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

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Three dresses that flatter a tummy laid on a white background with purple stars overlaid as decorations
(Image credit: Future)

Self-conscious about your middle? You’re not short on company. Many of us find it tricky to shift weight around the stomach. The good news is that the high-street is awash with stylish dresses to hide a tummy, you just need to know what to look for.

With a few simple styling tricks and tips for choosing the dresses to hide a tummy in your back pocket, suddenly the idea of shopping for a new frock doesn’t seem quite so daunting after all. Remember, a stubborn midsection (or any body hang-up for that matter) shouldn’t affect your style. Keeping that in mind will improve your confidence far more than even the best shapewear could.

Rather than focusing on disguising your stomach, think instead about drawing 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. 

The best dresses for your body type—just like the most flattering jumpsuits—will therefore be ones that put the focus on those enviable features. Thin straps, V-necklines, and flattering knee lengths are all your friends here, as are bold patterns and prints. 

Above all, don't overlook comfort: think soft, breathable fabric that'll carry you through all seasons with thoughtful layering. 

The best dress styles to hide a tummy

  • Wrap: Flattering on all body shapes, a wrap dress is a capsule wardrobe staple, not to mention one of Kate Middleton's favorite dresses. 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. 
  • Empire line: When it comes to dresses to hide a tummy, empire line styles come up on top. They draw attention to the smallest part of your torso by nipping in directly beneath your bust. The rest of the dress should have a flared, A-line fit which floats over the stomach.
  • Trapeze: Don't be put off by the name, trapeze dresses don't have to be tent-like. To avoid overwhelming your frame, chose a style that drops down from under the armpit with a gentle flow. The idea is that they don't cling to any part of your body. Midi lengths are especially good for showing off your shoes. 
  • Pleated: Pleats are not only pretty, but they have the added benefit of not clinging to your frame. The vertical lines will also streamline your shape, making you look taller and leaner in the process.  
  • Printed: Don’t shy away from patterns and prints. The look is one of the hottest clothing trends and can compliment any body. A busy print acts sartorial camouflage and helps to hide a multitude of sins, including helping to disguise a tummy. Wearing print is also an easy way to inject vibrant colors into your wardrobe.
  • Statement sleeves: Diverting attention from area's you want to disguise is the oldest trick in the book. Puffed or detailed sleeves create volume and interest, moving the eye up and away from your middle.

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

model wearing a nude pink flattering H&M dress

(Image credit: H&M)

1. H&M Draped Shirt Dress

RRP: $34.99/£24.99
Sizes: XS-XXL

Not only is this wrap-front style universally flattering, the gathered material near the tummy area is a clever detail to look out for. The easy nature of the dress helps blend any tummy woes into the flowy fabric and still offer the range of motion and comfort you need throughout the day.

model wearing a red Hush Maxi Dress

(Image credit: Hush)

2. Hush Maxi Dress

RRP: $162/£119
Sizes: US: 1-14/UK: 4-18

A floaty maxi dress is a winner across all seasons. This beauty from Hush will skim over arms and the tummy areas and won't be clingy. The printed pattern and dark color also provides a slimming silhouette with the belt helping accentuate your bust and bottom instead of your tummy.

model wearing a black Mango Ruched Dress

(Image credit: mango)

3. Mango Ruched Dress

RRP: $129/£79.99
Sizes: US: 1-12/UK: 4-14

Never underestimate the power of a great black dress. The v-neck style from Mango will compliment all chest sizes while the A-line skirt will sweep over the tummy area. Ruching on this area is also key to this hero buy being on our radar right now. 

model wearing a cornflower blue & Other Stories Collared Twist Dress

(Image credit: & Other Stories)

RRP: $119/£85
Sizes: US: 0-12/UK: 32-44

Nipping in neatly beneath the bust, the skirt on this wrap dress will skim straight over your stomach. The tailored cuffs and collar, as well as the midi length, ensure it's office-appropriate too. The ripples in the fabric also create a slimming look with vertical lines to make you seem taller.

model wearing a red Whistles Frill Detail Dobby Dress

(Image credit: Whistles)

5. Whistles Frill Detail Dobby Dress

RRP: $344/£229
Sizes: US: 0-14/UK: 4-18

Want to inject some more color into your wardrobe? This rust midi is the perfect addition to an autumn/winter edit. The golden detail and easy-to-wear tiered hemline will distract from the tummy. 

model wearing a New Look Floral Tie Front Shirred Midi Dress

(Image credit: New Look)

6. New Look Floral Tie Front Shirred Midi Dress

RRP: $99/£25.99
Sizes: US: 2-14/UK: 6-18

Say hello to the dress of dreams. This moody floral frock with stretch waist is a total steal at this price. The square neckline is also great for bigger chests and the length will work across all seasons. The black background and tightly repeating print also create a slimming look to gloss over any midsection worries.

model wearing a All Saints Lerin Brecon Dress

(Image credit: all saints)

7. All Saints Lerin Brecon Dress

RRP: $379/£245
Sizes: XS-L

Don't believe the fashion myth that apple shapes can't wear slinky fabrics. This midi drapes in all the right places thanks to the pleats. As one of our favorite British clothing brands, it's ready for any weather too. It's a two-for-one with a jumper attached so it's ideal if it's chilly or you feel more comfortable covering your middle area. 

model wearing a patterned Next Zipped Midi Shirt Dress

(Image credit: Next)

8. Next Zipped Midi Shirt Dress

RRP: $55/£38
Sizes: US: 2-22/ UK 6-26

In regular, tall, petite, and US sizes 2-22 (UK 6-26) this is the do-it-all dress to rely on. The zip front will be perfect to adjust, depending on your bust size, and the elbow-length sleeves are ideal for covering the tops of arms. The floaty fabric will skim over legs, bums, and tums alike. 

model wearing a Omnes Emilia Satin Wrap Midi Dress

(Image credit: Omnes)

9. Omnes Emilia Satin Wrap Midi Dress

RRP: $91/£65
Sizes: US: 2-16/ UK: 6-20

We could go on and on about the flattering functions of a great wrap dress. This fuchsia style from sustainable brand Omnes is made from 100% recycled polyester, is the perfect length and is ready to be the plus one to any party. 

model wearing a Phoebe Grace Gillian Flouncy Shirt Dress

(Image credit: Phoebe Grace)

10. Phoebe Grace Gillian Flouncy Shirt Dress

RRP: $402/£295
Sizes: US: 4-12/UK: 8-16

Made from 100% recycled polyester, this daisy dress by sustainable brand Phoebe Grace is a thing of beauty. The button-down shirt style is great on all figures and black is always a flattering color. Be prepared for everyone to ask where you got this from!

Jess Beech

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 currently Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC. 

She caught the magazine bug during a stint as Fashion Editor of her university newspaper alongside her English degree, and hasn’t looked back since. As for the fashion bug, that came as part and parcel of growing up in the 90s, but the less said about that the better!

Jess’ average day in the office is spent researching the latest fashion trends, chatting to industry tastemakers and scouring the internet to bring you this season’s must-buy pieces - as well as advice on how to wear them. Weekends are equally fashion-focused, and Jess has been known to visit no less than five Zara stores in a single day in search of the perfect occasion dress. 

The only thing that comes close to a buzz of finally tracking down that much-coveted dress is the joy of discovering a new beauty wonder product or hero ingredient. 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.