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Kempt's Guide to the Dip-Dye


Ryan Plett at you_have_broken_the_internet has been showing off his dip-dyed oxford all week, and it's a sight to behold. The process is nothing new—Robert Geller's been into it for a while—but if you're looking to spice up your old workwear duds, it's one of the bolder moves out there.

So for anyone thinking of getting a little blue on their hands, we've put together a primer on DIY dip-dyeing. Gentlemen, approach with caution...

The actual process is deceptively simple: mix up some dye and hot water, dip in your shirt and let it dry somewhere without dripping all over your jeans. The trick is ending up with something that looks like Mr. Plett's shirt and not, for instance, this.

So we recommend a thick, unpatterned shirt (hence the oxford). RIT dye is the easiest to use. Unless you've got a overpowering vision for how you want this to end up--and we'd never stand in the way of inspiration--we'd start with something like Denim Blue, which should play well with both white and blue shirts, and match with most of the rest of your wardrobe.

Now, the fun part: put the dye in a metal tub (you can use plastic if you don't mind it staining), run some hot water, and get ready to dip. The trick is keeping the arms level with the torso, so you'll want to use a wire hanger and a tub large enough that you won't have to fold anything.

The longer you leave it dipped, the darker a color you'll end up with. Judging by the shade above, we'd guess Mr. Plett left his in for just a few minutes. You can also fold or crumple the fabric in the tub for tie-dye-style effects, but it might end up slightly less than elegant. After that, just hang it up somewhere stainproof, and once it's dry give it a thorough rinse until the water runs clear.

And it might go without saying but...this is probably a good day to wear your least favorite t-shirt.