What is a pear-shaped body?
A pear body shape—or as we like to call it, a triangular frame—is determined by your measurements. Here are some characteristics that often apply:
• Your hips and thighs are wider than your shoulders and bust.
• Your have a defined waist that is narrow compared to your hips.
• Your body shape resembles that of Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, or America Ferrera.
Still deciding if you have a pear body type? Watch our body measurements video and then settle it with measuring tape. If your hip measurements are more than five percent wider than your shoulders or bust, it’s safe to say you fall under this general category. We also have style tips for tall body types, plus sizes, and petite figures.
3 tips to dress for your body type
Before we jump into the specifics of how to dress a pear-shaped body, there are a few universal tips we’d like to share. These are important to remember regardless of what shape or size you are, because they’re designed to help anyone create a proportioned frame.
1. Balance it out
Body shape is almost entirely based on your bone structure—not your weight. Use your outfit to balance your shoulders, bust, waist, and hips.
2. Draw the eye
Use lines to focus the eye where you want it to go. They can help you create curves, lengthen, or emphasize your favorite parts of your body.
3. Think about color
Your eye is also drawn to patterns and light, bright colors more so than solid black or navy. Keep this in mind when choosing separates.
What to wear if you have a pear-shaped body
Now that we’ve established a baseline, let’s get specific. Here are the best tops, jackets, pants, dresses, and accessories to complement a pear-shaped frame.
Best tops for pear-shaped bodies
To balance out your overall silhouette, you’ll want tops that accentuate your top half as well as your defined waist. Look for light, bright colors or prints in any of the below styles.
The quintessential waist-defining top. And the dolman sleeve shown here adds volume to your top half.
Any open neckline (a V-neck works, too) shows off your collarbone and chest, helping draw the eye up.
Similar to an open neckline, this draws the eye up and adds volume thanks to the draped fabric.
The horizontal neckline broadens your shoulder. Bonus points for a puff sleeve or other eye-catching upper-body detail.
Best jeans for a pear-shaped figure
There are plenty of ways to flatter the curviest part of your silhouette—our women's denim guide breaks it down beautifully. But in a nutshell, it’s all about looking for the right styles, like slightly roomier cuts and darker colors.
We especially love NYDJ’s curve-conscious jeans for pear-shaped bodies.
A skinny-jean alternative that skims the thighs rather than squeezing them.
The subtly flared hemline balances out your hips.
In medium to dark washes, they’ll make your legs look a mile long.
Best pants for pear-shaped bodies
The right pants can do wonders for balancing out your figure. What to look for? Curve-skimming styles in stretch fabrics that won’t suffocate your hips.
This flattering fit also looks great with all of your favorite booties.
A great tailored option for work that gives your bottom half a structured, elongated appearance.
Accentuate your waist to create a more balanced silhouette.
4. Slim or straight
A perennial favorite that flatters the lower half.
Best dresses for pear-shaped bodies
A favorite because of their ability to highlight the features we feel most confident about. Here are some of our favorite silhouettes that do just that.
The roomier skirt falls away from the hip instead of clinging to it, which helps streamline your bottom half.
Similar to A-line dresses, but usually with a more defined waist and more flounce in the skirt.
The built-in ties are great for defining your waist, and they often have a V-neck that opens up your top half.
What better way to draw the eye to your upper body than with a completely bare shoulder?
Best jackets for pear-shaped bodies
Whether it’s a blazer for work or a coat for crisp nights, your top layer can do a lot to help flatter your frame. In fact, it can really make or break an outfit.
For shorter pieces, like blazers or motos, look for ones that hit at or above your waistline to avoid adding fabric at the hip.
Remember how we recommended bright or patterned tops to draw the eye up? Same rule applies here.
Heavier textiles like wool or tweed can have the same eye-catching effect as color or print.
Longer coats work, too, especially when belted. Look for tailored styles that keep your top half structured.
Stylish accessories for pear-shaped bodies
It’s not just clothes that can draw the eye and balance the silhouette. Accessories are key components to any outfit strategy.
1. Pointy-toe shoes
The time-tested solution for lengthening your legs, which streamlines your overall silhouette.
2. Drop earrings
They bring focus to your face and shoulders, especially when your hair is pulled back.
3. Statement necklace
Like with the drop earrings, a statement necklace draws attention to your neckline.
Wear them at the waist—not the hips—with garments like dresses, jackets, or high-rise jeans.
Best swimwear for a pear-shaped figure
The trick is to add volume to your top half to bring balance.
1. Ruched tops
Whether as one piece or two, contrast it with a sleek bottom.
An equally stylish and dramatic way to bring focus to your top half.
3. One-shoulder tops
An asymmetrical neckline will draw the eye up.
4. High-cut bottoms
In a dark color, this fuller style lengthens your bottom half.
3 outfit ideas for pear shapes
Now that you know what styles are most flattering on a pear body type, we’re going to show you how that translates into a complete outfit. Taking pieces from the categories above, we’ve put together three looks so you can visualize how it all comes together.
Casual days call for a great pair of jeans. We chose bootcut denim in a dark wash to help balance out the hips, but straight, slim, and flared cuts can achieve similar results. And see how beautifully the darted waist on the top accentuates pear-shaped curves? The volume on top is a great way to draw the eye up—and it helps create an hourglass figure, too.
We love a good power blazer because it instantly boosts confidence. Go for a piece that has structured shoulders to emphasize your upper body and make sure the jacket hits right at the waist for the most flattering fit. Layer a top with scoop neckline underneath to open up the chest and add a statement necklace to serve as the focal point. Flat-front trousers and pointed-toe shoes elongate the leg and create a streamlined finish.
Out on the town
Special plans? Have a date-night? Wear a dress that makes you want to check out your reflection any chance you get. Accentuate your waistline and show off your legs with a fit-and-flare mini. This silhouette is not only flattering thanks to the full skirt that falls away from the hips, but it’s also perfect for twirling—which, in our books, always sparks joy. Dramatic drop earrings catch the eye and complete the look flawlessly.
Want to know more?
We’re sharing answers to the frequently asked questions about dressing a pear-shaped body, below.
Typically, a pear-shaped body is narrower on top compared to the hips. And an hourglass shape has a bust and hips that measure almost the same width.
Thicker fabrics that hold structure are ideal for flattering your silhouette. Wool and denim are great options because they hold their form without clinging.
Absolutely! To find one that flatters you, look for a flared leg. If you wish to accentuate your upper body, an off-the-shoulder style is great.
High-rise pants in a dark color are flattering because they’ll help define your waist while also streamlining the leg. Add a top in a bold print as the focus piece.
Capri pants tend to focus the eyes right on the hips. If you’d rather draw the eyes elsewhere, try high-waisted pants with a straight, slim, or flared silhouette instead.
An asymmetrical strap, ruffles, side cutouts, or similar embellishments all work to create the illusion of a bigger chest, thus accentuating an hourglass silhouette. Read more in our guide to finding your perfect swimsuit.