What Is a Tunic & How to Wear a Tunic

What Is a Tunic?

Knowing what a tunic is can help you make your wardrobe the best it can be. Tunics are long tops that usually fall past the hips to provide plenty of coverage. They come in a variety of styles for every season, and they’re available in sizes to fit every body.

How to Wear a Tunic

The right way to wear a tunic depends on multiple factors. There’s really no wrong way to wear a tunic, but there are some guidelines you can follow to make choosing an outfit simpler. First, consider the occasion—it is casual or dressy? A casual event calls for a classic crewneck or scoop-neck tunic in a light, breezy fabric such as Supima cotton. For a dressy occasion, look for a silky cotton/modal blend tunic with a split neckline or keyhole neck. 

These are just a few ideas for choosing a tunic style. When shopping for tunic tops or women's tunic sweaters, you’ll find lots of different styles from which to choose. So, whether you like a V-neck, turtleneck, or one of the aforementioned styles, there are ample options to consider.

Choosing a Tunic According to Body Type

Another consideration when shopping for a tunic is your body type. This type of top works for every figure—especially when you choose a tunic in a style that flatters your body type. Here are some tips for enhancing your shape:

Apple Shape

If you have an apple shape, your shoulders, bust, and waist likely have similar measurements. You may also have a round body with a large bust. To flatter the apple-shaped figure, choose a tunic that falls past the hips to elongate your body. Wrap-style tunics accentuate the waistline, while V-neck styles help break up the rounded look of an apple shape.

Hourglass Shape

The classic hourglass shape has bust and hip measurements that are larger than the waist. To accentuate this body type, choose a fitted tunic with a touch of spandex in the fabric. Ribbed sweater tunics are one option to consider, especially for the fall and winter. When it comes to the neckline, hourglass shapes can wear anything from turtlenecks to V-neck or scoop-neck styles.

Rectangular Shape

To add curves to a rectangle-shaped frame, you can try the same tunic styles that work for the apple shape. A wrap-style tunic helps create the look of a cinched waistline; a V-neck can also work well for the rectangle body type. Tunics with a swingy look or details such as lace or fringe can also help accentuate a rectangle figure.

Petite

Petite body types should choose a tunic in a petite size to ensure it’s the right length. If you’re petite and you choose a regular size, you may find that your tunic is too long. For petites who want plenty of coverage, there are billowy button-down tunics. Pullover styles are also an option for petites. To look taller, keep your tunic and bottoms in the same color family for a streamlined look. Turtleneck tunics can also help create the illusion of height.

Best Fabrics for Tunic Tops

Tunic tops come in an array of fabric choices. One of the most versatile and stylish fabrics is Supima cotton, which is prized for its long-staple fiber. Supima cotton is sturdy, so it withstands plenty of wear. It’s also colorfast for lasting vibrancy, and it gets softer with every trip through your washing machine.

Cotton blends are also good fabric choices when it comes to tunic tops. Cotton/modal blends are a semi-dressy option with a smooth, silky look and feel. There are also cotton/polyester blends, which are soft and durable. Cotton flannel tunics are a cozy choice that you’ll love for winter; many are brushed on both sides for the softest feel. Polyester is another top fabric choice when shopping for a tunic. You’ll find polyester chenille and of course, fleece. Both of these tunic types are great for casual days, whether you’re lounging around the house or running errands. When it comes to warmth and coziness, fleece and chenille are must-have fabrics.

A touch of spandex in cotton, polyester, and cotton/polyester blends imparts a hint of stretch to the fabric. For example, there are tunics crafted from 62% polyester, 36% cotton, and 2% spandex. The result is a soft, strong garment that lets you move freely and holds its shape after repeated washings. Viscose is yet another option, especially when you’re looking for a tunic with a silky texture and semi-dressy look. This material is partially synthetic, as it’s derived from wood pulp. You may have heard viscose referred to as artificial silk, due to its similar look and feel.

Tunic Colors and Prints

There’s a rainbow of tunic colors from which to choose. You’ll find something to complement your women's jeans, chinos, shorts, and skirts—no matter what color they are. If you have bottoms with a print, pair them with a solid tunic for a coordinated look.

White is a classic choice for any type of top. You don’t have to wait until a certain season to wear a white tunic—even if it’s after Labor Day. Put together a winning winter look with a snow-white tunic and your favorite jeggings and boots. Or go for a universally flattering black tunic with any kind of bottoms—a black top literally pairs well with anything.

Another versatile color is gray. A gray tunic can look casual or dressy depending on what style you choose and how you wear it. Then there’s blue—a color that can look understated or bold depending on the hue you choose. For example, robin’s egg blue and sky blue have a soft look, while cobalt and royal blue are rich and vibrant.

Speaking of vibrant colors, there’s always red. A red tunic is a definite attention-getter, and it’s a festive option for the holiday season. In spring and summer, go for a variation on classic red with a sizzling coral shade or a salmon pink. Yellow is another warm-weather color that adds a cheery touch to your look. A yellow tunic with white capri pants is a summery outfit that can take you from day to night.

In addition to a wide range of solid colors, there are also plenty of prints from which to choose. Stripes are always stylish and come in different styles. You’ll find wide striped tunics and those with pinstripes. Polka dots are also a popular print when it comes to women’s tunic tops. If you want a tunic with a laid-back look, consider a colorful tie-dye print. Paisley is an option for dressy occasions—you could pair a paisley tunic top with a pair of flat-front slacks for a look that’s appropriate for the office or dinner after work. Having solid-color and print tunics in your closet ensures you’ll always have something to wear, whether you’re headed out for a casual day or going somewhere dressy.

What Do You Wear with a Tunic?

There are all kinds of bottoms and skirts that can be worn with tunics. You can also layer tunics under other tops, such as sweaters and flannel shirts. Here are some ideas for what to wear with tunic tops:

Jeans: Women’s jeans are always stylish with tunic tops. There are plenty of jean styles to consider, including straight-leg jeans and high rise jeans. Skinny jeans are especially popular for wearing with tunics because they help balance the loose-fitting look of this top style.

Leggings and Jeggings: You can also wear leggings or jeggings with tunic tops. These pant styles are similar, as they both have plenty of stretch for all-day comfort. The difference is that jeggings have a denim finish and look like skinny jeans, without the buttons, zippers, or pocket styling.

Skirts:mid-length skirt is an excellent accompaniment to a tunic top or sweater. You can also pair a tunic with a maxi skirt for a flowy look.

Skorts and Capris: Tunics can be worn with skorts in the spring and summer, which provide the comfort of shorts with the look of a skirt. Capri pants are also great for wearing with tunics in the warmer months. These bottoms come in various styles and colors to complement any tunic in your closet.

In short, you can wear a tunic top with any type of bottoms. That’s what’s so great about this shirt style—it literally goes with everything and comes in a wide range of styles.

Other Tunic Tips

There are a few more tips that can help you look your best when wearing a tunic. To make sure you choose the right size, measure your bust and waist, and compare your measurements to the size chart when shopping. Another tip is to follow the care instructions on the label when laundering your tunic tops to make sure they’re washed and dried properly. Using the gentle cycle on your machine or even hand-washing your tunics can help them last longer.

Shop the selection of tunic tops at Lands’ End to find plenty of stylish options for your wardrobe. There’s also all the other apparel pieces you need, including jeans, sweaters, women's loungewear and outerwear for all seasons.

Related Articles