Style tips for camouflaging a belly

Recently I shared a photo of my post baby belly, and a bunch of you expressed surprise since it’s not noticeable in most of my outfit photos! As someone who’s dealt with bloating most of my life, I had a little experience on what types of clothing and silhouettes work to camouflage a tummy. So whether you’re postpartum, bloated, or just want to feel more confident around your midsection area, here’s a few dressing rules of thumb that may help!

Check my IG Reels for my corresponding styling video, and more videos on other styling tips!

1. When in doubt, go A-line with higher waistline (not empire style)

postpartum style tips

Left: Similar Open Edit mini dress xxs (very cute, just not for me!), Express sandals 6 (also love these)
Right: Few Moda dress xs (same pattern & fully stocked), Castaner wedges 5, bag, earrings

Instead of tight styles like on the left hand side, the universally flattering silhouette on the right is my go-to! The higher waistline is elongating on a petite frame, and allows the A-line skirt to flow freely over the belly and hips area. It works on either dresses or peplum style tops, like this one I’ve been loving for summer. Empire waistlines (which hit right below the bust line) work too, but approach with caution since they can sometimes look too youthful or maternity-like.

Shift dresses that graze the figure are another great alternative, but I love the more defined waistline that A-line cuts give.

Side note: I have been obsessed with Few Moda dresses lately – after buying their quarterly membership I have found it to be very worth it even to buy  just 1 item, since the price of a dress plus the membership is still less than comparable styles from other brands!

2. Play around with prints

Prints and patterns, especially colorful or larger scale ones can do wonders for camouflaging trouble areas!

3. Try a higher rise

levis high waisted jeans for petites

Right: Express bodysuit xxs, Levis jeans 24 (cut; also at Shopbop), J.Crew sandals 5.5 (old), Polene bag c/o

What an improvement this simple swap makes in the above photo! Finding the most flattering rise for your body type may take some trial and error, but in general, I’ve found bottoms that hit at my navel to be the most tummy friendly and elongating on my petite frame.

4. Know when to size up

If you’re dealing with muffin tops at the waist area, the simplest fix is to try the next size up. When my weight fluctuated quite a bit postpartum, I bought a handful of my favorite bottoms in the next size up and it made such a difference! Wearing a size too small is also the usual culprit for back bulges.

5. Smooth with shaper shorts

kindred bravely maternity nursing dress

Right: Kindred Bravely dress S (JEAN20 for 20% off), Uniqlo shaper shorts S, J.Crew sandals (similar), straw bag

Spanx or TC brand will have more serious control top shorts, but for everyday wear you guys know I love my lightweight Uniqlo shaper shorts (see a style tip with them in this post)! They add just a light level of smoothing and shaping and are comfortable for me to wear and sit in all day.

While pregnant, I also swore by my maternity shaper shorts which helped provide a little tummy and back support, and kept my belly button from showing through dresses!

Speaking of maternity, I received this super duper comfy bamboo blend dress in both sage green and black as a gift, and didn’t even realize it was labeled “maternity” until I went to link it! It’s made of a very stretchy ribbed material that’s cooling and comfy against the skin. Nothing is maternity-specific about it, so I’d definitely recommend for non-maternity wear too if you’re looking for a comfortable maxi tank dress!

I wear the black colored one all the time – sleek, flattering and easy to dress up or down. Size Small is a figure grazing fit on me (currently 5 ft, 95lb). There is a short slit in the back center, and the material is so stretchy I’m actually able to pull the neckline down to breastfeed in.

6. Knot a sweater or jacket around the waist

Or, look for pieces that have interesting gathering or wider ties at the center waist area!

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When you purchase through the links on this blog, I may earn a commission. Thank you for your support!

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