangle shapes - they add a little volume and shape to enhance your curves and balance your frame.
  • Trench coats make a good choice for pear shaped women. They have a waist tie that allows for a good fit whilst showcasing your great waist, and they typically have epaulets that help to broaden narrow shoulders.
  • Cropped jackets look great on a pear - they draw the eye to your defined waist, and lengthen your legs. Crop tops look great on pears too, so try those!

want more detailed information about your pear shape and which clothes work for you?

My simple guide will show you exactly what the most and least flattering clothes are for your shape, so you can start creating outfits that look good on you ?

what are the best jeans for a pear body shape?

I’ve created a super in depth blog post sharing the best jeans for pear shapes over here so be sure to check that out!

these are the best CLOTHING STORES FOR A PEAR SHAPED BODY 

  • MADEWELL- This is one of my favorite retailers for pear shapes!  They have a great selection of 'curvy fit' jeans, pants and skirts that fit a pear shaped body beautifully.  If you've not heard about curvy fit jeans, they are a game changer - they are designed specifically for women who have a defined waist and curvy hips and butt, so you won't get that frustrating waist gap! ??
  • EVERLANE - This is another store I use for myself and my pear shaped clients. They also have a good selection of curvy fit jeans that are perfect for pear shapes.
  • SEZANE - This is my favorite place to source pear shape friendly tops.  They have a wonderful selection of tops with statement shoulders and ruffles...perfect for adding interest and broadening narrow shoulders.
  • AND OTHER STORIES - This is another great store for tops, blouses and knitwear that fit and flatter a pear body shape.
  • ME + EM - Their  pants and trousers have the ability to be tightened at the back to ensure a good fit and avoid waist gap
  • BODEN - This is such a great store to get tops, blouses and knitwear for pear body shapes. But, stear clear of their pants and jeans - they rarely fit a pear shape well!
  • REFORMATION - if you're looking for skirts that fit a pear shape, head to Reformation - their Zoe, Silas, Flounce, and Hermosa skirts are all fantastic fits! They have petite, standard and plus size collections, and they offer styles that work for all shapes.
  • MINT VELVET - Their pants, trousers and jeans typically fit a pear shape very well
  • ANTHROPOLOGIE - I often head hear when I'm shopping for tops for a pear shaped client.  Think ruffles, statement sleeves and bold silhouettes that balance a bottom heavy frame.
  • BANANA REPUBLIC - If you have a long torso, try shopping in Banana Republic for tops and dresses
  • HILL HOUSE - Their dresses are the PERFECT shape for a pear shape, especially the Ellie Nap Dress!
  • TUCKERNUCK - This is one of the best shops to head to if you're looking for dresses for your pear shape. It's ruffles, high necklines, and cinched in waists galore!
  • NOBODY'S CHILD - I head here when I'm shopping for casual dresses for pear shaped clients.  The prices are good, and the shapes are perfect.  They can come up a little generous on the sizing though, so it's worth sizing down.

conclusion

I'm a firm believer that if you like a piece of clothing, and you feel good in it, you should wear it regardless of what the 'rules' are for dressing your shape.

But there will be times when you love an item of clothing but it doesn't love you back, and those are the times when it's useful to have some guidelines to follow to help you identify why something looks off and to choose a better alternative.

That's why I wrote this post - not to act as hard and fast rules to stick to, but as a guide to help you on your journey to understanding what works for you.

I know that it can be really frustrating to dress a pear shape - many clothing styles don't fit right, whilst others enhance the areas you want to hide. And if you're anything like my clients, it's the clothes you desperately want to wear that you can't make work for you. But the brilliant thing is that the more you experiment with trying different clothing styles, the better you'll get at spotting what works for you and what doesn't. And when you have THAT knowledge, you can begin to tweak and style the clothes that don't usually work for you, so that they look better on you.

So please - experiment, and make mistakes - it's the best way to truly learn what works best for your unique pear shape and to develop your personal style. And if you need some help or extra guidance you can contact me here, or you can hire me source you your perfect collection of clothes here!

Not sure if you have a pear shaped body?

Purchase my Body Shape Analysis for only $27 ?

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product via these links I will earn a small commission. I NEVER link to products that I wouldn’t recommend to my clients, or purchase myself, in fact I own many of the styles linked here so can vouch for them! To find out more CLICK HERE

Hi, I'm Niki

author and personal stylist

Over the past 18 years I’ve freed thousands of women from the frustration of disappointing outfits, by showing them how to dress to make the most of their shape, and helping them build a closet that's easy to use and fun to wear.  My blog shares the tried and true tips and knowledge I've developed, to help you stop wasting money on disappointing clothes, and build a closet you enjoy wearing.


You can find out more about Niki here

And you can get in touch with Niki here