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Tunic Dresses For Versatile Style In Any Season!

  • posted February 1st, 2011
  • Fashion

Normally the concept of a tunic dress on its own isn’t necessarily enough to make my shopaholic tendencies awaken and go haywire, but when it comes to building out my collection of winter-to-spring-to-summer transitional wardrobe pieces, I’m beginning to think they’re my new go-to. After all, in this bizarre summery mid-February weather in San Francisco, it’s hard not to get excited for what seasonal style we have in store, but at the same time I want to shop with a practical mindset. I want things that can carry me through the summer, but that I can still wear now with a few mandatory weather-appropriate tweaks or add-ons like tights or leggings. Tunic dresses are great because they’re just short enough that you can afford to pair them with leggings, but not too short that they verge on indecent, so you can afford to show off those gams on their own when the weather permits. From pretty and floral and shirt-dress inspired to bohemian and beachy, depending on the style you can easily work them into your early spring wardrobe by experimenting with different shoes or boots, leggings, and a cute jacket.

Pictured above: Tucker Long Tunic, Alice + Olivia Kingsley Kimono Dress, French Connection Bex Beads Tunic Dress, and Young Fabulous & Broke Cabana Tunic.

– Alex Gambardella

My Top 5 Sweater Dresses for Fall

Talk about sweater dresses and below are favorites I picked basically explain about the style more so than what it’s made from.

Sweater dresses are such wonderful garments! They’re soft, easy to move around in, flattering, dressy enough for work, but casual enough for walking the dog. Here are some of my favorites for this fall and winter.

The Ash Sweater Dress by Mark & James is perfect for so many looks. It’s cut generously on top, with loose, long sleeves, but with a more fitted skirt. It echoes the 80s looks we’re seeing so much of, but is far more flattering due to an ultra-feminine cut and a texture that moves without clinging. Wear this with over-the-knee boots and turn heads!

Alexander Wang makes a back-draped tunic that gives you a whole new approach to sexy. It’s oversized, long-sleeved, and covered up in front, but features a draped, cut-out back. It also has a side slit, and an asymmetrical hem with ribbed edges. You could wear it with boots, or with leggings and flats, for a terrific casual look.

The L.A.M.B. cowl-neck “sweatshirt” dress in black would actually go just fine in most workplaces. It features ruching on the long dolman sleeves, and ribbed hem. This would look great paired with a bright red belt, or a silk scarf tied around your neck, Parisian style. Classic heels complete the look.

Talbots is known for its classic, timeless styling, and this turtleneck knit dress is a perfect example. You could wear it with a dressy blazer and heels for work, or a distressed denim jacket and riding boots when you want to go casual.

We’ve seen a lot of embellished shoulders this year, particularly among the young Hollywood crowd. The Danish label DAY Birger et Mikkelsen makes a shoulder jeweled sweater dress that features a patch of satin on each shoulder topped with beads and crystals. This is a look for dates or drinks with your girlfriends. You could pair it with opaque tights and a cute pair of booties for a great night out look.

From our friends at Couture in the City

Snob Worthy Links 7.23.10 L.A.M.B. Handbags + Stella McCartney Slingbacks, + Calypso Rope Tunic

The Bag Snob is a fan of Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. handbag collection and in particular the L.A.M.B. “Corsaire Seville” black leather hobo.

The Beauty Snob is a fan of the UK brand POPBeauty’s vibrant nail color shades and Petal Jams lip moisturizers.

The Couture Snob is planning her vacation wardrobe including this Calypso Rope Tunic – it’ll work as a poolside cover-up and into the evening and dinner in town.

The Shoe Snob loves Stella McCartney’s Kitten Heel Slingback for its practical everyday chic.

Vintage Pick Of the Day: Vintage 1920s Fortuny Stenciled Gauze Tunic

vintage 1920s fortuny gauze tunic 3

vintage 1920s fortuny gauze tunic 2 vintage 1920s fortuny gauze tunic

While I’m not actively seeking a Prince Charming at the moment, I do know that, unlike most princesses who dream of something with 4 C’s in a Tiffany ring box, I’ll know I’ve met my soulmate when he understands I’m more interested in these 4 C’s: Fortuny, Worth, Vionnet and Balenciaga (C standing for couturier, of course).

Yep, just hand me an archive box with one of these masters’ treasures nestled in acid-free tissue paper and I just might squeal “I do” and follow a guy anywhere.

Take today’s VPOD, for instance. This oh-so-rare Fortuny silk gauze tunic from the 1920s features hand stenciling with metallic gold pigments, gorgeous glass beads, and impeccable shoulder pleating that creates a wonderful drape.

Talk about talent! Not only did Fortuny design magnficent garments with one more beautiful than the next, he was a true Renaissance man who bound his own books, created one of the first dimmer switches, invented a boat propeller and at some point in time could call himself a painter, an etcher, a sculptor, an inventor, an architect, and a photographer.

It’s been said he was not a couturier, but a “creative artist of dress.”

And this is one of his oh-so-collectible finds for a vintage fashionista.

Available from wwwdecadencefashioncouk at Sense of Fashion

From our friends at Zuburbia

Embellished Tunics For Free & Floaty Summer Style!

When it comes to summer style, I am loving the embellished tunic trend — not just for their elaborate, intricate details like embroidering and beading, but also for their versatility that allows you to rock them all summer long, day or night. Tunics are a step up from your basic tees and tanks because they’re just as comfortable (with lots of breathing room!) but dress things up just a bit with their day-friendly sparkle, or can even dress things up a whole lot, depending on how you choose to rock it! Wear one with jeans or with a pair of shorts and espadrilles for a casual but upscale daytime look, or if the length of the tunic allows for it, wear it as a dress or with leggings and heels for a night on the town!

This Tory Burch tunic is your perfect basic embroidered and embellished version, and is the perfect length for pairing with a pair of shorts. For a more daring look, this fringed tunic by J. Crew is funky without looking too fancy for daytime, and I’m loving the Moroccan feel of this coin-embellished tropical print one by Tibi, both available at Net-a-Porter. If you’re willing to embrace the sheer trend that’s so hot for summer, this Plenty by Tracy Reese smocked tunic is sparkly and gorgeous over a tank or cropped cami!

- Alex Gambardella

Save on Embellished Tunics at Nordstrom from’s coupon site

Plus-size Fashion That’s Actually Fashionable


I see a lot of complaints that plus-size women’s fashions are too limited and plain, i.e. everything is undecorated and uninspired, nothing daring or bold.  However, a lot of designers then take it to the other extreme – wild and crazy floral patterns with ruffles that you wouldn’t be caught dead in.  So then you head back to uninspired, just to avoid the alternative.

The problem, however, isn’t that the basic garments are too basic – after all, every woman needs some staples in her wardrobe to build on.  The problem is that many designers take the wrong attitude toward the cut of basic garments, and this means that you can end up with a shirt that looks more like a tent than anything else.

Curves need to be celebrated, not hidden, and Woman Within is a great resource for everyday looks that really work all the way up the size chart.  I love the cut of this long sleeve tunic – it hugs without being trashy, it comes in several colors, and you can get it in sizes 14 to 40.  Best of all, it is absolutely perfect as a base for autumn and winter layers, without any added bulk.

Embroidered Flowing Summer Tunic Top


The key to summer comfort is to keep it simple, as little muss and fuss as possible. I love tunic blouses for sunny days and warm evenings. In the summer they make even more sense. You can wear them with white jeans , full leg linen trousers or even this summer’s must have  cut off denim shorts. . Tunic blouses are perfect and are actually a comfortable summertime wardrobe staple. Wearing an embroidered tunic blouse is the perfect way to say easy-breezy summer.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Tee – Glam Rock Graphic T-shirt


OK, so it's true this awesome tunic find comes from none other than teen clothing store, Wet Seal. But I love it. And let's face it, that's really my utmost criteria for fashion – sure, it's nice to have high-quality, name brand stuff (and in some cases this is more essential than others), but if you find something you really like, who cares where it came from as long as you can rock it.

And a top like this would be easy to rock. Of course I love it in part because it prominently features a star – my favorite – but also because it's so much more than that. It follows the screen print trend, with a unique take.

I could easily see this top working with a number of different looks – with leggings and ankle boots, with skinny jeans and rockstar boots, with boot-cut jeans and pointy-toed heels, or just as part of a simple outfit.

One thing's for sure, for $7.99, it's worth playing around with!

True Colors

Pink tunics dresses

It's easy to slip into a uniform of blacks and greys when temps are lower and you're trying to bundle up for warmth. But it's time to put some color back into your wardrobe and even if you still need to layer, you shouldn't neglect the bright hues that are stepping into center stage for spring.

This Elizabeth and James dress is one of my favorites. Notice how it still looks stellar when put with black tights (or leggings) and it would be a great piece to wear with boots and a pea coat. The bright shock of pink is all you need!

If the pricetag may be a little steep for you, there are many other pink tunic dresses for you to choose from. Take this sweater tunic dress. It's a bit more fitted, but the fact that it's a sweater makes it handy for cooler temps, and it's just as easily layered. Remember – color is key!

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