Wearing tunics and dresses over jeans or pants is my favourite look. I’m all for outfit variety, but when it comes to a uniform, this is mine. I was first inspired by the look when my late mother sported the trend in the ‘70’s. There’s something extremely elegant AND funky about this ensemble combination and I’ve been besotted with it ever since. I started incorporating this look into my wardrobe 10 years ago and I haven’t looked back.

You don’t need to be tall or tiny to wear tunics and dresses over pants with style. It’s a question of getting the components and proportions right. You’ll need to pair slim boot cuts, straight legs, skinnies, leggings or clamdiggers with the right tunic or dress. Here’s how:

  • The correct length: The shorter you are, the shorter you’ll need to go on the tunic or dress. You’re looking at a length somewhere between mid-thigh and a few inches above the knee. Go shorter or longer and you’ve lost that long lean line. Regular height and taller gals can shop in petites for this item as it often brings the hemline up to the correct place.
  • The correct silhouette: Pear-shaped and apple-shaped gals need structured A-line silhouettes like shift dresses and baby dolls. Hourglasses, inverted triangles and rectangles get away with straighter and more fitted styles like shirt dresses and sheaths.
  • Heels or flats: The trend is especially good with some sort of heel if you’re petite or pear-shaped, but it’s not a necessity. Judge the overall look once the ensemble is complete.

Chances are high you’ll need to commit a tunic or dress to wear over jeans or pants. It’s seldom that a dress will work over pants and on its own. It’s either too short to wear as a dress, or too long to wear over pants. Sometimes dress and tunic lengths work out perfectly and you get the biggest bang for your fashion buck by wearing them both ways, but it’s no guarantee.

Pairing tunics and dresses over pants is comfortable. And the right style tunic or dress is particularly forgiving around the tummy and thigh area if those are spots you’re self conscious about. Don’t be afraid to try something new. You can be a modern-classic that pushes the fashion envelope once in a while.

INC International Concepts® Tunic with Pockets & Narrow-Leg ShortsSleeveless Tunic & Iridescent CaprisCross-Back TunicStretch Poplin Tunic

Tunics of varying lengths worn over pants, jeans and clamdiggers.

Maggy London Sleeveless SheathNine West Silk Shift DressHerringbone DressPrint Dress

These are the types of dresses that work well over pants provided they are the correct length. From left to right: Sheath, shift, shirtdress and baby doll.