Fiona is the editor of Plantpuree, a website that celebrates vegan living. With over 20 years in diet & fitness, fashion, and beauty, she brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective to her work and writing on veganism.
Estimated reading time: 15 minutes
The bloat is real, and it hits hard—usually when you’re least expecting it. You know the feeling all too well: a seemingly sudden and inexplicable puffiness in your stomach that can make even your favorite pair of old joggers feel uncomfortable. Whether you’re PMS-ing, experiencing vegan bloat, or simply ate one too many salty foods, knowing what to wear when you are bloated can be a real challenge.
The problem is just as you don’t want to hide your stomach under shapeless tents and feel frumpy, neither do you want to draw attention to your bloating with uncomfortably tight and clingy items -you just want to feel put together and excited about what you are wearing.
Worry no more – in this article, we’ll cover the best fashion tips for what to wear and what to avoid when you are bloated. From dresses and skirts to pants and tops, we’ll help you put your best foot forward no matter how much bloat you’re carrying. Trust us, there are certain design details and styling tips that can help shift the attention away from your stomach area, focus on your stronger features and make you look amazing all at once!
Table of Contents
What To Avoid Wearing If You Are Bloated
- Fitted, tight, clingy, body con outfits draw attention to your stomach
- Low rise bottoms highlight your stomach
- Details, excessive fabric, and embellishment around the midriff pad out and attract extra attention to this area to make you look bigger.
- Avoid crop tops and tight-fitted shirts that would highlight the wider tummy area.
- Tops that end above the hipline draw attention to the stomach and make the torso look bigger.
- Avoid horizontal stripes, which can make you look heavier than you are.
- Avoid skinny trousers and jeans as they accentuate slim legs and make your upper body look larger.
- Steer clear of smock tops and dresses if you have a large bust as they create the appearance of the bust and stomach merging which make you look larger.
Dresses For a Bloated Stomach
When it comes to dresses, there are certain design details that can be very flattering for a big stomach. Ideally, you are looking for options that skim your stomach rather than cling -think flowing, ruching and draping!
Ruched dresses with asymmetric necklines are particularly flattering as they help to create shape and definition around the neck and shoulders whilst also camouflaging a big stomach.
Another great option is a ruched dress with draping down the side or around the tummy area as this again will help to create shape and definition whilst also hiding a big stomach. Ruching and draping are key trends for 2022 so you will be bang on trend as well as looking fabulous!
This vegan leather dress from Cazinc the Label is has a twist-front v-neckline, cinches at the waist, and is a perfect example of how to deflect attention away from your mid-section. Don’t worry about taking care of vegan leather, it’s much easier then you think! Just wipe down with a damp cloth or for a deeper clean check the care label to see if you can machine wash or dry clean
If you are not a fan of ruching or draping, then another option is a wrap dress. They are everywhere this season in mini, midi and maxi options. Wrap dresses with cross over and tie fronts are gorgeous for a big stomach as they help to create definition around the waist without being clingy or tight as they flow outwards. This is a great option if you want to show off your curves whilst also hiding a big stomach.
You should also look for empire line or A-line shapes which will help to give you a defined waist and avoid anything too tight or bodycon which will only highlight any bloating.
Other dress options to consider for 2022 would be shirt and skater dresses. All of these options skim the stomach. If you are short in height- keep the hemlines shorter to assist in proportion and prevent the fabrics from overwhelming your frame – if you are taller you can get away with longer lengths.
Secondly, if you have a big bust – avoid smock dresses. Your bust and stomach will appear to merge into one and make you look bigger.
So there are lots of great dress options that will help you look fabulous with a big stomach! Just remember to avoid anything too clingy or tight around the stomach area and look for dresses with ruching, draping or wrap fronts to help create definition and shape.
Best Style of Tops
When it comes to tops, you want to look for styles that will help create shape and definition around the neckline and shoulders as well as camouflaging a big stomach.
One of the most flattering tops for a big stomach is a fit and flare top such as a peplum. Peplums bring you in at the waist and then flare outwards to skim the midriff area. This is a great option if you want to show off your waist without highlighting any bloating.
Another great option is a top with an open detailed neckline such as a Bardot, cold shoulder or keyhole neckline as this will help to take the focus away from your stomach and draw attention upwards to your neck and face.
If you are looking for a more casual option, then straps, a tie front or off the shoulder top is also very flattering as it again helps to create shape and definition around the neckline and shoulders.
Best Style of Pants for a Big Belly
If you’re carrying a little bloat or extra weight around your middle, finding the right pants can be a challenge. But don’t despair – there are plenty of flattering options out there. Here are our top trouser picks:
Tight trousers are a no-go if you’re looking to flatter a big stomach. Instead, opt for a pair of pants with a loose, flowing cut in a lightweight fabric.
An elasticated waistband will give you the most comfort and allow you to wear the pants lower down on your hips while slightly tucking in your top to create shape.
High waisted trousers are a great option if you want to create a bit of definition at your waist. Just be sure to choose a pair that fits snugly around your hips, as baggy styles can make you look bigger.
Another great way to add definition to your middle is with a pair of tie waist trousers. These are another great option for those with a big stomach as they will also help to cinch in your waist and create a flattering shape.
Culottes are a stylish and comfortable option for those with a bigger stomach. They’re also super versatile – you can dress them up with heels and a blouse for a night out, or keep it casual with flats and a tee.
Wide leg or kick flare trousers are another flattering option for those with a bigger stomach. They create the illusion of a slimmer silhouette and will also help to make your legs look longer and leaner. Just be sure to avoid styles that are too baggy, as they can make you look larger.
If you have ever thought about purchasing faux leather pants but want to avoid the how to stop faux leather pants from squeaking issues -these vegan leather kick flare trousers from Nanushka also answer the ‘does faux leather look cheap‘ question with a firm no! Nanushka vegan leather is buttery soft and because of the high quality and finish of the leather won’t make an embarrassing noise when you walk. The elasticated waist is perfect for a ‘bloated’ day and the kick flare looks amazing with heels.
A great way to flatter your figure is by wearing pants with heels. This will give you the illusion of longer legs and a slimmer silhouette. Just be sure to avoid super high heels if you’re not used to them, as they can be uncomfortable.
Best Style of Skirts
Flattering clothes for a big stomach can be difficult to find, but the right skirt can make all the difference.
Skirts should conceal the stomach’s broad middle area and the hemline should touch above the knee, knee, or at the calf.
Similarly to dresses, ruching, draping and flowy flirty flares are all great ways to add dimension, skim your body and add style to your look.
Full, tiered, flared or bubble skirts are great options for a big stomach. Straight skirts with a flared bottom are also lovely. Fuller flowing skirts that gradually skim away from your body will assist to define your hips.
A-line, panelled or box pleats are also flattering, but they need to start at a point below the tummy. For a slimming effect, go for a knee-length bias cut or A-line skirt.
Ruching down the side or around the tummy area is a great way to disguise any excess weight, while knot skirts – with a twist detail at the front – can help to camouflage any protruding tummy.
Skater skirts are another great choice for women with a big stomach, as they also help to cinch in the waist and create a more flattering shape. Elasticated midi skirts – which have a flat banded front with an elasticated back – are also a great option, as they can help to hold in any excess tummy.
Skorts – which are essentially skirts with shorts built in – are another great option for women with a big stomach, as they can help to camouflage any problem areas. Look for skorts with a knot detail at the front, as this will help to further disguise any excess weight.
With so many great options available, there’s no reason why you can’t look and feel your best – even if you have a big stomach. Just choose the right style of skirt to flatter your figure and you’ll be good to go.
Coats and Jackets
A simple and effective way to camouflage a large or bloated stomach is to layer your top with a structured tailored jacket or coat longer than hip length to skim past your midriff.
Another styling tip is to look for a jacket with a slight flare below the hips. The structure will help to create the effect of curves around the bust and hips drawing attention away from your midriff. Double breasted can work but be careful it doesn’t create too much bulk in your midsection.
My personal preference is for an open single breasted jacket or coat which draws the eye vertically and away from the stomach. Ideally, buttons should sit below the breast line which helps to elongate the body and again create a visual separation between the chest and stomach
If you’re looking for jeans that will flatter a large stomach, then you should go for a style that has a lot of stretch in it. Jeans with a lot of stretch will help to hug your curves and disguise any excess weight around your middle. They are also more comfortable if you are suffering from a bad bloat day.
Jeans should have a flat front and either low-rise or mid-rise with a large waistline that sits flat on the tummy, keeping the midsection in place and preventing bulking up.
Another great option is to go for jeans that are wide-leg, bootcut or flared. These styles will help to balance out your proportions and create the illusion of a smaller stomach.
Stay away from tight-fitting skinny jeans, as they will only accentuate any excess weight around your middle and proportionately make your upper body look bigger.
Be careful with high rise jeans – I know many feel high rise jeans hold them in, clinch their waists and help them to avoid ‘muffin top’ when they are bloated or distended but they can highlight the mid-section and shorten the torso. It’s a little bit of a tightrope act with this style but make sure they are flat fronted with zero pleats.
Jumpsuits and Playsuits
The trick with jumpsuits and playsuits is to find styles that aren’t close fitting and and accentuate the stomach. This means looking for lightweight flowy, fabrics that flow away from the body and open necklines.
A wrap play suit or wrap jump suit will skim over your midriff and hips beautifully. Choose wide legs for balance or shorter lengths to draw attention to your ankles and calfs. Avoid skinny, tapered styles which will unbalance your proportions.
The best way to flatter a big stomach is to choose open cardigans in draped fits, which are not so clingy. Make certain the knit ends below the hipline to elongate the figure and flow softly over the torso and hips.
Longline, flowing knitwear that ends at the knee or below is also an elegant choice which directs the eye vertically away from the torso.
Flared cardigans with an empire waist are another option – just make sure they don’t sit too low on the hip as this will only accentuate your stomach.
Finally, avoid clingy knits, which may emphasize your midsection. Also stay away from details and embellishments, especially horizontal stripes, since they might make you appear bulkier than you are.
There are a number of benefits to wearing shapewear if you have a large stomach. First of all, shapewear can help to smooth out your curves and disguise any excess weight around your midsection. It can also help to support your stomach and prevent bulking up. Additionally, shapewear can make you feel more confident and stylish, helping you to rock any outfit with ease.
Of course, there are also some downside to wearing shapewear. Some shapewear pieces are designed to suck and squeeze your stomach, which can be very uncomfortable if you’re already feeling bloated. Additionally, some shapewear can flatten your bottom – look for thong or ‘butt boosting options or even a waist nipper.
So there you have it – some great style tips on what to wear when you’re bloated. We hope this has been helpful and that you feel more confident about your wardrobe choices the next time you’re feeling bloated!
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