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Flattering styles: How to wear a tunic

Woman in black pants and white tunic with crochet collar

As we move into spring, it’s fun to transition to more airy and loose-fitting clothes after months of covering up in heavy fabrics from head to toe.

Tunics are a great style staple for women of any size, and they’re the perfect clothing item for embracing spring. Tunic tops are often comfortable, flattering and appropriate for various settings, such as wearing to the office, looking casually chic on weekends or staying comfortable on a plane. If you’re interested in incorporating some tunic-style tops into your wardrobe, take a look at these guidelines for buying and wearing the style:

Angel Crochet Tunic
Angel Crochet Tunic

Choose the right fit for your body
Tunics are known for being loose-fitting, and this breaks one of the fundamental style rules for plus-size women: Wear fitted clothes to slim down. While it’s true that some tunics can cover your curves and make your body look shapeless or boxy, tunics with the right cut can be very flattering, no matter your body shape. Here’s a guide for finding the right tunic for your body type:

  • Hourglass: Hourglass body shapes look great in many tunic styles, but it may be best to avoid tops with a lot of detailing, ruching or ruffling near the neckline, as they can make the upper body seem disproportionately large. To highlight a defined waistline, try belting the tunic around your middle.
  • Triangle: Triangle or pear body shapes, on the other hand, look great in tops with details and fabrics that draw the eye to the upper body, since they create the illusion of an hourglass figure. Women with triangle body shapes should avoid tunics that cling to their hips or rear, since these options can draw attention to wider areas of the body.
  • Oval: For women with a rounded or apple body shapes, tunics with scoop or V necks can elongate the neck and make the body look taller. Consider tunics with empire or natural waists that can create more definition.
  • Inverted triangle: Women with broad shoulders and narrow hips can get away with wearing tunics that fit closely to the body, but should also look for ones with empire waists. The way empire-waisted tops cinch just under the bust line is very flattering and can create a more proportionate appearance.

Look for flattering hemlines
When looking for tunics, there are a few universal guidelines that all women should keep in mind. For one, it’s important to avoid tunics that hit right at the widest part of your hips, since the harsh line they create can highlight the area and make it look larger. To avoid this, look for tunics with asymmetrical or rounded hemlines – even if they fall to your hips, they’ll create a softer hip-to-leg transition and won’t add weight.

Not Without Drama Tunic
Not Without Drama Tunic

How to wear your tunic tops
Try to avoid pairing tunics with wide-leg jeans and baggy trousers. Because tunics add volume to the upper body, it’s best to balance them out with slim-cut pants or leggings. Also, the style shouldn’t be worn with skirts. If your tunic makes you feel shapeless, try throwing on a belt or a large necklace. Belts are great for defining a waist and creating an hourglass shape, and long statement necklaces will affect the way the tunic falls over your bust and stomach, which can make a huge difference in how you look and feel.

How do you like to wear your tunics? Tell us in comments below.

Comments (3)


I disagree with the comment shouldn’t be worn with skirts. Some tunics look excellent with a pencil skirt.

Shelli Emig

Igjet want it


I also disagree about wearing the tunic with a skirt. A pencil skirt would look good. Also, the new shorter straight skirts and I really like the look with a fitted skort. I tie my tunic up on the side with a colorful hairband. Works great with the tunic tee shirts.

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Published on Jan 26 2015

Last Updated on Sep 23 2016

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