Developed in ancient times in the sunny Mediterranean, where, you know, their under parts could use a little airing out in the summer, the tunic was an androgynous, multi-purpose and free-flowing garment that covered the body down to the knees or lower. The tunic was worn by all of the genders, either as the bottom layer for a more elaborate outfit or by itself if one had some gardening or some warring to get done.
It was a great garment for fighting, so it was worn by gladiators. It's hard to do a really good roundhouse kick in tight leather pants, after all. (And I'm not saying you should stock up on tunics specifically for fighting, but it is an election year this year, I'm just going to put that out there.) It was activewear, loungewear, and society wear all in one.
In western fashion, the tunic has mostly lost its male consumer, which is a shame. I like a man in some nice embroidery, I worry about the heat accumulation down there even in linen pants. Men elsewhere know better, and you can still pick up some beautiful muslin and cotton tunics for men in India or Pakistan, North Africa, or the Middle East.
But for women, the tunic has remained. And of course we still love it, its versatility makes it essential. And while it's functional by itself for summer, like an aeration system for your body beneath, it transitions easily into fall with a belt, some leggings or tights, and maybe some boots. It can also be tucked in or layered over pants or a longer skirt, or if your legs don't turn an alarming shade of purple when they're cold (I will never understand why mine do!), with a sweater or jacket thrown over.
Even Emily Post says it's okay to wear white after Labor Day, so seriously, you're fine. And I love the pattern on this one. Interesting enough to stand on its own with some basic layering elements, but simple enough to thrive in a juxtaposition with more colorful and bolder patterns.
This one is your basic French cosplay. You wear this when you are tired of the smell of hot garbage wafting from the alleyway and want to pretend you are wandering in chic little sandals through fields of lavender. Just add a simple gold necklace and baked carbohydrates of your choosing.
This tunic is a breeze, made of the softest organic cotton and with a color that blends well with the upcoming fall palette. It's a sloppy kind of chic, the kind of thing that remains interesting no matter how you wear it or how you move in it. Distinctive without being overwhelming.
These would work well under a shorter tunic while it's still warm, to take off some of the pressure of exposure. And you could always tuck in a corner of the tunic into the high waistband, to show off the nice details on the shorts.
This faux-suede would lay over any of the tunics quite well, matching the flowy, unstructured nature of the tunic while adding some texture and interest.
And don't be afraid of mixing patterns. Hollie Watman's floral leggings -- especially if just peeking between tunic and the top of a pair of boots -- add a little frivolity and humor (and shape). They are technically "work out" wear, and yes, I wear them when I work out by which I mean when I walk to the tamale place. They're cute enough to make it on the streets, and so are you.Jessa Crispin is a writer and tarot card reader. You can find her at jessacrispin.com or at Instagram at @jessacrispin