Around 36% of 18 to 29 year olds in America have tattoos, and tattoos themselves go back as far as 3370 BC. So, what role does ink play in fashion today? Today, we’re looking at some types of tattoos, the benefits/drawbacks, and how to dress with tattoos. 

Traditional Tattoos

The most popular type of tattoos are traditional. This Western-inspired style is marked by bold lines, a few bright primary colors and typically shapes like roses, anchors and other maritime symbols. As their name states, traditional-style tattoos have been around for several decades. Similarly, tribal tattoos date way back. In fact, tribal tattoos are the oldest style according to records. Think Polynesian and aboriginal styles.

Realism Tattoos

Today, a new wave of styles are realism and watercolor. Realism, as it sounds, is a type of tattoo that looks as if a photograph was printed onto the skin. Surely you’ve seen some incredibly black and gray portraits on someone’s arm, that is realism. Alternatively, watercolor is a more modern, higher-requested style in most parlours today. The tattoos are made to look as if someone took a brush and mixed watery pastels.

In The Workplace

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As impressive as a good tattoo can look, there are some clear drawbacks. Mainly, most employers are not on board with tattoos. A workplace poll shows that 77% of employers in America are less likely to hire someone with tattoos. Let’s say you already have a job and it’s not an issue. Well, the fading and stretching of tattoos cannot be ignored. 

In addition, recoloring and retouching costs can be exorbitant, meaning you’re investing in something that you’ll likely need to upkeep for years to come. If you’re one of 23% of people who decide to remove a tattoo all-together, you’re looking at another costly bill and a process said to be more painful than getting the tattoo itself.

A majority of Americans with tattoos today, however, do not regret this decision. Instead they emphasize the amount of expression ink gives you, just like the clothes you wear. “It’s like having an accessory at all times,” noted one participant in a Los Angeles study around the stigma of tattoos. As it pertains to fashion, tattoos are more likely to get you perceived as trendy than not.

Styling Around Your Tattoos

If you have some ink and you’re not sure about how to dress up with them, here are some tips.

You never want too much going on with your fits, and you can’t just take off a tattoo when you feel like it. So, we advise playing down patterns and crazy graphics. The more blank portions of your tops, the more your tattoos will be emphasized. Nothing looks more classic than a plain white tee over a full sleeve.

Since tattoos aren’t usually equated to the working professional, the juxtaposition of a button-up with revealed tattoos is a stand-out look as well. Subtlety with tattoos can be your best friend. You can pick out looser-fit longsleeves and ripped jeans to show off just a little of your tattoo(s).

Ultimately, we advise thinking about your future fits when getting a new tattoo to ensure the style potential is there. And on a side note, think about colors before getting them because you can have allergic reactions to certain colors, you’ll have to get them touched up more often than plain black tattoos and it will add an extra layer of difficulty when trying to style clothes around them.