Introduction

Patterns and prints are big business this season, and it doesn’t look like the trend is going to die down anytime soon.

From embroidered shorts to bold print shirts, slightly louder pieces are becoming a hallmark of many well dressed gents’ style. Of course, you have your standard geometric prints, polka dots, camouflage and the like, but today I would like to suggest just one more to add your wardrobe. The 1960s throwback, beloved by hippies and peace lovers across the world: tie-dye.

Tie-Dye Revolution

We’re all familiar with tie-dye – I’m sure some of you owned a few pieces when you were younger and I’ve no doubt that many of your parents pretty much lived in it. Yet despite past misdemeanours and the harrowing memories of childhood fashion faux pas, tie-dye is definitely making a comeback within the industry.

Bold prints are one of the easiest ways to make your outfit stand out from the crowd – they show confidence and a fashion forward way of thinking. When you consider how easy it is to just pull on a printed tee and go, it really is a wonder why more people aren’t getting involved.

Tie-dye is a love or hate thing; you won’t really find a middle ground and, equally, it will either suit your style or it won’t. As with anything in fashion, there is no point in shoehorning a piece into your wardrobe that clearly doesn’t suit your personal style, just because it’s the ‘next big thing’. It’s a waste of time and a waste of money.

For those of you that feel a couple of tie-dye pieces would slot effortlessly into your look, take baby steps before a headlong plunge. Tie-dye is definitely a statement pattern and likely to raise some eyebrows – start small with a fairly neutral coloured tee and then build up the patterns and colours as you feel more confident.

I would avoid going for anything other than dip-dye on pieces like shorts or shirts, as tie-dye can become overwhelming on more structured or larger items.

Finally, don’t mix your patterns: tie-dye on tie-dye is never, EVER going to work.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Tie-Dye & Dip-Dye Lookbook

asos ss13asos ss13topman ss13pull & bear ss13river island ss13zara man ss12band of outsiders ss13urban outfitters ss12drykorn ss133bbc ss13river island ss12Faconnable ss13
Do It Yourself

Browse your local high street and you’ll find many retailers peddling tie-dye pieces in all shapes, sizes, colours and patterns this season – with the majority charging a pretty penny for it.

If tie-dye appeals to you, then seriously consider doing it yourself. It’s stupidly easy, takes no time at all and is dangerously addictive. Below is the method I use to make my own tie-dye tees:

  1. Visit Primark – There really isn’t any point in spending a lot of money on your base items, as this method is a bit unpredictable in its results. Look for multi-buy offers at budget retailers or experiment on old pieces you don’t intend to wear anymore. The reason the tie-dye trend is so good is because it’s so damn cheap to get involved with. I picked up three t-shirts for £9, spent a pound on two bottles of bleach and that is literally all you need.
  2. Use Bleach – The easiest way to do tie-dye is to bleach a coloured item, rather than dye something plain. This way you save money on dye and it’s a much quicker and simpler process. Take a plain, block-colour tee, shirt or jumper and put it in a bowl of bleach and hot water. But not before you have tied them up, of course…
  3. Tie-Dye – Use rubber bands, hair ties, or just knot it up in whichever way you fancy, then drop it in the bleach and leave it until the colours start to change. Bear in mind the bits you tie will be the sections that remain the original colour; the rest will bleach. When you buy tie-dye pieces on the high street, every shirt/tee has a similar pattern, meaning they look too structured and mass-produced. You can guarantee that someone, somewhere will have bought the same thing as you. By doing it yourself you can create something totally unique, with a completely individual pattern that no one else will have.
  4. The Dip-Dye Alternative - For a dip-dye effect, simply dip the bit you want to change colour in the bleach and water solution and leave the rest hanging out the bowl. Why not go wild and dip-dye and tie-dye the same item?
  5. Soak And Wash – Leave the garment in the bleach and hot water solution until the colour begins to change, then remove it when you like what you see. Rinse it out in cold water and then throw it in the washing machine to remove the rest of the bleach. Remember that the item will continue to bleach in the time it takes to rinse out. It will also look different once it has dried out.
  6. Lower Your Expectations – Doing this at home is unpredictable, so don’t expect anything to come out exactly as you thought it would. Colours will be completely random but, really, that’s part of the appeal and what makes it so unique. Embrace the unknown and go for it.
Key Pieces

If you still can’t be bothered to create your own, here is a selection of current season tie-dye/dip-dye pieces:

  • Asos Dip Dye PoloAsos Dip Dye Polo
  • Reclaimed Vintage T-shirt With Tie-dye PrintReclaimed Vintage T-shirt With Tie-dye Print
  • Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren T-shirt With Tie Dye PrintDenim & Supply Ralph Lauren T-shirt With Tie Dye Print
  • Altamont Crew Sweatshirt Tie DyeAltamont Crew Sweatshirt Tie Dye
  • River Island Shirt In Tie Dye DenimRiver Island Shirt In Tie Dye Denim
  • Wood Wood Shirt With Dip Dye PrintWood Wood Shirt With Dip Dye Print
  • Vintage Renewal Tie-dye TeeVintage Renewal Tie-dye Tee
  • Stussy Aqua Circles Tie-dye TeeStussy Aqua Circles Tie-dye Tee
  • Worland Spiral Tie-dye Tee In BlueWorland Spiral Tie-dye Tee In Blue
  • Topman Burgundy Tie Dye VestTopman Burgundy Tie Dye Vest
  • Topman Blue Denim Tie Dye ShortsTopman Blue Denim Tie Dye Shorts
  • Paul Smith Jeans Teal Dip Dye T-shirtPaul Smith Jeans Teal Dip Dye T-shirt
  • Burton Grey Nepp Dip Dye Polo ShirtBurton Grey Nepp Dip Dye Polo Shirt
  • River Island Blue Dip Dye Roll Sleeve Oxford ShirtRiver Island Blue Dip Dye Roll Sleeve Oxford Shirt
  • River Island Light Pink Dip Dye Chino ShortsRiver Island Light Pink Dip Dye Chino Shorts
  • New Look Pale Blue Dip Dye Turn Up Denim ShortsNew Look Pale Blue Dip Dye Turn Up Denim Shorts
  • River Island Dark Denim Ombre Dip Dye JacketRiver Island Dark Denim Ombre Dip Dye Jacket
  • Asos Skinny Jeans In Dip DyeAsos Skinny Jeans In Dip Dye
Final Word

Tie-dye is undoubtedly a passing trend. It is a flash mob fashion statement that will survive for no more than a couple of seasons, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worthy of your consideration.

It’s by no means for everyone. It will not suit the man more used to smarter dressing, nor will it suit men who are reserved with colour choices. However, for a select few, it could well be the statement of the season.

The perfect combination of colour and pattern, wear your tie-dye all summer long and don’t feel guilty when it falls apart – it has served its purpose and that’s all that matters. It’s cheap, easy and fun to do and its unpredictability is what makes it so individual. Hark back to the 1960s and embrace something other than the mods or rockabilly; think peace and love.

That said, I would like to hear your thoughts on tie-dye in the comments section below. Are you a fan? Will you be making your own? Let me know…

Will