How to dress the rectangle body shape

by Sylvia

How to dress rectangle body shape

This is our latest article in the how to dress for your body shape series. This time we will have a look at the rectangle body shape, also called the banana or ruler.

You have a rectangle body shape when:

  • You have no defined waist
  • The hips tend to have a similar width as the shoulders
  • You do not have a lot of curves
  • Your bust tends to be small or average
  • Your bottom tends to be flat
  • This is one of the easier body types for dressing.

Many models tend to have this body shape or the inverted triangle shape. A lot of clothes will usually suit you and fit you well, although some of the taller women may have trouble finding clothes that fit properly. Still, many rectangles will find dressing a bit more of a challenge as they are likely to get extra weight around their tummies as they age (usually after menopause).

As a rectangle, you will want to create more curves and a pleasing silhouette. You can do this by defining the waist and creating curves on the bottom or top.

On the other hand, you can also get away with a straight look and surrender the waist line altogether, which is a look that I’m quite fond of.

What not to wear?

  • Avoid shapeless clothes
  • If you want to add curves then avoid straight dresses, but you can also opt for the waistless look!

Which garments are good for a rectangle body shape?

Top

  • Use strong blocks of color to help define your body
  • As for most body types, be sure to wear a good bra to define what bust you have
  • Wear tops and jackets that emphasize the waist
  • Choose a coat with a good waist or that is belted at the waist
  • Any jacket tailored around the waist will look great
  • You can use some shoulder padding (don’t overdo it though)
  • Medium to high necklines usually work well, especially if you have s small bust and long neck
  • If you like to create the illusion of bigger breasts, choose tops with pockets, rushes, pleating and other front details
  • Halter necks will also give the appearance of a bigger bust and shows off your back
  • Accessorize with belts around the waist. Heavy belts can be really good if you’re also long waisted
  • If you have no waist at all, then a belt is best avoided
  • 3/4 sleeves usually work really well for a rectangle
  • Blouses can look really good if they are tucked in
  • Shift dresses and empire line dresses work well, but I also like to break the rule with dropped waist dresses!

Outfit capsules for the rectangle body shape | 40plusstyle.com

Look 1: Felicity & Coco teal shift dressNina Pacy clutch bagSteve Madden rose gold heels 

Look 2: Treasure & Bond stripe ruffle shirt – Zion crop flare jeansDang Dover teal toteHalogen slingback mules

Look  3:  Boss silk top – Wit & Wisdon bootcut jeans – Vince Camuto blazer – Lodis crossbody bag – Linea Paolo mule

Bottom

  • A-line skirts work really well for this shape
  • You can also go the other way and wear a tight skirt or pants to highlight the curves that you DO have
  • You can wear almost any shape trousers but slightly flared trousers will look great on you as it will add more shape to your body. Low to mid waisted pants are usually best.
  • A knee-length pencil skirt that tapers in at the side will also add some curves and look good
  • If you like the waistless look, you can opt for straight skirts and shirt dresses
  • For shoes, opt for curvier and rounded options like ballerinas and pumps.

Stylish outfit ideas for the rectangle body shape | 40plusstyle.com

Look 1: Adrianna Papel halter dressMadewell long necklaceRiamse red sandal – Barbour tote – Kate Spane red rim glasses

Look 2: Dorothy Perkins coat – Halogen wide leg pantsAYR striped sweaterVince Camuto black bootie

Look 3: Anne Klein asymmetrical sweater – Halogen white cotton pants Steve Madden gray sandalsDagne bag

Rectangle is my most dominant body shape (with pear shape being my secondary) so if you want more inspiration on what looks good on the rectangle body shape, then visit the What I wore section of this site.

Please note that the guidelines above are for general guidance only. Everyone is different and you certainly don’t have to stick to the above guidelines to dress well.

Outfit ideas for the rectangle body shape | 40plusstyle.com

Look 1 : Bryce silver t-strap sandal –  Topshop tie front midi dress –Halogen ankle pantsMichael Kors medium ginny bag

Look 2: Member’s Only pink biker jacket1822 skinny jeans – Vince Camuto white blouse – Vince Camuto black booties – Street Level ring tote

Look 3: Eileen Fisher blue tunicEileen Fisher ombre scarfEileen Fisher skinny jeansSteve Madden Blue ankle strap shoes

 rectangle body shape outfits | 40plusstyle.com

Look 4: Emerson Rose tweed pencil skirtEmerson Rose topVince Camuto cherry red shoeVince Camuto cherry red bagCanvas pendant necklace

Look 5:
Maje green print blouse –  Vince Camuto white pencil skirtVionic green kitten heels  – Sole Society black crossbodySteve Madden Gold bangle

Look 6:
Mary and Mabel sweater dressHalogen over the knee bootHelen Kaminski leopard print scarfMadewell black bag

Some older examples of outfits for the rectangle body type

 

howtodresstherectanglebodyshape

How do you dress your rectangle shape? Let us know!

P.S.: To find out more about your unique style and what would suit your body type and personality I highly recommend our style club

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How to dress the rectangle body shape | 40plusstyle.com

 

P.S.: To find out more about your unique style and what would suit your body type and personality I highly recommend our style course

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jacqui Stafford

CONGRATS you are my BLOG OF THE WEEK!

Hi There – I love your blog! I have been a professional in the industry for 20 years as a “body shape” personal stylist, fashion editor (Shape, Vogue, Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire, Lucky, and more), national TV spokesperson (Today Show, The View, E!, ET, The Nate Berkus Show, etc.) and I think the information you provided here is perfect. This is exactly what I like to educate my readers, viewers, and clients. I would like to feature you as a “Blog I Love” this week. I will showcase how fabulous you and your blog are. After I will send you the icon to put on your site to direct your readers to read all about it! Please let me know your thoughts….

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2 Sylvia

Thanks Jacqui for your lovely compliments. Will send you an email shortly.

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3 andrea jarman

ooh great article. I particularly like the coat at the top Having a rectangle body myself i obviously don’t have many features to flaunt and my best point is my legs so i tend to wear dresses more than trousers.

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4 Sylvia

Thanks for stepping by and leaving your feedback Andrea!

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5 Iris

Hi
I’m 48, and have a rectangle body shape – banana.
The problem is I’m pretty short ! – 154 cm.
I’d love to get some tips suitable for me as of what to wear, and what to avoid.
Is there an article or a link you know of?
Thank you
Love your stuff!
Iris.

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6 Sylvia

Hi Iris, Read through my article on how to dress when you are petite: https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-dress-when-you-are-short-petite/ Most outfits featured there would be great for you!

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7 Andie`

Hi,
I have a rectangle body type, but I am also short-waisted,, i e, short torso with not much waist. I am about 154 cm tall, and slim. Any tips or links for what to wear, and what to avoid? For instance, I know I can’t wear belts at the waist…..

Thank you
Andie

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8 Sylvia

Hi Andie. Thanks for your question. I have yet to write an article on this topic but here are some quick tips. As with all bodytypes you should aim to divide your body in thirds. 1/3-2/3 looks nice or 2/3-1/3. For some short waisted women if they tuck in their tops, it becomes more of a 1/4 – 3/4 silhouette. But since you are not so tall you may still be able to tuck in your tops. For many short waisted women wearing a top over your skirt and trousers is preferred. You can add a belt to further define your waist. You may also want to accentuate your legs by wearing lighter colours at the bottom and wearing darker ones at the top. Another thing that works well for your body type is to wear bottom and top in one colour for a nice streamlined appearance. Also make sure that you place your belt at your preferred waist line. Finally you may want to keep your tops streamlined and simple. Perhaps you can post some images of your outfits on the style forum? It’s better for me to judge that way what looks good on you!

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9 sharmila

hi, i loved ur website. i am 5ft7 inch, slim, rectangle shape. and 45 yrs old. What kind of casual dresses should I wear? I dont like short dresses. Would maxi dresses be proper? Where can I wear maxis and where knee length dresses?

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10 Sylvia

Thanks Sharmila. I think you can wear all kinds of casual dresses. I’m actually of similar shape and length as you so you can see examples of what I wear throughout the site. You could also wear short dresses over pants as I often do. Yes you can wear maxidresses and knee high dresses as well for many occasions. You have quite a few options as a rectangle… Feel free to ask more specific questions in our style forum!

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11 winnie

Hi Sylvia,
Am so happy I discovered your blog….i am a total block, I am 48 years old, ….162cms tall and weigh 146 pounds.I have a long torso and short legs…I am a 38-31-39….I struggle with what kind of trousers/skirts and tops to wear…I can never find a pair of jeans that fits me on the hips and also the waist !…its always too large on the waist.
I would love any tips
Thanks

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12 Sylvia

Hi Winnie. Welcome to 40PlusStyle! For your body type you will want to create the illusion of longer legs. Opt for tops that have strong vertical lines. Like a blazer with a long V, tops and dresses with a V or a line of bottoms. Long trousers are best worn to the ground and if you can manage it a small heel underneath (preferably invisible). Dresses work well as well, especially high wrap dresses or dresses with a high waist. Always try to split your body in thirds 1/3 – 2/3 works well and vice versa. You can use our style forum for further questions or you may want to try the “My professional Stylist’ program which also gives you lots tips on which clothes would suit your body type: http://www.40plusstyle.myprofessionalstylist.com/

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13 Carla Kammer

I am a 54 year old women who is banana shaped. I used to be thin and now my weight seems to go in the middle. I am only 5’3″ so it is notable. I have a hard time with pants because to fit my middle they are big in my butt and thighs..even when I was thin. What kind of tops and pants should I wear?

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14 Sylvia

Since you are rectangular, I’m assuming you have good legs? As you are not that tall you may want to lengthen those, while hiding your tummy. If needed buy pants and jeans that have a lower rise, so it fits your hips, while making sure your wear a wide top overneath to hide your tummy. Go for models with straight legs. The tops could be similar to the tops in this article: https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-hide-your-belly/ They should not be that long (just enough to hide your belly weight). If it’s too difficult to find pants that fit well around your butt and thighs, enlist the help of a good tailor. If you have any further questions then my style forum is a good place for that! https://40plusstyle.com/forum/

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15 Becca

Hello! I’m 5ft 2in, about 115 lbs, 20 years old and I do have a small bust. I’m a dancer and have a rather big bum for my petite and rectangle shape. If I wear a short dress it makes my bum little a little too big. Can you help? Thank you so much!

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16 Sylvia

First of all I would say be proud of your butt. It can actually be very shapely and attractive! But if you really want to downplay it then here are some general tips: If your butt is very wide, you can balance it by wearing something wider on top. Don’t wear a dress in too heavy a fabric, but also not too thin. Avoid pockets. Draw attention to your waist, eg. with belt or sleeves ending at the height of your waist. Keep the clothes on your bottom part simple, a darker colour at the bottom will also minimise your butt. Longer skirts and dress would be better for you if you like to minimise your butt. Aim to create an hourglass silhouette with fit and flare skirts. Avoid bags that end at your hips. Hope that helps!

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17 Piper

Hello Sylvia,

Thank you for your blog. My first step, after discovering that I am actually a ripe yummy banana shaped at age 40+ is to get back on the treadmill! Your suggestions for pants are so on point and the dresses are great as well.
My favorite item of clothing is a pencil skirt, just below the knee. I am 5’10” and 148lbs, and it looks becoming on me. Do you have other suggestions?

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18 Sylvia

You’re welcome Piper and welcome to the site! I’m a rectangle myself so you may want to check all my outfits for more ideas? https://40plusstyle.com/category/style-inspiration-tips-for-women-over-40/what-i-wore-outfit-of-the-day/

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19 Greetje

I think I am a rectangular too, aren’t I? Most of your recommendations I follow.
Love the yellow and blue dress.

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20 Sylvia

I think you are closer to the inverted triangle, but you could be a combination of the 2….

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21 olivia

i am glad i came across this blog..
it is so nice.
i am actually just fifteen and i am around 170cm and weigh around 50kg.
i am really happy with my rectangular or more of an inverted triangle shape. But .. too bad i don’t have a flat tummy.. any suggestions to choose the right clothing for me please!

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22 Sylvia

Hi Olivia. Your tummy does not need to be completely flat for it to be still very attractive, but if you prefer hiding it then here are some tips on how to do that with the right clothes: https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-hide-your-belly/

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23 Amber

I’m super lanky and tall, and I definitely fall into the rectangle category, but I’m a like a thin column. I’m trying to find a cute bikini for the summer. I was wondering what swimsuits work for this body type. I know one-pieces never work because I’m too tall, but what combination of tops and bottoms would you suggest? I’ve tried high-neck, bralettes, bandeaus, high-waisted shorts, etc. I never know what looks good!

Thanks!
Amber

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24 Sylvia

If you want to break up your length a bit a singlet or top with small sleeves may work paired with a bikini bottom or shorts in a different color. You can see a picture of me wearing something similar at https://www.instagram.com/p/BkUaJ-5l3eI/?taken-by=40plusstyle. Link to that top and my advice for bathing suits is at https://40plusstyle.com/bathing-suits-for-women-over-40/

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25 Charlotte

I am confused as to my shape. I guess I am more rectangular but unlike the normal profile and big busted and my hips are not flat. I am 58 and that may be the cause of my waist being bigger. My measurements are ; bust 38DD, waist about 30-31 and my hips are 37-38

I think I look better in V neck tops, I usually wear 3/4 sleeve. I have a hard time with dresses! I wear skirts and tops more.

Please send me some suggestions and pictures would be great.

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26 Sylvia

Hi Charlotte. I don’t give individual recommendations as so much depends on your own preferences and which parts of your body you wish to downplay or highlight. My style courses or the private stylist programme may help in discovering as to what suits you. https://40plusstyle.com/stylecourses/

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27 Celeste

So I really want to try out a pair of boyfriend jeans but I’m scared to XD. Do you think a rectangle body shape pull off that style of jeans, or would I be wasting my time buying them?

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28 Sylvia

Absolutely! Have fun finding a great pair Celeste.

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29 Manor

Hi Sylvia
Thanks for ideas/ hints for rectangle d shaped women. I am a very long rectangle. My legs are thin like sticks so I tend to wear trousers most of the time but this summer I bought a few flared skirts. I’d like to buy a pair of denim jeans that are straight or flared, (definitely not skinny). Is there a brand that you recommend ? I’m in my 50 s so I’m looking for comfort and a touch of style.
Manor

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30 Sylvia

I talk about jeans and some good brands to try at https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-wear-jeans-over-40-some-guidelines-and-ideas/ There are a few listed that you can buy online too!

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31 Theresa

Hello,

According to the calculator linked elsewhere on your site I’m a banana or straight shape. I’m 5’3 and have thinner arms and legs, but I have a slightly smaller sized chest and a belly that protrudes forwards as though I were pregnant even though I’m not. My husband tends to like pencil skirts on me, but I always feel like they are tight on my tummy, so I don’t enjoy wearing them unless its a special occasion. I’m a stay at home mom and work with my kids all day long, so dresses aren’t my “go-to” because of the bending over and sitting on the floor. So I tend to wear pants, but my problem is finding jeans that don’t hurt my tummy from being tight on my bigger belly (but looking nice everywhere else). And, being short, I find it hard to find maxi dresses that aren’t crazy long and I cant afford to take everything to a tailor! Another thing with dresses, is that because of my “fake pregnant belly” I tend to want to get empire waisted casual dresses, but then my husband says I look pregnant, and since I’m not anymore, I’m guessing he isn’t loving that look! LOL! I need suggestions for good fabric choices that will look nice, not fade, and be comfortable and stretchy enough to handle lots of movement. Let’s put it this way, if I’m not leaving my house I am perfectly content to wear a stretchy t-shirt and yoga pants. I look terrible. I’m actually kinda cute when I have the right kind of clothes on, but I need help for finding good “everyday” clothes to wear to go shopping and for when I have to go to our homeschool co-op’s. And, I’d like to give my husband something prettier to come home to! LOL!

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32 Sylvia

There are 100s of articles on this site that provide tips and inspiration and of course there is my style course http://40plusstylecourses.com/shop/basic/21-steps-to-a-more-stylish-you/ You may also like this article https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-hide-your-belly/ and I have an article on petites https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-dress-when-you-are-short-petite/

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33 doreen

i think im rectangle tho but im not sure cos i have these small hips tho lol. pls help me define my shape and wear clothes that fit my body shape.

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34 Sylvia

You can try the online calculator which is mentioned here: https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-determine-body-shape/

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35 Adelaide

Dear Sylvia,
I love your blog, I live in Zimbabwe and I have just starting a grooming and etiquette school. I was researching on body types and how to dress for different body types when I stumbled on your blog. Thank you it is really interesting and I will definitely recommend it to my students.

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36 Jacqueline

II am 5’9″ tall and weigh 198 pounds. I have ankles, legs, and feet that sometimes swell (because of surgeries), so short shirts and some heels and boots are not options for me. I usually opt for pants, sweater sets/sweater coordinates, a few long skirts (when desperate), and casual/dressy flats. I wore my go-to business interview outfit (black slacks, long taupe sweater set, black booties, structured tan purse) to an interview, and was asked to interview for a director’s position in this organization. I will be meeting with group of about 25 to 30 people for a presentation, will meet with organization’s CEO and a vice president, and will meet with the interview committee. I have black pants and jackets and brown pants and jackets; I have been searching for some pieces that are less severe. Suggestions?

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37 Sylvia

Black pants are good as bottoms and you could even wear those with a black (matching) blazer but be sure to then wear it with a brighter color. Could be white but can also be a color. You may also consider adding a scarf to make the black less harsh. Another alternative is to go for a lighter color. Burgundy red is very good in winter, which you could combine with white. Still very professional but warmer.

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38 Sylvia

Hi! My measurements say I’m a rectangle, but the weight doesn’t fall in the “right” places. I have narrow shoulders, a large bust, poorly defined waist, and curvy hips/bottom. Can you help me figure out which way to go with clothes? Thanks!

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39 Sylvia

You’ll have to decide which parts of your body you wish to highlight or downplay. This is different for each person. I have articles on how to downplay hips (how to dress for the pear body shape), how to downplay the bust and how to dress for narrow shoulders. Find out what’s important for you and find the guidelines for that.

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