11 ways to flatter your tummy

LISA LYFORD
Last updated 14:29 11/02/2014
tummy
REUTERS

APPLE SHAPES: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Octavia Spencer and Mariah Carey are three celebs who hold their weight around their mid-sections. They're also three celebs who know it's not about baggy clothes, but rather the power of artful ruching.

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Newsflash: don't try and hide your tummy by wearing big, baggy clothes. Why? They often make you look bigger than you are!

Here are some styling tips to help minimise the appearance of a puku. 

THINGS YOU CAN DO

1. Wear supportive underwear. This will help give you a smooth, flatter, slimmer look.

2. Trousers and skirts with side or back zips are good at flattering the front area. If the garment does have a zip at the front, make sure it sits flat (some hooks and waistbands stick out).

3. Elasticised waists are great for fluctuating waistlines, but just be careful there's not too much excessive fabric as it can bunch up. Wide waistbands are also great for support but, unlike elasticated jobs, they flatten the area.

4. Wide belts can help to pull you in and can also create some interest. Be careful not to wear them too tight. Belts that sit on the hips can be good for disguising a bloated stomach.

5. Diagonal and vertical lines can help. Just make sure the garment isn't too tight otherwise the stripes may stretch, accentuating your tummy. Also some patterning is great for camouflaging the area (florals, animal prints, abstract), just make sure it doesn't draw extra attention (how to tell? When trying it on, where does your eye naturally dart when you very first spy yourself in the mirror?). 

6. Wearing long-line jackets (not done up), vests or tops to cover the area can work well (as long as you're not long-waisted, otherwise it may make your torso look even longer).

7. Wrap dresses or tops that have drape, ruching or tie at the waist are great (see the lovely celebs pictured working that tip like the pros they are).

TIP: Tie the belt at the side and not in the centre, the centre will accentuate the stomach area.

8. Empire-line (a garment that hangs from just below the bust) tops and dresses are great for skimming over and flattening the look of the stomach, but be careful as some styles can make women look pregnant! They have to be cut well. 

9. Dresses or tops that fall from the shoulder can work well. Similar note of warning to empire-line, however, be careful it doesn't make you look pregnant.

10. Draw the eye to the best parts of your body and away from your stomach, e.g. your upper body or your legs. How? With patterns, accessories (especially necklaces and scarves), embelliments, styling, etc.

11. Layering clothing works well, just be careful not to add volume to your stomach area.

THINGS YOU SHOULD AVOID

1. Avoid skirts and trousers that gather, are pleated or have a drawstring at the waist - they add unnecessary bulk.

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2. Avoid trousers or skirts with front pleats that fall from the waist.

3. Avoid shiny or clingy fabrics that show the contours of your body and accentuate your stomach and bumps.

4. Avoid cropped tops. 

- Lisa Lyford is the founder of Gorgeous Me, a DIY personal styling guide that offers free personal styling advice, information and tips as well as makeovers of everyday Kiwi women. Gorgeous Me: because every woman deserves to look and feel fab.

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