Fashion & Beauty

How To Style And Dress The Rectangular Body Shape

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It’s a bit weird to think of our bodies in terms of geometric shapes or pieces of fruit, but terms like apple, pear, triangle and rectangle are typically how bodies are characterized.

And, like it or not, it’s essential to know which shape you are so that you know what type of garments to choose to make your body look its best.

Every body type has different characteristics, so knowing which “shape” you will make it easier to find clothes that play up your best assets (or camouflage your worst).

Whether you’re a “jeans and tee-shirt” kind of person or prefer to wear a stylish dress, check out our complete style guide on how to dress the rectangular body shape.

What is the Rectangular Body Shape?

Not sure if you’re the rectangle body type? Here’s how to know if you are:

There’s not much difference in the measurements of your bust, waist and hips.

It doesn’t necessarily mean you have a small bust (though many rectangles do). It just means that there’s not much definition between your three measurement points.

Think Cameron Diaz, Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Garner. They’re slender, and their bodies are pretty much straight up and down. They don’t have the voluptuous curves of the pear-shaped Jennifer Lopez or the curvy hourglass figure of Kim Kardashian.

This straight body type tends to be long and lean and a bit boxier than some other body types, hence the term rectangular.

Sometimes referred to as an “athletic” body type, it’s pretty much the opposite of having an hourglass figure full of upper and lower curves.

Related: How to Dress Your Pear Body Shape [Look Your Best, Feel Your Best]

The Right Garments Can Create a More Flattering Shape


Hate the fact that your rectangle body shape doesn’t have enough curves? We say embrace it and enjoy it because the rectangle body is one of the easiest body types to dress!

Rather than finding ways to camouflage problem areas, most rectangles only need to focus on creating a curvy figure by adding some waist definition. By focusing on creating a more defined waist, you can make your waist look smaller, make the bust look more prominent and create the illusion of curves on your bottom half.

No matter your style or what shapes and silhouettes you prefer, be sure to start with a good push-bra. A bit of lift at the bust line can make a huge difference in how your overall frame appears.

We’ll go through the details of what are the best tops, bottoms, dresses and jackets for the rectangle body type, but there is one general rule in selecting garments that help to create the curves you don’t have: you want clothing that cinches in or nips at the waist.

Don’t Be Afraid of Color


The good news is that rectangles can wear pretty much anything, including bold patterns and vibrant colors.

Want to draw attention to your upper body? Create an outfit with a print, pattern or embellishments on top.

Prefer to draw the eye downward? A flared A-line skirt, a wide-leg jean or a bootcut pant in a bold color or pattern can add balance to your bottom half and draw the eye towards your feet (which means a great pair of shoes are always in order).

Unlike apple-shaped women and pear-shaped women who carry their weight in their top half or bottom half, rectangles have the option to wear color and print anywhere they want to draw the focus. For rectangles, it’s about putting the focus where you want it, not about trying to draw attention away from a particular area.

Best Tops for Rectangles


Rectangles can get away with wearing just about anything, but certain sleeve types and necklines will draw the eye upwards and bring more attention to the top half of the body.

As a rectangle, there are only a few tops types that you should avoid: boxy tops that cut off at the waist, tops with straight, square necklines and tight long sleeves. These will only call attention to your boxy frame, so it’s best to stick with V-necks, scoop necks and off-the-shoulder necklines that soften your shape.

You’ll also want to resist the urge to tuck your shirt into your pants. The trick is to avoid any silhouette or style that will make you look even more square — doing so will not help you create curves!

Here are some of our favorite tops for rectangles (and why they’re such good options).

Ulla Johnson Remy Puff Sleeve Blouse

Puffed shoulders, an open V-neckline, an allover print and ruffles?! The Ulla Johnson Remy Puff Sleeve Blouse pretty much has everything you could ever want in one chic and romantic design. Wear it untucked with high waist jeans for a casual daytime look. Or, pair it with a pretty A-line skirt for a look that you can wear to the office or a weekend bash with your bffs.

For the rectangle body, the puffed shoulders and ruffle details can add some much-needed volume to your upper half.


Pilcro Railroad Chambray Blouse

Paired with a short white short to show off your long legs, we’re mildly obsessing over this Pilcro Railroad Chambray Blouse from Anthropologie.

An open neckline draws the eye upwards, as do the puffed sleeves. The vertical railroad stripe pattern and tunic length make it even better if you’re looking to accentuate your slender frame and long legs.

The tunic length makes this a good choice for pairing with skinny jeans. It’s long enough so that it won’t cut you at the waist, and it’s loose enough to belt (if you so choose).


Alison Andrews Tie Waist Peplum Top

There’s one shape that instantly defines a waist: a peplum top. We love the Alison Andrews Tie Waist Peplum Top for its casual look, adjustable drawstring tie and relaxed fit. Plus, the flutter sleeves help to soften boxy shoulders without adding too much drama or flair.

You can pair this top with just about anything, including jeans, shorts or casual pants.


Related: 15 Of The Best Free Standing Clothes Racks [Shopper’s guide] 

Best Bottoms for Rectangles


When dressing your bottom half, look for skirts, pants and jeans to help create a better balance and contrast against your top proportions.

Unlike pear-shaped women that often try to camouflage their curves, rectangle body types can wear certain styles to create them. For rectangles, bootcut jeans, wide-leg pants and A-line skirts always work!

Extra High-Waisted Rockstar Super Stretch Jeans

As a rectangle shape, skinny jeans won’t do a whole lot to define your curves, but these Super Stretch Rockstar Jeans will make your legs look super long.

An ultra-high waist makes these great for pairing with a puff sleeve tee or a ruffled blouse that makes you look more voluminous on top. These are the best jeans if you’re looking for a super affordable pair. (The dark wash makes them look more expensive than they are).


High-Rise Flare Sloan Pant

Every woman, rectangle or not, can benefit from having a great pair of black bootcut pants in her closet. And the High-Rise Flare Sloan Pant is one that you’ll wear over and over again.

A hybrid between a bootcut and a flare, this pant has just the right amount of kick at the bottom, making them perfect for balancing out a rectangular body type.


Free People Onika Skirt

With tiers, ruffles, ruching, pattern and texture, this Free People skirt is perfect for the rectangle looking to give off some boho vibes. The Onika Skirt is equal parts casual and cute in a flared A-line shape that instantly adds curves and volume to even the boxiest, most athletic body type.

Team it with a chunky sweater, a puff sleeve tee or a bikini top for a fun look that you can wear to and from the beach.


Best Dresses for Rectangles


Dresses are one of the most effortless garments to wear. They’re no fuss, no muss and you can top off with a jacket or cardigan to create the perfect look. If you’re a rectangle that loves a dress, here are some of our favorite picks (all of which will create the illusion of curves).

DVF Eloise Midi Dress

By the way, the constructed wrap dresses are designed to define your waistline. With a built-in waist tie, the wrap dress lets you define your waist as much or as little as you prefer.

Diane Von Furstenberg is the queen (and originator) of the wrap dress, so it shouldn’t come as a shock that we chose her Eloise Midi Dress as our top wrap dress pick. Loose sleeves, a V-neckline, and an allover print make it simply gorgeous from every angle.


Ted Baker London Zazu Pleated Mini Dress

Ted Baker London’s Zazu Pleated Mini Dress features a ladylike bodice with pleats, a bow tie at the neck, and a flared A-line skirt that creates the illusion of a nipped-in waist. The black and white motif makes it a classic.

There’s a good chance you’ll find yourself wearing this look to work, to dinner and on the weekends when you’re brunching or lunching with your girlfriends.


Best Jackets for Rectangles


Women with the rectangular body shape tend to be long and lean, and you can play up that asset by opting for longer-length layers and dusters. When styling a complete look, adding a jacket or layer on top always makes you look more pulled together.

Knit Ribbed Cardigan

A longline duster cardigan is the perfect way to top off any casual daytime look. Available in a variety of colors and prints, this affordable layer can be worn with jeans and a tee or a chic knee-length dress.

What makes this the perfect jacket for the rectangle body is that it elongates your frame, taking the focus off your rectangle shape and emphasizing your lean figure. We also love that it’s lightweight, versatile and easy to wear at any time of year.


Zara Belted Ottoman Blazer

Structured silhouettes work well on rectangle body types, but the slightly slouchy appeal of the Belted Ottoman Blazer makes this a great alternative. A tie belt lets you create a defined waist, making this a chic alternative to the classic, belted trench (yet equally as versatile).


What Are the Best Garments for the Rectangular Body?

Unlike women with an hourglass body shape, women with rectangle shapes need to emphasize curve creation. But with suitable garments, it can be done.

When shopping for items to flatter and enhance your figure, the most important thing is to look for items that cinch at the waist. Embrace colors and patterns and look for details that draw the eye up or down. And, most importantly, wear what’s comfortable for you.

Regardless of the trends of the moment, you should always embrace fashion that makes you feel good, whatever that may be!

You might also be interested in: Top 5 Ways to Tackle Pet Hair [That will Change your Life] 

Jessica Heston

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