How to Dress When Your Plus Size Tummy is Extra Plus

Posted by Jen Anderson on

How to Dress When Your Plus Size Tummy is Extra Plus

We've been taught that we need to conceal certain body parts because...not very good reasons. No, really. The whole point of hiding, balancing out, or mitigating your tummy (or hips, or whatever) is to make yourself look more hourglass shaped than you actually are. Putting aside the extremely limited effectiveness of these tricks, there's no real reason why we would even want to look hourglass shaped.

Sure the hourglass is the ideal figure, what? We plus size women are treated unfairly because of our size and gender (among other things), but I'm pretty sure I'm the only person who ever cared that I'm apple-pear shaped. The only area of my life affected by my non-hourglassness is clothes shopping. 

Clothing designers tend to design for hourglass shaped women, which is why they can wear pretty much anything. When the 92% of us who aren't hourglasses try on something that doesn't fit us properly, we wrongly blame our bodies. 

The reality is that not every style is designed for every body shape.

It's not that you don't get to wear certain styles, it's that certain silhouettes aren't your best friend. It doesn't help that some plus size designers pretend that we don't even have body shapes. It also doesn't help that we all have a bit of a tummy after a certain age, so just when we've gotten the hang of dressing for our bodies, we have to re-figure out our wardrobe. 

woman wearing a black t shirt style dress

Look for clothes that work with your shape, instead of against it.

You need clothing that respects your curves. You wouldn't wear something with a seam cutting across your bust or hips. That would look and feel uncomfortable. So we need to treat our tummies the same way.

Clothes with a defined waist aren't your tummy's friend. But that doesn't mean you need to fill your closet with shapeless sacks.

Just as you look and feel best in clothes that skim over your chest and hips, you'll be happier in pieces that skim over your midriff. 

A shift-style dress or top works well with a big tummy because they don't get smaller at your middle. They do this without getting baggy or shapeless - they're designed to fit this way from the get go. This includes straight-sided dresses like the Maxi Tank Dress, as well as A-Line dresses and tunics. 

woman wearing a black maxi tank dress

There's an important distinction between relaxed fitting shift-style tops and dresses, and boxy, oversized sacks. You want to aim for "not too tight or clingy in some spots" and avoid being smothered in excess fabric. 

These styles may seem a bit plain. But that can be an advantage - a simple silhouette works well with any print. And these pieces won't fight with any of your accessories - everything from minimalist jewelry to exuberant jackets. The exciting thing here is that you get to show off your personal style. And well-made fabric (like what we use for Vikki Vi Classics) looks luxe, so even your most minimalist looks will look luxurious.

Of course, empire-waisted tops and dresses will also work nicely with an extra-plus belly, but they may not work with your specific shape. (There's so much variation in the female form, that blanket statements are impossible.)

Your tummy isn't a figure flaw.

It's a feature. Dress to accommodate your middle, not to conceal it, and you'll enjoy clothes shopping a lot more.

Check out our other posts about plus size style.


Hi Cerys, You can make your tummy look smaller by wearing styles that aren’t too tight across your middle without being baggy. The t-shirt style dress would probably work well on you.

—Jen anderson,

I d like some ideas on how to look bit smaller around belly

—Cerys evans,

Pls send catalog

—Carol phillips,

Hi Mary, We don’t have a catalog, but you can browse New Arrivals to see all of our offerings. If you want to learn about dressing for your body, I’ve written loads of blog posts on the subject. You can also call us at 818-223-8853 and we can advise you on what to order.

—Jen anderson,

I would like to see a catalog I weigh 260lbs. I wear 18_20_22 size clothes I would like to learn how to dress neat and smaller

—Mary lowery ,

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