Pr0n pals, I’m really excited about today’s post. One of my strengths is being able to see what clothing styles work on different body types; it’s something I’ve worked at, rather than springing from Pr0n Mom’s womb the fashionista I am today. So I was thrilled when my friend Rebecca wrote to me and said she was fashion challenged for her body type.
Rebecca is pretty normal: average to plus size figure, young, married with a young child, and doesn’t have tons of money to spend but deserves to look her best. She’s just a little style challenged. Today’s post promises to be full of fashion tips, do’s and don’ts, and really down-to-earth advice about buying clothing and putting together outfits that you’ll enjoy. Let’s meet Rebecca.
If there was ever a pear shape, Rebecca’s it. She’s 5’7″, and according to her measurements wears about a 14 on top and an 18 on bottom. She doesn’t have a very defined waist and she carries a lot of her weight in her hips. I doubt you’d call Rebecca plus sized if you met her; just curvy.
But when Rebecca told me she didn’t know how to dress, she wasn’t kidding. This is more or less the outfit she was wearing in the picture she sent me.
I don’t know very many people who can wear well horizontal stripes. Her top was too long, shapeless, and made her look wider than she is. Her jeans just didn’t fit well and didn’t flatter.
That’s just a bad dream from now on; what Rebecca or other pear shapes should achieve with her clothing is learning to minimize her hips, bringing the rest of her body into proportion, and creating a long, lean silhouette by using clothing shape and color to her advantage. Fashion is 50% architecture, 50% art.
The first virtual outfit I used is so simple and perfect for pear shapes, you’ll wonder why you never tried it. This is a scoop neck sheath dress in a solid color, with a wide waistband, and a hem that hits just above the knee.
Immediately, Rebecca looks four inches taller and 20 pounds thinner! The open neckline on the dress helps to balance her hips and chest, while the monochrome color and sheath glide over her hips so your eye doesn’t focus there. The really critical piece is the dress’ hemline. If the hemline were much higher it wouldn’t look age appropriate, any lower and the dress will make her body look short and dumpy.
In real life I found this adorable Nine West dress at Macy’s. If she buys a 1x she may need to have the top taken in a bit – such is life as a pear shape, because you need to fit the widest part of you – your bottom half. But what I like is that the dress is youthful, and it’s definitely going to fit because the skirt is an A-line – it has an A shape rather than going straigt down. Pair the dress with heels and a fun colored bag.
I’ve shown virtually here a sweater option for pears to wear over a dress. Notice how short the sweater is. I’m stopping the cardigan at her smallest part (above the waist)in order to emphasize it. If you’re a pair shape and you wear a regular length cardigan over an outfit, make sure it’s fitted and stops at the top of the hip.
Virtual Pear Shape Outfit #2 is a basic jeans and t-shirt look; I forgot to give her shoes. :(
What pears need to look for here are shirts that stop at the hip, that show your curves rather than hide it, jeans with a straight wider leg to balance your lower body and a waistband that stops at your widest part.
Any piece of clothing that goes over your hips will emphasize them; it may seem counter intuitive, but by stopping things at your widest part you trick the eye, which is exactly what you want as someone who is bottom heavy.
The same concept applies with jeans – if your widest part is your hips, that’s where your waistband should go; usually just below your belly button. If you go with jeans that stop above your widest part, rather than emphasizing your small waist, it makes your hips look larger.
Most jeans styles have a “bootcut” or a “flare” leg. Pear shapes should for a pair of jeans with “trouser” style or “wide leg” if you can. If you can’t, look for a pair that have a minimum of tapering at the knee. The more you taper, the more you emphasize what’s above and below.
Here are some reasonably priced real life options for this type of jean/t-shirt pear outfit.
Again, this is a really simple outfit to pull together, mix and match and add to with clothing from your closet. It can be dressed up or down with a few changes, so it will take you from the grocery store out to dinner.
Both t-shirts are from the Gap – the one on top has a strong color and an open neckline to be the primary focus, and then I layered a plain gray long sleeve t with a slightly more open crew neck under it. Crew necks that are right up against the neck will make you look bustier.
The jeans are a drawstring trouser from Old Navy. Rebecca appeared to be in between sizes, so a drawstring jean could help avoid a tailoring charge (jeans can be tailored!). Just be careful not to go for an elastic waistband on pants; it may seem like an easy fix, but elastic waistbands don’t flatter anyone.
These jeans are more lightweight; for a a dressier look, choose a heavier, darker trouser jean.
I’ve pulled together the outfit with an adorable tote bag on sale at Luna Boston, a trench coat from Old Navy and Cole Haan Wedges at Zappos. A tote bag, trench coat and comfy flats are three accessories that will take you everywhere
The Cole-Haan wedge shoes are the splurge item here at over $100, but as I’ve said before don’t skimp on shoes. Cheap shoes won’t last, they won’t support your feet, ankles, hips or knees and you’ll wind up spending the same amount of money on several pairs versus one. Cole Haan has an entire line that’s made with Nike Air technology. Looks like a pump, feels like a sneaker.
I created two more virtual pear style outfit variations: one good, one bad. Look what happens if you pair dressy jeans and the tote with a cute blouse for casual Friday or dinner with friends here. On the other hand, look what happens if you put a pear shape in an over-sized, too long top.
This is one more outfit type option for Rebecca or any of you pear shapes out there.
What’s funny is that I put this outfit together right after I bought my dress, and the two dresses are very similar styles. Several things are working together to slim and balance; if you look carefully you can see that there’s actually a wide waistband that starts just higher than her natural waist – this draws the eye up, and the slightly rounded shape of the skirt hides the hips. But by wearing a dress, all one piece, the effect is not to break up the body, which is almost always slimming.
Continuing the monochromatic theme, she’s wearing black tights with black heels, and then I kept all her accessories within the same color family: (Ish. i didn’t have tons to work with.) A red wrap, a red necklace, and a burgundy clutch.
For a similar dress look, try this Donna Ricco bubble dress from Nordstrom. It’s a little fancier than what I showed, but it’ll be a classic wardrobe addition.
None of these styles are terribly complicated once you understand your body and its proportions. Bring a digital camera with you shopping and take pictures of outfits, or do it when you get home. Once you start working with some basic structure, you’ll understand what clothes do to your body, and gain more confidence.
I’m always happy to answer questions, and I’m always happy to help if you’ve got a particular figure you have trouble dressing. Drop me a comment, or an email: firstname.lastname@example.org . :) And don’t forget, if you’re looking for plus size clothes, Shopping Pr0n readers get 20% off at Simply Yours and Simply Be through this special sales code.
Please let me know if this helped you – I love feedback!