How to Hide Bingo Wings

Our Best Tips to Disguise Flabby Upper Arms

Hide flabby upper arms with fashion tricks. Getty Images

If you’ve never heard the term before, Bingo Wings are the name given to those jiggly areas of fat and extra skin under the arm that we all seem to develop as we age. (Yes, we all get them.) Funny name. Not-so-funny problem. They can make even confident gals feel self-conscious about sleeveless and short-sleeve clothing.

I know of women who refuse to wear sleeveless because of their "Bingo Wings," which seems like a terrible price to pay just because you don’t have biceps of steel like Madonna. Exercise and diet can help tone and shape the problem areas, but there are also plenty of fashion tricks you can use to hide them as well.

Here are some ways to dress around Bingo Wings and minimize their appearance: 

  • Don’t wear cap sleeves. You might think cap-sleeve tops or dresses are a better alternative than sleeveless, but they hit you right at the part of the arm that is the widest, and simply make your arms look heavier. A better alternative is to go with an elbow-length top or even bracelet-length.
  • Do wear cutaway shoulders. If you are going to wear sleeveless, make sure the armholes are cut away to show a substantial amount of shoulder. Your arms will look longer and sleeker with more shoulder showing. You can also try cold-shoulder looks that expose your shoulders, but still have sleeves to hide under-the-arm heaviness.
  • Don’t wear puffed sleeves. If you wear short sleeves, sometimes the Bingo Wings can still show so that last thing you want to do is draw attention to them with more volume like puffy sleeves (which aren’t the best look on older women anyway.)
  • Do wear off-the-shoulder tops. I get around Bingo Wings by wearing long-sleeve or short-sleeve tops that are off the shoulder on at least one side. I get the benefit of showing a little skin in a lean part of my body (every woman has sexy shoulders) plus I can hide underarm jiggle.
  • Don’t wear elastic or cuffed short sleeves. Tightness around a heavier area only accentuates the problem. If you do opt for short sleeves, make sure there is plenty of “give” to your top or it has a wider opening.
  • Do try illusion tops. Another way to disguise extra weight under the upper arm is to opt for illusion fabric, which is a sheer net or mesh look.
  • Don’t wear tight knits. The tighter the bodice and sleeves are, the more apparent the heavy arms are. Look for knits that are forgiving and flowing instead.
  • Do draw the eye away. Focus the eye away from Bingo Wings by wearing an alluring neckline, an oversized bow or striking jewelry to be the focus of attention,
  • Don’t skip bracelets. One of my tricks for carrying off short-sleeve tops with less-than-perfect arms: piles of bracelets. It’s amazing how this can draw attention to your wrists (and who doesn’t have great wrists?) instead of up to the flabby arms.
  • Do try a spray tan. My BFF swears that tanned fat looks thinner than pale fat. So if you have warm weather activities and want to don the sleeveless look, at least be golden from a spray tan.

Remember: Don’t skip a look you love because of Bingo Wings. Although I’m a big proponent of always looking your best, sometimes there’s an outfit, color or look you just absolutely love and feel radiant in, despite the fact that your body isn’t perfect. Any you know what? That's all that counts. Rock the looks, the colors and the styles that make you feel beautiful and confident, and others will agree.