Is you body more rectangle shaped than hourglass, and would you like add more shape with your clothes?
In this article I show you how to dress the rectangle body shape and give you lots of ideas on how to create more shape with your clothes.
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.
Rectangle is my most dominant body shape (with pear shape being my secondary).
Still not sure about your own shape? Find out how to determine your body shape
Why you’re in good company
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.
Dressing the rectangle body can still be a challenge
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.
Asymmetric styles are great for the rectangle body type. Check some of the best asymmetric clothes here.
What not to wear?
- Avoid totally shapeless clothes
- If you want to add curves then avoid straight dresses, but you can also opt for the waistless look!
Two main strategies
There are two main strategies for dressing your body if you have a rectangle shape.
The first is to forget about adding curves and to play up your long, lean lines. You could also do this by wearing a shift dress with a long cardigan over the top, for example.
Kylie (above) does this perfectly with her long vest, while still managing to define the waist.
Also take a look at the best sleeveless vests for more inspiration.
Another option for the rectangle body type: Create some curves
The second option is to actually create some curves.
You can do this through the clothes you wear and the details they have on them.
For example, you could wear a boat neck top with a pair of wide legged pants and a belt. That way, you will look like you go out, in and out again like an hourglass.
Suzie (above) opts for a boatneck sweater. The horizontal stripes create some width across her shoulders, while her crop flare jeans add some curves to her lower half.
Which garments are good for a rectangle body shape?
Now, onto which specific clothes, shoes and accessories will be good for you if you have a rectangle body shape.
Tops for the rectangle body shape
- Use strong blocks of color to help define your body. For more tips take a look at how to color block.
- As for most body types, be sure to wear a good bra to define what bust you have. Also take a look at how to dress if you have a small bust.
- Wear tops and jackets that emphasize the waist.
Elke (above) wears a halterneck with a longline cardigan.
- You can use some shoulder padding (don’t overdo it though)
- Medium to high necklines usually work well, especially if you have a 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 show off your back and shoulders.
- 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
Sweaters for the rectangle figure
No matter what your body shape, you will still need a cozy sweater for cool evenings.
You’re lucky in that you can choose any shape of sweater – you can either choose fitted to add more shape or a looser style.
Sarah (above) ruches her sleeves to create a modern, flattering three-quarter sleeve length.
Coats for a rectangle body shape
Choose a coat with a good waist or that is belted at the waist. Any jacket tailored around the waist will look great.
You are lucky as you can wear pretty much any coat. You can choose to create a waist with tailoring or a belt. Or you can opt for a jacket like a moto or denim jacket to layer over your outfits, or choose to forgo your waist with an open coat.
There’s more inspiration in this article on how to choose a coat.
Pants and jeans for the rectangle shape
You can wear a tight skirt or pants to highlight the curves that you DO have or you can choose a looser style.
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.
Jo creates a very stylish, slightly androgynous look with her blazer, flared jeans and sneakers.
Dresses, skirts and jumpsuits for the rectangle body shape
Again, you’re very lucky to have a wide choice of dresses and skirts which will look fabulous on your rectangle shape.
- Shift dresses and empire line dresses work well, but I also like to break the rule with dropped waist dresses!
- You can create a waist with a belt.
- Or you can skim over your waist completely, disguising the fact your waist isn’t much slimmer than your bust and hips.
- As well as dresses, jumpsuits will look great on you. Try a halterneck style to show off your shoulders.
- You can wear shorter shirt dresses over jeans or skinny pants.
Take a look at how to wear tunics or short dresses over pants for further inspiration.
- A-line skirts also work really well for this shape.
- 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.
Patricia (above) chooses a midi-length shirtdress and belts it to create shape at her waist.
Shoes to go with your rectangle body shape outfits
Of course, you have a huge amount of freedom when it comes to your shoe choices.
It really depends on where you want to draw attention. If you want to add a pop of color, you could choose bright shoes.
You are also likely to be able to wear shoes with an ankle strap if you have slimmer ankles and calves as you don’t need to worry about visually cutting a line across your legs.
You may also opt for curvier and rounded options like ballerinas and pumps.
Nic (above) wears ankle strap sandals with her shift dress.
Again, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the accessories you team with your outfits
You can opt for classic styles or add some femininity with your bag choices and colors.
You can also choose feminine jewelry to contrast with what may be an athletic figure, or you can go for modern, geometric pieces.
Oxana (above) creates long, lean lines with her printed scarf.
Kurt Geiger London shopper bag – FashionPuzzle envelope clutch – theirs round crossbody bag – Vivian & Vincent scarf – Laura Lombardi hoop earrings – Vince Camuto resin drop earrings – Ettika pearl earrings
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.
Outfits for the rectangle body type using the pieces above
Below is a complete capsule wardrobe for the rectangle body shape from many of the items we featured above.
Read our ultimate guide to creating a capsule wardrobe that works best for you.
More inspiration if you need colder-weather choices for the rectangle shape
While the capsule above is suited to transitional weather as most of you will be heading into spring, if you are looking for warmer options for the rectangle, you may find inspiration in the choices below. These items are no available online, but you can use them as inspiration and shop in your own closet.
Want more ideas, check out the video and other inspiration collages below
Ruth gives tips on how to dress the rectangle body shape.
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.
How do you dress your rectangle shape? Let us know!
- How To Determine Your Body Shape
- How To Dress When You Are Tall And Where To Buy The Best Clothes For Tall Women
- How To Dress The Apple Body Shape
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Feature image by Sarah
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