“How to Dress and Flatter Your Rectangle Body Shape.
Let’s Create Curves and Interest to Your Straight Frame!”
If you have a Rectangle body shape then it means that your silhouette is fairly straight up and down with a slight masculine look. You’re similar to an Hourglass but without the killer waist. It’s also a common body figure type for women who age, given birth (skin around the waist stretches) or gained weight.
Here are the characteristics typical of a Rectangle body shape:
- Your bust and hips are approximately at the same width
- You have little or no waist definition
- Your waist measures from 1″ to 8″ smaller than the bust
- If you gain weight, typically, the pounds would distribute evenly throughout your body frame
A sure sign to figure out if you’re a Rectangle body shape is to measure yourself. Or observe if you appear heavier than you really are despite having a fairly flat stomach and you don’t carry a full tummy.
It’s usually your rib cage that makes a Rectangles body figure wide. Simply put, the lack of waist definition but hourglass proportions (top and bottom) indicate that your body shape is straight!
Be open for a secondary body type
You may not exactly be a Rectangle, so you probably have a secondary body type.
There are different varieties of the Rectangle body shape. You may have a full and curvy bottom, leaning towards a Pear – or maybe you have a wide chest along with extra weight around the midriff that need some of the styling tricks from the guide for Apples.
So try to be flexible and follow the guidelines for both your primary and secondary body figure!
High 5! Join them Team!
Famous Rectangles: Cameron Diaz, Nicole Kidman, Hilary Duff, Sheryl Crow, Rachel Hunter, Melanie C from Spice Girls, Cat Deeley
Let’s take a closer look at the styling tricks and fashion advice for your body shape:
How to Dress Your Rectangle Body Shape
Compared to the other body shapes, you can get away with a wide variety of garments and outfits. As long as you don’t widen your wide waist even more, you’re good to go!
Disclaimer: Have in mind that these guidelines are general and based on your horizontal Rectangle body shape (the shape of your waistline). If you want the ultimate guide to dressing your body figure, including your figure flaws, bust size, height and so on I suggest that you look into the My Private Stylist program.
Also, if your vertical body shape-guidelines seem to contradict with my fashion advice for your horizontal figure, then you need to look at your body proportions as a whole.
This is where the closet strategies from the opposites Pear and Inverted Triangle will come into play – adding dimensions to your body figure, both upper and lower bottom!
Now here are some styling strategies when you’re putting together outfits:
Add Dimensions to Your Body Frame
This means “breaking up” your silhouette to create curves from waist up and waist down. A good thing about being a rectangle is that you’re free to experiment with various textures and details.
- Various cuts and shapes (wide leg jeans, tulip skirt, kimono top, etc.)
- Various prints, textures and details (ruffles, prints, tiers, studs, beads, etc.)
- Lots of accessories!
- Bright and eye catching colors
- Layering fitted clothes
- A good push-up bra to lift up your chest
But you have to make sure that you keep your waist trim at the same time, so avoid adding too much interest (unless it’s vertically shaped) around your mid-riff. Wrap a belt around a garment for adding shape to your straight frame.
You can get with almost anything – from the trendiest jacket and sweater styles to stylish jeans. Just make sure that the jacket is relatively nipped at the waist.
If you have a fuller bust and/or short neck, make sure to show more skin around the neckline with low’ish v-necks, scoop necks and wrap tops. They help slim down your chest and visually lengthen your neck.
Define Your Waist
This is one of your most important outfit goals. It helps make your waist look defined and your body shape more like an Hourglass. This is definitely a simple strategy when you don’t have time to work on the dimensions.
A thick and undefined waist make you look shorter and heavier, which is a downside for petites and plus sizes. So also check out these guides for advice on how to help you look taller and slimmer:
Here are examples on how to make your waist look smaller:
- Belts wrapped around your waist
- Belted tops, sweaters, dresses and jackets
- Nipped tops, sweaters and jackets
- Wearing tops with interest from the chest and up along with a bottom with shape. Eg. Bootcut jeans or a pretty A-line skirt.
A Rectangle body shape’s closet essential is the waist belt. It’s the last-minute solution to trimming your waist as well as a stylish final touch to your ensemble.
I suggest that you look for belts that are simple in style as well as dark in color because details and light colors placed on your waist can visually add pounds to that area, especially if your waist is already wide or undefined.
So for your body shape I recommend investing in dark colored skinny and wide belts. Make sure to wrap the belt around the thinnest part of your waist for maximum slimming effect!
Wearing stiff and shapeless garments is not your best move – they only emphasize your rectangle body shape. However you can wear straight styles, such as a straight sheet dress, as long as you add interest to your top (a statement necklace) and bottom (eg. a pair of nice shoes). A skinny belt would also look good with it.
Other Factors to Consider
You must also take your vertical proportions (are you short legged/long waisted or long legged/short waisted?) into consideration as well. Some clothes can shorten your legs and make you look shorter and wider, which is not a good look on your already heavy-looking silhouette.
Or if you’re a Petite or Plus Size, some extra outfit strategies may have to apply.
Now over to specific clothing recommendations that complement your body shape:
Your Best Clothes
Most Pants and Jeans Styles
All types of pants and jeans with any amount of details – from skinny/slim to wide leg. Look for styles with details on hips and bottom to add dimension. Anything flowy will look very elegant and soften your boyish frame.
With your straight limbs you can pull off tapered and skinny jeans quite well. The trick is to make sure the jeans are tight around your hips to help you create curves. But avoid too-wide flare pants as it can unbalance your rectangle body shape.
Nipped Tops, Dresses, Sweaters and Jackets
Anything that is nipped at your waistline or right below your bust (eg. Empire waist).
It’s super important to make sure the nipped shape is at your waistline or just below your bust – this will help make your bust bigger and ‘push them up’ and add some weight on top and make your waist look smaller at the same time.
Bust-enhancing necklines also help emphasize your bust and slim down your waist.
- Scoop neck
If you are well endowed I suggest wearing necklines that show more skin and vertically break up your chest, such as low V and scoop necks. Wrap styles are very flattering on you as they tailor your mid-riff and make it look trimmer as well as complementing your bust without over-accentuating them.
Make sure you add a camisole if the wrap neckline is very low – this helps add dimension to your rectangle body shape.
Your best dresses feature:
- Voluminous hip
- Prints, textures and details from the bust and up. Just add a black belt to trim your waist
- A full light or bright color worn with a waist belt to nip that waist
Belts, Belts, Belts
Belts are your absolute best wardrobe investments that trim your waist in a flash. I recommend putting most of your money in dark colored belts (black, dark brown, navy blue, dark green, dark grey, etc.) to maximize the waist slimming effect.
Avoid belts with lots of horizontal details as they will make your waist look bigger. Instead look for vertical interest that draw the eye up and down.
- Dangling chains
- Belt ends that hang vertically
- Vertical shaped belt buckles
Contrasting prints and details will help slim your waist – just make sure they have a dark color base.
If you have a bit of a muffin top I suggest wearing belts with a little bit of stretch to keep it tucked in. Bulky materials (eg. thick, stiff leather) tend to emphasize the area it is placed on, however it can be worn with a woven (slightly stiff material) to help camouflage your full tummy.
Most Skirt Styles
From A-line to full circle, pencil to ruffle skirts. Focus on girly & flirty skirts and dresses that will give you a feminine shape. With your body shape you likely have great legs so show them off in shorter hems!
Examples of ideal skirt styles and details:
- Full circle cut
- Pencil skirts that are stitched down at the side seams add curves
- Paneled and layered skirts
- A-line skirts (these have to be fairly voluminous to look good on you)
- Ruffle and tiers
- Ruching and gathering
Angular A-line skirts will make you even more shapeless. Focus on boxpleat styles and gathering details around the waistline. Trumpet skirts look nice on you.
Avoid too full or fluffy skirts as they can make you bottom-heavy and create unbalance to your rectangle body shape.
Tip: Tuck in your shirt or top to create shape. If you’re short waisted or a Petite, I suggest wearing a top that is similar in color as the skirt to avoid breaking up your torso. However, interest in the shoulders and shoulder pads can help raise your upper body.
These will help add more curves on top and make your waistline look thinner. You’re lucky because you’ll be able to pull off a tremendous variety of top styles, especially the ones with lots of interest and details!
Examples of cute top details:
- Frills and bows
Make sure these details are placed on top – shoulder to bust area to avoid highlighting your waist. If a bow or ruffle detail falls right above your mid-section, nip it with a belt.
Other details to look for:
- Breast pockets (be careful with casual, slouchy and low pockets as they tend to draw attention to your undefined waist)
- Front panel detail
- Lace details along the shoulder and sleeve area
Button down shirts are your best friends but make sure they’re slightly nipped at the waist, or simply add a belt or wear them with unbuttoned cardigans.
Accessories in Heaps
Accessories are your best closet investments and an affordable way to add curves and texture to your straight rectangle body shape without having to think too much about what clothing cut and styles you need to wear.
Just add a pair of statement shoes and you’ve added some curve to your lower body!
Avoid waist length bags because they draw attention to your straight frame. However you can wear them as long as they’re subtle in style and color (eg. Handbags with minimal details in dark neutrals).
Statement jewelry such as a chunky necklace or a pair of trendy earrings help drawing the eye to your upper body.
Print and bright colored scarves are also your best bets.
Accessories are great for adding curves on a monochromatic (similar colors worn from top to toe) outfit. Just be careful with their placement. One rule of thumb is to keep your waist free from vertical details. In fact, the simpler you style your waist, the better and trimmer it will appear.
If you’re a Petite make sure that you select accessories that are simple in style and color to avoid overwhelming your short stature.