Apple and Pear Body Shapes: Peculiarities, Health Risks, Outfit Options

Christine Steuber
Jan 10, 2022
Do you have an apple-like or pear-shaped body? This article is for you. Find out the peculiarities of your figure, possible health risks, and inspirational outfit…

“Women are always held hostage by the measuring tape.”

I believe I heard this message during a talk show discussing how thin women were lucky to not have any belly or thigh fat and how challenging it is for curvy ladies to put together a look that would hide their ‘obvious disadvantages’.

Thank God we are past that phase when society refuses to accept how diverse a human body can be. According to a recent study by YouGov, 76% of Americans say that the media promotes an unattainable ideal for a female body. Slowly but surely, we’re moving towards a more body-positive society. 

So, to all the women with the apple and pear-shaped bodies – you are not cursed. If you’re stressing out about your body type, it simply means you don’t know how to highlight its advantages. And that’s why you’ve landed on this article. 

Today, we’re going to talk more about apple- and pear-shaped bodies, see which health problems such body types can have (if any), and show you a few styling options to bring forward the benefits of your unique figure.

Do You Have an Apple-Shaped or Pear-Shaped Body?

Before we jump over to possible health risks and outfit ideas, let’s help you figure out the shape of your body. 

Commonly, there are five body types:

  • apple
  • pear
  • hourglass
  • inverted triangle
  • ruler

Some sources, like Healthline, categorize figures as bottom hourglass, inverted triangle, round, diamond, and athletic. But, in my opinion, such categorization is not always correct – if a woman has an apple-shaped body, it doesn’t mean she can’t be athletic. 

Need some visual aid to understand the difference between figure shapes?

Here’s a handy graph from Penn University with distinct differences between the five types listed above:

Now, let’s compare an apple vs. pear-shaped body.

What Is an Apple-Shaped Body?

Apple-shaped women usually look round, with a wider waist. If you have this body type, you tend to gain weight around your abdomen. 

Now, what is officially considered an apple body figure?

To be 100% sure you are an apple-shaped type, grab a measuring tape (sadly, no way around it) and measure your waist and hip circumference, and calculate the ratio. If it turns out to be over .80, your body has the shape of an apple.

Benefits of an apple body shape

A plumper belly usually puts women in a state of constant stress – how on earth can you hide your tummy pooch? 

In reality, however, having an apple body shape has quite a few advantages, both style- and health-wise:

  • Belly fat is easy to conceal with clothes. Many pants and skirts come with wide elastic sewn-in belts that seamlessly masque your belly – the world won’t even notice. 
  • You still have slim hips. Since apple-shaped women tend to gain more weight around their tummies, their legs usually remain slender. 
  • A well-proportioned bust line. Your cleavage is to die for – women with apple-like bodies have bigger breasts, which is definitely an advantage you can highlight with the right outfit.

Health-wise, there are certain benefits associated with this body type. For instance, small tummy pooch is actually beneficial for your menstrual cycle – endocrinologists Dr. Schorr and Dr. Miller have found that a fast loss of weight can stop your period due to rapid estrogen decrease.

So, it’s not all that bad, as you might think. 

Problems apple-shaped women can have

Of course, with every advantage comes a disadvantage, and it’s also true for women with apple-like figures. 

Here are the three most common problems I could think of when analyzing this body type:

  • No defined waistline. You might find it hard to accentuate your curves with tight dresses and fitted clothes. Some women resort to shapewear, which is not always comfortable. 
  • You easily gain weight in the midsection. Women of this body type can find it difficult to remain slim. 
  • A disproportionate body. Ladies with apple-like bodies still have slender legs and arms after gaining some weight around their tummy. As a result, their figures might look out of proportion.

Apart from these issues, this figure type also tends to have some health-related problems, which we’re going to discuss a bit later. 

However, don’t panic just yet – all of this is manageable. Besides, you’re not alone in this – many celebrities have learned how to live with and appreciate their apple body shapes. 

Look at Adele, for example – before her dramatic weight loss, she coped with her figure pretty successfully by creating a waistline with high-rise dresses:

Adele apple shaped body example
Credit: US Magazine

Same with Oprah, Amy Schumer, Drew Berrymore, and Catherine Zeta-Jones – they all learned how to draw benefits from their body types, and so can you.

What Is a Pear-Shaped Figure?

If your body has a form of a pear, you’re likely to have narrow shoulders and wider hips. Your hip and thigh area also tend to carry more weight than your upper body. 

To know for sure if your figure resembles a pear, you need to do the same as with the apple shape – measure your waist and hips, calculate the ratio, and if it’s below .80, you have this body type. 

Can an apple-shaped figure become pear-shaped?

Sadly, no (at least, not anatomically). However, you can visually reduce your waist and widen your hips with shapewear.

Perks of pear-shaped figures

While doing some research for this article, I came across this frequently-asked question, “Is a pear-shaped body attractive?”

You can see why women would be hesitant to think of their wide bottoms as something unattractive, but I want to assure you otherwise. Just look at the whole Kardashian family – these ladies are obsessed with narrow waists and wide hips. This example just shows us how fast society changes its views on what’s “acceptable” and what’s not about a female body. 

Just off the top of my head, I can name at least three advantages of a pear-shaped body:

  • Outstanding curves. You can highlight your figure with fitted clothes, making you look feminine (if that’s what you’re looking for). 
  • A slim upper body and neck. This combo makes you look super elegant and athletic. 
  • A well-defined waist. You can grab yourself high-waisted jeans for a pear-like figure, a cropped blouse and highlight your curves.

What about health benefits?

It’s commonly accepted in healthcare to consider pear-shaped women more healthy.


Carrying more weight around your hips as opposed to your tummy lowers the risks of a stroke, heart attack, and type 2 diabetes. However, such a result is only possible if you observe a healthy diet and follow an exercise routine.

Disadvantages of having a pear-like body

Now, what are the situations when being pear-shaped might be bad?

Fashion- and style-wise, there are a few problems that could be associated with this figure type:

  • A bulky look. Since your shoulders are narrower compared to wider hips, it can make you look disproportionate.
  • Difficulty picking the right size. It’s especially true about skirts, jeans, and leggings – most of them will fit your hips and thighs but will need adjusting around the waist area. 
  • Problems with weight loss. Unlike a tummy pooch, hip fat is harder to manage.

Regarding issues with losing weight – don’t fret just yet. It is believed that the fat that travels to your thighs is the one you’ll need if you experience energy loss. Besides, according to most studies, it doesn’t impact your heart health that much. 

How come?

That’s the tummy fat, which accumulates around your organs, that is the most dangerous for you. On the contrary, the weight around your hips is not as detrimental. 

If you still feel bad about your pear-shaped figure and don’t know if you can manage it, just look at Beyonce:

Beyone pear shaped figure example
Credit: Variety

She balances her wide bottoms with structured sleeves on her shoulders, creating an hourglass-like figure accentuating her waist.

Why Do You Have an Apple/Pear-Shaped Body?

If you’re looking in a mirror asking why God gave you the figure type you have, it’s not always about His choices. Genes do play a significant role, but they are not the final decision-makers. 

According to a study published in the Weight Management journal, there are five other factors impacting your body shape besides genetics:

  • gender
  • age
  • lifestyle (foot and physical activity)
  • race/ethnicity
  • socioeconomic status

Let’s discuss each of them one by one. 

Comparing an apple shape vs. pear shape, the study has found that the first body type is more common among men, while the second is often associated with women. Some scientists claim women having wider hips is an evolutionary result of giving birth to children. However, it’s neither here nor there. 

With regard to age, body fat tends to accumulate faster once we get older. Besides, some conditions can impact the changes in your body type. 

Next, following a healthy diet and remaining active throughout your life influences your energy levels and helps form your figure early in your childhood. 

It’s also worth mentioning that some ethnicities are more inclined to have specific body shapes. For instance, the study claims African-American women tend to have pear-shaped figures more often than European American women. 

Finally, your socioeconomic status is also an important factor. According to the above-mentioned study, countries with lower socioeconomic status tend to have more obese citizens. However, I can argue with this since many developed countries still have obesity issues.  

Many women wonder – which body type is preferred by men, apple or pear?

There is no reason to put apple- and pear-shaped figures against each other and objectify them. If you’re worried your body doesn’t make you look desired, it’s fixable with the right approach to style (I will share some ideas a bit later). 

Other than that, acceptance is the only way to go. 

Health Risks Associated with Apple- and Pear-Like Figures

The link between body shape and an increased possibility of different diseases always puzzled scientists. As of now, there are a few definitive studies that have shown certain health risks connected to apple- and pear-like figures. 

For example, abdominal obesity, characteristic of apple-shaped bodies, can lead to type 2 diabetes. In an interview with Everyday Health, Dr. Danny Sam says that increased BMI people with this body shape have is a usual cause of diabetes, much like being overweight in general.

The same reason (high BMI) can lead to cardiovascular disease. A study involving 430,000 people revealed that women with apple-like bodies often suffer from increased blood pressure. More frequent strokes and heart attacks are also possible. 

What about pear-shaped people?

If your body resembles a pear, scientists say you are at a lower risk of having a metabolic syndrome or suffering from obesity. However, it’s not all daisies and roses in your case either. 

Being overweight, whether it’s in your tummy or hips, can still be problematic. If you calculate your waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and it is above 0.85 (based on WHO recommendations), you are as likely to develop diabetes, a cardiovascular illness, or have high cholesterol. 

So, what should you do?

The only solution is to watch your weight. And here’s where many women make a fatal mistake. 

It is important to be mindful of your weight not because you want to look stylish and slim but because you want to be healthy. Your health should be your number one priority – when it becomes an issue, it won’t matter how people perceive you. 

How to Style Apple- and Pear-Shaped Figures: 4 Outfit Ideas

Now, let’s put aside the “heavy stuff”, and talk about dressing up. 

Contrary to what it seems, styling an apple-shaped and pear-like body is not that difficult – you just need to know which assets to highlight. 

To save you from a struggle, I’ve put together three outfits for each body shape.

Dressing the apple-shaped figure

So, we’ve established that this body type is top-heavy, meaning that you need to pay attention to your waist and midsection. Naturally, you need to pick clothes that will put an accent on your lower body curves. 

Here are a few other simple rules to follow:

  • Go for a soft fabric. It will help you avoid bulkiness around your tummy. 
  • Accentuate your bustline and hips. On the other hand, style the area around your waist in a simpler way. 
  • Opt for a fitted silhouette under your bust and below your arms. The goal is to put the focus on your curves. 
  • Choose structured garments. They are great at camouflaging weight around your belly. 
  • Use brighter colors for your lower body garments. Conversely, choose darker colors for clothes around your waistline.

The rule is simple – fewer accents, details, and colorfulness around your midsection and more of that around the bustline, hands, and hips. 

Need a ‘for example’?

Here’s an idea for an office look.

An office outfit for an apple-shaped body

Here, I went for a high-rise pair of pants (you can also choose jeans for apple-shaped figures) to accentuate your straight legs and hide your tummy and a soft silky loose top to avoid bulkiness. The blazer with a belt will shape a waistline and create an hourglass figure. Long earrings are also meant to put a focus on your upper body rather than the midsection. 

What about dresses? How can you style them for an apple-shaped figure?

The rule is the same – choose a dress that creates a waistline but is made of a material that doesn’t create creases. 

A night-out outfit for an apple-shaped body

For instance, here, I picked a dress that’s loose below the midsection, hiding your tummy pooch. To bring attention away from your flaws, you can use chandelier earrings or a layered necklace. Finish the look off with a pair of heels that accentuate your legs.

Styling the pear-shaped body

If your figure resembles a pear, you have wide hips and a defined waist but a smaller bust and narrower shoulders. So, these are the assets we need to balance. 

Our task is to take attention away from your hips and towards your waist. We need to visually increase your shoulders to create an hourglass shape. Here’s how you can do that:

  • Go for structured shoulders. Remember the picture of Beyonce? Structured sleeves help widen your shoulders and make your bust look more prominent. 
  • Opt for bright colors for your upper-body garments. So, it’s the opposite of the rule for apple-shaped bodies. 
  • Use eye-catching details and prints for the top. They help divert the attention from your hips.
  • Choose fitted clothes. You will look amazing in a tight dress that will accentuate your waistline. 
  • Don’t use bulky tops. Remember – our goal is to put focus on your waist. 

Let’s see what you can wear for an office outfit.

An office outfit for a pear-shaped body

Try to go for high-waist, wide-leg pants or jeans – they will make your legs visually slimmer. Instead, use a top that accentuates your bustline and add a belt to put a focus on your waistline. You can finish the look with a pair of heavy-looking earrings. 

If you need to dress up for the occasion, here’s a slightly more elevated outfit option:

An evening outfit for a pear-shaped body

Structured shoulders and accentuated bust divert attention from your hips. You can also go crazy on accessories, such as heavy necklaces and earrings, to put even more focus on your upper body. Finish the look with flirty heels and a simple clutch.

Over to You

As you can see, there are advantages to every body type, you just need to know how to highlight them. There is no need to force your body into a different shape than it already is – you have plenty of options to flaunt your assets. 

The most important thing you should stay aware of is your health. Apple-shaped bodies are more prone to obesity and high cholesterol, but it doesn’t mean that you’re safe if your figure is pear-shaped. Maintain a healthy weight and take care of your well-being first.

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