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Answer Angel: Styles to conceal extra weight around the waist

By Ellen Warren, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I'm 65 and have midriff bulge. I'm 5 feet, 3 inches tall and I'm so frustrated with T-shirts and tops that show my middle when I'm wearing them. I need to find better jeans that hide it also. Any suggestions besides losing weight!?

- Jane T.

Dear Jane: So many of us carry our extra weight around our middles. And even diet and exercise aren't very successful in making the bulge disappear. It's Mother Nature. And aging doesn't help, either. Fortunately, low-rise jeans are fading in popularity since they're nothing but muffin top enhancers, and who needs that? High-waisted jeans are much more flattering and, finally, they're back in style and easy to find in stores and online. Stick with fabric that has a little stretch, especially at the waist. As for tops ... sure T-shirts are comfortable, but the clingy fabric is not your friend. No-iron cotton shirts untucked are a much more forgiving look, and iron-free fabrics have gotten much better, especially if you get them out of the washer as soon as the cycle stops and hang dry. My go-tos are made by Foxcroft ( but they're pricey ($79 and up) so I buy them gently used for under $20 on eBay and sometimes even get lucky at a thrift store for a few dollars apiece. A tunic top to mid-thigh (or even longer since you're short) would also be a great look, and worn with a cropped jacket would give some shape to your silhouette. has some additional tips that you'll find helpful here:

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: My job isn't suited to working from home - I still have to go into the office every day. The dress code is kind of nonexistent and pretty casual, but I wonder is it appropriate to wear a racerback shirt to the office? I worry that it may not look professional because my bra straps are showing. Also, are there any types of bra/bralette that would work with a racerback shirt?

- Mary P.

Dear Mary: I'm going to have to take you word for it that racerback tops are acceptable at your workplace even though they seem a little too skimpy and sporty to me. You're right to be self-conscious about wearing a traditional bra where, inevitably, your bra straps will show with the racerback. Showing your bra is not - as you suspect - a professional look, even though I've seen plenty of women, especially as the weather warms up, who adopt the show-the-bra-straps as a fashion statement.

There are plenty of bras and bralettes (underwire-free bras worn for comfort, not support) now available with either convertible straps or specially designed expressly for racerback tops. Maidenform, Wacoal, Warner's, Spanx, Calvin Klein and DKNY all make them, as do others. There are also clips designed to transform a regular bra into a racerback for just this purpose for under $10, from an array of vendors on,, and more.

And one more thing to consider: a strapless bra. I've never found one that doesn't slip to around my waist with the slightest movement, but reader Elizabeth B. raves about one she found at for $16.99 which she swears stays put. It's made by Auden ( also carries them). It is the "lightly lined strapless bra" (plain, no lace).


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