Stylish dresses to hide a tummy - plus top tips from our fashion experts

Looking for dresses to hide a tummy? Find out what to look for and where to find it

three stylish dresses to hide a tummy
(Image credit: J Crew / M&S / Karen Millen)

The shops are full of stylish dresses to hide a tummy, for those who are self-conscious about their stomach. Many people find it hard to shift weight from around their middle and if you're looking to discreetly skim over your midriff, it's good to learn what to look for when shopping. 

Whatever your body type, we can all have moments of self-consciousness and if you're struggling to feel good while dressing for your shape, learning some styling tricks will help you feel better in your clothes. 

Feeling self-conscious about your stomach is enough to ruin the shopping experience so we've packed this feature full of our expert top tips for how to pick the best dresses to hide a tummy so that you can get dressed with confidence. Rather than just focusing on disguising your stomach, consider how to draw attention to your best assets. Apple body shapes tend to have a generous bust, a small bottom, and slender arms and legs. So far, so gorgeous. In fact, the only difference between apples and the much-coveted hourglass body shape is a less defined waist, and we have plenty of ideas to help with that. 

But most importantly, remember, a stubborn midsection (or any body hang-up for that matter) shouldn’t affect your style - get dressed for you and most importantly learn to enjoy your wardrobe, accept your body and celebrate yourself- keeping that in mind will improve your confidence.

The best styles of dresses to hide a tummy

  • Wrap: Flattering on all body shapes, a wrap dress is a capsule wardrobe staple, not to mention a shape Kate Middleton turns to on the regular. A well-cut one will fit and flatter up top, before skimming over your middle. The deep V neckline makes them well suited to larger busts, but they'll provide a boost to smaller cup sizes too. For added coverage, look for wrap dresses with a soft ruffle across the front or some soft draping detailing.  
  • Empire line: When it comes to hiding your stomach, empire line styles are always a good bet. Drawing the eye to the smallest part of your torso by nipping you in directly under the bust, they give the illusion of a higher waistline. The rest of the dress should have a flared or A-line fit that floats over the stomach.
  • Trapeze: Don't be put off by the name, trapeze dresses don't have to be tent-like. Opt for a style that flutes out once it has past your armpit (so you get a little bit of bustline definition before it fills out. This shape is a good dress silhouette to hide a tummy because it doesn't cling to your shape, making it a particularly comfortable one too. For petite frames, opt for a shorter style, no longer than knee length, while taller shoppers can afford to go for a midi trapeze dress. Length is important in this style so that you don't end up overwhelmed.
  • Ruching: Ruched details and gathering swooping across a midsection of a dress is an ingenious way to hide a tummy. Subtle puckering and soft drapery is a really flattering way to disguise your middle and when it starts from the side of the waist it can also help to create the illusion of a narrower waistline. 
  • Printed: Don’t shy away from patterns and prints. A busy print acts as sartorial camouflage and helps to hide a multitude of insecurities, including helping to disguise a tummy. Wearing print is also an easy way to inject vibrant colors into your wardrobe.
  • Illusion paneling: Illusion dresses are a super sleek way to not only hide a tummy but also create hourglass curves. Using block coloring, illusion dresses revolve around having a central panel through the front center (and sometimes also back center) of the dress. Cutting through you vertically, the center block panel creates the illusion of a narrower silhouette and more slender waistline, adding curves and disguising a tummy in the process.  
  • Higher waistlines: It can be tempting to opt for dresses that have little shape in a bid to hide your stomach, but actually when it comes to dressing to hide a tummy, having an element of shaping and tailoring is really important. While you should avoid horizontal detailing right across your stomach, do invest in tailored dresses, including shift dresses that have a slightly higher waistline. This again narrows you at a smaller part of your frame and a well-tailored dress will still skim the areas that make you feel self-conscious. 

Gorgeous dresses to hide a tummy, chosen by our fashion experts

red tie front shirt dress

(Image credit: M&S)

1. Marks and Spencer Textured Tie Front Midi Shirt Dress


RRP: $77.99 / £45
Sizes: US: 2-20 / UK:6-24

Marks and Spencer's is one of the most famous British clothing, homeware and food brands. With something for everyone (whatever your age), it's no surprise it also has stylish dresses to hide a tummy. 

The best shirt dresses are universally flattering and this particular iteration features a torso elongating, empire line, tie front. This narrows your shape at your smallest part and helps the dress to skim your shape, gliding over curves. A great everyday piece, when it comes to how to style shirt dresses, this look could easily be worn for work or play - just switch up your accessories to reinvent the look. 

The bold orange hue is a welcomed pop of brightness as we head into dreary mornings, and conjures up all the pumpkin latte feels, ensuring you will brighten everyone's day as we embrace fall.

black polo neck dress

(Image credit: H&M)

2. H&M Sleeveless polo-neck dress


RRP: $34.99 / £24.99
Sizes: L-4XL

H&M is one of the best Scandinavian clothing brands, and covers a huge range of categories both online and instore. There is a common misconception that the best dresses to hide a tummy have to be oversized, or shouldn't have any tailored elements, but the opposite is true. The most stylish dresses to hide a tummy should help to contour and shape your curves, and work towards balancing your proportions for a flattering fit. 

This sleek black dress is incredibly versatile and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. The fitted bodice will help to sculpt your upper torso, whilst the defined, higher waistline and fuller A-line skirt will skim over a tummy for a  dress that can be worn with your best blazer for work, or layers of new season jewelry, spinning this style into one of the best cocktail dresses

Mac Duggal green ruched middle gown

(Image credit: Nordstrom)
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3. Mac Duggal Butterfly Sleeve Jersey Gown


RRP: $398 / £325.40
Sizes: US: 0-16 / 4-20

This beautiful jersey maxi dress is a sure-fire hit for special occasions this summer. Whether you're looking for one of the best wedding guest dresses for a black tie event, or are already thinking about this year's holiday parties, this floor sweeping gown is one that will turn heads. In a comfortable jersey fabric, this occasionwear dress is both flattering and comfortable. V-neck and faux wrap front draws the eye down the body, lengthening your frame in the process. With midriff loving ruched detailing, the gentle gathering is ideal for those looking for stylish dresses to hide a tummy. 

The long length adds versatility to the look, meaning you can tailor your shoe choice to your mood. Comfortable flats? No problem, no one will know. Fancy rocking a pair of heels? They'll work too. With a short fluted sleeve, you'll get the benefit of upper arm coverage and the ability to wear your best bra. The fuller sleeve will also feel lighter and breezier - great if dancing is on the cards.

printed dress with florals and center front twist

(Image credit: Hobbs)

4. Hobbs Farrah Dress


RRP: $420 / £199
Sizes: US: 2-16 / UK: 6-18

Knots, twists, ruching and folds are secret weapons when it comes to stylish dresses to hide a tummy, as any gathering or angled drapery across the midriff will skim your belly and will glide over the areas you're most self-conscious about. 

While wrap dresses and side ruching is fairly common place, we're loving the knot detailing used here to both hide a tummy and add detail to the dress. The gorgeous silky fabric and dispersed floral print also add eye catching detail, taking eyes away from your middle, while the V-neck elongates your figure.

When it comes to stylish dresses to hide a tummy, color and color contrast can also play an important role. By keeping the botton half of this dress darker and the top half more vibrant, eyes will be instantly drawn upwards. You can also support the look with the quality shapewear for a smoother finish. 

blue and white flutter sleeve dress

(Image credit: Next)
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5. Next Flutter Sleeve Tie Waist Midi Dress


RRP: $58 / £38
Sizes: US: 2-18 / UK: 6-22

The reason we love dresses is because there are one and done styling solution. With no need to team up separates, a dress adds instant polish and guarantees you'll look and feel put together on any given day. This gorgeous blue and white midaxi is a fantastic investment piece. The coloring and styling makes it a strong all year piece, easily layered on the coolest days and worn as is in warm weather. 

The gently fluttered sleeve adds flattering upper arm coverage, while the V-neckline helps to elongate your torso, drawing the eye down the body. With a drawcord tie at the waist, to allow you to adjust the fit, you can choose the level of waistline definition, before the A-line skirt skims tummies for a stylish finish. The paisley inspired print adds to this dresses ability to hide a tummy, as the abstract, large print will draw attention away from your middle.

pink wrap over dress with jewel clasp

(Image credit: Karen Millen)
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6. Karen Millen Plus Size Viscose Satin Clasp Blazer Dress


RRP: $238 / £139
Sizes: XS-L

If you're looking for the best plus size dresses this season then check out Karen Millen's extensive range of directional styles. Thanks to some of the best fashion bloggers, there is a lot of great curve inspiration around and brands have risen to the challenge of delivering more fashion-forward styles to match.

This chic dress has all the hallmarks of one of the best tuxedos, re-worked into a thigh grazing dress. The hot pink hue is ideal for exploring what is Barbiecore this season, while the satin style fabric is on point for the festive season. 

The side fastening helps to create a flattering wrap dress silhouette, with a statement empire line clasp, that draws the eye up and to your narrowest part, creating a longer silhouette and skimming a midriff in the process. Pair with some statement heels and a party-ready clutch bag to finish the look.

floral prairie dress

(Image credit: Monsoon)

7. Monsoon V neck blossom print dolly dress purple


RRP: $94 / £75
Sizes: S-XL

An empire line dress is a great choice when it comes to stylish dresses to hide a tummy. Answering the question of what is boho style, this relaxed fit dress offers a gorgeous floral print that will work all year through. Featuring a V-neck and ruffled front, this dress should sit across the bust and shoulder before taking on an A-line silhouette from the empire line, enhanced by the contrast print and piped underband, hiding stomachs, skimming thighs and hips in the process. 

Wear now with your best white trainers for a relaxed look, and come the fall winter shoe trends 2022 nail how to style knee-high boots, by pairing your best winter boots with this versatile frock. 

ruffled collared grey wrap dress

(Image credit: LK Bennett)
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8. LK Bennett Nimes Navy and White Gingham Frill Detail Dress


RRP: $540 / £299
Sizes: US: 2-14 / UK: 6-18

This beautiful midi dress is from LK Bennett, one of our favorite British clothing brands. Excelling at classic elegance, this is one dress you can reach for time and time again. 

While it can be worn alone in the summer months, make this dress work for the fall 2022 fashion trends by layering it over a fine roll neck knit, adding texture and warmth for the season ahead. 

The nipped-in waist offers a tailored and flattering fit, while the ruffled V-neckline will add curves to smaller busts and draws eyes to your upper torso. The fabric tie belt helps to create a more sculpted silhouette and can be easily adjusted. 

green silky dress

(Image credit: Me+Em)

9. Me+Em Houndstooth Jacquard Midi Dress + Tie


RRP: $445 / £250
Sizes: US: 2-12 / UK: 6-16

When it comes to the fashion color trends 2022, green dresses are big news and this beautiful houndstooth design nails the trend elegantly. Made from eco-conscious cupro fabric, this dress delivers on fit and style. With a sporty finish thanks to the discreet zip front and elasticated cuffs, the midi length means it's a look you can integrate into your office outfits or dress up for an occasion. 

With a directional tiered skirt and a comfortable elasticated waist, this dress is ideal for creating curves, whilst also hiding a tummy. The fabric belt can be removed altogether, or try tying the wide jacquard belt above your stomach - creating a higher waistline - and let the belt hang at the front, covering a midriff, effortlessly styling out the look. 

To make this look for fall through to winter, add a pair of opaque tights and this season's best cowboy boots in a tan leather for a directional twist.

Soeur graphic printed dress

(Image credit: Selfridges)

10. SOEUR Philomene graphic-print silk midi dress


RRP: $460 / £425
Sizes: 6-14

If you're looking for some fall outfit ideas for work, then this dress should be on your list. A relaxed fit shirt dress will easily skim your stomach, while still looking smart for the office. With a removable self-fabric tie belt, you can create a high waistline or empire line fit with the belt, ensuring you can create definition while still skimming your frame. If you want a belt with more structure, you can try one of the best designer belts with this dress too, opt for a slim fitting tan belt to help lift the look.

The bold graphic print also contributes to drawing attention away from your silhouette, and in a neutral hue this shirt dress can be worn all year. In warmer weather pair with tan sandals and any of the best tote bags. Come fall, switch sandals for the best winter boots and slip a fine knit roll-neck underneath, adding one of the best designer crossbody bags to complete the look.

dresses to hide a tummy Boden printed red dress

(Image credit: Boden)

11. Boden V-Neck Tiered Dress


RRP: $190 / £130
Sizes: US 2-22 / UK: 6-22

A chic midi dress, this is a real showstopper and can be worn throughout the year, layered in the winter with a cardigan, tights, and boots, then swapped for sandals for balmy summer evenings. 

The flattering V-neck will help to elongate your figure, making you appear longer and leaner, while the under-bust panel creates an empire line silhouette, giving the impression of a narrower, higher waistline, before it glides off into an A-line shape, skimming your stomach.  This pretty printed dress is one you'll reach for on-repeat. 

front and back of striped tiered sundress

(Image credit: J.Crew)

12. J. Crew Tie-back tiered dress in stripe


RRP: $148 / £165
Sizes: US: 00-24

A tiered dress is a super stylish dress to hide a tummy. Thanks to the tiered layers, this dress has a feminine A-line silhouette that will skim your silhouette. Fitted around the bust area it ensures your shape isn't entirely hidden but does gently glide over midriffs and hips. The timeless striped print draws the eye down and along the body, instantly lengthening you and we love the sweet bow detail at the back of the dress for added design. Ideal for what to wear to a bridal shower or even a sunny summer picnic, team this dress with your favorite sandals for an easy warm-weather look.

If you'd rather have extra arm coverage, opt for a cropped, cotton cardigan in a tonal hue for a seamless style. Prefer to layer? Then wear a white tee underneath this dress offers an instantly more casual finish for laidback luxe. 

blue pleated front dress shown on model front and back

(Image credit: Eloquii)

13. Eloquii Knot Front Pleated Skirt Dress


RRP: $114.95 (US only)
Sizes: 14-32

Eloquii, an American clothing brand, is one of the few brands like Zara - in terms of fashionability, that is actually aimed at plus size women. Loved by fashion bloggers, it make some of the best plus size dresses, so Eloquii understand how to flatter curvy figures. Whether you're looking for great occasionwear, summer workwear or need to know what to wear on a first date, we highly recommend stopping by this online retailer for pieces that translate the trends into styles you will want to show off.

This pretty navy blue dress with a knotted front and draped skirt is ideal for those who want a stylish dress to hide a tummy. The knot acts as a central narrowing point, drawing the eye in and down the body, elongating your frame. Creating an empire line under the bust, the skirt pleats start higher up, skimming your middle and lengthening your legs, no heels required. 

Leopard print dress in rainbow hues

(Image credit: Simply Be)

14. Simply Be Rainbow Leopard Print Frill Midi Dress


RRP: £55 (UK only)
Sizes: 10-32 (UK only)

Simply Be is a great place to shop for bright color clothes. A plus size brand that follows the trends, this pretty rainbow, leopard print dress is ideal for a summer occasion, such as what to wear to a christening, but equally lovely for an evening of alfresco dining on vacation. The empire line silhouette is a flattering shape for hiding a tummy, with the front frill detail drawing the eye down, elongating your torso. 

The diagonal direction of the print is another clever styling trick, that helps to smooth out your silhouette, diverting attention away from your middle and around the body. And of course, rainbow coloring is still in fashion, with the dopamine dressing trend still very much a part of the Fall 2022 fashion trends

printed shirt dress

(Image credit: FatFace)

15. FatFace Swinley Forest Fauna Midi Dress


RRP: $124 / £79
Sizes: US: 2-20 / UK: 6-24

This pretty bloom print dress is the piece to invest in to get you ready for the new season. The button-up front gives this shirt dress a more tailored fit, while the drawcord will help to cinch you in at the waist. Cut with an A-line silhouette, the dress will effortless skim over stomachs and hips.

With a mid length hem line you can team this dress with all shoes, from the best Chelsea boots to a pair of trainers. The dark base to the floral print automatically renders this dress fall season-ready. To finish this look, sling on your best leather jacket and you're good to go. Made from eco-responsible fibers, it uses sustainable wood sources and is machine washable.

zara printed midi dress

(Image credit: Zara)

16. Zara Printed Midi Dress


RRP: $119 / £79.99
Sizes: XS-XXL

The trapeze dress is fashion's secret weapon when it comes to stylish dresses to hide a tummy. A shape that is particularly well done by Spanish clothing brand Zara, it's the total antithesis to the bodycon trend, gliding out from the bust line. A fall must-have,  this look is comfortable, directional and available in a multitude of prints and patterns - it's truly summer's easiest style buy. 

We love this midi printed number, with an instantly relaxed vibe, it has a lovely vintage feel to it, but it's bang up to date in a bold print. Whether you're looking for the simple but stylish day dresses or need the ultimate vacation wardrobe, we can't recommend this throw-on-and-go frock highly enough. The slashed neckline offers some structure to the dress, but you can guarantee a midriff flattering fit here too.

doen floral dress

(Image credit: Doen)

17. DÔEN Blossom dress in Cherrywood Winding vine floral


RRP: $498 / £429.99
Sizes: XXS-XXL

DÔEN is a current favorite amongst the fashion crowd for its easy to wear, uber pretty and effortlessly stylish dresses. A perfect answer to what is cottagecore, the brand's dress selection feels vintage and modern all at the same time. Crafted in lightweight crepe de Chine for a beautiful drape and handle the darker floral print makes it ideal as we head into Fall.

The V-neck silhouette will frame your bust line, while the tea dress style will skim your frame for a flattering finish. The midaxi length hem, teamed with the fuller sleeve makes brings it bang up to date.

While this flowy dress definitely has a more relaxed feel to it, thanks to the slightly more fitted bodice, you can smarten this dress up for an occasion with a pair of heels, otherwise use it as an exercise in how to style loafers for women, adding a tailored twist to this feminine look.

striped empire line dress

(Image credit: Banana Republic)

18. Banana Republic Linen Dress


RRP: $280 (US only)
Sizes: XXS-XXL

This pretty strappy dress features an empire line cut that instantly flatters tummies. Cinching you in at your smallest part under the bust, this maxi dress can be worn all year through with some simple styling tweaks. Looking for a great alfresco dinner dress when deciding what to pack for a beach vacation? This frock is easy breezy for night time dining. Wondering what to wear over a dress to make it more Fall weather appropriate? Layer a cardigan or your best denim jacket over the top of lighter weight styles to battle the drop in temperatures. 

The vertical lines on the dress will also contribute to a flattering finish. Drawing the eye up the body, the line direction automatically lengthens your silhouette, making you longer and leaner. The fuller skirt will skim hips and bums and graze the ankle for a glam finish. 

leopard print jersey dress

(Image credit: Simply Be)

19. Joanna Hope Luxe Jersey Print Dress


RRP: £69 (UK only)
Sizes: 10-32

You'll be hard to miss in this bold animal print dress. It's a misconception that stylish dresses to hide a tummy also have to disappear into the background. Statement prints, in great cuts are an ideal way to let you and your outfit shine without putting the spotlight on the areas you're self conscious of. This jersey dress will be wonderfully soft and comfortable, moving with you throughout the day. The bodice is cut to frame a fuller bust, with a higher cut waistline, to narrow you above your stomach, sculpting your curves without being tight over a tummy. The deep waistband will help to elongate your torso, while the lightly gathered skirt will gently skim your middle. 

If you're worried about smoothing your silhouette while wearing a jersey dress, pair this number with one of the best bras for backfat or get the best plus size shapewear that will offer added support and contouring to your silhouette. 

two women in composite image showing front and back of thought clothing white trapeze dress

(Image credit: Thought Clothing)
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20. Thought White Trapeze Dress


RRP: £130
Sizes: UK: 6-18

Heading off to sunnier climes? Aside from your best sunglasses, you'll want to slide a trapeze dress into your suitcase too. Universally flattering, this shape hangs from the shoulder, skimming over a midriff. The shape is comfortable and airy, ideal for warmer months and the simplicity of the style embodies this season's Coastal Grandmother trend for mature but effortless dressing. While white dresses are usually shunned for black dresses, they're often seen as 'slimming,' when it comes to the summer months, a trapeze shape, even in white, paired with the sandals looks stylish in every size. 

green dress with lilac flowers

(Image credit: New Look)
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21. New Look Curves Green Ditsy Floral Plissé Belted Midi Wrap Dress


RRP: £39.99 (international shipping available)
Sizes: 18-30

This gorgeous wrap dress pretty much sums up the season. One of the best green dresses this summer, featuring a lilac print, the design pulls two of the biggest fashion color trends together, and delivers them wrapped up (literally) with a timeless micro bloom design . 

A universally flattering design, this frock is an ideal choice for those self conscious about their middle. With discreet tie side detailing - distracting from your stomach, the lightweight fabric floats across the midriff for subtle coverage. A great dress for any occasion this summer, the vertical animal print helps to elongate your frame, an illusion reinforced by the dipped side hems. As this is quite a loud print, keep your accessories neutral, pairing with barely-there sandals and a cream or beige clutch. 

Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is a former Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.