Another summer is here, and we find ourselves pairing beloved tunics from past seasons with new looks -or vice versa.  Versatile and easy, whether we’re transporting ourselves to a destination across time zones, or enjoying a seasonal day at home, we find chic comfort in tunic dressing. What’s the difference between a tunic and a kaftan? Fit. Kaftans tend to be a bit diaphanous and full length. Tunics have a streamlined silhouette and can reach anywhere between thigh grazing to ankle.

Tunic comes from the Latin tunica, the basic garment worn by Ancient Romans, which in turn was inspired by the Greeks.  The Romans wore the tunic as a shirt and skirt- before trousers were used to denote masculinity.  An ancient concept, the tunic has been reinvented over the years by cultures around the world, bringing new meaning to a matured garment.

The Shalwar Kameez is worn in South and Central Asia.  Shalwar are loose pajama-like trousers, while the kameez is a long shirt.  The kameez has side seams- known as the chaak- left open below the waistline for freer movement. The djellabah is a Berber staple- a loose-fitting unisex outer robe with full sleeves. The gandoura is a light tunic associated with the Middle East and North Africa. Folk tunics, worn in Mexico, the Ukraine, and India are often hand embroidered in colorful patterns.

The ubiquitous garb is a favorite of contemporary style icons. Marisa Berenson circles the globe for Vogue in decades worth of embellished, jeweled tunics. Kate Moss loves tunics so much, she had her favorites recreated for a collaboration with Topshop . Daria Werbowy’s Ukrainian roots are embodied in a traditional tunic with red and black needlework. Tilda Swinton stays avant-garde in a black tunic dress while strolling New York City. Catherine Deneuve’s Yves St Laurent tunic merges Parisian glamour with a passion for Morocco .

How – and where- to wear your tunic this summer? Couple a minimalist sheath with sleek black trousers and platform sandals for a book party. Pair a floral tunic with striped pants and a patent loafer for a museum visit.  Channel chic bohemia in a silk tunic with beaded details, perfect for staying cool while treasure hunting the local bazaar. A pullover tunic in organic cotton is ideal for lounging by the pool. Match an oversized tunic with beaded moccasins for a road trip. Try a belted tunic in linen with black oxfords for evening. Tuck a tunic into a pencil skirt a la Altuzarra for sunset cocktails.  
~Susan Brickell