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.

Shapewear is an option

Of course, while you won’t want to wear it everyday, 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.

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

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.

Summer dresses

Best summer dress to hide your tummy | 40plusstyle.comm

Let’s start with dresses for summer.

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 (in a plus size option) that can also hide your belly.

Dresses to hide a tummy - Karen Kane tie dye asymmetrical dress | 40plusstyle.com

Karen Kane tie dye asymmetrical dress

Or, you could choose a tunic dress. The one below from Amazon is quite short, so you may want to wear leggings underneath.

Dresses to hide a tummy - TINYHI swing tunic dress | 40plusstyle.com

TINYHI swing tunic dress

The drop waist dress (below) from Sweaty Betty is another style you could try. You can play around with how tight and where exactly you fasten the tie waist for the most flattering effect.

Dresses to hide a tummy - Sweaty Betty drop waist dress | 40plusstyle.com

Sweaty Betty drop waist dress

Formal dress

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 because of the flattering overlayer. It also draws the eye upwards and away from the belly thanks to the embellishment around the neckline.

Dresses to hide a tummy - Alex Evenings popover dress | 40plusstyle.com

Alex Evenings popover dress

Hide your tummy with a tunic and legging combo

Dresses to hide a tummy - Dayle wearing a tunic with leggings | 40plusstyle.com

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 @artfulcitystyle (read her style interview here), 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.

Check out this printed tunic dress that you can wear with these similar leggings and sandals.

This casual T-shirt dress (below) from Amazon has a great number of reviews and comes in a wide choice of colors. I’d wear with leggings and a contemporary statement necklace.

Dresses to hide a tummy - KORSIS  T-shirt swing dress | 40plusstyle.com

KORSIS T-shirt swing 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 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. If it’s too short for you, just pop some leggings or skinny jeans underneath.

Dresses to hide a tummy - Fraiche by J stripe faux wrap dress | 40plusstyle.com

Fraiche by J stripe faux wrap dress

Hide your tummy with dresses with prints

Best dresses to hide a tummy - Georgette in a patterned dress | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Georgette @grownandcurvywoman (read her style interview here), above,

Steal her look with this similar leopard print dress, sandals, handbag, earrings and sunglasses.

The print and ruching on the Vince Camuto dress (below) could help to disguise a little bit of a tummy.

Vince Camuto floral asymmetrical hem dress | 40plusstyle.com

Vince Camuto floral asymmetrical hem dress

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.

Karen Kane asymmetrical hem dress | 40plusstyle.com

Karen Kane asymmetrical hem dress

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.

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.

There are a couple of examples for you below, one in a print pattern and one block color.

AWARE by VERO MODA print shift dress | 40plusstyle.com

AWARE by VERO MODA print shift dress

Eliza J chiffon shift dress | 40plusstyle.com

Eliza J chiffon shift dress

Shirtdress

Best dresses to hide a tummy - Josephine in a shirt dress | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Josephine @chicatantyage, above, chooses a loose blue shirtdress. The v-neckline helps to create a flattering effect.

Recreate her outfit with this similar shirtdress, sneakers and necklace.

I also like this belted dress from MANGO

MANGO belt dress | 40plusstyle.com

MANGO belt 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 scarf vest 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.

CCFW long scarf vest | 40plusstyle.com

CCFW long scarf vest

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 Boden (below) features embellishment which draws the attention to the neck and shoulders and away from your tummy.

Boden embroidered linen dress | 40plusstyle.com

Boden embroidered linen dress

Empire waist dress

Dresses to hide a tummy - Kylie in an empire line dress | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Kylie @kylish_aus, above, wears a cobalt blue dress. Note that the puffed sleeves end just below her bust. If your sleeves end at your tummy area, they will draw the attention to your belly.

Check out this dress that you can wear with this similar pair of sandals and earrings.

Below is a polka dot red dress you could choose in a similar style.

BTFL-life long sleeve dress | 40plusstyle.com

BTFL-life long sleeve dress

Wrap dress

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.

Club Monaco asymmetrical faux wrap dress | 40plusstyle.com

Club Monaco asymmetrical faux wrap 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.

The wrap style below should flatter as it has a v-neck, the arms end at the bust, you can alter where you tie it, and the frills at the bottom will draw attention to your legs.

VERO MODA frill wrap dress | 40plusstyle.com

VERO MODA frill wrap dress

Drapes are a tummy’s best friend!

Dresses to hide a tummy - Julie in a wrap dress | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Julie @stylishparadox (read her style interview here), above, wears a flattering draped wrap dress.

Get her look with this similar dress, pumps, bag and sunglasses.

Karen Kane faux wrap dress | 40plusstyle.com

Karen Kane faux wrap 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 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.

Halston Heritage one-shoulder asymmetrical overlay gown | 40plusstyle.com

Halston Heritage one-shoulder asymmetrical overlay gown

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.

Nordstrom pleated midi dress | 40plusstyle.com

Nordstrom pleated midi dress

Puff sleeve

Dresses to hide a tummy - Kim in a tiered dress | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Kimba @kimbalikes, above, chooses an on-trend puff sleeve, tiered dress.

Recreate her outfit with this similar dress and loafers.

This dress from Lark & Ro (below) ticks many “hide a tummy” boxes. It has a v-neck, it’s a wrap style, it is patterned 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.

Lark & Ro gathered puff sleeve wrap dress | 40plusstyle.com

Lark & Ro gathered puff sleeve wrap dress

Blouson 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.

Simier Fariry midi dress | 40plusstyle.com

Simier Fariry midi dress

belted dress

I’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.

beachlunchlounge print belted shift dress | 40plusstyle.com

beachlunchlounge print belted shift dress

trapeze

A trapeze, or a swing style dress is what you saw me wearing at the start of this article. These skim 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.

Karen Kane trapeze dress | 40plusstyle.com

Karen Kane trapeze dress

Sweater dress

Dresses to hide a tummy - sweater dress | 40plusstyle.com

A sweater dress could be a good idea if you are 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 @lapecosapreciosa (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.

Recreate her outfit with this similar sweater dress, scarf and leather boots.

The tunic sweater dress below is relatively loose fitting and the neckline will draw the eye upwards.

Doublju cowl neck a-line tunic sweater dress | 40plusstyle.com

Doublju cowl neck a-line tunic sweater dress

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?

Continue reading:

  1. 14 Sure-Fire Ways To Hide Your Belly With The Right Clothes
  2. The Best Tops To Hide Your Tummy
  3. 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!

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

Feature image by Georgette @grownandcurvywoman

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