Monday, August 3, 2009

Tie-Dye: Not just for Hippies

photo by Mike Yoder, Lawrence Journal World

In my youth, I remember the home-made process of wearable art: tie-dye. After filling basins with dye I would dip my rubber-banded, twisted, looped-up t-shirts, socks, purses, headbands--you name it--into the colorful solutions, and wait impatiently for them to dry...then be washed...then dry again! Still, my creations never looked as profession as I hoped (but they never looked manufactured either...which I did not want).
Now, somehow wearing tie-dye feels unprofessional and far too casual. And, I suppose the bold combination of colors is a tad overwhelming for my taste. When I began to see tie-dye popping up on the runways--and in turn, on the shelves--I was skeptical; however, after seeing the cool color combinations of the Michael Kors Resort 09 Collection, I was convinced: tie-dye can be chic.

Just shop this trend with caution. Follow these guidelines to pick out your perfect tie-dye fashion item:

-Embrace more feminine shapes that incorporate tie-dye. Flowing, ethereal fabrics provide easy movement and draw attention gradually down the length of your body, elongating your frame.

-Look for simply dyed pieces--not every color in the rainbow. Dip-dyed items in variations of one color look classy (for example, a beige, pink or coral dress that is brightest at the hemline and fades into more subtle colors).

-Silk pieces dyed in simple, clean colors provide sharp lines, and the sheen of the fabric beautifully highlights each color variant.

-Don't buy tie-dyed clothing with patches or graphics if you are going for a dressed-up look.

-Look for an edgier tie-dye that is not so much 60's love-and-peace but more...boho chic.

-Pair your tie-dyed pieces with simple clothing. Too many patterns thrown together will give you a busy, hectic look--the opposite of serene and natural. Wear a dyed top with trousers or jeans and gladiator sandals. Also, don't wear more than one tie-dyed piece at once (unless they are very subtle and spread apart). Wear simple jewelry and accessories that don't distract from the fun, tie-dye pattern in your outfit.

-Do try the new tie-dyed jeans look, but again, keep the other pieces plain. A monochrome grey or white tank top, bangles, and heels would be perfect for a night out.

-Check out American Apparel's tie-dye collection. Leggings and t-shirt dresses have all been dyed for a super-hip look.

Roberto Cavalli has a brilliant Keywest Silk Tie-dye Caftan, Kimichi Blue makes a Tie-Dye Clutch with natural colors--the perfect envelope clutch,
and Brian Atwood's Ontario Tie-Dyed Boots are fabulous (their slouched look physically blends matching the aesthetic of blended colors in the fabric),

The tie-dye trend is flattering and young in subtle colors. For more ideas, check out Michael Kors, Miu Miu, Christian Lacrox, and Moshino.

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