Distressed fashion is shredding-it-up this season. And it’s bigger than Kanye (just don’t tell Kanye that), the whole Hunger Games franchise and Orwell’s 1984 combined. We tired of logo prints – and preppy jock colours seasons ago, which lead to us into minimalism. Nowadays, muted colours are appearing among the monochrome, and rustic, earthy fabrics are giving back a sense of authenticity in fashion. What’s next? Cutting, ripping and washing our – rather expensive – clothes.
More than a few tears in a pair of jeans, we’ve got the five best distressed fashion items to work into your casual wardrobe this season. Let’s get ready to rough it for a while.
#1 Vintage Tees
Moth-eaten and faded is no longer a terrible thing. Thin (never stained) cotton t-shirts have been purposefully washed down, giving rise to tears and minor holes in basic t-shirts. It’s all fed by our need to look a bit different this season. And distressed gives us that from a wear perspective.
As well as the holed-out fabric, the shirt shapes had been transformed to appear used. The wash-factor, meanwhile, creates a transparency in the weave: light and airy for summer or a barely-there layering piece in winter. Not into plain? Laid-back surf shirts in washed cotton jersey come in a range of faded prints for a retro-vibe and the patterned-at-heart.
These shirts aren’t designed to sit under a casual blazer and cotton trouser; more with a denim jacket and jogger pants and leather boots or sneakers, for fresh street feel. Keep the rest of your gear new-ish, to avoid looking like you’ve just come out of a brawl.
#2 Ripped Jeans
Ripped jeans are the go-to distressed fashion item for men this season. And they come in a variety of forms. Stepping into the un-reigned attitude of rock ‘n’ roll, stretch-denim comes cut in a skinny-fit, and of course, considerably faded and ripped at the knees. Worn with a white tee and leather perfecto, wear these to toughen-up casual looks, interchanging sneakers for crepe-sole lace-ups (for the Mods among us) or suede Chelsea books.
Other times, go smart. Interchange the leather for a camel topcoat (trench or chesterfield) and slip on e button-down and cashmere sweater. Make sure the rips are tasteful; that is, not thigh-high with the slits or gregariously gaping at the knee like a blown out tire.
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#3 Repair Shirts
Denim shirts aren’t new. We’ve all got a classic chambray. Or a press-stud Western tucked away for an impromptu hoe-down. But, the indigo button-up gets a second life (literally) as a reborn, repaired shirt.
Boasting a vintage Americana aesthetic, the shirt comes cut and then sewn together again for a worn in, used aesthetic. Others are heavily washed to look old, and come faded in sections using authentic indigo-dyed techniques.The crafty-part? Patchwork, resembling a favourite toy being fixed, again and again.
But don’t let the kiddy-ness fool you. The shirt’s got smarts. Style it with chinos and brogues and a tweed or jersey blazer for play on texture and tailoring. Or opt for selvedge jeans for a winning double-denim look.
#4 Garment Dyed Sweater
Your loungewear staple – the sweat shirt – is taking on a distressed aesthetic via special dyeing and washing processes. Garment dying techniques – where the hoodie or jumper is dyed after it is made, not beforehand as a single cotton yarn – means sweats come in unique washes and faded finishes for a faux-worn out look.
Brands are also using organic cottons with a raw, slub-like texture, brushed back and washed after production to enhance the fade. Plus, the tops won’t shrink as they’re already washed pre-purchase. And they tend to be incredibly soft.
The best way to embrace the sweater fade is in earthen colourways – blue, green, brown, black, grey. Pair with selvedge jeans and brogues for smarter look. Or for a nineties-street edge, play with sweater proportions; looking to boxy fits and even longline, paired with tapered jogger pants in wool or jersey depending on the weather. Just add sneakers.
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#5 Patchwork Jackets
Patchwork is becoming one of the biggest denim trends for the season ahead. While it’s prolific on jeans, a more typical canvas for distressing, we’re fans of patchwork on one of fashion’s major items this year, the shirt jacket.
Brands are releasing the work-wear inspired jackets with multiple textures and mix of fabrics. Cotton-fabric inlays with eye-catching patterns and jaunty colours, give an indigo-blue jacket a sense of personal style. The Japanese are purveyors of the DIY-look; experts in craftsmanship – seen in the finely cut and sewn construction – and their appreciation for the finer details.
Wear the jacket buttoned-up over regular blue jeans (not distressed) or neutral chinos, opting for white sneakers for an off-duty look. For smart casual events, keep the jacket open and the rest of your outfit regulated: crisp cotton shirt, trousers and leather lace-ups, but loose the tie and belt to minimise excess clutter against the patchwork.