Move over, tie-dye—there’s a new fashion fad in town. Say hello (again) to acid wash.
“Fad” may not be the best way to describe acid-washed garments, considering the fact that they’ve been around in some form or another for at least four decades. Unlike knit polos, designer sweatpants, and urban cow print, people just can’t seem to get their fill of bleached jeans and other basics, which may explain why the trend has a way of resurfacing every few years.
If you wait long enough, what’s old becomes new again. This wise expression helps explain the rash of style influencers sighted in dappled dungarees in recent months, including at the haute-st of haute events, the Paris Fashion Week.
Whether or not acid-washed duds ever truly went out of vogue depends on who you ask, but one thing is certain—these perpetually retro attention grabbers are here to stay.
What is Acid Washing?
If you don’t know the answer to this question by now, we shudder to think how you’ll react when you find out The Eagles broke up.
Put simply, acid washing is the process of purposefully exposing various types of clothing to chlorine bleach (though muriatic acid was also frequently employed in the early days, hence the term “acid wash”). This deliberate discoloration gives them a blotchy, faded, no-funks-given kind of panache.
You might be wondering why anyone would want to ruin a perfect shirt or pair of pants by bleaching them. But that’s coming at it from the wrong angle because that’s not at all what happens.
Far from being the end of a favorite item, acid washing opens up new dimensions of expression and invites new possibilities for outfit building. The spotted effect produced by careful bleaching creates a sense of texture that provides a counterpoint to solid colors and while also playing nicely with other patterns.
One person’s “ruin” is another’s “revamp,” and there’s no denying that acid-washed clothes are eye magnets, especially when paired with equally cavalier pieces. No argument to the contrary would ever hold up in court.
In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find something that a well-chosen piece of acid-washed apparel doesn't go with.
From tank tops to tailored skirts, sweatpants to sweater vests, it’s all fair game. But don’t just take our word for it—hold your own private fitting session and be prepared to marvel at how good you look in all of the above. Everything just feels so right when you can’t go wrong.
These days, wardrobe staples like tees and form-hugging joggers are a more common sight than the frumpy, body-swallowing denim of yesteryear (joggers, in particular, are one of our favorite fits despite some outlets prematurely declaring them “over”).
With each passing generation, however, the unfettered spirit and universal appeal that sparked the innovation of the style remain eternally unchanged.
Acid Wash and Tie-Dye: Rages for the Ages
In terms of both execution and aesthetics, acid washing is quite similar to tie-dying, another wardrobe-modification practice that began as a quirky practice reserved for subcultural offbeats and has since gone on to become a bonafide institution of American clothing.
Here’s a closer look at the harmony and contrast that unifies these two signature styles.
Similarities Between Acid Washing and Tie-Dying
For starters, both techniques involve breaking up the color distribution of wearables in a more or less random manner. The result is an ever-organic pattern that turns the controlled accident into an art form.
Thanks to the inherently chaotic nature of acid washing and tie-dying, no two items ever come out exactly the same. We like that because, in our minds, there's no one else on earth exactly like any of our beloved customers.
Furthermore, acid wash and tie-dye share a common origin story that involves little in the way of time, money, or specialized equipment. As such, they both embody undeniable do-it-yourself energy that’s just as big a hit with punctilious dressers as it is with free spirits who live life on the spur of the moment.
Differences Between Acid Washing and Tie-Dying
There are also a couple of major differences between acid wash and tie-dye, though these only serve to reinforce their complementary status.
The most striking is that where tie-dying uses vibrant multicolored dyes to achieve the desired appearance, acid washing works by removing the garment’s color in select spots. In other words, they’re the inverse of one another, like a kind of casual wear yin-and-yang.
Also, since bleaching only eliminates a portion of the existing color rather than introducing multiple colors the way tie-dying does, the effect is more “left out in the rain” than “look, a pretty rainbow.” Acid wash, therefore, tends to be popular with wearers who like to keep things understated but still want to inject some flair into their kit.
Regardless of their opposite approaches (or perhaps because of them), it can truly be said that acid wash and tie-dye are spiritual counterparts. Here’s one more noteworthy similarity between the two styles: both have repeatedly proven their ability to stand the test of time in the finicky world of fashion.
Join the Movement
One of the most far-out things about acid-washed clothing is its everyman accessibility.
They have a way of making literally anyone look cool, from runway models to tragically unhip moms to craze-indifferent pragmatists whose notion of quality clothing starts and ends with what’s comfortable.
When you rock acid wash, you trade self-consciousness in for self-confidence and crank the volume on your personality up to 11. There’s nothing in the world quite like wearing something that makes you feel untouchable.
If you want to experience this feeling for yourself, grab a pair of our premium acid wash fleece joggers today. They’re cozy yet durable, flattering to all sorts of figures, and guaranteed to turn heads wherever your wear them, whether it’s at a high-profile function or just on the couch.