Women typically face the midlife spread as middle age approaches. Having kids may have stretched out your stomach and left it loose and flabby, while decreased metabolism as you get older leads to weight gain that tends to accumulate around the middle. But it doesn't have to mean resigning yourself to wearing muumuus the rest of your life. With the right clothing choices, you can look as good as you feel.
Slip into some shapewear. You may fear the girdle, but when it comes to smoothing out your tummy, nothing will work better. Some styles cover your underwear and come up higher than your belly button, while others are tight-fitting tank tops that go down to the hips. Either style will help flatten your belly.
Choose long tops whether you're wearing a skirt or pants. A shirt that sits at the waist can emphasize the bulge below. Instead, choose something that sits at mid-hip.
Hike up your pants. Low cuts look best on those with flat stomachs and, if you wear them, you may find that your tummy hangs over the edge. Instead, look for mid-rise or high-rise pants.
Avoid clothes that have embellishments at the waist, which draw eyes toward your tummy. Something that ties at the side, however, such as a sarong-style skirt, can be slimming.
Look for clothes that have ruching, a crinkled look that can hide your tummy.
Purchase clothes that fit and don't get caught up by the number on the tag. If something is too tight, it's going to make you look bad.
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Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.