tie dye fabricThe last time you tie-dyed, your summer-camp instructor probably did most of the work for you. The result: spotty rings of color on one of your dad's old Hanes T-shirts that hung like a shirt dress on your pre-adolescent frame.

Ten years later, tie-dye is no longer for summer camp and music festivals -- it's a chic summer trend that, when worn right, is the perfect addition to a hot-weather wardrobe for any girl on the go. But wearing tie-dye is almost as touchy as actually making it; it can easily get wacky without warning. Read on to see how your tie-dye style ranks on the chic-dye scale.

hippie tie-dye shirt
Band, Brand or Your Boyfriend's Shirt: -2 Points
Are you going to play hacky sack at a Phish concert in that thing? Don't jeopardize a real summer of love by wearing what I like to call "tie-dye trite" -- the kind of tie-dye that's more hippie than hot. Unless you're actually at a jam-band show, keep your tie-dye free of peace signs and dancing bears.

bleach dye jeggings
Bleach-Dye Jeggings: 0 Points

The tie-dye bleached look of "jeggings" like these could be mistaken for, um, a washing mistake. The notoriously controversial legging/jean combo is going to attract eyeballs to begin with – do you really want people asking why you're wearing bleach-stained stretch-jeans?


tie dye skirtLayered Wrap: +2 Points
Wraps are weird territory. Most of us inlanders don't have much practical use for them, but these beach-main stays deserve at least 2 style points. Keep a tie-dye wrap around for pool-side style or as a post-yoga cover-up on cold mornings. Or throw one over leggings so you can transition from the gym to errands with colorful ease.

c and c california tie-dye blue maxi dress
Maxi Dress: +4 Points

Empire-waist maxi dresses in subdued tie-dye brights are sweet replacements for last summer's bold, futuristic patterns. Opt for a floor-brushing length in pale pink, purple or yellow blocks of dye. The sweeping colors of the will elongate your frame and leave you feeling comfortable and cool.

tie dye scarf
Head Scarves: +6 Points

Wrap a tie-dye scarf around your head twice (starting at your forehead) and knot in the back for colorful chic head gear. But if the idea of wearing a head scarf makes you feel more like a cleaning lady than a contemporary girl, try it as a belt or around your neck to keep warm after the sun sets. Tie-dye bandannas, on the other hand, are best left for the dog.


tie dye shoulder bag
Shoulder Bag: +8 Points

A tie-dye bag is the perfect middle ground. Maximize your tie-dye chic by keeping your core outfit simple; stick to solid colors so the bag is eye-catching, and not eye-clashing. Tie-dye bags are easy to make on your own, too (see next step).

idye packet
DIY: +10 Points
The best answer to "Where did you get that?" is, hands-down, "Actually, I made it." Forgo the oversize tees from your childhood for any modern equivalent worth styling. Socks, underwear, cotton workout shorts/tops and even beach towels are eye-catching alternatives to just another tired tee. Too busy? Throw an iDye packet into the wash to reveal the tie-dye potential you never knew you had.

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sammy davis vintageSammy Davis spends her days doing what any thrift store nut loves most: finding beautiful vintage clothing to bring into the closets of the contemporary NYC girl through her company, Sammy Davis Vintage. When not rummaging through closets or in the racks of thrift stores across the Northeast, Sammy is talking to the camera, happily oversharing on Twitter or logging miles and keeping track of her health in her food and fitness journal. Got a question about fashion, health or just feeling good about life? Drop her a line at sammy@sammydvintage.com, and she'll hit you back ASAP.