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how to hide back fat in a dress

Whether you’re dressing up for a night out or getting ready for a wedding, you want to feel confident, beautiful, and even sexy in what you are wearing. Unfortunately, our thoughts about our bodies and the very normal flaws that come along with them can sabotage the way we feel about how we look.

While I’ll always say that women (and men) should accept and love their bodies as they are, there’s no denying that sometimes, we need a little extra help to feel our most confident.

So, how do you hide back fat in a dress?

You can hide back fat in a dress by using shapewear, contour tape, or a full-coverage bra to smooth bulges. Choosing a dress shape that fits your body well and opting for stretchier fabrics can also help. Finally, be sure that your bra, dress, and any shapewear you are wearing is appropriately sized. 

Below, we’ll take a closer look at how to hide back fat in a dress, even strapless and backless dresses. These tips will have you feeling incredibly confident, regardless of the occasion.

How to Hide Back Fat in a Dress

For most of us, back fat is caused by some combination of our weight and the way our body carries it. In an estimated 40-70% of cases, genetics may even play a role.

That being said, when you put on a dress, there are some things that you can do that make it more or less likely that your back fat is noticeable. Here are a few ways to reduce the appearance of back fat.

Be Sure the Dress Fits

With dress sizes typically coming in even numbers, sometimes you fall in-between sizes and a dress doesn’t fit as well as it should. The problem with this is that if your dress is too tight, it digs into the skin and creates bulge. Even a  too-loose dress can push skin around instead of holding it in place.

In addition to the sizing, the material of the dress changes whether or not you can see back fat under or around it. Stretchier materials are more forgiving and will conform to your body, while more rigid materials push fat around and create unflattering lumps.

Wear the Right Size and Type of Bra

Anything you put underneath your dress also affects how well it is going to fit you. One of the challenges with dresses is finding a bra that provides support without being visible, particularly if you have bigger breasts or if the cut of the dress won’t work with a traditional bra.

When the design of the dress does allow it, consider wearing a full-coverage bra. Bras with more coverage are going to have a smoothing effect on your backside, particularly if they’re made from stretchy but firm materials that hold everything in place.

Even when full coverage isn’t an option, however, your bra still matters. A bra that is too tight or fits poorly is going to dig into your back and any loose skin, making the appearance of back fat considerably worse. It could even create bulges in areas there wasn’t fat to begin with.

While you do want your bra to be snug, you don’t want it to squeeze your skin and create extra rolls. As a general rule, you want to be able to put at least two fingers underneath the band at the bottom of your bra to avoid it being too tight.

A bra that is too loose also creates bulge, simply because it moves around and doesn’t hold anything in place. Avoid baggy, oversized bras, and throw out your worn-out bras to prevent this issue.

Consider Shapewear

Shapewear is something else that can really transform your look. Not only does it smooth trouble areas, but some types of shapewear even accentuate your waist, hips, and butt so you look your best.

Sizing is one of the most important factors with shapewear. While you want it to be snug, you do not want it so tight that it digs into the skin and creates bulge, just like a pair of elastic waist jeans that are too tight or a belt that is improperly worn.

How to Find Shapewear for a Dress

One of the great things about shapewear is that it comes in all shapes, sizes, and styles. This lets you control which areas you want to be shaped and also gives you a lot of different styles that will stay hidden under your dress.

As someone whose worn shapewear a few times, I can tell you there are a few things you want to look for. First, while shapewear should be firm enough to hold everything in place, it needs to have enough stretch that you can get it up over your body.

Second, this is another one of those situations where having the right size of shapewear is really everything. Know your measurements before shopping. Even in the store, manufacturers usually have size charts printed on the packaging for shapewear because of the way that it hugs the body.

Third, you really want to go with shapewear made from a material that breathes. This is especially important because it’s essentially a second layer of clothing. Plus, people who are fat tend to sweat more.

Finally, be sure that you look for shapewear that is going to stay in place. For some sets, you’ll find a little strip of rubber or silicone around the top of the shapewear or where it goes around your thigh.

If you can’t find shapewear that has this, then fashion tape is something that will help a lot. Fashion tape is double-sided tape that you can apply to help hold things in place- you can even use it to stop your underwear from rolling down.

How to Hide Back Fat in a Backless Dress

As a plus-size woman myself, the backless dress does pose a few challenges. Back fat is one of them, but there is also the problem of getting your breasts to stay in place when a conventional bra isn’t really an option. Here are a few solutions.

Use Contour Tape

Something that solves both these problems is boob tape or contour tape. This is skin-safe tape that you can use to stretch, pull, and position your skin. Even if you use a backless bra, the tape will give extra support so you don’t have to worry as much about your breasts falling out of place.

To apply the tape, position it under your dress and pull the skin forward toward your ribs until your back is smooth. You’ll want to apply tape on both sides and will probably need more than one strip.

It is possible to apply the tape yourself in the mirror. However, I find it’s a lot easier to have a close friend or even your partner give you hand.

Cover Your Back Up

Sweaters, shawls, jackets, and other clothing that covers the shoulders but is open in the front are a great way to cover up areas you are most sensitive about. This means that you don’t always have to worry about putting on shapewear or choosing a different dress.

If you do choose this route, you’ll want to be aware of the weather before you decide to wear a jacket. Wearing a shawl is better for warmer weather, however, a jacket has the advantage of not sliding around as much. It also really depends on how formal the situation is and if a jacket or shawl would be more appropriate.

How to Hide Back Fat in a Wedding Dress

Your wedding is a day where you want to look and feel as beautiful as that moment when you say, “I do.” Sometimes, even when you spend months leading up to your special day working out and trying to eat right, you don’t always reach your goal weight.

Despite this, your wedding day is all about you and how beautiful you look. Five, ten, even fifty extra pounds isn’t going to change how beautiful you look or that special moment when you get to share that love with your partner in front of all your friends and family.

That being said, there are several things that you can try to give you that extra boost of confidence in your wedding dress, regardless of your size. Let’s take a look.

Don’t Squeeze into Your Dress

I’ve already mentioned this, but the size of your dress and undergarments plays a huge role in the way that it fits your body. Smaller is not always better, especially when it comes to your wedding dress.

If you have spent a while planning your wedding, then schedule with your seamstress or whoever you have making alterations to try on your wedding dress at least a week or two before the big day. For the most accurate fit, bring along the same shapewear or bra that you plan on wearing for the wedding.

Having a wedding dress that really fits perfectly stops it from sliding up or down, so there’s no being uncomfortable or having to put things back in place. After all, your focus should be on enjoying your big day rather than how uncomfortable you feel in your dress.

Consider Using Shapewear or Contour Tape

I’ve already mentioned this, so I’ll keep it brief here. But, shapewear or contour tape really can transform how smooth your skin looks under your dress.

There is nothing wrong with using shapewear or contour tape to perfect your look, whether you are going out with friends or getting ready for your wedding day.

Using these hacks isn’t “cheating” and it doesn’t mean that you love and accept your body any less. What it does mean is that you want to look your best and feel confident. At the end of the day, there’s really nothing wrong with that!

Pair Your Dress with a Shawl

For myself, shawls are something that I love for certain cuts of dresses. While I’m not as sensitive about my back fat (particularly while wearing shapewear), I do struggle with the fat on my arms.

The right shawl will hide arm fat and back fat without sacrificing the overall look of the dress. It also means you don’t have to compromise on certain styles of dresses because of the areas of your body you are sensitive about.

While shawls are a great option, keep in mind that you’ll likely be moving around quite a bit at the reception, particularly out on the dance floor. They don’t always stay in place. However, you can pin the shawl in place, or you can opt to change into a second dress for the reception.

Another alternative is going with a veil that is longer in the back. If you opt for this as a way to hide back fat, then you’ll want to choose something that is more opaque in the back instead of being translucent.

How to Hide Back Fat in a Strapless Wedding Dress

When it comes to strapless wedding dresses, the area where you’re most likely to notice back fat is at the top of the dress, where it comes across the back beneath your armpits. This can be even more pronounced if your dress is too tight here, however, it’s easy to opt for this if you are worried about the dress sliding down.

With that being said, the better alternative is to go with a dress that has at least a little give at the top. If you’re having problems with the dress sliding down, use fashion tape to secure it in place.

They do make shapewear that works under a strapless dress. Like with the actual dress, you want to avoid a size that’s too tight if it’s going to pinch your skin or squeeze extra back fat in a way that makes it visible over the top of or even through your dress.

You can also use contour tape to help you hide back fat in a strapless wedding dress. Stretch the skin until it’s smooth and apply contour tape wherever it’s needed. For a strapless dress, you can try pulling to the side and taping on the rib cage, or you can even pull fat down and tape it under the back of your dress.

Final Word

Wanting to hide back fat or other areas you are sensitive about doesn’t mean that you are ashamed of your body, but it does mean that you are trying to look as confident as you feel.

Choosing the right size dress and undergarments helps prevent back fat and bulge under your clothing. You can also use shapewear or contour tape to help smooth the area.

Hopefully, these tips on how to hide back fat in a dress will inspire confidence and have you looking great for any occasion.

Camila R.

Camila is a body positive blogger and fat activist that's focused on helping people of all sizes live life big! That means accepting yourself at any size and just enjoying life! She lives in New Mexico with her husband and two chihauhuas.

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