This week we tackle taking attention away from your midsection. It’s a challenge a lot of women struggle with, and we’re sharing 5 simple tips on how to hide a tummy.
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Read the full episode transcript below! – Ep 37 Office Hours How to Hide a Tummy
Today’s episode of Office Hours is sponsored by Holding Hangers. Last week I was emailing back and forth with a former client, and she wrote “Can I just tell you how much I love those hangers you recommend? I honestly didn’t think hangers could make such a big difference, but my closet looks so neat, and I’m actually hanging my pants back up instead of leaving them on the chair in my room”. Yes! If you’re constantly draping your things over that dreaded chair, first, get rid of the chair, then, make it easy to put things back the right way. Holding hangers are a great way to do that.
Everyday Style School listeners can take 15% off their first purchase by going to holdinghangers.com and using code STYLE15. That’s STYLE15 in all caps.
Welcome back to Office Hours–the weekly show of the Everyday Style School podcast, where we answer one question, submitted by you, to help make style easier, and getting dressed more fun.
Today’s question was sent in by Kristen, who wrote “I loved your message of loving your body and your wardrobe no matter what size you are from the episode on weight and wardrobe, but I just can’t embrace my tummy. I know I should, but I hate it. Do you have any tips for hiding it?”
Indeed I do Kristen, but first, let’s just address the fact that loving your body, and loving your wardrobe, doesn’t mean you celebrate every part of yourself, and you’re ready to hit the grocery store in a string bikini. Often, it just means making peace with the fact that there are some parts of your body you like better than others.
Parts you’re comfortable showing off, and parts you’d like to camouflage. And that’s ok, as long as you dress first from the perspective of highlighting what you love, in clothes you love, instead of fixating on the parts you’re not thrilled with.
With that said, on to the tips! One thing I don’t know from Kristen’s email is what her body shape is. Lots of women aren’t in love with their bellies, but in order to give super-specific advice, I’d need to know what shape we’re dealing with.
For example, camouflaging an apple’s midsection, where the roundness is concentrated around, and sometimes even above the belly button is very different than dressing an hourglasses tummy challenges, which is usually below the belly button situation.
Articles online will tell you that a top or dress with a peplum is a great way to hide a belly, and that’s true for women with a lower belly challenge, but put that same item on someone with roundness around the belly button–it’s going to do the exact opposite.
Likewise, empire waist dresses are like the gold standard advice for hiding a tummy, but if you have a pronounced midsection, people are going to ask you when you’re due. On the other hand, if you’ve got a low belly, this is a great strategy.
So I guess, my first tip would be, know exactly what kind of tummy you’re talking about. Episodes 2-6 covers all the different body shapes, and if you don’t really know which rules to follow, or the ones for your shape aren’t working for you, listen to all of them, and then pick and choose the tips that do work.
My second tip is to make sure you’re in the best bra possible. I told you, once you get me talking about bras, it’s hard for me to shut up, but this is true. Google “bra fitting before and after” and see what I’m talking about.
You’ve got to get as much distance between your boobs and your waist, or where your waist would be if you had one, as possible. Otherwise, your bust and belly can kind of blend in to be a lumpy mess. You don’t want that, and you don’t have to have that.
My third tip is to choose the right fabric–as I said in episode 2, knits cling, and wovens glide. If you’re trying to camouflage an area, clinging is not what you’re after. Opt for blouses, or at least drapey, rather than clingy knits like tees.
Fourth, Use patterns strategically. The best camouflaging patterns are those that are dense and nonrepeating. Let me explain. Dense means that you see more patterns than the background. Think of black fabric with a flower here, a flower there, and lots of black background. That’s a sparse pattern. Now, take those flowers, multiply them in your mind by a thousand, and move them close together.
You probably see very little background color, right? That’s a dense pattern. That’s what you should look for. Also, nonrepeating patterns have more hiding power than repeating patterns. Nonrepeating patterns are those like leopard print, where it’s kind of random, and you can’t follow the pattern. Repeating patterns are like polka dots, where if you had to guess where to place the next dot on the line, you could. So, dense, nonrepeating.
Fifth, and lastly, Add a third piece. Wearing a cardigan or jacket open will divide your top half into three vertical sections, and will take the focus off of your midsection as a whole. But, and here’s my next level advice–this right here is worth the price of admission.
To hide a tummy best with a third piece, without adding visual bulk to your upper body, which some jackets and cardigans can look for sleeveless vests.
Here’s why this works–when you have a long sleeve jacket or cardigan, your body is divided into three vertical sections, yes, but your arms become part of the outer two sections–because they’re in the same color and fabric.
But, when you have a sleeveless vest, your arms are not part of your midsection–so the third piece is dividing a visually narrower section into 3 vertical parts.
Those are five quick tips on what you can do to camouflage your midsection. Here’s one thing to avoid–Do not size up. Resist the temptation to buy your clothes way too big. If you’re between sizes, and you feel more comfortable in the bigger size, go for it.
But, when you size up to get a more relaxed fit through the midsection, you get a more relaxed fit everywhere, which is usually not a good look. It might solve one style challenge, but it creates others.
Thank you to Kristen for sending in the question, and If you’re listening, and have a question you’d like me to cover in Office Hours, email it to email@example.com.
That’s all for today–see you next week!