Distressed and ripped denim first made its debut back in the early 2000’s when Tsubi (now Ksubi) famously painted, ripped and chopped men’s jeans for the masses. Pretty soon everyone was doing it including several high-profile American menswear brands. The ripped jeans trend dropped off in the early 2010’s only to be revived towards the turn of the decade. Today the likes of Scott Disick, Kanye West, Justin Theroux and other Hollywood celebrities make ripped denim jeans part of their every day casual attire.
The shredded look is still on trend and this guide should help you style and wear your ripped jeans with the upmost class… if there can be such a thing.
Choose A Distressed Denim Style That Suits You
Remember to choose jeans based on your body type, style, shape and occasion. Ripped denim will limit occasion but the information below should help you step out in style.
If you have the time, then vintage denim is the best. It’s been well loved, worn and repaired multiple times. Take the APC Butler Program for example. APC will buy your old jeans, repair them and sell them to someone who wants to love them agin.
You can buy a factory made pair of ripped jeans by most brands these days. The trick here to select a pair that’s well produced with rips and cuts that improve the look of the jeans. Brands like Saint Laurent, John Elliot and DSquared2 are known for their expertise in this area.
Shredded / Eurotrash
The eurotrash denim trend has been in full swing for a number of years thanks to the likes of Amiri and DSquared2. Shredded denim is often over the top, embelished and paint splattered. Be warned these are cool but they won’t be in style forever and often cost a lot of money (i.e. over $1,000).
Less is more with ripped jeans. Choose brands who know how to create natural wear and rips.Luc Wiesman, Founder, DMARGE
Buying The Right Ripped Jeans
- Saint Laurent, Dsquared2, Amiri and John Elliot are three brands who are leading the way when it comes to distressed denim.
- Choose your rips & tears carefully. Too much tends to look a bit whack.
- Paint splatters are also popular.
- Ripped jeans are not smart casual or office appropriate
- ASOS and Topman are your go-to for affordable ripped denim
- Learn to put your ripped jeans on carefully as wayward feet will tear the rips even further beyond repair
Distressed Jeans & The Right Footwear
If you’re more inclined to choose relaxed or slim legged ripped jeans then sneakers can often be the best choice. The drape of the jeans work with low sneakers, however, if your jeans are longer then high tops look even better.
Work Boots & Chukkas
The work boot or chukka is a good choice for men who would like to take their ripped denim out of sneaker land. Think of this as a level up in dress code when sneakers just won’t cut it.
Distressed Jeans & A Blazer
The ripped jeans and blazer combination works with t-shirts, dress shirts and can be paired with high-end sneakers in perhaps white or black, otherwise, a simple brown Chelsea boot will also work nicely. The blazer/jacket and ripped jeans combination is perfect for a night out, concert hopping or drinks at an upmarket establishment. Hell, even do it for date night.
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We recommend a classic black blazer more than any other colour. If you’re more daring then burgundy or perhaps a green tuxedo jacket will work too. Maybe match your blazer with your shoes. Yes, both suit and tuxedo jackets are acceptable. Just ensure the jacket is well fitted.
Distressed Jeans & A Leather Jacket
The standard style would be a biker jacket… we would avoid anything hooded or too long (in leather only). The Kooples, Saint Laurent and even AllSaints should be suitable for leather jackets to wear with your ripped jeans.
In terms of colours, black tends to work with all denim colours, however, brown suede or leather works better with darker denim.
Distressed Jeans & A Shirt
For dressier occasions like dates and maybe a store opening or fashion week after-party, you may want to combine your ripped jeans with a casual shirt.
Denim (blue or black) shirts, plain button-down shirts and even printed shirts all can compliment the right pair of ripped jeans. Combine with a belt and opt for either partially tucked or completely untucked.
Distressed Jeans & A T-Shirt
When the weather is warm or you’re simply out of fresh ideas then a t-shirt is your saviour. Plain coloured t-shirts are your staple, then consider some branded luxury t-shirts if the budget allows.
Paul Smith sells a great white and black two-pack of t-shirts, otherwise, Topman is a personal recommendation for cheap basic t-shirts. The Gucci and Balmain logo t-shirts will set you back about $500 so go easy there.
Ensure the fit is right and length is enough to cover your midriff… any shorter is a no no.
Distressed Jeans & An Bomber Jacket
For the cooler Spring and Autumn evenings we would recommend pairing your denim with a bomber jacket.
Here you can afford to play with colours, patterns and prints. Reiss, COS, The Kooples and even Zara have some great bomber jackets that won’t break the bank.
Distressed Jeans & An Overcoat
When Winter hits it’s time to layer up. You may be thinking, ‘then why am I wearing jeans with holes’, to which we agree but it’s fashion. So suck it up.
The black denim and camel overcoat is a solid option as too is the blue denim and black overcoat. Acne is making some great overcoats in different hues to suit all shapes.
Layer up with a t-shirt and sweatshirt or think knit from the likes of Uniqlo. Keep the colours basic and let your overcoat do all the talking.
Choose your boots wisely too. Be prepared for rain, hail and shine.
Distressed Denim Inspiration
Where To Buy Distressed Jeans
Distressed & Ripped Jeans FAQ
Can I wear ripped jeans at the office?
No. Wearing any kind of torn or damaged clothing, like ripped jeans, is never acceptable in the office environment. Save those ripped jeans for a more casual setting.
What shoes should I wear with ripped jeans?
You can wear sneakers with a relaxed or slim legged pair of ripped jeans. Chukka or work boots and Chelsea boots can also elevate your look.
What blazer can I wear with ripped jeans?
A classic black blazer will look the best with your ripped jeans. For a more daring combination, opt for suit jacket in burgundy or green. Just make sure that it is well fitted.