All body types can look fab in the right dress. It’s a question of knowing which style is best for you. With Spring’s dress explosion and mid-season sales upon us, it’s an excellent time to buy frocks. Pretty pear body types look wonderful in A-line or what I call “fit-and-flare” dresses (fitted at the top and flared at the bottom). The key is to define the waist and torso and add a bit of volume at the bottom.

Emphasize the upper body:

  • Look for necklines with detail that draws attention to your shoulders, face, neck and décolletage. V-necks, halter necks, square necks, shirt necks, sweetheart necks and strapless styles can work wonders. 
  • Look for bodices with details such as pleating, ruching, embellishments, embroideries and horizontal trim designs that draw the eye upwards.
  • Empire cuts with straight seams (a high-waisted seam that sits directly below the bust line) are good because they accentuate your bosom, emphasize the smallest part of your body and give you the room that you need to smooth over your hip and thigh area. Empire cuts with gathered seams might make you look and feel pregnant.
  • Printed wrap dresses with A-line skirt constructions tend to create a visual balance between your upper and lower body. Ones that are in heavy matte jerseys will have enough drape to smooth over your curves flawlessly while their belting detail helps define your waist.

Smoothing over the hips, thighs and bottom area:

  • Look for styles that create volume on the bottom in order to deemphasize the hip area (everything A-line). The volume can either be soft and flowing, or structured and architectural. Shirtwaister dresses and strapless styles are good choices.
  • Look for vertical seaming through panel and princess lines.
  • Keep the length at the knee and add “a leg-lengthening and slimming heel” (even if it’s  just a kitten heel, because height slims down curves). Sometimes, shoes with ankle straps can cut short the longer line that you are trying to create, which makes sling-backs, peep-toe pumps and long boots better options.

Steer clear of sheath styles with pencil skirt bottoms and bias-cuts. They’ll cling to your body and spotlight the areas that you wish to camouflage.

Have fun experimenting. You might be pleasantly surprised because there is nothing quite as pretty and feminine as the perfect dress. Here are some ideal A-line dress silhouettes for pear shaped body types (Nordstrom and Dillards).

Donna Ricco Overlay Halter DressBCBG Max Azria Strapless Appliqué DressCarmen Marc Valvo Flocked Velvet Slipdress

Halter and knot detail, ruched and embellished strapless bodice, vertical panel detailing.

Betsy & Adam Charmeuse DressMax & Cleo Contrast-Trim Chiffon DressAnne Klein Dress Polka Dot Dress

 Straight empire cut, empire cut with vertical seaming, pleated wrap bodice.