Structured jackets, shirts that aren’t tucked in, and jumpsuits can draw attention away from a big middle.
“What happened to my waist?” I need shapewear all the time!” “Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t wear a tucked-in top or a belt!” You’re not alone. After age 50, everyone has a pooch in the middle, though the size of that pooch varies.
Some of us say it’s because of stress, a slow metabolism, or not getting enough exercise. Others say it’s because of hormones or love of bread, ice cream, and salty chips. No matter what the reason, it’s time for a fashion reboot when pulling it in no longer works. Here are 10 ways to win the battle against weight gain.
1. Shift the Show to Your Legs
Straight and A-line shift dresses, which were popularised by Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn in the 1960s, are a classic and stylish way to hide a big belly. Overall, the shape is always clean, roomy, and away from the body, so there is no clinging in the middle.
You can choose between no sleeves, short sleeves, elbow sleeves, three-quarter sleeves, or long sleeves. The only problem? Your legs are the new centre of attention. For those of us who think our legs are still pretty good (or even great), choose a shift dress in a length that works for you (above the knee, at the knee, or just covering the knee), skip the shapewear, and stock up on low heels, flats, and sandals.
Also Read: 6 Styling Tips for Clothing Your Baby Girl
2. Dress in One Color
This optical trick is an oldie but a goodie. It makes even the biggest belly disappear, and it works whether you’re a size 12, 20, M, XL, or 2X. Here are the reasons again: When tops and bottoms match or almost match, it makes a column of colour that looks like one smooth line.
It works with any colour, but you should try it right away with all black or all white, which are two of the most common neutrals in a wardrobe. Don’t worry about the different fabrics and textures.
In fact, you’ll get more style mileage out of this tip for flattening your stomach if you mix tailored pieces with soft, sporty, or athleisure pieces and fancier pieces that are usually worn at night. Joggers and a silk shirt, both in black? So what?!
3. Lose Your Belly in Midis and Maxis
Your belly might find a new best friend in a long, flowy dress. The whole point is total camouflage with a big bohemian/romantic twist, and those with a fashionista mentality will like it best. Ignore styles with belts and look for ones that are looser and have a horizontal seam above (as in an empire) or just below the waist.
Don’t worry, this is just a design detail that isn’t meant to show your real waist. It’s also not like the shapeless, baggy muumuus of the past. Choose trendy colours, prints, and sleeve details to make these dresses more than just an excuse. A good fashion motto is “Never complain or explain.”
4. Trim Your Torso with An Open Jacket
There are a few ways to use a jacket to hide a belly pooch. The first one is: Even though it’s an illusion, framing your stomach with a jacket of a different colour that you wear open over any shirt, tee, or dress makes your waist look narrower from the front. It’s kind of like how theatre curtains make a stage look smaller.
Pick a jacket that you can wear inside. The sharpest line comes from a sleek, structured jacket like a blazer, but a cardigan, vest, or shirt jacket (also called a “socket”) will also work.
5. Hide Your Stomach with a Closed Double-Breasted Jacket
No matter how laid-back your life is, you shouldn’t overlook how useful one of these is. When worn closed, the double layer and structured shape hide not only a tummy that sticks out or is bloated but also the muffin tops that often go with them.
Even though DBs, as they are called, are often worn on top of pantsuits, they are most useful as stand-alone pieces that can be worn by both men and women. Before you go to fast-fashion sites and stores where they are all the rage, grab your old favourites from pantsuits that are about to be donated. You can also look for them at consignment or resale shops.
6. Untuck Your Tops
Even though this works for us (and these days, we untuck more than we tuck), here’s a reminder for guys with a belly. Choose t-shirts and polos that don’t have to be tucked in and are long enough to cover everything and won’t ride up and show skin when you sit, stretch, or bend.
The fit will depend on how round you are in the front and centre. Button-down collared shirts that can be worn tucked or untucked usually have a flat or slightly curved bottom and work better as “outies” than old dress shirts with tails that are too long and reach the thighs. Just make sure that the shirt fits loosely so that the buttons don’t pull or gap.
7. Go Big on Top, Narrow on the Bottom
Let opposites attract if you like the idea of belly camouflage but also want to show some shape. Pair any full-cut top, blouse, jacket, or tunic with a slim base like trim pants, leggings, or straight or skinny jeans, even if you don’t like them anymore.
You can use this combination any time of day or night. Think of the second group as a pedestal for the main event.
8. Make a Big Statement Somewhere Else
One of the easiest things to do when you don’t want attention in one place is to move it somewhere else. You know how this works because it’s often why we get bangs, wear red lipstick, or wear big eyeglasses.
Choose a dress or jacket with an interesting neckline, billowy sleeves, or a cascade of ruffles in a bright colour, and your belly will stay your business.
9. Try a Jumpsuit in Black
This once-trendy item is becoming a must-have for women with midriff problems. They’re basically rompers with long legs that slide right past your middle to hide it.
Some jumpsuits come with a belt, which you can tie loosely in the back if yours does. Even though it comes in colours, prints, and denim, choose solid black because it hides bumps and bulges in places you don’t want them.
10. Own It
Wear all of your curves without worry in the world. After all, having a belly is part of having voluptuous curves, just like having hips, breasts, and a rear end. There’s no need for this to be a problem. A little bit of body positivity can go a long way towards saying, “You’re curvy, and I don’t care!”