Tips on how to hide your belly with fashion this summer by Wardrobe Oxygen

Dressing to Disguise a Belly in Summer

Fashion Advice Plus Size Fashion

I have a large stomach that can easily pass for being seven or more months pregnant if I let it hang out and do not camouflage. Wearing A line garments is tricky because I inevitably get asked if I'm pregnant. My “uniform” is slacks, a fitted tee or shirt, and a sweater or jacket, but you can see how this becomes tricky in the summer heat. Also, to accommodate my stomach, my pants often end up baggy in the rear (I have a tiny ass and thin legs). I want pants that fit but don't call attention to my stomach, aren't saggy in the bottom, and that are classic or on trend. My preferred style is classic and polished. What do you recommend?

Shop ELOQUII's Kady Pant:

Oh pants, they can be such a pain when you have curves. But they’re so versatile and easy to style, and so perfect for so many occasions. When it comes to really great pants in plus size that look classic and polished, I have to recommend the Kady pant from ELOQUII. It’s made of this thick, tightly-knit doubleweave stretch fabric that looks professional yet can dress down. The fabric is made that it holds its shape, no saggy bum or diaper effect after a day sitting at your desk. They’re an ankle length, which is also flattering and perfect to pair with summer shoes.  They also come in petites, and for those reading who are more of a pear shape, check out their Viola fit.

Shop Talbots Jeans:

If you're looking for jeans, I highly recommend Talbots.  I bought a pair of their white ankle jeans and wore them on a cross-country flight I found them so comfortable.  Even more amazing, when I arrived at my destination the jeans weren't stretched out!  They wash like a dream, come in regular, petite, long/tall, women, and women petite.  And if you think Talbots is for a certain age you haven't tried their clothes lately… you'll be pleasantly surprised.

As for tops, steer clear from trapeze or a-line tops like you mentioned, as well as anything with an empire waistline (below the bust, above the natural waist). Those are stereotypically found in maternity fashion. Instead, you want something fitted, or that is gathered to create the effect of a waist at or below your natural waistline. Surplice or faux wrap style tops and wrap dresses are great for this.  Also don't be afraid of tops that have a gently elasticized waist or a self-belt at the waist. Instead of adding bulk, it will help create the effect of an hourglass shape.

Tips on how to disguise a belly in the summer heat. How to camoflague a midsection in summer by Wardrobe Oxygen

How to Hide a Belly in Summer: Dress over slim pants, strategic draping, pattern on the bottom, choosing tops that focus on your waist instead of above or below.
These exact items are no longer available but are featured to illustrate the post and give sartorial inspiration.  Within the post you will find links to items that correspond with the advice offered.

Since you say you have slim legs, I am betting you also have arms that you don’t mind being seen. Showing your arms will not only keep you cool in the summer, but also elongate your frame and balance your figure. Sleeveless, semi-sleeveless with a ruffle covering the top of the shoulder, or even a cap sleeve will likely flatter and look polished. Having that bit of shoulder detail will balance the body and keep the eye looking up. Steer clear of deeply cut armholes, racerbacks, or halters as even when the top is fitted, they create a triangle shape to the body, emphasizing the midsection.

Shop Tops, Tunics, and Blouses:

As for length, I think it’s up to you for comfort. I’ve seen women with large stomachs look phenomenal in tucked-in blouses or tops that hit right at the waistband, while others look better in tops that hit mid-hip. Tunics can be tough as again that’s a length that is popular in maternity fashion; if you prefer some length to cover the rear I say go even longer. The dress over pants look is back in style (and honestly if you do it right, a style that is never unstylish). Consider longer tops or shorter dresses in lightweight fabrics over slim but structured pants (not leggings, again that’s too typical maternity and not polished) for a very chic and modern look.

Shop Graphic Printed Tops:

While many style gurus recommend wearing a column of color (same color top as trousers) to slim the figure, I think in this case it may emphasize your belly. Having a top with interest – gathers, a ruffle or drape, a tie neckline, a print – will camouflage your midsection without effort. Prints are our friend as they create an optical illusion. Graphic prints (brushstrokes, cubist patterns, etc.) camouflage better than classic dots and florals because they confuse the eye.  I find the best optical illusions come from black and white patterns and they look so crisp with white pants and can winterize easily when the temps cool.

And speaking of patterns, they don’t have to be reserved for the top. A fabulously printed pant can draw attention away from your midsection. Especially when paired with a black top (which recesses), this can be a very chic look. I love a black and white printed ankle pant; add a colorful sandal for even more style points and to again draw the eye away from the torso.

Tips on how to hide your belly with fashion this summer by Wardrobe OxygenAccessories can make a major difference. As I mentioned, colorful shoes can add style but also bring the eye down. The same holds true for colorful statement earrings. Earrings are better than shorter necklaces or bold bracelets for making a statement as they are farther away from your midsection. If you do wish to wear a necklace, look for a long chain with a pendant that will elongate the frame. Have fun with sunglasses – big plastic frames, ‘70s inspired aviators or rose-tinted shades, anything that creates a bit of a statement while adhering to your personal style.

With bags, a big bulky shoulder bag that hangs at waist to hip length will only enlarge that part of the body. And in the summer heat, who wants to lug around a big heavy bag anyway? Consider totes, single strap backpacks to carry lots of gear and clutch bags when you don’t need to bring much.

And finally, the most important accessory to wear is confidence. When you feel good, you look good. You stand taller, you have better posture, you rock your outfit, and people notice the whole package, the amazing woman, not one specific body part.


  • Jayne Rooksberry-Price July 17, 2017

    The DP choker wrap top . . . LOVE! The red is a fabulous red, but sure wish it came in more colors! Grabbing it NOW! Thank you!

    • Jayne Rooksberry-Price July 17, 2017

      I’m still shopping and have several more lovely tops in my shopping cart! Do you know how the sizing runs for DP, Allie?

      • Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen July 17, 2017

        Hi Jayne, I have never actually worn Dorothy Perkins, but I know a lot of bloggers love the brand. From what I’ve read it seems they’re pretty true to size, occasionally veering on generously sized. Let me know how it works out for you!

      • Jayne Rooksberry-Price July 17, 2017

        Well, ended up not placing my order. While googling about sizing I found several complaints from people ordering in the US and their items being held until they paid an additional fee for customs . . .also, horrible customer service.

        • Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen July 17, 2017

          Oh no! I thought they also sold DP at SimplyBe but just checked and nope, at least not now. Sorry to hear that 🙁

  • Eleanorjane June 24, 2017

    Ha, I have the opposite problem! I actually am 6 months pregnant and want to look pregnant (while not wearing anything too clingy as I have also put on a bit of weight). I find it a bit disturbing that some people who haven’t seen me for months don’t seem to notice my condition even though my stomach is over twice the circumference it used to be! When I mention it, some say they didn’t want to say anything just in case it wasn’t and some genuinely didn’t notice… maybe it goes to show that at least some people really don’t pay that much attention to how we look.

    • nobodyssister July 7, 2017

      Nobody says anything because they have all been told, “Never ask a woman if she’s pregnant unless (maybe even if) you see a baby emerging from her at that moment.”

  • janejetson June 17, 2017

    OMG – you are me. In summer I like to wear slim pants, with.a longish tank top and cute sandals (either flat or with a heel). Ankle pants help too. I have a big bust so I need to be careful about that too.

  • Linda Poston June 16, 2017

    This is sooooo my problem. Thanks for the ideas!

  • DD June 16, 2017

    This is the first time I’ve seen this issue laid out on a fashion site, and with so much detail to boot. Thanks you, this is FANTASTIC.

  • shessomelicious June 15, 2017

    Also … tailoring. Fit to your biggest area and have the bum and legs taken in/reshaped if necessary. Very few of us find a perfect fit right off the rack. I think it’s worth it to invest a little more to get a wardrobe that is perfectly shaped for you. The confidence that comes with knowing your clothes fit the best they possibly can is absolutely invaluable.

  • Kim Reynolds Rader June 15, 2017

    This is the greatest and most relevant style post I have ever read. Thank you! Also, I want ALL those shirts in the one photo that doesn’t have links.

    • Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen June 15, 2017

      I made the pictures with an idea in mind not thinking that architectural styles was last year and this year is ruffles and I spent a good two hours trying to find similar to no avail. I considered deleting the picture, but then I was thinking these styles always return in style, may be found at more artsy boutiques, places like TJ Maxx that sell last season, and likely will return in style this fall. So frustrating!

  • Lisa Whitmore June 15, 2017

    I love this post! Any tips for casual summer clothes to minimize the belly? I’m a teacher so I’m off for the summer, but still don’t want the “when are you due?” question! Thanks for such a fantastic blog.

    • Piachka June 15, 2017

      Yes ditto this please! I love the post since I’m a classic apple shape. Thin legs and ankles, big bust and belly. I know generally what’s flattering but I love how you have curated it. Id love to see a more casual take too!

      • Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen June 15, 2017

        I’ll try to fit it in, these posts take a lot more time but they are much more rewarding to do! Glad you and @disqus_FvMHXZry73:disqus both liked it!

  • sheistolerable June 15, 2017

    If the concern is specifically not appearing pregnant for job-related reasons, heels, pointy flats, or other visibly non-comfortable shoes may help too. Anything a pregnant lady wouldn’t want to wear!

  • Cynthia Peterson June 15, 2017

    Wow. So much information packed into this post. Thanks — I have exactly this problem!

Leave a Reply