Want to hide your belly and still look fabulous? Below you’ll find lots of ideas and tips on how to hide a belly or stylishly cover up or disguise a tummy.

Why would you want to hide your belly?

Many women after 40 experience weight gain on their bellies, especially after going into peri-menopause or menopause.

Your waist may disappear and you will start to develop more characteristics of the apple body shape

If you are trying to cover up a tummy, it can be easy to do the opposite and make yourself look bigger than you really are.

Thankfully there are many things you can do to hide your belly, so that it doesn’t get in the way of looking fabulously stylish!

Check out my 15 tips below on how to hide your belly with the right clothes.

Hiding your belly in spring and summer

Many of you will be heading into warmer weather now, which is something to look forward to. It can be easier to hide a belly during the cooler months when it is natural to add plenty of lovely layers too create long, sleek lines.

However, that’s not to say you can’t use many of the tricks below during warmer weather too. You can still opt for draped, asymmetrical styles, wrap styles where you can alter the belt for the most flattering effect, or long cardigans and lighter weight ruanas for an elongating effect.

Hide your belly with the right clothes - Alison wears a print jumpsuit | 40plusstyle.com

Alison @wardrobe_oxygen above (read her style interview here) wears a print jumpsuit, which features a flattering v-neck, and features draping around the tummy area.

Steal her look with this similar jumpsuit (other options here, here and here), booties, handbag and earrings.

For more inspiration, read our top tips and tricks on what to wear in summer.

Now, onto my 14 tips. Read on for more flattering layering tips.

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.

Hide your belly with the right tops

A crossover top is very effective and this one creates asymmetrical vertical lines which is an extra bonus.

Plus, you can choose a top which comes in new season colors. There’s more inspiration in this article on the color trends for fall and winter 2023.

Karen Kane is a good brand to look out for to find flattering, layered, crossover tops.

Karen Kane Asymmetrical Crepe Top | 40plusstyle.com

Karen Kane Asymmetrical Crepe Top

Below is a draped blouse that is also effective at hiding bellies as it doesn’t cling to your tummy. It also has a flattering v-neck which can help to lengthen (rather than widen) your silhouette. There’s a good choice of colors, and reviewers say it hides love handles.

ACEVOG Wrap Satin Blouse | 40plusstyle.com

ACEVOG Wrap Satin Blouse

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 see how to wear leggings.

Choose the right leggings that tuck in your stomach

A favorite amongst 40+style readers are the Zella leggings.

Zella high waist leggings | 40plusstyle.com

Zella Live In High Waist Leggings

For a very affordable option that has 1000s of good reviews on Amazon, you can’t beat the Satina high waisted leggings. Wearers say they keep their shape all day.

How to hide a belly - Satina High waisted leggings | 40plusstyle.com

Find out our top picks for the best tummy control leggings

Choose the right tunics that make you look good in your leggings or jeans!

Look out for long or asymmetrical tops and sweaters.

Wearing leggings underneath can let your hero pieces stand out.

The tunics below can easily be layered with a longer cardigan or shorter jacket and will help to distract the attention from your belly.

Below are some tunic tops you could try.

COS Poplin Tunic Shirt | 40plusstyle.com

COS Poplin Tunic Shirt (similar option here)

Anne Klein Nehru Tunic Shirt | 40plusstyle.com

Anne Klein Nehru Tunic Shirt

Roamans Asymmetric Ultra Femme Tunic Shirt | 40plusstyle.com

Roamans Asymmetric Ultra Femme Tunic Shirt

Made By Johnny Swing Tunic Top | 40plusstyle.com

Made By Johnny Swing Tunic Top

Hide your belly with the right clothes - Diana in a dress and leggings | 40plusstyle.com

Diana @dianagabrielnyc above (read her style interview here) opts for a tunic dress over her leggings.

Get her look with this similar tunic (plus size option here), leggings, loafers, necklace and sunglasses.

Also, check out these recommendations for the best shops for women with the apple body shape.

3. Create vertical lines to hide your belly 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.

However, it is definitely still possible to use this technique during spring and summer depending on where you live. Rather than a coat, you could opt for a lightweight cardigan, a sleeveless vest or a kimono.

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.

Or you could wear a block color such as navy, red, black or gray underneath this cardigan style below, thus creating a slimming column effect down the center of your outfit.

How to hide your belly - long vest | 40plusstyle.com

GeGekoko Long Vest

ANRABESS Open Front Jacket | 40plusstyle.com

ANRABESS Open Front Jacket

Below are more examples of outfits where you create a long lean line and hide the belly.

Layering for any season – use a long cardigan or a short jacket

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 hem lengths hide your belly.

Layers are definitely your friend when it comes to hiding a belly.

Short jacket outfit to hide your belly | 40plusstyle.com

CHARTOU Notched Collar Oblique Zip Suede Moto JacketCOS Poplin Tunic Shirt (similar option here) – FRAME Wide Leg Jeans (similar option here) – Johnston & Murphy Evelyn Open Toe Sandal BootieTed Baker London Darcell Logo Leather Satchel (similar option here) – Missoni Rainbow Stripe Fringe Scarf (another option here)

Below, the longline cardigan will create nice long lines, drawing the eye away from your belly.

Long cardigan idea to hide your belly | 40plusstyle.com

Design by Olivia Sleeveless Open Front CardiganAnne Klein Nehru Tunic ShirtZella Live In High Waist LeggingsJohnston & Murphy Evelyn Open Toe Sandal BootieTed Baker London Darcell Logo Leather Satchel (similar option here) – Sterling Forever Ezra Chain Necklace (similar)

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 so you need to be more careful when styling these.

Hide your belly with the right clothes - Deborah in a sleeveless vest | 40plusstyle.com

Deborah @deborahgates_ above (read her style interview here) chooses a sleeveless cardigan. The necklace also helps to create vertical lines, giving a slimming effect.

Recreate her outfit with this similar top, skirt, vest, boots, necklace and earrings.

You can layer in summer and winter

You can still layer in spring and summer depending on the weather where you are, you just need to choose lighter fabrics.

Instead of a cardigan, you can also choose a vest. A long vest is perfect for creating long, lean vertical lines, but you can opt for a shorter waterfall vest too.

Layer your (sleeveless) top with a sleeveless vest. It work well for all seasons. This vest cardigan from Amazon can be combined with many tops and will look great over skinny pants and jeans. You can also wear with a tank top and shorts for summer. For winter, you could wear over a long-sleeved sweater.

It has the benefit of being asymmetrical too which makes it even more flattering.

Made by Johnny Sleeveless Draped Cardigan | 40plusstyle.com

Made by Johnny Sleeveless Draped Cardigan

If it’s very warm where you are, or if you’re on a summer vacation, you could look out for a draped crochet cardigan, which could also double as a swim cover-up.

GLEAMISS Lace Crochet Top | 40plusstyle.com

GLEAMISS Lace Crochet Top

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.

Also read our article on 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.

Below are more belted styles you can try. If you leave a couple of buttons open, you’ll create a v-neck effect which will add to the flattering effect.

ACEVOG Lightweight Draped Cardigan | 40plusstyle.com

ACEVOG Wrap Draped Cardigan

Rubugil Wrap Peplum Top | 40plusstyle.com

Rubugil Wrap Peplum Top

The patterns on the Allegra K top (below) will also help to confuse the eye, which can be another effective technique for hiding the belly.

Allegra K Wrap Peplum Top | 40plusstyle.com

Allegra K Wrap Peplum Top

Hide your belly with the right clothes - Eugenia in a stripe dress | 40plusstyle.com

Eugenia @theeageofgrace (read her style interview here) chooses a striped, belted sundress.

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

5. Dresses that hide belly bulge – 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.

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 creates a flattering vertical line.

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.

Karen Kane faux wrap dress | 40plusstyle.com

Karen Kane Cascade Faux Wrap Dress (plus size)

Maggy London Short Sleeve Faux Wrap Midi Dress | 40plusstyle.com

Maggy London Short Sleeve Faux Wrap Midi Dress

You may also like our article on how cover up your arms if you prefer to wear a dress with sleeves.

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 blouse that loosely falls on your tummy will also work really well for many women.

Wear tops over your skirts and pants and don’t tuck them | 40plusstyle.com

Massimo Dutti Printed Shirt – (anther option here) – Open Edit Wide Leg Pants (anther option here) – Johnston & Murphy Evelyn Open Toe Sandal BootieRebecca Minkoff Megan Leather ToteTory Burch Tiered Resin Hoop Mismatched Drop Earrings (another option here)

Tip to hide your belly - don't tuck your tops | 40plusstyle.com

Left: NYDJ Pintuck Blouse, Right: cropped top, white cigarette pants, Fly London sandals (similar)

You’ll notice that my cropped top (above) ends at my waist drawing the attention there and not at my tummy area.

The asymmetrical hem and the fact that I just wear one column of color underneath further enhances that look.

Hide your belly with the right clothes - Barb in a white blouse and polka dot pants | 40plusstyle.com

Barb @barb_styling above wears her blouse untucked over her pants. A v-neck is flattering as it creates vertical lines, and draws attention to the neckline.

Steal her look with this similar flutter sleeve top, pants (other options here and here), pumps and woven handbag.

7. Flattering clothes for big stomach – 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 this cardigan below could work as it elongates and does a good job at hiding. Reviewers say it is beautiful, comfortable, and reasonably priced.

Lock and Love draped open front cardigan | 40plusstyle.com

Lock and Love Draped Open Front Cardigan

8. What to wear to hide a big stomach – Choose asymmetrical tops to hide your belly

Asymmetrical tops create vertical and diagonal lines and break up your silhouette so they are great for disguising tummies.

Star Vixen Hanky Hem Top | 40plusstyle.com

Star Vixen Hanky Hem Top

You could also add a poncho over the top of your outfit like the one from Amazon (below) which is available in a huge choice of colors. Reviewers say the fabric is soft, and it elevates any outfit.

Fomolom poncho sweater | 40plusstyle.com

Fomolom Poncho Sweater

Great shops for asymmetrical items include:

You can find many more asymmetrical tops and dresses here.

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 in the middle of your belly and create a huge bulge.

Instead, you want to wear pants that have a higher rise and that are capable of tucking your tummy in.

Find out what are the best tummy control jeans in stores now.

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.

You can also consider tummy tucking jeans. Some of these jeans have an elastic waistband, and some have a regular fastening but are made from stretchier fabric with clever control panels. Reviewers say the secret sculpting jeans (below) are classy enough to wear for work but can be dressed down for casual days.

Hide your belly with tummy sculpting jeans | 40plusstyle.com

Lee Sculpting Slim Leg Pull On Jean

SPANX Straight Leg Stretch Jeans | 40plusstyle.com

SPANX Straight Leg Stretch Jeans

14 sure-fire ways to hide your belly with the right clothes | 40plusstyle.com

Susanne @textelle above (read her style interview here) wears a loose print bloue over her skinny jeans.

Check out this similar printed top (another option here), jeans, sneakers, handbag (another option here) and earrings.

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!

Wit & Wisdom Print Frill Top | 40plusstyle.com

Wit & Wisdom Print Frill Top

11. Use shapewear

Of course, shapewear like these shorts that tuck the tummy, is very effective too in hiding the belly but, as I personally find it uncomfortable, I only use it for very special events.

Jenbou High Waisted Body Shaper | 40plusstyle.com

Jenbou High Waisted Body Shaper

For options on shapewear please read my article on the best shapewear for women over 40.

12. Highlight something else

When you think about how to hide your belly, it’s easy to become so focused on doing that you forget about everything else.

You may not be confident about your tummy, but what about the parts of your body that you do like?

Could you show off some cleavage, highlight your shoulders or showcase your lovely legs?

The top below for example, shows off the decolletage and draws the attention away from the tummy.

Loveappella Faux Tie Wrap Top | 40plusstye.com

Loveappella Faux Tie Wrap Top

If you like your legs, you could place the focus there instead of your tummy. That doesn’t mean wearing a mini skirt, but you could wear some lovely printed jeans to show your legs and a plain top so that the eye is drawn to your legs rather than your belly.

DIARRABLU Jant Isla Noir Print Palazzo Pants | 40plusstyle.com

DIARRABLU Jant Isla Noir Print Palazzo Pants

Or, rather than drawing the eye up, you could draw it down (or, of course, you could do both). A pair of bright shoes or on-trend booties will put the attention on your feet and legs rather than your tummy.

It’s all about hiding what you don’t like and drawing attention to what you do like.

27 EDIT Naturalizer Felicia Slingback Pointed Toe Pump | 40plusstyle.com

27 EDIT Naturalizer Felicia Slingback Pointed Toe Pump

Hide your belly with the right clothes - Georgette in an off-the-shoulder dress | 40plusstyle.com

Georgette @grownandcurvywoman above (read her style interview here) wears a dress that creates a waistline underneath the bust at the slimmest point, while the attention is focused on her shoulders.

Recreate her outfit with this similar maxi dress, handbag and earrings.

13. Think about where your sleeves end

When you are thinking about hiding a tummy, you are probably focused on whether your top or dress drapes over your belly area or whether it clings.

However, don’t forget about your sleeves. If your sleeves end right at the point where your belly is at its widest, you will only draw attention to this area.

Look instead for sleeves which end above your belly or below at your hips. The right sleeve length for you will depend on your arm length and where your belly is biggest.

Wit & Wisdom Blouson Sleeve Smocked Ruffle Top | 40plusstyle.com

Wit & Wisdom Blouson Sleeve Smocked Ruffle Top

14. Choose flattering brands

It goes without saying that some stores and brands are more focused towards women with supermodel-type figures, while others are better at designing for women who want to skim over certain parts of the body.

Some of my favorite brands which create clothes to hide a belly are.

15. Use accessories to hide your belly

I’m not suggesting you carry a handbag in front of your tummy to hide it! However, accessories can be a great tool to hide or distract from your belly.

You could, for example, wear a colorful scarf to draw the attention upwards to your face. Or, you can leave your scarf loose so it drapes down and creates a column effect to disguise your tummy. Statement necklaces are another good way to draw the attention upwards.

Accessories to hide your belly | 40plusstyle.com

Tory Burch Mini Kira Top Handle Bag (another option here) – Aimee Kestenberg Zen Convertible Crossbody (another option here) – San Diego Hat Beyond Prairie Packable Wool Fedora (another option here) – Karine Sultan Medallion Drop Earrings (another option here) – Tory Burch Wire Wrapped Doorknocker Earrings (another option here) – Tory Burch Roxanne NecklaceMissoni Stripe Zigzag Silk Scarf (another option here)

You could also draw the eye upwards with your earrings or a stylish hat.

When it comes to your handbags, think about where they sit when you carry them. If, for example, you have a shoulder strap bag which ends at your belly, this will draw the attention there.

Choose a bag which sits further up or further down, or a bag that you carry in your hand as you can draw attention to your lovely legs. Don’t opt for a bag which is too small as this will look out of proportion.

A tummy-hiding capsule wardrobe

Below are some of the clothes and accessories used in this article, together in one capsule wardrobe. You’ll see, there are plenty of ways you could mix and match to create countless outfits.

Tummy-hiding capsule wardrobe | 40plusstyle.com

SHOP the tops to hide a belly below:

More tummy-hiding inspiration

The capsules below are from previous seasons, but will give you lots of outfit idea.You may have many of these items already in your closet.

A winter capsule wardrobe to hide your belly

A capsule wardrobe on how to hide your belly | 40plusstyle.com

A capsule wardrobe for spring to camouflage the belly

A capsule wardrobe on how to hide your belly | 40plusstyle.com

Last year’s winter capsule wardrobe to hide your belly

A capsule wardrobe on how to hide your belly | 40plusstyle.com

Do you want to hide your belly or are you happy to flaunt it? And if the latter what are your best tips to hide your belly? 

Further reading:

  1. The Best Tops To Hide Your Tummy
  2. The Best Dresses To Hide Your Tummy
  3. The Best Tummy Control Jeans To Give You A Smoother Look
  4. How much should I weight for my height and age

P.S.: If you carry most of your weight around your belly, you are most likely an apple body shape. Check our tips for the apple body shape here and download our extensive guide for the apple body shape.

Like this article on how to hide your belly? Save it on Pinterest!

14 sure-fire ways to hide your belly with the right clothes | 40plusstyle.com

Feature image by Deborah @deborahgates_

Sylvia

Sylvia is 40+style’s editor-in-chief and has been helping women find their unique style since 2011. She is devoted to empowering women of any age to look and feel their best. Read more about Sylvia and 40+style on this page.

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