How to Dress the A (Pear) Shaped Body


 Kelly, from I’ll Be Back requested some help working out how to dress her A shaped body, so I’ve put this polyvore together for her, and hppefully it will help some others too.

How to Dress the A Shape Body – by imogenl on

Kelly works as a Legal Assistant and so wants to look approachable yet professional at work, and at the weekends wants to look friendly and outgoing.  She wants to have fun with accessories and loves purses.  She is also keen to avoid black as it is ageing on her fair colouring.

The colours are friendly and approachable (especially avoiding black which is seen as intimidating).   The clothes aren’t overly structured so are also seen as friendly.
The structure in some of these garments gives a more professional appearance, but it’s still fun with feminine detail and accessories.
A shapes need to keep detail to the top half of their body as much as possible, to draw attention away from hips and thighs.  So you will notice that I’ve used darker, neutral bottoms and paired them with lighter or brighter tops.
Tops also end around the hip bone so as not to draw unflattering horiztonals too close to the widest point of the body.
I’ve also used interest and detail such as a frilled collar jacket with puffed sleeves to balance the lower body.
3/4 sleeves help to take attention higher up the body too, and you will notice there is no detail at the wrists so as not to draw attention to the hips and thighs.
The trousers and skirts also have a little flare to balance the thighs, avoid tapered trousers if you are this shape.
If you also have a smaller bust, as is common with the A shape (though not always the case), then look for ruffle or ruching detail at the bustline to create extra volume.
If you wear pattern on your bottom half, remember to wear a lighter or bright colour on your top half to draw attention up to your face.
Look for fabrics that have enough weight so they don’t cling to your thighs, but have enough drape so the skim past and sit close to the body, rather than stiffly away from the body.


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  • I am in that catagory…thanks so much! I tend to wear more fitted at the waist longer jackets that hit above the knee or past the fanny and a taller shoe.

  • Thank you SO much, Imogen! I love these looks you have chosen for me, I can truly see how dressing this way plays down the lower half of the body but has some fun on the upper half to draw the eye up! I love each of these outfits and now my next step is to try to put these looks together! I am inspired to now go through my closet and pull out clothes that are not flattering. Thank you so much for your time and effort in putting this polyvore of lovely outfits together for me! And thank you for your professional advice, I will certainly act on it and am looking forward to a change!
    One thing I am getting rid of is longer floral skirts that I usually start wearing in the spring/summer! And getting away from black is great…all these looks I can wear in the office/or the weekend.
    Thank you again!

  • The looks you have put together are lovely. I would love to try some of those looks out, especially the one with the knee-high boots. Very nice!

  • Hi Imogen: Good and helpful advice as usual! I’ve been working with some of these ideas already, as I’m a “pear” too. Hadn’t thought about the no detail at the wrist idea. I tend to use bracelets as easy jewelry but I’m getting bolder with earrings.

    Okay, now I have a question. Maybe you’ll consider this for a post. I see a lot of people wearing belts over layers, like over a blouse and a sweater. I like how this looks. But I’m thinking of being a pear, and also keeping in mind some of the points about hiding one’s tummy. I have a “muffin top” but I do have a semi-defined waist. Can I wear a belt, and if so, at what point on my body? I’d love your suggestions.

    Queen of the Imogen Fan Club

  • Christina Lee – Thanks!

    Renae – long jackets to just above the knee can work well if you are tall.

    Iamtheangelnegro – thanks so much for coming by!

    Kelly – happy to do this for you – I hope that you can get your wardrobe into a better order.

    Mervat – I love knee-high boots, they’re so flattering.

    Sallymandy – thanks for being the queen of my fan club!

    Will look into doing a belt post for you.

  • As a pear, I so appreciate this set! Love the Pual Smith cardi. I always wear a dark neutral on bottom and colour (or b/c I am in a large northern city, more black) on top. If that’s the case I’ll wear a coloured necklace or scarf to keep that eye UP there!

    I worked with an image consultant here who got me to stop wearing long jackets and long belted sweaters, they did not give me enough shape.

    PS. Imogen, what do you call a pear with a bust?

  • Duchesse – I consider such things as large or small busts, luscious or flat bottoms, square or sloping shoulders to be what I call body variations, not part of body shape.

    So a pear with a bust, is just a pear with the added body variation of having a bust.

    Body shape is really the outer silhouette of the body, not what is going on inside that silhouette.

  • I love those outfits you put together! You really are a wealth of information! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!

  • Wow!
    I definitely agree to all those looks that you pulled together for her..I’m very sure that it will help her a lot.;D
    Great job friend.;D
    Have a nice day.

  • This is what I love about you Imogen! You are so kind! Though I am not a pear shape, I learn something from every post. Now if I can just get my butt to L.A.

  • I was just reading your most recent post on the A, and saw the link to the Polyvore you put together for me last year…I wanted to tell you I did end up buying the blue ruffled jacket from the Topshop shown in the picture!

  • I love this posting’s photos, but the polyvore link does not ork. I’d like to find out more details about the items, especially the sweaters and jackets, Can you repost, please?


  • Hi Imogen

    How about pencil skirts? I understand it all depends on how big or small your hips but overall are you for or against them? Some ‘schools’ are for pencil skirts as long as they are worn with balanced tops…I find that they do tend to show off more your hips if the skirt is too tight and especially if like me you belong to the ‘petite’ category you will have to wear high heels for sure!

    What do you think?
    Thank you!!!

    • Pencil skirts – depends on whether you have saddlebags or not. They don’t suit those with saddlebags as they tend to make them look more obvious

  • Hi there, I really like the look of some of these pieces but where do I find them? Thank you for putting this blog together, I often need help figuring out what to wear with a pear shaped body and I’m not good with fashion.

    • These are old now – but search on items like them – just search in stores using the words I’ve used to describe the clothes that suit an A shape

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