What to Wear When You’re Dealing with Period Bloat

If you experience bloating before or during your period, you’re not alone. Many people who menstruate report that their stomachs tend to feel heavy or enlarged a day or two before they start their periods, or through the first 1-2 days of menstruation. Most research suggests that bloating is caused by changing levels of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, which are naturally higher during your period. Rising hormone levels make the body retain water and salt, and this increased water retention in turn causes bloating.

Bloating is often just one of many symptoms that can make your monthly cycle physically uncomfortable. It might also take a toll on your self-esteem during this time. After all, you probably won’t think you look great with your stomach all swollen and sticking out, and you likely won’t feel good either. Luckily, the right clothes can help direct attention away from your midsection and keep you comfy when you’re dealing with period bloat.

The key to dressing around period bloat is to prioritize comfortable items that won’t constrict your waist and highlight your belly. You’ll want to avoid most form-fitting dresses and skirts, skinny jeans, leather pieces, and other items of clothing that don’t have a lot of stretch. Loose, relaxed clothes in soft and breathable fabrics will not only look cute, but may also help minimize any discomfort you might be feeling from bloating and other period symptoms.

Here are just a few stylish and sensible items that you can wear to beat the bloat:


Leggings are one of the easiest items to just pull on at times that you’re not feeling 100%, and being on your period is no exception. Even though they do tend to hug the waistline, most casual leggings are designed to be comfortable and relaxing to wear. Shop leggings in dark colors and soft and stretchy fabrics, and they’ll likely become some of your go-to bottoms for period days.

Another perk of leggings is that they’re easy to style for a variety of occasions and situations. If you’ll just be lounging around and resting at home, simply throw on an oversized sweatshirt or T-shirt over your leggings and call it a day. If you have to be out and about, combining your leggings with a minidress, tunic top, or oversized sweater and some simple accessories can give you a more polished look without emphasizing your bloat.

Loose-Fitting Dresses

Lightweight, unstructured dresses are going to be your best friend on bloated days. Not only do they save you the hassle of having to coordinate separates, but they’re ultra-breezy and comfortable too. Loose smocks or shift dresses that hit just above the knee, for example, are guaranteed to be flattering on almost any body type. Empire-cut dresses and billowy tent dresses are also great choices for one-and-done outfits that will hide a bloated belly. 

The ever-dependable T-shirt dress is another good option, but be sure to pay attention to the fit. Some T-shirt dresses are cut close to the body for a more fitted look, which may not look or feel the best when you have to contend with bloating. Opt instead for a roomier T-shirt dress that doesn’t hug your waist and hips. On colder days, you might also want to switch your T-shirt dresses out for baggy sweater dresses instead.

Big Button-Up Shirts

Rocking an oversized button-up shirt or another kind of loose blouse can make you look sophisticated and stylish while also covering up your bloat. Skip over very structured, tailored pieces for now in favor of more relaxed silhouettes and slouchy fabrics. Men’s dress shirts are perfect for this purpose, so feel free to steal a couple from a family member or significant other to add to your wardrobe. You may even want to purchase some menswear of your own.

Oversized Layering Pieces

There’s a reason layering up is one of the most enduring fashion tips out there. Dressing in layers helps keep your style flexible and makes even the most neutral outfits more interesting. Layering also helps you carry a particular ensemble through a variety of contexts and situations, as you can add or subtract layers throughout the day as you need to. 

When you’re on your period, layering can help you cover up your bloated stomach while still making it look like you put some thought into your outfit for the day. Large cardigans or jackets are perfect for pulling off a laid-back, casual vibe. If it’s a classier, more put-together look you’re going for, oversized blazers are your best bet.

High-Waisted Skirts

A good high-waisted skirt will go with most anything, so they’re a quick way to feel elegant and pretty without having to expend huge amounts of effort. Most high-waisted skirts will also sit comfortably just above the bloated part of your stomach and hide it with ease. 

When it comes to choosing the right skirts to wear on your period, pieces with drawstring or elastic waistbands are ideal. That way, you won’t have to worry about having to pop a zipper open in the middle of the day because your skirt was squeezing your waist. Fun, flirty details like ruffles or pleats also help keep your outfit interesting while simultaneously drawing attention away from your stomach. 

Drawstring Shorts

When it’s that time of the month, the last thing you want to do is spend precious time and energy wrestling with buttons and zippers. Being on your period gives you the right to prioritize your own comfort above all else, so if all you want to wear is a T-shirt and a pair of drawstring shorts for those few days, go for it. The best part is that many brands make drawstring shorts in pretty much any fabric these days, from fleece to denim to linen, so you’ll truly find yourself spoilt for choice.

At the end of the day, it’s totally normal to bloat while on your period. And while bloating can definitely be bothersome, there’s no reason it should stop you from looking and feeling your best. Just put on an outfit you love, and it’ll lift your confidence and mood in no time.

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