The art of tie-dyeing, a process of resist-dyeing textiles by folding material into a pattern, securing the folds with string or rubber bands and then applying different colored dyes to the exposed parts of the fabric, had been fully developed by China and Japan as early as the sixth century AD. It became popular in America in the 1960s during the hippie movement, and has recently made a resurgence into current fashion. While some tie-dye patterns are quite lovely, the wild and often discordant colors of 1970s tie-dye fashions never really appealed to me.
Last week, however, I succumbed to the lure of a rayon top in a simple black and white tie-dyed pattern embellished with sparkly studs by International Concepts (INC) for Macy’s. I had been casting about for something casual but festive to wear on a plane trip to the west coast. Specifically, I was in search of some black boot-cut jeans that I could dress up or down as I pleased. Macy’s happened to fill the bill there, as well, by having in stock a pair of high-waisted "Perfectly Slimming" Levi’s 512 boot-cut black jeans in my size. These comfortable jeans had a smattering of sparkly studs on the back pockets, so when I spied the black and white tie-dyed INC top with similar adornment a few minutes later, I couldn’t resist putting an outfit together out of both garments.
Back at home, I washed and dried the jeans in an effort to shrink them just a bit, and still had to use my sewing machine to take them in at the waist about an inch. In the end, I had a perfectly fitting pair of new black jeans to take me to the west coast and through the summer months ahead, and a fun, tie-dyed top to wear with black or white pants and shorts.
I put the black jeans and the tie-dyed top together today for my commute to the Library of Congress, and added some black and crystal beaded necklaces, bracelet and earrings that had belonged to my grandmother. My heirloom costume jewelry was the only thing I wore today that was not recently purchased. My bracelet watch is from a store at the Dallas airport, the stretchy bracelet of black stones is a local find, and my high-heeled loafers are Studio Paolo for JCPenney. No matter. My pulled together look might draw inspiration from across the decades, but today it was one hundred percent modern.