Garment Dyed Clothes Make Your Outfits Look Way More Chill

If you’ve ever spent a summer day roaming around a gift shop in New England, you’re probably familiar with the off-the-clock charm of garment-dyed clothes. These days, though, the process of giving your garms a well-worn je nais se quois is a decidedly more global affair. As the prep renaissance continues to pick up steam and Gen Z’s thrifting craze shows no signs of abating, garment-dyed clothes feel fresher than ever—and pieces that look like they were rescued from a very sick yard sale in Maine are startlingly ubiquitous.

Usually, a roll of fabric is dyed first, then cut into the pattern of your new jacket, T-shirt, jeans, whatever. Garment dyeing inverts the process by dunking said jacket, T-shirt, or what have you in the dye bath after it’s already been constructed, yielding a variance in color and character that approximates the patina vintage grails only accrue after years of hard wear. (Garment washing— where a fabric is dyed, constructed, and then rinsed until it fades—also results in a similar look.)

Garment dyeing isn’t new, exactly; for decades, some of the biggest brands in the biz have used the process to imbue their wares with a unique, lived-in feel. (Flip through any J.Crew or Ralph Lauren catalog from the ‘90s and you’ll find yourself, uh, awash in garment-dyed goodness.) In 2023, you can still find plenty of garment-dyed vacation mainstays. But right now, brands across the menswear gamut are making a glorious case in favor of garment-dyed everything: psychedelic chore jackets, groovy bucket hats, slouchy work pants. Sure, the the merry-go-round of menswear means everything old (and old-looking) is new again, but the garment-dyed joints below are proof that the time-tested process still has a few tricks up its perfectly wabi-sabi sleeve.

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