Bloating, But Make it Fashion: Clothing to Hide a Bloated Belly
Last updated: August 2021
Ah, bloating. The wonderful IBS symptom that makes you feel terribly uncomfortable, huge, and look about 5 months pregnant. Even when bloating is not that painful, it tends to make me feel about as attractive as a stranded whale. And if I decide not to go out or cancel my plans due to bloating, it’s probably at least in part due to the fear of someone asking when my (gas) baby is due.
After having an actual human child, my bloated belly got even more prominent. My skin is already stretched, and there is far more room for my belly to expand. “Why don’t you just wear maternity clothes when bloated?” some might ask. But I don’t like looking pregnant when I’m not. And maternity wear tends to emphasize that belly instead of hiding it.
So, I came up with a couple of ways to hide my bloated belly with clothing.
You know how uncomfortable those 100% cotton jeans can be when you're bloated? That’s because they don’t expand to accommodate that huge belly. And if you’re striving to hide it, that’s actually a good thing!
I personally cannot stand to be uncomfortable or to have clothing constrict my belly, so I always size up when buying non-stretch garments. When I do get bloated, they’re not too tight, but also don’t allow my stomach to look all big and rounded.
On the contrary, stretchy leggings and bottoms containing a lot of elastane don’t hide anything at all, though they do feel softer and more comfortable. It’s all about finding a balance, I guess.
Thick, oversized sweaters and sweatshirts
There is nothing better for hiding a bloated belly than a trusty old oversized knit or sweatshirt. It’s chunky enough to where it doesn’t show much of your figure anyway and large enough to where it doesn’t accentuate your stomach at all.
If you’re all for comfortable bottoms that are unable to hide a big belly, these tops can be a lifesaver!
Skirts, dresses, and shirts with volume
When you’re bloated, the last thing you need is a clothing item emphasizing your waist. That’s when I like to opt for pieces that have a certain volume to them and that do not cling to my belly. The key is to choose materials that aren’t too thin and, if possible, have multiple layers.
Pleats, ruffles, and textures can be amazing for hiding a bloated stomach!
Busy prints and dark colors
When I was pregnant in the second trimester, I noticed that people never saw my belly when I was wearing prints. Somehow, the prints themselves absorbed all the attention so that my shape was less noticeable. This can be used to your advantage when dressing a bloated belly, too! And we all know that dark colors are more slimming than light ones, so this might be a good time to avoid a white top.
Jackets, cardigans, and scarves
Finally, my absolute favorite and fool-proof way to hide a bloated stomach is putting on an oversized jacket, cardigan, or scarf. These act similarly to the pillow you put on your belly while sitting on a couch. Since the material and texture are chunky, you cannot tell at all what’s hiding underneath! (Does anyone else do this? No? Just me?)
Of course, you can’t really wear these items in the summer, which is why I’ve only included them at the end of this list. But when it’s cold, you can be pretty sure that no one will see how bloated you are!
What do you do when you’re bloated, but have to go out anyway? Do you try to hide your belly or simply opt for comfort?
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?