No Muumuus. Ever.

Dear Fashion Guru,

I recently began reading your blog and let me tell you, you have given my wardrobe the shot in the arm that it’s needed for quite some time. Thank you for telling all the mommies out there that we don’t have to wear the mommy uniform!

I have a problem that I know you’ll be able to help me with. I am fairly average in height and weight, but all the fat in my body seems to congregate in my gut. I’ve always had a bit of a pot belly, but after having my daughter three years ago, my belly has taken on a more–shall we say–rotund appearance. Because this is the only place I carry weight, I am sometimes asked if I am pregnant. This is not the fashion statement I want to be making.

So here’s my question: Without resorting to a muumuu, what styles would best camouflage my belly?


How many of you were nodding along as you read Shannon’s letter? Something about growing a person inside you changes your midsection forever. So let’s talk about how to look less like you’re still making people and more like a hot mama.

Shannon wants to start with a great bra, one that gets the Girls up where they should be. When your boobs are hanging low, it makes a large tummy look even larger. She should have a bra fitting, done by someone who really knows what she’s doing. Nordstrom has bra fitters, as do many specialty lingere boutiques.

Old Navy blouse
blouse by Old Navy, $19.50

Once she’s got a bra, Shannon can think about tops. She should look for something with an empire waist, for starters; this will draw attention away from her stomach and up to her pretty face. She can choose a cami with some detailing, and wear it on its own for evening or under a cardigan or jacket for day time. She can also look for great blouses; if she’s concerned about the V neckline, she can layer them over a tank or tee. She can also look at some cool longer tunics that are fitted through the shoulders but looser across the stomach. Again, she should look for nice detailing around the neckline.

Shannon wants to look for tops with detailing at the neckline, to draw the eye up. A V neck will do this, as will some ruching or ruffles. She can also add a choker or short necklace, in a contrasting color to her top, or a pair of dangly earrings.

The same rules apply for dresses; look for something with an empire waist and either a tank or V neck top. Keep hemlines near the knee. Or opt for a fabulous blouse and a pencil skirt with some great heels.

Banana Republic dress
dress by Banana Republic, $128.00

Shannon wants to look for jackets that hit just above the hip; this length makes her legs look longer. She should choose a one-button jacket that comes in at the sides, creating an hourglass shape (rather than a basketball shape). For everyday, it’s fine if Shannon’s tops are slightly longer than her jacket, but only SLIGHTLY, like an inch or two. No long tunics under short jackets. Just no.

Girls with a little extra around the middle should avoid anything that is cut very slim through the body, as well as wrap tops and belts, both of which will draw the eye to the mid section. Tops should hit either at or slightly below the hip. Anything shorter will, again, make the midsection the focus of attention. Turtlenecks are probably not the best look for Shannon; she would do better with a crewneck sweater in the winter.

Finally, Shannon wants to make sure that her pants and skirts fit properly through the stomach. Any extra muffin top will only make her more self-conscious about her stomach.


5 responses to “No Muumuus. Ever.

  1. What about those of us who are also a little more, shall we say, well endowed on top? I love how the empire waist things look, but I can never quite fit my cup runneth overs in them.

  2. “Cups runneth over” is funny.

    Keep looking. Try plus or women’s sizes; you may have better luck finding tops that fit through the top. If plus sizes fit through the chest but NOT the waist, take them to a tailor. You can have a great blouse taken in at the waist very inexpensively, and it will look better than wearing something that is either too small across the bust or too big across the middle.

    Remember that clothes are cut to fit AVERAGE figures; if yours is at all unusual (and face it, whose isn’t?) tailoring is your best bet.

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is all wonderful advice!

    About a year ago, I went to Victoria’s Secret for my first-ever bra fitting (sad, I know). Turns out my boobs are bigger than I thought (Yes!) and I’ve been wearing the completely wrong bra for me. I’ve been buying the IPEX without underwires since then and I loooove them. They are so comfortable but they still make the girls look great.

    I’ve been wearing turtleneck sweathers and wrap shirts for years, so it’s good to know these are both no-nos. I’ve also had a fear of empire waists because I thought they might look too much like maternity wear.

    I recently went to Banana Republic and told a saleswoman my flabby-abby woes. A mother herself, she was very empathetic and spent a good deal of time telling me what I should avoid (many of the same items you mentioned) and what I should wear. She highly recommends layering with an undershirt that contains mucho spandex as it will suck in lots of fat. She hooked me up with three of the suckers from the clearance rack ($2.99 each!), and they really do work.

    I got a BR gift card for Christmas, so now I’m heading back there armed with your tips. For once it should be a fun shopping experience! Thanks again!

    P.S. Have you gotten hit by the ice storm yet? Yikes!

  4. Geez, I didn’t realize I had written a freakin’ novel! Sorry for being so wordy!

  5. Shannon, I was at Banana Republic yesterday and I thought of you! Gap also has some great peasanty style tops for spring; look there as well.

    The spandex undershirt is BRILLIANT! I’m sorry I didn’t think of that. Dammit. I mean, good for the saleswoman! Yes.

    I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to wear the RIGHT size bra, particularly if you are well-endowed. Get fitted, all of you!

    That is all.

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