How The Heck To Style Those Free People Tunic-Dress-Shirts (Whatever You Call Them…)





While I was working on the Free People collab with Nordstrom a few weeks ago, one of the pieces I had ordered was this Free People tunic.  I loved the print, the cool neckline, the mod, swingy shape….but when I threw it on, my first response was, “NOPE”.  It was simultaneously too long and too short, and therefore hurt my head.  So complicated, Free People!!  Why so complicated??

Admittedly, I both love and hate this about Free People clothing.

In any case, it ended up – in one of my mad fits of trying on and discarding – in a heap next to my bed.  So when I woke up the next morning this tunic happened to be the first thing I grabbed.  (Thanks to the tamoxifan, I often have hot flashes all night and wake up wearing, or, uh, not wearing, very little.  So donning a tunic does make sense.  Just go with me here.)

In any case, I proceeded to wear this tunic all around the house for two weeks straight.  It’s soft, it’s comfy, it’s machine washable and is the cutest-ever loungewear, especially since we’re still having some pretty hot temps.  So….OK, tunic.  You got me.  But how the heck to wear it out of the house?

Over Workout Shorts



I firmly believe that no pants are the best pants so I decided to embrace the ambiguity.  Is that a dress?  Is that a shirt?  IS SHE EVEN WEARING PANTS??? was on everyone’s lips as I walked by.

I’m kidding, of course.  No one actually cares about what we’re wearing.  Here’s PROOF.

Anyway, I layered this tunic over a pair of tight black workout shorts and called it a day.  It will surprise no one that this was Mike’s favorite.



But shockingly, I didn’t feel over-exposed.  You could see the shorts peeking out sometimes, but it was fine.  I mean, I wear these shorts running, so it’s not like they’re indecent or anything. The peekaboo short was just sexy.  And since this top is cut longer in the back, the bum coverage was good.  (Granted, I’m roughly 5’3″, so tall gals might have trouble with this one.)

Flat shoes were key.  Otherwise this would’ve felt a bit….much.  (But that’s just me.)



Outfit Details

top: Free People Tree Swing Sleeveless Top (size xs)

shorts: Zella

shoes: Rebecca Minkoff Georgina Sandals

bag: Rebecca Minkoff Julian Fringe Bag

bracelets: Alex and Ani feather, old LOFT bracelets (this set has a similar feel)


With Denim Boyfriend Shorts



Longer boyfriend shorts – the kind that will ALWAY show, also worked.  A bit of a heel helps, too – to keep my short self from being overwhelmed – but isn’t totally necessary.


Outfit Details

top: Free People Tree Swing Sleeveless Top (size xs)

shortsRag and Bone Shredded Boyfriend Shorts (size 24 – they run big)

shoesFree People Marquis Boot

bagMoop Paperback Clutch

bracelets: Alex and Ani feather, old LOFT bracelets (this set has a similar feel)

sunglasses:  Salt Optics – mine are old, but the Matlin look amazing (and have that thick side that I like)


With Cropped Pants



My favorite styling trick with longer tops is to pair them with a pair of cropped pants.  Somehow this long-short proportion always works, even with sneakers.

This was my soccer mom outfit.  🙂


Outfit Details

top: Free People Tree Swing Sleeveless Top (size xs)

jeans: AG Slim Straight Cropped (petite or reg)

shoes: Veja (sold out), but these Adidas sneaks have a similar vibe

sunglasses:  Salt Optics – mine are old, but the Matlin look amazing (and have that thick side that I like)



With Flares



My very favorite look is the tunic with a pair of long, flowy flares.  I like ’em with a bit of a heel, and a long, skinny scarf echoes the lines of the top and ties the outfit together.




Outfit Details

top: Free People Tree Swing Sleeveless Top (size xs)

jeansMadewell Flea Market Flares (size 24 – they run big)

bagRebecca Minkoff Leo Clutch

skinny scarf: old, Free People has a similar one

necklace:  Chan Luu – can’t find the exact one, but this layering dagger necklace is close


Happy Monday!





  1. YESSS! You just validated my decision to wear my FP slip/tunic/dress over my own black workout shorts a few weeks ago. I did it, I thought it was cute, but still in the back of my mind wondered if I was crazy. Of course, my husband loved it. And it was the perfect choice for an outdoor concert when it was 97°. I love this blog! Thanks, Shana!

  2. Here’s my dilemma. I really want to wear flares like every day. But I can’t deal with the height I need to add to accommodate the flares in a daily basis. I want to be comfortable, casual, flare wearing girl but I just can’t do a heel every day. Also I’m 5’2″ shoe rec for flares?

    • I’m the same height and always have a pair of wide legs or flares tucked in my closet. Child of the 90s I suppose! If you’re adding height, I feel like you need a little platform in the front for comfort. Of course I have sexy platform shoes, but when running with kids I have a great pair of lace up wedge boots from Born that are super comfy. My favorite shoes with flares/wide legs are my Frye campus clogs. Soooo comfy and cute hidden under a flare and perfect for fall (unless you have snow in fall). They are a bit lower and the only drawback I’ve found is that I need a bit more stability when I babywear. Hope that helps!

  3. WOW… your legs are super sexy!! Thanks for this post – I love this top/dress? and have been wondering how I would wear it. love it with the teeny shorts and denim shorts. just wish the back wasn’t quite so long?

  4. I have a similar dress-tunic-thing from Old Navy that has basically been my summer wardrobe this year. It’s more clearly a tunic after it shrank in the wash… I’ve loved it with boyfriend shorts, with cuffed skinnies with Birks, tucked into midi skirts or blousy shorts so it looks like the top part of a dress, etc. When it gets cold outside, I’m going to wear it with the skinnies, Docs, and a long drapey sweater. I hadn’t thought about flares yet, but they look great here! I’ll have to try that, too.

  5. Loving the look with the jean shorts and cropped skinny jeans. The micro/invisible shorts just makes me imagine the looks of horror on the other mom’s faces if you showed up with your kids anywhere! Maybe for a grownups only date. 😉

  6. Ah. This top has been in my basket for a few weeks now. I loved it but wasn’t sure it had the versatility I wanted (and was torn between this and the long sleeve version), I couldn’t only think of wearing with a top extender (any thoughts on those?) and OTK socks or the regular skinny jeans and boots. While I’d love to wear with peek a boo shorts at 5’9″ the appearance of soooooo much leg would just not work but with those flares!ahhhh the flares. I woulda thought the volume wouldn’t work but atlas you made it look like perfection- my hands down favorite look. Thank you great shopping enabler, linking back to the Free People site now.
    PS Loving the Marquis boot. I’m on back order for the Cecile you recommended earlier but kinda thinking I needin’ immediate gratification- do you still think the heel on the Marquis is a bit too high or after having a while are you preferring them to the Cecile?

  7. you have such great style! – l love these dilemma/challenge outfits – It is so great to see a new cut / proportion deconstructed with no risk to my own wallet! 😉

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