Tunics are essentially long shirts with a distinctive fit and style that have become universally popular today. One can find tunics being worn in countries around the world, though the patterns and designs may vary from region to region.
Tunics started off as more casual wear meant for daily use or informal parties but their burgeoning popularity caused a lot of new styles to emerge, including smarter options for more formal wear.
Formal tunic tops can be worn for different occasions requiring formal dressing, from office days to important conferences and parties.
In western countries the tunics are descended from the ancient clothes worn by the Greeks (mostly by men) while in South East Asia tunics have been around for many years as ‘kurtis’. Kurtis are typically about mid-thigh to knee length, though the modern versions might be shorter.
They are distinguished by their loose-fitting straight cut and ethnic patterns. Indo western kurtis and tunics are well-fitted, with many interesting variations in cut and design. Formal tunics can be found in both these styles, distinguished by their smart look and beautiful motifs.
A formal tunic has the same advantage as a casual wear tunic: i.e., it is comfortable and versatile and can be styled and paired up very easily with different looks. On the other hand, they are not quite as loose-flowing as their casual counterparts and often utilize stiffer fabrics and silhouettes to suit the formal style. Cotton would not generally be used, though it is a comfortable fabric, because it has a loose and airy appearance.
Trending styles of tunics
Blends like cotton silk are quite popular, since they offer the comfort of cotton combined with the luxurious appearance of other fabrics. Another widely-used fabric for formal tunic dresses is crepe. The crinkled appearance is much favored and it has the added advantage of being crease-resistant, making it perfect for long days of work.
Georgette, chiffon and silk are used to make stylish tunics for party wear, as these fabrics are more ‘dressy’ and usually come with a lot of embroideries and embellishments.
The type of embroidery and embellishment and types of colors used in a formal tunic dress can vary vastly. One can find kurtis in the more sober shades of white, beige, brown and muted green or blue for office wear as well as bold, bright neon shades and soft, feminine hues for celebratory events.
As good as Indian kurtis
Kurtis often come with a lot of ethnic prints and patterns made using aari, booti, kantha, zari and Resham work or even heavier embellishments of sequins and beads. Decorative Indian motifs can be scattered throughout the fabric; alternatively, intricate patterns of entwining lines and artistic depictions can be concentrated near the neckline and the borders. Printed formal tunics for women are also quite popular and one can find classic western designs like stripes and dots as well as ethnic tribal prints like Batik and Warli.
Both kurtis and tunics can also come with different styles of sleeves and necklines, as well as varying over-all length. The more daring sleeve-less, deep neck, spaghetti strap and u-neck styles are commonly seen at parties nowadays; on the other hand, sophisticated yet elegant necklines like the collar or sweetheart neckline are ideal for office-wear.
Kurtis traditionally have long sleeves, unlike the popular half-sleeve or cap-sleeve styles of today. Three-fourth sleeves and puff-sleeves are also interesting variations on the conventional tunic style. In terms of silhouette, one can find the classic straight and loose-fitting style as well as ‘hourglass’ or empire-waist cuts. Plus size formal tunics are popular with curvier women who want to embrace this trendy style without sacrificing their elegance or comfort.
Styling your tunic tops
Formal tunic tops follow the same basic rules of styling as casual tunics but with a few caveats. For instance, brightly patterned tights or leggings should be avoided for office wear or business conferences; instead, single color leggings should be worn. To add a dash of style, one can go for color blocking by pairing up a simple white or black tunic with a brightly colored pair of leggings; alternatively, one can tone-down the loudness of a colorful top by going for black leggings.
For formal parties, on the other hand, formal tunics can be paired up with different types of leggings, including more glamorous ones with sequins work. In winters, a classic look can be achieved by adding a cardigan and thick scarf to a pair of stylish woolen leggings.
The accessories worn with formal tunics would depend on the occasion and the tunic style. For office a simple but beautiful pendants and earrings set would be appropriate. Pearl jewelry add grace and style to tunic tops and are perfect with beads work tunics for office wear as well as for parties.