Everyone has a problem area! No matter your age, size or shape most women have some area they’d rather hide and the tummy is probably the most common trouble spot there is!  Let’s face it, not many of us hit the gym all day every day, to look as insanely toned as Jillian Michaels. A six pack is a bit out of reach for most of us, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t excellent ways to look great regardless. Here’s my take on how to hide a tummy.

Firm-up your middle

Love fitted dresses? That’s OK as long as you’re realistic about the results and wise about your foundation. If your middle is a little wobbly then shapewear will be your best friend; it will boost your confidence, smooth and firm your middle. After all, most celebs swear by some kind of Spanx to look sucked and red carpet ready, so we can certainly follow their lead.

When scouting the stores for a little-fitted number keep in mind that thin, stretchy fabrics may cling to you in the wrong areas, no matter what you do. More structured dresses and sturdier fabrics will hold their shape better. Also, look at how the dress drapes; fitted wrap dresses are excellent choices for most women.

Garments with ruching are also perfect for concealing torso-to-knee trouble spots, while blouson tops often drape softly on top of a tummy. Other fabrics to avoid are those with sheen or shine, they have the power to highlight your body’s topography, so skip satin and silk for matt fabrics.


Whittle your waist

A bit of a tummy shouldn’t keep you from accentuating the smallest part of your body.

You’ll always look slimmer when you reveal some shape so look for dresses that nip in above your tummy even as far up as under your bust. A medium-wide to wide belt can also be employed to control any wobbles.

Peplums are also very chic and flattering when they drape close to your body. They nip you in just the right area, and flare out to enhance or even create an hourglass shape. Balance out a fuller top with a fitted bottom to keep from looking bunched up in the middle.

High waists1Peplum and sweater2

Cover up without over-layering

Single breasted jackets and vests that nip in at the waist are not only feminine but insanely flattering. Left open they conceal your middle while creating a strong elongating line up the center of your body – better still add a long scarf to flow playful down the front.  

A cardigan is totally fab, especially when accessorized with a statement necklace or pendant and slim line pant or skirt. Problems will only occur if you pile on extra layers. Instead, keep cozy with high quality, thin thermal underwear.

Jewellery and accessories are also a great way to draw attention away from your tummy. Pile on some colourful arm candy, or throw a vivid satchel over your shoulder. No one will be looking at your tummy now! An oblong scarf or long pendant necklaces really help in visually elongating you as well

Open Jacket1

Color play

Not only is wearing a monochromatic ensemble effortlessly cool, but it also helps you to appear longer and leaner. Think about how nude heels work: they trick the eyes into thinking you’re leggy even if you’re  only 5’1” (155 cm). Wearing same-color separates is glam and trendy, but also creates an optical illusion to slim you from top to toe.

Another way to attract eyes away from your tummy area is to trick them with a print that keeps the eye moving. Likewise, an eye-catching print in a loose blouse is a winner. No one will pay attention to what’s under your fabulous blouse!

Mono to prints1

Acknowledgements: Girl with Curves – one of my favorite plus size blogs: http://girlwithcurves.com/ 

  1. I love that you use plus size models for some of your articles. Much easier to relate to and makes the information more believable!! Thanks for all the great articles

    1. I love that you use plus size models. Quite realistic! Thanks Ann!

  2. Loved this post! The models were beautiful and the tips excellent! Nice to see women as women and not anorexic models. My tummy is under control at the moment, but these tips are going in my fashion file for future reference. Thank you!

  3. wondering if there is a trick to buying shapewear, I find it just pushes my body into different areas and then I have another problem! thanks

    1. Hi Lin,
      Sounds to me one of two possible issues: the items you are selecting are too small for you or you may be better with a bodysuit style. I have found the later often works best for me.

  4. Totally love this article about dressing well for a tummy area. Thanks so much.
    Regards Nicole Dematos

  5. Hi Ann
    Awesome information that just keeps coming please dont stop what I can’t use today will use next week or next season. My hope (dream) is that all shop assistants be taught the same stuff then we wouldn’t have so many fashion disasters walking around thinking they look great because the ‘girl in the shop said I would’. Mmmmmmm.

  6. I fully agree to Karens post- great models, great looking women! your dressing ideas and advices are really flattering! thank you for this article!

  7. While I appreciated the use of plus size models and acknowledge that it may have been hard to find matching images, the image of the model in the bloused outfit (top row on the right) really did not support the story. The blousing makes her tummy look huge, bigger than her hips and shoulders even.

    I have your e-style portfolio and it is interesting that this advises me to avoid peplums and ruching because I have a large tummy!!

    1. Hi Cate,
      Thank you for your comment and keeping me on my toes. I’m going to go into the program and adjust the comments. Peplums will be a Good Only If in a soft fabric and teamed with a slim skirt. As for ruching, that should already be a “Good’.

  8. Hi Ann

    Excellent choice of photos and models, proving you can trick the eye with clever placement of accessories, colour and textures.
    Just with the use of shapewear, do you know where you can get good-quality shapewear for the larger ladies (+ 20) sizes ?
    Many thanks, Ann. I enjoy reading your posts, and am remiss in adding comments the vast majority of time!

    1. Thank you Deb,
      I don’t know of any places off the top of my head but I’ll see what I can find for you. 🙂

  9. It was great to see the ‘tips’ explained along with beautiful oversized models so we can actually identify with them together. So often we got advice then shown a skinny model. I’m hippy n have steered away from shiny tight pants but can now see how I can create a fashionable look n feel ‘with it’ without sticking to my old ideas. Good on you Ann n super good on you up the models who dare to demonstrate a new idea

  10. Thanks so much, Anne; I’m loving your website!
    Ovarian cancer/surgery has suddenly left me with a large tummy (and now 2 large abdominal hernias as well), so I’m in dire need of these tips, and more… Unfortunately I live in the hot-humid tropics (and suddenly in menopause ‘gone wild’), so shape-wear (and synthetics) are out of the question. PLEASE, if anyone knows a vendor who specializes in “natural” materials (cotton, linens, etc) for plus-sized women (size 16-18), please let me know!

  11. Hi
    I agree with everyone regarding the article and the beautiful models. I love the tops that gather under the bust but I feel that I look pregnant when I wear them. Any tips?

  12. Thank you so much Anne for your insightful article. I love that you use ladies with actual fuller figures!, which in reality is half the women in the country!!!…
    I also like the style of the clothes and as a muture woman of 40 something! Id wear and things I have in my wardrobe but never wear because I don’t know how.
    I am now hooked, looking forward to reading next article

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