Fabrics:Khadi, gauze ‘mulmul’, organic linen, ‘matka’ silk, handloom cottons like Chanderi are favourites for Spring/Summer tunics. “This season will be big on chiffons and georgettes that flow well,” says fashion stylist Pernia Qureshi. “Mix solid and sheer fabrics,” advises designer Urvashi Kaur.
Ombré, tie-dye and ethnic prints like Anju Modi’s spin on Rajasthani Bagru and Sanganeri prints are other options.
Length: Try open necklines, elbow sleeves and longer lengths (below the calf, even just above the ankles). This season, the tunic aims at easy, resort comfort.
Pairing: Wide pants or palazzos, ‘Pharsi’ pyjamas, trousers or Patiala ‘salwars’ and skirts are this season’s pairing picks. Layering is popular but in a summery way. Wear double-layered tunics or, as Modi recommends, one with a longer, flowing bottom. “A sleeveless tunic layered with a chiffon shrug or a jacket works too,” says designer Nachiket Barve.
Colours: Choose summer brights like watermelon, chartreuse and ochre, pastels like lime green, yellow and powder blue. White and beige continue to reign. Barve recommends unexpected contrasts like coral with sap green or chartreuse with turquoise. Modi seconds this. “Try layered tunics in white and yellow with a lime-green trouser ‘salwar’,” she says.
Accessories: Barve suggests accessorizing the tunic with handcrafted eclectic pieces while Urvashi Kaur recommends restrained use of the season’s metallic look. “If the tunic is in a monotone, wear it with a statement neck piece or a chunky cuff, but if it has a bright print, just a pair of earrings,” suggests Qureshi.
Nine to Nine: The tunic’s versatility is its biggest strength. “Pair an ochre tunic with white or beige pyjama pants, wedge heels or ‘chappals’, a silver cuff, hoops and a large tan tote for a day look. The same ensemble minus the pants but with a large chunky belt and clutch is good for an evening out,” says Urvashi Kaur. Qureshi endorses tunics to work, worn with slim fits or tucked into formal pants. Barve says his embroidered peplum tunics can even be worn as blouses with a Kota sari for summer.
Tunic don’ts: “Avoid pairing tunics with different hues of skin-coloured leggings,” says Barve. It creates the perception of not wearing anything below the tunic, which looks inelegant. Finally, if you are wearing a tunic without a bottom, make sure its length is right so that doesn’t look like a kaftan gone wrong.