Fashion Q & A:
Hiding a Thickening Waist Line

Q: My waist line is thicker than ever! Even though I weigh only a few pounds more than as I did last year, many of the tops and sweaters I used to love wearing this time of year now seem to be calling unflattering attention to my bulges. Do I have to get rid of all of my tops to avoid this new figure challenge or are there some tricks to wearing them in a more flattering way?

A: We feel your pain! As we age, our bodies change in many different ways. Thickening waist lines are where many of us see it first. While you might want to shop for some tops that provide a looser fit (Eileen Fisher, Chicos and JJill are brands that come to mind that offer a relaxed fit for a variety of sizes), here are some of our best tricks to make what you already have look better:

Get Fitted. If you have not been fitted for a new bra in a while, make it a point to do so. You can literally take 5-10 pounds off your mid-section with the proper support and lift, especially if you are short-waisted which many thick-waisted women are. If your mid-section weight gain is not too dramatic (and it does not sound like yours is), new bras should also shift the fit of the tops in a more flattering way.

Camisoles Work Wonders. While you are in the underwear department, ask your fitter to educate you about what’s new in shape wear. Every brand under the sun now offers camisoles and other liners that are geared towards slimming the middle. Some women don’t mind extra support. The Spanx brand is known for this type of foundation. Others find these enhanced products to be too uncomfortable and restrictive. We find even a slim camisole with a small percentage of lyrca or spandex can smooth you out, especially when paired with the right bra.

To tuck or not to tuck. If you are currently tucking your tops in, untuck them and pair them with a boot-cut pant or skirt with a slight flare at the knee to instantly relax your look and call attention away from your middle. Your torso will look longer and thinner — promise! If you’d like a little more waist definition, try some big, bold belts with this type of look. If they are wide enough, belts can often provide coverage for unwanted weight gain while adding style.

Camouflage by Layering. Jackets, sweaters, vests and other layering pieces are great for hiding waist weight. Long scarves draped loosely over tops that are tight can hide a bulging mid-section beautifully and are very much is style right now.

The Magic of Dark Tops. Finally, many of your darker tops are probably concealing your mid-section weight better than you think. Light-colored tops obviously draw more attention to all parts of your upper body, especially the mid-section. You can probably retire many of these for good. Even if your darker tops feel "clingy" — chances are, no one else will notice!