What do you wear when you’re bloated and want to feel comfortable and stylish? And why is nobody talking about this? Why is it overlooked when it comes to fashion? Being bloated can take its toll on our self-esteem – especially when our ‘go-to’ jeans don’t quite fit us or require us to lie on the floor to button them up! Being bloated can really impact outfit decisions. Whether you’re experiencing PMS bloat, or just ate something that didn’t agree with you, bloating is common and totally normal. However, nothing kills your desire to look stylish and wear a cute outfit like a bloated belly.
It goes without saying (and as mentioned above) – a bloated stomach is perfectly normal and extremely common. It’s likely something that most of us will have to accept and dress for within our lives. Just like you have designated outfits for working out, for glam nights out or for the office – you need to also create a few outfits that help you feel confident and comfortable when bloated. Having confidence in yourself and your style is all about being prepared and having a few looks that are easy go-to’s.
Body confidence can be a difficult issue to tackle, whether you are bloated or not. My biggest tip here is to pick the right clothes and have a few set outfits ready to go so that you don’t have to try on a bunch of clothes and feel defeated when you’re not feeling your best. If you suffer from bloatedness constantly, it’s worth seeing a professional to diagnose the best treatment for you. Kirsten Jackson, Consultant IBS Dietician in Dubai (https://thefoodtreatmentclinic.com/) has two tips that work well to tackle the bloat and recommends working with a registered dietician in terms of preventing bloatedness.
Kirsten recommends as a long-term solution, “to go through the Low FODMAP process which determines the foods causing the bloatedness in the first place so that they can prevent it from happening.” Kirsten also recommends and explains “if someone is already bloated, then the bloating is coming from gas which is stuck in the gut and that gas needs to come out. Gentle movement such as yoga can essentially help move the gas out of the bowel which can ease the bloat.”
Historically, society has drilled into us that a flat stomach is a baseline for beautiful bodies. Thankfully, the media – in particular social media – is slowly changing this perception but that doesn’t diminish the fact that flat stomachs are constantly in our subconscious minds as the ideal.
What not to wear with a bloated tummy?
Fitted dresses without stretch or fitted pieces with lots of seams along the bodice highlight your stomach bloat.
Spanx is not a good idea when you are bloated. It adds pressure onto your stomach making you even more uncomfortable.
Skinny jeans can highlight the bulge. Even if they are of a stretchy composition, there are better bottom options to choose from.
Underwire bras can be tight and restrictive which will enhance the discomfort of your bloat. A soft bralette or wireless bra is your best bet to avoid those wires cutting into your body, as more times than none, the bloat doesn’t stop at the stomach.
Low-rise bottoms or jeans. Even though the waistline can sit below the bloat, it can often give you more of a pregnant look as the hem hits right where the bloat starts to protrude. It’s unflattering and uncomfortable.
Body-con dresses or skirts – AVOID! These garments draw further attention to a bloated tummy and are equally uncomfortable.
Anything leather – it’s not a breathable fabric and it doesn’t have a stretch.
Large prints can highlight the curves of your body – which is great when you’re not bloated. Our eyes follow a large print and its placement on the body. When we are bloated, it can draw more attention to that dissension.
What to actually wear when you are bloated:
First of all, you want pieces that don’t hug your stomach tightly, don’t constrict along the waist and don’t highlight your bulge.
Dresses are your best friend here – let’s look at the best, most bloat-friendly types.
Shift dresses are flattering and chic and don’t hug your body. In particular, dark colours on your dress help disguise any bloating by not allowing contrasting shadows and highlights to be visible.
Empire dresses (I like to call them tent dresses) have room for your bloated stomach and don’t put any pressure on your stomach. They are also ideal for the climate in the UAE, as they keep you breezy and don’t cling to your body.
A t-shirt dress is an easy, casual option when you’re bloated. Just ensure the t-shirt style isn’t too tight and doesn’t hug the body. Look for baggier t-shirt dresses that have more room around your hips. If it doesn’t hug your hips tightly, then it won’t hug your stomach.
Loose-fitting shirt dresses for more of a polished look. Opt for one that doesn’t have too many form-fitting seams and if it has a tie or belt – tie it loosely so it doesn’t constrict. You could also go for a shirt dress that has a vertical stripe to help your proportions and help you look leaner overall.
Mom jeans have a high waistband and are loose through the hips so they won’t be uncomfortable if you want to choose denim.
Peplum tops are making a comeback and it’s good news for our bloated tummies! If you tend to bloat higher up in your stomach – the peplum may be uncomfortable and cut into the bloat. Otherwise, it’s a good option to hide a bloated belly and gives a nice formal, polished look.
Leggings are obviously an easy ‘go-to’ when feeling bloated. Even though they are tight around the stomach – they are comfortable and can hide the bloat – especially if they are dark. Pairing leggings with an oversized shirt or sweatshirt is definitely a simple and comfortable bloat-friendly look. Avoid it looking unkempt though, by adding some trendy accessories.
Over-sized shirts are one of my favourite go-to's on my ‘bloaty’ days! Top tip – raid your partner’s wardrobe for the ideal oversized shirt.
Loose layering pieces such as an oversized blazer, shacket or cardigan are great when you are feeling bloated. They keep your style flexible, add more depth to an outfit and make the stomach boat six months less noticeable.
On those days, when your belly decides to resemble being six months pregnant and you feel so uncomfortable, remember – your style and self-esteem shouldn’t be compromised. Have your key outfits ready, stay comfy and be good to yourself.