Blast from the Past trend

Last week, my dog had a grooming appointment. I took her in and instead of driving the nearly half hour home, I decided to go shopping. Kohl's is right next to the grooming salon I take her to, so I stopped in to see if there was anything of interest.

Remember the HyperColor trend of the early 90's? What? You aren't old and lame like me?? Well let me refresh your memory.

Yeah, baby. If you were a true, fashion forward child of the 80's you were all over this craze when it hit the stores in 1991. It was a cross between the tie dye trend and a mood ring and manufactured and distributed by Generra. 

There is actual science behind how these work:

Substances that can change color due to a change in temperature are called thermochromes. There are two types of thermochromes: liquid crystals (used in mood rings) and leuco dyes (used in Hypercolor T-shirts).
The color change of Hypercolor shirts is based on combination of two colors: the color of the dyed fabric, which remained constant, and the color of the thermochromic dye. The dye is enclosed in microcapsules, tiny (few micrometers in diameter) drops of liquid sealed in a transparent shell, bound to the fibers of the fabric.
When it is cold the mixture in the capsule is solid and the carbon molecules in the leuco dye are attached to each other in a ring shape. When the capsule experiences a rise in temperature the molecules change shape, just like liquid crystals. They break open the carbon ring. This change means that the dyes absorb and release light differently, and the color seen is different.
The liquid is a leuco form of a dye (in this case crystal violet lactone), a weak acid (benzotriazole), and a quaternary ammonium salt of a fatty acid (myristylammonium oleate) dissolved in a solvent (1-dodecanol). At low temperatures, the weak acid forms a colored complex with the leuco dye, interrupting the lactone ring. At high temperatures, above 24-27 °C, the solvent melts and the salt dissociates, reversibly reacts with the weak acid and increases the pH. The pH change leads to closing of the lactone ring of the dye, which then regains its colorless (leuco) form.
Therefore, at the low temperature the color of the shirt is the combination of the color of the microcapsules with the color of the dyed fabric, while at higher temperatures the capsules become colorless and the color of the fabric prevails.

Did you see the part where it said its HEAT activated? Yeah, think of the warmest parts of your body while running around at P.E in school. Got the picture? Yep, Hypercolor made sweating at PE and in school a nightmare. Imagine sporting a bright green t-shirt when hot pink spots bloom out from your underarms.  Pretty, huh?

The trend boomed and Generra had a difficult time keeping up with demand. But Fashion is fickle and the trend didn't last. And in 1992, Generra declared bankruptcy and laid off half of its employees. 

Trends never die.

In 2008, the hyper color clothing attempted to make a come back. And for 15 minutes, people were ecstatic. . . Until they remembered how having strangers come up and put their hands on you, (Usually the breast area if you were female) or having people breathe on you wasn't that cool and how it hadn't improved in nearly 20 years.

Back to my excursion to Kohl's....

Itttts Baaaaaack!

Yup, they're back. They're originally $20 and they are on sale for.....drumroll please....


And there was an entire rack of them. 

I bought one, just for the hell of it. 

This particular one is manufactured for the MUDD brand a division of the Iconix Brand Group and is now an exclusive brand for Kohls.

Has it changed?

mmmm Not really. It is no longer emblazoned with the "HyperColor" name, so people aren't pulled to you like a magnet in order to feel you up and cough on you.

Here is the one I bought in Peacock Blue:


Except for one slight issue...

Hello boobs! I wear slightly padded bras. At least in this shirt no one would doubt I'm wearing one! And apparently I have a very cold cold  belly button.

Hi there Spine. Why does my spine show up!? Is my spine several degrees cooler than the rest of me?? Do I not have a spine!? Oh, the questions!

Here I am outside wearing it:

It looks like it ran into a very unfortunate incident with a bottle of bleach.

So, Final Verdict? Its great for cleaning the house in....


  1. This is hilarious! Sadly, I don't remember those shirts, but I feel nostalgic for them anyway. Sorry they're not so great when you actually wear them.

  2. I remember them well, though I could never afford one when they were originally trendy.

  3. I remember mom's color-changing shirt in her closet. When I was a kid I would play with it and breathe on it just to watch it change colors!

  4. I remember mom's color-change shirt. I used to pull it out of her closet to play with it!


Your comments make my day!