Is there a better term than Pear Shaped?

Me-Made-May started as an challenge to wear my handmade clothing, but it also forced me to look at my body and how it looks in my handmade clothes.

After looking at photo after photo, there’s no doubt about the fact that I’m a Pear.

With a hip measurement over 10″ larger than my waist (12-13 in fact!), my body looks a lot like a pear. With legs and arms and a face, but still a pear.

I almost always cut out a smaller pattern size on the top than the bottom, sometimes up to 2 sizes different!

Thing is, I kind of hate the term Pear Shaped. It brings up thoughts of lumpy yellow fruit and it feels somewhat negative. And after looking at a zillion pictures of myself during Me-Made-May, I’m starting to like my silhouette more and come to terms with me being me.

I’m a brunette, not blonde as I’ve tried many times in the past; I’m only 5’4″ at best, not 5’7″ as I like to tell people; and I’m most definitely built like a pear.

So going forward, I’d like to focus on dressing to show it off and flatter my shape, rather than squash it into jeans or straight-up-and-down styles. If you’ve got it, flaunt it… or at least work with it and stop fighting the way you’re made.

What have I learned? Pears like full skirts, fitted waists and high heels. (Ok, the last one isn’t totally pear-related.) Pears can rock a good fitting pair of jeans but look rather uncomfortable in an ill-fitting pair.

Belts are a pear’s best friend – if you don’t have narrow hips, then show off a narrow waist. Focusing on the shoulders helps to distract from a wide hip area.

But I still don’t like the term pear shaped. So what term to use instead? Curvy on the bottom? Junk in the trunk? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

And if you also are a pear shape, do you dress to hide it, or to show it off? What tricks do you have for dressing a pear?

On a completely separate (and non-sewing related) note… look what my awesome friend gave me! Runner’s World Training journal – to prep for the marathon.

It’s basically a running diary to track my progress over the next year as I train for the Vancouver Marathon – with tips and guidelines on everything from nutrition, technique, and how often to replace your running shoes.

It’s amazing how nice people can be when you tell them what you’re up to!

On a sewing-related note, here’s what happened the last time I had a free night to sew.

I was all set to cut out Vogue 2961, after an (internal) debate on what project to sew next. Go figure, as soon as I’ve finally decided, I unfold the pattern tissue to find a pocket. Strange, I thought, as I didn’t remember there being any pockets on this dress… so I double-check the pattern number and would you believe it, it’s the tissue for Vogue 1158.

Of course I get out the computer and search for what Vogue 1158 looks like – maybe it’s fate and I should be making it instead? I put the link in so you can check it out – not quite the same thing. Plus, the 1158 wasn’t in the right size either. How frustrating! Has this ever happened to you?

I emailed Vogue Patterns right away and still haven’t heard back. I’m sad because any time I order online, patterns take a good 3-4 weeks to arrive. It looks like my vintage sundress dreams are on hold for a little while. Ah well, on to the next thing!

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48 Responses to Is there a better term than Pear Shaped?

  1. Stacy Marie June 4, 2010 at 8:45 am #

    A marathon, yay! I bet the Vancouver one is awesome. I’ve done 2 half marathons, and my fiance is a marathoner…I’d love to run one myself. Good luck!

  2. Belly June 4, 2010 at 8:49 am #

    I actually love both patterns – too bad it wasn’t your size.
    You’re right about the term “pear shaped”- “hourglass” just sounds so much better. You got me thinking!

  3. Molly June 4, 2010 at 8:59 am #

    It’s great that you like your body shape now, it’s always better the flaunt it than hide. I’m more boyish shaped, but I like to wear circle skirts to give me a little more shape. As far as “pear shaped” goes, at least it’s a delicious fruit instead of something gross – but hour glass is better.
    I’ve never heard of the wrong pattern being inside a different envelope, that really sucks!

  4. mjb June 4, 2010 at 9:15 am #

    I’m with you on the pear shaped thing – it sounds really plus sized to me, and lumpy. I used to say I was an hour glass, but only deceptive dressing will actually do that. I have narrow shoulders and my waist and hips are at least 10 inches apart. I’m short torsoed too, so the bottom can look even bigger. But I read somewhere that the majority of women are pear shaped, so we shouldn’t be thinking we’re all weird! I also used to sew the same size for the whole outfit, until I realized that things were actually too big on top, and suddenly I was no longer happy with the fit of store-bought dresses either.

  5. Jaime June 4, 2010 at 9:38 am #

    I too am a pear and have not learned all the tricks so I’m looking forward to watching you sew and maybe taking an idea here and there. I like the look of 1158, I have it saved to my favorites, actually. But I wasn’t sure it would work for me – I like things more fitted on top than it appears. I found a great summer dress pattern on I purchased and printed. It had piping all in the bodice like the dress you’ve been showing, but with spaghetti straps and a full/circle skirt. Now I’m waiting for the right fabric to jump out at me. I already told my husband for Self-Stitched September and can’t wait!! Love your blog!

  6. daiyami June 4, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    I sometimes say somesuch “crazy waist-hip differential” instead of pear-shaped… 16-inch waist/hip difference here. I keep buying the same pattern in two sizes, one for top, one for bottom.

    Summertime tips I only recently discovered: I carry wraps for a cool evening instead of cardigans—wrapped high on the shoulders, they balance out the hips and don’t cover up the waist. For bathing suits, I wear a black skirted bottom with various bikini tops.

  7. Funnygrrl June 4, 2010 at 10:11 am #

    Pears are delicious and sweet. Nothing wrong with the term pear-shaped. One alternative is bottom-heavy. No thanks.
    Hourglass is more curvy with fuller bust and hip. Not really the same as pear-shaped.
    There are alot of us pears out there and we’re gorgeous!

  8. Monet June 4, 2010 at 10:40 am #

    Tasia, you have succeeded so much in dressing for your body type that when I saw the title of this post, I was like, “She is NOT a pear!” :) It’s great you know how to do that…so few people do, and although I do not want to criticize how anyone dresses, it DOES make a person feel better to dress for her body type so she doesn’t focus on her “problem” areas.

    Also, my “Built by Wendy” book informed me that the “ideal” woman’s figure has more than 10″ of difference between the waist and the hips (which I do not). I think the term “hourglass” applies if your bust is the same as your hip measurement. I think you should coin your own term :)

  9. sulovessew June 4, 2010 at 11:12 am #

    I would kill to have a body like yours. Then again I agree with you in terms of accepting our body and flaunt what we can. I am barely 5″1′ with flat chest and i am ok with people asking my age and weight, but height was a sensitive issue :) Thanks for this posting, am glad to see how people reinforce their strong point :)

  10. Jessica June 4, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    I don’t like the term pear shaped either, but I don’t know what else to call it! I’m pear shaped as well, though I think most people don’t notice, since I dress to camouflage it. I like to wear things that balance out the top and bottom, to create more of an hourglass shape – pencil skirts with blousy tops etc. I think you do a great job dressing your figure, and honestly I never noticed that you were pear shaped – you must be doing it right!

  11. rita June 4, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    I’d love to have some more hips to balance out my linebacker shoulders!

    I’m all for showing off to a certain extent. Too much of it is tacky. One can have the most fabulous body, but if adorned in a tasteless manner, it’s never attractive. It’s about proportion, balance, appropriateness for the occasion.

  12. ~Sherry~ June 4, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    I agree – you hardly look pear-shaped at all, so you must be dressing right! What I notice most about your figure is that teeny-tiny waist of yours!

  13. Kristie June 4, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

    Not until I started sewing garments for myself and with your post, did I really know what my shape was. I would say I’m a pear. I’m also 5’4 and I’m bigger on the bottom than the top. I have a small chest but full hip. Growing up, my sister and I always joked that we were white girls with junk in the trunk. After I read your post I did some internet searching and I like this article I found. It pictures some celebrities with shape descriptions and clothing recommendations.
    I think I’m moving closer to appreciating my shape. Especially as I learn to dress with flattering clothing styles.
    Another term I found: triangle. Sounds a bit more positive to me than pear.
    Way to go for running a marathon. Good luck with the training. I’ve only been doing 5Ks. I think I’m good with that distance, not sure I want to go further. Maybe a 10K :)

  14. Stacy June 4, 2010 at 2:56 pm #

    I fall into the world of the hourglass – finding pants and skirts is a challenge sometimes. With my hourglass I am also what they refer to as having a short rise, which means a lot of pants and shorts cover my belly button even when they’re not meant to…Such is life. At the age of 32 I am finally starting to accept my body for what it is and have stopped wishing it was something it’s never going to be. I have also heard “pears” referred to as triangles, but who wants to be a geometric shape with sharp edges? I think you have a fantastic shape!!! I admire your courage to run a marathon!

  15. Vicki June 4, 2010 at 4:12 pm #

    How about A shape? I thought I was a pear but after reading Imogen’s blog I realise I am an X – shoulders same width as hips – have a look…..

  16. Rachel June 4, 2010 at 4:17 pm #

    I’m a pear too – but have broad shoulders mixed in with it too. And I’m 5′ 8″. Small bust, little waist, and wider hips.

    I try and wear exactly as you describe – full skirts, lots of belts, I tuck my shirts in, love wearing heels. Sometimes I wear a more fitted dress, but like it to either have some waist detail or wear a belt with it to draw the eye there.

    I think you dress perfectly for the ‘pear’ shape. I’ve added your red dress to my wish list cos I think it is perfect for the pear! Perhaps the new term could be ‘a perfect pear’?!

  17. Sofia June 4, 2010 at 5:00 pm #

    I have linebacker shoulders too!!! But I also have hips exactly like Tasia’s (she’s my sister!) and I know what she’s talking about. I usually cut a size 10 on top, and anywhere from a 12 to a 16 on the bottom. And I’m not out of shape, it’s seriously my hip bones. They’re just wide. I would LOVE patterns that are made for my shape so I don’t have to keep grading the pattern pieces.

    But I’m also of the opinion that you shouldn’t hide the hips either.

    Like so:


    I like Vicki’s idea of letterforms as body descriptors. There’s X people, A people, I people, O people – it totally works!!

    And I like the pattern you got instead, but I like the other one BETTER!!!

  18. SewBissy June 4, 2010 at 5:19 pm #

    I’ve been thinking about this since first reading your post, because I’m the same shape. The terms I sometimes use for myself are “hippy” or “triangle”–not exactly heartening terms. I just can’t think of others besides the great suggestion here of letters. (Maybe my lack of imagination is spurred on by a less than encouraging fashion industry??)

    I’ve never gotten the wrong pattern in an envelope, but I have gotten duplicates. Both times I’ve bought a certain Vogue/Suzi Chin pattern (needed to remake the dress in a different size), it had an extra copy of one of the pattern sheets inside. Good luck getting started on a project after this annoyance!

  19. Tasia June 4, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

    Wow, you guys are fantastic! Thanks for all the feedback!
    And an extra thanks to everyone that said I don’t look pear shaped, I must be doing something right!
    Though Jessica, I see your pics all the time and I would have never considered you to be pear shaped either..
    Belly – I would have considered making the alternate pattern if it was in the right size :)
    daiyami – Great tip about the wraps instead of cardigans tip.. I would have never thought of it on my own! I do have a lovely wrap and I’m going to throw it on more often.
    Kristie – thanks for sharing the article you found, I’m always interested in those ‘dressing for your body type’ articles. I don’t always follow every rule but some of the tips (v-necks, strapless styles, waist definition) are excellent guidelines.
    Vicki – I like the idea of letters, “A-shape” is a nice alternative for pear. Thanks for sharing Imogen’s blog, there’s a lot of great articles there!
    Rachel – if we’re pear shaped, I like pear a lot better with ‘perfect’ in front of it!
    Sofia, we’re the same body shape, but look – we’re not alone! Sometimes I see all the slim-hipped boyish figures in magazines and feel like I’m the only one out there with wide hips.. all of you who can relate, thanks for leaving your thoughts!
    And thanks for everyone wishing me luck with the marathon. Technically, it’s a HALF marathon but still a challenge! I’m running in the local Relay for Life tomorrow as a warm-up, and I’ve got plenty of time to train…

  20. Kelly June 4, 2010 at 10:28 pm #

    Uhhh, I actually love pattern 1158 and considered making it, but decided against it since I’ve only sewn 1 thing so far. And be proud of your pear shape! As a youngster I was conscious about my big hips and my brother (quite uncharacteristic for him) just said “Don’t hide them Kel, guys LOVE a girl with curves, consider yourself lucky”. So, take his advice, you have a gorgeous body shape, hips are definitely a win! :D

  21. Tasia June 4, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

    Thanks Kelly! I am starting to love my pear shape more, and focus on flattering my body rather than just hiding it. And with sewing, you can customize the fit of the clothes you make, which is much less frustrating than trying to buy a dress in stores!
    I like 1158, but it’s the wrong size and I’m not patient enough to spend the time to down-size it…let’s see what Vogue Patterns says back about my mis-shipped pattern. Maybe they’ll just send me the right one and let me keep the wrong one? Except there are no instructions…which could be challenging.
    Thanks for stopping by and for the lovely thoughts!

  22. G June 5, 2010 at 12:21 am #

    Hi Tasia! Do you know the Inside out Blog? She had tons of posts about various shapes lately. You might find out that you’re an A or an X shape (other possibilities are H, I, O, V and 8). You won’t be a pear anymore!

  23. lsaspacey June 5, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    It’s funny, at first I thought triangle did sound better, but visually, I would much rather be a pear that has “something” upstairs than a triangle which is ridiculously bottom-heavy! Yes, bottom-heavy is another not so flattering term but that’s my body too. Luckily my shoulders help balance it a bit if I wear the right things on top. You and I have a similar body shape but as I got older my metabolism changed and “my girls” have gotten fuller so that my shape is becoming more balanced.

    And yes, most women are pears so we should really start embracing the term.

  24. Ali June 7, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    great post! here’s to loving the bodies we have :)

  25. Crystal June 7, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

    I am reading “Easy Guide to Sewing Skirts” and she uses “triangle” to describe pear-shapes, which I like much better. The other descriptors (shown as icons) are rectangle, hourglass, and “Y”.

  26. Jessica June 7, 2010 at 8:15 pm #

    Oh dear, I have no good alternatives for “pear” but I loved the outfits you put together in May and thought you looked great in them! I was in denial about it for awhile but there’s no hiding the fact that my hips are larger than my bust so I’m definitely a pear as well :-), and like you I’ve found that full skirts are usually my friends, accentuating your waist or at least not hiding it in baby dolls and tunics with no shaping! Yeesh, not with shoulders like mine, it’s just a formula for adding 15 pounds. I think I heard someone say that sweetheart necklines are good for drawing attention to the shoulders too?

  27. Jessica June 7, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    Oh hang on I just read through the comments – there’s something called an X shape? Hm … maybe that’s me instead … but are these distinctions really that important? Or is it more important to figure out what works for you and what you like, whether it is to camouflage your body type, to flaunt what you’ve got, to ‘even out’ your body proportions, or just to put on the quirkiest/funnest/most elegant dang thing in your closet and show off your smile to the world?

  28. Jana June 8, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

    I’m a “pear,” too! You’re dresses and cute belted-skirt combos always look so flattering – I wish I had advice to give, but I’m just loving your suggestions.

    You should convince Vogue to throw in an extra pattern or two to compensate ;)

  29. Tasia June 8, 2010 at 10:48 pm #

    @Jessica: Love it! I’m going to stop thinking about bodies, wear something fabulous, and show off my smile to the world. I couldn’t have said it better myself :)

  30. Carina June 15, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    As a similarly-shaped pear myself, I’ve come to love the term; pears are gorgeous and juicy at their best, and frankly, it’s the body shape that make the mouths of most of my male friends water – so what’s not to love about it!?




  31. Jenny June 15, 2010 at 10:35 am #

    We have very similar bodies — same height, probably pretty close to the same measurements — except that I’ve had two babies and no marathons. I’m very glad to have found your blog (thanks to the Selfish Seamstress!), and I look forward to following along on your sewing-for-pears adventures.

  32. Claire June 18, 2010 at 11:09 am #

    I agree with Funnygrrl. Pears are delicious and sweet… and juicy! I’m a pear, through and through.

  33. Tasia June 18, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    I love that so many of you can relate to the pear-shaped body type! And that so many of you are proud of your shape, and happy to call yourself a juicy pear! Thank you @Claire: , @Carina: and everyone else who loves their pear curves! Stay tuned for plenty more ‘sewing-for-pears’ adventures :)

  34. Emma Woo June 29, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    Hi, I just came across your blog and thought you’d like to know that I don’t use the term ‘pear-shaped’. I prefer either ‘droplet’ or ‘cello’. Much more romantic sounding.

  35. Tasia June 29, 2010 at 5:45 pm #

    Hi Emma, thanks for stopping by! I’ve never heard ‘droplet’ before but I picture the shape instantly. I like it! Thanks for sharing.

  36. Jennifer July 1, 2010 at 9:46 pm #

    Great post! I’m a little late to come across it, but I’ve just discovered your blog. I too am a pear shape with a 13″ difference. I can’t tell you how much hatred I felt for my body from when my hips developed until about a year ago :-/. I’ve finally made peace with myself – heck, I have even begun to feel pride for my curves. I’m starting to figure out ways to flatteringly flaunt it :). However, the real reason I wanted to comment was to say that I absolutely love your red dress. I’m a novice seamstress considering trying dressmaking as a hobby, and I have to say that if I could make something that cute, I’d be so pleased! What great inspiration!

  37. parismegs July 19, 2010 at 8:44 pm #

    OMG…as i read this I realised I have the same pattern…I just hurriedly checked my V2961 pattern, and the tissue is right – phew – the other pattern is not really my style.

    Best of luck with the marathon….what an amazing goal!!

  38. Tasia July 20, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    @parismegs: Thanks!! Ah, so glad your 2961 is correct, there’s nothing like waiting forever to get started, and then not being able to start!
    @Jennifer: Thanks Jennifer and sorry I missed the comment earlier! It’s amazing how much we learn to dislike our bodies, and wish they were shaped differently, smaller in parts or larger in others. If I can flatter my shape, I forget all about wishing it was different. I’m so glad you find my blog inspirational and you should totally try sewing! Ask away if you ever have questions, too :)

  39. Patience July 26, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    Love the blog so far… and I definitely like the term Cello!

    I am pear shaped and I try to:

    wear dark on bottom light on top
    solid on bottom and printed on top
    Longer skirts
    Shirts tucked in with a belt or that stops at my waist
    Anything nice and tailored on top with princess seams
    Horizontal stripes are good for the top

    I do not try to hide nor flaunt my shape… just to even it out

    I hope that helps a little bit… thanks for all the sewing inspiration

  40. Tilia November 5, 2010 at 8:27 am #

    I’m very pear-shaped as well. It’s been awhile since I measured myself but the difference between my waist and hips is probably close to 15″. I also try to accentuate my waist and wear full skirts, but I think this advice only works up to a point because my parents find me looking fat that way. They rather see me wearing tight jeans, which makes me sad because I love 50’s style big skirts and dresses, not the modern skinny trends.

    • Melina July 19, 2013 at 11:53 am #

      My hips are 13″ larger than my waist. I wear circle skirts pretty much every day of my life, because I love how I look in them. I’m sorry that people in your life are saying negative things about the way you dress, but I know that I feel much more confident when I’m wearing things that I really like, regardless of what other people might think. You do you, girl.

  41. Reader June 27, 2011 at 7:28 am #

    I’m not fond of the term “pear-shaped,” although, as someone pointed out, most women apparently are pear-shaped. I’ve seen “triangle-shaped” used, but that doesn’t capture the three-dimensional quality of a body shape.

    I tend to favor the traditional shapes for this body type: A-lines and Empire Waists. I love tunics and over blouses over A-line skirts and even straight skirts.

    When they come out with a better term, post an article as “breaking news.” :-)

  42. Jennifer March 6, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

    I’m glad you’re coming to terms with your shape, Tasia. My younger sister is A-shaped, too. Luckily, she and I figured out how to flatter her shape and it has boosted her confidence tremendously. I want to point out, though, that every body shape can be both flattered or destroyed. I have an hourglass shape and (contrary to what my sister thinks) it has never given me a free pass to wear whatever I want. Just like an A-shape, the hourglass-shape needs clothes to come in at the waist or the hourglass ends up looking just like a square. Guess what was popular at my high school? Hoodies, low-rise jeans with loose-fitting button-down shirts tucked in, boxy t-shirts (not the fitted ones that are in style now)…basically “belted” and “fitted” hadn’t made their way back into the fashion cycle. I always looked like a blob in high school, and I didn’t know why. Not one of us has it easy. So, love your shape. You are doing a fantastic job dressing it!

  43. Anna May 8, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    I understand your concern about the term. On another hand, pears are so delicious.
    Oh! and recently I saw a blog called “Pardon my hips” about Dressing for long waisted & pear shaped–lots of good ideas and stylish looks.

    Take care.

  44. Dianne June 6, 2013 at 12:12 am #

    I rather like the term. What’s more, I like that I am pear shaped. Maybe I can do this because I’m very slim, but I like to wear tight skirts that show off my shape and then wear tops that just even me out a bit. I personally think it’s a very attractive shape and have stumbled on some great blogs about celebrities with the same shape and how they dress for it.

    For the record, I think that a-line skirts are a bad way to hide a bigger bottom/hips. I’d go for a pencil or a circle skirt and something that draws the eyes up if you’re going for that.

  45. Christine July 6, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    I LOVE THIS! Finding the right clothes for your shape does so much for you self confidence. We put together a few looks for pear-shaped woman to off their fabulous shapes. You can take a look at them here and tell us what you think! xoxo, WearToStandOut

  46. Melina July 19, 2013 at 11:48 am #

    I’m pear-shaped, and I absolutely love it! I spent years hating my tiny chest and large hips, but I have realized recently that my figure allows me to fit into a lot of vintage dresses that I love, and I can feel damn sexy in the right pencil skirt. I never try to “hide” anything about my body any more, because I think that’s silly – I love clothes, and shouldn’t be kept from wearing something fabulous because of the way that I’m built.

    • Tasia July 19, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

      That is awesome to hear! I wrote this post 3 years ago and I am certainly more comfortable and happy with my body shape now. I love clothes too and of course no one should be stopped from wearing fabulous clothing for any reason!