Do I Have a Rectangle Body Shape?

Do I Have A Rectangle Body Shape?

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.

This article and the video below are part of the Stunning Style Know Your Body Shape Series! Join us live this week (March 29th-April 2nd) as we explore a different body shape each day at 1pm ET on the Stunning Style Facebook page (HERE) or the FREE Capsule Wardrobes for Classic Style Facebook Group.

Monday 3/29 @1PM ET: Rectangle Body Shape
Tuesday 3/30 @1PM ET: Inverted Triangle Body Shape
Wednesday 3/31 @1PM ET: Pear Body Shape
Thursday 4/1 @1PM ET: Apple Body Shape
Friday 4/2 @1PM ET: Hourglass Body Shape

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.

Defining characteristics for a rectangle body shape.

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.

Cameron Diaz is a rectangle body shape.
Cameron Diaz wearing a black top with blue jeans.

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.

Many models have rectangle body shapes.

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 masterclass, It’s Not You, It’s the Pants! Four Tips to Find the Perfect Pants so You Never Have a Muffin Top Again, we talk about how to get pants that fit you right. You can sign up 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.

Kate Middleton is a rectangle body shape.

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.

Queen Latifah wearing a blue dress.
Queen Latifah is a rectangle.
Octavia Spencer wearing a black dress.
Octavia Spencer is a rectangle.
Rebel Wilson wearing a silver dress.
Rebel Wilson is an apple.

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.

Photo credits: One, Two, Three.

Dita Von Teese wearing a floral patterned dress.
Dita Von Teese is a rectangle.
Dita Von Teese wearing a gray dress.
She often dresses in a way that makes her appear as an hourglass.
Jill Scott wearing a black dress.
Jill Scott is also a busty rectangle.
Ursula Andress in James Bond
Ursula Andress is a rectangle.
Melanie Griffith wearing a black top and jeans.
Melanie Griffith is a rectangle.
Salma Hayek wearing a red dress.
Salma Hayek is an hourglass.

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.

Kate Middleton wearing a white top and red pants.
Kate Middleton wearing a blue striped top and jeans.
Nicole Kidman wearing a black jacket and jeans.
Nicole Kidman wearing a black dress.
Cameron Diaz wearing a black top with black pants.
Cameron Diaz wearing a black top with blue jeans.
Kate Hudson wearing a plaid top with jeans.
Kate Hudson wearing a patterned top and jean shorts.
Queen Latifah wearing a black dress.
Queen Latifah wearing a blue dress.
Natalie Portman wearing a white blouse and jeans.
Natalie Portman wearing a t-shirt and jeans.
Gwyneth Paltrow wearing a black top with black pants.
Gwyneth Paltrow wearing a black top with white pants.

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 outfit is too shape-skimming.
Kate Middleton wearing a tunic top.
This outfit is too boxy.
Kate Middleton wearing a striped shirt with navy wide-leg trousers.
This outfit is balanced.

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!

3 thoughts on “Do I Have a Rectangle Body Shape?”

  1. Thanks April! Yes, knew I was a rectangle and always like to define my waistline. However, I didn’t know why. Sadly I have gotten sucked into the tunic look on occasion. (fashion marketing). Then when I see a photo of me wearing the loose top, it’s like “oh no”!
    Thank you again for sharing your SS secrets !
    best,
    Peggy Ann

    1. You’re not the only one! My course, Style Your Silhouette goes through everything in detail so you know exactly what works best for your body shape and then you can choose what you wear with that understanding. The doors are closed but we will open them again this spring. You can learn more and join the waiting list at stunningstyle.com/lovemybody

  2. MICHELLE ELLISON

    So I know I am a rectangle but seems I have a long torso (>2 hands from bra band to navel) and short legs with 29″ inseam. Due to significant weight loss (60lbs) I have alot of excess skin/spare tire on lower abdomen making ideal styles for a rectangle not look right on me. High rise pants are more like midrise. Muffin top which on me is below my waistband creating a tire. Very skinny legs relative to my midsection. My butt or belly falls out of typical bathing suit leg openings. I feel so horrible about how it all looks so tend to wear yoga pants and leggings, looser curvy style dresses, not skirts or shorts. Pull on jeans etc always fall down on me lol. Struggle to find the right fit.

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