The 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.
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: 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?Layered 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Sammy 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
, and she'll hit you back ASAP.