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Tunics: A how-to

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The tunic is is a chic, stylish alternative for work or weekend — and, even better, tunics are one fashion statement that works better for real women with real curves (rather than beanpole fashion models). But how do you wear a tunic? Simple!

Chambray Belted Tunic, $39.90 at Avenue

Fit matters. Don’t assume that “tunic” is synonymous with “oversized shirt.” A big shirt will not make you look smaller — it will make you look bigger (trust me). Choose a tunic that fits properly through the shoulders and chest, and that doesn’t sag or gap or pull.

Watch your hemline. A tunic should hit somewhere between the widest part of your hips and your mid-thigh. A shorter tunic is good with pants, while it’s longer cousin works well with leggings. But be cautious if you opt for leggings; you don’t want to show the world your underwear every time you reach up or sit down.

Give it some structure. Look for longer button-down shirts or slightly A-line sweaters — something with a shape. Trying to balance a larger chest and a smaller waist? Add a belt for definition. But don’t throw on a big t-shirt and call it a tunic. That’s cheating.

Keep your line clean. Pair a tunic with straight-legged jeans or slim cropped pants for work; a pencil skirt also works well with a tunic, especially with a killer pair of heels. For weekend, wear your tunic with leggings (but again, watch the rear view — I’m serious).

I like the tunic pictured above because the belt highlights the model’s waist and makes the shirt look crisp and professional; this is a piece that could go to the office or to a little league game with ease.

Your turn: Where do you shop for plus-sized pieces? I’m always looking for sources — share yours!

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