tips to flatter your figure and help you feel more confident and body positive
DO YOU HAVE A RECTANGLE BODY SHAPE?
We seem to be dead set on referring to women’s body shapes as fruit, and you may have heard yourself called a banana (except the most common supermarket bananas are curved, so I don’t get this one. I vote for celery) but you may also call your rectangle body shape a straight shape or a ruler. Your true body shape name should be chameleon because it can be the hardest to identify and it’s the easiest to visually transform.
As the most common female body shape, the rectangle body shape is also the most common among models.
More from the Stunning Style Know Your Body Shape Series!
Defining Proportions of a Rectangle Body Shape
As a rectangle-shaped woman, your defining proportion is that your waist to hip to shoulder measurements are very close. Your hips and shoulders are the same measurement (remember, this is where your actual shoulder ends, not including your arms), and you have a straight shoulder line and ribcage.
It’s most common to have a bust measurement that’s very close to your waist measurement (but there are busty rectangles!). Your waist is often the same as your hips and bust, but it can be up to 25% smaller. Your hips, bust (usually), and waist are also very close in measurements.
The typical rectangle is depicted as being completely straight from shoulders to hips, with a small bust, a flat bottom, an enviably flat tummy, and naturally athletic look. Despite the stereotype that a rectangle body shape is straight down the sides, straight down the front, and straight down the back, there are so many variations it’s easy to think you might be a different body shape if you deviate from that description.
A straight body shape can be very busty, have a defined waistline, a fuller bottom, and a full midsection, but the key measurements are the your shoulders and hips are about the same, and your waist is less than 25% smaller.
Other Possible Characteristics
You are blessed with a naturally athletic, toned, healthy look, and your body is the easiest to shop for off the rack because your proportions are so even. Your arms and legs are slender in relation to your body and athletic looking. When you gain weight, you gain it proportionally, which gives you a naturally slim look, like Cameron Diaz below.
Your bottom tends to be flat, and your bust size is typically small to medium. Though a woman with a straight shape can be full-busted. Your legs come straight down from your hips with no curve in the thigh, though your thighs can look more shapely due to your muscle tone. Your body is angular and straight. Most models and fitness before and afters are rectangle-shaped women.
When shopping for clothes, you wear the same size on top and on bottom. You can typically find clothes that fit you off the rack pretty easily, and even when you gain weight you tend to look slimmer than your size tag would indicate because of your even proportions.
Your biggest shopping challenge is finding pants that give you curves without creating a muffin top. My new 2-part course, Style Your Silhouette has an entire module dedicated to bottoms and how to find pants that fit you right. You can sign up and start Course 1 now with the link above!
Your best asset is your naturally athletic, healthy look, the ease of finding clothes that fit you, and your naturally balanced body. Your primary complaint is usually a lack of curves and feeling like you look boyish. However, you are also the most likely to be very satisfied with your body because it’s so balanced and easy to fit.
Rectangle Vs Inverted Triangle
You lean towards an inverted triangle shape if your shoulders are slightly broader than your hips. This is most likely to happen if you are on the very slender end of the scale. When Kate Middleton’s weight gets extremely low, her shoulders can look wider than her hips. What she wears can also create a visual imbalance. But a true inverted triangle will have a V shape to her body in the back.
Rectangle Vs Apple
You lean towards an apple shape if you gain extra weight around the abdomen. Menopause, child-birth, weight gain, and other factors can add to your midsection, but a true apple will have narrower hips than shoulders. Her body will make a V shape in the back, and she also will have slender legs, even when she gains weight, and a flat bottom. Your shoulders and hips will maintain their balanced proportions, and you gain weight evenly all over, so your legs will match the rest of your body at every size.
Rectangle Vs Hourglass
You may mistake yourself as an hourglass if you are very busty, and MANY women who are identified as hourglass or used in the media to represent hourglass figures are actually busty rectangles. Dita Von Teese, Ursula Andress, Melanie Griffith, and other Hollywood bombshells have the balanced hips and shoulders and the full bust of an hourglass figure, but their waistline isn’t dramatically small the way an hourglass’s is.
Famous Rectangle Body Shapes
Maybe the most famous straight shape is Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. The runways and big screen are packed with other famous straight shapes like Nicole Kidman, Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Queen Latifah, Natalie Portman, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
How to Dress a Rectangle Body Shape
Highlight and Accentuate Your Best Assets
Most body shape courses and articles focus on hiding or covering parts of your body, which adds to the shame and media lie that we all need to achieve an impossible ideal. Your rectangle-shaped body is perfect, it’s beautiful, and we don’t want to cover anything up. Instead, we are going to direct the spotlight to accentuate and highlight specific parts of our bodies.
Think of a stage production. The lighting crew shines spotlights on certain parts of the stage to draw your attention to the place they want you to look. It could be because they want to direct our eyes to where the most important action is, to distract us from something like a set change, or because they are trying to achieve an effect like telling us we are seeing a memory, a weather change, or magic.
We can do the same thing with outfits, spotlighting the parts where we want to focus their attention, and use that to make them see what we want them to see. When you work with, not against, your naturally fabulous features it’s so freeing. I want you to fall in love with your body because it’s amazing!
Your Spotlight Goal
Your balanced shoulders and hips are already so fabulous and provide perfect structure to your tops and bottoms, they steal the spotlight! It’s like Marsha and Cindy Brady are your shoulders and hips. Even when they aren’t trying, they steal the spotlight and make Jan Brady (your waist) feel invisible.
Your balanced hips and shoulders are fabulous in every sense of the word, and they don’t need any help getting attention, but your waist needs the upper hand. It’s a little quieter, more subtle, but just as lovely when people can see past your perfectly balanced hips and shoulders long enough to pay attention to it.
So basically, your shoulders and hips have everything going for them already. Don’t help them steal the spotlight from your equally lovely, but not always as noticeable, waistline by giving them a microphone and theme music too.
The goal for dressing the rectangle is to shine the spotlight down at your narrow waist so it gets equal treatment and attention.
We want to bring the eye in from your balanced shoulders and hips and define your waistline. You can do this two ways. Either define the waist by dividing the torso, splitting up the shoulders and hips – divide and conquer!- and visually pull the waist in, or you can accentuate your waist and shine a spotlight on how narrow it is by adding volume to the hips and shoulders.
Both achieve the same effect by shining a spotlight on the waist and making it appear smaller than the hips and shoulders by drawing the eye in. Remember though, whatever you do to add volume or attention to the shoulders, the hips need equal treatment to maintain their balance.
Alternatively, you can make your waist appear slimmer by visually pulling it in but leaving the upper and lower body as is.
The Biggest Outfit Mistakes a Rectangle Makes
Many rectangle women choose outfits that skim their shape from top to bottom because they often have that enviable smooth outline, but this allows your naturally balanced shoulders and hips to steal the spotlight, and your waist gets none of the love. Alternatively they go for the oversized, tunic/shapeless look if they want to hide their midsection or other perceived imperfections, particularly if they’ve gained weight.
This isn’t necessary and doesn’t achieve the desired result anyway! Nothing needs to be hidden or covered, and none of your fabulous features get to shine! Instead of showing every part of your figure’s outline or drowning it in fabric, let your perfectly balanced hips and shoulders frame your waist (even if it’s not what you think is perfect), so we get to see the best of you!
You truly have a chameleon body shape that can look any way you want it to. Learning to dress your rectangle-shaped body so you highlight your best assets will give you the confidence to finally embrace your gorgeous shape!