The Greeks wore it, the Romans wore it and so did the Celts. Derived from the Latin word “tunica”, a tunic is a type of garment that reaches from shoulders to anywhere between the hips and the ankles. Worn by, both, men and women in ancient Rome, this is a basic garment that now can be seen in various styles and lengths.
The Romans wore the tunic under a toga, especially on formal occasions. The length of the garment, stripes, as well as their width and ornamentation, would indicate the wearer’s status in Roman society. In Ancient Greece, a person’s tunic was decorated at the hem line to represent the city/state in which he lived. The tunics were dyed in bright colors. The Celts wore brightly colored and embroidered shirts, with trousers called “braccae” and cloaks fastened at the shoulder with a brooch.
As with other garments, the tunic too evolved through ages. During the Medieval times, the tunic continued to be the basic garment of the Byzantine Romans
of both sexes, though the styles differed depending on the class of the wearer. The upper class wore their tunics beneath a heavier and shorter tunic called the “dalmatica”, which were often dyed or heavily embroidered. In Europe, the tunic was worn with varying sleeve and hem length. Usually worn over a shirt and drawers, the tunic often reached the knees or ankles. Fabrics used were linen, wool, and silk.
During the Crimean War in the 1850s, it was realized that the waist length jackets worn by British soldiers was unsuitable for fighting in the winters. Hence a longer jacket was introduced and named – the “tunic”. This type of jacket soon became standard for most armies in the times to come.
In modern days, the tunic is primarily used in a religious and uniform context. It is also the traditional clothing of Neo-Pagan religions, including Wicca
, especially when combined with a cincture and a robe. Light feminine garments, especially for sports or exercise, that come down to mid-thigh are also called tunics.
Tunics flatter all body types, but the cut should suit the body type. For example, petite women could wear shorter tunics to make their legs look longer. Women with hourglass figures can choose a slightly fitted version, and bigger women can wear straight tunics that are loose around the tummy. Check out the tunics at beverlyheels.com.