We’re going on vacation in Colorado next month and I’m trying to beef up my play clothes options, because my cutie patootie skirts aren’t going to work for a week of rafting and rock climbing and zip lining. And also because two years ago, when we went to Florida, I wound up doing laundry every single day we were there, which kind of killed the whole “vacation” vibe.
This weekend I spent some time assessing what I have and what we’ll be doing and what I need. I am short on versatile basics, like tank tops, and I am also in need of one more casual long-sleeved shirt, something I can layer or wear on its own. I’d been eyeing this J. Crew tunic for a while; it would look great with shorts or skinny pants, and could be layered over a tank or tee or another blouse or belted over a skirt. In other words, it’s super versatile.
This is also the type of shirt that magazines always swear works perfectly over a swimsuit, but I have to caution you that sunscreen can stain, and if you’re looking at a tunic like this is a light color or white, you’ll need to be super cautious about not getting sunscreen on it. Good luck with that.
Anyway, yesterday I ran into Old Navy to look for shorts for Wade (who somehow was down to ONE pair of cargo shorts — how does that happen???) and tanks for me (because seriously, I’m not paying more than $10 each for tanks, since they won’t last the summer, especially the white ones). The Old Navy store I choose was celebrating their post-remodel grand re-opening, which meant that there was a bounce house! and cotton candy! and pop corn! Among other things.
(Who serves cotton candy in a CLOTHING store? Some idiot had left a big hunk of it in the dressing room, stuffed into a bag of pop corn. Ick.)
The store was a total madhouse, made even crazier by the fact that there were clowns. CLOWNS! I texted Wade: OMG THERE ARE CLOWNS AT OLD NAVY HELP.
He responded immediately: Stay strong!!!
He’s so sweet. And he totally gets me.
Although he did completely ignore my follow up text about the LIFE SIZED HELLO KITTY WTH??? So much for sympathy.
Where was I going with this? Oh right, tunic! While I was looking for shorts and tanks, I found this cute chambray tunic. It’s basically the same shirt as the J. Crew one I’d been considering, for less than half the price. Sold.
(I also picked up two tanks and some shorts for Wade, although those all had to go back because vanity sizing has invaded menswear and Wade was swimming in every single pair. Nice.)
The trick to making a tunic look chic and not frumpy is to be cautious about proportions. Both of the tunics here are cut fairly slim (the Old Navy version has a slight A-line, which is great for anyone who is an apple or pear shape). The hem should hit just below the widest part of your hip, or just above the slimmest part of your thigh. Pair your tunic with shorts (stick with a 5 inch hem, to balance the longer length of the tunic) or slim pants (to balance the width). Or wear your tunic with a skirt, either a slim pencil or a fuller A-line — add a belt to define your waist and give the top some shape.
When you’re looking for casual options, keep in mind that you can make less expensive pieces work for you in a pinch. Look for ways to style them so they look like higher-end pieces (I’m planning to wear this wish shorts, half tucked and a little slouchy, the way it appears on the J. Crew website). This is a piece that will most likely wind up as a swimsuit cover up next summer, so paying a little less for it is ok in my book.