Want to hide your belly and still look fabulous? Then read on! This article has plenty of ideas and tips on how to stylishly cover up 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 14 tips below on how to hide your belly with the right clothes.

Hiding your belly in winter and fall

Many of you will be experiencing cooler weather now, or soon, which can be good news for hiding your belly as you can use plenty of lovely layers to create long, sleek lines.

However, it can also be easy to add extra, unwanted bulk during the winter as you’ll want to wear warm sweaters and coats. Try to avoid boxy, chunky knit sweaters which will only add width, and opt for draped, asymmetrical styles, wrap styles where you can alter the belt for the most flattering effect, or long cardigans for an elongating effect.

Foxcroft leopard wrap cardigan | 40plusstyle.com

Foxcroft leopard wrap cardigan

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

how to hide a belly with a draped top | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Jenny (above) shows off a great outfit for hiding a belly which you could take inspiration from. Her top drapes over the tummy area, while wearing a moto jacket also helps to draw attention away from a belly because of the difference in lengths between the top and the jacket.

She also wears a pair of sunshine yellow shoes which draw the eye downwards.

Recreate her outfit with this similar top, jeans, moto jacket and flats.

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 winter and fall 2020.

Gibson cross front tunic blouse | 40plusstyle.com

Gibson cross front tunic blouse

Below is a draped blouse that is also effective at hiding bellies for three reasons 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.

Karen Kane drape front top | 40plusstyle.com

Karen Kane drape front top

2. Wear leggings or skinnies with longer, draped or asymmetrical tops

hiding a belly with a tunic top and skinnies | 40plusstyle.com

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!

Julia (above) opts for a stylish winter look with a long sweater and leggings. You can see that the neckline, earrings and necklace all help to draw the eye upwards so you don’t focus on the midriff area.

Check out this similar sweater, jeans, booties, handbag and necklace.

For more tips and examples see how to wear leggings.

Choose the right leggings that tuck in your stomach

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.

wear leggings to tuck in your tummy | 40plusstyle.com

Another favorite amongst my readers are the Zella Live in Leggings.

Zella high waist leggings | 40plusstyle.com

Zella 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.

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!

Choose the right tunics that make you look good in your leggings or jeans | 40plusstyle.com

Look out for asymmetrical tops and sweaters.

Wearing leggings underneath can let your hero pieces, like this printed tunic top (below) stand out.

This piece can easily be layered with a longer cardigan or shorter jacket and the pattern distracts the attention from your belly.

Leggings or tummy tuck jeans can work as part of outfits designed to hide your belly during any season.

Karen (above) wears a loose tunic over a pair of jeans.

Get her look with this similar tunic, jeans, booties and sunglasses.

DJT tie dyed hankerchief hemline tunic top | 40plusstyle.com

DJT tie dyed hankerchief hemline tunic top

Doublju cowl neck tunic sweater | 40plusstyle.com

Doublju cowl neck tunic sweater

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

How to get rid of your belly

3. Create vertical lines to hide your belly with long cardigans, jackets and ponchos

Sure-fire way to hide a belly - wear a long, drapey cardigan | 40plusstyle.com

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, black or gray underneath this cardigan style below, thus creating a slimming column effect down the center of your outfit.

Kylie (above) chooses a draped top with a pattern and tops with an elongating waterfall style cardigan.

Check out this similar blouse, cardigan, jeans and booties

Leith long cardigan | 40plusstyle.com

Leith long cardigan

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.

Jacket outfit idea to hide your belly | 40plusstyle.com

CHARTOU suede moto jacketTreasure & Bond stripe tunicKUT from the Kloth skinny pantsDolce Vita bootieHobo leather hobo8 Other Reasons drop earrings

Below, the longline cardigan will create nice long lines and the scarf and earrings draw the eye to your face and away from your belly.

Long cardigan - disguise your belly with the right clothes | 40plusstyle.com

MBJ open front long cardiganNext Level teeHudson Jeans skinny jeansBlondo waterproof bootieALLSAINTS leather backpackNordstrom wrapKendra Scott drop earrings

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.

You can layer in summer and winter

how to hide your belly with a kimona | 40plusstyle.com

You can still layer in spring and summer, you just need to choose lighter fabrics.

Sara (above) may give you some inspiration with her stylish, lightweight leopard print open kimono if you live in warmer climes or you are heading off on vacation.

Get her look with this similar top, pants, cardigan, sandals and crossbody bag.

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 shorter waterfall vest too.

Layer your (sleeveless) top with a sleeveless vest. This vest cardigan from Amazon 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.

Draped vest cardigans are perfect to hide your tummy | 40plusstyle.com

MBJ front drape vest cardigan

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.

Below is an option showing how you could wear this.

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.

the right clothes to disguise a tummy | 40plusstyle.com

MBJ front drape vest cardiganMing Wang abstract print blouseRebecca Taylor faux leather pantsSARTO by Franco Sarto pumpTory Burch leather wallet on a chain

Choosing a top in a darker color will help to hide your belly, while the sleeveless cardigan on top will help to create lean lines.

A scarf or statement necklace will draw attention up to your face and away from your tummy area.

Sleeveless vests work well for all seasons.

Read our article on the best shops for the apple body shape.

If you are in warmer climes or heading off on vacation, you could also use a very lightweight cover-up such as the examples below.

Rebecca Minkoff dip dye ruana | 40plusstyle.com

Rebecca Minkoff dip dye ruana

For a brighter pop of color, how about this long chiffon cardigan (below) which would look beautiful worn over patterns or block colors.

Tribear sheer chiffon kimono | 40plusstyle.com

Tribear sheer chiffon kimono

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.

Romwe belted peplum blouse | 40plusstyle.com

Romwe belted peplum blouse

5. Dresses that hide belly bulge – Choose dresses that don’t cling and/or have a draping element

5. Dresses that hide belly bulge - Choose dresses that don’t cling | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Hailey (above) opts for a wrap dress which belts just below the bust (this is likely to be your slimmest part) and opts for a pattern which can be another great way to disguise a belly.

Recreate her outfit with this similar wrap dress, sandals, clutch and necklace.

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.

Vince gathered sleeveless dress | 40plusstyle.com

Vince gathered sleeveless 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

Wear tops over your skirts and pants without tucking them in | 40plusstyle.com

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 work really well for many women.

Fonda (above) wears her sweater outside her jeans. The neckline and her necklace draw attention upwards.

Check out this similar sweater, jeans, suede boots and necklace.

All in Favor twist hem top | 40plusstyle.com

All in Favor twist hem top

tips to hide your belly - Don't tuck your tops | 40plusstyle.com

Left: Karen Kane crossover top, blouse Right: cropped top, white cigarette pants, Fly London sandals

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. 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.

FLORIA open front drape cardigan | 40plusstyle.com

FLORIA open front drape cardigan

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

Wearing an asymmetrical top to hide a belly | 40plusstyle.com

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

Deborah (above) opts for an asymmetric poncho which adds warmth and style. She also adds statement earrings and a pop of red lipstick which keeps the attention on her face.

Steal her look with this asymmetrical top, pants, pumps and earrings.

Poncho sweater | 40plusstyle.com

Fomolom poncho sweater

Club Monaco drape front blouse | 40plusstyle.com

Club Monaco drape front blouse

Great shops for asymmetrical items include:

You can find many more asymmetrical tops and dresses here.

9. Use pants that tuck the tummy in

Wear pants that tuck the belly in | 40plusstyle.com

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 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.

Fee (above) chooses a well-fitting pair of black pants, and adds impact to her neckline with a statement necklace in bright red.

Check out this similar pair of pants from FRAME, blouse, mules and necklace.

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.

NYDJ pull-on ankle jeans | 40plusstyle.com

NYDJ pull-on ankle jeans

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

Patterned top and cardigan to hide a belly | 40plusstyle.com

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!

Steph (above) has featured a number of “belly hiding” techniques in her outfit above. Her loose top features a polka dot pattern while her necklace and earrings make sure attention is on her face rather than the tummy area.

Recreate her outfit with this similar top, cardigan, jeans, shoes and necklace.

I’m also currently loving this printed top from Amazon (below). It’s great to wear on its own, doesn’t cling and can easily be layered with a jacket or cardigan too.

NY Collection printed bell asymmetrical hem top | 40plusstyle.com

NY Collection printed bell asymmetrical hem 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.

SPANX OnCore shaping briefs | 40plusstyle.com

SPANX shaping briefs

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

12. Highlight something else

flattering stripe belted dress to hide a belly | 40plusstyle.com

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?

Venetia (above) shows off her lovely décolletage with a flattering v-neck, stripe dress.

Check out this similar dress, sandals, clutch and sunglasses.

The top below, for example, features buttons which help to take the focus to the neck rather than your belly.

Miusey cowl neck tunic top | 40plusstyle.com

Miusey cowl neck tunic 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.

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

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

Cole Haan half d'Orsay pump | 40plusstyle.com

Cole Haan half d’Orsay pump

Coconuts by Matisse boot | 40plusstyle.com

Coconuts by Matisse boot

13. Think about where your sleeves end

look at where your sleeves end to hide a belly | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Jona (above) opts for sleeves which end just below the bust.

Recreate her outfit with this similar top, wide leg pants, booties, sunglasses and finish the look with a Gucci crossbody bag.

Rebecca Taylor floral mix silk blend top | 40plusstyle.com

Rebecca Taylor floral mix silk blend top

14. Choose flattering brands

wearing a long cardigan to hide a tummy | 40plusstyle.com

Karen Kane long cardigan

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

How to hide a belly with the right accessories - scarf | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Andrea (above) wears a lovely, loose animal print scarf.

Steal her look with this similar dress, cardigan, sneakers, handbag and scarf.

how to hide your belly with the right accessories | 40plusstyle.com

Nordstrom leather hobo bagYOUR SMILE lightweight scarfNordstrom wool & cashmere scarfBrixton wool fedoraJenny Bird layered necklaceMadewell resin link hoop earrings

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.

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

More belly hiding inspiration for you

Below is a previous season capsule for hiding your tummy. You’ll see all of these looks are totally timeless.

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

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? 

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

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!

P.S.: gained too much weight recently or want to know how you can stop emotional eating and downsize your belly? Come check out my FREE class that is happening soon. You can sign up for free below.

How to get rid of your belly

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

How to wear your belly with the right clothes | 40plusstyle.com

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Feature image by Andrea

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