If you aren’t loving your tummy area, shopping for dresses can feel like a nightmare. Some dresses can certainly be unforgiving when it comes to hiding a belly. However, there are many styles that do a great job at hiding or camouflaging the tummy. We show you all the best dresses to hide your tummy.
Whether you’re looking for a formal belly-hiding dress or a day dress that flatters the tummy area, you will find plenty of options and ideas below.
Of course, while this article concentrates on tummy flattering dresses, there are many garments that can be used to hide your tummy.
Be sure to also check all our tips to hide your belly with the right clothes.
Lingerie and undergarments to go under your dresses
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. Even the best dresses to hide your tummy will work better with the right lingerie.
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 to choosing shapewear for a special occasion.
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
Of course you may wish to wear some shapewear for a special occasion.
It definitely does help to tuck your tummy in.
These Spanx body shaping shorts tuck in the tummy as well as slimming thighs and providing some uplift for your rear.
Also check our article on the best shapewear for women over 40.
The best dresses to hide tummy areas
However, there are plenty of dresses that you can wear that hide the belly without the need of shapewear.
The best dresses to hide your belly are those that skim (and not cling) over the areas you don’t want to highlight.
A sweater dress could be a good idea as many of you will be heading towards the cooler months.
Sweater dresses can either be very flattering or they can look boxy and cling to every lump and bump. Choose a dress in a soft knit that drapes rather than clings. It’s best not to choose knitwear which adds unwanted bulk such as cable knits. Wear with your leggings or with skinny pants.
Sandra (above) chooses a sweater dress which is flattering in lots of different ways. The neckline draws the attention upwards, the belt cinches below the bust rather than around the waist, the material features vertical lines and it doesn’t cling. She also adds vertical lines with her wrap.
There’s no doubt that this year has been a very different one for all of us. However, if you are still planning any formal events, or even smaller gathering this year, you’ll be looking for a special dress.
This one by Alex Evenings covers the tummy and creates a flattering column effect down the center through the use of the outer layer.
Hide your tummy with a tunic and legging combo
Layering had always been a good option when you want to camouflage or hide something. And wearing a dress over pants can be a great option.
A flowy tunic or trapeze dress can work wonders when it comes to hiding a belly if you wear it over leggings.
The loose material of the tunic will drape over areas you aren’t so keen on, while if you choose the right leggings or pants (check our recommendation for the best tummy control leggings), they will help to tuck in your tummy and create a more streamlined silhouette.
Dayle (above) looks fabulous in her cowl neck tunic and leggings. Depending on what the season is where you are, you could always swap the sandals for booties.
This casual t-shirt dress (below) from Amazon has a great number of reviews. I’d wear with leggings and a contemporary statement necklace.
Need new leggings? Then be sure to check our article on the best leggings for women over 40.
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 of this wrap dress run vertically rather than horizontally which should help to take the attention away from your midriff. You can tie the belt at the slimmest part of your tummy.
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.
Caroline (above) wears an on-trend 80s-style dress which cinches just below her bust.
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.
This is a dress I bought for myself.
Asymmetric clothing is 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, while 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.
Bev (above) opts for a tiered empire waist dress which she wears with booties. If it’s particularly cold where you are, you could also add tights or leggings.
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 from Karen Kane (below) is incredibly versatile. You could wear over leggings or skinny jeans and it would look great dressed down with booties, or you could dress it up with chunky jewelry for evenings.
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. For instance, if you popped this over your favorite little black dress, you would create a flattering column of color down the middle of your outfit.
Kylie shows how you can add a sleeveless vest over your dress for a flattering, stylish effect.
A shirt dress can be a good option to hide a belly. You could choose for a dress with buttons down or with a belted waist.
Deborah (above) opts for a buttoned shirtdress which skims rather than slings, and teams with on-trend peep-toe booties.
I like this dress from NIC+ZOE (below) which has a flattering v-neck. The pattern is modern and will help to disguise a tummy. You would team with red accessories to add some oomph to your look.
Draw attention to your neckline
By drawing attention upwards to your neckline, and therefore your face, you will take the attention off your middle section.
This dress from Alex Evenings (below) features embellishment which draws the attention to the neck and shoulders and away from your tummy.
A wrap dress is a style that will suit the vast majority of women, no matter what your shape or size. You can slightly alter the way the belt ties to the most slimming effect, and the v-neck is also a flattering option.
Melissa (above) wears her leopard print wrap with a moto jacket.
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.
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.
Anita (above) wears a beautiful red dress with frills which flow diagonally across the body.
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 dress below which would be perfect for any formal events you are invited to, for going out to dinner or for wearing more casually with flat sandals during the warmer months.
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.
Cassie (above) wears her pleated maxi dress with a moto jacket. The lighter colors at the bottom of the dress help to draw the eye away from the tummy area.
Puff sleeve dresses are particularly on trend right now. If you take a look at the major trends for winter and fall 2020, you’ll see that voluminous sleeves are a big feature on many runway shows.
This dress from Lark & Ro ticks many “hide a tummy” boxes. It has a v-neck, it’s a wrap style and it drapes in a flattering way. The puff sleeves end at the bust-line, which will draw the attention there rather than to your tummy.
A blouson dress is another option which can work for some women but not for others. The blouson top can create the illusion that your top half is a little larger as well as draping over the tummy, which makes your waist look smaller.
Katharina (above) puts together a beautiful color combination of navy and yellow. Note, the long cardigan creates a flattering column effect which can elongate the figure.
Perhaps you’re heading into summer where you live, or you’re lucky enough to be vacationing in warmer climes. In that case, you’ll find inspiration below:
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 it.
It’s very common to develop a tummy at peri-menopause or menopause, even if you haven’t previously had a problem with this area of your body.
One easy way to hide this belly bulge is to choose dress that’s wide and drapy like the dress I wear in the picture above.
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 dress I am wearing above is from Stella Carakasi but is no longer available. Below is a tie dye dress that can also hide your belly. It would be a good option to wear with leggings as it is short at the front.
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 asymmetrical detailing can be the perfect way to hide your tummy.
Good brands to look out for when choosing dresses to hide your tummy:
What do you feel are the best dresses to hide the tummy? What has worked for you?
- 14 Sure-Fire Ways To Hide Your Belly With The Right Clothes
- The Best Tops To Hide Your Tummy
- The Best Pants And Skirts To Fit And Hide Your Belly
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Feature image by Cassie
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