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How To Dress For A Rectangular Body Shape

By Gorjus London   |   Date May 26, 2022

Rectangle body shapes are typically straight-sided, equally proportioned at the top and bottom and can be slim and athletic, though this isn’t always the case.


Women with a fuller body can still be rectangular rather than pear-shaped or apple-shaped, if their curves are less defined. However, rectangles usually have slim, longish legs to go with their longish body. 


Here’s a brief summary of the rectangle body type: 


  • Straight shoulders
  • Equally proportioned, straight chest and ribcage 
  • Bust and hips around the same size 
  • Small to medium bust and hips
  • Little waistline definition 
  • Lack of curves


Rectangle body types are common, but they’re not just confined to those with athletic builds. However, an athletic build with a rectangular body can be particularly challenging to dress properly, mainly due to the lack of curves. As a result, rectangular-bodied women often need to dress to be feminine, if that’s what they want, of course. 

Famous Rectangular Body Types 

Rectangular bodies dominated the supermodel trends of the late 90s and early-2000s. There are loads of thin, athletic rectangular body types around, including absolutely loads of female athletes. Being lean might mean a rectangular body type - but that’s no problem!


  • Gigi Hadid
  • Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Gwen Stefani
  • Kate Hudson
  • Kate Moss
  • Keira Knightley 
  • Kendall Jenner
  • Natalie Portman


Below is Gwyneth Paltrow with a distinctively rectangular body. 



When rectangular body types put on weight, it’s usually evenly dispersed throughout their body. So, crucially, added weight doesn’t really go to the curves, but tends to just layer up and down the body in an even fashion. 


On the upside, dressing a rectangle body type is fairly simple as their athletic figure means that legs and arms usually look great. Rectangles often have great necklines too. The trick is playing up the beautiful aspects of their slight figure while providing weight to curvy areas to add femininity. 

The Main Ingredients of the Rectangle Body Shape

The rectangle body shape is fairly easy to define. It’s not really a petite body type, as rectangles can be pretty strong, lean and athletic, not to mention tall. Some rectangles feel like their limbs and body has been stretched as they grew - they got taller without getting bigger at the waist or chest. 


The main issue rectangles have is refinding those lost curves. Looking feminine can be tricky if you’re tall, lanky and angular. 


Here are the basics of how to dress a rectangular shape: 


  • Push up bras are essential 
  • Ruffles, patterns and various cuts add weight to curves 
  • Prints and textures also assist with the above
  • Fitted clothes accentuate athletic builds 
  • Loose, ruffled skirts accentuate the bottom half
  • Baggy clothes can work on one half of the body, but probably not both 

How to Define the Curves of the Rectangular Body Shape 

The rectangular body type is easily enhanced with clothes that enhance curves, creating a division between the top and bottom half. But, of course, it can also be great to embrace the athleticism of the rectangle by wearing tight-fitting clothes. Below is a really smart looking taller rectangle body type looking with fitted black clothes that define the waist. 



Here’s how to define curves: 


  • Add texture to the bust with ruffled or frilly dresses
  • Patterns look great; balance them with a neutral waist
  • To embrace a tall, athletic figure, pencil skirts, tulip skirts, and maxi dresses are great 
  • Wide hem, bubble, tiered, or box-pleated dresses and skirts define the bottom half 
  • Baggy t-shirts with tightened belts and leggings can look great with a good bra 

Shirts and T-Shirts For The Rectangular Body Type

Shirts and t-shirts for the rectangular body shape can accentuate curves with round and scoop necklines. Lower and wider necklines also work well if that’s the look you’re going for. Embellishments around the bust accentuate the chest. 


If, however, you want to play up your athletic form, then go for narrow necklines, crewnecks and even funnels. So long as they have a curve - rather than being straight or boxy - they won’t contribute to the rectangle. 


In terms of sleeves, rectangles often have long arms which can be accentuated with short or rolled-up sleeves. Fitted sleeves will accentuate the athletic look, whereas looser ones will add volume. 


Belted shirts also look great and will define the waist. A high-quality dark or black belted shirt looks superb on rectangles. Shirts that nip in at the waist create greater division between the top and bottom halves. 

Knitwear and Jumpers For Rectangular Body Type

Relaxed fitting knitwear and jumpers that really flow look great on athletic body types. Longer jumpers can be worn with trousers, shorts or leggings and look great in various colours and patterns. Add belts to taste. 


Boxy jumpers that are overly squarish and taught might accentuate the rectangle shape. 

Jackets and Coats For Rectangular Body Type

Belted jackets look great on taller individuals. Trench coats are an excellent choice. Blazers also look superb when paired with trousers that hug the waist. Double-breasted jackets, buttons, and other embellishments around the chest add weight. 


Jackets should flow down the body, rather than looking rectangular or boxy. 

Puffer jackets and other heavy raincoats fit rectangles well, as they can often layer up without adding too much weight to their slim bodies. Good news for anyone who gets cold easily!

Trousers For Rectangular Body Type

Low to mid-rise trousers look good on the rectangular body type. Baggy trousers are great, if you want to cover your legs. If you want to show off your athletic form, leggings are a solid choice. Baggy jeans are a good shout too, as are tracksuit bottoms. 


Bootcut, wide fittings and harem trousers all work well. Any embellishments at the hips add curves, like external pockets. 

Skirts For Rectangular Body Type

Skirts are extra-important for rectangles. Good options include flared hemlines, ruffles and skirts packed with embellishment and detail. These really define the waist, add curves AND show off your great legs. Bubble skirts are a superb choice. 


Pencil and tulip skirts are good if you want to look tall and slim. Generally, anything that flares out adds definition to the waist. Conversely, boxy skirts, like box miniskirts, might accentuate the rectangle. 

Dresses For Rectangular Body Type

When it comes to choosing and styling dresses, think carefully about the waistline. Anything with volume is great IF you add a belt to define the waist too. Loose dresses at the bottom and top will work well, so long as you belt them. Wrap dresses are an excellent choice, too, illustrating the body’s length while adding volume. 



Darker colours around the waist will also accentuate the waist. Dark belts are a really good choice - the taller you are, the bigger the belt can be. In terms of hemlines, choose anything that flares out.

Shorts For Rectangular Body Type

If you want to show off your athletic form, shorts are the way to do it. Tight-fitting and the waist and looser at the leg work well. Trek and cargo shorts add to the hips, whereas cycling shorts pull over the waist to enhance curvature. 


Jumpsuits and Playsuits

Jumpsuits make taller people look their height - they’re amazing if you want to look bold and true to your athletic, slim and tall figure. Belts help define the waist while the playsuit or jumpsuit flows across your body. Pleats and gatherings add weight to curves, whereas wide and straight legs can balance the look.


Sleeve detail, waist detail and flares tick boxes. Bright colours work well, but black or grey is going to add a smart and sumptuous quality to an athletic body type. 

Summary: How to Dress For a Rectangle Shape

Rectangular body shapes are often slim and athletic. They may be tall, but this isn’t always the case. 


Rectangles might wish to accentuate their curves and waistline to look more feminine overall. Otherwise, they might want to embrace that long-bodied athletic form with long legs. Or both!


The goal here is using cuts, colours and fabrics choices to embolden the upper body and hips. Enhanced curves will create a more hourglass-shaped figure. 


If you want to accentuate the athletic form, tight fitting clothes are the way to go. If not, then loosen things up around the chest and hips, adding flared clothing and embellishments.