I spend a lot of time talking about the pear shape, mostly because it’s the most talked about and most recognizable shape. But the more research I do the more I realize that it’s really impossible to define body shapes that accurately. For instance lets examine the pear shape. The standard definition of a pear is that your bottom half measured around the hips is larger than your shoulders by more than 5%. That seems fairly straight forward. But all pears are not created equal. Lets really examine this.
Some of you will have heard of Kim Kardashian who appears to have become famous by being rich and beautiful and having a big butt. Saving any discussion on good taste lets look at this famous butt. Baby’s got back or junk in her trunk or a big ole bubble butt which basically means that her bottom is round and full and the rest of her body is slender by comparison. Women with this shape tend to accumulate weight on their bottoms. There’s no doubt this shape is bigger on the bottom hence, by our definition a pear shape.
But that is only part of the story. Other women are bigger in other places. For example Jennifer Hudson is wider around her hips and her bottom is quite flat. Women with this shape, me included, tend to have bigger thighs and a little something extra around the waist. When they gain weight it’s stored on their hips and belly – the spare tire – and their inner thighs. This shape is particularly susceptible to the ‘muffin-top’ look. Whether or not they fall into the pear shape category will largely depend on the size of their upper bodies. Jennifer has slender shoulders so would be a pear shape on measurement but the fact that she’s quite busty offsets that by creating the hourglass look.
But wait there’s more. Some women are wider around the top of their thighs and when they gain weight it is stored on the outside of the thighs first. ‘Saddlebags’ is the term and from this photo of Jennifer Love Hewitt, a size 4 on a bad day, it’s easy to see it’s a specific shape rather than a lack of diet and exercise. Women with saddlebags tend to have flatter stomachs and smaller top halves. This is the actual pear shape for which the term was created.
Each of these women will face different issues. Those shaped like Kim Kardashian will look more proportionate from the front while from the rear it’s a different story, for which a lot of men are profoundly grateful. Kim’s best strategy will always be to play up her bottom half – it’s there, it’s not going away, work with it.
A pear shape by contrast will always be better off playing up her top half to bring more proportion to her look – a small slip and you’re a caricature rather than overtly feminine.
And someone like Jennifer Hudson, who has the goods on top as well, is going to be better off playing up her waist to even out her whole torso.
The purpose of this post is to illustrate the differences in our bodies even within the same basic category. Trinny and Susannah in their book The Body Shape Bible address this issue by identifying 12 different body types. Kim Kardashian would be a vase, Jennifer Hudson a cello and Jennifer Love Hewitt a pear. Then there’s the skittle which I haven’t even talked about but is those with wide hips and big thighs like Jennifer Hudson paired with a small top half. It’s great to have so many different categories but it all still seems very confusing.
FOCUS ON YOUR OWN…ISSUES
No one is going to fit exactly into one category no matter how many you break it into. It’s a much better idea to examine your own shape to find out what you think of your body. You will feel differently about different areas that another woman of a similar shape. When you know what you want to achieve then look for tips on how to do that. For instance you may be bigger on the bottom and want to minimize your bottom, accentuate your waist and add volume to your top half. Someone else who is the same shape may want to maximize their bottom and add volume to their top half. And this is before the issue of height has even been added to the mix.
Notice I don’t mention weight: Shape is consistent. If you are a size 4 pear shape like Jennifer Love Hewitt you can gain a hundred pounds and you’ll still be a pear shape and the same shape clothes in bigger sizes will still work for or against you.
When I talk about a pear shape I mean someone with ‘saddlebags’. When I talk about bigger on the bottom I mean exactly that – it may apply any shape that fits into that criteria, even a pear. I am going to reorganize the categories on this site along those lines so any feedback you give me will be greatly appreciated.
My advice is to look at all categories that might have any application for you. Then trust your own judgement and pick and choose what works for you.
Thanks for reading,