If you aren’t confident about your tummy area, shopping for dresses can feel like a nightmare as it can seem like it will be unforgiving when it comes to hiding a belly.

But, with some clever ideas, tips and shopping, you can find dresses that hide belly bulge areas you aren’t so happy about. Read on to discover the best dresses to hide the tummy.

Of course there are many garments that can be used to hide your tummy.

Be sure to check all our  tips to hide your belly with the right clothes.

Lingerie and undergarments

First of all, while they are nothing to do with the dress itself, the lingerie and undergarments you choose to go under your dress will make a huge difference to the way it looks.

Depending on whether you’re dressing casually and want to be comfortable, or whether you are heading out for the evening, this might mean anything from making sure the bra and panties you wear fit well and create smooth lines under your dress.

In general you don’t need shape wear (I don’t use it) but you do need to choose underwear that doesn’t show any ugly lines. It also helps if your underwear covers your tummy.

Shapewear is an option too

Of course you may wish to wear some shapewear for a special occasion.

It definitely does help to tuck your tummy in.

These Spanx bodyshaping shorts tuck in the tummy as well as slimming thighs and providing some uplift for your rear.

Mid-Thigh Shaping Shorts | fashion over 40 | style | fashion | 40plusstyle.com

Spanx mid-thigh shaping shorts

Also check our article on the best shapewear for women over 40.

The best dresses to hide tummy areas

There are plenty dresses that you can wear that hide the belly. You can find some of the best dresses to

Hide your tummy with a tunic and legging combo

While you may feel that you no longer wish to wear mini dresses, don’t throw out the idea of wearing short dresses altogether.

A flowy tunic or trapeze dress can work wonders when it comes to hiding a belly if you wear it over leggings. It really is one of the best options when looking at dresses to hide belly areas you aren’t keen on.

The loose material of the tunic will drape over areas you aren’t so keen on, while if you choose the right leggings, they will help to tuck in your tummy and create a more streamlined silhouette.

This casual t-shirt dress from Amazon has a great number of reviews. I’d wear with leggings and a contemporary statement necklace.

t-shirt dress to hide your belly | 40plusstyle.com

T-shirt dress

Need new leggings? Then be sure to check our article on the best leggings for women over 40

Dresses that hide belly bulge

Belly bulge is very common in women over 40. Even though I’m quite slim all over I too have a belly bulge and I’m not keen to highlight.

Dresses that hide belly bulge | 40plusstyle.com

One easy way to do this is to choose dress that’s wide and drapy like the dress I wear in the picture below. (dress is from Stella Carakasi but this one is no longer available) Since the dress fits snugly at the top and is supposed to go wide, it’s still very flattering and no one needs to know that you have a tummy.

The best dresses to hide your tummy | 40plusstyle.com

Cornelia (above) is wearing an empire waist dress that gives the whole look more structure and shows off her beautiful figure. The fabric doesn’t cling, is layered and airy and skims beautifully over the tummy.

Below is a dress for plus size women that I like.

City Chic maxi dress | 40plusstyle.com

City Chic maxi dress

Summer dress that hides your stomach

Similar to the dress above you can also choose a summer dress or beach dress that you can wear over your swim wear or to an outdoor evening dinner.

A dress with print that is wide will always hide your tummy perfectly!

Elan cover-up maxi dress | 40plusstyle.com

Elan cover-up maxi dress

Vertical pattern dresses are great at hiding the tummy

Vertical stripes have a slimming effect, drawing the eye up and down, rather than across your tummy.

The stripes on the front of this French Connection dress run vertically rather than horizontally which should help to take the attention away from your midriff.

French Connection multi stripe dress | 40plusstyle.com

French Connection multi stripe dress

Hide your tummy by layering your dress

It’s easier to think about layers in terms of separate tops and bottoms.

But, you can definitely still add a stylish layer over a dress.

Choose a long sleeveless vest to add style (and tummy camouflage) to your outfit. This creates a slimming effect of a column of color in the middle, and two columns on either side, breaking up your silhouette so your belly is not as noticeable.

This sleeveless vest cardigan can easily be layered over a dress.

sleeveless vest cardigan | 40plusstyle.com

MBJ leeveless vest cardigan

Try a dress with asymmetrical elements

I’m sure you know how much I love asymmetric clothing.

Opting for an asymmetric dress is a great way to draw the attention away from your belly. A dress with asymmetry can create vertical and diagonal lines, giving a slimming illusion.

Depending on how much of a belly you feel you need to hide, you can opt for a dress which is more fitted or looser.

Try a dress with asymmetrical elements to hide your tummy | 40plusstyle.com

1.STATE floral handkerchief hem dress

Asymmetric clothing in very flattering for your body. Even if you don’t want to downplay your tummy but another area of your body, consider adding asymmetrical pieces to your wardrobe.

Be sure to check my recommendations for the best asymmetric clothing

 Empire waist dress

What works for one woman will not necessarily work for the next, so really this is about playing around with what works for you. Some women report that these kind of dresses make them look pregnant, others find them the ultimate tummy hiding dress.

An empire waist dress could work for you by drawing attention to the slimmest part of your torso, which will be the part directly underneath your bust, and skimming over your belly rather than clinging.

You can also opt to emphasize your breasts with an empire dress if this is part of your body you like.

Levaca swing dress | 40plusstyle.com

Levaca swing dress

Hide your tummy with dresses with prints

Choosing a patterned dress is  a great way to disguise a belly because the patterns confuse the eye, drawing the gaze up, down and around, and away from any belly bulge.

Printed midi dress | 40plusstyle.com

Treasure & Bond midi dress

Shift dress

A shift dress in the right fabric (natural is best) won’t cling in all the wrong places. It will skim over your midsection and show off your legs.

This style by Eileen Fisher has added interest because of the bell cuffs.

Eileen Fisher bell cuff shift dress | 40plusstyle.com

Eileen Fisher shift dress

Shirt dress

A shirt dress can be a good option to hide a belly. You could choose for a dress with buttons down and a belted waist, and play around with where you belt.

I like the tie waist detail of this BeachLunchLounge printed dress. Plus, the flattering neckline creates a slimming effect which also draws the eye upwards.

BeachLunchLounge animal print shirtdress

Drapes are a tummy’s best friend!

Depending on the way a drape falls on you, it can either emphasize or disguise a belly.

It may be a question of experimenting a little until you find one which works for you.

Look for a dress which has a flattering draped effect, but which does not add extra bulk around the tummy area, or draw attention to it.

This cold shoulder dress has good reviews. The addition of a statement necklace, like the styling below, will draw the eye upwards.

Drapes | fashion over 40 | style | fashion | 40plusstyle.com

City Chic cold shoulder dress

Frills or ruffles can hide tummies too

Just as with the draping you opt for, you can choose frills or ruffles which create a number of effects.

You could, for example, draw attention away from your tummy by having ruffles on the arms. Just make sure, if you do, that the sleeveless doesn’t fall at the same place as your belly.

Or, you could find a dress which has a frill or ruffle drawing the eye upwards and downwards rather than across.

Frills or ruffles on dresses can hide tummies | 40plusstyle.com

Ted Baker London dress

Use layers to hide your tummy

Layers are always good for hiding a multitude of “issues” that you aren’t keen on.

Some dresses already come with clever layers built in, like this Adrianna Papell dress which would be perfect for any formal events you are invited to, or for going out to dinner.

Layers | fashion over 40 | style | fashion | 40plusstyle.com

Adrianna Papell dress

Draw attention to your neckline

By drawing attention upwards to your necklines, and therefore your face, you will take the attention off your middle section.

This Lafayette 148 dress will skim over your figure rather than cling too much and the ruffle neckline draws the eye upwards to your face.

Lafayette 148 ruffle neck shift dress | 40plusstyle.com

Lafayette 148 ruffle neck shift dress

Pleated dress

Pleating can have a lot of advantages when it comes to hiding a belly.

The pleats mean that the dress is not close-fitting. Plus, pleats naturally create a series of vertical lines.

The waistband on this dress appears to sit a little higher so shouldn’t dig into your belly, and the pattern will also help to take the attention away from your tummy.

pleated dress to hide the belly | 40plusstyle.com

MINKPINK pleated maxi dress

Want more? Discover the best tops to hide your belly.

What do you feel are the best dresses to hide the tummy? What has worked for  you?

Continue reading:

  1. How To Hide Your Belly
  2. The Best Tops To Hide Your Tummy
  3. The Best Pants And Skirts To Fit And Hide Your Belly
  4. How To Dress The Apple Body Shape

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The best dress to hide your tummy | fashion over 40 | 40plusstyle.com

Feature image by Cornelia

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