A reader recently asked me on Twitter, “Jessica, how do I camouflage my #endobelly? I’ve gained a lot of weight.” I don’t have endometriosis but I have taken meds for polycystic ovarian syndrome. More notably, I gained twelve dress sizes from being on Prednisone (and other meds) for Myasthenia Gravis between 2008 and 2010. A long time ago, I gained a couple sizes from meds for bipolar disorder. Indeed, illness and treatments can change a person’s appearance in both the face and body. The aesthetic changes (and insults) can add to the emotional toll of illness as I previously blogged about in “4 Tips for Casting Off-Self Hate & Loving Your Body More.”
5 Tips for Camouflaging a Tummy:
1. Pick Solids Over Prints: As you can see in my 3-part picture, I looked like a human Tootsie Roll in my brown and white floral dress. I thought I looked great when I bought it but the camera adds a lot of weight when you’re on Prednisone. A lot. Prints are always a gamble even when they’re not horizontal stripes. I wore the green dress to a wedding a couple weeks after the floral dress; I was the same exact size. But I looked great in the green dress! Green is my color (see my post on finding your “go-to-color.”)
2. Accessorize Well: Belts or anything that cinches in the waist (see my brown dress with sequins on the waist) are flattering. They create an hour-glass figure. Also, sequins that draw attention to the face (away from the tummy or thighs where many people’s Prednisone-induced weight gain is concentrated) are flattering. See the green dress. Third, dangling earrings also elongate the face as medications like Prednisone tend to make the face look wider.
3. Pick the Right Hairdos & Makeup: As mentioned above, Prednisone and other steroids tend to make the face wider and puffier. I look much better in the right picture of the brown dress as opposed to the left. Both pictures were taken at weddings two weeks apart. Even though I was wearing the same dress, the hair and makeup made a big difference. Curly hair and updos aren’t as flattering on meds. The straight hair on the right made my cheeks less look puffy. Also bolder lipstick shades (think reds, darker pinks) are more flattering than nudes or lighter shades (baby pinks, barely there corals). Bolder lipsticks add definition to the cheekbones. Additionally, as I blogged about before (at the end of the article), strategically applying bronzer sculpts the cheekbones.
4. Pants – Find The Widest Part of Your Body: As I blogged about in “6 Tips: How to Find Jeans When You’re Gaining Weight,” when picking out pants, it’s important to first figure out the widest part of your body. According to fitness guru, Tracy Anderson, there are four different body types: abcentric, glutecentric, hip centric, and omnicentric. To find your type, you can take her quiz here. I am abcentric so most of my cellulite goes to my tummy. This is why I always look for jeans that start a few inches above my belly button. I avoid pants that are tight in the tummy area. Similarly, if you carry your weight in your hips, you want to make sure that pants are roomy in the hips. In the middle picture, I’m wearing a blue jacket that floats over the tummy with black pants that are roomy in the tummy area. Black leggings with black shoes (flats or wedges) are comfortable and slimming. The monochromatic combination creates a nice silhouette.
5. Try Tent Dresses & Peasant Tops: If you’re conscious about a midsection, avoid form-fitting dresses and blouses. They can be very uncomfortable. My green dress is a tent dress that floated away from the body unlike the Tootsie Roll shift dress. This is an example of a “peasant top” from Target ($24.99). This orange top has dainty cap sleeves and floats away from the body.
Of course, none of the above rules are written in stone. Often, we have to be patient with ourselves (blame the blouse; not yourself) and experiment to find what works.
–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno