What is a Tunic Top: Long Live the Long Length Top
Tunics are a versatile and comfortable way to blend style and coverage in a top. This article of clothing, with origins in Ancient Greece or even further back, has evolved over time to become a mainstay for fashion tops. These basic garments come in different styles and can flatter many different body shapes. Let’s take a closer look at this versatile type of clothing and how to style a tunic.
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What Is a Tunic Top?
Tunic tops come in many different cuts, styles, and fabrics but are generally long tops that fall to the hips. Some long tunic styles can reach the top of the thigh, and a tunic dress may even fall to mid-thigh.
The fabric can range from the tunic shirt made of t-shirt material to cotton, linen, and even gauzy synthetic fibers.
Tunic vs. Blouse: What’s the Difference?
While both blouses and tunics are loose fitting, there are some differences. Blouses tend to be shorter tops, ending at the waist or above the hips. The hem of a tunic usually falls below the hips and can even extend down the thigh to the knee. Also, tunics are not usually gathered or cut to fit the waist closely, although some women like to style their tunic with a belt. Blouses are often made of flowing, synthetic materials, but tunics can be any material. In fact, a sweater tunic is a comfortable tunic style that works well in the winter.
Types of Tunic Tops
We’ve already mentioned a few tunic types, such as the tunic dress and tunic sweater, but the magic of the tunic is that there are so many styles. And there are even fitted tunics, although most are flowing and loose. Some popular tunic styles include:
- Kaftan tunics
- Long-short tunics
- Asymmetrical tunics
- Side-slit tunics
- Front-slit tunics
How Should a Tunic Fit?
Tunics can flatter every figure—the key is to find the right cut and style that works for your body. For example:
- If you have an hourglass shape: Ribbed and sweater tunics offer a bit of give and accentuate your curves.
- If you are petite: Look for petite size tunics to avoid being swallowed up by a too-long tunic.
- If you are apple-shaped: Try V neck tunics where the hem falls below your hips to help lengthen the look of the upper body.
- If you have a rectangular shape: V neck, wrap-style tunics or tunics fitted at the waist create balance and accentuate the waist.
How to Wear a Tunic Top
You can wear tunics in so many ways – you can pair them with womens jeans and other bottoms. Some great options include:
- A loose tunic over skinny jeans
- An asymmetrical tunic over shorts (make sure the shorts are longer than the high part of the tunic. We recommend 7 inch inseam shorts.)
- A kaftan tunic over tailored trousers
- A sweater tunic or tunic dress with leggings
Tons of shoes go great with tunics, from heels to flats. And mid-length skirts work best with tunic tops. If you plan on pairing your tunic with skinny jeans or jeggings, be sure to check out our article on the best shoes to wear with skinny jeans.
What Is a Tunic Dress?
A tunic dress is a longer tunic that you can wear with or without bottoms. Generally, tunic dresses fall to mid-thigh or lower. Just like other tunics, they come in an array of styles, materials, and patterns. Some look great with a belt or tie, while others are designed to float freely, with no gathering at the waist at all.
How to Wear a Tunic Dress
Tunic dresses can take you from casual days to nights out on the town. In addition, these fun and feminine tops are perfect in lightweight materials for the summer or heavier knits for winter. Check out these ideas for how to wear a tunic dress with leggings or alone:
- An A-line, three-quarter sleeve silk tunic with heels
- A knee-length, patterned tunic with black leggings and kitten-heeled sandals
- A side-slit tunic with some collar detail, with jeggings and flats
- A belted linen or t-shirt tunic with platform sneakers
- A tunic with detailing around the neck, with one side tucked into women’s jeans
How to Style Your Tunic
If you’ve had tunics on your wish list for a while but are hesitant to purchase them, it could be because you aren’t sure how to style them. Many think tunics aren’t for their body type or age, but this garment can work for everyone with the right styling. Here are some tips to help you make tunic shopping and wearing more successful:
- Choose tunics with detailing or patterns if you want to draw the eye upward. If you want to balance your look and are heavier below the waist, patterns, details, and a more elaborate neck design bring the eye upward.
- Accessories matter! Chunky necklaces also draw the eye up. Long necklaces can help lengthen the top half as well. A wrap-style tunic or adding a belt can draw attention to the waist and add curves.
- Sleeveless tunics can help balance you if you have broad shoulders, while half or three-quarter-sleeved tunics help your shoulders appear less narrow.
- If you want to balance the loose shape of your tunic and you are heavier on the bottom, try wearing it with a dark legging, jegging, or skinny jean.
- Shoes can dress your tunic up or down. If you’re worried a tunic will make your legs look short, opt for an ankle boot, heel, or platform sandal.
- Tunics of all kinds can transition with you into winter. Try to have your jacket or coat hit either at the waist or below the edge of the tunic. Also, heeled calf or knee-length boots with black leggings look fabulous on everyone.
Take a fresh look at your tunics, or consider adding a few tunics to your wardrobe rotation. You’ll enjoy the mix of comfort and style that tunics offer.