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, 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.
So, let’s think about what style of dress is most slimming, and look at what style of dress hides a tummy. You’ll find plenty of ideas below.
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 Boden (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.
Or for an evening look, try the satin faux wrap dress (below) which has a v-neck and draping around the tummy area. It will draw attention to your bust while downplaying 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.
Another option is the Mango dress (below) which has a flattering v-neck and comes in a graphic pattern, which will help to draw attention away from a tummy.
Jas @thefashionstylefile above shows how you can wear your print dress with a moto jacket.
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.
We love the shorter dresses (below) for wearing over leggings.
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 give the illusion of width, whereas vertical stripes should draw the eye up and down rather than across the belly.
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 Boden (below) which you could team with red accessories. Short dresses like the one below also look great as tops over pants.
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.
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 and you can alter exactly where you tie the belt for the most flattering effect.
Mel @curvycartel above wears a shirtdress and makes sure she belts it at her slimmest part but below the bust.
Try a dress with asymmetrical elements
We love asymmetric clothing in 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 COS asymmetric dress (below) would look great with a statement necklace.
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.
If you have parties to attend, the asymmetric dress on the gown (below) is beautiful and it comes in a choice of four colors.
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. Perfect for vacations.
Be sure to check my recommendations for the best asymmetric clothing.
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.
The Eileen Fisher vest (below) should hit just below your knee and is perfect to wear instead of a coat over your dress.
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 kinds 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.
Kimba @kimbalikes above is a flattering shape and has on-trend voluminous sleeves.
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 can, 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.
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 drape front dress (below) is likely to be flattering on most figures and is a great option for special occasions.
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.
A trapeze, or a swing-style dress skims over the tummy area without clinging to any lumps or bumps.
Suzie @suzie.richetti above shows how you can layer a long scarf over a dress for a tummy disguising effect.
Puff sleeve dresses are particularly on trend right now. Be careful where your sleeves end.
This dress from Hill House Home (below) has sleeves that end at the bust line drawing the eye there rather than to the belly.
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 Boden shirtdress (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.
Pleating can have a lot of advantages when it comes to hiding a belly.
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.
If you have events to attend this year, you’ll want a more formal tummy-hiding option.
The jacket dress below overs the tummy because of the flattering overlayer.
Party dresses that hide belly bulge
If you have party invitations and you’re looking for party dresses to hide your tummy, you’ve already seen some formal options in our round-up above, and we have more for you below.
Wear an embellished mini dress with a pair of leather or coated leggings for a party look.
For a longer option, we love the long sleeves and tie waist on the deep green dress (below). Keep the neck closed and wear a statement necklace over the top, or open the neck and create a v-neck.
The lace on the Karen Millen dress (below) draws attention just below the bust rather than to the tummy.
The v-neck on the velvet gown (below) is flattering and the empire shape cuts in just below the bust before skimming over the belly.
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.
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:
The one below is quite short, so you may want to wear leggings underneath.
One easy way to hide this belly bulge is to choose a dress that’s wide and drapy like the dress 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.
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
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Feature image by Julie @stylishparadox
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