Rectangle body shape : 8 steps to dress this figure to a stunner

I have heard many a curvaceous woman crib about her abundant curves and wish aloud that if only she had a rectangle for a body – but is the rectangle shaped lady happy! She is sitting there wishing for some curves. What a paradox!. The grass is always greener on the other side.

A rectangle body shape is one with almost the same girth for their bust, waist & hip. Like two parallel lines go straight up their sides. People call this shape a ladder, ruler, H etc. In the vegetable parlance, it is a banana

Most of the time this shape is accompanied by these traits – Not much bust to speak of. Not much hip to talk of. But at all times this trait is common – No waist to speak of at all. A waif thin waist you can span with your hands – that is the dream of this body shape(& everyone else) but that is nowhere to be seen in this body shape. 

This could be because of their particular bone structure. Sometimes a weight gain near the waist can cause you to have this type of figure. A little thickening of the waist can change a happy hourglass figure to a rectangle shape easily.

The boxy athletic shape is an asset but a little change can make it look stunning.  The androgynous shape of the rectangle body has to be changed to one that is more of a feminine shape with a defined waist

How to give some curves or many to a banana – that is the question.

It is possible to give an illusion of a defined waist with clever dressing – and this is the ultimate aim of this whole article – because if you can get this right, there is nothing better than having a  rectangle body shape, where nothing is in excess – other than may be a bit wide shoulders, that too for very few.

1 Prune your wardrobe

Most of the models on the ramp are of a rectangular shape (Except the Victoria Secret’s models. See reference below). But they are thin and tall, on whom all the clothes look good. If you are not a thin tall banana you have to be ruthless in discarding the clothes that make you more stocky.

The first rule is never to use any top that ends near the waist. The tops you wear has to go well past the waist ; if they don’t, discard. Tunic tops nipped at the waist or shaped with darts and that end near the hip is best for a rectangle body shape.

Tops that need to be tucked into the pants should also go, especially if you have a tummy.

Throw away all clothes with details that bulk up the waist. Throw out everything that does not make you look shapely and start over again.

2 Get Tailored /shapely clothes

how to dress a retangle shaped body

Camouflaging everything in folds of clothing and believing no one would notice the lack of curves inside is one way of dealing with what God gave you. For those who want more than that Get yourself those well-fitted clothes. But that does not mean tight fitting clothes. Those are counterproductive and will create unwanted bulges. If you have a tummy wear skimming clothes with a loose belt

Princess seam dresses which give curves by their very nature is very good for this shape – especially ones with piping on the princess seam. A princess seam placed rightly can give the illusion of shape – so does waist darts placed correctly.

3 Use Victorian tactics

Puffy sleeves and full skirts were used by Victorian ladies to make the waist look teeny weeny. The leg of mutton sleeves was their favourite with frilly gowns. Employ these tactics for a curvaceous look. You can use corsets to pinch your waist or ruffles, lace trims, flounces, big collars, and embroidery etc on the upper part near the neckline and on the bottom to give the illusion of a thinner waist

rectangle body shape

4 Counter wide shoulders

Some of the rectangle shaped ladies may also have wide shoulders. In that case Stay away from any dress/top with details on the shoulders. If you do not have wide shoulders ignore these and do the opposite

5 Choose the correct neckline

Go for the V-neckline or a scoop or a sweetheart neckline, especially if you have a big bust – these are feminine necklines that give alluring shape; A surplice neckline with a wrap style dress that loosely hugs the body can make the waist look more shapely and defined. An off shoulder neckline (unless you have wide shoulders) top or dress  can widen shoulders and make your waistline look smaller

rectangle body type outfits

6 Clever use of colours and fabric prints

It is very easy to bring the illusion of shape with clothes which are printed – the prints should be placed correctly. Buy clothes with prints in the right position and you can bring an illusion of a shapely waist.

If you are sewing check out this post on How to cut and sew fabric with prints for some tips on how to place prints and patterns correctly. Do not use horizontal prints on tops or dresses; especially near the waist area – that will make that area larger and wider than it is. 

Use same colour top and bottom so that your body does not cut into two and make you look wider.

7 Use accessories that help


Belts are the saviours for this shape. You can use a belt to give shape to your body. A wide belt is better than very thin belts. Check out this post on the different types of belts used. But the belt should be unobtrusive – ie it should not make its presence felt. Use the same colour as the dress for the belt.

You need not wear a tight clinch waist – a loosely tied belt or sash would do – you just need to give a distinction to that area that needs to be smaller than the top and bottom. In fact, a tightly clinched belt will make the tummy bulge out – you DO NOT want that.

Padded underwear

You can go for padded underwear if you are not well endowedthis will make the waist seem thinner and shapely


Using waist shaping innerwear can also give you shape where none exists

8 Wear the right clothes

A boxy or straight cut silhouette can make you look boxier. You can Soften the angle of a boxy body with flowing flared clothes nipped at the waist in soft fabrics like chiffon. 


Most of the rectangle body shaped girl have good legs – they need to dress them well – in well-fitted pants. Go for slim fit or straight cut pants / jeans.

Choose a high waist or one with a good enough rise – low rise is not good especially if you have a slight tummy. Your tummy will show above the pant waistband

A wide waistband is good. Flared pants can also look good on a rectangle body as it will balance and make the waist look smaller.

Do not tuck the tops inside the pants/ jeans ; instead, go for tops that will skim the waist and flare giving a good shape to the body.V neck tops that flare nicely to the hem with a slight shaping at the waist with good fitting pants are a good option as an ensemble for a rectangle shaped body


The type which flares at the hem like a mermaid skirt is perfect to give shape – you can also choose a tiered skirt as it goes from fitted at the waist to a flare at the hem


Well fitted jackets with waist shaping (nipped in or belted) and slightly flaring towards the hips can make the rectangle body shape look really curvy and alluring

rectangle shaped body

Extra tips for those with a tummy – check out the tips to hide a stomach with clothes

Strictly for reference purposes: The body measurements of Victoria Secret models (Do not try this at home – they are just for gawking at)

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