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Wardrobe Essentials: The Tunic

by PC designer, Karen

The garment that today we call a tunic has an ancient origin. The garment originally called a tunic was derived from the Greek chiton, a simple square or rectangular piece of fabric pinned or sewn at one shoulder and gathered at the waist with a girdle or belt.

These were adopted and called Tunica by the Romans around 300BCE. The length, fit and ornamentation of the garment that was worn by men and women alike was dependent on the wearer’s standing in society. The tunic continued to be the basic garment of both sexes throughout the Byzantine period and into the early Middle Ages, by which time they all were decorated with some form of embroidery or braid at the neck, hem and cuffs.

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Tunics of ancient Rome and Greece

The waist-length jackets worn by British soldiers since Napoleonic times provided little protection in the dreadful winter conflict of the Crimean War of 1854, that they were lengthened to mid thigh to provide better protection.  Thereafter they were called tunics, after the tunica of those valiant ancient Roman soldiers.

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Heavy Brigade Rough-rider of the 5th Dragoon Guards, after the 1856 Battle of Balaklava in the Crimea

At Peruvian Connection there is nothing we love so much as a great story, especially one that links the textiles, fabrics and garments we love back to their origins. We knew there had to be a reason why we loved and reached for our tunic styles so much!

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Layering garments of different lengths is this season’s most modern way to wear our tunics.
(Above: Deco Plaid Shirtdress $249, Edo Cardigan $159, Elson Cropped Pants $159)

We love them now not so much for the extra warmth, but still for the same reason: it covers our derriere.  Also, because at the end of summer, it is a transition piece that can be worn alone as a dress and also increasingly layered  – as chilly evenings start and nights grow longer –  over pants or skirts.   And because there is a tunic that is perfectly flattering for everyone, they are the easy pieces we reach for on a daily basis at PC.

Below is our quick primer to help you decide on the most flattering tunic for your gorgeous body:

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Choose empire waists or hip details, avoid clingy fabrics. V-necks draw attention up to your face. Dark colors are best.

Petra Top $59, San Cristobal Tunic $79, San Bartolo Tunic $199

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Keep away from shapeless silhouettes. Open necklines and 3/4 sleeves show collar bones and wrists.
Shorter length tunics are best. Choose small scale patterns.

L’Automne Tunic $110, Chevron Lace Pullover $149, Medina Tunic $159

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Choose tailored or more fitted shapes. V-necks will play up your bust.

Winter Garden Top $89, MacDougal Henley $139, Caribe Tunic $159

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Choose slight A-line shapes, longer lengths with asymmetric hems and side vents. Wider necks broaden shoulders.

Shadow Lace Tee $79, Eloise Tunic $110, Etienne Top $59

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Choose styles with 3-D details and ruching to enhance curves.

Gossamer Tunic $99, Charlotte Pullover $169, Artist Tunic $229

If you get the chance to visit one of our stores, one of our wonderful associates can help you decide on other tunic styles to flatter your body type.

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