This is how to find the best dresses for a pear body shape in 2024

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Updated:

February 6, 2024

I'm pear shaped personal stylist who has worked with hundreds of other pear shaped women over the 18 years I've been styling.  

So believe me when I say I know and understand how tricky it can be to find dresses that work for your pear body type.

The biggest frustrations when choosing a dress for your pear-shaped figure, are:

  • Dresses that fit your top half, are often too tight across your hips and thighs
  • Or, dresses that fit your hips and thighs are too loose around your bust and shoulders.
  • You probably find that dresses don’t always sit in line with your waist
  • And the shoulders on a dress might not sit right either, because they're a little wide for you.

Well, if that all sounds far too familiar, you are right where you need to be.

Pear-shaped women make up around 50% of my clients (and I think I mentioned that I'm also pear shaped), so I have a wealth of knowledge and experience dressing pear-shaped women in all sizes and shapes (yes, there are different shapes of the  pear body-types 🤯).

  • If you want to know what dresses look best on your pear shape: Lots! But my top two are fit-and-flare, and A-line (for many more options, read on!)
  • Or you want to know what the best brands are for your pear-shaped body when looking for dresses: My favorites in the UK are Mint Velvet, I also like Phase Eight, and I love ME + EM. And in the USA, I love Madewell, think Everlane is great (those two are especially great for jeans that DO NOT gape at the waist!), and I'm a huge fan of Reformation for dresses and skirts.  There are tons more brands to choose from as you'll see below!
  • Or, perhaps you want to know what types of dresses you might want to avoid as a pear shape? Slip dresses and column dresses are the most difficult styles to make work on a pear shape, and I share 3 more below.

Whatever you want to know about finding the perfect dress for your beautiful pear shape, you are in the right place.

I know exactly which dress styles are the best for your pear shape, I know exactly where to get them from, and I'm sharing all that knowledge with you, right here.  

Scroll on down, or use the contents below to jump to where you need!

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. 

Want a quick answer?

These are my top 4 dresses for a Pear Shape in 2024: 

LILAH DENIM MIDI

Reformation

I think this might be my absolute favorite dress for pears this season.

The waist cinches you in, while the A-line skirt skims your hips.

The slit stops it looking frumpy, and denim makes it 2024!

SOMERSET MAXI DRESS

Anthropologie

Another fab option for pear shapes!

 The puff sleeves broadens narrow shoulders to balance wide hips and create an even more defined waistline.

short swing dress

ME + EM

A swing dress is the perfect alternative to shift dresses (which often cling to a pear shapes hips).

This will fit you top and bottom, and balance your frame a little.

Purchase this in your top size.

AMANDA MIDI

Nobody's Child

Off the shoulder necklines are one of the best for a pear shape as they do a great job of broadening narrow shoulders to balance wide hips. 

So, when an off the shoulder neckline is combined with a fit and flare dress, it's almost perfection!

what is pear body shape? 

The pear-shaped body is one of the 4 primary body shapes (I say ‘primary body types’ because our shapes typically align with a couple of body shapes - a primary and a secondary).

You might have also heard a pear shape being referred to as a triangle shape (as illustrated below) or a bottom-heavy shape. All these descriptions come from the fact that pear-shaped women are smaller on the top half than they are on the bottom half.

4 illustrations of pear shaped women in different sizes, and different shapes

Interestingly, I’ve found that most women who aren’t sure what shape they have, will often tell me they think they are pear-shaped.  

I think this is because the characteristics of a pear shape body, overlap with those of an hourglass and column shape so it's easy to get confused.  

But I also think it's due to people thinking a pear shape is the hardest shape to dress (this is a myth, by the way), therefore - if someone is struggling to dress their shape, they MUST be a pear shape.  

Because this is one of the most misunderstood body shapes, I recommend you check your shape alongside the pear shape characteristics I've listed below, otherwise my tips probably won’t help you…and might make things more confusing for you.

these are the core charecteristics of a true pear shape: 

If you're not sure what a pear body type looks like, here are the primary textbook 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 you put weight on it tends to sit on your bottom and thighs before anywhere else
  • You have a small bust which can make filling the top of dresses a challenge
  • You have a defined waistline (no matter what size you are), which is one of your best features
  • Your torso might be longer than your legs, which can make it tricky to get the waistline of dresses to sit correctly on you
  • Your shoulders are narrower than your curvy hips which means dresses can sometimes slip off your shoulders, or gape access the neckline

Those are the characteristics of classic pear shapes. You might not check all those boxes, but if you check most of them you likely your primary body shape is a pear shape.

If you want to learn more about the pear body shape and want to understand which body shapes a pear shape sometimes overlaps with, I have a ton of information over here in this post.  It shares everything you ever needed to know about the pear body shape, including what to wear and what you might want to avoid, so make sure to pop on over!

But, please bear this in mind - knowing what body shape you align with is useful if you use it as a starting point for researching what clothes will fit you the best.

What is more valuable is having a really good understanding of your shape's unique characteristics and proportions. Once you have a good understanding of this, you will start to understand why some clothes work better on you than others, will find it much easier to choose clothes that work for you.

If you would like to get a better understanding of your shape, I have some resources below that will help you.

4 ways to better understand your body shape: 

  1. My FREE body-shape quiz  will help you get clearer on what your primary body shape might be
  2. This blog post shares some of the reasons why you’re struggling to identify your body shape and gives you 3 simple exercises to learn more about your shape
  3. This blog post will give you an overview of the 4 primary body types
  4. For only $27 you can purchase my Body Shape Analysis and I'll tell you exactly what your body shape is, so you can move forward and start having more fun with your outfits.

5 things to consider when choosing dresses for your beautiful pear shape 

Most of my pear-shaped clients tell me they don't like their thighs, they feel bottom-heavy, and they can't find jeans that fit their waist (waist gap is a HUGE issue for us pear shapes). 

As a personal stylist my goal of dressing pear-shaped bodies is to make my clients feel confident and beautiful, and this usually means putting them in dresses that balance their frame so they feel less bottom-heavy, and highlighting their waist, to help them feel less boxy.

With that in mind, here are 5 things I always consider when sourcing dresses for my pear shaped clients.

one:

You have a defined waistline, so clothing that also has some shape at the waist will likely fit you better than clothes that do not.

This is especially true when it comes to dresses. The waist of the dress should sit in line with your waist - if it sits too high it can make your upper body look smaller than it is, and if it sits too low, it can make your lower body look bigger than it is; both of which can make your frame look less balanced. 

two:

You have a gorgeous curvy shape so why not highlight that!  I meet so many pear shaped women who say they want to hide their curvy hips, but if you're one of the pear shaped women who wants to show off her curves, look for dress styles that hug and enhance your curves.  

A fluted hem is one of my go-to's to showcase curves on the bottom half.

A pear shaped women wearing a blue polka dot wrap dress with a fluted hem

three:

Your shoulders are narrower than your hips so if you want to create a more balanced silhouette, choose dresses that have design elements on the sleeves that will broaden your shoulders.

A puff sleeved dress on a pear shaped woman

four:

Your bust is small to average-sized, so look for dress styles that are designed to fit a small bust (high necklines VS. low necklines that gape). You might also want to choose dresses that add a little volume to your bust as this will help to balance your frame.  Ruffles are one of the best at adding volume.

five:

If you wear a size smaller on your upper body than you do on your lower body, that is another consideration. Some dress styles just won’t fit a body shape that needs 2 different sizes, so make a point of looking for dress styles that have some shape to them and give you the room you need on your bottom half.

A favorite work around of mine s to wear matching separates that I can purchase in different sizes.

 A pear shaped women wearing matching separates that look like a dress

six:

You might find that your torso is longer than your legs (a common trait for pear shapes), if this is the case for you, consider wearing dresses that have a well-defined waistline, as this will elongate your legs and shorten your torso to create a more balanced frame. Empire waist dresses are also good for this.

The more different dress styles you try on, the easier it will become to spot the dresses that work and those that don’t.

6 things to look for when choosing a dress for a pear body-type

1

Dresses with a waistline are a great choice for pear shapes.

Not only do they highlight your waistline to show it off, but they will actually fit your frame better too. I like to look for dresses that give the option to tighten the waistline so dresses that have a waist tie or belt make a great choice.

2

High-neck dresses are a great option for pear shapes.

A higher neckline will likely be a better fit than a low neckline as it is less likely to gape across the bust area. As well as that, a high neckline will draw the eye to the upper half of the body, broaden your torso, and enhance your bust a little, which can help to balance your frame and give the appearance of narrower hips.

3

choose dresses with structured shoulders if you have a pear shape

Dresses with puff sleeves, statement shoulders, and shoulder pads are a great option for pear shapes as they can broaden your shoulder line by adding volume to the shoulder area, and this is a great way to balance wide hips.

Broadening pear-shaped shoulders also has the bonus of creating an even more defined waistline.

4

Dresses that flare out from the waist are perfect for pear shape hips 

They can be full, midi, knee, or mini - the length is up to you, but choosing a dress that flares out from the hips will do 3 wonderful things:

  1. It will highlight your defined waistline
  2. It will skim your hips so you don't experience any of that annoying pulling across your lower half
  3. And it will disguise your hips whilst drawing attention to your small waist and neat top.

5

Dresses with volume-adding design elements are perfect for pear shapes

Your small bust gives you the freedom to wear dresses with statement design detailing! I love a good bow or set of ruffles on the top half of a dress, it draws the eye up to your neat top half, adds a little volume to balance wider hips, and it just looks fab on your beautiful pear shape!

6

Matching separates are a fantastic choice if you need to wear 2 sizes.

If you wear one size on the top, and a different size on your bottom half, matching separates are your best option as they give you the flexibility to purchase a top and bottom in different sizes but create the look of a dress (or jumpsuit). It’s a great way to get the perfect fit and is an especially useful hack if you want to wear a dress style that won’t usually fit you both in the top and bottom.

4 things you might want to avoid when choosing a dress for a pear shape 

one:

Dresses that add volume to your hips and thighs can make a pear shape feel bottom-heavy, so if this is something you want to avoid, you might want to steer clear of dresses with pleating or pockets across the hip area.

two:

Straight-cut dresses that have no shaping at the waist, there is a chance it won’t fit your pear shape well. A waistline helps to keep the dress in place on a pear shape, without one a dress might cling to your hips and spin around a little.

three:

Dresses that have low necklines will narrow your shoulders which can make your hips and thighs appear wider than they are, and your overall frame, more unbalanced than it is. If you like a low neckline, consider counteracting this with sleeves that add volume to your shoulders.

four:

Dresses that are cut on the bias tend to cling to and enhance every curve. This works wonders for a waistline, but it can make wide hips appear wider than they are, so if you feel particularly bottom-heavy, or are conscious of your hips, you may want to avoid bias-cut styles.

here are 9 perfect dress styles for a pear shape

There are plenty of different dress styles that work for a pear shape, but these are what I consider to be the best kind of dresses for a pear-shape:

a-line dresses fit a pear body shape really well

Dresses with a line skirts are fitted at the waist and flare out below the waistline to skim the hips, create a smaller waist, and give your frame the perfect balance. You can typically purchase an a-line dress in the size that fits your top half, as the excess fabric provides you enough room across the hips and thighs.

They are perfect for highlighting a narrow waist, and disguising hips and thighs.

How gorgeous is the first one? Plus, it's denim so it's checking one of 2024's big trends.  Scroll to see more!

kick flare dresses are a fantastic choice for pear shapes 

Dresses that have a kick flare, such as a trumpet-style dress or mermaid dress, are super flattering on a pear shape. The gentle flare does a fantastic job of balancing hips, and the added shape highlights a pear shapes gorgeous curves.

Wide-leg jumpsuits are a great dress alternative for a pear shape

I know these aren’t dresses, but they are a great alternative to a dress and they look fab on pear shapes. The most flattering wide-leg jumpsuits for a pear body shape are those that have a waist (belted, or sewn-in), a high neckline, and pockets on the breasts.

Try a  swing dress if you have a pear-shaped body

Swing dresses, or trapeze dresses as they are sometimes known, are a good shape for pears as they hang from the shoulders and flare out from the chest, they can enhance a bust and skim the hips. These will hide your defined waistline, but they draw the eye up to your neat top half instead.

Scroll through these statement pieces:

A dress with a full skirt is fantastic for pear shapes

Dresses with full skirts are one of my favorite styles of dress on a pear body type!

The full skirt will skim your hips and thighs, and the defined waistline will showcase and enhance your well-defined waist. If you like to make a statement, opt for a full-length full skirt!

Here are some of my current favorite full skirt dresses for pear shapes.  If you have a wedding to attend, that third dress is perfect!

Halter or sarong dresses are a fantastic dress style for pear-shaped women

As a pear shape, you have a wonderful neat top half, a small bust, and narrow shoulders - halter necklines are PERFECT for showcasing this as well as broadening your shoulders a little (they are one of my favorite necklines on a pear shape!). When you combine this neckline with a dress (especially an a-line or full skirt style) it’s magic.

These two dresses are beautiful halter neck style dresses for pears:

Opt for a fit and flare dress if you have a pear shape.

A fit and flare dress does just that - it fits your top half and flares out below the waistline - two qualities that make the perfect fit for a pear shape.

Scroll through these fit and flare dresses that are perfect for a pear body shape (the last one is my fave!)

Wrap dresses can be a good option for pear shapes

I do like a wrap dress on a pear shape, BUT, if as to be the right style of wrap dress. I love a war on a pear shape because it gives you the ability to get the perfect fit top and bottom, whilst cinching you in at the waist. However, a classic v-neck dress may narrow you across the shoulders and gape at the bust...which isn't so flattering.

To avoid this, opt for a wrap dress that has ruffles and volume down the torso and across the bust, and look for wrap dresses that have puff sleeves or shoulder pads, these will add a little volume in all the right places.

These two options below are perfect wrap dresses for a pear shape:

Choose co-ords if you’re a pear shape

Lastly, matching sets are a great option if you have a pear body shape and you need a smaller dress size on the top than you do on your bottom half. Co-ords enable you to achieve the look of a dress (or jumpsuit) by purchasing two items in different sizes. It is a great hack if you struggle to find dresses that fit your top half and bottom half!

Here are some great co-ords for pear shapes:

these 5 dress styles are less  flattering if you have a pear shape

I don't like to tell people what they should and shouldn’t wear - because if you like a particular dress, it fits your personal style, and you feel good wearing it, please wear it, regardless of the style rules.  

But, there will be an occasion when you like a dress but the dress doesn't like you back…or doesn’t look as good as you’d hoped, and when that happens, it’s useful to know why.   

So, if you love a dress, but it doesn't love you back, it's probably one of the following dress styles:

tube dresses don't fit a pear shape well

Tube dresses have a tendency to narrow the torso and broaden the bottom half, and if you have a pear shape, this will enhance your silhouette and may make you look and feel more bottom-heavy. You might also find that a tube dress doesn’t fit you well either - it might be a little loose on the top half, and tight on the bottom half.

bias cut dresses are difficult to get in agood fit

A dress that is cut on the bias, or a slip dress as it is also known, clings to the frame and enhances every curve.

This is great, as it showcases your gorgeous curves; however, if you’re conscious about your hips, a bias-cut dress will highlight them so don’t be surprised if you put on a slip dress and feel bottom-heavy.

The other thing to note about slip dresses is that they can be tricky to find in a good fit - the most common scenario is that the dress will fit your bottom half, but sag and gape around your waist and bust.

Matching separates like this are a great alternative if you like the look of a bias cut dress but can’t find one that fits.

dresses with adropped waist don't work well on a pear-shape

A dropped waist is just that - it’s a waistline that drops below yours.

Some dropped waists are quite dramatic and sit almost at hip length (this is the least flattering style), others are more subtle and only sit a little below yours.

When the waistline sits below yours it will make your waist look wider, your torso longer (which may make your legs look shorter and heavier), and will give the appearance of narrower shoulders. And if the dress has pleating below the dropped waist, it will add extra volume to your hips, too.

If you're a pear shape who feels self conscious about your bottom half, you might want to avoid these dress styles.

A tulip shape dress can add bulk to a pear-shaeps bottom half

A dress with a tulip skirt is often less flattering for a pear shape as it adds bulk and weight below the waistline, across the hip and thigh area.

This can make a pear shape look more bottom-heavy as it exaggerates the imbalance between your top and bottom half.

If you like this style of dress, you can improve the imbalance it can create by opting for a tulip dress that has puff sleeves, or statement shoulders.

dresses with pleated skirts can look bulky on a pear shape

Pleated skirts that have pleating that sits on the hip and thigh area will add bulk and volume to your widest point.

This can make you look heavier than you are, and will shorten your legs. 

these are the 22 best dresses for pear shapes in 2024 

conclusion

Ultimately, I believe that you should wear the dresses that make you feel amazing...regardless of whether or not it aligns with the style 'rules' for dressing your shape.

However, if you love a particular dress, but are disappointed to discover that it doesn't look as good as you'd hoped it was, and you don't feel good in it, you do not have to settle for that.   And that is why I wrote this post.

These tips are here to help you find dresses that fit you, that you love wearing, and that make you feel amazing.  But it's also here to educate you as to why some dress styles don't work so well on your shape.

When you're armed with this knowledge you'll discover that it's so much easier to shop for dresses that work for you, and will have much more fun getting dresses!

Good luck finding your perfect dress, and if you need any extra help or guidance, you can contact me here

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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