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How to Wear a Tunic, No Matter Your Body Shape

Posted by on May 16, 2013

pin it button How to Wear a Tunic, No Matter Your Body Shape

Tunics are one of the most versatile wardrobe pieces you can own, especially in warmer months. With the variety of different lengths and fits available, here is a quick tutorial on how to wear each tunic to flatter you the most:


StyleBlueprint Quick Guide Tunics How to Wear a Tunic, No Matter Your Body Shape

1535 How to Wear a Tunic, No Matter Your Body Shape

This tunic dress by Kayce Hughes works well for many figures, as its ‘A Line’ shape conceals larger below-the-waist figures (pear), but the fitted waist adds shape to a straight figure and the cut neckline works for a busty figure, as well. If you are an “apple,” consider this dress but without the belt. $148. Click here.

**Remember, as with everything, a tailor is your best friend when it comes to tunics, as they many times need to be nipped in a bit or shortened to fit YOUR body, not the hanger!



If you are pear shaped, look for tunics with side vents (to prevent the tunic from clinging to thighs and rear), a slight taper at the waist and a nice wide neck opening to broaden your shoulders. Also, since your heaviest area is below the waist, make sure your tunic either falls above your widest area, or below, but not right at it. Consider pairing with a long chunky necklace to add more “bulk” to your top half in a flattering way.

casa kurta bahia purple 620x933 How to Wear a Tunic, No Matter Your Body Shape

I like this tunic for a pear shape, as it has nice side vents and the banding does not continue along the bottom of the tunic. The bright embroidery along the neckline widens the shoulders and takes your eye up, away from the bottom half of your body. Roberta Roller Rabbit, $95. Click here.


With an apple shape, avoid any kind of clingy top. We want to focus on your neckline and legs. Make sure your tunic is not too long and that it has a nice V-neck, which helps direct the attention up to your face! And, a smaller pattern and darker color does help the illusion that you are smaller on top. Remember, you want the focus UP, toward your face. Avoid a long chunky necklace with your tunic and instead, wear earrings or a shorter necklace.

TB 21131103 165 How to Wear a Tunic, No Matter Your Body Shape

Tory Burch always has a variety of tunics for sale and this one fits the bill for the length, and v neck, while at the same time not being clingy or too boxy. You may even be able to go shorter than this style here, and you may want to alter to show off your wrists. $275. Click here.



An hourglass figure looks better, ideally, in a more fitted tunic. That said, we all love a loose tunic, and you probably have a great figure. Just make sure that it fits properly and is not too big. For a more fitted look, however, this one from J. McLaughlin is really nice:

StyleBlueprint J McLaughlin Tunic How to Wear a Tunic, No Matter Your Body Shape

This is available in several colors at J. McLaughlin (and they have an entire category dedicated to tunics, btw). There is a touch of spandex to keep this cotton top in shape. $198. Click here.


Full Figure:

For the full figure, what you don’t want is to wear a shapeless tent. For this body shape, it’s all about the balance between tunics that are too clingy and too loose. Make sure your collar bone and wrists are visible, as these features are always slimming to show off. A smaller print is the way to go, as well. If you want to cover your bottom, make sure the tunic is long enough. Here is a great option from Lands End, but I am not a fan of the pockets. (Why are they there?) Luckily, most people won’t notice them! This shape, pattern and fit are all great.

StyleBlueprint Lands End Tunic May 17 2013 How to Wear a Tunic, No Matter Your Body Shape

Showing off your collarbone and wrists, while not wearing a tunic that is too large, is a great look for a fuller figure! Lands End, $64. Click here.


Rectangle Shape:

If you have a rectangle shape, I am about to say something that you may not like: I don’t think this body type looks good in most tunics. For a straight shape, you are trying to create curves and a normal ol’ tunic just doesn’t do that. That said, some exist. Just look for the tunic that buttons up and has a belt to create the illusion of a curve in at the waist:

TB 12132991 429 L 620x704 How to Wear a Tunic, No Matter Your Body Shape

This tunic from Tory Burch, the queen of tunics, fits the bill for the rectangular shaped figure. $225. Click here.



If you have a petite frame, be aware that many tunics are long. Make sure to purchase a shorter tunic and one that is not too “cute.” Empire waists can easily be a no-no, so it’s best to just pass them up altogether when it comes to tunics. You don’t want poufy sleeves or empire waists to make you look too “little girl.” A long tunic may make a great dress with or without a belt. Or, have the tunic shortened. Be on the lookout for shorter tunics like this one:

Tunic Petite Calypso StyleBlueprint 5 17 2013 How to Wear a Tunic, No Matter Your Body Shape

From Calypso St. Barth: $129. Click here.


Other tunic rules:

  • Pair a loose tunic with slender bottoms: straight or skinny jeans, not flared or baggy. A more fitted tunic can go nicely with a boot cut pant.
  • You can wear shorts with a tunic! Just make sure we can see those shorts beneath that tunic (i.e the shorts need to be longer than the hem of the tunic) and if you have great legs, this is a great way to show them off as shorter shorts with a loose tunic can be a great combination.
  • Adding a belt to a tunic can look great, but then forgo a necklace.
  • Billowy tunics can be held in by a shrunken jean jacket and/or a heavy necklace, or belt.
  • I’ve never seen a tunic look good with a skirt. If you want the look of a tunic with a skirt, just buy a tunic dress.
  • If you pair a long tunic with bermuda shorts, wear wedges, as you’ll need to visually add more height to your lower leg to balance the length of the tunic, plus the length of the shorts, all of which is happening above the knee.
  • A tunic is a classic style that is forgiving for many women to wear. Embrace it!


One more tunic:

This one by Claridge + King gets high marks, as the hem is curved for a flattering shape, the mandarin collar stands tall, the V-neck is not too deep or too shallow, the sleeves show off your wrists and it’s fitted just right, so as not to be a tent. Plus, the longer tail is nice. With two colors, stone and olive, this tunic pairs nicely with white jeans and will carry you from summer into fall.

Styleblueprint Claridge King Tunic How to Wear a Tunic, No Matter Your Body Shape

From Claridge + King. Tunic: $150. Click here.

 Have a great weekend!


pin it button How to Wear a Tunic, No Matter Your Body Shape