Now more than ever, designers are embracing the free nature of tie-dye patterns in a range of garments and accessories. These colorful, easily DIY-ed designs are making fashion fun. That being said, though the style is often first associated with the hippie culture of the ‘60s and jam bands like the Grateful Dead (who are still touring, albeit with new members), tie-dying was practiced across the world centuries before “Shakedown Street” was recorded. It's a serious art form after all.
That's lead to more and more contemporary designers embracing the technique’s rich heritage. From complex shibori patterns to amorphous space-dyed designs, tie-dye clothing adds a casual element to our collective wardrobes, which have long been dominated by traditional patterns like checks, plaids and stripes. Below, you'll find several tie-dyed garments — from tie-dyed shirts to socks — to try on for size (as well as some tips on how to pull them off).
Six Ways to Wear Tie Dye
These Japanese socks are made from a cotton-poly blend and feature understated aqua hues. Pair them with minimal canvas or leather sneakers and jeans with an inseam hit at the ankle (either cuffed or hemmed). While you’ve got more freedom to wear shirts or jackets in different colors and patters, if you choose to wear something more neutral, the socks will garner more interest.
Tie Dye T-Shirt
Made from a hemp-cotton blend, this t-shirt has a washed-out purple tie-dye pattern. Wear it alone with chinos on a warmer day or pair it with a denim jacket during more temperate stretches. If you choose to wear it with an overshirt, pick something that is a solid color as opposed to plaids or patterns.
Made in L.A. from 55 percent hemp and 45 percent cotton, this crewneck sweatshirt is more laid-back than the vivid pink hoodie below. Pastel pinks are still present, but they're accompanied by oranges and yellows. Wear as you would a normal sweatshirt, and pair with jeans or chinos. The darker your trousers, the more the tie-dye pattern will be accented.
Instead of athletic-inspired motifs, Outerknown opts for an all-over, sky-like pattern. The subtle juxtaposition of natural tan peaking through the pastel pinks captivates and plays well in a number of scenarios. Keep it casual with washed-out jeans and sneakers.
Bather's swim trunks are made from 100 percent recycled nylon, which lends durability and structure. The pattern on these shorts, however, overshadows their impressive design: It was made using a traditional Japanese shibori method called ne-maki, a style that creates lots of circular dye spots. Pair this with a plain black or blue T-shirt and dark sandals (or white sneakers).
This hand-spun piece of cashmere knitwear makes a statement. To keep the statement straightforward, wear it with a white tee underneath, washed-out jeans and casual sneakers. You should feel comfortable accessorizing with other more fashion-forward sunglasses or necklaces, though.