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Styling the Rectangle Shaped Body for Fall

October 9, 2019

Happy hump day, gals! Today I have our final installment in my fall mini-series about styling the unique body shapes or silhouettes this fall. Today we’re styling the rectangle shaped body. If you missed any of the other posts, you might want to check them out here.

Styling the Rectangle Shaped Body for Fall


In this little series I’ve been providing styling tips and curated looks for each of the primary body shapes or silhouettes: oval (O), triangle (A), inverted triangle (V), hourglass (X) and now the rectangle (H or I).

But keep in mind that body shape is just part of the equation. Your body shape is your silhouette. It’s based on your skeletal structure, not your weight. And it’s measured by the diameter of your shoulders, waist and hips, not your circumference. Does that make sense to you?

Where the goal is to create a visually pleasing female body silhouette, body shape simply tells us:

  • where to add detail or interest to your outfit
  • where to keep plain with no detail or interest
  • where to have horizontal lines to emphasize or broaden
  • where to use vertical lines to slenderize

But when calculating an outfit you also really need to take into consideration body proportions and unique body variations, such as bust size, arm size, calf size, bootie size, etc. For more information on styling for those variables please see last year’s style series.

However, for today, I’m sharing several great fall outfits that will generally work well for a gal with a rectangle or H or I shape body, depending on what categories you like to use (shapes or letters).


I’m basing today’s client on a reader response I received. This gal, like all rectangle shaped women, has a fairly straight silhouette. Her shoulders and hips are approximately the same width across and her waist is not very defined, less than 9″ difference from the shoulder or hip measurements.

Also, generally the reason someone with an H or I shape does not have a defined waist is because there isn’t much distance between the bottom of their rib cage and the top of their hip bones. Thus, there’s no room for definition. Make sense? So I’m also providing options that should work best for women with a “short waist” and longer legs.

the rectangle or H or I body shape

In case you’re wondering, the only difference between an H and an I is that the H silhouette is characteristically broader across the shoulders and hips, larger boned and visually more stocky. While the I is more narrow across the shoulders and thighs and has a more slender figure. But most of the tips I’m offering apply for both of these rectangle shapes.


When you shop, I suggest you carry a cheat sheet with you at all times. In fact, I have cheat sheets for each of the body shapes and proportions in my Subscriber Freebies for those of you who are email subscribers. (Not a subscriber? Sign up today!) The password is in the emails.

But here are the “rules” I used when shopping for my “rectangle shaped client:”

  • attempt to create the illusion of a defined waist without drawing attention to the waist
  • thus, no waist details (for the H; an I can have detailing at the waist)
  • no belts at the waist (for the H)
  • no tucking your shirt at the waist
  • no pockets at the waist
  • no jackets hitting at the waist
  • tops should be shaped to create the illusion of a waist, but should end below the waist, preferably around the hip bone or lower if thighs aren’t too wide
  • add vertical lines through the torso to create visual shaping
  • keep detailing on tops above the bust to draw focus up
  • best dress silhouette is the empire waist line, just below the bust, which is generally your most narrow place
  • the wrap dress that cinches at the waist is not for you; a wrap dress that cinches just below the bust and skims the waist will work
  • keep the area between the hips and bust boring with no details to elongate and slenderize
  • use built-in shaping in the dress to create the illusion of a waist – ruching, princess seams, etc.
  • you likely have long legs unless you’re petite so show them off
  • skirts with asymmetrical hems, ruffles, straight skirts, detailing along the hems all work well
  • you can wear straight, skinny, bootleg and wide leg pants and jeans, depending on your proportions and unique body variations
  • generally you should stick with a mid-rise jean or pant
  • jackets should be tapered to create a waistline and should be longer, ending below the waist
  • no patch pockets on jackets, but slanted pocket slits will help create the illusion of a waistline
  • coats can be 3/4 length or long, but should be fitted as unstructured coats will make you look more boxy
  • but don’t wear a tie belt with coat
  • no horizontal lines at the waist on the hems of sweaters or tops
  • if you want to create more curves look for volume or detailing in the areas you want to enhance: bust or hips
  • trapeze styles work on your frame (especially the I, more than the H)


Let’s look at some of the types of outfits my clients could wear. All of these items are appropriate for the H or rectangle shaped body. Generally, simply because they are more slender, the I silhouette can fudge on some of these rules. But remember, take your body proportions into consideration as well. That could change things.

All of these are shoppable bulletin boards! Just shop through the captions or the shopping widgets below them. These are affiliate links, so if you purchase anything through them I potentially earn a small commission, but at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting what I do here!

Jeans & Pullover Sweater from Kohl’s

The casual look below works well for the H shaped body because the pullover sweater skims the body and ends below the hip bone. The vertical chevron stripes create the illusion of a waistline. Don’t tuck your shirt into your jeans, of course. Also, these Levi’s jeans have a slightly curvy fit to accommodate your shape without requiring a belt.

boatneck pullover sweater (available in several color combinations) // Levi’s 715 Western Midrise Bootcut jeans // ankle boots // convertible tote // necklace // earrings

Dress & Coat from Talbots

This beautiful twist front fit and flare dress works beautifully for the rectangle shaped woman because the twist at the waist slims and creates a waist without a belt. The coat works because the soft waistline is not belted, but the silhouette gives the appearance of shape.

twist front fit & flare dress // fur-trimmed wool coat // leather satchel // kitten heel pumps // earrings // bangle

Work Apparel from Ann Taylor

In the next curated look I chose straight leg dress slacks with minimal fuss along the waist band for a smooth appearance under the untucked blouse. If you choose to wear a suit jacket, choose a long one like this that skims past the waist to below the hip bones. The vertical lines in the lapel help slenderize and create the illusion of a waist. Of course, leave this beautiful soft draping blouse untucked to elongate the torso.

Work Apparel Rectangle Shape this Fall
straight leg dress slacks // long one-button blazer // matte jersey tie-neck blouse // houndstooth bow pumps // pearlized pave bracelet // pearlized pave drop earrings

Casual Jeans, Shirt and Blazer from Nordstrom

I think this is my favorite look for the rectangle shape. Wear this colorful button up shirt untucked to elongate the torso. Top it with a slightly fitted long blazer like this merino sweater blazer from J. Crew. Add trending splashes of yellow. This crossbody bag especially works beautifully because even the diagonal line of a bag can help create a more balanced shape.

Oops. I seem to forget to change the title on at least one of these curated looks in each post! This is more of a casual Friday outfit, I suppose.

Casual Jeans and Blazer for Rectangle Shape this Fall
hidden placket shirt // mid rise skinny jeans // merino sweater blazer // double panther crossbody bag // resin drop earrings // feather studded loafer

Skirt and Top from Nordstrom

Bias cut skirts are great on H shaped women. They add fluid movement and shape where it’s needed. And since slip skirts are very “in” right now, it’s a great time to wear one. Leave the turtleneck sweater untucked.

Skirt and Top Rectangle Shape this Fall
cashmere turtleneck sweater // tiger stripe silk midi slip skirt // black bootie // leather hobo // adjustable lariat necklace // hammered circle earrings

Well that wraps up our series on styling the different shaped silhouettes for fall. I hope you enjoyed it. Remember, you can catch all the other posts in this series here. If you have any questions about anything in the curated looks, please let me know.

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Blessed for My Day

Can we ever really fathom the richness of God’s grace? Until we understand how abhorrent our sin is before a holy God, we cannot possibly comprehend the price of our salvation nor the depth of God’s love.

Today let’s pause to meditate on how great a salvation we have. Let’s remember that there is no sin too great to be cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. But let’s also remember that this gift is one we could never deserve or repay. Indeed, God’s grace is amazing.

Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
    they shall become like wool. ~ Isaiah 1:18

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xoxo, Kay
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4 thoughts on “Styling the Rectangle Shaped Body for Fall

  1. Hi Kaye, VERY helpful post. I’m a true H. I have struggled with tucking or untucking blouses. They have always looked better untucked but I felt maybe too sloppy and should be tucked. I’d try the half tuck too. Now I know why they always look better untucked. You’ve given me the reason why now. Thank you!

    1. Hi Candy, I’m glad the post was helpful. I meant to say this somewhere in the post, but forgot. Pretty tailored blouses or even slightly fitted blouses are your best friend! I suggest having as many of those as you need. Buy good ones that keep their shape and create a pleasing silhouette on your body. Fortunately, these are really trending right now. I tried to include several of these in the post.

  2. Great post Kay! I really like the sweater from Kohl’s! Since this is my birthday month and I have special coupons from them, I am seriously considering getting that sweater. I love the BFMD! Enjoy your day!