If your torso is skinnier than your hips and your waist is small and defined, you have a pear-shaped body type. Some styles of dresses might make your hips look big, but choosing the right style of dress can flatter your figure and fit comfortably. Dresses that accentuate and draw attention to your bust and shoulders balance out your hips and help turn your body into an hourglass figure.
Emphasize your shoulders and balance out your hips by choosing a dress with a neckline that stretches wide horizontally, such as a boat neck, off-the-shoulder or an open V- or U-neckline. Dresses with structured shoulders, puffed sleeves and flutter sleeves also accentuate your shoulders. Dresses with bell sleeves or kimono sleeves draw more attention to your upper body and accentuate your curves by adding flow and volume to the arms.
Waist-Defining A-Line Dress
Choose a dress with a fitted waist. Some dresses define and accentuate your waist by tapering in at the natural waistline, flattering bigger hips because of the hourglass shape it creates. A dress with a circle skirt that creates an A-shape from your waist to your knee also will flatter your waistline; additionally, it will skim over your hips to camouflage them further. For a more formal occasion, wear a full-length dress that extends to the floor but flares out a few inches, starting a foot from the hem. The flare accentuates a pear-shaped woman's curves while balancing out the hips and thighs.
Colors and Patterns
Color can be used to create the illusion of something being smaller or larger. Dresses that are white, pastel or a bright color on top and a dark color on the bottom make your top half appear larger and your bottom half look smaller. Bright, bold embellishments and patterns around the chest and shoulders also draw attention toward your top and away from your hips. Patterns may include stripes and polka dots, and embellishments could be sequins, beads or ruffles.
Outerwear and Accessories
Use outwear and accessories to finish your look and complement your figure. Jackets and blazers with small shoulder pads in them widen your shoulders, balancing out big hips. Similarly, a padded push-up bra makes your top half larger and turns your body into an hourglass shape. Jackets should fall below the waist to cover some of the bottom and lengthen your look. Belts are great accessories for pear-shaped women to have because they accentuate their skinny waistline, while scarves and necklaces can also draw attention toward your top while adding bulk in that area to balance your figure.
Lindsay Haskell enjoys writing about fitness, health, culture and fashion. She is a contributor for "Let's Talk Magazine" and "The Wellesley News." Haskell is completing her B.A. in philosophy at Wellesley College. She's also a fiction writer whose work can be read online.