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.
Also take a look at the best bras for the large bust and the best bras for small breasts and our article on no show underwear.
Shapewear is an option
Of course, while you won’t want to wear it everyday, you may wish to wear some shape wear 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 wrap dress is a style that will suit the vast majority of women, no matter what your shape or size. The v-neck on the Fraiche by J dress (below) is flattering and you can alter how you tie the belt hide a little bit of a tummy. It comes in a good choice of colors, and reviewers say it fits and flatters.
Fraiche by J Wrap Front Long Sleeve Dress
Hide your tummy with a tunic and legging combo
Layering has 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.
This dress (below) from Stella Carakasi is another good option. It has a great number of reviews and comes in a wide choice of colors. Wear on its own, with leggings and add a contemporary statement necklace to bring the attention upwards.
Stella Carakasi Free and Easy Dress
For warmer months, a tiered dress works well. You could wear over your leggings, and it could do double duty as a swimsuit cover-up.
vineyard vines Fleur De Leaf Long Sleeve Tunic Dress
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 on the dress below could be useful for hiding a tummy. Stripes running horizontally will gie the illusion of width, whereas vertical stripes should draw the eye up and down rather than across the belly.
Suzie @suzie.richetti above opts for a stripe shirtdress with her sandals.
Check out these stripe dresses from The Drop, Vince, Karen Kane and SOLY HUX that you can wear with this similar pair of sandals.
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.
The print and ruching on the faux wrap dress (below) could help to disguise a little bit of a tummy.
Another option is the Massimo Dutti shirtdress (below) which has a flattering v-neck and comes in a graphic pattern, which will help to draw attention away from a tummy.
Massimo Dutti Check Print Ramie Oversize Shirtdress
Mel @curvycartel above chooses a zebra print maxi dress. The ruffles on her bust help and shoulders help to draw the eye upwards, while the waistline sits just below her bust.
Check out this printed dress (other options here, here and here).
A shift dress in the right fabric (natural fabric is best) won’t cling in all the wrong places. It will skim over your midsection and show off your legs.
You could also try a print shift dress like this one from A COLLECTIVE STORY (below) which you could team with red accessories. Short dresses like the one below also look great as tops over pants.
A COLLECTIVE STORY Embroidered Shift Dress
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 R&M Richards (below) features embellishment which draws attention to the neck and shoulders and away from your tummy. Of course, plain dresses also work well when you add a (colorful) statement necklace on top.
R&M Richards 2 Piece Mesh Panel Beaded Neck Jacket Dress
Try a dress with asymmetrical elements
We love asymmetric clothing at 40+style.
Opting for an asymmetric dress is a great way to draw attention away from your belly. A dress with asymmetry can create vertical and diagonal lines, giving a slimming illusion. It usually also looks a bit hipper.
Depending on how much of a belly you feel you need to hide, you can opt for a dress that is more fitted or looser.
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.
The & Other Stories dress (below) features asymmetry as well as a flattering v-neck and a print.
& Other Stories Asymmetric Midi Wrap Dress
Meanwhile, the dress below features asymmetry at both the neckline and the hem. You can see that the asymmetrical neckline draws the attention upwards and away from the belly.
Maggy London Long Sleeve Asymmetric Neck and Hem Dress
The one-shoulder dress (below) draws attention to your shoulder, so if your shoulders is a part of your body you like to emphasize, this could be the one for you. You can see that the attention is on the white part of the dress and away from the tummy.
Joie Remi One-Shoulder Asymmetric Dress
Of, you could opt for a maxi dress that skims over the tummy like the asymmetric tiered dress below, which comes in a choice of 13 colors. Wearers say the fabric is soft and comfortable, and it can be dressed up or down.
ANRABESS Asymmetric Tiered Maxi Dress
Julie @stylishparadox above (read her style interview here) chooses a high-low dress in a pretty shade of orange.
Get her her look with this similar high low dress (other options here, here and here) and pumps.
Be sure to check my recommendations for the best asymmetric clothing.
A shirt dress can be a good option to hide a belly. Some shirt dresses can also do double duty as a coat, which can be a great layering option. Wearing a jacket (open shirt dress) over a dress or top and bottom in the same color, creates a great vertical line over a column of color, which is lengthening and flattering.
Shirt dresses can be worn with or without a belt.
COS Gathered-Sleeve Shirtdress
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 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.
Isaac Liev Sleeveless Cardigan
Or, you could layer a pashmina like shawl (below) over your outfit to create a tummy-hiding drape.
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 can 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 a part of your body you like to emphasize.
One empire dress you might wish to try is the Boden dress (below) which emphasizes the bust, and then cuts in just below the bust line.
Boden Angled Empire Midi Tea Dress
Jas @thefashionstylefile above choose a print maxi dress. You can see that the focus is on her shoulders and long legs.
Steal her look with this similar off the shoulder dress (another option here), sandals and clutch.
Frills or ruffles can hide tummies too
Just as with the draping, you can choose frills or ruffles which create a number of effects.
You ccan, for example, draw attention away from your tummy by having ruffles on the arms. Just make sure, if you do, that the sleeves don’t end at the same place as your belly.
Or, you can find a dress which has a frill or ruffle drawing the eye upwards and downwards rather than across.
The ruffle dress (below) draws attention to the shoulders and bust.
Boden Tie Back Ruffle Midi Dress
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 that has a flattering draped effect, but does not add extra bulk around the tummy area, or draw attention to it. The knot front dress (below) is likely to be flattering on most figures.
Massimo Dutti Knot Printed Dress
Or, you could also try the Boden dress (below) and change exactly how and where you knot the belt to create the most flattering effect on your figure.
Boden Knot Front Midi T-Shirt Dress (Nordstrom)
Use layers to hide your tummy
Layers are always good for camouflaging any parts of your body that you aren’t keen on.
Some dresses already come with clever layers built in, like this overlay 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.
SL FASHIONS Chiffon Overlay Beaded Detail Sheath Dress
Deborah @deborahgates_ above (read her style interview here) shows off a style that would be good to hide a tummy. The drapes skim over the belly area while her red necklace draws the eye up to her face.
Recreate her outfit with this similar dress, pants, sandals, necklace and bracelet.
Puff sleeve dresses are particularly on trend right now.
This dress from Boden (below) has sleeves that end at the bust line drawing the eye there rather than to the belly.
Boden Ruched Bodice Midi Dress
We’ve featured a number of belted dresses above already as you shouldn’t shy way from trying a belted style. Just be sure that you try different places to belt your dress, and settle on emphasizing your slimmest point.
The shirtdress from COS (below) will help to hide a tummy and you can play around with where you tie the belt for the most flattering effect. You can open the top buttons to create a v-neck, or wear the top button closed and add a statement necklace.
Kimba @kimbalikes above chooses a print, belted, off-the-shoulder dress.
Check out this printed dress (other options here and here), sandals, bag and headband.
A trapeze, or a swing style dress skims over the tummy area and, if you choose a high-low style like the dress from Karen Kane (below), they can emphasize the legs instead. The style above is quite shorts, so would also work well as a top worn over leggings or pants.
Karen Kane Maggie Cap Sleeve Trapeze Dress
Or, you could try a longer style like the Massimo Dutti flounce dress (below).
Massimo Dutti Ramie Flounce 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 COS pleated dress (below) features pleats as well as a print, so it’s a great tummy hiding choice.
COS Pleated Midi T-Shirt Dress
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.
Sam Edelman Blouson Pleated Dress
Kylie @kylish_aus above chooses a layered dress in olive green.
Recreate her outfit with this similar dress (other options here and here) and sandals.
A sweater dress is a good idea if it is cool where you are.
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.
The sweater dress (below) is relatively loose fitting and would look good worn over leggings with boots for winter. You can alter how you tie the waist for the best look for you.
R.Vivimos Tie Waist Sweater Dress
If you have events to attend this year, you’ll want a more formal tummy-hiding option.
This one by SLNY covers the tummy because of the flattering overlayer. The asymmetrical nature of the drape helps to draw the eye vertically rather than across the tummy.
SLNY Embellished Neck Chiffon Ruffle Dress
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:
One easy way to hide this belly bulge is to choose dress that’s wide and drapy like the dress in the picture below.
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 below from Stella Carakasi is no longer available, but we have listed some other options below.
Naggoo Short Sleeve Split Dress
Or, you choose a tunic dress. The one below is quite short, so you may want to wear leggings underneath.
Below are another two summer dresses to hide your tummy.
Massimo Dutti Linen Kaftan Dress
Good brands to look out for when choosing dresses to hide your tummy:
shop the best dresses to hide your tummy below:
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
Like this article on the best dresses to hide the tummy? Save it on Pinterest!
Feature image by Jas @thefashionstylefile
Want to get more articles from 40+style in your inbox, subscribe here.
You can also connect with 40+style on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.
Support 40+style by using the links in our articles to shop. As an associate for Amazon and many other brands, we receive a small commission (at no cost to you) on qualifying purchases which enables us to keep creating amazing free content for you. Thanks!
Slips and underskirt’s help as well. In the UK I have found cool technology full length slip’s from M&S and they definitely help some of my dresses fall better and stop cling.
You are very right. Thanks for sharing that. I should really add that to my tips as well!
Unfortunately every dress I clicked on that I liked & came from Nordstrom with an expensive price tag & only went up to a size 10. Not an option for a plus size person. Make your articles more geared to other sizes please.
We usually try to feature options in all sizes and price ranges. Clearly we don’t always succeed but you can always use the inspiration and ideas to shop at your favorite stores.
Thank you very much for this. The ladies all look fantastic!
These are brilliant suggestions! That floral dress is beautiful!
Thank you for this lovely article on dresses to disguise. It is great to see your choice of dresses are smart and modern rather than staid and dated as sometimes happens for our age group. The only thing is a lot of the dresses are too short for me so it is good you suggest they could be worn over pants or leggings. Keep up the good work.
I love your articles!!!
What are the details (where to find) the sleeveless dress you are wearing in the picture?
Hi Mary, this dress was from Stella Carakasi (https://www.stellacarakasi.com?rfsn=137856.f5823) but this one is no longer available.
Last year I lost weight and noticed that my bra (that needed to be shot and put out of it misery I’d had it so long) REALLY wasn’t fitting right. In Nashville we have a speciality store that carries bras and they FIT/MEASURE you. I opted to go this route instead of the head spinning department store and being helped by a kid (who didn’t know anything). It was sheer joy! Found I was a completely different size, and it took AT LEAST 10lbs off! When I got home I found that several pieces that I couldn’t bear to part with, and had decided that I could layer, suddenly fit perfectly!! You can buy all the clothes you want, but until there is a good foundation underneath, you’ll NEVER know how good you can really look! Also thought that your comment about you not wearing shape wear hilarious. You don’t need it!
Very true Melanie!
As for the shape wear, I too have a tummy and if I wear something tight like a form fitting dress, I would definitely look better wearing it…. However, I prefer wearing loser clothing that skims so I can avoid it.