When I was a freshman in high school, I stole a tie-dye Phish T-shirt from my sister, who had in turn stolen it from her best friend, Tiffany. I thought it looked very cool with my flared Abercrombie cargo pants and baby backpack (and let’s be honest...I was right).
Tiffany is now a physical therapist in Wisconsin with four kids, and I doubt she misses that Phish tee most days. Which is honestly her loss, because all of a sudden, it seems, tie-dye is cool again. Thankfully, you are free to hop on the hippie train even if you’ve never seen a Phish show (me) and can’t name any Grateful Dead songs beyond “Box of Rain” (also me).
The key to embracing the tie-dye trend as an adult? Wear it sparingly. You don’t want to become Tie-Dye Guy, wearing the hand-dyed fabric head to toe. One statement piece in this trendy pattern is enough. You can check out Team SG’s favorite options, below.
For those not raised in biking distance of a neighborhood pool where the swim and dive team coaches threw a pizza party-slash-tie-dye rager every summer before the big All-City meet (hands? Bueller?), the tie-dye process generally consists of binding twisted fabric with rubber bands, followed by strategic dip dying.
This T-shirt from Mollusk looks like the well-loved result of one of those summer gatherings. The fabric, a hemp jersey, solidifies its stoner style status. Jerry Garcia would be proud.
The clean lines on this short-sleeve button up sport shirt from Bonobos make for an easy entry into the tie-dye trend without a whiff of patchouli about your look. Pair this crisp yet laid back sport shirt with white jeans and pool slides, or with chino shorts in blue for an on-trend monochromatic summer outfit.
A friend of mine also from Wisconsin introduced me to this brand, whose blocky logo looks like it could have been emblazoned on every pair of middle school-issued gym shorts.
You could opt for the sweatshirt in a more standard grey or black, but why not go all out this summer with your throwback nostalgia in the Midwest Kids’ tie-dye style (named, perhaps unfortunately, the “Coachella”)?
These luxe sweats in a black tie-dye look subtle enough to let you feel like you’re getting away with sneaking in the trend. The slim fit and streamlined on-seam pockets make them as good a choice for a post-gym smoothie date as for a travel day at the airport.
DJ Khaled voice: You already know...that Team SG is way into pool slides this summer. This Vans pair is the perfect way to embrace the colorful trend in a brighter way without feeling like it’s taking over your outfit, or like you’re at risk of someone challenging you to sing all 25 verses of “That Was a Crazy Game of Poker.”
I almost can’t bring myself to say this, but...bucket hats are cool again. I know. I’m as conflicted about it as you are.
But if you’re thinking about switching things up from your standard baseball cap this summer, this tie-dye bucket hat in washed-out shades of blue and purple might just be the way to go. Embrace all the trends at once and get it over with already!
Sorry not sorry I’m still pushing tie-dye swim trunks on you. We included a pair from Canadian brand Bather in this roundup in swirling pastels, but if you’d rather keep things simple, this blue and white pair from Native Youth might be more your speed.
Nike Air T-Shirt, $40
Bubbling up major Hypercolor T-shirt memories, this Nike tee looks vintage but without having to do the work of digging through plastic storage bins filled with oversized tees from your childhood that your parents packed away for you when they downsized to a condo a couple years back.
If you want to keep your hippie dippy leanings undercover, these tie-dye Stance boxer briefs are the way to go.