Many women after 40 experience weight gain on their bellies, especially those going into peri-menopause or menopause.
Your waist may disappear and you will start to develop more characteristics of the apple body shape. Luckily there are many things you can do to hide that belly, so that it doesn’t get in the way of looking fabulously stylish!
In this updated article check out our 12 tips on how to hide your belly with the right clothes.
1. Don’t wear tight or clingy garments over your belly and choose tops with ruching or drape
If you want to look stylish and highlight your strengths, it is best not to wear tight tops. They will accentuate every fat bubble you have and draw attention away from you and your fabulous clothes. Rather choose tops that have some draping or ruching.
A cross over top is very effective and this one creates asymmetrical vertical lines which is an extra bonus.
Below is a variation of a regular t-shirt that is much more interesting and more effective at hiding bellies.
2. Wear leggings or skinnies with longer, draped or asymmetrical tops
Leggings or stretchy pants that tuck in the tummy will be your best friend.
They will fit comfortably around your belly and tuck it in a bit. Also, with so many wonderful tunics and long tops to choose from, you will look fabulous. No-one will notice your belly!
For more tips and examples on how to wear leggings check this article.
Choose the right leggings that tuck in your tummy
I personally love the leggings of Stella Carakasi. The fabric is solid but stretchy and they are high enough so they tuck in your tummy. You can get them cropped or in full length. The 3 buttons at the knee make them fashionable too! I wear mine for both sports and casual outfits.
See how I wore these in summer below.
Another favorite amongst my readers are the Zelia Live in Leggings.
For a very affordable option that has 1000s of reviews on Amazon, you can’t beat the Satina High waisted leggings.
Choose the right tunics that make you look good in your leggings!
Look out for asymmetrical tops and sweaters. Wearing leggings underneath can let your hero pieces, like this longer asymmetrical top (below) stand out. This piece can easily be layered with a longer cardigan or shorter jacket and is the perfect canvas for a statement necklace (which further distracts from your belly.
Leggings can work as part of outfits designed to hide your belly during any season. If you are in the southern hemisphere or heading off on a vacation to warmer climes, you can still use draped tops over leggings to hide your tummy.
Pictured above is Julia.
Check out her recommendations for the best shops for women with the apple body shape.
3. Create vertical lines with long cardigans, jackets and ponchos
Layering is very effective to disguise a belly, and is much easier to do during fall and winter, when you will want to use layers to stay warm.
You can add a cardigan or a jacket. Waterfall or straight designs can both work and will create a nice vertical line which will create the illusion of length and distract the eye from your belly.
Below are some examples of outfits where you create a long lean line and hide the belly.
Layering for fall and winter
It’s much easier to hide your belly in winter as you can layer your clothes. Creating vertical lines with cardigans (as discussed above) works really well, but you can also wear shorter jackets to hide a tummy.
If you pop a biker jacket over a longer top, you confuse the eye so that the different lengths hide your belly.
Below, a patterned shirt will take attention away from your belly, while the longline cardigan will create nice long lines.
The longer your cardigan, the longer and leaner you will appear, although you usually don’t want to go longer than 2/3 from the height of your shoulders to the bottom.
Short straight cardigans will hide your belly too, but will have an overall more boxy silhouette.
How to layer in summer
You can still layer in spring and summer, you just need to choose lighter fabrics.
Instead of a cardigan you can choose a vest. A long vest is perfect for creating long, lean vertical lines, but you can opt for shorter waterfall vest too.
For more options on wearing vests you may like to check out this article for lots of options on how to wear a long vest.
Layer your (sleeveless) top with a sleeveless vest. This super affordable sleeveless vest from Azules can be combined with many tops and will look great over skinny pants and jeans. It has the benefit of being asymmetrical too which makes it even more flattering.
Below is an option for slightly cooler spring weather.
Tonal shades can be great for giving you a longer, slimmer look.
Create a column of color with your shirt and pants, and then add a sleeveless cardigan in a hue from the same color pathway.
Wearing clothes in similar shades is also a good tip for how to dress if you are petite.
Choosing a top with a bit of draping will hide your belly, while the sleeveless cardigan on top will help to create lean lines. A scarf will draw attention up to your face and away from your tummy area.
Sleeveless vests work well for all seasons. For winter, you can wear over a sweater while you could look for a lightweight version for summer.
You may also like: The best shops for the apple body shape
4. Don’t emphasize your tummy by adding accessories like belts right on top of them, rather belt higher
When choosing a coat, top or cardigan, you don’t have to avoid belts altogether. Simply make sure that the belt sits a bit higher, so you aren’t drawing attention to your belly at its widest point.
Again, patterns can help to take attention away from a larger tummy too and in combination this can do the trick.
Play around with where and how you fasten your belt to see what looks most flattering for you. The belted cardigan below is available in a variety of colors.
5. Choose dresses that don’t cling and/or have a draping element
Make sure that your dresses don’t cling around the tummy area. Dresses with a draping element around the tummy area often work.
The dress below drapes beautifully for a more flattering silhouette.
Asymmetrical dresses work well too as they draw attention away from the belly and create a vertical line.
Dresses that don’t cling and which also have patterns are also great to hide the tummy area.
The dress below is draped just right to draw attention away from the belly and creating flattering vertical lines. If you add a statement necklace at the top, you will further distract the eye from the belly area as the eye will be drawn upwards.
You may also like: How cover up your arms (and still stay cool)
6. Wear tops over your skirts and pants and don’t tuck them
Tucking draws attention to your (non-existing waist again) so better to avoid that. This is because if you tuck in your shirt, you will create a line across your tummy at its widest part.
Instead, leave your top outside of your skirt or pants. However, pay attention to overall balance and don’t let your top end at the widest point of your hips, as that may also be unflattering. A short top that loosely falls on your tummy like the blue top below will work really well for many women.
You can also layer your untucked top with either a long straight cardigan or jacket or even with a shorter top. You’ll notice that my cropped top ends at my waist drawing the attention there and not at my tummy. The asymmetrical hem and the fact that I just wear one column of color underneath further enhances that look.
7. Don’t wear garments that are bulky around the tummy area
You don’t want to make that area even bigger with pockets or other embellishments. However, a vertical loose drape like the below sleeveless vest could work as it elongates and does a good job at hiding.
8. Choose asymmetrical tops
Asymmetrical tops create vertical and diagonal lines and break up your silhouette so they are great for disguising tummies.
You can find many more asymmetrical tops and dresses here.
Great shops for asymmetrical items include:
9. Use pants that tuck the tummy in
The pants you wear can make a huge difference to how big your belly will appear.
Be mindful of not buying pants that end at at the middle of your belly and create a huge bulge. Instead you want to wear pants that have a higher rise and hat are capable of tucking your tummy in.
I already mentioned some of my favorite leggings that are strong enough to do this under #2 above, but skinny pants can do this job too.
One of my favorite skinny pants are these Cross The Line ankle pants. They are stiff and strong but also contain elastan and are comfortable to wear.
The coating on them and special stitching make them extra hip. Note how I wear these pants in a fashionable way with the perfect asymmetrical long blouse that hides my belly perfectly.
Want more ideas on how to tuck your belly with the right pants, check out the best pants to hide your belly here.
10. Use tops with prints
Prints are very effective in hiding bellies and you should definitely consider adding a few in your wardrobe.
If you combine a printed top with one of our belly hiding tips above, no-one will notice your tummy!
I’m currently loving this Printed top from Amazon ($21.99). It’s great to wear on its own, doesn’t cling and can easily be layered with a jacket or cardigan too.
11. Use shapewear
Of course, shapewear like the short that tucks the tummy in above, is very effective too in hiding the belly but, as I personally find it uncomfortable, I only use it for very special events.
For options on shapewear please read my article on the best shapewear for women over 40.
Want more ideas on how to hide your belly with the right clothes?
There are some great ideas here in this video from 40+Style stylist Ruth.
What are your best tips to hide your belly?
P.S.: If you carry most of your weight around your belly, you are most likely an apple body shape. Download our extensive guide for the apple body shape below for many more tips on how to dress for your shape!
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Feature image by Julia