The trusty tunic
I need clothes and outfits that give my haphazard nature some structure. That usually rules out anything funky or mildly complex and layered. But when I needed a touch of the gentrified bohemian to loosen me up during the summer, I turn to my good old friend the tunic. It does double duty all around: gives a touch of the wanderer and of adopted prep and does wardrobe double duty. Is it a dress? Is it a shirt? It’s what you want it to be. The more multifunctional the better.
Just like the 70s made floor-length caftans preppy for Palm Beach housewives, so too have their shortened cousins, tunics, become a wardrobe calling card for coastal-loving folk. My tunic love story had Cinderella beginnings at the Hell’s Kitchen Housing Works. I found a beautiful navy linen one with cream piping from Calypso St. Barth that still had the tags on. I walked out the door with it for a whopping $30 and felt like a lioness. I have to say, I have really good shopping mojo. At first (after multiple washes), I wore it with pants. Then I thought, screw it, it’s long enough, let’s make it a dress. So I chopped out the slip from a Club Monaco silk shirtdress and now wear the tunic full-time as a summer dress.
Tunics are the best, in my humble opinion, in linen. It has more weight, serves better in the dress form, but is still light. Even with sleeves and 90-degree heat, you still feel cool. In both senses of the word.
1. My favorite: Calypso St. Barth Coraline beaded tunic $229, 2. Guru NYC Cape Cod Linen Tunic $193, 3. Sulu Collection Clea $305, 4. Emerson Fry Ikat tunic, 5. Tory Burch Tory tunic $325. Not pictured, but still really good, are tunics from Boden.