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. The new goal as members is to hide your belly.
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 learn how to dress with 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. So we search for the right type of clothes for menopause belly.
But, there are ways we can work around the bulge that just won’t go away while we remain true to our personal style choices. And we’ll talk about the 5 best tips to hide belly fat in just a minute.
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First, let’s review why we want to hide belly fat 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 can 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. Discovering ways to hide your belly is important for self confidence and fashion, and to feel comfortable with your body, but it’s really more about our overall health and lifestyle choices. We can’t hide the belly fat or make it disappear entirely, but we CAN lessen the effects with wise choices.
Giving you the 5 best tips for how to dress with 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.
NEW: Examples of Dressing to Camouflage the Belly FatRead more about Covered Perfectly, as mentioned in the video above
How to Dress with 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 tips and the best clothes to hide belly fat. These tips will also help you if you want to know how to dress over 60 and overweight, or over 50 and overweight.
They’re not difficult but these simple tips can really make a difference!
1 | understand your body shape to hide a belly
If you know the overall shape of your body and understand how length and cut affect your appearance, you’re on the right track to hide belly fat.
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 shape, the tunic and longer style tops that fall below your hip bones work well to hide 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 muffin top. 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 hide the belly, 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 LiketoKnow.it post to give you more options to hide your belly:
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 with belly fat
The fabric itself as well as how the top or dress is put together are two really important elements when you want to hide the belly.
I love the micro modal collection from Covered Perfectly, which is a wonderful source of tops for women with a belly 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 muffin top. It’s a wonderful way to hide your belly!
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 hide belly fat quite nicely and act as a sort of camouflage for the parts I’d rather not show. So it’s a keeper for sure.
Hey there friend, do you struggle to find pants, jeans, crops, & capris that fit you well? Yep, most of us have that problem.
Well, take a minute to learn more about Measure & Made, and their unique sizing system called ShapeLogic. Once you find your perfect size, you can buy and wear any of the bottoms on their site and they’ll fit you well!
4 | hide a belly with layers, baby, layers!
One of the most effective fashion options to hide your belly 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 and hide a belly 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 belly fat.
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 learn how to dress with 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.
Whether or not you choose to utilize shapewear, there are many other ways to hide your belly. 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.
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32 thoughts on “How to Dress With Belly Fat: 5 Best Tips for Women Over 50”
I wish when you advertise about hiding belly fat or show clothes that are for larger women you show the larger women in the clothes, not some skinny model or someone with a few extra pounds. There is nothing that aggravates me more than someone who is barely overweight trying to tell someone who is moderately obese what they will look like in the clothes you suggest. Make it REAL!
Hi Vickie, when I search for photos for a topic, regardless of what it is, my goal is to find women of all colors, shape, and sizes, just like the women who read my posts. If it is fashion related and I am recommending a particular article of clothing, I can only choose photos that are available to me. And yes, you are correct. I am not overweight, I am average, and I sometimes use myself in photos. I struggle with the same body issues as any other woman and I am a real person. If you want to see only images of plus size women, there are sites that write only for that body type and use images of the same.
I agree!! Show more plus size models
This is for women like myself who have gained weight after menopause where the rest of my body isn’t “fat“ but my belly looks like I’m five months pregnant… This wasn’t a advertisement for how to dress when you’re obese or plus size but with women who have belly fat!
I absolutely agree. Clothes look different on plus size woman then thin people also hang differently How about plus size models for plus size clothes. It makes a big difference
Vickie – I was just getting ready to post on the same topic as you. If I’m trying to find clothes to cover my belly, I want to see a woman showing a little belly and then showing her wearing an outfit to show how it hides the belly. I would know exactly where the top hits or whether it is clingy (which I hate). Please let us have something to work with other. I’m a very visually oriented person.
Hi Doris, thank you for your comments. Please see the video that has been added to this post showing examples of before/after with tops to camouflage the belly fat.
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!!
Hi Maria, I’m so glad that you found some ideas and inspiration here for your mom!
It would be more beneficial to see how these ideas work on a model that actually had some belly fat.
Hi Rhiannon, I appreciate your comment, and be assured, I am a middle aged woman with belly fat. I’m average, not thin or heavy, but my body is doing the same thing as everyone else’s at this time in my life. I am demonstrating that by choosing certain styles and colors, the belly fat can be minimized.
I appreciate your help in finding flattering styles. You’re using clothing I can afford (from Target, not Talbot), but still looks great!
You don’t have a tummy!
Hi Jan, actually I do have a tummy. I have midlife belly fat just like everyone else. I am hiding it with the selection of clothes I’m wearing in the photos.
uhm, no, you are definitely skinner than I, I an 5’2, weighing in at 185 lbs. I have a noticeable belly no matter what I wear. I, also, would appreciate examples that apply to myself as well. I appreciate the direction you are going in. However, not everyone has little belly fat. Thanks for listening.
I am 48, 5’8″ and 160lbs. Menopause belly flab, extra flap on underside of upper arms. I am a bit self conscious of it, but I have good self esteem and appreciate your suggestions and ideas for finding the fit style for each body type. I was disappointed that some of the responses that people left for you seemed like they were body shaming you because you look great! Every person has a different way their bodies transform during the many cycles and changes we experience whether from giving birth or medical issues or menopause.
Keep bringing positive ideas and suggestions and ignore mean or spiteful messages.
I hope you have a great summer and maybe give some bathing suit suggestions and cover-up style tips.
Hi Sarah, thanks for sharing your own experience as well as your positive attitude. I really appreciate it. And, I’ll make a note of your suggestion regarding bathing suits and cover-ups.
Great information! I am 67 years old and just under 5 feet tall. I weigh 130 pounds and I feel like 30 pounds of that is concentrated around my middle!!! No matter how much I work out and watch what I eat, it seems impossible to reduce my belly fat. Your tips are invaluable!!! 😊👍
Hi Judy, Yes, I think just about every woman in midlife (my hand is raised) can relate to your frustration. I’m glad you found some helpful tips here!
Hi thank you for the information. My body is shaped like yours and yes we will all have belly fat as we age. The people who are saying that you should have a bigger model should probably watch a style blog with a bigger bodied model. Their are plenty out there to watch. Keep up the great style inspirations.
Hi Vickie, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!
Your friends do not care and the rest do not matter. I am 91 years old and I probably should lose 20 pounds . What would change if I did? I don’t think my family could love me any more than they do and my friends enjoy me for my company ( I really am a treasure). At a recent party a man, unknown to me, came over and told me he didn’t need to be introduced – he knew I was the one who was always laughing and smiling. That was the nicest thing anyone has said to me in a long time. So turn up the corners of your mouth and set sail. The body is only a shell.
Thanks so much for your words of wisdom, Burtine!
I agree with the comments above regarding modeling the clothing on a person who is apple shaped. A little bit of belly fat is present on everyone but youthful slender women. To say they have belly fat reminds me of my 20s, 30s, 40s and yes 50s when we used to whine about being fat and had no clue what that meant. Now I’m 67. I’m still youthful and healthy but suddenly have an apple shape. Would desperately like to see clothing suggestions that are flattering for older women.
Hi Linda, thanks for sharing your thoughts. You might find some helpful advice, tips, and resources in this post: https://inspiremystyle.com/do-you-know-how-to-dress-for-your-body-shape/
I think most women want to look their best! A few weeks ago I despaired, after ill health, poor mobility, etc impacted on my appearance vastly.
Slowly l can see the “old me” returning and your advice has proved invaluable, thank you !
Loosing all confidence and direction, it’s been terrific to use your wisdom, it’s helped me slowly gain confidence. I’ll probably never be the “old me” fully, I’m now however having fun finding a new version of her 😁
Hi Sharon, thanks so much for sharing, I’m sure many women will be able to relate to your challenges. I think your realization that it’s a newer ‘version’ of you that is slowly unfolding is key. We’ll never go back in time, but why would we want to? We’re awesome at any age!
I am tall with long thin legs, thin long arms, busty, no waist and big bottom. How do I dress my body at 65 yrs old? Please help.
Hi Diana, Check out this post about dressing for your body shape: Do You Know How to Dress for Your Shape? Look specifically at the style tips for the Apple shape, I think your description fits that pretty well. Hopefully this will give you some direction.
I was reading the article, but was confused that the person in the picture does not have a full abdomen or pronounced belly fat. Maybe find different models?
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