How to Wear Tunics With Pants – A Guide For Every Body Type

Summer is almost here, and a lot of you have been asking me for tops with sleeves that are cute and lightweight.  If you like comfy and casual with a laid-back feel, then a tunic is perfect for you. blue tunic and white pants

Tunics date back to Ancient Greece and epitomize the bohemian glamor of the  60′ and ’70s. Today they’re popular as ever due in part to designers like  Tory Burch, who has made tunics a key silhouette of her signature style. Tunics are typically colorful, fun and have an ethnic/boho feel to them.

orange tunic and jeans

Not all tunics are created equal. Some are baggy and can make you look frumpy. Here’s a guide for how to find one that is right for your body type.

Pear Shape – You have a small waist, but you are wide on the bottom. Choose a tunic that:

  • is more A-line than straight up and down
  • falls below the widest part of your body, not right on it, so as not to emphasize your weight
  • has some detail or embellishment at the neckline to draw the eye up
  • has side vents, so your tunic does not cling


blue stripe tunic white pants


Apple Shape – You have a large tummy and chest but great legs. Choose a tunic that:

  • does not cling
  • is not big and billowy
  • has an open V-neck top to show some skin and reduce top-heaviness
  • if possible, has vertical lines to lengthen you out

Inverted Triangle – Your shoulders are wider than your hips. Choose a tunic that has:

  • minimal detail/embellishment at the neckline so as not to emphasize your broad shoulders.
  • An open neckline to soften your broad shoulders.
  • No horizontal lines, which will make you look wider.

Hourglass – Your hips and bust are about equal, and you have a small defined waist. If you are very curvy, this look might not be for you because it hides your cute figure. Sometimes you can find a more fitted tunic that nips in a bit at the waist that can work, or you may want to belt your tunic.

taupe tunic blue jeans


Rectangle– Your bust, waist, and hips are about the same. Tunics were made for you!

Petite  – The shorter you are, the shorter the tunic should be. Ideally, it should hit at the hip. If you are average to tall, it can hit below the hip and as low as mid-thigh.

Once you have the right shape, what do you wear a tunic with?

What style of pants should you wear with a tunic?

Relaxed on top + relaxed on the bottom is a recipe for frumpy. Since tunics are a little looser than most, be sure to wear a fitted bottom to balance that out. That means no wide-leg pants, boyfriend jeans., or huge flares. Instead, wear slim or straight cut dress pants or skinny jeans or leggings. For a more boho look, you can wear a small flared pair of jeans, so long as the tunic has a bit of a taper and jeans are very fitted above the knee.

What Shoes should you wear with a tunic?

Ballet flats, sandals, block heels, even pumps, they all work. Natural materials like canvas, rope, wood, and metal are particularly in sync with the laid-back style of tunics. In winter, tall flat suede or leather boots worn with leggings/skinny jeans and a tunic is near perfection!

Did you see my new tunic? Take a look. Would you wear a tunic? Comment below.

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11 thoughts on “How to Wear Tunics With Pants – A Guide For Every Body Type

  1. Tunics rule! Always have and always will! At my skinniest and heaviest times I’ve pulled it off, The key is to have the right shoes and slacks. You can either look like a bag lady or a fashionista. What you pair it with makes it or breaks it. Unless you’re at the equivalent of studio 54 or using it as sexy lingerie for significant other, please please please DON’T WEAR TUNICS AS DRESSES!!! 😳😳😳 I cringe at this and I know I’m not alone!

  2. I am an hourglass and short and have found that a tunic with interest at the bust or that haves an empire waist looks best on me. It has to have a scoop neck or a V-neck. I can’t do anything straight up and down, it just makes me look bulky all over.

    1. Hi Elle, I’m an hourglass and the same way. Straight up and down doesn’t show off my shape and makes me look heavy. Also, I always recommend a v or scoop neck. Showing off decolletage is feminine and makes you look taller and slimmer. Cheers, Deborah

  3. Okay, if we are not to wear anything flowing up top with wide leg pants,, what do you suggest that covers your arms and is not sleeveless.

    1. Hi Pat, I’d suggest a 3/4 length sleeved v neck or scoop neck top. 3/4 length is sporty and flattering and a V or scoop neck elogantes your neck and frame. You could also wear a camisole and a short cropped jacket or a blouse is not too loose and blousy tucked in would be nice. It’s just when you wear wide on the top and wide on the bottom you look boxy. So if you go wide on bottom stay more streamlined up top.

  4. The industry has caught on that we like them. Personally, I like the ones that do not make me re-love the 70s. Ugh! Also luv tunics that are long in front, not just the back. Also on my wish list are tunics that actually have sleeves that are not 3/4. There also seems to be plenty of sleeveLESS tunics. How about short sleeve?

  5. Deborah – do you have a pic for the shorter style that you recommend for the short and petite that hits just at the hip. It looks like all of these hit well below the hip. Thank you!

    1. Hi Kim,
      If you are petite I would suggest you shop in the petite section because the clothes are proportional and you will find longer tops with the proper length sleeves and that hit at just the right spot just below the hip. I think if you keep looking in the regular section you are going to have hard time.

  6. What great timing as yesterday I was in a “chat window” with someone at Chico’s and I was asking them if I could wear tunics with wide leg linen pants which seem to be in style now\. I wear a lot of tunics and big shirts as they cover a multitude of sons. I asked if there wasn’t some rule if you wear flowing, wide leg pants if the top shouldn’t be more structured and she answered no and she gave some answer that the fabric should be similar or some such answer

    Now here is the definitive answer that tunics should not be worn with wide leg pants; thank you! You saved me from walking around looking like a tent.

    1. Whoa, I didn’t have my coffee yet when I typed , “…tunics and big shirts …cover a multitude of sons.” LOL

  7. Very Interestig tunic article for tunics for women after 40. My view is that tunics suit everyone as that loose flowing tunic top style makes the petite ladies look pretty and flirty and the plus size women look sleek, beautiful and stylish. I am a tunic lover!