Tie-Dye Is Back – Are Obnoxious Plaids Next?

Tie-Dye Is Back – Are Obnoxious Plaids Next?


Some fashion trends deserve to die and never be brought back. At the top of the list are those cutesy little leggings teenage girls wore in the 1980s. Please be gone – forever. To some people, tie-dye is in the same category. But now it is back in a big way. What’s next, those obnoxious plaids from the 1970s?

The Today Show ran a piece, just about a year ago, talking about the sudden surge in tie-dye. They offered a very compelling reason explaining why tie-dye was the hottest thing in coronavirus lockdown fashion. It doesn’t explain why it’s still so popular 13 months after lockdowns began. Oh well, it is what it is.

Let us explore the Today Show‘s justification for tie-dye. Then we’ll compare it to the previously mentioned obnoxious plaids worn by disco dancers and high school students alike, back when The Mod Squad was a thing.

We Needed Something to Do

Coronavirus lockdowns were just beginning when the Today Show ran their peace in April 2020. We were told 15 days in mid-March. By the time mid-April rolled around, it was evident that no one really knew how long lockdowns would persist. But we all knew one thing: we needed something to do.

Not being able to leave the house seemed like a vacation for the first 10 or 12 days. A month later, our homes felt like prisons. We were tired of binge-watching Netflix and Disney +. Professional sports were off the table and the kids were peeling the paint off the walls to entertain themselves.

Tie-dye offered a way out. Apparently, those feeling especially crafty decided to learn how to do tie-dye during lockdown. It seems like they tie-dyed everything they could lay their hands on. From T-shirts to those old sweatpants that were previously worn only on Saturday mornings, no piece of clothing was off-limits.

Now that the world is emerging, one could hope that tie-dye fades again. It hasn’t happened. Not only can you still create your own tie-dye artworks at home, but retailers are also selling tie-dye clothing off the rack. Even relatively new retailers, like LatinX specialist Plurawl, are getting in on the game. Plurawl sells tie-dyed latino sweatshirts with Spanish graphics and messages.

Just Say No to Plaid

I suppose we can live with tie-dye if we have to. We can cut some slack to the crafty among us, understanding that tie-dye gives them a new hobby that keeps them out of trouble. But there is no justification for bringing back plaids.

There is nothing wrong with plaid in and of itself. But in the 1970s, fashion designers didn’t have the good sense to look up the word ‘moderation’. Everything was plaid, and obnoxiously so. This writer remembers owning a pair of plaid bell bottoms that were so noisy they could have kept Rip van Winkle awake.

There’s just no excuse for a dress so obnoxiously plaid that the wearer looks like a walking checkerboard. And of course, those plaid jumpers private school students used to wear were enough to make you lose your lunch. Forest green and bright yellow does not a beautiful plaid make.

They say that fashion is cyclical. That is true to a certain point. But not all fashion trends rise from the ashes. Let’s face it, nobody has worn a zoot suit since the stock market crash of 1929. Let’s keep it that way. If we have to live with tie-dye once again, let’s at least do our best to keep obnoxious plaids hidden away. Letting that genie out of the bottle would be a huge fashion mistake.


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