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 14 tips below on how to hide your belly with the right clothes.

Hiding your belly in fall and winter

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.

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 2021.

Karen Kane crossover top | 40plusstyle.com

Karen Kane smocked crossover 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.

Karen Kane drape front top | 40plusstyle.com

Karen Kane drape front top

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

14 sure-fire ways to hide your belly with the right clothes | 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!

Deborah @deborahgates_ above (read her style interview here) opts or an asymmetric tunic with her skinny pants. You can see that your eye is drawn to her hemline, jewelry and boots rather than tummy area.

Recreate her outfit with this similar tunic top, pants, lug boots 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 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!

Look out for asymmetrical tops and sweaters.

Wearing leggings underneath can let your hero pieces, like this 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.

LARACE asymmetrical tunic top | 40plusstyle.com

LARACE asymmetrical tunic top

Anne Klein tunic shirt | 40plusstyle.com

Anne Klein tunic shirt

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

Honeydew Intimates cardigan | 40plusstyle.com

Honeydew Intimates 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

How to hide a belly - Kylie wears a cardigan over her dress | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Kylie @kylish_aus above wears a collared cardigan over her print dress. The collar draws the eye to the bust area rather than the waistline.

Check out these cardigans from Lock and Love and Urban CoCo that you can wear with this similar maxi dress and booties.

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

Anne Klein drape fron jacketLARACE tunic topAG skinny jeansDirty Laundry by Chinese Laundry ankle bootCLUCI leather hoboDesimtion dangle 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 idea to hide your belly | 40plusstyle.com

MBJ open front long cardigan – LARACE tunic topFelina leggingsKenneth Cole REACTION ankle bootSTAUD colorblock tote. – Jenny Bird hoop earringsMelifluous Designed in Spain scarf

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.

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 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, in a slightly different color pathway.

Tonal shades can be great for giving you a longer, slimmer look.

You can see you can still add a layer for your spring and summer outfits.

Sleeveless vests work well for all seasons.

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

How to hide a belly - Rita wears a kimono jacket | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Rita @ritapalazzi above (read her style interview here) chooses a kimono style jacket. You could belt higher or lower depending on what looks good on your body.

Check out this similar belted toppers from JLUXLABEL and NYDJ, and wear it with this similar wide leg pants, sandals and clutch.

Vince Camuto asymmetric belt button-up blouse | 40plusstyle.com

Vince Camuto asymmetric belt button-up blouse

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 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.

Karen Kane faux wrap dress | 40plusstyle.com

Karen Kane faux wrap 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 work really well for many women.

HOTAPEI wrap V-neck blouse | 40plusstyle.com

HOTAPEI wrap V-neck blouse

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

Left: Karen Kane tie neck bell sleeve 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 area.

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.

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

How to hide a belly with a poncho | 40plusstyle.com

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

Lydia @birabiro above (read her style interview here) opts for an asymmetric poncho. Her brooches draw attention upwards.

Steal her look with this similar poncho, denim shirt, leggings and boots.

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

DJT tie dyed handkerchief hemline tunic 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.

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

Susanne wears a long shirt and jeans | 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.

Susanne @textelle above wears her white shirt over her skinny jeans.

Get her look with this similar shirt, jeans with tummy control, sneakers and crossbody bag.

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.

SPANX jean-ish leggings | 40plusstyle.com

SPANX jean-ish leggings

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 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.

BAISHENGGT printed tunic top | 40plusstyle.com

BAISHENGGT printed tunic 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 shaping panties | 40plusstyle.com

SPANX shaping panties

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

12. Highlight something else

How to hide a belly - Erica wears a print midi dress | 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?

Erica @ericabunker above wears a dress that works on a number of levels to hide a belly. The v-neck draws attention to the decolletage while the print helps to confuse the eye. The vertical pattern elongates while the belt is just under the bust rather than at the tummy.

Check out this printed dress and sandals for a similar look.

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

Floral top | 40plusstyle.com

Loveappella floral off the shoulder top

For a cold weather option, you could choose an off-the-shoulder sweater.

Off the shoulder sweater | 40plusstyle.com

Loveappella ribbed off the shoulder 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 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.

Anthropologie Silent D Tintel Heeled Ankle Boots | 40plusstyle.com

Anthropologie boots

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.

Anne Klein top | 40plusstyle.com

Anne Klein dot split neck blouse

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.

Karen Kane tie dye blouson sleeve top | 40plusstyle.com

Karen Kane tie dye blouson sleeve top

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

Kurt Geiger London leather toteLanzom panama hatLizzie Fortunato freshwater pearl necklaceKarine Sultan drop earrings

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.

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

shop all items above here:

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!

Feature image by Deborah

Want to get more articles from 40+style in your inbox, subscribe here.

You can also connect with 40+style on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

Support 40+style by using the links in our articles to shop. As an associate for Amazon and many other brands, we receive a small commission (at no cost to you) on qualifying purchases which enables us to keep creating amazing free content for you. Thanks!