Ethnic Flair: the Tunic

Although I have nothing against the very best of sensible Western clothing (after all, turtlenecks are indispensable during harsh New England winters), there’s nothing I like more than a dash of ethnic flair in my wardrobe. And for me, the perfect combination of ethnic-inspired style, comfort and modesty is the tunic.

The tunic first came to me as a gift from my relatives in South Asia. Calling it a kurta top, my aunts raved that it was the newest clothing sensation that all the girls my age in India and Bangladesh were wearing. With its long sleeves, loose-fitting feel, soft material and exquisite embroidery, I didn’t blame them. Not surprisingly, the majority of my closet now consists of a myriad of different types and colors of tunics.

As if it were an odd consequence of my personal discovery of tunics, the tunic has since hit the Western fashion conscience and has become a favorite with women of all ages. You can now find all sorts of tunics in department stores for the same price as a sweater or a collared shirt. Although some designers make them a little form-fitting, you can always buy a size or two up to make sure your tunic stays as modest as the rest of your wardrobe.

Because tunics themselves are impossibly versatile, there are countless ways to wear them. I personally love to pair my favorite tunics with loose dark-wash jeans and comfortable flats. If jeans aren’t your thing, you can wear them with khakis, cords, or dress pants for a slightly more formal look. In the summertime, I switch the pants out for a flowy, floor-length skirt, while in the wintertime, I add a scarf that contrasts with the color of the tunic while staying sensitive to the weather. (Those New England winters are notorious!)

So, if you don’t already have a tunic in your closet, what are you waiting for? It’s an addition to your wardrobe that will have you looking properly modest and fashionable both at the same time!