23 Clothing Styles that Minimize Your Stomach.

As a personal stylist for women, I create strategies to help ensure that a woman's clothing communicates her personal style. But, as we all know, looking great is more than whether you prefer boho or tailored. It's about knowing what shows off your best features and how to minimize those aspects that don't bring you as much joy. Let's be clear, I'm not suggesting that you NEED to minimize your stomach. But, it is vital that you feel empowered each and every day as you check out your look in the mirror and head out the door.

If you are tugging at a waistband that cuts into your stomach creating a muffin top, your self talk quickly devolves into criticism about weight gain and the like. Instead, choose a piece that minimizes your stomach while still feeling comfortable. Then, you can focus on what really matters. 

 C/MEO Better Things Midi Dress. Nordstrom. $180.


23 Ways to Minimize Your Stomach


1. Choose tops with seams that hit at the outside edge of your shoulder.

When your shoulders appear broader, your stomach becomes less of a focal point. Try it, you'll see. This isn't an ideal solution for a woman with an inverted triangle body type as her shoulers are already broad. Don't worry. There are plenty of other options for minimizing your stomach if that's your body type.

2. Opt for tops or dresses with draping across the belly.

Draping can be a magical thing. Not only does it minimize your stomach by concealing it, a stronger fabric can also provide some support. 

3. Wear a cami or long tank top.

A useful approach to avoiding muffin top is smoothing everything out in the first place.

4. Look for ruching on the sides.

Like draping, rushing can both minimize and provide support, depending on the fabric. 

5. Embrace prints.

Where's your stomach? Nobody knows! You'll be surprised at how effective a print top or dress can be. Personally, I think a print jumpsuit is a genius option for just this reason. 

6. Try pieces with an empire waist or go for tunics.

Empire waist tops and dresses have a seam just under your breasts. This style highlights that area rather than your natural waist. This is often the smallest part of a woman's body. So, there's that. Tunics also fall loosely over your stomach, making it challenging to discern the size of your belly.

7. Avoid tight garments over your belly.

If you've ever been pregnant, you remember choosing tight tops in the hopes that some lovely fellow will relinquish his seat on the bus for you. The same principle applies here. A tight garment is going to draw attention to your stomach, whether you want it to or not.

8. Structured tops that hit below your stomach

These don't cling and hit at just the right point to hide your belly. 

9. High waisted pants

High waisted pants or jeans act like a shaper. If the rise of your jeans is too low, you'll develop a muffin top. But, if you opt for a higher rise, you avoid that unpleasantness without the gym. If you don't care for the look of high rise pants, feel free to layer something over top that doesn't show off the rise. 

10. Jeans with a higher rise, wide band, and higher in the back. 

The trifecta. Finding jeans with all three components (I like Paige), means that can hold in your stomach without creating a muffin top. 

11. Jeans with double buttons

If your jeans are a little on the snug side, double buttons divide the pressure on your buttons between two points rather than concentrating it all on one super stressed button. Even better, double buttons mean you have a better chance of avoiding the gap in the back of your pants. If that isn't working, visit your tailor for a quick fix.

12. Leggings with spandex to provide shape

Again, pants that can mimic a shaper. Yes, please.

13. Pants with a wider leg

Balance out your frame with a wide leg pant. The focal point of your outfit is no longer your mid section and the proportions allow you to show off your curves in just the right way.

14. A line skirts

A line skirts minimize your stomach for a similar reason. The focal point is no longer your stomach. In fact, an a-line skirt can make your waist look smaller than it really is, especially if you tuck in the top. Go for a skirt with more structure for maximum effect. That means avoid clingy fabrics like jersey. 

15. Stiff, structured fabrics that do not cling to your body

And that leads us right to stiff fabrics that don't cling. If you'd like to give the illusion that your body has a slightly different shape (say a smaller stomach), that leave more to the imagination. No need to opt for sloppy oversized pieces. Instead choose options made from stiff fabrics that provide structure and support while showing off your personal style. 

16. Avoid straight or pencil skirts

Of course these work with shapers. but if you are focused on minimizing your stomach, a-line skirts are the way to go. Your stomach can quickly become the focal point of a straight skirt. If you choose one made from a structured fabric that isn't shiny and add a shaper, you are good to go. If today feels like a day that you'd rather minimize your stomach, go for the easy option of the a-line skirt or wide leg pant. 

17. Avoid jersey material or other clingy fabrics

Enough said.

18. Avoid shiny fabrics across your stomach

Shiny fabrics reflect light and draw attention. If you want to show off your cleavage, for instance., shiny fabrics are genius. The same principle applies when you are choosing to minimize an area. Skip the shiny fabrics.

19. Darker colors, less contrast

If you concentrate your bold colors and prints in other areas and opt for darker colors and less contrast in your midsection, you'll see a dramatic difference in the way your body looks. (Tip: Skin also draws the eye, so showing off more skin up top takes the focus from your middle.) Try dresses with bright and light colors near your face and darker colors at your mid point. If you are an inverted triangle, go for bright and light colors at the hemline instead and dark colors at your stomach.

20. Shapers, bike shorts or tights

We all know how effective shapers can be. Embrace them when the time is right.

21. Peplum styles

I love a good peplum. Whether you opt for a top, skirt or dress, this flattering style shows off your smallest point and camouflages your belly as it hangs loosely over top. So good. 

23. Wear your skirts at your smallest point

As a personal stylist for women, I've noticed that women tend to wear their skirts low on their bellies. I blame the 90's. If you'd like to look like you've lost 5 pounds, pull your skirt up and show off your smallest point, rather than your widest one. Your natural waist is not your hips. Think about it.

And there you have it. Let me be clear, Dear Reader, it's important that we embrace our curves. This list is not intended to fuel the fire of self criticism. Instead, my plan is for you to have a handy toolkit for those days that you find you are spending too much time thinking about your body and too little time thinking about the things that really matter. If rocking a different skirt can alter that internal dialogue (and often, it can), I'm here to help. Happy New Year. 

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