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 70’s. 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 that 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 jean, 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 in particularly in sync with the laid back style of tunics. In winter, a 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.

Short With A Pear Shaped Body? -Here’s What To Wear

Pear Shaped Body

If you are short with a pear-shaped body, you can easily look bottom heavy. Meet Debbie who has this problem and emailed me for help.

Hi Deborah,

I am 5’2″ and weigh 120. I’m not heavy, and I work out, so I have a nice looking caboose. The problem is that when I wear tops untucked, they don’t lay right. My top is smaller than my bottom. Help!

Thanks, Debbie

Hi Debbie, It sounds like you have a short-medium build and are pear-shaped – hence the reason you have some problem with things untucked. Your shirts are probably fitting fine across the bust, but as they reach your curvy hips and rounded bottom, they splay out and don’t sit right.

You don’t want to go with the larger top because then it will be too loose up top, so I suggest if you are going to tuck out, which is a good thing, buy tops with some stretch in them so that you can get them over the top of your hips.  Continue reading “Short With A Pear Shaped Body? -Here’s What To Wear”


Best Necklines For Narrow Shoulders

Narrow shoulders may have been no problem when  shoulder pads were in style but since they are not used so much now, what tops and jackets can you wear to make your body look more balanced?

Ah, those shoulder pads. They worked wonders, didn’t they, making everyone look like they had the smallest waist and most balanced hips. The only problem, if you wore shoulder pads today, you’d look pretty silly (unless you were trying to make a dramatic high fashion statement)

If you are narrower on the top and wider on the bottom (pear-shaped) and want to balance your figure, then here are some tops that will broaden your shoulders in a more modern way:

Bateau (Boat) Neckline
This type of neckline that is high and cuts straight across will make your narrow shoulders and chest seem broader. Horizontal stripes also create that visual width and so you get a double shot of looking more balanced up top with this cute stretch top  by Michael Kors
Continue reading “Best Necklines For Narrow Shoulders”


7 Style Tips to Look Age-Appropriate in Jeans

Dear Deborah,   Is there a time in life when jeans are no longer appropriate to wear? I am 60 years old, and I’m a size 14 pear shape with a very casual lifestyle. ~Sharon B.
Hi Sharon,

Great question! I think you can wear jeans forever, as long as your jeans are current and fit you well. Denim may be the workhorse of the modern wardrobe, but after 40, the wrong jeans can make you look like an old mare. Here are a few tips for you to look modern and hip,  not dumpy and frumpy in jeans.

Too trendy jeans on mature women like Jane Fonda resemble a costume.
Too trendy jeans on mature women like Jane Fonda resemble a costume.

1. Avoid Torn or Shredded Jeans – Jeans with rips and faded washes are “iffy” for mature women. Jane Fonda’s shredded jeans make a statement, but the wrong kind. Too teenager-ish!

mom jeans

2. Stay Clear of  “Mom Jeans” On the flip side of the

On the flip side of the coin some jeans can make you look too old. I’m talking about jeans that are bulky and make you look lumpy. With high waisted mom jeans the pockets don’t sit where they are supposed to, especially after 60 when your bottom isn’t as round as it used to be. Yes high righ jeans are now in style but thye’r tricky. Most women would do better with a mid rise jean that sits on your actual bum- not above, making it look flat like pancake or big and bottom heavy.

3. Buy jeans with stretch

(between 10-15%- check the tag to find out) to skim your curves and avoid a frumpy look. The best jeans have a bit of stretch.

4. Bootcut Works for Everyone 

A dramatic flared jean or restrictive skinny jean can be hard to wear. Flares can be aging and skinny jeans really look best if you have slim legs. That’s why the classic bootcut  is hands down one of the best jeans for women over 40. Bootcut jeans are flattering on everyone because the slight flare at the ankle balances out your hips and thighs, creating an overall lean look (and who doesn’t love that?). This balancing effect makes them the best jeans for curvy women with ample hips, but even more boyish frames reap the benefits.

5. Find the Proper Rise

Gals  who  are “pear shaped” (your hips are much bigger than your bust) or who have a short waist, will find that mid-rise are considered to be the best jeans for women like you.   If you carry weight in your middle, you should also try a mid-rise jean (the top of the pant should be two finger’s width below your belly button).  If you don’t have either of these body types, then you can wear any rise you like!

6. Darker Wash is Classier  

After 40,  darker wash denim with no fading or markings is a dream for two reasons. Firstly, since dark recedes making the area a dark color is placed over look smaller, a dark wash is more slimming than a light or faded jean.  Also, dark denim looks richer than a casual light wash.  To take your dark wash denim into more formal territory, simply add a blazer!

7. Get the Right Hem Length  

Getting the right hem length is important to looking fab in your jeans. The hem of your jeans should never drag on the floor- this looks sloppy, but too high will look silly too. Aim for your jeans to hit approximately ¼ of an inch from the ground for the perfect length. If it’s within your budget, buy two pairs of jeans: one long enough to wear with heels, the other hemmed for  wearing with flats.

Remember, keeping things simple and classy is the best way to wear your jeans after 40.

Petite, Pear Shaped? Fashion Tips to Look Grown-Up and Sexy!

Hi Deborah,

I’m a 5′ tall  – petite pear-shaped woman. My problem is that I always look like I’m playing dress-up, even when I’m wearing tailored traditional suits and dresses. I like classic, but I also want to look sexy with a touch of inner spitfire thrown in. Can you help? Janice

short pear shaped woman

Hi Janice,

My first thought is your hair and make-up. Perhaps your clothes aren’t working because your hair is too little girlish. Try getting a chic, grown-up cut, and be sure to wear some make-up.

The second thing is, I  think traditional clothing can work on a petite woman, but maybe it doesn’t work on you because it doesn’t suit your personality.  You said yourself you need something sexier.

So, here’s some fashion advice for short women, like yourself, who have a pear-shaped figure and want to look grown-up and sexy.
Continue reading “Petite, Pear Shaped? Fashion Tips to Look Grown-Up and Sexy!”