Body Shape Style Guide - The Rectangle Figure

This is the last figure shape I will be discussing in this series - although I will be posting some ideas for petite (under 5'4") figures tomorrow.

The rectangle is the straight up and down figure, with minimal waist.  She can be quite slender and boyish or a stockier build.  Hips and shoulders are in line and bust, waist and hip measurements are quite similar - although some rectangles can have a larger bust.  In short, she doesn't have much of a defined waistline.  The body is angular and legs can be quite long. Her bottom and hips are usually flat.

This figure looks great in trousers (pants), although they are usually too small at the waist if they fit her hips.  Her biggest challenge is to add curves to her shape.

I'll do this figure type  in two sections, because I think the slim athletic boyish rectangle is vastly different from the mature rectangle figure who tends to carry weight around her mid section.  That's the midlife figure, ladies!


TROUSERS/PANTS: Can wear lots of styles of pants.
  • Classic slim straight legged pants.
  • Pockets into the side seam or pockets at the hips to visually create a curved illusion.
  • Boot cut pants also add the illusion of curves.
  • If not shortwaisted, a high waisted pant with wide legs and a belt will create an illusion of a waist.
  • Flared pants 
  • Skinny jeans (only if you are slim).     
  • Avoid straight up and down sheaths - they'll just make you look like a box shape.
  • Princess seams to add contours to your shape.
  • To add curves use an A-Line shape, or add a ruffles and flounces if you are really angular.
  • End skirts and dresses at the knee - make sure there is some volume.
  •  Fit your top and flare your skirt to make it look as though you have a waist.
  • You can wear halter necks well.
  • Don't wear vertical lines as this emphasises your straight shape.     
  • Once again, use princess seams to visually add curves and contours.
  • Empire waist tops and jackets which skim the waist work
  • Or add a waist by wearing a top or jacket with a peplum
  • Wrap jacket or blouse with a shawl collar
  • Sharp, tailored jackets also work.
  • Don't wear anything that makes you look boxy or shapeless - boxy jackets or oversized slouchy or long boy friend blazers.      


  • Flat fronted trousers do not add to the mid section
  • Low waisted trouser may also work - but watch the tummy - you don't want a tummy bulge over the top of the waistband.
  • Bootleg cuts work well.
  • Jeans or jean style trousers look good on your slim hips
  • Princess seaming
  • Semi fitted shirts
  • Shaped twinsets 
  • Vests
  • Necklines - Square or V look best  
  • Tailored jacket with revers
  • Classic tailored edge to edge jacket. 
  • Princess seams add curves
  • Empire waists work as they bypass the mid section
  • Shifts and coat style dresses  
  • Straight or pencil skirts
  • Princess seams with some flare
  • Panelled skirts with flare or with godet inserts
  • Box pleats   
I'm a rectangle shape (with slightly inverted triangle tendencies), in case you have been wondering what figure type I am.
Tomorrow I will write briefly on the what the petite lady should do to add much needed height.  
Take care everyone,
Sarah Liz :-)   



  1. Hi, I just wanted to tell you I've really found your series of posts about shape and colour interesting. I am totally at a loss as to what 'shape' I actually am - I even sought help from my husband and daughter and got different answers! Even if I can't figure out what shape I am I can confirm that my experience of establishing what 'colour' I am has been really helpful over the years, I'd recommend it to everybody :)

    1. Hi Jacq, it's always hard to see yourself - and other people sometimes say what they think they should. I'm wondering, from looking at your photo, whether you are a petite - in which case my next post may help you. Glad you know what colours suit you - it is helpful :)

    2. You are absolutely right, I am 5'2". I will definitely read your next post very closely :)

  2. Hi Sarah! I agree with Jacq C; I love this series you're doing. It's great to have this as a reference. I found myself this weekend looking for tips on the best styles for the full busted girls. Thanks for helping us grow in our craft! Vita

    1. Hi Mocha, I'm glad you like this series - there is so much more I could write, but that will take me a year or so. For full busts - don't forget the v-neck principle.

  3. Thank you for all the wonderful and informative post..


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