A rectangle body shape is fairly common and can be seen in many fashion magazines – many models have a rectangle body type. Cameron Diaz, Nicole Ritchie, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Middleton, Uma Thurman, Kate Moss, Anne Hathaway have their “boyish” rectangle body shapes in common. Their well-proportioned bodies, lean limbs, straight waist and small chest make them look like athletes without even trying.
Rectangle body shape basics
Because of the straight lines, the rectangle body shape is also called banana or ruler shape.
Problem: rectangle body shapes lack curves (chest, waist, hips and bottom) – which may make them look less feminine.
Benefits: rectangle bodies are the easiest type to dress, as most clothes will fit them and most styles will suit them.
In case you are not 100% sure you are a rectangle you can try out our body shape calculator – all you need are your measurements.
You are really lucky, as you have a wide range of clothes to choose from. A rectangle body shapes person can wear clothes in layers as their bodies do not have parts that would add unwanted volume. Another big plus: you can wear a bag with shoulder straps and will not have to constantly readjust their position – the straps just sit on your straight shoulders.
How to style the waist of a rectangle body shape
You can either opt for straight clothing lines to show your beautiful angled body and surrender the waist. Alternatively you can opt for a belt or add dimension at the right places to create a waist.
To attain a feminine look, you can use the concept “slim plus volume”:
Option 1 – Volume on top: You choose a voluminous top and a slim bottom, like a blouson blouse and a tight skirt or a XL shirt and skinny jeans.
Option 2 – Volume on the bottom: You choose a voluminous bottom and a slim top, like a tiered or ruffled skirt with a tank top or baggy pants with a tight shirt.
You can wear both on the top and on the bottom soft and drapey fabrics as well as more stiff and textured fabrics.
Your rectangle body shape gives you a wide range of possibilities for necklines. Mock turtlenecks, boat necks, wide V and U as well as jewel necklines are good.
If you have a long neck and a small bust, you can dress in in turtlenecks, mandarin, crew, slash, funnel and halter necklines.
If you have a short neck and full bust, opt for boat necks, scoop-necks, sweetheart necklines, V necks and wrap necklines.
Flaps, epaulets, pleats and yokes add interesting details to your look.
You wear polo shirt collars, shirt, plackets and collar stands. Ruffled collars are great for volume when small chested.
You have a wide range of lengths for sleeves: sleeveless, cap, short shirt sleeves, short elbow, classic shirt long sleeves and ¾ push up sleeves. Flared, cuffed, rolled up and loose fit sleeves are also great for rectangle body shapes.
Basically, you can sport all sleeve-lengths.
Regarding the type of sleeve, you can put on set-in, drop shoulder or raglan sleeves. Avoid large shoulder pads.
Tops & Shirts
Shirt styles, tank tops, oversize T shirts, wrap tops, button down shirts and blouson styles are great for the rectangle body shape. Most sweaters are just made for you. With a small bust, you can sport high-necked tops.
Belt your top to create a waist or to blouson a blouse. Tuck in your blouses.
With details like embellishments, bibs, frills, bows, bottoms, rosettes, pockets, front panels, pleating, lace and ruffles you can add some volume and interest to your bust. Make sure these details are at your bust and above and not around your waist.
Tip 1: Wear a good bra to make the most out of your curves.
Tip 2: If you dress in a top with a very low neckline, wear a camisole underneath to add some interest.
Tip 3: Instead of cleavage, show off your beautiful shoulders or back.
You can sport most vest styles, unfitted as well as form fitting. With a rectangle body shape, you are one of the few that can dress in unfitted, straight and sweater vests.
Jackets for rectangle body shapes
Blouson silhouettes look great on you as they blouse out and cover your straight waist and then fall on your slim hips. Look for bomber jackets, Eisenhower type jackets, jean jackets and blouson jackets. The cardigan sweater is fabulous for rectangle body shapes with its soft fabric and blouson style form.
Straight lines on jackets are very flattering as they follow your natural form. You can also wear more fitted jackets; just make sure they are not too fitted around the waist.
Double breasting adds volume on the top, as well as plackets, belt carriers, button-downs, pockets, cuffs, flaps and hoods.
Avoid very short jackets that end above your waist, as they will emphasize your straight waist.
Ethnic styles are fabulous on rectangles: have fun with ponchos and blankets. As they add volume on the top, just ensure to put on a slim skirt or pants.
For an elegant look, you can wear a shawl; there is a wide range of colors and fabrics so you will find something to suit that dress you want to combine it with.
Straight coats and slightly fitted coats flatter your beautiful rectangle shape. Pea coats, safari coats, trench coats and dusters are great. If you want more waist definition, add a unadorned belt in a dark or muted color.
Look for coats with belt carriers, pockets, cuffs, flaps or shoulder shawls to add dimension to your straight body.
Form fitting and belted coats are also great for rectangle body types, just make sure they are not too fitted around the waist.
There is a wide range of beautiful dresses without or with little waist definition that look just fabulous on you: shirtwaist-dresses, knit tube dresses, tank dresses, flapper dresses and dropped waist dresses. To define your waist, you can add a narrow or medium size belt in a dark or muted color.
To add curves, sport dresses that are nipped at your waistline or right below your bust as well as dresses that flare out from your waist or add volume to your hips.
To add dimension to your bust, wear prints, textured fabrics and embellishments from the bust upwards.
To add volume to your bottom half, you can dress in ruffles, ruching, gathering or pleats. Bright and light colors also help create volume, just as do prints. Box pleats work especially well on your straight body lines. You can sport skirts that flare out below the waist, bubble, voluminous A-line, paneled, layered, full circle and trumpet skirts. Pencil
skirts look good on rectangle bodies if they are knee length pencil and tapered in at the side.
Straight skirts from very short to long are perfect as your body does not have curves that disturb that straight line. Just make sure you add some volume on your top if you wear slim lines on the bottom.
You probably have slender legs, so consider showing them off with a shorter skirt.
To go for the “volume on top, slim buttom” look, you can sport tights, leggings or skinny jeans. Just make sure they are really tight to add some volume.
To add some volume to your hips, choose pants with pleats, slightly tapered pants or even high-waisted harem pants. Gathered elastic waists are good as long as the lay flat on your waist. Flowy and soft fabrics look elegant on you and soften your angled frame, like flowy linen pants.
Cuffs and pockets or other details on hips and bottom add dimension.
Mid to low-rise waists with wide waistbands are great. Avoid pants with a low rise if you have a long torso.
Avoid big flares.
As you have slim hips, you can sport many different shorts styles.
If you are tall or have a long waist, go for shorts that are long and flowy. If you are a petite rectangle and have nice legs, go for very short shorts as they will make you look a lot taller.
Skinny jeans are great for the “volume on top, slim bottom” look. Just make sure they are really tight. Mid to low-rise jeans are great, just be careful if you have a long torso.
Baggy, flared or cargo jeans add volume on the bottom and are fabulous to combine with a slim top. Bags on your hips and bottom are terrific and you can wear as many embellishments as you like. Splurge. Avoid jeans with big flares as they put your body out of balance.
You can wear most jumpsuit styles as long as they do not require too much waist. If you want to have more waist definition, add a narrow or medium size belt – either at your waist, under your bust or around your hips.
There are not too many limits regarding your accessories. Big earrings and hair accessories draw the attention upward. You can put on fine as well as chunky necklaces and even combine several long strands. A combination of several long strings of beads will look great against a small chest.
You have no limitations in color, size and texture regarding your scarves and shawls.
Belts are great to create a waist – for dresses with pleats, layered looks,… To belt your waist, go for belts in dark or muted colors without any embellishments. You do not want to add any volume your waist, and more details or bight and light colors would do just that. If you have a long waisted rectangle body type, heavy and wide belts are great.
As you have slim hips, you can also add a belt over your hips.
Shoes for rectangle body types
Textured shoes like tennis shoes, Birkenstocks, loafers, moccasins and boots with straps are excellent for a rectangle body shape. Straight leg boots are just as good.
When it is hot outside, opt for clogs and ethnic flat sandals.
For more femininity, opt for round or oval shoes like ballerinas or Mary Janes.
Bag styles for a rectangle body shape
With the straight shape of your shoulders, you can use a bag with shoulder straps without them falling off (hourglass and pear body shapes have rounded sloping shoulders and thus are not that lucky).
To make your body appear less angled, go for a bag with round styles like a Pouch, backpack or a slouchy Hobo. Add some details like embroidery, studs or a scarf around the straps and handles.
Bags with straight lines will add roughness and simplicity to your silhouette. You can realize this with a Cigar Box, a Satchel or a classic Kelly bag.
If you are a heavy or tall rectangle, choose a bigger bag. If you are a petite rectangle, opt for a petite bag.
Swimwear & Beachwear
You wear light and bright colors, prints and patterns (but not horizontal stripes) well. For a bikini, choose top and bottom styles that add volume with ruffles, padding, rouching, draped styles, pleating, blouson styles and embellishments. Halter bikinis and tank tops look fantastic on rectangle body types. For your bottoms, make sure waistbands are cut straight across from hip to hip.
If you like swimsuits, go for an asymmetrical one or for swimsuits that draw attention to the waist, e.g. with a belt contrasting colors. The swimsuit should be either boy pant style or cut high at the thigh to elongate your legs and add some curves to your hips.
We hope that this article helped you to find some nice outfits! Tell us how you like to show off your rectangle body shape or let us know of any questions through the comments. Once you know what you want you can also try out outlet search to find the perfect piece.