Beyond The Pear: Dressing For Your Tricky Body Type

There's a common thread running through all of Refinery29's dressing-for-your-figure stories: the figures themselves. Each month we change up the challenge, but still deliver styling options for the same 11 body types (apple, pear, carrot — you know 'em by now).

Yet, we know as well as you do that there are more than 11 shapes of women out there. No slideshow could capture them all, but with this round-up of tips, we’re hoping to get a little closer.


We pulled the six shapes ahead from readers' comments about their real (and sometimes tricky) proportions. And, with the help of three body-type styling experts, we're laying out the what-to-wear tips for broad-shouldered pears, petite hourglasses, mommas-to-be, and other women whose figures can't easily be defined with the name of a single fruit.

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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Your average pear shape holds most of her weight in her hips, butt, and thighs, with smaller proportions up top. You have all that going for you plus broad shoulders, too.
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ASOS Curve stylist Felicity Hayward believes that a "high neck creates a great shape with your shoulders." This could translate to a slim-fit dress or striped turtleneck — something you're guaranteed to wear all season.

Madewell Mockneck Tee, $39.99, available at Madewell.
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Micaela Erlanger knows a lot about making women look amazing, so we tapped the celeb stylist — whose clients include Lupita Nyong'o and Michelle Dockery — and newly minted Maidenform Brand Ambassador's knowledge for tips on outerwear for this shape. "Choose a silhouette that hits right at or above your hip," she tells us, "Avoid fabrics that are super bulky, and select streamlined silhouettes."

A.L.C. Edison Jacket, $995, available at A.L.C.
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"I am a firm believer in showcasing and embracing your curves," Erlanger tells us. She suggests an A-line skirt for this shape, paired with a fitted or thin top "to balance your shape and show off your tiny waist."

Tibi Double Crepe Sable Flared Skirt, $395, available at Tibi.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
The lollipop shape is a combination of busty and apple-shaped bodies. The majority of your weight is held in the torso with an ample bosom and rounder belly. Your legs are, on the contrary, quite slender.
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Our celeb stylist Erlanger, advises: "Stick to oversized outerwear like blazers or fabulous slouchy coats." This knee-length option works perfectly for its generous fit and longer silhouette that balance out top and bottom proportions.

Whistles Hooded Sheepskin Coat, $2,700, available at Whistles.
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When it comes to bottoms, feel free to be creative. As your legs are your slimmest measurement, you can go wide-legged to balance your top or wear the slimmest of skinnies to play up your leaner parts. But, don't forget to contrast skinnies with your top. "Pair with a blouse, add a cardigan or blazer for layering," Erlanger says of a slim-fit jean. "It will create the illusion of a waist and will elongate your figure."

Evans Denim Let Down Hem Skinny Jean, $57, available at Evans.
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A V-neckline looks incredible on your figure, Felicity tells us. She also advises to "opt for wrap dresses, which...create a defined waist."

Rosie Assoulin Cottin-poplin Wrap Midi Dress, $1,495, available at Net-A-Porter.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Styling a baby bump — think of it as an apple shape, but a much more pronounced one — can be challenging. A mama-to-be should be able to show off her belly, but also find silhouettes that flatter her whole body, not just her precious cargo. We have a few clever options, ahead.
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"For party wear, don’t shy away from bold prints or graphics, as they often create an optical illusion and can be very flattering," says Adriana Chryssicopoulos and Tatiana de Boisanger, co-founders of Nine In The Mirror. "A-line shapes are always a winning style."

Mary Katrantzou Desmine Dress, $1,573, available at Mary Katrantzou.
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Chryssicopoulos and Boisanger also suggest the body-hugging midi-skirt as a maternity-style must. "Winter dressing should be about layering, and when pregnant, adding different layers of color, texture, and shape should help move the viewer’s eye around and therefore create a flattering figure." The body-skimming skirt is an easy and cozy starting point for piling on.

ASOS Pencil Skirt in Velvet, $38, available at ASOS.
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Outerwear can be tricky for expectant dressing since you need something that will close over your growing bump, and ideally won't become obsolete once the baby arrives. "We love the way a belt tied above the bump transforms a trench coat during those months," the experts say. "After pregnancy, the belt can be tied back at the waistline changing the overall look of this stylish piece."

J.Crew Icon Trench Coat in Plain Italian Wool, $350, available at J.Crew.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
You earned your power legs — be it through college soccer, life-long dance classes, or good genes — and we think you should wear them proudly. But, it does get a bit challenging when your legs are on the shorter side. We've collected some ways to elongate your shape and flaunt your shapely gams.
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Much like a universally flattering ankle-length pant, a midi skirt that hits at the same point can be just as lovely. Because your waist is longer, choose a skirt that sits a bit higher on your waistline and ends at your ankle, past the widest part of your calf.

Zara Gingham Check Skirt and Top, $49.90, available at Zara.
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In contrast to slimming, ankle-length bottoms, opt for tops that have a bit more of a boxy shape. This will add volume to your upper half, and create balance throughout.

Rebecca Taylor Ruffle Pullover, $495, available at Rebecca Taylor.
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Don't underestimate the power of tone. Felicity says that "lighter colored tops and darker skirts" are a simple way to bring more attention to your upper body, while a short hem also gives your legs some well-deserved attention.

Muller Cardigan Dress, $373, available at Farfetch.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Petite and hourglass shapes are hardly mutually exclusive. You're the very embodiment of the two. And, we can help you find the shorter-hemmed pieces that best compliment your Kardashian-level curves.
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Firstly: Know your petite brands. Erlanger is a fan of J.Crew's offerings for women on the short side — meaning this hourglass-hugging, knee-length topper won't have strangers asking if you've been shopping in your big-sister's closet. For more reliable online stops, hit Anthropologie, Topshop, and Nordstrom.

J.Crew Petite Double-cloth Lady Day Coat, $365, available at J.Crew.
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"High-waisted jeans are a must to elongate your legs," says Hayward.

Citizens Of Humanity Carlie High Rise Skinny in Black Oak, $278, available at Citizens Of Humanity.
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Just because you're petite doesn't meant every "night-out" outfit needs a 4-inch platform. Erlanger recommends that if you'd rather party in a flat, look for an A-line skirt with a fuller shape. This not only mimics your curves, but the shortened hem elongates your legs without the help of a heel.

Topshop Petite Tapestry Skirt, $45, available at Topshop.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Just like petites can be curvy, every full-figured tall woman doesn't have defined curves. If this is you, your bust, waist, and hips are just about the same width.
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Erlanger and Felicity both agree: Belts or draping are the keys to defining your waist. A medium-width belt (say, no bigger than two inches) or fabric detail pulls in your center and creates some distinction between your proportions.

Mango Draped Detail Dress, $119.99, available at Mango.
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Our ASOS expert also says that skater dresses can work in a similar way.

Topshop Cowl Collar Dolman Sleeve Skater Dress, $90, available at Nordstrom.
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"Short leather jackets with shoulder pads create a great inverted-triangle shape," says Felicity, " giving you a smaller waist." She recommends wearing one with a pair of high-waist jeans.

River Island Plus Detachable Collar Leather Look Jacket, $78, available at ASOS.
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Similar to the long torso/power legs shape, yours can greatly benefit from a bit of strategic colorblocking. In this case, dark and light vertical paneling create an instant hourglass shape in something as simple and easy to wear as an everyday layering tank top.

Kenneth Cole Strappy Colorblocked Tank, $29.99, available at Kenneth Cole.
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Ready to snag even more stylish winter must-haves? Head to Canada Goose now.
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