My New Favorite Outfit: Tips for Styling a Rectangle Shape

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tips for Styling a Rectangle Shape

Today I'm excited to be back with another edition of my series, dressing for your body type. In case you've missed it first I talked about how to dress for an hourglass shape, next I talked about dressing for a pear shape, then I talked about dressing for inverted triangle. Today I'm going to share with you some tips for how to style a rectangle body shape. I happen to be this shape and through this series I've found there are more girls this shape then I previously thought.

Not sure if this is your shape, here are some characteristics:
  • Your bust and shoulders are about the same width as your hip-line
  • You might look shorter and heavier than you are
  • Your waist is 1" to 8" smaller than your bust and hips
  • You may have a short waist
Here I am in all my rectangular awesomeness.  All of these characteristics apply to me.  All of them.  This would be the reason why you usually don't see me sporting just one shirt or flats because at only 5'4" 5'3" "I'm a little tea pot..."

If this fits you, use these tips to look your best each day:

Work to make your waist look smaller by:
  • Utilize belts-always
  • Wear jackets, sweaters, and cardigans that hit at the waist
  • Wear tops and jewelry that draw attention up away from your waist
  • Wear bottoms and shoes that draw attention down away from your waist.
  • Steer clear of wearing shapeless, boxy pieces solo, they'll only make your rectangle shape more predominant 
  • Add a layer like a blazer or jacket to to help define your waist; structured blazers are great for this
  • Tuck in your shirt, it will naturally help to define your waist
When buying tops:
  • Look for tops with details above the bust, they'll draw attention up; lace, pleating, sequins can help add the appearance of a more defined waist.
When buying pants and jeans:
  • Most jeans styles work with a rectangle shape, flare and straight leg will draw attention away from your waist
  • Skinny jeans work for a rectangle shape, add an interesting shoe to draw attention down 
  • Make sure fit well around your hips and rear, this will help to create curves
  • Steer clear of wide leg jeans, as they can look overwhelming on a rectangular shape 
When buying skirts and dresses:
  • Most every style will work, just make sure to add a belt to add definition to your waist
  • Skirts and dresses with a voluminous hip will help to add the appearance of curves
  • Pencil skirts and a-line are great options for you
  • Don't be shy about prints and patterns, they are always great options for you.

Now, I applied the tips listed above to my all black and very rectangular body.  I added a layer to create a waist, a scarf to draw attention up, and boots in brown to draw attention down.  Here's the impact:

Same pose and everything and I probably look twenty pounds lighter.  Totally crazy. Here's a couple more of the outfit because I really like it. : )

Next I used the tips above and am going to show you a few more outfits that utilize these tips:

The first is a work look. What I started with was a striped dress, that when worn alone is pretty boxy and not very flattering on me.  To help define my waist I added a belt.  Next I added a structured layer, which also helps to define my waist.  Lastly I added a scarf to draw attention up and away from my waist and boots below to draw attention away from my waist.

Next, I thought I'd show you a weekend look I've worn utilizing these tips, this look follows the same pattern as the first one I showed you today.  I started with a basic sweater and jeans, which would look great worn alone on most body types, except for rectangles, it makes me look well.....very rectangular.  To help off set this I added a vest, then a scarf to draw attention up and boots again to draw attention down.

Lastly, I thought I'd show a date night look.  I started out with a great dress from Loft that is very boxy when worn alone on me.  To create a waist I added a belt, then layered with a cardigan.  To draw attention up I added a great statement necklace.

Here's a graphic with tips for you too:

Next week I'll be covering the apple shape, make sure to come back to tips for dressing for that shape.

Also, I'm having a great time seeing everyone's Style Swaps, I'd love to have you join the fun this Friday.  Button is on the side bar for you to grab. : ) 


  1. I think that this dress and cardi is one of my favorite outfits you have posted! Thank you for these amazing style tips! Susan

  2. Oh wow, the difference between the black tee alone vs. with the vest/scarf is huge!

    The Tiny Heart
    Jewelry Giveaway!

  3. Love it Ginny. It's amazing isn't it how a little accesorizing and adding a vest can make such a difference!!!!! Great post!!!!!


  4. All your tips really do make a difference! I just love that date night look of yours. It's so flattering and pretty on you!

  5. Love the last look and the 2 outfits with vests. My most favorite though is the B+W Striped Dress. Great tips as usual. You haven't covered the hourglass shape yet. =)

  6. It's really amazing to see the difference! The little things we do can make a big impact on how we look and how we feel!

  7. Love this series!
    This is my shape, I am only 5'1" and I always, always try to elongate my torso! I don't wear flats very often and when I do, I don't feel very confident in them!


  8. your layering is so perfect ginny and i absolutely love the polka dots and that red vest...can't get enough of that!

    XO Meghan
    citrus fashion

  9. This is so great! Thanks for all your help and tips. I am going to add more belts to my wardrobe immediately!

  10. You are brilliant! If you lived by me I would pay you to come to my house and create outfits. You, my dear, have a gift. Thanks for sharing!!!

  11. Love this outfit today, the red vest and plaid scarf make a fun combo =)

  12. Wow, what a great post! Really informative! I should really learn more about my shape and what looks best, rather than just throwing things on haha!

  13. great tips! these looks are all definitely great on you!