A popular article at 40+ Style is how to hide your belly with the right clothes, where I share sure-fire ways to hide your tummy effectively with the right kind of tops, dresses, cardigans and jackets.
Now I’m going to specifically look at the best tops to hide your tummy.
Many 40+ women develop a tummy and they would rather not show too much of that to the world.
And why would you, when you can easily hide it with the right tops?
I’m keeping track of the ideal tops to buy right now to hide your belly.
Many of these tops to hide your tummy will look good on all women over 40.
As you may know, I’m a great fan of draped and asymmetrical tops myself. And, that’s definitely one option you can choose to hide a tummy.
Why you might develop a tummy
Of course everyone is a different shape and size. However, many women, no matter whether they are naturally smaller or larger tend to develop a tummy during peri-menopause or menopause.
So, you’re definitely not alone if you want to cover up your tummy.
Strategies to use when choosing a top to hide your tummy
Below are some quick tips on what to think about when choosing tops to hide your belly.
There are reasons why I’ve chosen the tops in this article and that is because they do one of two things (or both) to disguise your tummy area.
Strategy 1: Draw the attention away
The first tactic you can use to “hide” your belly is not to hide it at all, but instead to make sure that everyone focuses on a different part of you.
So, when you’re looking for tops to hide your tummy, you could do this by ensuring that you have a flattering neckline, or that the neckline has some embellishment.
Or, you can do this through the use of asymmetry, which confuses the eye.
Another way to do this is to look for patterned tops.
These draw the attention away from your belly as the eye doesn’t know where to focus on a pattern, so tends to dot around rather than looking at your tummy.
Venetia (above) draws the attention to her shoulders with her printed top.
Strategy 2: Look for flattering fabrics and styles
The second thing you can do when choosing a top is to make sure that it drapes across or flows over your belly in a flattering way.
Make sure the material in your top isn’t too thin or clingy. Instead, look out for draping and ruching.
The 10 best tops to hide your belly
Now that I have talked about what you are trying to achieve or find when choosing a top to wear to disguise your tummy, below is a full list of all the best tops that will do a great job at hiding a belly.
You’ll see I’ve updated all of these tops for spring and summer as many of you are now heading towards the warmer months of the year.
I’ve also been inspired by some of the spring and summer trends for 2020. You’ll notice that these tops all use at least one of the techniques described above – they either draw the eye away from the tummy area, or they use clever draping and ruching to disguise a belly.
1. Embellished tops to hide your tummy
You can use embelished tops to draw the attention away from the belly.
Look out for tops with some embellishment close to your face and neckline.
That way, you draw the eyes upwards and away from your belly, putting the focus on your face and decolletage instead.
This embroidered tee below doesn’t cling and does a great job focusing the eye upwards.
2.Patterned and printed tops to camouflage your belly
Another good tip is to look for a top which is still dressy, but which has some pattern.
This confuses the eye so that the shape of your tummy isn’t so defined.
Prints are very effective in hiding bellies and you should definitely consider adding a few in your wardrobe.
Jona (above) opts for a print top with her black pants.
I’m currently loving this printed top (below) from Gibson.
It’s great to wear on its own, doesn’t cling and can easily be layered with a jacket or cardigan too.
3. Tops that show off the shoulder
Another good way to take the focus off your belly is to put it elsewhere!
You could choose cold shoulder, or off the shoulder tops to place the attention on the parts of your body you like and away from those parts that you aren’t so keen on.
Below, this off the shoulder top will draw attention upwards, and would look lovely styled with jeans for a casual look, or with a midi skirt.
4. Tops that don’t cling
Woven fabrics usually don’t cling and can be very useful in hiding bellies.
Make sure your tops don’t cling. Clinging is enemy number one if you don’t want to show your tummy. Instead, you want fabrics and tops that loosely drape over your belly.
To avoid clingy tops, make sure that you don’t buy your tops too tight.Also be careful with a lot of synthetic fabrics. Natural materials like cotton and silk are often better.
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.
Julia (above) wears a top which doesn’t cling to her tummy, and which draws the eye towards her face because of the neckline.
This asymmetrical hemline flowy tunic (below) drapes beautifully and has a few hiding belly assets all in one.
It’s embellished at the top, has a beautiful drape and is asymmetric.
Tops that drape in all the right places
A draped top can be very effective in hiding bellies.
This is also a very useful method in dresses.
So rather than plain soft tops that show every bubble on your body look for draped tops instead.
This ruched sleeve top (below) drapes over the belly thanks to the faux wrap styling.
Asymmetrical tops to hide your tummy
Asymmetrical tops are very effective in hiding bellies.
Not only are asymmetrical tops hip and timeless they also do a great job in creating very flattering vertical lines.
Especially those tops that start on the left and then go vertical down to the right.
Deborah (above) chooses a flattering, draped tunic.
This asymmetrical tunic below is a flattering style.
Layering in general is super effective to hide bellies.
This makes hiding a belly during winter and fall much easier than during summer.
But, if you are in part of the world that is heading into summer, or you are going on vacation, you can still use layering.
Layered tops to the rescue. Very good at hiding bellies, they look super hip too and can be easily layered with a sleeveless vest, cardigan or jacket.
A plain layered blouse will enable you to create many outfits.
You can easily layer it with a cardigan, jacket or sweater, but it can also be worn very stylishly on its own.
The advantage of this top (below) is that it drapes nicely over your belly and hides it perfectly. It’s not too long so will not cut your body in half.
Don’t be afraid of adding a waist
You can think about hiding your belly by skimming over it, or by creating a waist for yourself at your slimmest part to give the illusion of an hourglass figure.
You could do this with a top which has some elastic to create a waistline, or a tie.
Just make sure it doesn’t tie at the widest part of your tummy.
Kylie (above) wears a flattering wrap style which could be tied slightly higher or lower depending on where your slimmest point is.
Tops with vertical stripes
I’m not someone who thinks vertical stripes are a magical solution when it comes to hiding a belly.
In fact, you can find that a long cardigan in a block color worn over a top with horizontal stripes works very well too.
But there’s no doubt that vertical lines can draw the eye up and down rather than across if you choose a flattering style.
Ruffled or peplum tops
This is one you have to be careful with.
Choose the ruffle in the “wrong” place and it can actually emphasize your belly rather than disguise it.
You can either opt for a ruffle which skims over your belly to disguise it, or a ruffle in a different place altogether to draw the eye away from the tummy.
If you choose a peplum which dips in at your narrowest point and then skims out, or ruffles which are in strategic places to divert the attention from your middle section, they can work.
Suzie (above) chooses a peplum where the peplum detailing starts above her tummy.
These work for some women but not for others.
An empire waist is what is traditionally thought of as pregnancy wear and, if you do have a round tummy, it can be an unflattering option.
But, if your belly is more wide – so kind of a muffin top – rather than sticking out at the front, it can definitely work.
That’s because an empire waist will generally highlight the area just below your bust, which tends to be the slimmest point on your torso if you have a bit of a belly.
Below is a tunic with an empire waist
Choose tops that emphasize your bust
Do choose tops which emphasize your bust rather than your waistline like this satin blouse from Vince Camuto.
That way the eye will be drawn upwards rather than to your tummy, and often you find if you have a bit of a belly, you have a great bust.
Just make sure you wear a well-fitting bra.
If you have a bigger bust take a look at the best bras for large breasts that are stylish AND supportive.
Tops that create long vertical lines
Long vests or cardigans
If you find asymmetry is too edgy for you or you prefer a more traditional way to hide your belly, opt for vertical lines.
These can be very effectively created with long (sleeveless) vests and cardigans.
Not only do these hide bellies, they are very effective in lengthening and slimming too.
Cassie (above) creates a slimming column effect with her black skirt and top by wearing a longline coat over her outfit.
Also read our article on how to dress if you are petite.
Extra inspiration on using layering to hide a tummy
Below, you can see more outfit ideas on how to you can hide a tummy with layers or patterns.
A patterned shirt will take attention away from your belly, while a long coat will create nice long lines.
The longer your cardigan or jacket, 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.
Instead of a cardigan or coat you can choose a vest, which is a good option when the weather is warmer.
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 on how to wear a long vest.
Layer your (sleeveless) top with a sleeveless vest.
Even if the weather is a little warmer where you are, you can still layer a sleeveless vest over a sleeveless vest to benefit from tummy-hiding layers.
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.
Jackets for layering
Layering is one of the most effective tools to hide a belly so it’s essential to have a good jacket or blazer in your wardrobe.
Jackets can make many casual looks just a bit more chic and they are an easy layering piece.
If you are looking for a lightweight topper for warmer weather, or to wear over a little black dress for dinner or a party, you could try a kimono style.
Try a shapewear camisole
But, you could wear a camisole underneath your tops to smooth out your tummy.
The best brands for tops that hide the belly
When you are looking for tops to hide your tummy, it can be easiest to have some brands in mind.
Here are some of the best.
Stella Carakasi: lots of non-clingy asymmetric tunics. **Enter the coupon code 40PLUS15 for an extra 15% off all orders and receive free shipping in the US! One use per customer.
Covered Perfectly: Pauline wanted to hide her belly effectively and decided to create her own tops. Lots of great options here. There is a special line for plus size women too. ** Special offer for 40+ style readers, use 40+ at checkout for 20% off!
Eileen Fisher: Beautiful long tunics and (sleeveless) vests in natural fabrics that create long and lean lines. They have a special line for petites too!
Vince Camuto: makes a variety of draped, layered and asymmetrical tops that are really flattering.
City Chic: A good option for evening wear as well as tunic-style tops.
Rachel Roy Collection: Extensive range of draped, wrap, print and tunic tops.
What is your favorite top to hide your belly? Do you have any favorite brands? I’d love to hear your own recommendations.
- How to hide your belly with the right clothes
- How to look taller and slimmer
- How to dress for the apple body shape
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Feature image by Jona
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