Body Type

5 Clever Color Tricks To Hide Your Midlife Tummy

Call it a jelly belly, muffin top, or men-o-pot; your midlife tummy can be a pain to hide!

The good news is that if you want to minimize this troublesome area, COLOR can be your friend. Here are three ways to wear color strategically to look slim and trim.

1. Say Hello to Dark Hues

Dark colors, like navy, black, burgundy, eggplant, forest green, and charcoal, are your best friends when creating that optical illusion of a flatter tummy.

These dark shades naturally create shadows, making your midsection visually recede and appear slimmer. Opt for dresses, tops, or pants in these rich hues to instantly hide your midlife tummy and look stylish.

monchromatic outfits for women
Wear one color top to bottom to hide a tummy.

2. Monochromatic is Magic

Monochromatic outfits are the unsung heroes of midlife tummy camouflage. Wearing a single color from head to toe creates an uninterrupted vertical line that draws the eye up and down and makes you appear elegant and elongated. It’s like hitting the refresh button on your figure and one of my favorite ways to dress.

So, choose a single color palette and rock it with confidence! Feel free to combine slightly varying shades and textures to give your outfit a little more dimension and excitement. For example, wear a silky burgundy blouse with luxurious burgundy velvet jeans and a fuzzy burgundy sweater.


If you have a large tummy, make it look smaller & flatter by wearing a dark color over that area and a bright or light color up top.

3. Add a Pop of Color Up Top

If you’re not into wearing color from top to bottom, try wearing a dark-colored pair of pants or skirt and add a pop of color to your top half. A bright top or a light blouse paired with dark bottoms will draw attention towards your face and away from your midsection. It’s a simple, clever style hack to balance your figure.

You can also wear a color-blocked dress where dark colors appear across the tummy and visually shrink this area. For example, this floral dress above is bright up top and dark across the stomach. The knit dress is also light up top and dark across the tummy. In both cases, the eye is drawn to light and bright colors, not dark black.

But if the colors were reversed ( black on top and white and blue on the bottom), everyone’s eyes would go to the bottom half,  which you don’t want.

slimming column of color for plus size
Wear a dark, solid color head to toe and layer with a colorful open cardigan to see your stomach disappear.

4. Create a Slimming Column of Color

Here’s a dressing trick that’s a Hollywood favorite. Wear a dark color like black or brown head to toe to create a solid block of color and downplay your tummy.

Then, slip on a colorful jacket or cardigan to give a pop of color to your face. Leave your topper open to expose your long, dark column of color. I promise no one will notice your tummy. Dark colors recede, while light, bright colors advance. Your topper, not your tummy, will wind up front and center!

colorful print plus size top

print top

5. Prints Camouflage a Pooch!

Prints can be your best allies when trying to disguise your midlife belly. Opt for small, intricate patterns like polka dots, houndstooth, or subtle florals. These prints distract by keeping the eye continually moving. They draw the attention away from your midlife belly and add a touch of fun to your outfit, too!




plus size cardigans
Too many colors cut up your body, making you look shorter and wider.

What to Avoid?

I’ve talked a lot about what to do, but it also might be helpful to compare this to what to avoid or be careful with. A busy mix of contrasting colors and patterns can slice up your body.

These two outfits (above)  combine three different colors, which break up the body, making it look shorter and broader. Compare these two outfits to the other outfits I showed you earlier. Please don’t think you can’t ever wear three colors, but when you want a slim look, you may want to try one of my tricks.

When used right, color is a powerful style tool that does a fantastic job camouflaging your midlife tummy! Now try it yourself and post a photo in my private Facebook Group- The Fabulous After 40 Dressing Room!

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7 thoughts on “5 Clever Color Tricks To Hide Your Midlife Tummy

  1. This is helpful. I’m 56 and re-entering the workforce after 26 years of jeans and t-shirts. I’m apple-shaped. My problem with most of these “how to slim your waist” lists and images is that the models are facing forward. I can find something that looks great from the front, only to turn sideways and rip it off in horror. I have found that sweaters, vests, or blouses that fall from the bust help by disguising the “dip” between bust and belly bulge, but I have trouble turning that into an outfit that looks other than frumpy. They’re also not of much use in the summer.

  2. I have to disagree completely. The most flattering outfit above is the gal in the gold pants with a defined waist. Everything else looks plus size and is hiding EVERYTHING…not just tummy.

  3. Thank you for the excellent advice. Yes, a column of color is always a good idea for a slimming effect. Dressing to hide a tummy is a very relevant ‘situation’ in my life at 54.

  4. This was interesting after reading your piece on the cardigans – the first photos in this piece show frumpiness, in my opinion. (I thought of Hilary Clinton and Angela Merkel, actually!) but the others, showing skinny leg trousers or leggings with longer cardigans, looked fresh, modern, and flattering. You got me onto the slim-leg trouser – I bought my first pair a year ago and haven’t looked back since. I get the thumbs up from my 11-year-old daughter as well! But I don’t feel like I am trying too hard or mutton dressed!
    I’m looking forward to seeing what you wore in those sweltering temperatures, by the way. I find summer wrapping the hardest…

  5. I have found, and so have other women, that specific clothing makes us look like large rectangles or big pegs on our legs. No definition of a waistline. Tunics do this a lot.

    What do you recommend to solve this if you don’t want to wear a jacket, cardigan, etc.?

    1. No matter your size or shape, a garment that slightly tapers at the waist will make you look slimmer than something like a tunic. So if you don’t want to wear a cardigan or jacket, try a dark-colored outfit head to toe that nips in a bit at the waist even if you don’t have much of a core. I think you should give the column of color a try. That’s an excellent way for women who are thick through the middle to look slim!

  6. Hi Deborah,
    I’m not 40 yet, but quickly approaching, and I already have all the issues on the last six tips. I love your views and enjoy reading your blog.


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