how to dress to hide belly after 50
Confidence and Style Fashion

Dress to Hide Your Belly Fat: 5 Best Tips for Women Over 50

(Last Updated On: October 16, 2020)

It’s a rite of passage for women as we move through menopause and continue on in our 50s, 60s, and beyond. We become members of the Belly Fat community.

And it really doesn’t matter if we’re tall or short, thin or heavy, or what our body shape is. We are all inducted into the club whether we like it or not.

So when we dress to hide belly fat, my friends, we’re all working toward the same goal.

There’s nothing wrong with that because, after all, we didn’t choose to have this little friend attach itself to our midsection, it happened naturally as we got older.

But, there are ways we can work around the bulge that just won’t go away. And we’ll talk about the 5 best tips for making our tummy seem flatter in just a minute.

First, let’s review why this happens and what we can do to minimize the effects.

THE WHY: After menopause, body fat tends to shift to our abdomen due to a decreasing level of estrogen, and if we don’t adjust our eating and exercise habits, it will become more pronounced as the years go by. Even the most committed efforts can still result in a pooch around the middle.

THE WHAT: This pesky belly fat is comprised of both subcutaneous fat (just below the skin) and visceral fat (deep inside the abdomen, surrounding the organs).

We can see the subcutaneous fat and that’s what we work to hide. The real villain is the visceral fat, and it’s linked to dangerous health concerns like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, and breathing problems.

THE HOW: If we seem to be stuck with this little friend called belly fat, how can we combat it, and keep it under control?

Certainly, when we dress to hide belly fat it might make us feel better, more confident and pretty, but just hiding it is not the only answer, my friends.

Our plan of action is simple, yet can seem so very difficult to stay committed to:

  • Eat clean, healthy foods like fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products.
  • Limit sugar and saturated fats
  • Exercise portion control (remember…everything in moderation 💗)
  • Include aerobic exercise in your life, regularly
  • Include strength training in your life, regularly

Always consult with your physician to make sure you are healthy enough to perform certain exercises, and review any dietary changes with them as well, if you have health issues. Use your common sense.

Think about this: it takes an average of 10,000 steps per day to prevent weight gain. I don’t know about you, but I have been actively working on increasing my aerobic exercise over the last 6 months, and 10,000 steps takes some effort.

I also can attest to the fact that when I commit to keep my diet clean and limit the sugars and fats as mentioned above, there is definitely a difference in the look and feel of my belly fat. Absolutely.

I fall short quite often, but find that using tracking tools and motivating resources really helps me stay focused and fully aware of what I’m doing and what I’m consuming.

Why am I going over all of this non-fashion related stuff? Because it is that important, my friend.

Giving you the 5 best tips to hide belly fat won’t do you any good if your lifestyle choices shorten your life. Let’s not just hide it and call it good. Let’s work to keep it under control and be healthy, fit, and strong women.

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Dress to Hide Your Belly Fat

A shirred, draped top to dress to hide belly fat

Okay, so now that we’ve discussed the what, how, and why of the metamorphosis our body undergoes as it ages, here are some actions you can take to dress to hide the belly fat.

They’re not difficult but these simple tips can really make a difference!

1 | understand your body shape

If you know the overall shape of your body and understand how length and cut affect your appearance, you’re on the right track for hiding tummy bulge.

My philosophy follows the “fruity” interpretation: Apple, Banana, Pear, and Hourglass. Learn more about understanding and dressing for your Body Shape in this post.

For example, if you have an Apple body shape, the tunic and longer style tops that fall below your hip bones work well at hiding belly fat. Add in a simple scoop neckline with no embellishments and a pair of leggings or skinny jeans, and you’ve got a great look!

2 | watch the length of your top

In general, you don’t want your top to hit right at your waist, or at the largest part of your belly. That’s calling attention to an area that you’d rather not, if you know what I mean.

As women over 50, we tend to look best in tops that are longer and fall at least several inches below our waist. This has been an adjustment for me, because my go-to look for years was a tucked-in top or shirt and jeans, slacks, capris or shorts.

Now, if I want to tuck in, I do one of two things:

  • just know that my tummy is no longer flat and accept the look, or
  • add a cardigan to camouflage the bulge (more about that below)

For most of us, girls, if we want to dress to hide belly fat, our tops should be worn on the outside and fall, at a minimum, several inches below our waist or longer, depending upon our body shape.

I have a body shape that has some characteristics of a Pear, and some of an Hourglass (without the bust!). Because my hips are not significantly wider than my waist, I can wear my tops longer and they look okay.

If you are a traditional Pear shape, you want to be careful of how long those tunic tops come, or they’ll be accenting another area that you may want to minimize.

Here are some suggestions that I put together for a post:

clockwise from top left: cardigan | black top | white sweater | teal sweater | gray sweater | green cardigan | white top | black pants

3 | fabric makes all the difference

The fabric itself as well as how the top or dress is put together are two really important elements when you want to dress to hide belly fat.

I love the micro modal collection from Covered Perfectly, which is a wonderful source of tops for women in midlife. I have two tops from this collection; one is a tank top and the other is a 3/4 sleeve, and of course, both are black. Because I wear black just about every day. That’s how I roll.

You’ll see the black 3/4 sleeve in the image at the top of the post. I love how it feels on me, it’s very comfortable. And, the cut is generous through the middle so there is no clinging to the belly bulge.

Be sure to check out the many styles and choices from Covered Perfectly. While not every style, cut, and color may be your choice, there are so many options that I’m confident you’ll find something to love.

Take a peek at the blue and white shirred, draped top I’m wearing at the top of this section. The fabric is a 95/5 polyester and spandex blend that I bought in Florida (don’t remember where) and have had it for several years.

I’ve always felt good in this top and didn’t really think about why until I used it as an example in this post. It’s the fit, the fabric, and the shirred, draped style that I like. It is flattering and extremely comfortable.

The shirring and side draping cover my belly bulge quite nicely and act as a sort of camouflage for the parts I’d rather not show. So it’s a keeper for sure.

4 | layers, baby, layers!

One of the most effective ways to hide the tummy bulge is by using layers. A cardigan, sweater, vest, or blazer worn over a top or dress can provide not only some strategic camouflage but additional style, too.

A longer length cardigan is always a winner for me, and if you’re searching for value, the cardigans from Target can’t be beat.

I’m wearing this cardigan from Target in the photo at the top of the post, and I really love it! The cut of the garment keeps it open (no buttons on it), and there is a built-in half belt across the back that give it some shape and style. Oh, and I love the longer length, too!

Another effective way to layer is with a longer style vest, like these examples I’ve curated for you:

Some are more ‘drapey’ than others, and all have a longer look. Although 3 of the 4 are shown with a sleeveless top underneath, the beauty of a vest is that you can wear any length sleeve with them.

You can bring in an accent color with a vest, too, whether it’s subtle or vibrant. Lots of choices and a great way to dress to hide belly fat.

5 | choose your dress style carefully

An A-line dress, wrap dress, trapeze style dress, or a style that keeps the details above the waist will help hide that belly bulge.

You can help your cause, too, by wearing a well-fitted bra and maintaining good posture. (I’m always reminding myself to stand up straight. Do you do that, too?)

Here’s a tip: choose styles that draw the eye up and away from the waist area.

I’ve curated several examples for you (visuals are always helpful, aren’t they?)

If you like to see outfits visually, here is a helpful video I found that discusses some of the 5 best tips in my post along with additional details and examples:

When we dress to hide belly fat, we can certainly help the cause with shapewear. I have to admit that I haven’t gone down the Spanx road yet, but it’s not off the table for me when the time (or the outfit) is right.

For me, it would have to be a combination of comfort + shaping.

Here are some examples of the variety that shapewear is offered in, and all of these have at least a 4-star rating:

Whether or not you choose to utilize shapewear, there are ways to dress to hide the belly bulge. Sometimes we just have to be a little bit creative.

But, we always have to be smart about our lifestyle choices! Let’s put that as the first priority.

Candi Randolph Midlife Blogger

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  • Maria

    My mom entered menopause a couple of years ago. Since then, the way she dresses became more modest, because her body shape changed and she didn’t quite know how to handle it.
    This article – really – helped me think of cute and flattering clothing choices for her!
    Thank you for the tips!!

    • Candi Randolph

      Hi Maria, I’m so glad that you found some ideas and inspiration here for your mom!

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