How to hide a stomach with clothes : 10 ways that help a big belly

What to wear to hide a big stomach - simple tips that flatter those with a big belly and your stomach sticks out unflatteringly.

A big Belly – sounds cute and even looks cute on small chubby kids and cats. But on grownups, this brings on nothing but inexplicable mental anguish and not so insignificant social embarrassment. It does not matter the size of the bulge – a bulge is a bulge, big or small.

Most of the time the best course of action I take is ‘tummy tuck-ins’ at the exact time that someone is looking (when ideally I should be doing some planks and crunches, but who is ideal). The latter actions require some willpower and long-term planning. So the tummy tuck-ins continue – but very difficult to do when too many people are around. A person has to breathe!

There are still some other things I could do. Some adjustments in dressing that can work like a charm. What we need ( you and I, because I assume you also have the same dilemma) are clothing and dresses that seem to hide a belly bulge. A flat tummy or an illusion of having one can be created with some wardrobe planning. I am talking about expert camouflage.

What to wear to hide a big stomach

Wear dark and solid-colored clothes from top to bottom

hide belly with dark colored clothes

Dark colors  and solid-colors from top to bottom create a visual illusion of slimness. So either go solid or go dark or go solid and dark.

If you want to wear prints wear the prints in a dark color. If you want to wear light colors, use solid (single color – no prints and patterns) from top to bottom. Does that make sense?

Wear clothing that skims over the stomach

what to wear if you have a large stomach - drapey clothes that skim

If you wear clothes that are tight around the waistline the stomach is projected, and can look bigger than it really is. Avoid this. But not too loose that it looks like a tent on you.

Draped clothing looks nice. Like a long cowl or a twist front top.

You will know if your top is tight if the button placket near the stomach is gaping open every time you breathe. This is a common problem for people with big belly ; the result of wearing clothes according to the bust measurement and hip measurement. If you have a stomach, consider this first when buying clothes.

Ensure that the clothes you wear have enough ease along the waistline. It is very off-putting and shows your stomach prominently even to those who did not intend to notice that. Buy tops, shirts and dresses with a wider waistline or buy a bigger size and get it tailored to fit on other places.

That doesnot mean you have to buy loose baggy out of shape clothes. Fitting clothes is most important for a person with a big tummy than for any other. Remember – Not too tight nor too loose. 

Wear clothes with vertical lines 

what clothes can you wear if you have a big belly - vertical fashion lines

Vertical lines are slimming. This does not stop with vertical printed lines. This includes design lines as well. A design line includes openings, darts, etc. A long placket along the vertical central line is such.

A long open jacket or cardigan can create a long vertical design line that can seemingly hide a big stomach. In fact this is my favorite tip of all. 

You can learn more about design lines in fashion designing here.

Wear hip length or longer tops; Avoid crop tops

how to wear clothes that cover a protruding stomach

A crop top cuts across the stomach area – especially when worn with leggings or tight fitting jeans – the belly bulge is real. Mid-riff revealing tops come in this category.

This includes those cute short open jackets as well but if worn over hip length loose tunics they do not look so bad.

No decorations in the belly area

The same principle given above applies with trims, embroidery and other embellishments. And pockets too. You should not make the belly area more prominent with decorations. Wide or attention grabbing belts over inserted clothing fastening over the waist can also have the same negative effect. No prints over the stomach area either.

Bring attention to a body feature that you love

This could be your slim arms, long thin legs, nice cleavage. Add embellishments to a place that you want the eye to go. If you have long legs – Wear skirts or fitting leggings to make legs look good. Leggings can even have nice flowery patches.

If you have shapely arms – Go sleeveless to bring attention to good slim arms. The sleeves can be puffy with check prints. Exaggerated sleeves can bring attention away from the tummy.

Wear a high waistline to camouflage that tummy

clothing tips to take care of a big stomach -high waistline clothes

A high waist pants and high waistline for dresses – both work. The tummy can roll over a low waist pant. With a high waist pant everything is tucked right in.

A high waistline dress like an empire dress or a wrap dress that tightens way above the waistline can hide belly and love handles to an extent. It has to be narrow (silhouette) and made of a drapey fabric (It should not be made of a thick fabric or be of a blousy style). Dark coloured empire dresses with long sleeves can somehow reduce the look of a big belly. Wear this dress with an elastic waistline or a belt on the narrow part of your torso, but not right on top of the tummy. But the empire style can go wrong if you have a large bustline as well. It can make the stomach look larger. 

A peplum top with the flare over the stomach is another flattering clothing for a big stomach.

But too much gathers or ruffles starting at the waistline and going over the stomach can make the tummy prominent looking. Strike a balance.

Choose fabric well

No extra thick and heavy weight fabrics as top wear especially around the tummy area. Thick fabrics can make one look bigger than we are. Thick fabrics and boxy silhouettes take the cake. Clingy clothes are bad as well – thin knit fabric is  clingy so avoid or use it under better jackets.

Wear firm stretchy comfortable bottom wear

Firm but stretchy leggings, which will keep all the tummy in without being too tight or uncomfortable like a stiff jeans, is a good choice as bottom wear.

A good bra can help

An ill fitting bra can make you look sloppy.  Wear a bra that will make the breasts sit high and look full so that the waist looks comparatively smaller.

Use a Tummy shaper

To avoid a big stomach I told you to avoid anything that is tight around the waistline. But this doesn’t include a waist shaper – the corset of the modern times. A tight waist shaper belt inside your dress can make the waistline look slimmer by many inches.

tummy shapers

You can ask for a waist trimmer, a body shaper, tummy shaper, tummy control belt, smoothening shaper briefs, shaping tights – all have the same function. They all are intended to flatten your tummy and contour your waist to look slim and shapely, under your clothes. 
Can all these tips remove belly fat? No. That is a silly question but a hopeful one. If only! But they may flatter your figure and make the stomach and usually accompanying love handles look less prominent. Do you have anymore favorite tips?

Post disclaimer : Being happy is the most important thing. This includes being happy with how you look. Size does not matter in the way to happiness – but your attitude and self love does. These are just tricks you may want to try if you are really bothered and the thoughts are hindering your happiness. Cheers.

Related posts : Body positivity & fashion : How to embrace your size and love yourself ; Different types of body shapes; How to wear the right clothes if you have heavy arms; How to dress if you have short and stocky legsHow to minimize the look of a large Bustline with the right clothes

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

16 thoughts on “How to hide a stomach with clothes : 10 ways that help a big belly”

  1. It’s a good post, but doesn’t address my figure problem. My belly isn’t too big but I have a roll of fat under my breasts and above my waist.

  2. Love this. The beginning of the article did make me laugh. I’ve always been an exercise person, sit ups, planks and all, but after 3 kids… I’m just trying to get my sanity. I have a little pouch…so much for years of hard work. I love your website,very detailed. Please keep up the good work.

    • Some people need to work more than others, which is completely unfair; and then there is AGE! 🙂 cheers and best wishes.

  3. I have a similar problem…about 7 abdominal surgeries. Two abscessed & the stitches were taken out & everything left open to heal. Had to have temporary ostomies twice. I was only 36 to 37 at the time. Prednisone caused rapid weight gain as well. I was pretty devastated as I was suddenly a single mom but felt too unattractive to ever want to date again. Your styling tips are very good but as I am now an “old geezer”, I’m wondering if I’m not finding your full article. I’m not proficient on the computer!
    Anyhow, I shall sign up & see what happens. Oh…I had always been a petite person & very slim. A “big guy” was disconcerting! My daughter who was also very slim has a similar problem now that she is 40. She has been eating too much junk food due to depression. She was the reason your article caught my eye. Further tips from you would be awesome.

    • I am trying to do this on a cell phone…another one of those new techy things that drives me nuts. For some reason the phone doesn’t always print out what I’m trying to type. I was referring to a “big gut” NOT a big guy!

  4. One more reason an adult may have a non-negotiable tummy bulge: If one has had a resection of the colon for any reason any number and sometimes all of the muscles that could otherwise be persuaded to keep the lower tummy tucked are severed and they aren’t going to be able to do what they once did — or could have done. Some folks can wear things that are tight against the belly, but some (me!) can’t. Your tips, which are reasonably commonsensical, are very good and helpful. (When I was much much younger and I was out of shape my body type gave rise to a low tummy bulge which occasionally a kid would comment on, to the available parent’s embarrassment: “Look, mom, she’s pregnant!” I’m waiting to be nailed for any reason whatsoever at my now relatively advanced age, just to be able to come back with a “kind” lesson in anatomy: “Well, dear, you have to understand that I had to have a cancer removed and the muscles can’t hold my tummy in any more.” So far, I’m only dreaming, partly because at age > 40 yoa I am among the unseen, the invisible, the unnoticed — which is a great blessing!)

    • And that Kid was unkind to say it. Sorry you had to face that and for the illness (but that is unavoidable fate). The unseen, the invisible, the unnoticed – that is a new way of saying we are old : )

    • I just found a long jumpsuit with wide legs and a top that draped over the elastic on the waist. I then cut an opening in the crotch area that you cannot see and put in four velcro straps so she can use the bathroom. The legs were wide enough to hide her colostomy bag. The fabric was a cotton-poly jersey that had great stretch back quality. It was the only thing I could think of for her and she is so grateful. Maybe this can serve you.

  5. Greetings, while I appreciate your great information, it would have had more visual impact if the models actually had bellies to hide. Thank you.

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