A popular article at 40+ Style is how to hide your belly with clothes, where I share 14 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.
But first here 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 below and that is because they do one of two things (or both) to disguise your tummy area.
Julia (above) opts for a winter look which uses a column of color, with a denim jacket layered over the top.
Best tops to hide your tummy – 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.
Best tops to hide your tummy -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 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, here is a full list of all the best tops that are doing a great job at hiding the belly.
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 beaded embellished casual v-neck top doesn’t cling and does a great job focusing the eye upwards.
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.
Brenda (below) wears an on-trend plaid blouse which skims over the tummy area.
You can get a similar check blouse from BP.
Prints are very effective in hiding bellies and you should definitely consider adding a few in your wardrobe.
I’m currently loving this printed top from Amazon.
Black and white is always on trend and super versatile.
It’s great to wear on its own, doesn’t cling and can easily be layered with a jacket or cardigan too.
I think it would look lovely styled with red. Take a look at how to wear red for more tips.
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 one shoulder top will draw attention upwards, and would look lovely styled with jeans for a casual look, or with a pleated skirt.
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.
Kim (below) chooses a stylish draped top for an all-black look which goes beautifully with her fabulous hair color.
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.
A crossover top is very effective and this one creates asymmetrical vertical lines which is an extra bonus.
Below is a variation a regular t-shirt that is much more interesting and more effective at hiding bellies.
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 asymmetrical hemline flowy tunic Top 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.
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) shows how stylish an asymmetric top can be.
Here is a similar asymmetrical jersey top from Karen Kane.
Wearing jeans underneath can let your hero pieces, like this 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).
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.
This long sleeved layered top comes in two colors.
A printed 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 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 really 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.
Madeline (above) wears a belted white blouse which shows off her lovely 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.
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.
Venetia (below) opts for a classic peplum top which shows her cleavage and beautiful decolletage.
Check out this peplum top from Amazon to copy her style.
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.
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.
Estrella (above) uses vertical stripes and ties her belt at her slimmest point.
Here is a tie waist shirt that you can try to recreate this look.
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.
Choose tops that emphasize your bust
Do choose tops which emphasize your bust rather than your waistline.
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.
Also read our article on how to dress if you are petite.
Below, a patterned shirt will take attention away from your belly, while the longline 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.
A long vest is perfect for creating long, lean vertical lines, but you can opt for shorter waterfall vest too.
Jaye (above) uses two great styling tricks if you want to hide your belly. Not only does she create long lines with her sleeveless vest, but she also unbuttons her shirt to create a v-shape.
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.
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.
Debbie (above) creates a column of black underneath her print coat.
You can get a similar long wool animal print coat here at Amazon.
Or, you could opt for a coat-cardigan hybrid, or a coatigan, like this one below.
Wear it with your gray pants, your skirts or jeans.
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.
Karen Kane: usually has a good range of draped and cross over tops.
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?
- 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 Madeline
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