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High Fashion, Vol. 2 — Tie Dye, It’s What’s For Dinner

We ask the hard questions, like, “What the hell is up with tie dye?”

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Greetings, my fellow enthusiasts of marijuana, fashion, and marijuana fashions! Last week, I offered the world a few essential rules for how to dress if you’re a guy who smokes pot. It was great. Everyone had a good time reading it. But now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of stoner fashions. Like, tie dye. What the fuck is up with it?

According to some shit I just found on Wikipedia, a bunch of ancient-ish different cultures developed tie dying independently of each other, which means it’s one of the most innately human ways we have of turning our stuff different colors. In the 60s, the technique was picked up by the hippies as a way to make one-of-a-kind garments on the cheap, and filtered upwards through fashion from there. Soon enough, you started finding designer goods in tie dye and like everything else, wearing tie dye became an aesthetic rather than an ideological statement.

These days, tie dye is still associated with stoners, because people have no imagination and their frame of reference for stuff is basically nonexistent. Still! There are ways to wear tie dye that won’t scream “POTHEAD!” Instead, they will whisper “pothead,” or perhaps merely imply “pothead.” Perhaps they will give off no associations with pot at all. In which case, you win, because there is no greater thrill than being high around people who don’t know you’re high. The point is that tie dye, just like pot, isn’t just for potheads anymore.

Really, the first trick to pulling off tie dye is not wearing tie dye t-shirts. It’s what we in “the biz” call “a bad look.” If you’re a stoner, everyone will expect you to be wearing a tie dye t-shirt, which means if you wear one they’ll know you’re high. In fashion (as well as espionage, I guess, but this isn’t a column about being a spy, unless you’re a spy who smokes pot), it’s better to keep people on their toes. I have a pair of tie dye lacrosse shorts and a tie dye snapback, and I find that they’re pretty well-received (much to my horror, my shorts actually appeared in New York Magazine one time). You could wear tie dye shoes, too, but I don’t know why you would want to do that. Your shoes are way too close to the ground, which means they get dirty easily, which means that if you wear tie dye shoes, they will soon look like shit.

OK, you can wear tie dye t-shirts, too. If we’re being honest, I’m pretty sure I own at least seven. But good tie dye should involve two colors maximum—one color should serve as the base, i.e. the color the shirt would actually be, and the other should serve as the color that modifies the base. Too many colors, and it looks like you tie dyed an undershirt on the quad, and that’s just lame. On top of that, see if you can find one that isn’t just a straight-up Hanes undershirt. I own a purple and blue long-sleeve tie dye that’s got a SIQ Grateful Dead graphic on it, and I’ve got another that’s a tank top with lines of color splotched across it rather than traditional swirly splotches of color. Yet another is purple—extremely underrated color in tie dying—with orange at the base, like my torso is a pumpkin that’s overflowing with purple drank.

Equally important here is fit and feel—a good t-shirt should be ridiculously soft, and a bit oversized. The softness stuff is pretty self-explanatory—it is super fun to wear a shirt that feels like butter on your skin. In the past few years big ass t-shirts have come into vogue, and if you’re a stoner (or at least me) this is great news. As your 20s bleed into your 30s, your metabolism slows down and suddenly all those snacks you were eating to satisfy the munchies don’t just run through you, they settle in your middle and make you kind of fat. I hide the fact that I don’t work out with big ass t-shirts, and you should too.

So. What have we learned here? Tie dye is actually good, big shirts are also good, and nobody knows that you’re high (except me).