Flashback to the psychedelic ’60s — when practically everyone owned a rainbow-colored, starburst-pattern tee. It seems we're once again captivated by color play, but today’s trendiest dye techniques have a sophisticated twist. Prada put the look back on the map, and since then many designers have followed suit, turning this into the hottest trend of summer. While you'll find examples everywhere from the mall to local boutiques, it’s also easy to create your own. Bobbie Thomas, TODAY Style editor and author of the Buzz column for In Touch weekly, tells you how.
Today’s take on the trend
What feels fresh about this season’s dyed designs is the bohemian-meets-beautiful way the technique has been reinvented. Irregular arcs, watery rainbow effects and monochromatic shading are current ways of donning dyed garments. Ombre, which is French for shadow, refers to color bleeding, and has become an extremely popular part of this trend. Helping to hype and highlight the faded fad are celebrities from Angelina Jolie, in vintage Hermes on the Oscar red carpet, to Jennifer Garner toting her degrade Prada bag about town. Graduated color has certainly gone glamorous, but that’s not to say it isn't a casual, cool option as well. You'll spot these styles on everything from flowy evening frocks to the simplest daytime cotton. And it’s easy to understand why — not only can dyed garments be gorgeous, they are often figure-flattering, too.
What you saw on TODAY: Natalie Morales' dress: Diane von Furstenberg $278.60, ShopBop.com; Bobbie Thomas' tunic: $100, Gypsy05.com; On mannequin: Akiko silk tie dye dip dress, $198, NeimanMarcus.com; On display: "Simply Vera" Vera Wang ombre satchel and silk scarf: $14-$45, Kohls.com, Aldo Garlanda pumps: $65, Aldo.com, Nine West Viva shopper: $85, NineWest.com, Accessory Network buckle-up satchel: $20, (212) 842-3000, Oversize tie dye scarf: $15, shopUtopia.com; On Soroya:French Connection dip-dye dress: $178, Macys.com, Scarf: $9.90, HM.com; On Daniella: Tie-dye dolman top: $58, ArdenB.com, Buffalo white jeans, Cejon ombre shawl: $38, Macys.com
Go green with your own closet by shopping there first for garments that could use an update. And think twice about deeply discounted damaged items. Tie-dyeing can breath new life into a faded top or stained skirt — all you need are a few simple supplies. All-purpose dye is often available at your local supermarket, while Michaels arts and crafts stores offer a plethora of supplies that range from basic to specialty one-step solutions such as Tulip's Fashion Dyes. You can even find complete kits to help you get started on Target.com.
Now, do it yourself!
Dip-dye — As discussed above, the fluid watercolor and fading patterns of ombre designs are a chic and understated way to embrace the trend. When deciding what exactly to dip-dye, you may want to consider a long dress or skirt. After wearing a full-length frock a few times, the ends can sometimes stain from sweeping the floor, and dip-dyeing is the perfect solution to this dilemma. Furthermore, this smart shading technique can have an elongating effect and help balance your silhouette, resulting in a play on proportion that is flattering to the figure.
Tie-dye — In this case, it’s all about folding, knotting, twisting and tying in order to create patterns. Liquid dye or a saturated string or rope can help create the stain, while removable wax is used to create designs and to block dye from adhering to fabric in batik techniques. When sorting through your own closet for tie-dyeing options, remember this type of dyeing is great for camouflaging stains, or for reinventing something that seems too simple. And when choosing colors, you may want to consider monochromatic or complimentary hues. They feel especially modern at the moment compared to stark color contrasting.
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