Greek and Roman Tunics
The Romans score big fashion points for the versatility of their tunics which were both sleeved and sleeveless. Everyone from the wealthiest statesman to the lowliest slave owned at least one. Prominent citizens might wear a tunic as a sort of slip under a more formal toga. It could also be belted and bloused for a fancier look that would be quite feminine by today's standards but was considered gender-neutral in ancient times. Farmers, workmen and salves would wear only a tunic, but the quality of the garment would reflect the person's standing.
The extreme heat of the Egyptian climate kept clothing needs at a minimum. Men, especially, wore little more than a bottom kilt-type garment known as the schenti until The New Kingdom era when Syrians (influenced by the Greeks) introduced Egyptians to a simple, sleeveless tunic that could be secured with a belt. Open sides allowed for air flow to help provide much-needed ventilation. The Egyptian tunic eventually became more elaborate with starched sleeves to make the shoulders look extra broad and intricate pleats and folds that indicated the wearers rank.
The tunic has come a long way since the days of the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. Tunics are now worn almost exclusively by women. Their proportions have shortened, but the word "tunic" still describes a long blouse with a somewhat straight cut that mimics the silhouette of the classic Roman garment. Tunics for women might be flowing like the Pretty Patchwork Tunic, crisp like the Foxcroft Button Front Tunic or fashion forward like the Trends to Flatter Tunic that sports a beautiful and feminine arched hem. But one thing all tunic tops have in common is their length.
Getting the Perfect Fit
Tunics tops are flattering on all body types. However, some variances work better for certain shapes.
As to length, a tunics for women should cover the derriere and hit at least at the top of the thigh. They may be longer, but petite women run the risk of making their legs look even shorter in an extra-long style. A well-balanced garment like the Fern-Print Crinkle Tunic provides the easy look of a tunic while still flattering the legs.
Women who want to accentuate their hourglass figure should choose a slightly fitted version like the Eyelet Pintuck Tunic that flares out gently at the hips, creating the look of a smaller waist.
Very straight garments like the Good To Go Tunic Sweater work well for most women, but should never fit tight across the tummy. Be sure to select a size large enough that it just skims the body without pulling.