How to Dress a Rectangle Body Shape – Tips and Outfit Ideas

Christine Steuber
Jan 21, 2022
Do you think your rectangle-like figure looks too shapeless? Absolutely not! Here are top tips and outfits to dress a rectangle-shaped body.

Are you familiar with situations where you enviously look at that one friend who never looks a mess in any dress?

Maybe it’s a matter of their body shape, but you can definitely learn how to highlight the perks of your figure regardless of its type.

There are different body figures, and the most common is the so-called rectangle shape or ruler body type. As many as 46% of women have a rectangular body, which can create a problem when choosing outfits. They often complain about the lack of curves and asbolutely no waistline.

But is it really a problem?

Of course, not!

I’ve put together a comprehensive guide to styling a rectangle-shaped body, with four cool outfit ideas at the end.

What is a Rectangle Body Shape?

As I briefly mentioned in the beginning, the main feature of this body type is the lack of curves. Women of this build generally do not have problems with excess weight, so they have nothing to hide. So, it’s only necessary to create a waistline and visually broaden hips and shoulders a bit to create a well-proportioned hourglass shape. 

Rectangle body shape

But here’s the thing – women who have a rectangle figure find it harder to equally distribute weight. It also happens that unwanted weight is created in the tummy area instead of on the hips or chest. So, our main goal is to find waisted dresses that spread below the midsection.

Apart from that, many people believe that only slender and skinny people have a rectangle shape. Well, yes, most of them are skinny. But some overweight people fall into this category as well. But remember plus-size outfits can also look brilliant if you choose the right clothing pieces.

Health problems associated with the ruler body shape

Researchers at Penn Medicine have revealed that overweight people with this rectangle-like body figure belong to the risk group for heart disease and diabetes. On the other hand, if you are a skinny woman with a rectangle body shape, you risk menstruation, pregnancy, malnutrition, and depression problems. Luckily, these issues are fixable if you maintain a healthy body weight.

Nicole Kidman and Kate Moss – Celebrities Rocking Rectangle-Shaped Figures

Many women fantasize about an hourglass figure embracing a perfectly narrow waist and seductive hips. But does it mean you should put your health at risk forcing your body into something it’s not?

Many celebrities are proof that this is not the only definition of beauty. You may think that your favorite actress or singer looks excellent in whatever she wears. But let me tell you a little secret – they know very well what to wear to look like that. And one more thing: they know how to wear these combinations proudly, and a dose of self-confidence always gives a touch of extra style to any outfit.

The best example is actress Nicole Kidman, who has a wiry rectangle body shape. Nevertheless, look at how gorgeous she looked in an A-line dress at the Emmys a few years ago – this dress creates an illusion of a waist and wider hips, completely transforming her figure:

Or, take a look at Natalie Portman – she has a classic ruler-like figure, but is not afraid of wearing flattering dresses, like the one in the image below, with puff sleeves being the only design element that adds extra volume:

Natalie Portman Vogue
Credit: Vogue

Other famous ladies rocking this body type are Milla Jovovich, Kate Moss, and Cameron Diaz. It is not necessary to have curves to look attractive, and this is precisely what these amazing women from the red carpet testify to. 

What makes these celebs look so good?

It’s simple – they follow some crucial guidelines when choosing clothes, and you can use these rules as well to become an expert in dressing:

  • It is important to invest in a good bra that will lift your breasts and visually enlarge them.
  • Experiment with different cuts and shapes to get curves.
  • Wear clothes with prints, textures and details.
  • Avoid oversized clothing.
  • Use different straps to get a beautiful figure.
  • Do not pull tops inside pants or skirts.

See – you don’t need to hire a stylist to look like Nicole Kidman. Following these simple recommendations will already help you look your absolute best.

How to Pick Clothing Items for a Rectangle-Shaped Body 

As I’ve mentioned before, if you have a rectangle-shaped figure, you need to create the illusion of a thin waist. The goal of dressing is to shape the waist and make a distinction between the upper and lower body. 

I’ve put together a few tips for different clothing items, but it’s ultimately up to you how to put them together in an outfit. At the end of the day, it’s about expressing yourself, so think of these tips as more of an inspiration for your personal style.

1. Jeans

No wardrobe is complete without the perfect jeans that stand out the best of your legs. If you want your bottom to look lusher, choose jeans with slightly voluminous pockets. 

I suggest medium-high waist flared jeans to make the figure look round. This jeans model is ideal for petite women because it will make them look taller. Here’s how I would style these jeans for a cute casual look:

Flared jeans outfit idea

Girls without curves can wear the so-called “boyfriend jeans” that go well with sneakers and heels, too.  Also, if you prefer slimmer jeans, the pants must be tight in the hip area to create curves.

If you wonder if a rectangle body shape can wear cropped jeans, the answer is – yes! But it is necessary to take care of some important things. You can choose a wide-leg, cropped model if you are a tall person. However, if you are petite or average height, I only recommend skinny cropped jeans.

Remember – if jeans don’t follow your body line but fall in a straight line, you will achieve a counter-effect. Also, avoid models that are wide from top to bottom as you will get an imbalance and highlight unwanted parts.

3. Dresses

When choosing a dress, focus on those with a high waist. If your goal is to create an hourglass shape, you can add a belt to slim up the midsection. It doesn’t have to be a classic belt with a buckle. You can also use beautiful satin ribbons to shape the figure. The whole combination will keep a simple and striking look.

Perfect for a rectangle-like body are princess stitch dresses, imperial lines dresses, and gowns with various belts. And look how a belt can make a dress more attractive, highlighting the slender waist and helping the hips seem wider:

Belted dress evening look

You can also achieve the illusion of curves by choosing the right colors. 

For instance, darker colors around the waist are always a good choice, and a dark color belt is also an alternative. The most important thing is to avoid dresses outlined below the waist, at the beginning of the hips. With these dress models, you will make your body visually longer, and the rectangle shape will stand out even more.

3. Wedding gowns

My recent article on wedding dresses for apple-shaped ladies inspired me to make a small selection for rectangle-like figures, too.

The best choice for wedding dresses will be ball gown models that widen the hips and make you an actual princess. Take a look at how you can style a ball gown for your wedding of your dreams:

edding dress rectangle shape style

Many tulles characterize this dress. Therefore it will perfectly cover all the imperfections of the lower part of the body. But, it is easy to make a mistake with this model because height is an important factor influencing the choice. Although you may fall in love with this dress, you better avoid it if you are a petite woman. Remember: you need to wear a dress, the dress should not wear you.

Another great option is an A-line dress – it will make you look luxurious and elegant. A-line wedding dress primarily emphasizes the waist and chest and spread towards the bottom. It can be layered and have a frame decorated with lots of tulle and satin. This dress hides the imperfections of the lower part of the figure very well. Here’s how you can style it:

A-line wedding dress style for rectangle shape body

If you are a fan of minimalist style, slip and sheath models will captivate you with their sophistication and elegance. Slip wedding dresses have a classic cut and they are the most common choice at less formal weddings. This wedding dress model is ideal for slender and tall women with a rectangular body and an hourglass figure. However, it should be avoided by women with a pear-shaped figures, as it can visually enlarge the hips and bottom.

Some women also prefer the mermaid shape of the wedding dress because it visually creates curves from the front side. This wedding dress model is one of my favorites because it perfectly follows the contours of the body and permeates all the benefits of the silhouette. The fluffy skirt starts to spread from the knees, creating the feeling as if you’re flowing:

Mermaid dress for rectangle shape body style

And if you want to cover all the shortcomings, then tulle is the unmistakable choice. Also, don’t be afraid to use various accessories to add highlights to your look, but don’t go overboard – necklaces and earrings should complement your wedding outfit, not over-exaggerate it.

4. Cocktail dresses

For a cocktail dress, go for something with peplum and those with asymmetrical details. These styles create the illusion of a curved shape. Short cocktail dresses with ruffles and voluminous sleeves (like the one below) are also ideal for you – they highlight your slim legs:

Cocktail dress outfit for rectangle shaped women

If your goal is to put together a more feminine look, always opt for ruffles – they will add a dose of luxury and elegance to your outfit. Apart from that, a short shift dress will be an excellent choice for a cocktail party if you prefer more clean lines.

5. Evening wear

I recommend both short and long dresses with a belt for formal occasions. Women with ruler-shaped figures can always opt for wrap dresses  – they are gorgeous because they give the flat body the desired curves. As the name suggests, wrap dresses are characterized by wrapping the waist, and you can style tgem like this:

Wrap dress style for rectangle shape body

These dresses are cut in crucial places and modeled according to the body, which is the perfect choice for a rectangle body figure.

In addition to the cut itself, I suggest that you pay attention to the patterns. Dots, stripes or a floral design are just some of the details you can choose to enrich your wardrobe.

If you are not a fan of dresses, you can also wear elegant high-waisted pants with a wide blouse and attractive sleeves. Jumpsuits are also an excellent option for a rectangular structure. However, keep in mind that a perfect jumpsuit must emphasize the waist. If this is what you’re looking for, choose a model with laces or a belt.

You can also choose a skirt for evening wear. Here, try to stay away from models with an angular A-cut. This type of skirt will make your body even more shapeless. Instead, choose flaring style waist-defining skirts that will perfectly define your figure.

6. Shorts

The best option for a rectangle body is shorts with a medium-high waist. This shorts model will create the perfect balance between the waist and hips. 

You can combine shorts with different t-shirts, blouses and tops. A short-sleeved T-shirt with an interesting pattern will be ideal for a casual look. Opt for dots, stripes and flower patterns – they visually create volume in the right places:

Shorts outfit style for rectangle shape body

In general, decorations and details will make the extra volume. Loose shorts will also fit the figure perfectly, while high-waisted flare models with a belt will create the desired WOW effect.

7. Shirts

Fitted shirts will add volume to the shoulders, chest and hips, making the waist thinner. For a rectangle-shaped figure, I would definitely go for options with a belted waist that spread at the bottom. Keep in mind that the shirt should end at hip level, like here:

how to style a shirt for rectangle shape body

If it ends at the waist, the rectangular shape of the body will stand out even more. 

Avoid square and straight cutouts that will give the body a shapeless look. Depending on the length and form of the sleeves, you will achieve volume in the upper or lower body. So, choose sleeves decorated with various details, colors, patterns, or rivets, like in this look I’ve put together for you:

hirt outfit style for rectangle shape body

Also, if the goal is to achieve volume, the sleeves should be loose and wide, puff and flattering.

8. Tops

I highly recommend choosing round or V necklines on tops. They lengthen the shoulders’ look and get the busty look. 

Another option is the round neckline that ends near the neck, drawing people’s attention to your face and shoulders. It creates the illusion of bigger breasts and a shorter neck. I also recommend it for women with long necks and skinny faces, and those with broad shoulders and smaller breasts:

Top outfit style for rectangle shape body

If you are a woman with a big bust, opt for smaller V necklines – they will make you feel more comfortable. Besides, deep V-necks aren’t appropriate in all situations.

9. Coats

Coats should follow the natural line of rectangle body shape. Longer coats will also break the monotony and give interesting balance to your outfit. At the same time, if you want to add highlights to the midsection, belts will flawlessly define the female waist. High collars, pockets and different types of flaps give dimension to your straight body line.

For all figures, including the rectangle shape, it is important to carefully choose the length of the coat because it could disrupt the overall look. So if you have short legs, choose models that will not cross your knees. For tall women, my advice is to opt for a coat below the knees. Here’s an interesting look women with rectangle body types will definitely rock:

Coat styling option for women with rectangle shape body

In general, with your body type, you can pull off any oversized fits. So, let your imagination fly here, and don’t shy away from accessories.

10. Jackets

When it comes to jackets, defining the waist is still a priority. The jackets must be cut in the waist area. Like with coats, belts and defined pockets will be a great addition to the overall look.

I would also recommend to go for a more puffy look, especially considering the current trends in fashion. Puffy jackets will give more volume to your figure:

acket look for rectangle shape women

You can achieve extra volume in the upper part by adding plaid and colorful scarves, so let your imagination run wild. I also recommend jackets that expand slightly towards the hips. However, try to avoid short jackets above the waist.

4 Casual Outfit Ideas for a Rectangle-Shaped Body

While you may think it’s hard for you to find the right clothes for your figure, did you know that most models have exactly this body shape? And the reason for this is that this figure type allows you to wear a lot of attractive and interesting clothes.

Everyday clothing items should be comfortable, cozy, and beautiful simultaneously. Bright jeans, basic t-shirts, soft sweaters in winter, light fluttery dresses for summer – opt for your favorite! There are more choices than you can imagine. So I decided to present you with some cute casual rectangle body shape outfits to complete your wardrobe.

1. Street style look

Street style look for rectangle shaped body

To enjoy everyday activities, bright leggings and a white T-shirt are the unmistakable choices. Torn jeans give a dose of youthful and cheerful spirit, so they are a timeless piece of clothing. Complete this combination with white sneakers and an interesting backpack.

2. A walk-with-friends outfit

A casual look for women with rectangle-shaped bodies

If you want to bring a dose of elegance to your everyday look (perhaps for an evening walk with friends), beautiful knitted sweaters are a great solution. Tops in intense colors with lovely buttons are also super-trendy! For the bottoms, choose flare jeans that will give you the desired curves. Complete the combination with high-top sneakers and a handbag in a neutral color.

3. A look for a rainy day

A raincoat look for women with rectangle shaped bodies

Wear a beautiful, long raincoat in pastel or green tones for an autumn walk around the city. Bright jeans in a mild flare shape will fit perfectly with black skinny ankle boots. This combination will make you slender, your chest and hips will get volume, and your waist will be emphasized. Put a simple black bag on your shoulder and walk around the city like a real fashion icon!

4. A flatteting summer outfit

Summer look for women with rectangle shaped bodies

To enjoy the summer months, I recommend a light fluttery ankle-length dress. The dress must be waisted with a belt or an invisible seam. White sneakers, a small purse and fancy sunglasses are the perfect outfits for summer. These dress models will highlight only the best parts of your body. Also, doesn’t this dress model look like the one Natalie Portman wore in that image?

Over to You

As you can see, there is nothing wrong about having a rectangle-shaped body. So, be proud and happy to have such a figure! Besides, beauty is not just in curves, it’s about your individuality.

Still, if you want to add more curves to your body, try to avoid the following clothing items:

  • Boxy straight dresses
  • T-shirts with narrow, long sleeves
  • Boxy style shirts
  • Jackets above the waist
  • Extremely wide trousers
  • Squarish straight skirts
  • Straight low-rise hip embellishment shorts
  • Straight square neckline

All in all, even with the most ordinary white T-shirt and jeans or other simple pants, you will look fresh. And if you add heeled shoes or a bag and some jewelry, maybe even a colorful scarf, your clothing combination will get a whole new fashion touch. 

Want more fashion details? Feel free to visit my blog for more tips!

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