Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dressing for my Body Type

As I've been exploring style, I've been doing some thinking and researching about what to wear for my body type. I have some pieces in my closet that I love, but don't feel the most flattering on me (boatneck tops, puffy short sleeves). I wanted to create guidelines for any new pieces I might add.

Here's what I know starting out:

A. I'm pear-shaped (my hips are more than 10 inches bigger than my waist). I carry most of my weight in my hips, butt, and thighs.
B. I have a relatively short torso and longer legs

I looked up some tips for dressing those two realities about my body and here are the lists I gathered (from hereherehere and here).

The funny/interesting about this research is that while there are some overlaps in styles, there are also some clear contradictions (what looks good on a pear shaped body should never be worn on a person with a short torso, and vice versa) Here are the guidelines:

Short Torso
1. Wear long, lean, tops, tunics, sweaters and jackets, wear shirts untucked
2. Go for only pants with a low rise.
3. Tops with subtle, narrow, vertical stripes.
4. Dresses or tops without a waist, like empire styles or blousons.
5. A monochromatic color scheme or shades of the same color without much contrast between top & bottom.
6. Belts worn loose and low around the hips over a long top.
7. V-necks and plunges, because they emphasize verticality.
8. Long necklaces and scarves left hanging or tied low
9. Sleeveless, long sleeves, or three quarter sleeves
10. go for a two piece bathing suit with low cut bottoms 

1. Horizontal necklines
2. Short sleeves (especially if the are puffed or embellished.)
3. High-waisted pants
4. Dresses that hit my actual waist
5. Belting at the waistline


1. Go for clean, tailored lines on the bottom. 
2. Create an “A-line” silhouette with your clothing (fitted on top and roomier at the bottom).
3. Wear pants or jeans with a mid-length waistline, and flare on the bottom.
4. Wear tunic tops or dresses.
5. Make use of jackets to distract from bottom, with design features to draw eye upwards.
6. Show off your shoulders.
7. Most pear-shaped gals have tiny waistlines. They were made for the waist-cinching belt look.
8. Wear V-neck tops which elongate the neck and draw attention to your slim midsection.
9. Wear tops fitted to your shoulders. Try an extended shoulder pad or ruched sleeve.
10. Wearing an eye-catching colour on top draws the eye upwards.
11. Wear pointy-toed or almond toes shoes with bottoms that are wider at the hem.
12. The length of your tops should either catch you just below your hipbone, or past the thigh area.
13. Accessorize the top part of your body well, with necklaces, scarves, earrings.

1. Cargo pockets, side entry pockets, waist pleats, drawstrings or hip embellishments.
2. low-rise or high-rise pants
3. belt at the hips, or thick belts

Overwhelmed? In recap, the guidelines that experts agree work for a short-torsoed/pear-shaped person:
  • wear tunic tops and dresses
  • wear pieces with empire waistlines
  • wear v-necks
  • accessorize on top with long pieces
  • Avoid: high-waisted bottoms
The contradictions. Do I wear?...
  • low rise pants vs.mid-rise pants
  • monochromatic color scheme vs. dark color on bottom, bright on top
  • belt low the hips vs. belt at the waistline
  • show off shoulders vs. minimize shoulders
  • can pull off flats vs. always wear heels
  • draw clean lines down body vs. draw attention to upper body
  • long tops untucked vs. tops tucked in at waist

This week I'm doing my best to find outfits that meet the compromises of dressing my body type well, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on the lists, as well as what you think I can pull off or not. (I'm having a hard time thinking about giving up my high-waisted bottoms, pocketed skirts, and waistline belting)

Here are few outfits that I think work really well for my body: Feeling EuropeanEarly Morning SunScarf as Belt

And a couple that are not terribly flattering: Three TieredTomato, Comfy

PS. I'm wearing
tunic: Zara
necklace: J.Crew
leggings: Target
Sandals: Target


lauralove. said...

While I agree that the pencil skirt doesn't look super great in the "tomato" post, I think it looks super flattering on you in the post you labeled as "high-waisted bottoms" - maybe it's because the ruffled shirt has a better neckline for you. I think with the right top, a high-waisted pencil skirt looks amazing on you and accentuates your tiny waist. I think the same goes for the waistline belting - what about the "pear shapes are made for cinched belts"?

Anonymous said...

I definitely don't dress my figure the way the magazines say I "should." I have a straight figure - narrow shoulders and straight down from there (no chest, no bum). I totally embrace the no boobies thing and wear the flowy, empire waist tops I love that the "experts" would definitely say not to - I have small boobs, oh well. No sense in trying to hide it. It would be nice to have a bit of a butt though because I can't seem to keep a pair of jeans up without a belt! Wear what you want, girl, you have awesome style - I love all your outfit posts!

e.louise {Liz} said...

I love this post!! You have inspired me to research dressing for my body type because 1) I am clueless and 2) your outfits always look so well put together and work well for you :)
Thank you for sharing!

beka said...

WHAT?! How did I somehow miss your style blog? Now I have to go stalk every.single.outfit. !!

I do love how you dress though. And you know what's funny, in the pictures on this post, I would never think oh she's pear shaped. Not even a little.

I definitely break the "rules" a lot if there is something that I like to wear.

I think the "three tiered" look would totally work for you with a different jacket- something tighter, more tailored, to show how skinny you really are. Even a black cardigan.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the fashion rules necessarily fit everyone. You might technically be pear shaped but I don't see it. I think you're proportionately pear (I'm the same) and can get away with items that might not normally be recommended. I think you look great in everything you wear! Keep doing what you've been doing :)

Bad Joan said...

Great advice! Thanks for sharing!


Unknown said...

What a fabulous post!! I have a similar body type, but without the longer legs!! Just shrimpy all-around, but I definitely think a lot of these tips will work for me! Found your site through Carrie follower! happy Friday!

Jill said...

Not tucking in shirts is key to the short-waisted person. I can't stand to tuck in shirts because I feel like I look all awkward with my shirt tucked in so much higher than everyone else. I like Feeling European. Your shirt isn't tucked in but you still bumped it up a bit to allow the belt to show.

Melissa said...

I think 'three tiered" and "tomato" both look amazing on you. you're crazy!

Post a Comment


Latte Love All rights reserved © 2008-2011 | I am a HowJoyful Design by Joy Kelley