Fans of colourful fashion, rejoice! Tie-dye is back in full force this Spring/Summer.
After first being seen in abundance at S/S 2021 shows such as Christian Dior, Gabriela Hearst and Tom Ford, it wasn’t long before this beachy-looking print crashed onto the social media scene.
In fact, with so many people stuck at home recently, DIY tie-dyeing has become a popular way to pass the time.
Want to know how to wear tie dye during the warmer months to look and feel as cool as possible? We’ve got you covered.
What is Tie Dye?
First things first, let’s go back to basics.
Tie dye is a method of producing patterns in textiles by hand. It involves tying portions of the fabric so that they fail to absorb the dye to create a unique splatter-like effect.
Even though tie dyeing can be traced back to the 6th century (yes, really), it didn’t reach peak admiration until later on. In the 1960s it was used as protest art, and in the 1970s it became pop fashion.
Since then, tie dye has filtered in and out of mainstream style. That said, it’s only this season that the major designers have decided to project their own interpretations.
How to Wear Tie Dye to Stay Ahead of the Curve
If you’re trying to figure out how to wear tie dye according to SS21 trends, don’t sweat it. Follow these sacred styling secrets.
Stick to a Key Piece
Most tie dye prints are made up of more than one colour with complex patterns. Because of this, the garment is loud and proud and needs to take centre stage.
In other words, if you’re going to include tie dye in your outfit, let it stand out and do the talking in the form of one key piece. Avoid mixing and matching different tie dye pieces unless you want to clash harder than Mr Blobby in polka dots.
(Blobby, blobby, blobby!)
Some current it-girl tie dye pieces include:
- A crop top
- An oversized hoodie
- A t-shirt dress
- A fitted or oversized sweatshirt
- Joggers or shorts
Tie-dye loungewear sets are also finding momentum, given that lots of us are struggling to leave comfy fashion behind. (It’s just so snugly…)
If all else fails, remember that less is often more when it comes to building a look that sizzles.
Keep it Casj
Speaking of creating your tie dye aesthetic, keep in mind that this print usually comes out to play when the weather gets warmer. It’s often associated with the beach, festivals and laid-back summer soirées.
To put it simply, it works best as part of a casual ensemble. By all means, curl your hair and wear it with a face full of make-up for brunches, pub gardens and everything in between.
However, it might look out of place if you tried to pair it with heels for a night out with your girls or at a smart work event.
Use Neutral Tones for Balance
How to wear tie dye 101: don’t become a head-to-toe walking rainbow. It can look a bit much. (Hey, we didn’t make the rules…)
Instead, use plain neutral separates to tone down your key piece. We’re thinking black, white, grey or beige only! (Blue denim would work too though.)
Let’s re-visit the it-girl pieces of the moment and how you can style them to make the right kind of statement this SS21.
- A Crop Top: Team it with a high-waisted trouser, short or skirt, whether it’s made from denim or jersey fabric, and hi-tops for a fun nineties vibe.
- An Oversized Hoodie: Throw it on over jeans, jeggings or cutoffs for a cute, casual look. Alternatively, wear it with leggings or coordinated joggers for minimum effort, maximum comfort.
- A Fitted or Oversized Sweatshirt: Just like a tie dye hoodie, you can don this piece over jeans, jeggings, denim shorts or a denim skirt for laid-back luxe. You can also rock it with sports leggings or matching joggers or lounge shorts for running errands or popping to the shop.
- Joggers or Shorts: Tuck a plain white tee into tie dye joggers or shorts and add trainers for easy, wearable style. Crop tops also look adorable with high-waisted designs.
- A T-shirt Dress: Opt for bare legs and sandals in the sunshine, or add leggings underneath for transitional sophistication. You could also tuck this versatile number into denim shorts or a skirt and add stompy boots to toughen it up.
We’re loving this Tie Dye ‘Guns and Roses’ T-Shirt Dress by Femme Luxe, especially when paired with their Blue Mid Wash Distressed Denim Shorts, mirrored sunglasses and practical plimsoles. Talk about a simple yet stylish summery look!
Is it feeling a little chilly? With any of these outfits, you can always add a denim or black leather jacket as the perfect finishing touch.
Keep Accessories Minimal
Alongside your outfit pieces, don’t forget to tone down your accessories.
In terms of footwear and bags, stick to plain neutrals, such as black, white, beige, or grey.
Then when it comes to jewellery, choose gold or silver. A subtle necklace, dainty rings or studded earrings would be more in keeping with the rest of your appearance, as opposed to bold and garish items.
After all, let’s face it, the tie-dye piece on its own is enough to make others sit up and take notice.
How to Tie Dye at Home
Lastly, if you did want to give DIY tie dye a go, there are two main ways you can do this.
1. Use Food Colouring
This is where you grab a white garment made from polyester (and not plant-based fabrics like cotton and linen because food colouring is an acid-based dye).
Mix two cups of white vinegar with two cups of water in a large bowl to help the food colouring stain the fabric. Soak your clothes for an hour. Wring out and crumple the fabric using rubber bands.
Then you take one or two colours and apply the dye before leaving it for eight hours so that the dye can properly set.
2. Use Bleach
A TikTok favourite, this tie dye technique involves using bleach on dark fabrics, like a black t-shirt or jumper.
All you do is pinch your fabric to turn it into a tube shape and secure it with elastic bands. Mix one cup of bleach with one cup of water and squirt it all over your fabric.
Cut off the elastic bands completely, rinse the fabric and leave it to dry. Voila!
Get Busy Living, Get Busy Dyeing
From designer style to celebrity style and street style, the tie dye trend has trickled its way into the arms and hearts of the masses.
Whether you’re already a tie dye convert or you’re yet to try it out for yourself, you can’t deny its power to command a crowd.
How will you be wearing tie dye this Spring/Summer?
Katie Davies is the Yorkshire-based freelance writer who founded Trendy Tourist. Since 2017, she has written for over 100 companies on a range of subjects, from fashion to marketing. When she’s not producing content, you can find her shopping, exploring a new place or sitting somewhere having a cup of builder’s tea.