The Facts About Figure: The Athletic Shape


Has it ever been said that you have a "boyish frame"? Or, "you must play a lot of sports". Your body is strong, usually on the straight-up-and-down side, and let us be the first to tell you, so fun to dress. Your shape looks great in almost everything, you have the ability to flaunt or conceal as much as you feel comfortable with and balance is easily obtained like yin and yang with your figure. No matter what features you want to flaunt (or hide), we created this simple, 5-step guide to help you dress your athletic figure.

So what’s an athletic or rectangle shape, anyway?

  • You’re not particularly curvy
  • Your shoulders and hip measurements are nearly the same
  • Your waist isn’t very small or well-defined, but rather straight up and down
  • Your weight is fairly evenly distributed throughout your body

Guidelines For Dressing The Athletic Shape

The key to dressing an athletic or rectangular shape is to balance your broad upper half by accentuating your legs and other curves.  It’s all about remembering the athletic shape rule of thumb: Keep the volume on top or bottom. If you go for an oversized top shape, keep the bottom skinny or structured. With a more form-fitting top, pick a breezy or more oversized pant style.

Get started with these guidelines to embrace your athletic shape.

1. Start at the top!

Must-Have Tops For Athletic or Rectangle Shapes

An athletic figure looks best when they’re drawing attention to their muscular arms, defined shoulders and showing off their waist. Your power pieces are:

  • Halter styles
  • Racerback styles
  • Scoop & round necklines
  • Strapless anything!

If you’re on the curvy side of athletic, play up what you love: your shoulders, your collarbone, and/or your arms. If you’d rather downplay your shoulders or elongate your neck, choose a more narrow neckline like crew, cowl, or v-neck.

To play up your bust, lean towards styles with statement collars or embellished necklines. You can also score serious style points with a high neck and an open back (halters are great for you).

What about sleeve lengths?

The choice is yours! If you love your arms, show them off with strapless or tank styles. If you’re looking to cover them up, go right ahead with ¾ length sleeves in dark shades. Chances are, you have straight shoulders, which means you don’t need to add much structure here.

If you’re looking to add some curve to your waistline, choose tops that can be tucked in. Belted tops also help create the illusion of a more slender waist.

2. Then, Add Layers

The Best Jackets For Athletic or Rectangle Figures

Peacoats, dusters, bomber jackets, and flowy outerwear look amazing on you! If you’re slender, you’ll look great in a fitted, structured style. If you’re looking to create more shape around your midsection, look for cropped or elastic waist styles help create and accentuate your waistline. To minimize your waist, choose A-line cuts and hems that hit at the hip or below the knee.

3. Say Yes, To The Dress(es)

Perfect Dresses For The Athletic or Rectangle Shapes

When it comes to dresses, most styles work on you so it’s all about figuring out which feature you want to play up. Love your legs? Hike up that hemline. To play up your bust, choose strapless (with a great push-up bra) or plunging necklines.

If you’re more of a jumpsuit kinda gal, grab a halter style and show off your back. Skirts can be worn in pretty much any style or length, but it’s always a good idea to wear a heel if you’re rocking tea-length. To minimize anywhere, stick with darker colors, vertical stripes, or A-line styles. And as always, if you’re looking to create more of a waistline, grab a thin belt.

4. Last—But Not Least

The Best Jeans & Pants For The Athletic or Rectangular Shapes

Keeping the athletic shape rule of thumb in mind, pick the pant style that will best complement your top shape. If you’ve gone oversized up top, grab a skinny jean, leggings, or structured trouser style.

Want to appear taller? Floor-grazing flares or bootcut styles with heels are both slimming and elongating. If you’re on the petite style, you can balance your frame with flowy and wide-leg styles, gathered waists, and even cargos. If your torso is on the long side, you might want to pick a medium rise jean. High-waisted pants could be a little tricky if your midsection is straight, but if you find a style with stretch, they could work. To be on the safe side, make sure you try them on first.

5. Don’t Forget Accessories

Outfit Toppers For The Athletic or Rectangular Shapes

Where do you want to draw the eye athletic shape? It’s really up to you. If you want to draw attention upward, find some statement earrings, layer some necklaces, or throw on your favorite scarf. To lengthen your arms, swap in some rings instead of bracelets. If you have long arms, you can rock the chunky bangle look better than most.

One Last Thought On Body Shapes

Everybody and every body is different. If you’re not an apple shape through and through, think of mixing and matching shapes to find the right fit for you. These dressing guidelines are best used as a starting point!

And, we believe the best place to really get the lowdown on how to dress your body is from real women. From petite, to curvy to everything in the middle, here from all shapes & sizes in our series: My Body, My Style.

Ready to add pieces to your wardrobe that will complement your athletic frame? Take your style quiz, order a Fix and ask your stylist to include halter tops, bootcut jeans and other flattering styles to help you look and feel your best. Buy what you like and send back the rest. Shipping and returns are always free. It’s as simple as that.

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