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How to dress the rectangle body shape

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Is you body more rectangle shaped than hourglass, and would you like add more shape with your clothes?

In this article I show you how to dress the rectangle body shape and give you lots of ideas on how to create more shape with your clothes.

Rectangle is my most dominant body shape (with pear shape being my secondary).

Still not sure about your own shape? Find out how to determine your body shape

Many models tend to have this body shape or the inverted triangle shape.

A lot of clothes will usually suit you and fit you well, although some of the taller women may have trouble finding clothes that fit properly.

Still, many rectangles will find dressing a bit more of a challenge as they are likely to get extra weight around their tummies as they age (usually after menopause).

Discover how to hide your tummy with fabulous clothes.

As a rectangle, you will want to create more curves and a pleasing silhouette. You can do this by defining the waist and creating curves on the bottom or top.

On the other hand, you can also get away with a straight look and surrender the waist line altogether, which is a look that I’m quite fond of.

Above is one of my favorite outfits. You can see that the wide leg pants add shape to my body and create a flattering silhouette.

Here’s a similar sleeveless floral top, wide leg pants and earrings.

Asymmetric styles are great for the rectangle body type. Check some of the best asymmetric clothes here.

Similar tops here and here and wide jeans

There are two main strategies for dressing your body if you have a rectangle shape.

You could do this by wearing a shift dress with a long cardigan over the top, for example.

Dayle @artfulcitystyle above (read her style interview here) shows how you can create a flattering column effect by wearing one color, and then adding a long cardigan or duster coat in a different color.

Get her look with this similar jumpsuit, kimono, shoes (another option here) and earrings.

The second option is to actually create some curves.

You can do this through the clothes you wear and the details they have on them.

For example, you could wear a boat neck top with a pair of wide legged pants and a belt. That way, you will look like you go out, in and out again like an hourglass.

Mel @bagandaberet above (read her style interview here) shows how you could add curves with a cap sleeve t-shirt and wide leg pants.

Recreate her outfit with this similar top (another option here), pants and pumps.

Now, onto which specific clothes, shoes and accessories will be good for you if you have a rectangle body shape.

Max Mara Leisure Glassa Cotton Button-Up ShirtDIARRABLU Aida Wrap BlouseMango Asymmetric Satin Blousebeachlunchlounge French Terry Side Tie T-Shirt

Similar top, pants, bootie sandals, necklace, earrings and sunglasses

DIARRABLU Aida Wrap BlousePAIGE Genevieve High Waist Flare JeansMassimo Dutti Leather Toe Cap Ballet FlatsANINE BING Emma ToteCOS Oval Hoop Earrings

No matter what your body shape, you will still need a cozy sweater for cool evenings.

You’re lucky in that you can choose any shape of sweater – you can either choose fitted to add more shape or a looser style. Stripes or a sporty style will play up your athletic figure, while a wrap style will add curves.

COS Knitted Silk Half-Zip Polo Shirt& Other Stories Slouchy Ribbed Mock Neck JumperCOS V-Neck Merino Wool Cardigan& Other Stories Wrap Cardigan

Jamie @moreturquoise above (read her style interview here) chooses a wide neck sweater with her jeans.

Steal her look with this similar sweater (another option here), jeans, booties and earrings.

Choose a coat with a good waist or that is belted at the waist. Any jacket tailored around the waist will look great.

You are lucky as you can wear pretty much any coat. You can choose to create a waist with tailoring or a belt. Or you can opt for a jacket like a moto or denim jacket to layer over your outfits, or choose to forgo your waist with an open coat.

Mango Shawl Collar Structured BlazerKaren Millen Leather Pocket Detail Belted Biker JacketMax Mara Leisure Iacopo Belted Stretch Cotton Blend Jersey JacketMango Flowy Lapel Trench

Suzie @suzie.richetti above chooses a tie waist jacket and wide leg pants.

Get her look with this similar blazer, tee, wide pants, pumps, necklace and earrings.

Mango Shawl Collar Structured BlazerMax Mara Leisure Glassa Cotton Button-Up ShirtCOS Tailored Linen-Blend Bermuda ShortsMassimo Dutti Leather Flat Slider SandalsANINE BING Emma ToteKarine Sultan Beaded Medallion Pendant Necklace

There’s more inspiration in this article on how to choose a coat.

You can wear a tight skirt or pants to highlight the curves that you DO have or you can choose a looser style.

You can wear almost any shape trousers but slightly flared trousers will look great on you as it will add more shape to your body. Low to mid waisted pants are usually best. Stripes will look good on you as they mirror your figure.

PAIGE Genevieve High Waist Flare JeansNYDJ Sheri Side Slit Slim Ankle JeansCOS Striped Satin PantsCOS Tailored Linen-Blend Bermuda Shorts

Judith @stylecrone above (read her style interview here) shows off slim ankles with her leopard print shoes. You can see that the pockets on her blazer create curves at her hips.

Get her look with this similar blazer, jeans, pumps. necklace and head wrap.

Again, you’re very lucky to have a wide choice of dresses and skirts which will look fabulous on your rectangle shape.

Mango Bow Wrap DressMassimo Dutti Topstitching Linen DressMango Abstract Printed JumpsuitDKNY Logo Waistband Midi Skirt

Similar red dresses here, here and here.

Massimo Dutti Topstitching Linen DressMassimo Dutti Tumbled Leather TrainersMichael Kors Jet Set Small Shoulder BagCOS Oval Hoop Earrings

Take a look at how to wear tunics or short dresses over pants for further inspiration.

Of course, you have a huge amount of freedom when it comes to your shoe choices.

It really depends on where you want to draw attention. If you want to add a pop of color, you could choose bright shoes.

You are also likely to be able to wear shoes with an ankle strap if you have slimmer ankles and calves as you don’t need to worry about visually cutting a line across your legs.

Massimo Dutti Leather Flat Slider SandalsMassimo Dutti Leather Toe Cap Ballet FlatsMassimo Dutti Leather High Heel MulesMassimo Dutti Tumbled Leather Trainers

Similar dresses from H&M, SheIn Billabong and VintageClothing and sandals from Fly London.

Above is a dress I like because of the asymmetrical elements and the unusual print.

Again, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the accessories you team with your outfits

You can opt for classic styles or add some femininity with your bag choices and colors.

You can also choose feminine jewelry to contrast with what may be an athletic figure, or you can go for modern, geometric pieces like the ones I used in the photo above.

ANINE BING Emma ToteANINE BING Mini Colette BagMichael Kors Jet Set Small Shoulder BagKarine Sultan Beaded Medallion Pendant NecklaceCOS Oval Hoop EarringsDead Davidson Sol Statement Gemstone Drop Earrings

Similar top, skirt, sandals, tote, hat, sunglasses and necklace

Please note that the guidelines above are for general guidance only. Everyone is different and you certainly don’t have to stick to the above guidelines to dress well.

Mango Abstract Printed JumpsuitMassimo Dutti Leather High Heel MulesANINE BING Mini Colette BagDead Davidson Sol Statement Gemstone Drop Earrings

Below is a complete capsule wardrobe for the rectangle body shape from many of the items we featured above.

You can see you could switch the clothes around to get many different looks. For example, you could wear the white blazer over the green dress, the tie waist top with any of the pants, or you could wear the green cardigan as a cover-up for the print jumpsuit.

Read our ultimate guide to creating a capsule wardrobe that works best for you.

While the capsule below is past season, all the looks are timeless so they should still provide you with ideas for your next outfits.

While the capsule above is suited to transitional weather, if you are looking for warmer options for the rectangle, you may find inspiration in the choices below. These items are no available online, but you can use them as inspiration and shop in your own closet.

Ruth gives tips on how to dress the rectangle body shape.

P.S.: To find out more about your unique style and what would suit your body type and personality I highly recommend our style course.

How do you dress your rectangle shape? Let us know!

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I believe that dressing to accentuate my curves is key. I love high-waisted bottoms and wrap dresses that cinch at the waist. Layering with jackets or cardigans creates dimension, and adding statement jewelry draws attention upward. My inspiration comes from confident women who embrace their unique shapes and radiate self-love. Remember, fashion is about expressing yourself and feeling confident in your own skin!

Thank you so much for this web site! I have always thought I was an hourglass shape, but the calculator tells me I’m a rectangle! My shape has changed recently, though. My belly is a little bigger due to menopause and I recently had my breasts removed due to cancer. So, I’m trying to figure out how to dress myself. I used to show off my shapely legs with shorts and wear tight lower cut tees or empire waist tops to show of my boobs, and distract from my belly rolls. Now, I need to hide my massive scar and lack of cleavage by wearing higher cut stuff. It’s hard to layer with jackets because I live in Florida and it’s hot and humid 10 months out of the year. Anyway, getting lots of ideas of new things to try from this site and I thank you so much! I really love the rust-colored crop top under number 6 on the How to Hide Your Belly page (can’t comment there). I’ve spent about 8 hours searching the internet for something similar, but haven’t found anything yet. I’m not comfortable paying $150+ for a designer version, looking more in the $50 -75 range. Wish me luck!

That top is from Stella Carakasi. It’s no longer available but there is a similar one at

I used the calculator, it said I’m a rectangle shape. My problem is: I’m 5’1″, 119lbs, & have very short waist (1 inch between my ribs and hip bone) my bust size is 36C & My legs are a bit skinny. I always feel I look heavy on top & hate having pictures taken because it always seems my boobs take center stage. How can I minimize them? By the way, I’m 64 but people think Im in my early 50’s.

Hi Carrie we have some guidelines and tips at You may also enjoy this article

I am frustrated that I can’t find reasonable clothing for my short 5’6 frame, rectangle body type with a purging tummy. So many sites give very mixed messages on sizes and styles not to mention they only touch on one area of the body not considering the other parts. How can you help?

Every body is unique so you’ll always have to combine guidelines for several areas to find your own perfect mix. I have articles on how to dress when you’re short, how to hide your belly, how to find your style and 1400+ others. Start playing with your clothes and see what works for you.

Hi! My measurements say I’m a rectangle, but the weight doesn’t fall in the “right” places. I have narrow shoulders, a large bust, poorly defined waist, and curvy hips/bottom. Can you help me figure out which way to go with clothes? Thanks!

You’ll have to decide which parts of your body you wish to highlight or downplay. This is different for each person. I have articles on how to downplay hips (how to dress for the pear body shape), how to downplay the bust and how to dress for narrow shoulders. Find out what’s important for you and find the guidelines for that.

II am 5’9″ tall and weigh 198 pounds. I have ankles, legs, and feet that sometimes swell (because of surgeries), so short shirts and some heels and boots are not options for me. I usually opt for pants, sweater sets/sweater coordinates, a few long skirts (when desperate), and casual/dressy flats. I wore my go-to business interview outfit (black slacks, long taupe sweater set, black booties, structured tan purse) to an interview, and was asked to interview for a director’s position in this organization. I will be meeting with group of about 25 to 30 people for a presentation, will meet with organization’s CEO and a vice president, and will meet with the interview committee. I have black pants and jackets and brown pants and jackets; I have been searching for some pieces that are less severe. Suggestions?

Black pants are good as bottoms and you could even wear those with a black (matching) blazer but be sure to then wear it with a brighter color. Could be white but can also be a color. You may also consider adding a scarf to make the black less harsh. Another alternative is to go for a lighter color. Burgundy red is very good in winter, which you could combine with white. Still very professional but warmer.

Dear Sylvia,
I love your blog, I live in Zimbabwe and I have just starting a grooming and etiquette school. I was researching on body types and how to dress for different body types when I stumbled on your blog. Thank you it is really interesting and I will definitely recommend it to my students.

i think im rectangle tho but im not sure cos i have these small hips tho lol. pls help me define my shape and wear clothes that fit my body shape.

You can try the online calculator which is mentioned here:


According to the calculator linked elsewhere on your site I’m a banana or straight shape. I’m 5’3 and have thinner arms and legs, but I have a slightly smaller sized chest and a belly that protrudes forwards as though I were pregnant even though I’m not. My husband tends to like pencil skirts on me, but I always feel like they are tight on my tummy, so I don’t enjoy wearing them unless its a special occasion. I’m a stay at home mom and work with my kids all day long, so dresses aren’t my “go-to” because of the bending over and sitting on the floor. So I tend to wear pants, but my problem is finding jeans that don’t hurt my tummy from being tight on my bigger belly (but looking nice everywhere else). And, being short, I find it hard to find maxi dresses that aren’t crazy long and I cant afford to take everything to a tailor! Another thing with dresses, is that because of my “fake pregnant belly” I tend to want to get empire waisted casual dresses, but then my husband says I look pregnant, and since I’m not anymore, I’m guessing he isn’t loving that look! LOL! I need suggestions for good fabric choices that will look nice, not fade, and be comfortable and stretchy enough to handle lots of movement. Let’s put it this way, if I’m not leaving my house I am perfectly content to wear a stretchy t-shirt and yoga pants. I look terrible. I’m actually kinda cute when I have the right kind of clothes on, but I need help for finding good “everyday” clothes to wear to go shopping and for when I have to go to our homeschool co-op’s. And, I’d like to give my husband something prettier to come home to! LOL!

There are 100s of articles on this site that provide tips and inspiration and of course there is my style course You may also like this article and I have an article on petites

Hi Sylvia
Thanks for ideas/ hints for rectangle d shaped women. I am a very long rectangle. My legs are thin like sticks so I tend to wear trousers most of the time but this summer I bought a few flared skirts. I’d like to buy a pair of denim jeans that are straight or flared, (definitely not skinny). Is there a brand that you recommend ? I’m in my 50 s so I’m looking for comfort and a touch of style.

I talk about jeans and some good brands to try at There are a few listed that you can buy online too!

So I really want to try out a pair of boyfriend jeans but I’m scared to XD. Do you think a rectangle body shape pull off that style of jeans, or would I be wasting my time buying them?

Absolutely! Have fun finding a great pair Celeste.

I have no idea what shape I am. 5’1.5 fthave very large bust 38F and 36 waist my legs are not on the skinny side as I did a lot of swimming and field hockey at school. I’m hitting the old age stomach problem and would love to know how to dress. I am not a lady that wares a lot of makeup or jewellery. Any help will be amazing

You can start with this article Lots of tips for hiding the belly are at

I am confused as to my shape. I guess I am more rectangular but unlike the normal profile and big busted and my hips are not flat. I am 58 and that may be the cause of my waist being bigger. My measurements are ; bust 38DD, waist about 30-31 and my hips are 37-38

I think I look better in V neck tops, I usually wear 3/4 sleeve. I have a hard time with dresses! I wear skirts and tops more.

Please send me some suggestions and pictures would be great.

Hi Charlotte. I don’t give individual recommendations as so much depends on your own preferences and which parts of your body you wish to downplay or highlight. My style courses or the private stylist programme may help in discovering as to what suits you.

I so agree with you! I have the exact same problem and didn’t know whether to identify as hourglass or pear but I’m a rectangle according to the calculator. My bust is a 34E and I have the same problems with the fit of dresses. Like you, I prefer V necks and 3/4 sleeves and wear separates a lot. At 59 and post menopausal, I usually wear the hourglass wrapped tops to hide the developing spare tyre that has appeared since menopause (darn it!). I wear the looser fitting skirts that sit flat like an hourglass or pear but will usually wear a loose shirt or vest over everything that is recommended for the rectangle. My shoulders are too broad and bust too big for halter necked tops. Hope this helps.

i am glad i came across this blog..
it is so nice.
i am actually just fifteen and i am around 170cm and weigh around 50kg.
i am really happy with my rectangular or more of an inverted triangle shape. But .. too bad i don’t have a flat tummy.. any suggestions to choose the right clothing for me please!

Hi Olivia. Your tummy does not need to be completely flat for it to be still very attractive, but if you prefer hiding it then here are some tips on how to do that with the right clothes:

I’m super lanky and tall, and I definitely fall into the rectangle category, but I’m a like a thin column. I’m trying to find a cute bikini for the summer. I was wondering what swimsuits work for this body type. I know one-pieces never work because I’m too tall, but what combination of tops and bottoms would you suggest? I’ve tried high-neck, bralettes, bandeaus, high-waisted shorts, etc. I never know what looks good!


If you want to break up your length a bit a singlet or top with small sleeves may work paired with a bikini bottom or shorts in a different color. You can see a picture of me wearing something similar at Link to that top and my advice for bathing suits is at

I think I am a rectangular too, aren’t I? Most of your recommendations I follow.
Love the yellow and blue dress.

I think you are closer to the inverted triangle, but you could be a combination of the 2….

Hello Sylvia,

Thank you for your blog. My first step, after discovering that I am actually a ripe yummy banana shaped at age 40+ is to get back on the treadmill! Your suggestions for pants are so on point and the dresses are great as well.
My favorite item of clothing is a pencil skirt, just below the knee. I am 5’10” and 148lbs, and it looks becoming on me. Do you have other suggestions?

You’re welcome Piper and welcome to the site! I’m a rectangle myself so you may want to check all my outfits for more ideas?

Hello! I’m 5ft 2in, about 115 lbs, 20 years old and I do have a small bust. I’m a dancer and have a rather big bum for my petite and rectangle shape. If I wear a short dress it makes my bum little a little too big. Can you help? Thank you so much!

First of all I would say be proud of your butt. It can actually be very shapely and attractive! But if you really want to downplay it then here are some general tips: If your butt is very wide, you can balance it by wearing something wider on top. Don’t wear a dress in too heavy a fabric, but also not too thin. Avoid pockets. Draw attention to your waist, eg. with belt or sleeves ending at the height of your waist. Keep the clothes on your bottom part simple, a darker colour at the bottom will also minimise your butt. Longer skirts and dress would be better for you if you like to minimise your butt. Aim to create an hourglass silhouette with fit and flare skirts. Avoid bags that end at your hips. Hope that helps!

my shoulder is 35 inches,my bust is 33, my waist is 25 and my hips 33, am I a rectangular shape

It appears yes. But remember, this is not set in stone. Dressing for your body type is always about the parts you want to highlight and downplay and that’s up to you.

I am a 54 year old women who is banana shaped. I used to be thin and now my weight seems to go in the middle. I am only 5’3″ so it is notable. I have a hard time with pants because to fit my middle they are big in my butt and thighs..even when I was thin. What kind of tops and pants should I wear?

Since you are rectangular, I’m assuming you have good legs? As you are not that tall you may want to lengthen those, while hiding your tummy. If needed buy pants and jeans that have a lower rise, so it fits your hips, while making sure your wear a wide top overneath to hide your tummy. Go for models with straight legs. The tops could be similar to the tops in this article: They should not be that long (just enough to hide your belly weight). If it’s too difficult to find pants that fit well around your butt and thighs, enlist the help of a good tailor.

Hi Sylvia,
Am so happy I discovered your blog….i am a total block, I am 48 years old, ….162cms tall and weigh 146 pounds.I have a long torso and short legs…I am a 38-31-39….I struggle with what kind of trousers/skirts and tops to wear…I can never find a pair of jeans that fits me on the hips and also the waist !…its always too large on the waist.
I would love any tips

Hi Winnie. Welcome to 40PlusStyle! For your body type you will want to create the illusion of longer legs. Opt for tops that have strong vertical lines. Like a blazer with a long V, tops and dresses with a V or a line of bottoms. Long trousers are best worn to the ground and if you can manage it a small heel underneath (preferably invisible). Dresses work well as well, especially high wrap dresses or dresses with a high waist. Always try to split your body in thirds 1/3 – 2/3 works well and vice versa. You can use our style forum for further questions or you may want to try the “My professional Stylist’ program which also gives you lots tips on which clothes would suit your body type:

hi, i loved ur website. i am 5ft7 inch, slim, rectangle shape. and 45 yrs old. What kind of casual dresses should I wear? I dont like short dresses. Would maxi dresses be proper? Where can I wear maxis and where knee length dresses?

Thanks Sharmila. I think you can wear all kinds of casual dresses. I’m actually of similar shape and length as you so you can see examples of what I wear throughout the site. You could also wear short dresses over pants as I often do. Yes you can wear maxidresses and knee high dresses as well for many occasions. You have quite a few options as a rectangle… Feel free to ask more specific questions in our style forum!

I have a rectangle body type, but I am also short-waisted,, i e, short torso with not much waist. I am about 154 cm tall, and slim. Any tips or links for what to wear, and what to avoid? For instance, I know I can’t wear belts at the waist…..

Thank you

Hi Andie. Thanks for your question. I have yet to write an article on this topic but here are some quick tips. As with all bodytypes you should aim to divide your body in thirds. 1/3-2/3 looks nice or 2/3-1/3. For some short waisted women if they tuck in their tops, it becomes more of a 1/4 – 3/4 silhouette. But since you are not so tall you may still be able to tuck in your tops. For many short waisted women wearing a top over your skirt and trousers is preferred. You can add a belt to further define your waist. You may also want to accentuate your legs by wearing lighter colours at the bottom and wearing darker ones at the top. Another thing that works well for your body type is to wear bottom and top in one colour for a nice streamlined appearance. Also make sure that you place your belt at your preferred waist line. Finally you may want to keep your tops streamlined and simple. Perhaps you can post some images of your outfits on the style forum? It’s better for me to judge that way what looks good on you!

I’m 48, and have a rectangle body shape – banana.
The problem is I’m pretty short ! – 154 cm.
I’d love to get some tips suitable for me as of what to wear, and what to avoid.
Is there an article or a link you know of?
Thank you
Love your stuff!

Hi Iris, Read through my article on how to dress when you are petite: Most outfits featured there would be great for you!

ooh great article. I particularly like the coat at the top Having a rectangle body myself i obviously don’t have many features to flaunt and my best point is my legs so i tend to wear dresses more than trousers.

Thanks for stepping by and leaving your feedback Andrea!

Thanks Jacqui for your lovely compliments. Will send you an email shortly.


Hi There – I love your blog! I have been a professional in the industry for 20 years as a “body shape” personal stylist, fashion editor (Shape, Vogue, Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire, Lucky, and more), national TV spokesperson (Today Show, The View, E!, ET, The Nate Berkus Show, etc.) and I think the information you provided here is perfect. This is exactly what I like to educate my readers, viewers, and clients. I would like to feature you as a “Blog I Love” this week. I will showcase how fabulous you and your blog are. After I will send you the icon to put on your site to direct your readers to read all about it! Please let me know your thoughts….


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