Plus Size Linen Tunics – Your Guide

We’ve discussed tunics before, and today we’ll dig even further.

Plus sizes apple shapes look terrific in tunics, and linen tunics are no exception.

Linen is a light, breathable material that jives with casual or dressy clothes. Since we’re nearing the warm weather, I’m gonna focus on some of the best plus size linen tunics available.

What, exactly, is linen?

egyptian linen hieroglyphLinen is an ancient fabric. Linen fibers found in archeological sites date back more than 36,000 years. If you’ve ever seen an Egyptian mummy in a museum, it was probably wrapped in linen.

Ancient cultures, particularly around the Mediterranean and Africa, wore linen. See those white robes and sarongs in the hieroglyph? Those are linen. See those plant fibers they’re harvesting? Those are flax, to make linen. I’m not making this stuff up!

What is linen made from?

Let’s ask the experts at Wikipedia:

Linen/ˈlɪnn/ is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant. Linen is laborious to manufacture, but the fiber is very absorbent and garments made of linen are valued for their exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather.

Why linen?

I love linen in the spring and summer. It’s soft, comfortable, and the absorbent breathable fabric makes it possible to endure the heat and humidity.

And, because I’m a plus size apple shape, free-form unfitted linen tunics make even more sense as a fashion choice.

Are there any negatives to linen?

Depending on how you feel about wrinkles, that could be a negative. Linen wrinkles sort of immediately. But it’s supposed to, so there isn’t much you can do about it. Heavier plies of linen wrinkle less quickly than thinner plies. Our friends at Wikipedia put it this way:

Nevertheless, the tendency to wrinkle is often considered part of linen’s particular “charm”, and many modern linen garments are designed to be air-dried on a good clothes hanger and worn without the necessity of ironing.

closet linenOne major benefit of linen being “textured” in this way is that it isn’t a clingy fabric at all, and so it’s automatically appropriate for apple shapes. On the other hand, it’s not a “stretchy” fabric, because it pre-dates elastic by thousands of years.

So, what this means is that wearing oversized tunics in linen is the way to go; a plus-size apple shape should never buy a shirt or pants made from linen that’s tight or just too fitted.

Bonus: good for women with allergies

Many are allergic to wool and other animal fibers used in knits. Linen is entirely plant-based, and a great alternative for people who want looking to get off of animal products in clothes as well as diet.

Rock out with your linen tunic and vegan leather handbag (hint: click the pic to see an awesome $39 vegan alternative to a big leather tote bag).

Ok, history lesson over. Let’s look at clothes!


The Linen “Artist” Tunic

artist tunic 1

This lil number comes in mocha, purple, beige and teal, in XL and 2x. It’s pre-shrunk and has a flattering button down neckline. Falls mid-thigh on the model, so not quite long enough to stand alone as a dress, but because it’s more professional and crisply cut, I wouldn’t want to wear this style as a dress.

3/4 length button tab sleeves give you the option to wear them long or roll them up, so you don’t get paint all over your shit 🙂

Another Linen “Artist” Tunic

This is the color “shark”. I LOVE it. Match point has a weird sizing system but their clothes are all definitely plus sized, and comparable to XL-4x. Check the measurements. This puppy is 100% linen and perfect for that comfort-first artsy lady look.

shark tunic

The Blue Collar Psych-Out Tunic

lesbian tunic

This isn’t QUITE as long as the other tunics I recommend, but it is available in Plus Sizes 10-28, in a heavy ply linen rayon blend by Woman Within.

This is the shirt blue collar lesbians wear to dress up, or white collar ladies wear to dress down. “Gas station” chic, if you will.

Safari Linen Tunic

Like the elusive rhino, these are virtually impossible to find in the wild. Ralph Lauren makes them sometimes, and The Avenue occasionally makes variations of safari-like blouses and dresses. Vintage iterations of plus-sized linen safari tunics sell out instantly on ebay and etsy.

I have no relationship with the vendor of this plus-sized safari linen tunic, but after hunting for ages to find plus-size linen safari wear, this is all there is. Worth checking out!

plus size safari tunic

Safari Linen Tunic Vest

The next best thing to a safari linen tunic is a safari linen vest. This number, by Union Bay, comes 1x-3x and is super affordable at $32. Great for our linen needs and our layering needs!

(The model is smiling because she told those assholes she’s keeping the vest after her photoshoot.)

linen safari vest

The Pajama Top That Isn’t A Pajama Top

Don’t let the tiny model fool you – this comes in US sizes 6-24W, and is as comfy as comfy gets. And because it’s from AliExpress, the price is ridiculously low, at the time of this post, $11.88. White and light blue available.

big comfy

Jailhouse Rock Linen Tunic

Or should it be jailhouse chic? You don’t have to be an ex-con to enjoy this sexy striped tunic. Available XL-4X, and looks loose and comfy and awesome.

jailhouse rock tunic

Fancy Schmancy Linen Tunic

Break out your wallets for this  high quality linen tunic by Foxcroft. Available in Plus Sizes 14-24 in this cool periwinkle color, rose, grey, and charcoal. Great for lunch at the museum in June, or mint juleps on the porch.

periwinkle tunic

 

Substitute Teacher Tunic

Here’s a classic 70% linen, 30% cotton blend tunic. It has a V-neck, buttons down the front, and pockets.

This is an excellent choice for plus size apple shapes looking for a more casual, less “wrinkly” tunic. And reminds me of every outfit on every substitute teacher I’ve ever had.

The Cute Hipster Tunic

This is on the “shorter” side and not necessarily something I’d recommend for every apple shaped woman, but it’s available in Plus Sizes 16-24, in blue and two shades of pink.

Very cute side tie and space-chic tank sleeves. Can’t you imagine a hipper-than-thou rocking this with a cute hat and enormous sunglasses?

linen tank tunic

The Linen/Silk Tunic Dress

This dress goes S-XXL, but runs a size large, so is good for women through size 3x.

Cute pleated bust with flared skirt and ultra-breathable linen silk blend. This is a terrific, suitable summer shift dress for plus size apple shapes. I’ve actually just bought this one for myself and will return to model/review in depth when it arrives!

silk linen shift dress

The Arty Farty Linen Tunic Dress

Again, don’t let the tiny model fool you -this comes in US sizes 8-24. And for $10.82, it’s worth adding to your wardrobe for when it’s 90 degrees outside, but you need to run out to the gallery. Or, for that nerdy climate change lecture first date you have coming up. The sky’s the limit, folks.

arty farty

Hopefully you have some new ideas for how to wear linen tunics, and some of the many rockin’ styles available for plus sizes. And, hopefully, I’ve shown you how they can be your ticket to beating the heat in style this spring and summer!

Thoughts, ideas, questions? As always, I welcome your feedback and look forward to continuing the conversation!

Check out my Pinterest for more great tunic ideas.

Yours,

Penelope

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24 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Ooh I love the linen dresses, especially the linen silk tunic dress. That’s looks really comfy and stylish too! Does the blend of silk and linen give a softer feel, like more silky?

    1. Hi Dinh! That’s a great question. blending silk and linen absolutely changes the texture and softens it. One of the interesting things about linen fabric is that it gets softer the more you wear and wash it, so linen shirts you’ve had for a year will be softer than new ones. thanks for the feedback!

  2. Thank you for such a great article. I always thought linen was easy to wrinkle and stiffer. You have made some good points. I am going to visit more on your site and see what you have for dresses for us apple kinda gals. Love the descriptions for each one as well.

  3. Hi Penelope!

    This post was fun. I love this style of clothes. I am some what of a tomboy. I love sports, action movies, and horror but I also love to feel pretty and get pampered every now and then. I love this line because it flows and comfortable. I love clothes that flow with your body. Perfect for spring and summer and so many styles to choose from. Do you know why they call the one “Substitute Teacher”?

    Thank you for the post

    1. Thanks for the comment! I’m glad that the tunics appeal to you, they are perfect for tomboys because they aren’t too fitted and restrictive. All those captions for the different tunics were just my own jokes – I called it “the substitute teacher” because that’s what it reminded me of 🙂

  4. Hello! This is a Great info for apple sized girls. It’s good to know that we can also dress up in style. I particularly liked the part where you talked about the history of linen. It shows that you have done prior research about the material and that’s truly very significant. The biggest plus point is that linen is totally plant based. I’m definitely vouching for linen from now on. The designs displayed here looks very comfy and i particularly liked ‘The Arty Farty Linen Tunic Dress’. Any idea why is It named as such? Finally, do you have a post on the different standards used to denote sizes? I see that some dresses had numbers like 16-24 and some had XL’s on it. Would appreciate if you could give a comparison on the different standards in sizes. This would be beneficial to people like me who would love to order online but end up ordering the wrong size. Thanks a bunch.

    1. Hi Veena! Thanks for the great comment, and for checking out the blog. Linen is such a wonderful fabric especially if you live anywhere hot. As for all the names of the styles, I made all of those up, some of them just as jokes 🙂
      And your question about women’s sizes is important. Unlike men’s sizes, women’s sizes are not standardized by cm or inch measurement, and it’s maddening. So they vary for each country- a US 16 is roughly a UK 18, Australia 20, and European 46. The best thing to do is look at the measurement charts supplied by each vendor and compare those measurements to yours. And because the makers of clothes can vary so much, you have to look at every one’s charts! Wish there were an easier answer.

  5. I never knew the linen we are wearing goes long back to Egyptian era. I liked the Fancy Schmancy Linen Tunic. It looks so comfortable and I love the color. All the tunics looks great. I feel there will be a new addition to my wardrobe soon.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Demi! Definitely wear some linen this summer, especially if you live anywhere hot. Plus, it’s just cool to be connected to history!

  6. I always get a good giggle reading your descriptions. Linen is THE BEST thing for those of us who don’t like wearing plastic and don’t like wearing animals. Gotta say though, the jailhouse rock tunic kinda looks like pyjamas. I think I want matching pants.

    Thanks for more awesome fashion tips. Now I’m off to do some shopping!

  7. Hi penelope, I love Jailhouse Rock Linen Tunic, because straight lines makes a person little slimmer that she was, that was I learned from my lesson when I was college. I love blue color of Fancy Schmancy Linen Tunic it so simple. I love simple and makes me a little bit slimmer than I really was. Nice selection of Linen Tunic you have there.

    1. Hi Joana, thanks so much for the comment, I’m glad you saw some things you like, and that you know all about the slimming effect of the mighty tunic!

  8. Educational with a great sense of humor and style. I like this review. Tunics look comfortable, airy, perfect for the person who is uncomfortable being confined in tight fitting clothes. I would definitely recommend this to a co-worker of mine. I love the names of the tunics. Very well done.

  9. I really love these Linen tops, especially the Arty Farty Tunic Dress. I don’t own anything linen, but I think I would like to. Thank you so much for highlighting this fashion line. I am wondering if they are preshrunk at all, should I expect shrinkage? Can i machine wash them? Really just too cute.
    Thank you,
    Heather

    1. ​Thanks for the comment, Heather! You should DEFINITELY try out some linen, and this is the perfect time of year to give it a test drive. Linen shrinks slightly at the first washing and then not after. Many items are sold “pre-shrunk” so you don’t have to factor that in when picking a size. And yes, you can machine wash them. Linen get softer over time with washings.

      If you liked the dress you might like this one, too.

  10. This site is wonderful not only did I learn a thing or two but I guess I never knew there were so many options when it came to them. Thanks so much for this eye opening info. I really never owned one but were secretly was jealous of the many women comfortable with themselves to wear them. You have helped me get over that fear and am now going to get myself one! Do you have any suggestions for me on where to find a good one that’s affordable??

    1. Hi Angie! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and are now willing to brave the waters of comfort! All of the images in this post are links to the tunics. I would suggest that if you like any of them, that’s where to start – just click and browse. Amazon.com and Aliexpress have shockingly affordable clothes as well.

  11. I love the tunic dresses and I think it’s a great option for the summer! All the styles here look great and I really liked the ‘Hipster Tunic’ one… What necklace would go good with that? I’m thinking maybe something that stands out… what do you think? do you have a post about what goes with tunics?
    Paulina

    1. I agree with you, I think a chunky necklace, maybe made with natural materials like wood beads, would go well with that one. Like this one, for example. Great question about the accessories, I should write a post all about good jewelry for apple shaped women, or really anyone who wants to draw attention up to the face and shoulders.

  12. Great article Penelope,
    I’m heavily pregnant with baby number three and was wondering what I will wear in the summer months whilst breastfeeding. The long line, button down tunic tops look perfect 🙂
    Best Wishes, Sarah

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