No matter how involved or uninvolved you are in the world of fashion, denim pieces from jeans to shorts to denim jackets are a staple in almost every modern woman’s wardrobe. They’re cute, casual, comfortable, and match with pretty much every outfit you can think to wear. Denim pieces in and of themselves are great, but distressed denim is basically regular denim’s cooler cousin. Ripped jeans and torn denim jackets have the casual and carefree appeal of an intact denim piece with a bit of added style and flair.
Unfortunately, however, distressed denim also has the power to make you look like an unfashionable slob. Wearing a pair of slitted cutoffs or a ripped denim vest can feel like playing a risky game of fashion roulette. While you can hope that your outfit comes off as stylish, it might just look sloppy or ’90s grunge instead. However, wearing distressed denim doesn’t have to be randomly hit or miss. In fact, there are many foolproof ways to wear distressed denim pieces and end up with a look that’s both casually trendy and put-together.
1. Wear a Button-Down
If you’re worried about looking sloppy or grungy in distressed denim, just add a button-down to your look. A button-down shirt adds an instant touch of class to any outfit. Also, it can help you dress up your ripped jeans to make them appropriate for a wide range of everyday occasions.
Try pairing ripped black skinny jeans with an untucked patterned button-down shirt and black booties to get a polished look with plenty of flair. Or, tuck a solid, fitted button-down into lighter, high-waisted distressed jeans for a casual yet put-together finish.
2. Stay Balanced
It is very important to balance your look when you wear distressed denim. Because distressed denim pieces are so eye-catching, you run the risk of letting them overpower your whole look if you aren’t careful to keep it balanced.
There are many different ways to balance out your look. Incorporating subtle accessories is one of the most foolproof methods. Add a delicate metal choker necklace to draw attention to your neck and face. Or, throw on a belt with an eye-catching metal buckle to steal some of the focus away from your jeans or denim jacket. The power is in the details. However, just make sure to keep your accessories simple so your look doesn’t come off as too crowded or busy.
3. Pick a Style
There are countless styles of distressed denim pieces, especially when it comes to ripped jeans. The style of ripped jeans you choose can have a big impact on the overall finish of your look.
Skinny jeans with subtle slits in the knees are the perfect trendy addition to a sleek and feminine outfit. Pair slim distressed skinnies with a relaxed, off-the-shoulder blouse and block-heeled booties or gladiator sandals for a laid-back yet polished everyday look. For a more carefree finish, try high-waisted mom or boyfriend jeans. Cuff them at the ankles and throw on a fitted crop top to keep your look streamlined and put-together.
4. Wear a Dress
If you want to create a flirty and feminine finish for your look, pair your distressed denim with a dress. The right dress can effortlessly complement a wide variety of distressed denim pieces from a trucker jacket to sleeveless vest.
If you want a casual and carefree vibe, pair an oversized denim jacket with a snugly-fitting mini dress or go boho with a looser midi or maxi dress. For a more feminine finish, try a gently ripped denim vest with a short, relaxed floral sundress. As a general rule, go for patterned dresses over solid colors. Patterns help balance out distressed denim better than solids; branch out and try stripes, floral, or a geometric print.
5. Add a Pattern
Incorporating a patterned piece into your outfit can do wonders for your look by adding both balance and interest.
Keep things neutral with stripes. Slim stripes are subtle and add intrigue to your look without taking too much attention away from your distressed denim. Pair an oversized trucker jacket with a fitted striped dress or maxi skirt. Or, feel free to get a bit more wild with floral or geometric prints. Just keep these busier prints confined to a smaller piece in your outfit, like a crop top or a handbag.
6. Define with Shoes
Remember that the shoes you wear with your distressed denim have the power to completely change the vibe of your entire look. Whether you want to dress up or dress down, your shoes can instantly take you out of the danger zone of looking sloppy.
Pair cuffed high-waisted jeans with lace-up detailed sandals to add an extra focal point to your look while keeping it casual. Balance out slitted skinny jeans with heeled booties that help lengthen and slim out your figure. Or, add simple block heels to a combo of a dress and oversized denim jacket to add balance to your outfit and prevent yourself from looking top-heavy.
7. Rock Embroidery
If you really want your distressed denim to be an eye-catching focal point in your look, buy a piece that includes embroidery too. It might seem like ripped jeans that are also embroidered is a bit too much. But, embroidery on distressed denim can actually add an extra touch of uniqueness that makes your outfit look even cooler than it did before.
Make sure that you keep the rest of your look extremely simple if you choose a pair of jeans or a denim jacket that are both distressed and embroidered. Also, if the embroidered pattern is colorful, single out one or two colors from it. Then, find solid-colored pieces in these colors and wear them with your denim to pull your whole look together.
Distressed denim pieces should be an essential staple in your everyday wardrobe. Learn to rock distressed denim right and don’t worry about looking sloppy. Instead, be confident and enjoy your trendy, carefree look.