This is the first in a series about dressing for your body type by Kelly of Kelly V. Photography. I already can’t wait to see the rest!
We’ve all seen feature articles in fashion magazines and even TV talk show segments about how to choose the right bathing suit for your body type, but what about regular clothes? Certain types of clothing definitely flatter particular body types. And lets face it, we’d all like to accentuate our best features and subtly hide the ones we’re not so fond of — especially when it comes to picking clothes for a portrait session.
With that in mind, when it’s my turn to do Wardrobe Wednesday for the next few rounds, I’m going to highlight each one of the four female body shapes – pear, apple, hourglass and rectangle — and discuss what to look for when shopping, as well as what to stay away from.
Typically pear-shaped women have:
- A long or slender neck
- Sloping or narrow shoulders
- Narrow back
- Small to medium bust
- Defined waist
- Curvy hips and backside
- Full thighs and calves
It’s all about balance
Ideally, giving the appearance of wider shoulders and a bigger bust will help take attention off the widest part of the body and bring the eyes up to your face, neck, bust and waist. Overplay your upper body and give your lower body a slimmer, sleeker look by using color on top, wide necklines, accentuate your waist and wear dark colors on the bottom.
For pear-shaped women, think details when it comes to tops. Prints, textured fabrics, great necklines and bright colors all help balance your lower half. Tanks with cute ruffled sleeves or wide-set straps will help to visually widen the chest and shoulders. Look for necklines that are scooped, draped, come to a V, rounded or squared. Halter tops will also add width to your shoulders and get that balance mentioned earlier.
Undoubtedly there are going to be lots of options at almost every women’s clothing store, but when it comes to pear shapes, no one does it better in my opinion than Ann Taylor. All of the following outfits are from this fall’s Loft collection:
Look for pants that are flared or have a wide leg. This will help hide thicker thighs. Go for mid-rise dark jeans (the darker the better) and dark pants. This gives the illusion of a slimmer hips and bottoms.
Here are some great flared pants and dark-washed jeans perfect for pear shapes:
Skirts and dresses
When dressing up, try to achieve the same balance. Look for A-line skirts and loose-fitting, drapy fabric in dark, solid colors and subtle patterns. Dresses with an empire waist or a wrap dress that is tighter-fitting on top and flows over your bottom half is ideal.
And you don’t necessarily need to be afraid of all-around color. The center example is a great option for pear shapes that really would play up your curves.
What to avoid
Stay away from body-hugging bottoms like tight skirts, skinny jeans or pants with a tapered leg. Those clothes will only accentuate the widest part of your body. Also avoid straight, floor-length skirts. The skirt starts wide at your hips and gives you one, thick straight block of fabric all the way to the ground.
Avoid bold, bright colors and attention-grabbing patterns on the bottom, as well as high-waisted pants, which tend to make your hips look larger. Jeans with too many details at the top such as extra pockets or embroidery should also be avoided.
Also stay away from straight, shapeless jackets that stop at the widest part of your hips.