Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dressing for your body type - The Pear

There are a ton of articles out there about body shapes and how to dress them. I'm pretty much a classic pear. I have narrow shoulders, a small waist but curvey hips and thighs. I tend to wear a size 6 or 8 top and a 10 or 12 bottom. I'm also 5'8" tall. I'm going to share a few tips I have found work for me. I'm going to preface this with a reminder that these work for me and are only guidelines. Certainly not gospel. I'm also a lawyer, not a stylist or professional shopper.

1. Drawing attention upwards

Wear the right under garments to define the waist and create curves in all the right places. There’s nothing like a good lift to lift an outfit. This is really a no-brainer for any body type.

Look to create an “A-line” silhouette with clothes (fitted on top and roomier at the bottom). And the more pear-shaped you are, the more A-line you can go. We pears look exceptional in A-line dresses or skirts and should take advantage of this ultra-feminine look all year round.

Most pear-shaped gals have tiny waistlines. Show them off! Opt for waist defining knit tops, knitwear, blouses and button down shirts.

Don’t turn away voluminous tunic tops and dresses either. If they’re A-line and structured in the shoulders, the chances are high that they will work.

Wear V-neck tops and create V-neck shapes with your layers. V-shapes elongate the neck and draw attention to your slim midsection.

It’s imperative that anything that you wear on top fits properly on the shoulders because the eye is drawn to definition. As soon as your shoulder line is sloppy, the outfit won’t look as good.

Don’t shy away from boyfriend jackets. Find a style that’s more tailored than boxy, wear it open or belted at the waist, scrunch up the sleeves and add heels. Voila.

look for tops, knitwear, jackets and coats with interest. Tops with wide cuffs, bell sleeves, ruffles, zippers, embellishment, rushing, vertical seaming detail, large collar/lapels, wraps and princess lines all work. These design features naturally draw the eye upwards.

Wearing an eye-catching colour on top draws the eye upwards, so take extra care with the shades that you wear on the top part of your body.

The length of your tops should either catch you just below your hipbone (a few inches above crotch point), or past the thigh area. Avoid lengths that finish over the widest part of you, which is usually across the bottom or straight across the thighs. Pears can wearleggings with the right A-line dress or tunic because this look is about the dress and not the leggings.

Try to to add visual interest to your torso. Longer length camis underneath knitted tops and shirts can work as can a fitted shorter jacket or sweater as a third layer over these layers for the most flattering effect. The layers automatically create a visual balance between the top and bottom half a pears body.

Accessorize the top part of your body well, with necklaces, specs, scarves, earrings, hair clips (but not all together).

Tying scarves in vertical ways creates a flattering long lean line down the front of the body. Wear scarves!

Pears were made for the waist cinching belt look. Wear a waist defining belt over tops and dresses for extra definition and to lengthen the leg line.

2. “De-emphasizing” the bottom and elongating your legs

Keep your bottom choices simple and structured, thereby saving all the visual interest for your tops. No cargo pockets, side entry pockets, waist pleats, drawstrings or hip embellishments.

Yes, Pears can wear skinnies or straight legs if you match them with A-line tunics, dresses and heels. Belted tunic button down shirts look incredible so be sure to give that look a go.
Tucking skinnies into chunky knee-high boots is another great way of balancing out your silhouette when you wear tapered bottoms. This way of wearing skinnies might not require a longer top because you’ve balanced out the look with tall boots.

Keep the front part of all pants (dress and denim) free of detail and the rise mid in length (not too high or low). Make sure that there is enough ease through the hip and thigh. Fabrics with stretch are the best bet.

Keep the hems of pants boot cut or flared if you’re not sporting “the skinnies and tunics” silhouette. Pants that skim along the contour of your thighs always work best. Size up and have the waistband adjusted.

Keep walk shorts straight from the thigh down and knee-length and avoid lengths shorter than this. Clamdiggers (knee length Summer skinnies) will work if you pair them with longer tops.
Don’t force yourself to wear pants denim if you look and feel fabulous in skirts and dresses. Just wear skirts and dresses.

Knee length A-line skirts with vertical panel seaming are great. Stay clear of bias-cuts.
Pencil skirts and sheath dresses can also work if you keep the side seams straight from the hip down to the hem (no tapering). It’s also best to add a little length to this style of skirt and dress, so around the knee is ideal.

Try pointy or almond toes shoes with bottoms that are wider at the hem because it elongates the leg line. But round toed shoes are just as fab as long as you sport pants that are not to short!(hems should almost skim the surface of the ground).

Wearing some sort of heel (even if it’s just an inch) whenever you can will give you the height that automatically slims down your curves. Simple rule: the curvier your bottom, the longer and wider you’ll need to wear your pants and the higher you’ll need to wear your heel to balance out your silhouette. This doesn’t mean that you can’t wear flats. You just have to be careful with the pairing of flats with pants and jeans.

Wearing heeled knee high boots that are slim at the ankle with skirts or dresses in cooler weather is a great leg-flattering look.

I hope this helps! If you have other tips please share them with me!

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