How to dress a pear shaped body

by Sylvia

How to dress a pear shaped body | 40plusstyle.com

In my article on how to determine body shape I discussed several general body types. Now it’s time to take that one step further and to see how to dress for your specific female body type. Today I’ll be sharing my tips for the pear shaped body type, also called the triangle shaped body, with lots of tips on how to create the most flattering shapes for your body shape and lots of ideas for clothes you can buy right now.

First, here is a short video on how to dress the pear body shape from our style expert Ruth Essex.

Video: How to dress your pear shaped body type

bodyshapesminiWhat is a pear shaped body?

As a quick recap you have a pear shaped body when:

  • Your hips are wider than your shoulder
  • Fat tends to accumulate on your thighs and sometimes the buttocks
  • You tend to have an elongated waist and the legs tend to be shorter in comparison to the rest of your body
  • You have a defined waist

The aim of dressing for your body type is to achieve a flattering look that accentuates your strengths.

In general you will want to achieve a nice hourglass shape. In order to achieve that you will accentuate the shoulders, draw attention to your upper body and waist and elongate the legs.

Please note that these are general guidelines as every body is different. Always experiment with your unique shape and see what works for you.

How to dress for your pear body shape?

Pears tend to store their weight on their thigh and their legs may be heavy. Often they have a very good upper body which is why much on the emphasis in dressing is on the upper side of the body.

Here are a few examples looks that you can purchase right now!

How to dress the pear body shape | 40plusstyle.com

1st look: Lewit spring green dress – Baublebar statement necklaceSachin and Babi earrings – Sam Edelman heels

2nd look: Topshop knot front blouse – Paige Bootcut pants – Walking Cradle slingack shoesTalbots scarf – Patricia Nash Crossbody bag – Madewell stack ring – Pared Eyewear shades

3rd look: Kut From The Kloth Denim Jacket – BP bow loaferKomarov A-line dressFrye saddle bag

Which garments are good for a pear body shape?

  • Since your hips are a lot wider than your shoulders you want to emphasize the shoulders and widen them. So it’s actually good for pears when shoulderpads are back in fashion!  Puffy shoulders will work too. Always make sure that the shoulders are properly fitted.
  • To give the impression of longer legs and a shorter torso you can wear a a few layered tops with one very short, like a short jacket. This well break up your enlongated torso and give the illusion of longer legs. You can see an example of this in the left image at the top.
  • Wear trousers that are not too tight or light. Boot leg trousers are very good for pears.
  • Avoid pants that are too low on your hips. Higher rise is better.
  • Wear something catchy on top. Either a catchy colour or some nice detail on your top. Breast pockets, big collars or a pattern are also good. Horizontal stripes help to widen your upper body to bring it more into balance with your hips as do (subtle) shoulder pads.
  • It’s best that your tops and jackets end either above or below the widest point of your hips and bottom
  • Use accessories to further emphasize the top part like necklaces and scarves.
  • Waist belts may look good on you as they emphasize your small waist.
  • You will look best if your trousers or skirt are the darkest part of your outfit.
  • Wear structured A-shaped coats of knee length. A great coat for you is the trench. Make sure you get one with lots of details on top (like lapels on shoulders) and plain from the waist down.
  • Wear a good bra.
  • A line dresses will always look good on you. Dresses with defined shoulders and a good a line are particularly good.
  • V-line tops will draw further attention to your upper half
  • High boots are very flattering for your legs
  • Be careful with high shoes or shoes with ankle straps as they will shorten your legs
  • Wear medium to chunky heals with a bit of height to further elongate the legs.

What to wear for the pear body type

Here are a few examples of good outfits for this body shape with looks for spring 2018 that you can purchase right now.

clothes for pear shaped women | 40plusstyle.com
1st outfit: Veronica Beard striped topBaublebar statement necklace – Biadani crop cardigan – NYDJ Bootcut jeans – Steve Madden crossbody bag

2nd outfit: Romwe white top – Chico’s statement necklace –Blue high waist denim  – Eric Michael red wedge

3rd outfit: Fresco ruffled sleeve topGrace Karin a-line skirt – Kenneth Cole New York Ellis shoe – Tommy Bahama bag – Ora hoop earringBCBG Generation cuff –

Waisted blazers or blazers with a belt

These are perfect for the pear body shape as they draw attention to your waist and highlight the upper body. Select one in a print or lighter or brighter color to further draw the atttention up.

best blazers for pear shaped women | 40plusstyle.com

wrap jacket – Check suiting belted blazer – Striped blazer

The bootleg jeans

These are the most flattering jeans for pears, especially when you combine them with a bit of a heel to lengthen your legs.

Some of my favorite brands for jeans include:


Best skirts for pear shaped women

A-line skirts are a pear shaped woman’s best friend. When you wear a well-structured A-line skirt that emphasizes your waist, people will not even notice your wider hips. Here are some great ones that we found for you in online shops.

Good brands for Aline skirts:


Dresses for pear shaped body

best dresses for pear shaped women | 40plusstyle.com

Women like Kim Khardashion like the emphasize their pear shape with form fitting dresses and skirts but most women prefer to downplay their hips and A-line dresses are perfect for doing that. Here are some of my current favorite dresses at Nordstrom.

striped dresswrap dresscharmeuse dress – Tahari dress

Famous pear shaped women

famous pear shaped women | 40plusstyle.com

The most famous pear shaped women include Kim Khardashian, Beyonce and Rihanna.

More examples on how to dress for the pear body shape

Belted jackets and bootcut jeans are the perfect combination.

how to dress the pear shaped body type | 40plusstyle.com

Put a lot of emphasis on yur top part with colorful jackets, strops and bold accessories.

Outfits that will work for women with the pear body shape | 40plusstyle.com

The A-line skirt and dress is your best friend!

how to dress for the pear body shape | 40plusstyle.com

Put emphasis on the waist.

outfits for pear shaped women | 40plusstyle.com

What not to wear?

  • Skinny jeans (can be worn with some tunics or A line long tops)
  • Pencil or straight skirts
  • Very short skirts
  • Tops with narrow shoulder lines
  • Pleats and pants with a lot of detailing
  • Shoes and booties with ankle straps, too delicate footwear and kitten heels

Please note that the guidelines above are for general guidance only. Everyone is different and you certainly don’t have to stick to the above guidelines to dress well. If you have anything further to add, let me know!

Need to discover your body type?

Want to know more about women body types, you can discover your body type here. From there you can browse to all the other body types: apple, rectangle, hourglass and inverted triangle. All these articles will be updated over the coming weeks with helpful videos and looks for spring!

How do you prefer to dress your pear shaped body type?

Like this article? Save it on Pinterest!

pear shaped body outfit ideas | 40plusstyle.com

{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

1 diane harrison

hi Sylvia,Im 47 next week and 5ft 2 and size 14 on bottom half.I like your pear shape tips,was feeling pretty browned off this morning with looking in mirror so treated myself to a few outfits,very similar to what you suggested so thank you and I feel good in my new items ,I must have chosen well! Cannot wait to wear one tomorrow.x

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2 Sylvia

Hi Diana, thanks for letting me know that my article has been helpful to you and great to read that you feel great in your new outfits. Welcome to the site and feel free to upload photos of your outfits to our style forum!

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3 JustAskKarenD

Hi Sylvia,

I, too, will be 47 in just a short couple weeks (5’2″, also) and it is so refreshing to find your post! I hope is NOT lost, after all!

Very tired of leaving malls empty-handed, I decided to take up sewing again after a seven year hiatus. In sewing patterns, I’m a size 14 up top & an 18 on the bottom w/ a high waist. Learning your tips will help me better customized the pieces I spend the time and energy constructing to give me a total knock-out wardrobe!

Thanks so much for the inspiration.

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4 Sylvia

Thanks for your feedback Karen. I’m happy you enjoy the site!

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5 Marlena

I looked over many sites on the subject of fashion over 40, and this is the best one! Lots of pictures, and information to compliment them! Thank You!

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6 Sylvia

Thanks Marlena for your find feedback.

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7 Chicatanyage

I have a fairly classic pear shaped body. I find that wrap style dresses work well or anything with soft draped material and also trapeze style tops.

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8 Sylvia

Yes, great tips!

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9 Red Tag Chic Los Angeles

This is such an informative & interesting post Sylvia……that red leather beauty is definitely a winner in my book!

Rebecca
http://www.redtagchiclosangeles.com

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10 Sylvia

I know, it’s gorgeous!

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11 aileen

Before I found your website it was very difficult for me to dress my shape and feel happy with the result. Occasionally I got it right, but couldn’t figure out why, I just knew when things looked ‘right’. Now I understand my shape so I can dress myself with the knowledge of how to broaden my top half and camouflage the hip area.
I can wear skinny jeans as long as I have a top which comes down to well below the hip line, so anything with an A shape is brilliant and looks modern and stylish.
Thanks Sylvia, you made a huge difference to my shopping experience. It is so easy now I know what to look for in clothes.

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12 Sylvia

Wow, that is great to hear Aileen. So happy I could help!

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13 Sistergirl

Love the ideas, thanks.

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14 33

What i have noticed about pear shaped body is that I actually love the extreme contrast between the top and the bottom. Pear shape usually has a small upper body. I find it really beautiful if the upper is fitted (belted, body con, or peplum) and the bottom is flared (as in A line skirt flare).

It goes against the grain to want to emphasize the wider bottom half but I personally find it very feminine and alluring. I know a lot of guys find it alluring the see a heavy bottom swoosh and swing inside an A line skirt.

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15 Sylvia

Yes, I like that look too. These tips are just guidelines for creating the best balance but they are by no means the only way to dress this body type. In the end you have to do what pleases you and create a silhouette you like!

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16 Sabine

Great tips Sylvia. Thank you for sharing.
Many greetings Sabine

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17 Natalie

Thank you for updating this, Sylvia!

As a short pear myself I’m always surprised when I see boot cut trousers on lists of items that should flatter my shape. On me, the fact that they usually narrow sharply at the knee and then flare out at the calf makes me feel like the shape of my hips and thighs are even more emphasized.

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18 Sylvia

I like the wider legs on pears. But it also depends on the trousers and the particular pear shape that you have. As you know, not all pears are the same. If the pants are too tight and then go wide, it sometimes is not so nice. Straight cut pants can work well as well. In the end there aren’t really any rules that fit all pears. You are your own best judge, so just look in the mirror and see if you like the silhouette you are creating with your clothes.

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19 Greetje Kamminga

That is a clever idea Sylvia, to bring this post up to date and re-use it. There will be many women who have not found it yet. You kill two birds with one stone.
I await the “ruler” instructions haha.

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20 Sylvia

It’s amazing how quickly fashion on these articles dates. It really needed a refresher, so yes expect more refreshing articles in the coming weeks.

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21 Heather Fonseca

I love these posts on body shape and your idea of doing new one’s to reflect the new fashionable shapes and styles. Personally I never know if I’m an hourglass or a pear but I see a lot of styles that would look good on me in the post, especially that short belted jacket. Love it! Wrap dresses and A-line skirts usually look good on me too. Love it and keep it up. I look forward to seeing hourglass shapes soon.

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22 Sarah

Hello
I’m over 40, I’m 5’1, UK size 8-10 on top and 10-12 on the bottom. I have swimmers’ shoulders but otherwise I’m a classic pear.
I find 1940s styles work really well on me. Neat jackets with well defined shoulders and waist, slightly puffed sleeves, a-line skirts and dresses, wide leg trousers, shoes with a small heel, and accessories around the face area (detachable collars, capelets etc). I collect vintage sewing patterns from the 40s.

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23 Sylvia

Great. Thanks for your tips Sarah!

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24 Bienve

Wow!!!! Thank you for the wealth of information. I am 47 yr old, 4 ft 9 inches, yes I know very short. I hate shopping and now I know why, it takes way too much thinking. According to your test I am a natural dominant style with sporty classic personality style. I have to say that pretty much “nailed me”. This is a pretty awesome website. It was an accidental findings but I look forward to visit it again. I am not sure where to begin. I am a Nurse Educator and I live in scrubs and don’t date much.

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25 Sylvia

Thanks for the feedback Bienve and great you enjoy the site. Be sure to subscribe to the newsletter so you get weekly updates. If you click on the category links above you can start browsing the archives. More than 600 articles for you to enjoy! Of course there is also my style course which would be a good way to take your style to the next level. Any time you’re out of your scrubs, you should have as much fun with fashion as possible!

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26 K. Finn

Just wondering…how big of a difference do you think kitten heels really make? Those tend to be my favorite since the high heels are not always the most comfortable. Thanks!

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27 Sylvia

Not a huge difference K. By all means keep wearing the shoe that you love!

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28 carlee

I think that water color picture up top is terrible, I mean comparing women’s entire bodies to shapes of fruit, is ridiuculous, apple!?! seriously what woman would want to look like an apple, or pear, or upon looking in the mirror thinks to themselves, “Hey Rectangle, looking sexy today. MMHHMMM”. I think these body shape names are another tool that women can use to compare themselves to others, leading to negative body image and low self confidence.

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29 Sylvia

Hi Carlee. I think that you are missing the point of what these names try to do. Of course they are in essence ridiculous and noone is a ‘pear’ or ‘rectangle’. They are just a simple way of describing shape. I don’t believe that they lead to negative body image. In fact I know that understanding body shape and knowing how to dress for it, can give women more confidence. They realise that they are not defined by their shapes and that clothes can emphasize those parts of their body that they like most about themselves. If you can look beyond the names, then understanding body type and looking how to enhance its best features can increase self-confidence.

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30 Verena Valeria

Hi!
I know that pear shaped does not sound like the most beautiful comparison, but it is just easy to remember. (At least easier than explaining you have wide hips, a small chest and waist)
As I noticed myself how difficult it can be to dress a pear shape – I have one myself – I started to photograph my outfits and put them online. If you want some inspiration, check this site out:
http://www.styled247.com/category/women/pear-shaped/

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31 Sylvia

Lovely photos Verena. Thanks for sharing.

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32 Jay

Good morning Sylvia,
I’d love to know where to buy the pieces you show in the above outfits. Can you post them here or provide more details on all of the pieces on your Polyvore link?

Thanks very much!
Jay

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33 Sylvia

Hi Jay. The collage is right here: http://www.polyvore.com/how_to_dress_pear_shaped/set?id=99184135 You can just click on the items there and see where they are from.

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34 Dr Sneh Thadani

Hi. It was very nicely put content. But I am very confused if I am a pear as my upper body is not small.
I am 168 cm tall
Shoulder 32 inch
Bust 36 inch
Waist 30 inch
Hips 38 inches
Could you please advice me as to what shape I am as all sites either tell me I am a rectangle or spoon.

Regards

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35 Sylvia

It looks to me that you are more a rectangle. However, please bear in mind that we are never just one shape. All of us are different and we may be a combination of several. Use the articles that apply to you as guidance and then start experimenting which clothes give you your desired silhouette. Good luck!

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36 Tonie

Hi, I am in my 50’s and want some ideas about wearing cowboy boots with a skirt or dress. All i see in the fashion trends are the short minis that teenagers wear. What can I wear with my boots (I’m from Texas and we wear boots a lot!)

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37 Sylvia

Hi Tonie, Cowboy boots look the best with a wide a-line skirt or dress. Knee height or longer. You will find that your options this season will increase as longer skirts are back in fashion!

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38 Olga

Sylvia, thank you for your posts! How about pear shaped body with bowed legs, shorter than normal legs knee down, skinny calves and generous hips and legs above the knee, also very thin straight hair. What tricks could you recommend? I am desperate…

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39 Sylvia

A great outfit is all about balance and silhouette Olga. It does not really matter what body you have. You may like to browse the articles at 40+ Style as I tackle these topics regularly. You may like to start with this one: https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-determine-your-vertical-body-shape/ Most of all, have fun!

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40 Joyce

Being the owner of a pear shaped body, loved the tips and pics. I found the information you shared very helpful and will try to adhere and we shall see how it goes. Loved the outfits you chose

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41 Sylvia

thanks Joyce. Great to read you found it useful.

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42 Liz Costa

I have a classic pear shape 5’4″ with smaller shoulders and back but 34DDD bra. I wear a 10-12 on the bottom most of the time but usually an 8 on the top. I’ve read so much about how to dress myself and this article was very helpful. What I struggle with is actually finding the clothes that fit my body even when I know what I’m looking for. It feels like almost everything in stores is for a straight body type. I feel like I should have been born in a different era!

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43 Sylvia

Yes it can be tough, but the clothes are out there. Don’t give up.

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44 Pat Connett

I would like to wear some v necked tops, but I am elderly and have a wattle and lined neck. Also, I cannot stand to wear turtlenecks, or mock turtlenecks. They are uncomfortable around my neck.

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45 Sylvia

You can also use a scarf to create a similar effect. A colorful scarf will also bring the attention to your portrait area and draw the attention is which is always good 🙂

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46 Pat Connett

Thank you for that idea. I will start looking for scarves to go with my tops.

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47 suzy

hi
i want to know is there any content about apple body shape?
thank you
suzy

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48 Sylvia
49 Lynn

I love the outfits you put together for us pear shaped women but can you post some less expensive examples? I can’t afford to pay $400 for a dress – looking for something less than $100. Thank you!

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50 clare

love this post. curious on your thoughts of ankle length or slightly cropped pants or cigarette pants for the pear shape. thanks!

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51 Sylvia

Pears usually look better with longer pants but it also depends on your vertical body type https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-determine-your-vertical-body-shape/ Silhouette plays a key role too. All of these topics are discussed in much more detail in my style course https://40plusstyleclub.com/21stepscourse Another useful article is this one on wearing capris https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-wear-capris-and-cropped-pants/

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52 ebtisam

Hi
I love High-boots. Are you sure?.Do high boots fit pear shape?
I heard high-boots fits for tall people.

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53 Sylvia

Pears can wear high boots but in general they look better on pear shapes when your boots are in the same color as your pants.

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54 Melody Wilkinson

I am 44 and shaped like a pear. Is shorts a no no or what styles are good

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55 Sylvia

It really depends on what kind of pear you ar and your personal preferences. If you are happy and proud of your hips then wear those colorful shorts. If you prefer to downplay you my want to got for a tighter knee high option. I have many more tips on wearing shorts at https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-wear-shorts-that-fit-and-flatter-the-40-woman-of-any-shape/

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56 Muriel

Hi,
I am a pear shape with skinny, shapeless calves. I hate wearing dresses and skirts because I’m so self conscious. I do wear them because I have to. I hate wearing long dresses and skirts especially when it hot weather.
Any suggestions?

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57 Sylvia

Hi Muriel, Use the tips in the article above and make sure that you draw attention to your top half. So wear a brighter color or print at the top.

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58 Meriel

This is a lovely guide! I like that there are so many examples of outfits with accessories included. Oftentimes, style guides only include one or two styles. That’s great—if these examples suit one’s personal style. It doesn’t really help, though, when one is still searching for a style–something that resonates. I’m a veterinary technician and wear scrubs all day, which I love because having a uniform is a no-brainer when it comes to work. The problem: What to wear the rest of the time? I have also lost about 55 pounds and have had to get rid of almost all of my clothing. I am trying to be careful with what I get now as I try to rebuild a wardrobe. So thank you for all you do, helping out with style ideas and inspirations.

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59 Elke

Thanks for the guide Sylvia, it’s much appreciated!

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60 MaryAnn Baldez

This is a wonderful site! I’m so glad I found it! I wear mostly flats or low heel shoes because my husband is not very tall. I am a pear shape, 5’7″ about 150 lbs. I notice you suggest bootcut jeans which I feel look best with a higher heel…any suggestions for the best jeans for a pear shape that doesn’t wear heels?

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61 Sylvia

These kind of jeans are still flattering on you if they fit well. Just make sure your tops are short enough so you can get a ratio of about 2/3 legs/ 1/3 top part.

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