A Gentleman’s Guide

How To Make The Tie-Dye Trend Work For You

Six ways to wear the colourful, blotchy print of the moment – without going full-Grateful Dead

  • New York, SS19. Photograph by Mr Matthew Sperzel/Getty Images

If the words “tie-dye” conjure the ripe aroma of patchouli oil, the wan clink of finger cymbals, or visions of massed flower children, it’s time to think again. The resist-dyeing technique has been, well, hard to resist over the past couple of seasons, adding pops of colour – or splotches, or daubs, or saturations – to everything from T-shirts to dress shirts to sneakers. And the range of looks go from full-on Fabulous Furry Freak Brother to marbled minimalism. Scroll down for six different ways to tie-dive in.


01. RIDE THE COLOUR WHEEL

  • Milan, SS19. Photograph by Mr Szymon Brzóska/The Style Stalker

The first rule of tie-dye, as exemplified by this gentleman’s outfit: if you’re going to go for it, you can’t be a shrinking violet. On the contrary; you’re required to be an ever-expanding kaleidoscope of, in this instance, jasmine yellows, sage greens and starburst whites. Basically, the tonal equivalents of a Grateful Dead jam. And as if the gentleman hadn’t covered enough of the spectrum, he bookends the tee with the bold blue stripes of the shirt and hat. With a look this winningly vivid, we’d say that sunglasses – whatever the weather – and a muted expression, as here, are less an option, more a necessity.

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02. BLOT YOUR COPYBOOK

  • New York, SS19. Photograph by Mr Szymon Brzóska/The Style Stalker

If you didn’t think that tie-dye could make a subtle splash, then check out the artfully-applied mauve on this gentleman’s short-sleeved shirt. Not only do they resemble the action-painting abstract-expressionist motifs with which the likes of Mr Cy Twombly or Ms Helen Frankenthaler were wont to adorn their highly covetable canvases, but they also offer a hang-loose, less-uptight, more-out-of-sight contrast to the methodical checks, grids and columns of the trousers, cap and cross-body bag. This is, well, a smear campaign that we can all get behind.

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03. GET INTO A HIGHER GEAR

  • New York, SS19. Photograph by Mr Matthew Sperzel/Getty Images

Wearing your oversized trench coat and stonewashed jeans with a plain tee in standard navy, khaki or white sometimes just won’t cut it. Pairing them with a subbed-in tie-dye tee whose randomly-strewn shades and circles of turquoise, blue and poppy-red offset the neutrals triumphantly; well, that’s the type of boost we can get behind. Add in the rucked-up sleeves, the bracelet assortment, and the studied insouciance of the thumb placement, and you can see that this is one gentleman who – to coin a phrase – lives his life a quarter mile at a time.

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  • The Elder Statesman Tie-Dyed Intarsia Cashmere Sweater



04. FREAK OUT

  • Milan, SS19. Photograph by Mr Phil Oh/Art Partner

One key advantage of embracing the classic oversized, rainbow-hued, acid-house, which-way-to-Madchester tie-dye look is that you can constantly dwell in your Happy Place – whether that’s Burning Man’s 7 Sins Lounge, Glastonbury’s Shangri-La or Coachella’s Energy Playground – even when strolling down a pretty prosaic suburban street. This gentleman maintains his 24-Hour Party Person vibe with the help of an in-your-face slogan (the “Wasted” bit is obviously in invisible ink), some dance marathon-ready shorts, a tote loaded with essential supplies (energy drink, whistle, glowstick), a primary-coloured cardigan and an expression that says “I am the tie-dye resurrection”.

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05. PRESENT ARMS

  • New York, SS19. Photograph by Mr Phil Oh/Art Partner

Into battle with the tie-dye territorials? It’s not as much of a culture clash as you might think. For a while now, tie-dye has been following the opposite trajectory to the sneaker – ie, from maximalist to minimalist – and the fine turquoise marbling on this gentleman’s shirt resembles nothing so much as Desert Storm-style camo, an association he seems keen to play up with his rolled khaki shorts, buzz cut and olive-green kit bag. The numerous tattoos also offer him a chance to play the patterns off against each other. Would it pass muster on the parade ground? We think it would be a winning look for the 1st Inkfantry Division…

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06. Give fleece a chance

  • Paris, January 2019. Photograph by Mr Adam Katz Sinding

The sight of tie-dye on an impossibly fluffy fleece may shock those who pigeonhole the pattern into strictly sun and surf contexts. Us? We applaud this chap’s ability to kill two birds with one stone: that is, nail two trends simultaneously. The fact that he’s managed to match it to his splattered trail-type sneakers is only further proof of his sheer skill in this regard. But back to the main event: the fuzzy number is brought to you by knitwear-specialist The Elder Statesman, who know more than a thing or two about keeping toasty warm in what, judging by his companions puffa, appears to be icy-cold conditions. More good news? It’s available to shop at MR PORTER right now. Aren’t you a lucky lot.

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To dye for

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