The racy rectangle is next on the list as I refresh my previous body type guidelines. If you’re still unsure of your body type or the concept of body types in general, read this post for background information.

Two important points before I begin:

  1. These are only guidelines: Don’t get too hung up on following the information here in the strictest sense. But we all have to start somewhere in order to dress in flattering ensemble combinations and getting your head around the guidelines is a great starting point. Once you have a firm grasp of the guidelines, you can bend them in clever ways and still look fab. That’s the challenging and fun part.
  2. There are 5 simple archetypes: My philosophy about body type, which has served me well for years as a fashion stylist, is to define a few simple body types and then be flexible when working with them. No, you are probably not exactly a rectangle. But that might be your primary body type with another one as secondary. So understanding the guidelines for the rectangle archetype should help you with your own, unique body. For example, I’m a dainty, straight-ish hourglass, but not quite straight enough to be a pure rectangle. But the guidelines for the rectangular body type serve me well because I’m not very curvy.

You are a rectangle if you are well proportioned, have relatively lean limbs and a straight waist. You look naturally athletic, a little boyish in frame, and tend to have a regular sized or small bust. Well endowed rectangles do exist but are not as common. Although you are probably the easiest to dress of all the body types, you’ll still want to think about how clothing affects your shape.

Defining your waist and creating curvature both on top and on the bottom is the flop proof way to go. The fact that volume is fashionable makes surrendering the waistline a third interesting twist, because you wear volume around the mid-section extremely well (especially if you’re small busted). The contours of the waist-less styles were made for rectangular bods, gliding over the straight lines of this body type.

Defining your waist and creating curves on top

  • Wear the best possible bra to create curves in all the right places. There’s nothing like a good lift to lift an outfit. And remember to wear a bra even if you’re small in the chest.
  • If you have a small chest and long neck, choose higher necklines. Crew, slash, turtle, polo, funnel, shirt, mandarin, halter and Armani necklines are perfect for you. Choose tops with bust ruffles, ruching, breast pocket detail, front panel detail and pleating. Wrap tops are also good and button down shirts are your friend. You can wear lower necklines too, just make sure that you layer with a cami to balance out the depth of the plunge.
  • Show off your back, arms and shoulders as an alternative to cleavage. Halter necks are a great option.
  • Fuller bust lines with shorter necks look best in V-necks, boat necks, sweetheart necks, scoop necks and wrap tops. You look great in button down shirts so make sure you have plenty of those too.
  • If you can get your head around wearing belts, go for it. They add a flattering curve to your straight waist. Blousoning a blouse with a belt can add a bit of shape too.
  • You can wear most lengths and styles of structured jackets if they are adequately nipped in at the waist for shape. Belted jackets, trenches and coats are especially good as they offer more waist definition.
  • You look great in straight sheath dresses and shirt dresses but look equally good in bias cuts and generous A-lines that are just on or above the knee. Wrap dresses are fab for those with a fuller bust.

Creating curves on the bottom

  • The best way to create curves on a straight bottom is by wearing something very tight, but not constricting. In this way, your body will automatically create curves. Your body was made for jeans and you’re able to wear most styles, shapes or lengths with any amount of detail. Make the most of this privilege and get the most fashion forward jean silhouette if that’s your personal style.
  • You also look fab in bootcut slacks and cigarette pants.
  • With straight limbs, you pull off combat pants with cargo pockets for casual attire. You can also wear high-waisted harem pants, slouchy wide-hipped looks that taper at the leg. Basically, you’ll get away with pant styles that add volume onto the hips because you’re lean limbed.
  • A knee-length pencil skirt that tapers in at the side seams creates attractive curves. Tuck your blouse or shirt into your pants or skirt and have fun with belts as this will give you more shape. Heavier belts with eye catching interest will also help emphasize your waist, especially if you’re long-waisted and small in the chest.
  • A-line skirts can look nice if they are voluminous in the right way. Choose stitched down, boxpleated styles or silhouettes with gathers at the basque. Trumpet skirts will also work. But skirt styles that only flare out slightly without the right amount of volume have a tendency to look shapeless on you, filling out better on bodies with more curves.

Surrendering the waistline

  • You naturally wear voluminous clothing well because straight bodies flatter straight styles. It’s a question of whether you’d prefer to add curves to your straight body by defining the waistline, or to allow clothing to hang even straighter by wearing the right boxy styles. You can do both and in my opinion both silhouettes look equally great.
  • If you like fashionable boxy styles like boyfriend jackets, boyfriend shirts, sack dresses and billowing blouses, wear them and enjoy pairing the look with sleek bottoms. If you have a short leg line, add heels and you’re good to go.

If you have further tips on how to flatter the rectangular shaped body type, let me know. If there are further questions on how to wear items when you’re a racy rectangle, let’s hear those too.