Every Body is Beautiful:
Dressing Different Body Types
Every body is different. And every body is beautiful. We all have our own personal challenges when it comes to finding the right clothes to flatter our body type. And sometimes it can be hard to know what styles of clothing will make you look and feel your best. At Fringe we try to carry a wide variety of sizes and styles to accommodate as many different beautiful body types as possible. We know not every woman will be able to fit into or look amazing in every piece we carry–the key is to embrace your body as it is and wear what flatters you most. Through our Every Body is Beautiful blog series, we feature real women of Whatcom County, and share tips and tricks for dressing different body types, including your own! We hope that through this series, you can learn a few style secrets to help guide you through your next shopping trip, help you purge your closet of those pieces that just do not do you justice, as well as empower you by showing you women who share your beautiful body type. Next up, we have Rhiannon Troutman representing the rectangle body type.
Hello! I’m Rhiannon Troutman, the owner of Fringe Boutique. I’ve loved playing dress up since I could walk, and by the time I was 16-years-old I knew I wanted to open my own boutique some day. Fast forward, and here we are! Almost three years into business, I have loved being a part of the Bellingham community in a new way, getting to play dress up with all of my amazing customers, as well as dressing models for fashion shows and photoshoots. I love styling, bringing the right colors, patterns, and textures together to flatter any figure, so this project has been a fun challenge so far! I’m told that I don’t show my face enough in pictures around here, so I thought I would be our model for the rectangle body type. And now for my next trick, I’ll talk to myself as I ask and answer the same questions.
Fringe: How would you classify your body type/what are we workin’ with here?
Rhiannon Troutman: I like to call myself ruler-shaped: I’m tall, narrow, and flat on both sides. More commonly defined, I’m a rectangle or straight body type. I’m 5’8″, lean but muscular, don’t have much in the way of curves, and am fairly flat in the bust and butt. I used to be a ballerina, if that helps with the picture.
F: What challenges do you often encounter while shopping for clothes?
RT: I have muscular thighs, so it’s always been a challenge to find jeans that are long enough, fit over my thighs, and stay up on my narrow hips without a belt. Enter: Articles of Society jeans, the only brand of jeans I have decided to carry at Fringe. My favorite fit is the Mya, which is a mid rise skinny jean with a 31″ inseam. These jeans are magic. Please try them.
I also have to be careful of where pieces hit on my torso: a cropped top or high waisted pants can break up my body in a disproportionate way that is really obvious with my height. I have the same challenge with dresses that are too short, especially with babydoll or empire waist styles that cut my torso too high and leave me all legs.
F: What styles of clothes make you feel your best?
RT: I love wearing drapey, flowy clothes that involve a lot of extra fabric. In the summer I wear a lot of bohemian maxi dresses and billowing kimonos, and in the cooler months I love drapey jackets and oversized sweaters and coats. I really like my lean, muscular arms and shoulders, and tend to wear a lot of sleeveless or off-the-shoulder shirts to show them off. I like the look of pieces that are loose and almost falling off, especially at the shoulders, that kind of suggest that there might be some sexy curves hidden underneath.
F: What fashion advice do you have for other women with a similar body type?
RT: Since we don’t have a lot of curve to our bodies, I like using fabric to create the illusion of more curve and shape, whether that’s a loosely tucked in shirt to create more of a waist line, or a kimono or oversized sweater to add volume and round me out.
To create the illusion of curves, I went with a “tucked” t-shirt to create more of a waist line. You can get this look by tucking in the front or side of any t-shirt or tank top, but it’s great when you can find a top that has the “tuck” built in for less fuss throughout the day. I layered on an oversized, bulky knit cardigan to add volume to my top half, but maintained a waist line because the cardigan hit at my hips. I wore my favorite stretchy, skinny leg Articles of Society jeans in the Mya fit because I love how their mid-rise give a little curve to my butt and show off my muscular legs. I’m always wearing a ton of statement jewelry, so of course I had wear all of my own jewelry pieces or else I wouldn’t feel like me!
Since summer has now passed and my flowy dresses are (for the most part) put away for the year, I went with some flowy, cropped, wide leg pants instead! I love how these pants create shape and volume as I move, and the cropped fit helps break up my long, straight body a little bit. I tucked in a loose fit tank top for a more defined waist, and chose a jacket with structured shoulders that hit at my waist to create the illusion of more curves. I can’t help accessorizing, so of course I had to top it off with one of our new lieutenant hats.
What is a rectangle body type?
- You would describe your body as straight, without much curve
- You have a small to average bust
- Your butt is more flat than round
- Your shoulders and hips are well aligned and balanced
- Your waist line is not well-defined
- You have a boyish or masculine frame
Tips for dressing a rectangle body:
- Try off-the-shoulder, scoop, wide v-neck, cowl neck, and round necklines to open up your shoulders
- Tops & dresses with collars, ruffles, bows, and other embellishments will add dimension to your top half
- Flaunt your arms and legs with sleeveless tops, skinny jeans, and cropped pants
- Try boyfriend jeans or wide leg pants to add volume and shape to your legs
- Hip-length jackets and coats that gently shape the waist with a belt, drawstring, or nipped tailoring
- Loosely tuck in casual tops and t-shirts all the way around or just in the front to create a waist line, or look for “tucked” or knotted tops for less fuss
- Jackets, blazers, and blouses with structured shoulders will give the illusion of an hourglass shape
- For skirts try tulip, pencil, or a-line skirts to create some curve in the hips
- For dresses try bias cut, body con, or form fitting dresses to show off the curves you do have
- Shift dresses can also help create the illusion of a fuller figure
- Slouchy tops and flowy maxi dresses and skirts can soften a straight, boyish frame
- Don’t be afraid to accessorize! Statement necklaces, scarves, and big earrings will add “weight” up top
- When in doubt, try belting it to create a waist line
What to avoid:
- Crop tops may cut the waist line too high
- Square necklines
- Straight or shapeless dresses and tunics
If you consider yourself a rectangle body type, we hope you found some tips and inspiration here! Thank you to Kelsey Barnwell of Kelsey Michelle Photography for these gorgeous photos! (Kelsey was our model for the Hourglass Body Type in our first installment of this series if you missed it!) And if you’re a Full-Figured Body Type, you can read our tips here. Stay tuned in the coming months as we cover more tips for dressing different body types as the Every Body is Beautiful blog series continues.