Best Tie-Dye Sweatshirts

Updated October 2021
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Buying guide for best tie-dye sweatshirts

If you’re looking for something to brighten up your loungewear, a tie-dye sweatshirt will certainly do the trick. Tie-dye sweatshirts are for everyone who takes a playful approach to clothing, so there’s no reason why you can’t try this bold fashion choice.

The first thing you’ll need to consider is what style of sweatshirt you would like, such as a hoodie or a standard crewneck. Then you’ll want to think about your preferred tie-dye pattern and which colors you’re into. There are plenty of options, from classic psychedelic mixes of primary colors to more modern muted earth tones — tie-dye isn’t always loud and bright! You’ll also need to make sure your chosen sweatshirt has a good fit, whether oversized or with a sleeker silhouette.

Our buying guide has everything you need to know about tie-dye sweatshirts, including how much you should expect to pay for this comfy trend. When you’re ready to buy, check out our picks for the best tie-dye sweatshirts on the market.

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Tie-dye sweatshirts can never look formal, but they can look fashionable if you pair them with the right bottoms.

Key considerations

Sweatshirt styles

You can find tie-dye sweatshirts in a range of styles. The most popular sweatshirt styles are hoodies, crewneck sweatshirts, oversized sweatshirts, and cold-shoulder sweatshirts.

  • Hoodies: Tie-dye sweatshirts with hoods are a common option. Usually, these hoodies have a large front pocket and no zipper, but you can occasionally find a zippered tie-dye hoodie. This is one of the most casual tie-dye sweatshirt options, ideal for lounging around the house. Tie-dye hoodies can also be worn instead of a jacket on a moderately cold day.
  • Crewneck sweatshirts: Crewneck tie-dye sweatshirts have a simple round neck design like crewneck sweaters. They can have elastic cuffs at the sleeves and the hem of the sweatshirt, or they can have a plain stitch without elastic cuffs or hems. Crewneck options are versatile and work with a wide range of looks.
  • Oversized sweatshirts: Oversized tie-dye sweatshirts have an extra-large fit, which adds to their vintage ‘90s style. You can find options that are intentionally oversized, or you can just buy a couple sizes up from your actual size.
  • Cold-shoulder sweatshirts: Tie-dye cold-shoulder sweatshirts have cut-outs at the shoulder. They’re usually worn with a sleeveless top underneath to expose bare shoulder skin, but you could opt to have sleeves of a contrasting color show through, which will also keep you warmer when the weather is on the chillier side.

Tie-dye patterns

If you’ve spent some time looking at tie-dye garments, you’ll notice there are a wide range of tie-dye patterns that can be featured on sweatshirts. These are some popular options that you might want to consider.

  • Spiral: This is where tie-dye colors form into a simple spiral pattern. Often several colors are used to make the swirl more dramatic.
  • Bullseye: In this tie-dye pattern, you’ll see several concentric circles that look a bit like bullseyes. Each circle can be a different color, or they can all be one hue, separated by white lines.
  • Heart: The heart tie-dye pattern is much like the bullseye but with heart shapes instead of circles.
  • Crumple: If you see seemingly random splotches of color all over a sweatshirt, it was probably tie-dyed using the crumple method.
  • Stripes: Tie-dye stripes can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. They can be multicolored or use just one color with the white of the sweatshirt showing through.
  • Dots: Although slightly less common, it’s possible to make a polka dot-like pattern on tie-dye garments. It’s not a classic tie-dye look, but it can be quite pleasing.

Size and fit

If you know your size, it should be easy enough to choose a tie-dye sweatshirt that fits. But some sweatshirts run large or small, so it’s a good idea to take your measurements and compare them to the manufacturer’s sizing chart if there’s one available. Also pay attention to the fit of the sweatshirt. For instance, if a certain sweatshirt is designed to be tight-fitting and you prefer a slightly looser fit, you should order one or two sizes up. Conversely, you can size down to get a tighter fit if that’s what you prefer.

Tie-dye sweatshirts can be a great choice for casual nights out, concerts, and music festivals.

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Features

Colors

When you think about tie-dye, you might picture the bright colors found on psychedelic ‘70s tie-dye garments, but that’s just the start. You can find a whole range of color options, including black-and-white tie-dye, pale pastels, subtle earth tones, and rich jewel tones. Some tie-dye sweatshirts feature just one color, plus the white of the sweatshirt below, to achieve their tie-dye effect, whereas others use four or five different colors. The color choice is all yours. Perhaps you want to go all out with the busiest tie-dye you can find, or perhaps you want a subtler tie-dye look with neutral colors.

Material

The majority of tie-dye sweatshirts are made from cotton. Tie-dyeing doesn’t work especially well on synthetics, so polyester sweatshirts are out. That said, you can find some poly-cotton blends, as long as the material is significantly richer in cotton than it is in polyester. While you can tie-dye wool, the results tend to be unpredictable, so you’ll rarely come across any tie-dye knitwear.

Thickness and warmth

Standard cotton jersey sweatshirts are warm enough for a mild day, but they won’t serve you well when frost is nipping at your nose. They can be made thicker with an additional lining, which will make the sweatshirt significantly warmer. The coziest tie-dye sweatshirts have fleece linings that are ideal for the coldest days.

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DID YOU KNOW?
If bold primary colors aren’t your thing, you can find tie-dye sweatshirts in more muted hues, such as pastels and earth tones.
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Tie-dye sweatshirt prices

Inexpensive

Inexpensive tie-dye sweatshirts cost between $15 and $40. While you can find some nice options in this price range, they generally come from unknown brands.

Mid-range

Expect to pay between $40 and $100 for a tie-dye sweatshirt from a known brand. These should be well-made and of good, durable quality.

High-end

Some designer brands sell tie-dye sweatshirts. These generally start at about $150 and go up from there. These sweatshirts feature quality materials and unique designs.

You can find lightweight tie-dye sweatshirts for spring and early fall and thicker sweatshirts that you can wear in colder conditions.

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Tips

  • Since tie-dye sweatshirts are usually bold and bright, it’s best to keep the rest of your outfit fairly plain. Stick with classic blue denim or neutral-colored bottoms, such as white, gray, or black.
  • Alternatively, go all out and wear tie-dye head to toe by investing in a matching pair of sweatpants. This is a bold look, however, and it isn’t for everyone.
  • Always check the care instructions on a tie-dye sweatshirt. They’re generally best washed on a fairly cool setting, separately from whites or other pale garments. Try to air dry your sweatshirt if you can or tumble dry on a low heat setting.
  • Some so-called tie-dye sweatshirts aren’t really tie-dyed at all but rather have a tie-dye pattern digitally printed on them. These can look convincing from a distance but usually don’t look like real tie-dye close up.
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Tie-dye sweatshirts are a comfortable, mood-boosting way to liven up a day spent working from home.

FAQ

Q. Can I tie-dye my own sweatshirt?

A. Yes, it is possible to tie-dye your own sweatshirt with a tie-dye kit. Tie-dyeing can be a fun project if you’re interested in art and crafts, but it can get messy and the results aren’t always predictable. If you want to tie-dye your own sweatshirt, it will need to be made of the right material – preferably 100% cotton but poly-cotton blends are fine as long as the cotton content is 80% or higher. You’ll get the best results if you start with a white sweatshirt. You’ll also need the right type of dye. Fabric dye is preferable, but some natural dyes also work.

Q. Is tie-dye clothing just a trend?

A. Tie-dye was popular in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1990s, and now once again in the 2020s. It’s unlikely to be as popular as it is right now forever, but if you genuinely love tie-dye it’s a look that you can continue to wear even when the trend has passed. If you do fall out of love with your tie-dye sweatshirt, however, you can keep it for the next time that tie-dye is in vogue.

Q. What are the origins of tie-dyeing?

A. Modern tie-dyeing and the term “tie-dye” first gained widespread popularity in the U.S. in the 1960s, when it was favored by those in the hippie subculture. However, traditional forms of tie-dyeing have been carried out since the sixth century in India, China, and Japan.

 

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