10 sure-fire ways to hide your belly with the right clothes

by Sylvia

10 sure fire ways to hide your belly with the right clothes | 40plusstyle.com

Many women after 40 experience weight gain on their bellies, especially those going into perimenopause or menopause. Your waist may disappear and you will start to develop more characteristics of the apple body shape. Luckily there are many things you can do to hide that belly, so that it doesn’t come in your way of looking fabulously stylish!

How to hide your belly – my 10 tips

wide tops to hide belly

1. Don’t wear tight garments over your belly and choose tops with ruching or drape

If you want to look stylish and highlight your strengths, it is best not to wear tight tops. They will accentuate every fat bubble you have and draw attention away from you and your fabulous clothes. Rather choose tops that have some draping or ruching.

How to hide your tummy with the right tops | 40plusstyle.com

Above tops available at Covered Perfectly. Receive 20% off your first purchase when using the code 40+ at checkout!

2. Wear leggings or skinnies with wide tops or draped tops

Leggings can be your best friend. They will fit comfortably around your belly and tuck it in a bit. Also, with so many wonderful tunics and long tops to choose from, you will look fabulous. Noone will notice your belly! For more tips and examples on how to wear leggings check this article.

how to hide your belly with tunics | 40plusstyle.com

3. Create vertical lines with long cardigans, jackets and ponchos

Layering is very effective to disguise a belly. You can add a cardigan or a jacket. Waterfall or straight designs can both work and will create a nice vertical line which will lengthen you and distract the eye from your belly.


The longer your cardigan, the longer and leaner you will appear as is clearly illustrated by the model with the shorter hair who looks a lot slimmer with the long cardigan. Short straight cardigans will hide your belly too, but will have an overall more boxy silhouette.

How to hide your belly with cardigans | 40plusstyle.com

Right now long vests are very popular which are perfect for creating long lean vertical lines. Check out this article for lots of options on how to wear a long vest.

Using long vest for a longer leaner line and to hide a belly | 40plusstyle.com

4. Don’t emphasise your tummy by adding accessories like belts

No need to draw attention to your midlife tummy and belts will do just that.

5. Choose dresses that don’t cling or / and have a draping element

Make sure that your dresses don’t cling around the tummy area. Dresses with a draping element around the tummy area often work.

Asymmetrical dresses work well too as they draw attention away from the belly and create a vertical line.

Dresses that don’t cling with patterns are also great to hide the tummy area.

The best dresses for hiding a belly | 40plusstyle.com

You can also try empire waist tops and dresses. These tops highlight the thinnest part of your top body, which gives you a great silhouette. They don’t work for everyone though.

6. Wear tops over your skirts and pants and don’t tuck them

Tucking draws attention to your (non-existing waist again) so better to avoid that.

how to hide your tummy | 40plusstyle.com


7. Layer like a pro


It’s easier to hide your belly in winter as you can layer your clothes. Creating vertical lines with cardigans (as discussed above) works really well, but you can also wear sheer or softer fabrics underneath a shorter sweater.


8. Don’t wear garments that are bulky around the tummy area

You don’t want to make that area even bigger with pockets or other embellishments.

9. Choose asymmetrical tops

Asymmetrical tops create vertical lines that are great for disguising tummies.

Layered tops will work too, especially when they have an asymmetrical element.

how to hide tummy with asymmetrical tops | 40plusstyle.com

10. Wear shape wear

I could have put this on top of the list, but for day to day dressing I think most women would prefer just to wear their clothes without this. But shape wear can really flatten or hide your belly in many cases. Have a look at some of the tips given in my article on shape wear for some wonderful tips from other women over 40. Shape wear can really have a place in your dressing, but it’s important that you still remain comfortable in it!

Here are some tops that are available in shops right now!

Some recommended brands:

  • Eileen Fisher: has a high variety of long vests, layering tps and asymmetrical items
  • Covered Perfectly: affordable tops with plenty of draping in all the right places

Anything that I forgot? What are you sure-fire tips for hiding that belly? 

For more great tips, weekly fashion inspiration as well as a FREE guide on how to find your style, subscribe to my weekly newsletter!


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Heather Fonseca

Great tips! Thankfully my waist is still pretty slender, but it probably won’t be that way forever. Better wear my belts now!


Yes! I too am going to do my best not to lose my waist but when (peri)menopause sets in, you don’t know what’s going to happen….


Excellent tips! The tummy area is no problem for me so far, but I guess at some point it might be. My butt and thighs, on the other hand…..several of your clothing tips work wonders for that, too:)


Yes those too are my ‘problem’ areas as well. Should write an article on that….


I love the long olive/camel cardigan. Where’d that come from? I might need one!


Being at the perimenopause/menopause stage in life, I find this article very useful, and helps me to confirm that I am on the right track in avoiding clothes that are too clingy and tight, not tucking in my tops etc.
Love your website! Thanks for sharing :)


Hi Erin, Thanks for your feedback! Also thanks for linking up to my site and your kind words. Really appreciate it!


Depending on the outfit that i’m wearing! The tummy area can be a problem! I’ve already incorporated some of your tips in my everyday life style.. But with certain outfits! Shapewear seems to work the best for me. Providing that your comfortable,shapewear can be a great addition to your wardrobe…


Great to read that some of my tips have been helpful to you. What I love about shape wear is that you can still wear some outfits (like tight dresses) that would not have looked good otherwise. Great for special occasions!


Just make an effort to stay away from foods high in sugar and processed foods.


Very true, but with hormone imbalance and all kinds of other things, I know that many women over 40 find it difficult not to accumulate fat around the belly. But yes, I would say eat less and eat healthy and hopefully that will keep the belly fat off!


Trust me I am no stranger to the difficulties with hormone imbalance, extra belly weight! Like so many of us the hormone imbalance affects our mood which for me results in emotional eating. My weakness is chocolate and rich desserts. I have yo yo most of my life.. But I found myself the happiest when I let go of the refined sugars and processed foods. My waist line improves, my skin glows and my mood improved immensely. You know I have a cousin a few year younger than me. She claims that I refuse to get old or I am not acting my age. She believes being over 40 is an excuse for letting yourself go. I believe to the contrary. Do we have to put a little more efforts? Yes, we do but at the end of the day it’s all worth it. Poor Madonna is getting so much flack for being fabulous at 50, she is 10 years my senior and boy I sure wish I could move like her. She’s my hero!!


It is definitely something I need to do as well. I have heard from so many women that refined sugars make them ill and I also find that I would be healthier without them. So thanks for reminding me that it really makes a difference! I also agree that you should work harder to stay healthy and in top shape after 40 and I’m a big Madonna admirer! I will write about this in the future, I’m sure.


Your comment inspired a new blogpost from me. Did you read it? http://40plusstyle.com/madonna-how-are-we-supposed-to-age/


I seem to have a figure of a pot bellied man! My problem is wide shoulders,
small bust, large stomach, slim bottom and legs.
5ft 9in tall. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


It sounds like some belly hiding tops will come in handy for you. Since you have nice legs you will want to put your attention there. Get well fitted straight or slightly flared pants and combine with a belly hiding top. Empire wast tops would work well for you. Combine with an A-line jacket to balance out your shoulders and give you more of an hourglass shape. You will also look good with a slight A-line skirt. As will an empire waist a-line dress that highlights your legs. Good luck! and if you need more help you can always post more questions in the style forum.


Thanks for the tips. One peeve of mine; I don’t understand how all the belly-hiding tips I read talk about tops flowing from empire waists. They make me look like I am pregnant! I get asked when the baby’s due!


Yes, all tips do certainly not work for everyone. These tips are just guidelines. Our bodies are all slightly different, so play around a bit with the advuce and see what works best for you.


My only issue is the shape wear. I have Gird. My stomach area has chronic swelling and shape wear makes that issue worse.


Yes it’s not for everyone. I seldom wear it as I find it too uncomfortable. The right underwear like good camisoles can already make a big difference…

SnappyFit Concierge

Hi Sylvia!

I came across your blog whilst researching our article for – “5 tips on ‘No worries’ Sexy “. Great blog ! I’m absolutely going to bookmark your page – you have really nice tips that we can really learn from. Thanks, Sylvia and keep up the great articles ! :)

Sin Ning


Great job on this article – very helpful and realistic!


Thank you so much for sharing. I had a personal surgery last year and menopause hit in a hurry. I’ve gained 25#s and can’t hide the pop belly anymore. Losing weight is a hard with being a Mom though I workout. Its discouraging to be only 32 and struggle with the body of what looks like a much older woman. I look forward to giving these tips a go!


Good luck Jessie. Let me know how you get on!


Is there any place that makes shirts for TALL plus-sized women?

{commence rant}

I’m 5’9″, around size 28, apple-shaped and long-waisted, and the worst problem I have dressing is finding tops that are long enough to camouflage the lower part of my stomach — even so-called tunic-length shirts made for average height women can be too short. I also have relatively slim legs in proportion to my midriff, so my pants are either tight in the waist and fine in the legs or fine in the waist and baggy in the hips. Seems as though in the ’90s when “leggings” weren’t a dirty word, I could find shirts that were long enough and wear leggings with them and I was content. I know that was 20 years ago and things sag, but I weigh less now than I did then, and … anyway. :)

{end rant}

Any recommendations? Thanks!


Hi Lunza, Covered Perfectly has a plus size section. You may like to check if they have any tops that would be good for a tall women: http://coveredperfectly.com/plus-sizes.html I also found this shop that has a tall plus page: http://www.onestopplus.com/Plus-Size-Tall-Plus.aspx?nop=10000&DeptId=18975
Good luck finding some great tops!

Linda Todd

Yes, I have a belly. Always have but it does get less noticeable at times. I try to wear tops, skirts, pants, dresses that hide this feature. It is very annoying and I do not wear belts or blouses tucked in as a general rule.

Thank you enjoyed finding your website. Interest information and good advice.


Welcome Linda. Hope you will enjoy the many articles and inspiration!


Just found this site. Love it!! My problem I have all my weight in belly, and no butt. 5 ’10 and it’s hard to find shirts long enough. Also I’m always pulling my pants up because they won’t stay up. Any suggestions?


Stretch pants can help but in the end the only real solution is to have your pants altered. You may also like to read this additional article with specific guidelines for tall women: http://40plusstyle.com/how-to-dress-when-you-are-tall/


I agree with the comments on empire waists, they tighten at the top of the belly, making the belly pouf out and looking pregnant. I ant imagine how this works on anyone. Also read an article that belting a tucked in top (large belt) then wearing an overblouse or one of the draped jacket tops slendarizes your whole body. Anyone try this?


Not all empire waist tops are created equally though. Yes some can make you look pregnant but some can really work.


I am 5ft tall and im apple shape im all belly and no bottom aged 43. Please help me


Hi Alisa. My best tips are already in the article. Other articles that may help you include http://40plusstyle.com/how-to-dress-when-you-are-short-petite/ and http://40plusstyle.com/how-to-hide-your-belly/

Gloria Beatty

Wear Empire Style??

That’s the very last thing I would do. Am I the only one that looks pregnant wearing these clothes?


Great tipsim always struggling I have had five kids I do have a spare tyre for a waist and it’s worse during times of bloating etc. the problem I have though is I live in a tropical climate so layering with jackets etc is out of the question and a lot of synthetic fibres can be very hot. Sort of limits the wardrobe a bit.


I do so too and it’s definitely more challenging. It’s even more important to buy the right tops that are not clingy. You could scroll through the section what I wore (under style) to get some inspiration for dressing in a hot climate.

Wendy G

Sylvia, if you actually have anything to hide, you hide it masterfully! You never look disproportionate – ever!


I’m frustrated with some of the pics. Some of the models are extremely thin. I went into early menopause (I’m only 40) and went from a size 4 to a size 16 in a little over a year. I’ve never been heavy in my life. I wanted tips on how to dress with the figure I have now. It’s exactly the opposite of what I used to have. I’m big from the waist up now. The last thing I wanted to see is thin models wearing shape slimming styles when they clearly don’t have any weight issues!


I understand your frustration but as you know it’s still a fact that most brands use young and slim models to promote their products and I can’t change my own body. Of course I could have opted to not give you any visuals at all so you could just concentrate on the text but I still felt it was better to give you some examples. You can read a bit more on this topic here: http://40plusstyle.com/fabulous-40-plus-women/


Please use models with actual belly’s. If I looked like one of these skinny girls I wouldnt need to be reading your blog. I need some real life, real women for example. A size 4 just dont cut it as a woman with a big belly.


I understand Sandy but please read my reply above or check out this article http://40plusstyle.com/fabulous-40-plus-women/


Sorry but I can not look past the anorexic models because I need a picture of how these clothes would look on a size 16 body that has many fat rolls.Send me the clothes and I’ll mode them for you. Dissapointed.


Not only plus size women have bellies and this article was written for those women too. There are many slim women who want to hide their bellies too. Anja (the 50+ woman with curly blond hair) is slim but has a profound belly that she is always hiding from view. However, I agree with you that plus size women were not well represented on this page and I have added several examples and images to improve that. I don’t own any of these clothes, but if you have good quality images of yourself applying some of the tips in this article, I would be happy to publish them.


I used to get perfect clothing for my “pregnant” shape at from Silhouettes. Then they just disappeared. Now I can’t find a sheath that falls straight from the shoulders ANYWHERE. Everything has a waist. I also got a two-piece dress from them that was wonderful for camouflaging my belly, a skirt with a long flared top – but I spilled coffee on it, can’t get the stain out, and can’t replace the outfit, of course. Do you know of any place that actually sells sheaths? The ones I have are just crinkle cotton sleeveless summer dresses. I found that loose flowing garments are the best ones for me.


I think you should just look around at various brands. Even a slighly waisted tunic could fit well. Nordstrom has a great variety or check some of the shops on this page: http://40plusstyle.com/best-online-shops/ Otherwise, have you considered having your spoiled outfit copied by a tailor?

Karen Elizabath

Thank you for all the information about the shaped fit tops I am going to Penningtons or Additionelle to peruse their fall colours and fashions and find some of the tunics or shaped tops plus I prefer patterned pieces rather than plain! I am not sure about leggings because of lymphedema problems although they do look nice on the ladies in the photographs. I just purchased some loose vest type cardigans in blue marl and also in black/grey marl they are very nice and warm for the cooler days. Thanks once again for all your help you have given me some wonderful ideas :)


In addition to these wonderful ideas, I like to wear neck scarves to help ‘hide’ my belly. A scarf helps to draw the eye up away from the waist plus adds a splash of color. Plus, scarves can be so versatile for those on a budget! Several different looks can be created with just a few basic tops/pants/skirts etc. A girl can never have too many scarves! I have found some gorgeous ones in consignment shops while traveling around the U.S.


Yes great tip Diane!


This was so helpful for me. After a hysterectomy, I had so much trouble figuring out how to dress my body as it began to morph into a different shape. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.


Great to read that this article helped you out Brittany. Have fun with style and dressing!


Thank you , as Im now well into the swing of Menopause, and my poor tum is quite big and sometimes high up near my ever shrinking bustline.
Your fashion tips are fantastic for me thank you…
I hope to re-arrange my wardrobe to be more 40 Plus tummy friendly..
Keep up the good work.

Just maybe you could cover foot ware for the 40 Plus woman with the tummy ideas please as my days of High high heels have well gone now…

Many thanks


Hi Cathy. Thanks! I have written several articles on shoes so you may want to do a search on ‘shoes’. This article is all about arch support shoes, with the comments section containing lots of great tips! http://40plusstyle.com/arch-support-shoes/


I have a REAL problem, very short 5ft2″ , big breasts 44E , short torso and large belly due to perimenopause. I need an outfit for a friend’s wedding and need to look really good in photos as I know everyone is going to make an effort!


You may like to have a look at these tips here http://40plusstyle.com/how-to-dress-when-you-have-a-large-bust/ and here http://40plusstyle.com/how-to-dress-when-you-are-short-petite/ I talk about choosing dresses for a wedding at http://40plusstyle.com/how-to-dress-mother-of-the-bride/ Hope you will find something great!

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