How to Flatter a Protruding Stomach


Hi. Imogen. We visited your talk recently and enjoyed it immensely. Have downloaded your ebooks and getting lots of helpful hints. On your blog I have just read the article about why dislike your stomach? and want to comment – I am an older woman whose anterior abdominal wall muscles have collapsed making my stomach poke out like a pregnancy. I am now as large in front as my bust! I am sure this is a problem for many older women and they (and I) would love to know how to disguise this problem. I do go to a gym to help tighten the muscles but I am realistic – they will never go back to their original tightness. Please help.

How to flatter a curved or protruding stomach


Rounded stomachs can be difficult to hide, they’re right out there at the front, but what tricks can you use to make your tummy look less obvious?

How to flatter a rounded or proturding stomachHere are 10 Easy Ways to Flatter a Rounded Tummy

  1. Pants/Skirts/Waistbands should sit about at the belly button. Too high and it will force your stomach to pop out below, too low and you get muffin top.
  2. If you really do have the pregnant tum look, even if you’re not – rather than go up into larger size skirts and pants, head to the maternity department and try on the pants and skirts as you’ll find there isn’t so much extra fabric through the thighs, just extra for your tummy.
  3. Wear a darker top (create a column of colour too!) and then a lighter jacket or cardigan over the top – the dark top will recede and your tummy won’t be as obvious.
  4. Look for fabrics without too much elastane or lycra – we don’t want cling, we want skim.
  5. Strategically placed ruching and draping on garments can really work well to disguise your tummy.
  6. Curved hems that dip down at the front, rather than straight ones, can elongate your legs, whilst hiding your stomach.
  7. Ending tops at the point just below (and I mean just below) the widest point of your tummy can also work – try it in the mirror by folding your tops to different spots til you find your sweet spot.   Tops that cup your tummy will make it appear larger.
  8. Jackets are a great way of bypassing your personal statistics.  Their little bit of extra structure will hide what is going on underneath. It’s the power of the 3rd piece at work!  Go for a darker top under a lighter jacket
  9. Busy patterns that are dense and non-repeating will distract the eye.  Look for small to medium size patterns in a low to medium contrast for best effect.
  10. Don’t forget, make your mid-section kind of boring and plain, low in detail such as pockets, belts, seams, not layering different coloured tops etc.  Draw attention up to your face with scarves and jewellery – remember – it’s all about the art of illusion and distraction!

Want more tips on your flattering your body shape?  Then read up on your Body Shape Bible .   If you’d like my personal opinion on your shape – you can get this as part of my 7 Steps to Style program (along with a personal colour analysis and the most comprehensive style and wardrobing program) that helps you discover everything about your style so you stop making shopping mistakes and start looking and feeling fabulous every day.

Further tips and reading

10 More tips to make your tummy look slimmer

How to hide your tummy

How to dress your tummy when you have a casarean scar or lost lots and lots of weight

Real life body shapes – O Shape (apple)



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  • That’s a great idea about the maternity bottoms because it would help the grain of the fabric run straight and the bottoms would hang correctly. I’ve had a caesarean, am in my 60’s and I tend to
    bloat below the belly button if I eat dairy or carbs. What I look for in a jacket is something that
    buttons above this and then has enough structure to extend pertly out in front, shading the area.

  • Thanks alot i really need some guidance in this area. i have had problems my entire life. Even way before having kids. I am also tired of people asking me am i pregant. I plan to use all the example given.

  • Tricks for hiding big tummy is good but the best way is having self confidence. Other than that after applying the tricks of dressing you might still feel unhappy. Wear a smile, look for the best in others & avoid being too much self centred.

  • This mentions jackets. I like cardigans and jackets, but can’t seem to find the right fit. I hate collars and the length is always tricky. Also, I feel like the fabric is so heavy on my frame.

  • I have an hourglass figure, but where my real curves are is front to back (tummy and butt) not side to side! I’ve been this way my entire life. When i was young i felt like i had never lost my baby fat. After losing and gaining more than once, i know it’s just my body type. But this body shaping is rarely discussed or addressed.

    It’s very hard to find clothes that work well. Flowy fabrics accentuate the negative and tailored clothes are not tailored for tummies and butts. I tried the maternity trick once and was immediately asked if i was pregnant. :/ I have had the best luck with soft but shaped clothes. Peplums are also great, giving the illusion of a tucked waist. I shop for jeans at the thrift store. It has such a large variety of styles that i can usually find one jean that fits, although even then i sometimes strike out.

    Oh, and high waisted is definitely the way to go. Low waisted gives a beer belly look, and medium waisted cuts the belly in half, with the top half being a muffin and the bottom half being a roll. It’s like your midsection gets turned into a giant pair of lips. Plus i generally find that over the course of a day, and medium waisted pant rolls down and ends up being low waisted. A high waist contains the entire belly, and the belly doesn’t “pop out below”. The fabric contains and smooths it, like shapewear.

  • I’ve had multiple abdominal surgeries from cancer, kidney transplants, and latest was a huge hernia. I look 9 months pregnant. I’m a size 12 but I find stretchy waistbands with skinny legs work best. I will be using some of these tips for tops in the future. Thanks..

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