Petite, Pear Shaped? Fashion Tips to Look Grown-Up and Sexy!

Hi Deborah,

I’m a 5′ tall  – petite pear-shaped woman. My problem is that I always look like I’m playing dress-up, even when I’m wearing tailored traditional suits and dresses. I like classic, but I also want to look sexy with a touch of inner spitfire thrown in. Can you help? Janice

short pear shaped woman

Hi Janice,

My first thought is your hair and make-up. Perhaps your clothes aren’t working because your hair is too little girlish. Try getting a chic, grown-up cut, and be sure to wear some make-up.

The second thing is, I  think traditional clothing can work on a petite woman, but maybe it doesn’t work on you because it doesn’t suit your personality.  You said yourself you need something sexier.

So, here’s some fashion advice for short women, like yourself, who have a pear-shaped figure and want to look grown-up and sexy.

1. Try a Fit a Flare Dress

A fit and flare dress is a dress with a fitted bodice that nips in at the waist and flares out at the skirt. It’s ideal for gals who want camouflage large hips and thighs. It’s a very feminine silhouette.

The two things you will want to keep in mind being petite is to make sure the skirt is not too full. Too much fabric can easily overwhelm you, so no voluminous pleats, for example. Also, make sure your skirt is not too long. It should be above the knee or at the top of the knee.

2. Go for a Bright Color

If you are picking out a top or jacket or even two-tone dress, wear something bright on the top and dark on the bottom. Dark colors make you look smaller, so wear them on your heavy bottom half. Bright colors up top will balance you out and bring attention to your shoulders and face. Bright colors like red, orange, Fuchsia, etc. are hot colors, which means sexy. So look like a peacock up top if you want to attract the opposite sex.

3. Don’t Wear A Jacket That Ends At Your Widest Part

Jackets are sexy if you get the right one. The right one has a strong shoulder to make you look wider up top and balance you out, giving you that hourglass look. It also nips in at the waist to show off your feminine shape.


Be sure the jacket does not end at your full hip. Why draw attention to the broadest part of your body. Since pears have nice nipped-in waists, it is better to wear a shorter jacket that ends at the top of the hipbone, instead of the middle of the hip.

4. Wear Heels

No question heels are sexy, and a petite needs height. Even if you wear a small wedge because you don’t like heels, it will make you look taller and sexier than a flat.

5. Try Boot Cut Jeans

Skinny, tight jeans will make your hips look larger than life (and in a petite’s case- drown you). Bootcut jeans with wide hems have just the right amount of flare to balance you out.


A dark wash also helps to make your bottom half look smaller. Built-in stretch is perfect for women with hips. Don’t buy jeans with big pockets, stuff hanging off them, etc. as they will only draw attention to your hips. A petite has to keep things clean and simple.

 6. Try Some Sexy Jewelry

Jewelry that dangles from your ears, your neck is soft and sexy. No button studs, please! Just be sure that you get the right proportion. Giant Beyonce-size hoops are hot but would overwhelm a petite. Also, make sure your necklace doesn’t hang too low, or it will make you look short and dumpy.

Do you have any tips for looking sexy when you are petite, pear-shaped? Let me know. Comment below.

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17 thoughts on “Petite, Pear Shaped? Fashion Tips to Look Grown-Up and Sexy!

  1. My opinion is that a short skirt can go a long way with short women. Try a skirt with a cute blouse and simple flats. Also, try a sundress with a flare and a short v-neck. The point is to emphasize your curves and show that you are a grown woman and not a kid trying on adult clothes. (My wife is very petite and I learned more about petite clothing than I ever cared to know. )

    Also, make sure to be you. Guys are enthralled by your attitude more than your clothing, so make sure you are wearing something that you are able to be comfortable in and brings out your best.
    If you look in the mirror and see a 12-year-old, then change outfits. It’s as simple as that. Be and feel feminine. Wear what brings your best qualities to the table.

  2. Please keep in mind, that traditional clothing does not work on petites because many times traditional clothes do not come in petite sizing. We cannot just wear a women’s extra small. The rise between waste and crotch is different as is the distance between armpits and chest, chest and waist. We are usually stuck with fashions that are for women over 80, and juniors or built for females much taller than petite heights.

    1. Hi Janice, you make the most important point of all. If you are petite, do try to wear petite clothes, although they can be hard to find as you mention. I find a lot of gals have luck with Banana Republic petites, Have you tried there?

    2. banana repub….NO!!!!! are you going for the high school look or going for an adult…? Botom line, wear what you feel empowered by, This isnt an answer that youll find online, its an answer that you have to discover. ( American women FAIL to be feminine, be the example, don’t listen to these tabloid nonsense ideals, be yourself, wear what makes you be yourself the most….. explore, and imagine, but best of all, find YOUR style.

  3. I love this blog and hope we have more on petite pear shapes! At 59 years old, 5’2″ and 118 pounds, I am slim, but carry most of my weight in the lower half. I’ve learned to follow a few simple rules. 1) Wear dark colors on the bottom. I can rock a pair of white jeans occasionally because I’m slim, but have to be very careful how the top is styled. 2) Details on the shoulders and collars are a must. Look for creative stitching, embellishments, and wider collars. Scoop necks look best. Scarves are also a great way to draw attention upward. 3) Wear solids. Many prints are just too overwhelming for a petite frame. 4) Use jewelry, scarves, and shoes to create a total look. These are the things to get creative with. I love high heels and the new chunky styles are super comfortable.

    I hope this helps a little. I’d love to see more on how to dress a petite frame!

  4. I am petite (5′ 1″) and pear-shaped. I continually experience difficulty finding dresses that sit low on the waist. They look perfect if I hunch my shoulders, but I really do not wish to walk around looking like Uncle Fester.

    1. Hi Marion,
      haha!! No Uncle Fester for you!
      Are you buying petite sizes? Dresses sized for petite women have higher waists, shorter sleeves and less material across the shoulders than their regular-sized counterparts. It sounds like even though you are short, you may have a regular length torso. Maybe you need to shop in the regular size dept and just get some alterations to your sleeves. I suggest you make friends with a very good tailor and find out.

      One style that could work for you since you are pear shaped is empire style, which has a very high waist and flows down over your natural waist and hips. I would also suggest you try a service called My personal stylist that can help you determine your body shape and the best clothes for you. You can pay a little extra and even input your measurements. Here is the link. I hope that helps. Cheers, Deborah

      One style of dress that works well forwthat empire waist dress. that falls straight from the bustline and is very flattering on pear shapes. Cheers, Deborah

  5. Hi Jennifer, I’m a 4’11” pear shape trying to figure out what to take traveling on a trip to Moscow in July. Half of the trip (1 week) will be attending training seminars and the rest taking in the sights of Moscow and St Petersburg – any suggestions please, I struggle just dressing myself. Under five foot, pear shape, healthy weight. Thank you, Lorina

    1. Hi Lorina,
      You’re a petite which means it is super important to get the right fit. For your size and shape I would recommend solid colored dresses or dresses with small prints. Best shapes are fit and flare A-line skirt bottoms with tops that have a wide scoop neck to balance your hips or some kind of collar of embellishment up top to draw the eye upwards. Pants should be straight leg or boot cut. A skinny pant will emphasize your pear shape. A great fitted jacket can work nicely over your dress for your seminars and it can also go ith your boot cut jeans, adding width across your shoulders where you need it most. As far as color, keep the brighter, lighter colors up top near your face and darker colors below your waist to camouflage a heavy bottom half. All one color from head to toe is slimming and will elongate your frame. This is just a start. To read more about the pear shape you can take a look at this post: Have a fantastic trip! Cheers, Deborah

    1. HI I am sixty and weigh 125, 5’3″. I have lived in France where women tend to be petite and chic so I picked up a few tips. At forty, you can bridge some more youthful looks with the tailored and classic. But these following tips hold true;
      Clothes are the canvas; classic, neutral, and versatile. Use necklaces, scarves, shoes to personalize. Draw eye upward with hair and makeup. Look at Chanel; very tiny and impeccable. Jackie O or Audrey Hepburn. Also good monikers for your next two decades.


  6. I am 5″2 pear shape. Thanks so much for the tips about fashion for short curvy women! Looking forward to some tips on fall style. Please can you advice on casual and work wear for this fall?

  7. Hi Valerie,
    Sounds like you are a petite, but not really a “pear” shape but more like an “apple”. That is a totally different body type, so no wonder you did not have any luck! We will do an article on apples soon, so be on the look out! But, just so you know, apples usually have great legs. Would that be you? If so, you will want to show them off! Good luck!

  8. Thanks for the fashion tips for petite women article! I am a young at heart petite that is past 40 and love the leg lengthening tips. I am petite barely 5″ 0″ within normal weight ranges but carry more weight below the waist than above so love to hear anything that evens things out a bit. Great article and hope to hear more on petites ….your site is fabulous!

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