Rectangle Body Shape: A Comprehensive Styling Guide

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One of the most common body types is the rectangle body shape. You can commonly associate this body shape with a column or a ruler because it lacks curves.

Despite the absence of distinct curves, you can still flaunt a rectangle body shape with grace and confidence. All you need is the right type of clothing.

Beautiful smiling brunette young european woman posing on beige studio background, wearing white comfy underwear, touching her chin

The thing is, most of us buy clothes because of how they look. While it’s certainly a step toward achieving your fashion preferences, this might not always be a good idea.

After all, no matter how stunning the details are or how amazing the quality of your new dress is, if its overall design doesn’t match your body shape, you will be less likely to see the most flattering version of yourself in the mirror. 

Fast Facts

  • A rectangle body shape is characterized by a straight silhouette with shoulders, waist, and hips usually having the same width and is often associated with an athletic frame.
  • When choosing clothes for a rectangle body shape, consider your seasonal color analysis, outfit style, and clothing patterns to enhance your figure.
  • Rectangle body shapes are versatile and can wear a wide range of clothing styles, making it easy to experiment with different fashion choices.

What Is a Rectangle Body Shape?

A body with a rectangle shape is also called a banana or ruler body shape.

It has a straight silhouette, with the waist area prominently showing a lack of curves and having the same width as the shoulders and the hips. 

Due to the structure of a rectangle body, it is often associated with the athletic frame. 

However, this won’t always be the case since this silhouette is still prone to having excess fat. 

What sets it apart compared to other body shapes, though, is that should it gain a few pounds, the fat is evenly distributed; hence, the general frame remains straight, but the figure increases in size. 

Characteristics of a Rectangular-Shaped Body

Since there are many types of figures, how do you accurately confirm that you have a rectangle body shape?

In a nutshell, rectangle bodies may have most, if not all, of the following characteristics:

  • Athletic build
  • Flat buttocks
  • Even distribution of fat
  • A figure that resembles a straight line
  • Little to no waist definition 
  • Uniform measurements of shoulders, waist, and hip 
  • A small bust, although some may have larger breasts
  • Fat gain that prominently shows in the tummy and arms

The Rectangle Body Types

Going through the general characteristics of a rectangle body shape, you might have developed an idea that it will always appear athletic. 

However, it’s not always the case. 

Like other body types, the rectangle frame also comes in different sizes. 

Studio shot with three young smiling girls in white underwear holding and testing cosmetics over blue background

Let’s dive into each of them in the subsequent sections and find out your category:

Petite Rectangle Body Shape

A rectangle petite body shape is what you have if your height is 5 feet and 4 inches and under, and you have a straight framework.

What sets people with petite rectangle body shapes apart is that they may look a lot heavier than they are. 

The stockiness of the frame creates this illusion; hence, choosing the right dress sense is vital to avoid this. 

Curvy Rectangle Body Shape

This type of body structure maintains a similar shoulder-to-waist ratio, but the waist is very slightly smaller in width.

Ladies, in general, have a waist that’s 25% less than the measurements of the shoulder and hips. Those with curvy rectangle body shapes have a slightly lower percentage than this.

They still look close to the “H” shape but are not as straight-figured as a typical rectangle body.

Plus-Size Rectangle Body Shape 

The rectangle body shape may also come in plus size. 

People with this shape have the same shoulder, waist, and hip measurements but have a larger physique. 

Women with a rectangle body shape who identify as plus size may also have larger breasts, which greatly complement their overall size.

Styling Goals for a Rectangle-Shaped Body

While various sizes fall under the rectangle body shape category, there isn’t much difference regarding styling goals. 

The primary purpose of understanding your silhouette is to identify the areas you must focus more on when deciding your clothing options. 

In your case, having a rectangle form would mean that your goals are as follows:

Creating the Illusion of Curves

Due to the lack of waist definition, a rectangle body shape would look much more flattering if you create the illusion of curves.

You may add a belt around the waist to visually contrast the waist, shoulders, and hips. This is even more helpful if your garment drapes. With a belt, a loose-fitting dress gets cinched around the waist. 

The use of this accessory makes the waist appear smaller and allows people to focus their gaze on the area instead of your general figure. 

Avoid Tops That End Around Your Waist

Crop tops and all other garments that hit at the waistline emphasize your straight silhouette and can make you look boxy, so you must ditch these clothing types. 

Instead, choose top garments that fall below your natural waistline to elongate your torso and allow you to create visual interest around your waist, either through clothing patterns, colors, or accessories. 

Guidelines for Choosing Clothes for Rectangle Body Shapes

The ever-dynamic fashion world offers a plethora of clothes that come in different designs, styles, sizes, patterns, colors, and fabrics. 

While all these are important when choosing rectangle body shape outfits, there are three primary guidelines to remember when dressing up.

Full length body size view of her she nice-looking attractive stunning luxury cheerful feminine wavy-haired lady strolling enjoying good weather day isolated over pink pastel color background

Determine Your Color Season

In choosing the suitable clothing color, you must first determine what season you are to discover what hues flatter your complexion.

Some of the most common seasons are dark winter, dark autumn, warm spring, and soft summer.  

After that, you’ll know your color palette, so check your light and dark color options. Now you might be thinking, “What does color have anything to do with a body shape?”

Well, dark colors can significantly conceal or slim down certain areas. In contrast, bright colors highlight or expand other regions of the body.

For this reason, you may have to wear dark-colored accessories around the waist and contrast the bright tones on your upper and lower body. 

Choose Your Outfit’s Style

The style talks about your outfit’s cut, patterns, and overall aesthetics. All these factors influence how your figure is perceived and how your features are accentuated or minimized.

Since you have a rectangular body shape, your clothes must allow you to add visual curves. 

Patterns, fabric texture, layering, and overall aesthetics should also be considered. 

They should not emphasize the straightness of the body. Instead, they must add or lessen dimensions in certain areas through the clothing’s structure or designs. 

Dressing a Rectangle Body Shape: Top Clothing

The right rectangle body type outfits regarding top clothing should be all about enhancing and defining your silhouette.  

Since you lack curves, certain clothing pieces should add dimension to your upper body and narrow down the waist. 

In the subsections below, we’ll explore what top styles, cuts, and details will help you achieve a flattering and balanced look.

Necklines for a Rectangle Body Shape

Your shoulders are angled if you have a rectangular body shape, so it’s best to stick to necklines that soften the edges of this area.

The correct neckline should give you visual interest that breaks up your straight and uniform appearance. 

Recommended Necklines

The best necklines for a rectangle body shape are the ones that add curves to the body or those that can make your bust look fuller and make your silhouette appear more like an hourglass.

The following necklines do just that:

  • V-neckline
  • Scoop 
  • Asymmetrical
  • Sweetheart 
  • Turtleneck
  • Mandarin neckline
  • Crew
  • Halter
  • Funnel 
  • Off-shoulder
A close up image of a woman in a sweetheart red dress on a runway.

Necklines To Avoid

Some types of necklines do not play nicely with your rectangle figure. 

The following necklines make shoulder lines appear sharper and make your figure appear more rectangular, so it is best to avoid them: 

  • Sabrina/Bateau/Boat
  • Carmen 
  • Other square necklines

Sleeves for a Rectangle Body Shape

The sleeves add more character to your overall attire. The primary goal is to add volume to your upper body part,  that and on the lower areas if you opt for mid-to-long sleeves.

With flowy shapes on your sleeves, the eyes are drawn away from the stiff, straight, rectangular body.  

Recommended Sleeves

To break up the straight vertical lines of your figure, going for sleeves with particular designs, styles, or embellishments is the way to go. 

The following types of sleeves will effectively draw most of the attention to their shapes or features instead of the actual body shape:

  • Butterfly
  • Puff
  • Bell
  • Rolled-up
  • Cuffed
  • Flutter
  • Raglan
  • Ruffle 
  • Set-in sleeves
  • Sleeveless 

Sleeves To Avoid

Some necklines will accentuate the boxy appearance of the torso, so they should be avoided at all costs. Here are some of the necklines you should say goodbye to:

  • Shoulder-padded sleeves
  • Small crisp cap sleeves
  • Fitted sleeves

Jackets for a Rectangle Body Shape

The jacket is another piece of clothing you can utilize to add more dimension or volume to your rectangle body shape. You must opt for jackets that cinch around the waist or work well with waist belts. 

Recommended Jackets

Straight-cut jackets are ideal for emphasizing your straight shoulders if you want to maintain your athletic frame as long as the figure is narrowed down to your waist by a belt and spread out around the hips. 

Here’s a list that shows all types of jackets that work great for a rectangle body shape:

Asian woman wearing a tight gray jacket jogging in the park with earphones.

Jackets To Avoid

Of course, there are also jackets to avoid, such as those that end on the waist, since they make you appear stocky and more rectangular. 

So what is the ideal jacket length for a rectangle body shape? It should be a few inches above or below your hip level to avoid the boxy look and lengthen the torso.

This length would also provide a clear starting point for the waist, especially if it has a slight taper or cinching at that point. 

Here’s a complete list of what jacket types don’t complement a rectangle body shape:

  • Boxy 
  • Cropped 
  • Jackets with bulky embellishments around the waist

Coats for a Rectangle Body Shape

If you prefer not to wear a jacket but still need outerwear, a coat is a viable alternative. Choosing the right one provides excellent layering and an added dimension to the areas where your body needs it. 

Generally, the considerations for wearing a coat align closely with those for wearing a jacket.

Recommended Coats

Belted ones look great for your figure. You can also opt for lengthy coats since they can enhance your lean form and make you appear taller than you actually are. 

Apart from lengthy outerwear, coats that flare from the waist to the hips are also ideal.

Take a look at all the coats that work well for someone with a rectangle body shape:

Coats To Avoid

Meanwhile, the type of coat you should avoid is anything that can make you look wide and shapeless.

The coats that bear those characteristics, which are not fit for a rectangle-shaped body, are listed below:

  • Peacoat
  • Double-breasted
  • Straight-cut
  • Boyfriend blazer 
  • Cocoon

Tops for a Rectangle Body Shape

Tops come in a variety — you have shirts, sleeveless, dress shirts, and so on. You can even use a swimsuit!

Regardless of the type of top you wear, the general rule is consistent: opt for those that will make your waist appear curvy, your bust hefty, and your hips wide. 

Recommended Tops

Loose shirts should naturally flow with your body while creating curves. 

If you prefer to sport such tops, choose a loose turtleneck for an elongated torso or sleeveless tops with soft armholes to avoid the stiff, sharp look. 

Here are more of the shirts that don’t look harsh on your rectangle body shape:

Profile photo of nice optimistic brunette lady dance wear blue dress isolated on pastel pink color background

Tops To Avoid

There are also certain tops and styles that you may want to be cautious about since they can make your silhouette appear straighter. 

Generally, any shirt angled on the shoulders or straight in form is a no-no.

Here are the tops you don’t want to wear if you have a banana-shaped body:  

  • Crop top
  • Straight tunic 
  • Straight-cut tops
  • Tank top with boxy armholes
  • Loose tops with waist embellishments

Dressing a Rectangle Body Shape: Dresses

Dresses are practically skirts with an attached bodice. With this style, you are given plenty of opportunities to create curves on your body. 

You can wrap a belt on the waist area or opt for a dress with pleats from the waist to the hips. 

With the right dress, you won’t look shapeless or rectangular. 

Recommended Dresses

Should you flaunt a fitted dress, one way to make it work based on your figure is for the clothing to have a flowy or flaring shape. They may also have puffed sleeves. 

If the dress appears shapeless, wearing a belt will do the trick.

Here are the ideal types of dresses you may want to wear:

A close up imahe of a woman wearing a grey satin wrap dress outdoors.

Dresses To Avoid

There are also dresses that are deemed not the best choices for rectangle body shapes. 

They are characterized by their lack of curves and accents that further highlight your ruler-formed body. 

If you want to improve your silhouette, you shouldn’t wear the following dresses:

  • Trapeze 
  • Straight-line dress
  • Loose dresses with embellished waists

Dressing a Rectangle Body Shape: Bottom Clothing

Got all your tops ready? 

The next thing to decide on would be what bottom clothing to wear. There are various selections, like jeans, trousers, skirts, and shorts. 

In the following sections, we’ll discuss in detail what bottom clothes suit rectangle body shapes best:

Jeans for a Rectangle Body Shape

The jeans you wear should balance your top clothing. You must go for those that help break up the straight lines so as not to emphasize your rectangular frame.

Recommended Jeans

Jeans that flare from the knees down help keep your shape from looking too square. Those with whiskers on the hips are great, too, since adding lines creates an illusion of curves.

You may as well consider that the jeans’ waistband has a mid-rise; it should sit just below the navel and is a few inches above the hips. 

This way, you won’t look stocky. Instead, you’ll enhance your lengthy body frame. 

Take a look at the kind of jeans that would look great on a rectangle body shape:

A woman wearing blue jeans and a hat in front of colorful buildings in burano.

Jeans To Avoid

Meanwhile, if there’s anything you need to avoid, it would be a pair of jeans without a structure. These types include the following: 

  • Low-rise 
  • High-rise 
  • Mom jeans
  • Baggy jeans
  • Boyfriend jeans

Trousers for a Rectangle Body Shape

Slacks, pants, and trousers, however you want to call them, are more versatile than your typical pair of jeans. You can sport these for casual, semi-formal, and formal occasions. 

Just like your pair of jeans, these shouldn’t emphasize your straight form. 

Recommended Trousers

For a rectangular body shape, wearing soft-fabric trousers is ideal. They naturally flow against your body in contrast to stiff fabrics that may look too sharp on you. 

Think of those that add flair and volume on the bottom are the best picks. Take a closer look at what specific trousers look best for a rectangle body: 

Trousers To Avoid

If there are any types of trousers you need to ditch, those are the ones that follow your leg’s shape without any flare or flow. 

Low-rise trousers would also not be ideal since the style doesn’t add any illusion of curves on the waist. 

Straight-cut trousers and oversized ones are also not great picks as well since they make you look more rectangular.

Here’s a list of the trousers that won’t flatter you:

  • Men’s style trousers
  • Straight leg
  • Baggy trousers

Skirts for a Rectangle Body Shape

Opting for skirts with the right style and cut would also help elevate your fashion game as they make your figure appear better. 

With skirts suited for a rectangular body, you can expand your clothing pieces, allowing diversity in your outfits. 

Recommended Skirts

Since most skirts flare, you can safely wear those around the waistline. Opting for printed or colorful skirts is also recommended if you want to draw the eye to what you’re wearing. 

If fitted skirts are your thing, add more volume to your top clothing’s waist so you don’t look fully straight. 

Looking for skirts that befriend your rectangle body shape? The ones on this list are your best picks:

Photo of charming cheerful lady enjoy dancing look empty space isolated on pink color background

Skirts To Avoid

Unflattering skirts can cause a disaster for your whole look. Those that are straight or formless are generally the ones you should consider ditching. 

Here are the specific skirts for your reference:

  • Straightly-tiered 
  • Shapeless angular A-line
  • Skirts with stiff fabrics
  • Bodycon skirt

Shorts for a Rectangle Body Shape

Wearing the right shorts is also important for those with ruler-shaped bodies. These must balance out your upper form and include details that work great with your silhouette. 

Recommended Shorts

Regarding shorts, the rules are similar when choosing what jeans or trousers to wear. 

Generally, you should go for shorts with flares, stick to loose shorts instead of fitted ones, and choose those with marks, prints, buttons, and pockets.

All these add character to your bottom clothing and shape to the areas that lack it. 

Here are the top recommended shorts for you:

Shorts To Avoid

As for the shorts that won’t look good on a rectangular body shape, think of those that hug the skin, accessorized on the waist but fitter, and straight cut. 

Take a look at which shorts fit the description: 

  • Fitted shorts
  • Biker shorts
  • Belted fitted shorts
  • Straight shorts
  • Low-rise, hip-embellished shorts

Rectangle Body Shape Examples: Celebrities

While the hourglass figure is sensational because of Marilyn Monroe and Raquel Welch, rectangle body shapes are not as uncommon as you think.

Many public figures you see on your screen also have the same rectangle framework, so don’t think you’re alone. 

Wondering which celebrities have the same figure as you?

Take a look at the list below:

  • Cameron Diaz
  • Paris Hilton
  • Gisele Bundchen
  • Kate Hudson
  • Nicole Kidman
  • Cara Delevingne
  • Hailey Bieber
  • Coi Leray
  • Ariana Grande
  • Hilary Duff
  • Jennifer Garner
  • Kiera Knightley
  • Sophie Turner
  • Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Gwen Stefani
A woman is dancing on a turquoise background wearing a white v neck top and a fitted skirt with white sneakers

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Rectangle Body Shape Good?

There’s no such thing as a bad body shape. A rectangle body, in particular, is balanced in silhouette and is generally athletic in the frame. 

Investing in the right clothes can make this figure look flattering and enhanced in many ways. 

Is a Rectangle Body Shape Considered Unhealthy?

A rectangle body shape doesn’t automatically translate to being unhealthy. This silhouette simply means that your bust, waist, and hip measurements are relatively similar in width.

Generally, health encompasses diet, lifestyle, and genetics. That said, someone with a rectangle body shape, like all other body shapes, can be healthy. 

Can You Change Your Body Shape Naturally?

You cannot change your natural bone structure, which is responsible for giving shape to your body.

However, you can still do exercises to tone your muscles in specific areas, making your body look more sculpted and defined. 

Exercise will also help if you have excess fat in your stomach area. It allows you to create curves more easily as there’s more opportunity to cinch your waist. 

Bring Out the Beauty of Your Rectangle Body Shape

Having a rectangle body shape is awesome in many ways. Considering how many types of clothing suit it, it’s certainly one of the easiest to style. 

It’s no wonder many runway models have rectangular body shapes. 

The clothes look stunning on them, more so that they have an athletic frame on top of having a versatile figure where stylists can add curves or de-emphasize certain areas. 

While it’s true that rectangle body shapes may also come in larger forms, the rules for wearing the right clothes do not change: pick the clothes that add curves, volumes, or flare in the right places. 

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