How to dress for a rectangle body shape, according to our experts

Dressing a rectangle body shape is simple—here's everything you need to know.

rectangle body shape: multi-colored rectangles
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lucky you! A rectangle body shape is one of the easiest body types to dress and flatter, all thanks to your slender physique. We break down the best styles to invest in—to help you look and feel your best.

 What is a rectangle body shape? 

Confused as to whether you're a pear shape, apple shape, or rectangle body shape (also commonly labeled as banana shape, H shape, or straight body shape)? 

The easiest way to find out is to look at your silhouette in the mirror. Do you have a slim frame? Narrow shoulders? Are your bum and bust relatively small? If so, you’re likely to fall into the rectangle category. In terms of measurements and proportions, the general consensus among stylists is: If your waist measurements match your hip or bust, you have a rectangle body shape. Additionally, your shoulders and hips are about the same width. 

But confusion can lie around the middle. Although rectangle shapes might have a little waist definition, it is only slight, and therefore not enough to tip you into hourglass territory. Hence why rectangle frames are also sometimes referred to as straight-up-and-down or athletic. 

Rectangle body shape outfit ideas  

There’s a reason why most models have a rectangle body shape—it’s because it allows you to wear pretty much anything. Be sure to choose clothing that enhances your arms, defined shoulders, and slender legs while using clever styling tricks to create the illusion of enhanced curves around your bust, waist, and bum. 

“The rectangle can pull off many styles, but the key is to go for details,” says stylist Susie Hasler. “They can very easily wear layered styles such as tank tops and shirts underneath jumpers. They can also carry off lighter colored jeans and anything that's going to add shape to them.”

Be bold and brave with your choices. Puffy bow blouses, high necklines, and ruffles will not only add interest to your look but make your bust look bigger too. On the bottom half, don’t be afraid to experiment with cuts, colorways, and prints. This is your chance to really have fun with fashion—so make the most of it.

The best clothes for a rectangle body shape

As we’ve already established, the options are pretty much endless if you have a rectangle body shape. But if you’re still unsure where to start, we’ve rounded up a few key styles to consider adding to the basket.

Best dresses for rectangle body shape

  • Wrap dresses: Wrapped dresses are well balanced on the top and bottom, plus pull in the waist—accentuating the cleavage and waistline to enhance natural curves.
  • Shift dresses: Shift dresses sit nicely on rectangle bodies with small, flat busts and bottoms. They tend to fall straight down from your shoulders and flow over the hips and waist, which flatter those with straight, boxy body types.

Best tops for rectangle body shape

  • Ruffled blouses: Ruffles bring dimension to the bust, and balance lower curves on rectangle-shaped bodies. With this sartorial choice, you may also want to add a sleek, narrow belt at your waist.
  • Striped tops: Available in a variety of colors, directions, and widths, striped tops accentuate the body’s natural contours. Horizontal stripes create width for a voluptuous look, while vertical stripes create length and make the body appear thinner.

Best jackets and coats for rectangle body shape

  • Double-breasted blazer: Unlike oversized, slouchy options, double-breasted blazers clench the waist, elongate the body, and feature hemlines that fall past your bottom. They ultimately define and hug rectangle body shapes in all the right places. Structured and sleek, the double-breasted blazer works with the latest viral fake collar fashion trend for a sophisticated aesthetic. 
  • Flowing trench coat: Flowing trench coats similarly define and accentuate waist for a curvier effect. The iconic trench coat complements the best dresses, mom jean outfits, flattering sunglasses, and more.

Best bottoms for rectangle body shape

  • Skinny and straight-leg jeans: Among the best slimming jeans, skinny jeans and straight-leg styles work well with some of the most luxe British clothing brands, and are always the safe choice with first date outfits.  Same goes for flared and bootleg jeans and wide leg culottes.
  • Flared and bootleg jeans: Flared silhouettes flatter slim, straight figures and add curves to rectangle body shapes. That's because they create the illusion of a waist, offering a straight fit from the hip to the knees. 
  • Wide leg culottes: These pants will add more shape to rectangle-shaped frames, without feeling restrictive on the waist.

What looks are the most "unflattering" on a rectangle body shape?

There’s very little any body shape should steer clear of, but especially not rectangles. Besides, fashion shouldn’t feel restrictive. 

“My mantra is if there’s something you love wearing, who cares whether it’s emphasizing your best bits or hiding your worst,” says stylist Karen Williams. “It's time we stepped into our power and feel great by our own standards.”

“It’s all about being brave and having self-belief, don’t be pigeon-holed and don’t rule out things that you should or shouldn’t wear because of your age, shape, or size.” Hear, hear.

Jess Beech

Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is a former Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.