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What My Pear-Shaped Body Taught Me About Apparel

There are many body types out there, but there is no question that I am pear-shaped. The biggest indicator is that I wear smaller shirts than I do pants, which comes with a whole set of struggles.

I am not ashamed of my pear shape, or the fact that it requires me to often wear L or XL pants when I am usually wearing a S or M top. I’ve just had to learn what clothes fit my body best and make me feel good when they are on.

The Struggle To Find The Perfect Pear-Shaped Body Fit

Running clothes are often a battle; those stretchy tanks often ride up over my hips and require constant messing with during runs, so I often opt for looser fitting shirts. Shorts are a problem when it comes to finding some that fit over my pear bottom and thighs—I’ve written about the agony before—so I usually choose high-rise capris or shorts with a 7″ inseam.

I have found that accessories can sometimes be the biggest struggle, however. Forget wearing a hydration belt. If it isn’t constantly riding up over my hips and then flopping around because of the size difference between my hips and stomach, I have to wear it right under my boobs. Not only is that uncomfortable, it isn’t a good look.

Regular clothes aren’t much easier. I would LOVE to wear rompers but alas, they are often too tight on the bottom and billowing on the top. Dresses are often the same struggle. T-shirts can be a pain too—I often get a larger size so that they aren’t strangling my hips and doing that riding-up-thing again. Most days I opt for leggings (yes, I will forever wear leggings as pants and do not apologize) and a long, flowing top (I will always cover my rear, however).

Lessons Learned In The Fitting Room

When it comes down to it, however, I do know that the grass may always seem greener—If only my hips and thighs were smaller!—but that women of all sizes and all shapes experience their own struggles when it comes to finding clothes that fit and make them feel good. It has taken a lot of experimenting and dressing room struggles for me to understand what shape looks best on my body. For me, that is shirts that flow out at the hips and hit right below my hip bones and jeans that are ‘curvy’ (shout out to the Ann Taylor LOFT Outlet for making jeans for curves). That being said, I am still surprised and now have a rule to always try things on.

There have been so many clothes—even running clothes—that I will look at on a hanger and think, No way will that look good on me or That is perfect! only to find the opposite is true. And if clothing doesn’t fit, remember: It’s not your fault. Nothing is wrong with your body.

Unfortunately, clothing companies don’t always make apparel that fits every body type. More are trying, but as we’ve all seen, there is still a long way to go. So if you’re in a fitting room and nothing is working and you just want to cry, don’t blame your body. Your curves. Your arches. Your figure. Find a brand and clothes that celebrate you instead. I know that can be easier said than done, but they are out there—when it comes to running clothes, brands like Nike and Athleta and Old Navy and Juno Active are leading the way in carrying a wide range of sizes—and find what works for you. Yes, fit plays a role, but how you feel is key. Feel better running in just a sports bra? You do you. Sick of shorts that ride up and want to wear competition briefs, instead? Show off those legs!

When it comes down to it, my pear-shaped body has helped me learn that not everyone is going to appreciate my body—brands included—so I’ve got to start showing it love and making sure I feel good with every outfit I put on it.

Ashley Lauretta

Ashley Lauretta

Ashley Lauretta is the freelance web editor for Women's Running. A freelance journalist, she is the assistant editor at LAVA Magazine and has written for espnW, ELLE, Men's Journal, VICE Sports, Health and more. Find her online at ashleylauretta.com and on Twitter at @ashley_lauretta.