In my younger and fancy free days, there were really only three requirements when it came to wardrobe choices: trendy, CHEAP and just a little bit risky. I experimented a lot with my fashion choices and was never one to shy away from a piece that was quirky or unexpected. The only thought I gave to what you would call “figure-flattering” was if it showed off too many body parts at the same time. The older I get (and the older my body gets), I find that these rules simply don’t cut it anymore. I no longer just want a closet full of cheap, trendy pieces, I want outfits that truly fit my particular body type and that accentuate the parts of me that I am proud to still hold on to.
So with both of our 30-something birthdays looming, we decided that this was a good time to explore the clothes that really showed off the best of the what we uniquely have to offer. As a mom, the realization that I can no longer get away with throwing on a little mini skirt and strappy tank hasn’t been a hard one really–I enjoy comfort, BUT what has been a struggle the last 2 years is coming to terms with the changes my body has gone through. So with this in mind, I thought there would be no better time than for our birthdays that we choose to celebrate this instead of lamenting it. Not to mention it gave us a chance to do a little shopping together- something we haven’t had the chance to do in a very long time! Thus the quest for birthday party dresses began.
My body type is pear-shaped I think I went from banana-shaped to pear after child! I’ve always had a more athletic build, with muscular arms and legs and not a lot of curve. After having a baby(and time taking it’s toll), my athletic shape has morphed into more pear and suddenly I needed to start thinking about how to balance my upper half with my bottom. Here are some things us pears should consider-
- Focus the attention upward. This means putting the most vibrant colors or patterns on the top and simple shapes on the bottom.
- Embellish around the neck. Statement necklaces are a great option to pull the attention upwards or even trying out interesting necklines like a high neck or even cutouts to accentuate the shoulders does wonders to balance out a wider hip (I never really thought about this one before, but will definitely be trying it out! See some ideas below)
- Layer it up. I’m not necessarily talking about loading on pounds of fabric here, but dresses that have overlays or even a wrap dress with some weight on the top half are all good for minimizing the bottom half. See the Free People wrap dress below- It hits many of these points.
- Wide is good (seriously? OK!) Shift dresses are my friend. Pear shapes can easily get away a simple box shape that balances out both halves of the body, but length is important. Dresses should hit above the knee for this one to work, otherwise it makes a pear look squatty. Dresses and tops that are off the shoulder are also a great option because they flow away from the body and bring the focus up toward the face.
- Get a little structure. So this one is almost the antithesis of the previous ideas, but it really works. If you’re not going to go for a shift or layers, pull it in close to the body. Pieces that have strong structural elements can help guide the eye towards your. strongest aspects and can help to lengthen the body. Heels help with this too!
So with these tips in mind, I tried on several different dress options aimed at drawing the attention upwards, instead of accentuating my hips.
Shop the shopping trip-
Other Pear Shaped Ideas…
I’m an hourglass. I’m for sure not a Kardashian kind of hourglass; I’m more of a linebacker-shoulders-and-good-birthing-hips kind of hourglass. Pre-child, I always accentuated my waist, but post-child, I feared doing so, convinced it would draw dramatic attention to my post-baby pooch. I wanted to cover the pooch, the muffin-top, and the rolls, so I draped myself in billowy, boxy, wide shapes to hide hide hide. Turns out, this was the most unflattering thing I could have done, and it took me about two years to figure it out. Here are some things for you child-rearing hourglasses to keep in mind:
- Your narrowest point is your waist, so you have to emphasize it, not hide it. Anything that nips in or belts at the waist is ideal. And it absolutely does NOT highlight the pooch; it highlights the curves.
- Avoid anything shapeless or boxy. Sure, shift dresses are darling, but keep moving on down the rack, sister. They’re not for you. Wide frocks don’t cover up the pooch at all; in fact, they add bulk to our frames, making us appear to be heavier than we are. Hourglass shapes need to draw on the natural contrast created between our widest points. Anything that masks that waistline just makes us look like a giant rectangle. And then in every picture you take, you’ll need to double tea-cup pose just to balance it out. Not worth it.
- Skirts and dresses need to have volume or a classic cut. A-line, pencil, and tulip cuts are ideal for our shape. A-line will help our waists look tiny. Pencil and tulip, especially if they’re high-waisted, pull double-duty; they accentuate both our waists and our curves.
- Avoid short dresses and skirts. Think back to high school: the rule was when you put your hands down at your sides, the hem of your skirt couldn’t hit your leg higher than your middle finger. Back then it was for modesty, but now it’s for flattery. Short cuts draw horizontal attention to our hips, which makes us look bottom-heavy.
- V-neck, halter, sweetheart, and scoop necklines are the most flattering for our shape because they’re slimming. They draw attention downward towards our narrowest part (our waist) and prevent us from appearing too top-heavy. Big boobs are never a bad thing to have on hand, but we don’t want to look disproportionate. It’s all about balance.
So, armed with these pointers, I went out shopping for the perfect dress to accentuate my figure.
Shop the shopping trip:
MB’s shopping outfit:
Other ideas for hourglasses:
Erinn’s Final Pick!