Avoiding “muffin top” is the most common fit challenge among my clients, across all ages, shapes and sizes. After dressing women for many years, I’ve found that the most effective ways to deal with midsection wobbly bits is by implementing one or more of six strategies. 

Muffin top might be a characteristic of your shape, but it can also be a consequence of wearing the wrong clothes, or wearing them incorrectly. Often, we create or accentuate muffin top. And even the most beautiful body can create muffin top in the wrong outfit. So some of these suggestions are less about concealing muffin top, and more about about not accentuating it, or not creating it in the first place.

1. Wear Higher Rises and Looser Waistbands

Lower rises and tighter waistbands accentuate muffin top. Wear skirts, trousers and jeans with higher rises and looser waistbands to create the opposite effect. And if you’re going to wear a lower rise, make sure that the waistband is pretty loose so that it glides over the contour of your body instead of digging into your skin. Choose these items in fabrications with a one or two percent spandex content for extra comfort. But don’t choose fabrics that are overly stretchy — all they will do is stretch over the skin and accentuate muffin top even more. 

2. Wear Styles That Float Away From the Midriff

This is the most effective strategy. You’re after tops and dresses that cover the midsection, but stand away from the body. This does not automatically imply empire cuts, although that’s one way of creating a flattering silhouette when the cut lines are sans gathers. It’s better to wear tops and dresses with a bit or a lot of volume, but that taper back in at the hips for structure. That way you create a streamlined effect, especially when you’re shorter in the waist and larger in the bust. 

Roomy tops with welts, wide waistbands, and high-low hemlines are ideal. Think “cocoon silhouettes” and you’ll be on the right track. Poncho type tops are another way to go, but they do not taper back onto the body and look a lot less structured.

Wear this style of top with slim fit bottoms for a tailored finish.

3. Stay Away From Clingy Knits

There is nothing that accentuates muffin top more than a tight top in a clingy jersey knit. It’s the most unforgiving fabrication when it’s cut close to the body. Instead, opt for tailored tops and dresses in woven fabrications. The rigidity of woven fabric smooths out the midsection and does not cling. Knitwear, as in “sweaters”, in tailored and fluid fits are another way to go. Again, more contour and less cling. 

4. Wear Patterns and Textured Fabrics

Patterns and thicker textured fabrics do a better job than solids of camouflaging muffin top. Wear them in fluid or oversized fits in woven fabrications or textured knitwear and they’re even more effective. Furthermore, wear them over a higher rise and looser waistband and you’re all girdled in, without the girdle. 

5. Layer a Jacket over a Fluid Top 

Wearing an unfastened tailored jacket, cardigan or vest, over a fluid underlayer is an extremely effective way of creating a defined waistline without the cling. It’s like magic. Lots of structure and no muffin top. Of course, it has to be comfortable to wear that third layer, which is not always the case.

An unstructured topper like a sweater coat, boyfriend cardigan, or drapey cardigan is a more comfortable way of adding that third layer.

6. Semi-Tuck or Faux Tuck Tops With Belted Bottoms

It sounds counterintuitive to wear a belt when you have muffin top, but trust me, if you do this right, it works wonders. Semi or faux tuck a fluid woven top or pullover over a pair of jeans or trousers (tailored or baggy). Finish off the look with a wide belt that you can thread through the belt loops of the bottoms. The tucked front and belt create structure, while the fluid fabrication and untucked portion of the top float away from the body to prevent the cling. You can also semi-tuck a top into a loose pair of upscale silky or leather track pants, and leave off the belt. 

Wearing shapewear and control top hosiery are more restricting ways to conceal muffin top. It’s fine to wear these undergarments once in a while for fancy occasions, but I don’t recommend daily girdling use unless you’re comfortable doing so. Sometimes, a top or dress with side ruching, or simply wearing a camisole under a top is enough to smooth out your silhouette. 

Joie Leather Jacket Equipment-Cashmere-Sweater Rebecca Taylor Silk PantsHELMUT Helmut Lang Sweatshirt Tee Skinny Jeans