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 when it comes to downplaying this annoying spot, COLOR can be your best friend.  Here are three ways to wear color to look slimmer and trimmer.

Colorblock sweaterdress

Shop this: black floral dress colorblock sweaterdress

1.   Wear Dark Colors Strategically

If you have a large tummy, you can make it look smaller and flatter by wearing a dark color over that particular part of your body. How does it work?

Dark colors appear to recede, and light (or bright) colors appear to advance. If you have a big tummy, it makes sense to wear a dark color across your stomach to visually shrink it.  These two dresses are good examples.

The knit dress is light up top and dark at the tummy. The floral dress is bright up top and dark at the tummy. In both cases, the eye is drawn to the light and bright colors and not the dark black. Black on the bottom is slimming, 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.

Black, navy, dark brown, gray and burgundy, eggplant or any other dark shade works well to magically erase pounds.

Gray knit outfit

Shop this: purple suit | gray knit outfit

2.   Tone on Tone Dressing Slims

Dressing in one shade from head to toe or slightly different shades of any single color elongates your body making your tummy less noticeable. The follows the unbroken line of color which makes you look taller and leaner. You can go with matching colors ( like this suit) or slightly different tone on tone shades (like the gray outfit). You can also incorporate pattern so long as it is in the same tonal colors as the rest of your outfit.

Sound boring? Try some textured piece in very similar colors all worn together to create more interest. For example a silky burgundy blouse, worn with velvet burgundy jeans and a fuzzy burgundy sweater. Monochromatic is a very rich look.

Slimming column of color for plus size

Shop this: Long rust cardigan / Long red and black striped cardigan


3.   A Column of Color Works Wonders 

I love this trick. Wear a darker color head to toe to downplay your tummy. Then throw on a bright jacket or sweater to give you that much-needed pop of color in your face. With your jacket open and the long dark column of color exposed, all people will notice is your cute bright jacket. No one will be looking at your tummy.


plus size cardigans

What to Avoid?

I’ve talked a lot about what to do but I thought 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 wider. Compare these two outfits to the other outfits I showed you earlier. Please don’t think you can’t ever wear three colors, but for those times when you want a really slim look, you may want to try one of the tricks I talked about.


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7 thoughts on “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 much use in the summer.

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

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

  4. Now, this was really interesting having come from 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 and modern and flattering. You got me onto the skinny leg trouser – I bought me 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 as if I am trying too hard or mutton dressed! I’m looking foward to seeing what you wore in those sweltering temperatures, by the way. I find summer dressing the hardest…

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

    If ya dont want to wear a jacket, cardigan, etc, what do you recommend to solve this?

    1. No matter what your size or shape a garment that slightly tapers at the waist is going to 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 waist. I really think you should give the column of color a try. That’s a great 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 6 tips. I love your views and enjoy reading your blog.


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