Rectangle Shaped Body
Also known as the straight body shape, the rectangle body shape can be characterised by equal shoulder, chest, and hip measurements or width. Thus, the silhouette of a straight figure is mostly well-proportioned and balanced.
Those with this figure often look lean and tall, with a lack of obvious curves throughout the body, particularly in the midriff and bottom half. This signifies that the bust and bottom is usually flat, and a well-defined waist is also usually absent.
To illustrate, some of the top celebrities that rock a modelesque, straight body shape include Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Taylor Swift, Cara Delevingne, Nicole Kidman, Natalie Portman, and Cameron Diaz.
A straight body shape likely has these physical attributes:
- A bust, hips, and shoulders with similar widths
- A lack of obvious curves throughout the body
- Small bust and bottom
- An overall lean look with long legs
- Little to no definition in the waist
- Weight gain that is well distributed throughout the body
With a straight body type, the goal with styling is to add dimension and accentuate the waist to break up that rectangle, giving the illusion of a curvier and shaplier frame. Luckily, there are a few ways you can go about this.
When playing up the waistline, you can either add volume to the upper and bottom halves of the body while leaving the waist as is, or cinching the waist but leaving the upper and bottom halves of the body as is.
While doing so, remember to focus on balance. You can always choose to highlight your favourite features and downplay those that you’re not crazy about as long as you feel confident in your own skin.
Here are some dos and don’ts when styling a straight figure:
- Choose well structured dresses instead of shapeless or oversized ones
- Experiment with various cuts and shapes
- Build interest with textures, prints, and other details
- Use darker colours or a dark belt on waist area
An ideal dress style for a straight body shape is one that is balanced on both the top and bottom whilst nipping in the waist. Hence, any dress with lots of waist definition would be a great option. Having a belt on hand is also handy to alter the shape of a dress.
It is crucial to remember to always balance the top and bottom. If the dress has a voluminous flounce in the skirt and flares out slightly, the top should also have other details that add bulk, such as ruffles or big sleeves. Dresses with darker colours at the waist give off the same effect.
Here are some flattering dress styles that work with a straight body shape:
- Empire dress: The fitted bodice under the bust line of an empire dress really carves out a waist on a straight figure.
- Wrap dress: Wrap dresses drape over the rectangle body shape nicely and brings about an illusion of curves as it cinches in the waist.
- Shift dress: Even though it doesn’t nip in the waist, a shift dress works on a rectangle body shape thanks to its clean lines that gives prominence to a lean and long frame.
- Princess seam dress: A princess seam dress has smooth, clean lines that skim over the body and particularly at the waist section, which creates curves.
- X-line dress: The full shoulders and full skirt on an X-line dress naturally makes the waistline look more pinched in.
Those with a straight body shape should opt for fabrics that skim over the body but are more structured in nature, such as cotton, linen, silk, and satin. Materials like spandex would be too skin-tight and will only further highlight the shapeless figure.
On the other hand, boxy or heavy fabrics such as wool, leather, and chunky knits barely hug the body to show off its curves, thus do not do much for the boyish look of a straight body shape and should be avoided.
Selecting a neckline for a straight body shape is dependent on the styling strategy you are going for - either adding volume to the upper and bottom halves of the body, or cinching the waist to play up the waistline.
Round necklines, such as scoop or jewel necklines, contribute to the overall look by giving off a resemblance of curves. Alternatively, lower and wider necklines like sweetheart and V-necklines, visually add length to the shoulder and bust. Narrow necklines further spotlight a slender look.
To add volume and direct the eyes upwards, embellishments around the decolletage area, like lace trims, ruffles, and big collars, do help. Avoid necklines that are too square or straight as they will only make the rectangle shape of the body more noticeable.
Here is a list of necklines that are of service to a straight body shape:
- Scoop neck
- Sweetheart neck
- Jewel neck
- Halter neck
- Mandarin neck
Since the goal of dressing a straight body type is to create curves, the sleeves of the dress should add bulk or extra interest. Of course, the length of the sleeves also come into play here and is subject to the part of the body in which the sleeves end at.
Embellished sleeves are a playful accent that add an additional layer of appeal while serving a purpose. You may also build up volume through sleeves that are wide, flowy, and loose, such as flared and flutter sleeves.
With a straight body type, experiment with different lengths and see what works for you, whether it is long sleeves, elbow sleeves, or three-quarter sleeves. Steer clear of shapeless sleeves, like fitted sleeves, that are pointless for your body type.
Below are several sleeve styles that work with straight body shapes:
- Butterfly sleeve
- Bell sleeve
- Rolled-up sleeve
- Puff sleeve
- Flutter sleeve
- Raglan sleeve
- Set-in sleeve
- Cuff sleeve
Regardless of the skirt length you choose for a straight figure, remember that the volume on your bottom half should balance out the top half. Additionally, other adornments like pleats and gathers give the impression of curves, particularly on the hip area.
Accents like diagonal lines, large pockets, frills, and added flounce also add bulk to the hip area while mellowing out the straight edges of the body. While doing so, make sure that the fabrics are softer in texture and do not result in harsh angles.
While straight and pencil skirts could work, be conscious of nipping in the waist and balancing out the top half of the body. All in all, you can play with colours and prints but make sure to avoid excessively structured or stiff fabrics.
Here are the best skirt styles for a rectangle figure:
- Gathered waist
- Diagonal hem
Luckily, you can be pretty flexible with shoes for a rectangle body shape. Just be sure to opt for rounded and oval-toed shoes in order to add depth in regards to curves instead of square-shaped shoes that add to the boxiness of the body.
Nude coloured shoes, like pumps, will elongate the legs, whereas rounded toe shoes, like ballerina flats and Mary Janes, give off a feminine flair to an otherwise straight body. Other shoes like loafers, moccasins, tennis shoes, and ankle straps are also great for this body type.
In short, focus on lengthening shoe styles that are sleek and more slim in profile. On the contrary, avoid shoes that are super chunky or look wavy as they may highlight the thinness of the legs even more.
Think about the intention of accessories when selecting them for a straight body shape. Belts, for one, are essential for this body type as they hug the waistline while making the body look more curvy. The taller the figure, the wider and chunkier the belts should be.
On top of that, scarves help to create a visual balance and break up that rectangle shape. Don’t be afraid to play around with patterns and prints, such as florals, abstract, and polka dots, as well as styles, like fold ups or knots.
As for jewelry, statement earrings work really well for this body type as it not only adds visual interest but also creates volume up top in a subtle way. Other jewelry you may add include various types of necklaces, which draw attention to a small chest.
Bags, on the other hand, should always play a part in adding to the curves on a straight body type. Round styles work great, and so do those that rest on the natural waist. Extra accents on the bags, like studs and scarves on the straps, also work well.
Petite Body Types
When you have a petite straight body shape, the goal when styling should be to convert your body into a proportionate hourglass figure by adding width to the top and bottom of the body. You can then leave the waist as is or nip it further in to accentuate the hourglass shape.
Dresses with shorter lengths, such as mini dresses, that land about 3 inches above the knees work wonders for those who are more petite. This also helps to show off your long and lean legs.
Colour block dresses add visual interest to the body and also create length, depending on the design. When wearing belts, make sure that they sit higher on the waist as this will create an ideal proportion with a shorter torso and longer legs.
Tall Body Types
It’s easy to get frustrated when styling the rectangle body shape due to your height, but it absolutely doesn’t have to be! Dresses that hit right above the knee, midi dresses, and maxi dresses look best on your figure. A peplum style dress also creates those curves you lack.
With accessories, the trick here is to go big or go home. While average height folks will never be able to pull this off, you can as the big accessories actually complement your height and add balance to your overall look.
This can include wide, chunky belts, statement necklaces and earrings, and big purses and totes that can mask your height. In regards to heels, don’t shy away from them and flaunt your height confidently.
With a short torso, focus on elongating the upper half on a rectangle figure with a few clever tricks. In terms of dresses, go for a shift dress or drop waist to hide the waist completely or dresses with a faux waist that sits below your natural waistline.
Avoid high-waisted dresses or dresses that are too tight at the waist, including those with bodices, as they can make the short torso look even smaller. When using a belt, wear it below your natural waistline to balance out your proportions.
Whenever possible, go for wider and lower necklines, such as a V-neck and boat neck, to visually add length to the upper part of the body. The same applies for accessories, like jewelry and scarves. Opt for longer necklaces and long scarves that fall nicely down the body.
The aim with styling a rectangle figure with a longer torso and shorter legs is to camouflage the imbalance in proportions by visually lifting the waistline and adding length to the legs. You can achieve this effect through multiple ways, such as wearing shoes with a heel.
To disguise the long torso, dresses with a high waist or waist lines that sit higher than average will be great. If you do want to cinch in the waist (above your natural waistline) without drawing too much attention to your midriff, try a neutral coloured belt instead of a darker one.
In terms of colour, select dresses that are either monochromatic or of the same colour on both the top and bottom. Any stark contrast in colour on both halves of the dress will make sure that the focus remains on the overall lengthened body and not on a specific part.
Despite your naturally boyish and boxy silhouette, there are most certainly ways to create the look of a curvier frame with the right styles and some tricks up your sleeve. All it takes is a little volume at the right places to add dimension!