It's terrible to hear "When are you due" if there's no baby on the way. Billowy blouses invite that because they magnify the problem area; same goes for the opposite extreme—stretchy, tummy hugging tees. You need tops that are shaped but not tight. Other smart strategies:
- Upper-body enhancers like cap sleeves, open or vee necklines.
- Shorter hems on fitted tops—just to the base of the stomach. You might think a longer top hides all, but (sorry to be so graphic) you'll look like a snake that's just swallowed its prey.
- Curvy tops or jackets that flare out under a nipped waist.
- Buttonless or wrap styles (shirts and cardigans are tricky because buttons may gap over your abdomen).
The right pants are crucial, too: Try a slimming pair of Lee Jeans' Instantly Slims You jeans or trousers with a supportive mesh front panel.
Above: The long tie draws the eye down and away from the midsection. (Dana Buchman, $275)