Ripped denim: how to wear it now

The pursuit of effortlessness perseveres, but as one would expect it, a year gone by is bound to reflect a change in direction for ripped denim, as the trend raises higher for fall 2013. Last year, everything pointed towards an unexpected shift in style, as the shredded denim transitioned from a super-sloppy aesthetic, to an all grown-up one. This season, the evolution follows its natural course as we witness the torn-up denim expand into super-chic territory, slowly but surely building its way into the spring of 2014.

Not suitable for most occasions in the not so distant past, ripped denim became de rigueur in 2013. Here’s how to rock the trend this season by turning it into a testimony of flawless style.

ripped denim torn jeans fashion trend

Ripped jeans: entering super-chic territory

When talking ripped jeans for fall 2013, the main challenge consists in trying to maintain a state of comfort, while still aiming for the distressed jeans to look effortlessly pulled together. The chicer, the better, but the stylish doesn’t necessarily come by the way of channeling your femininity. From classy, edgy and super-tough approaches, to menswear inspired takes on the trend, the ways to enhance the shredded jeans these upcoming seasons appear rather endless and admittedly exciting.

Ripped denim trend fall 2013
AG Jeans F/W ’13 lookbook

Super-torn vs. subtle.

Sometimes a little goes a long way, other times instead, going all out is just a matter of differentiating your style amongst others that stand-out in equal measure. The same principle can be applied when choosing your take on ripped jeans for fall 2013. If your goal is to make them a statement and keep in touch with the core of the trend, opt for those boyfriend jeans featuring cuts that expose whole knees or sections of leg. Complete the statement with slick heels to keep the balance leaning towards sophistication.

If you seek something that will probably last you longer, promising to transition you through many more of the seasons to come, choose subtle shreds in your jeans and enhance their rebellious quality using bold prints, playful colors and statement footwear.

Ripped denim trend fall 2013
Ripped jeans on the streets of New York.

Ripped jean styles: skinny vs. boyfriend.

Each season brings along new finishes and fresh denim silhouettes that work towards expanding the myriad of styles already available on the market. In the case of the distressed jeans, the added choices include going all skinny, or adopting the boyfriend’s super-relaxed and flattering silhouette. If you find yourself torn between the two, just know you’ll end up looking equally relevant in either one of them.

Ripped denim trend fall 2013
Ripped jeans on the streets of New York.

How to wear shredded jeans.

Choosing the appropriate style and silhouette represents only half of the fashion equation, while knowing how to wear the shredded jeans in a perfectly stylish matter both this fall and into spring 2014, stands for the other half. Together they aim to make you stand out on the streets with little effort whatsoever.

Wearing the ripped jeans in a casual manner implies more than often picking the way of the boyfriend silhouette. Relaxed, effortless but down-right cool, this is the style to consider if you favor comfort and easiness in your looks. For this:

  • Pair your cuffed boyfriend jeans with basic staples up top
  • Preserve their carefree orientation by wearing them with comfy flats or a cool pair of sneakers
  • Limit your accessories to a roomy bag, a pair of aviator sunglasses and/or a lightweight scarf

Ripped denim trend fall 2013
Ripped jeans worn the casual way on the streets of Milan and New York.

If your goal for this season and beyond it is to turn the shredded jeans into the ultimate expression of sophistication, this too can be done by keeping things on the uncomplicated and effortless path. For a sophisticated approach:

  • Wear your torn-up jeans with a white button-down tucked in, or a half-tucked printed shirt in a bolder color
  • Team the cuffed ripped denims with a pair of high heels (pumps or ankle strap sandals)
  • Style your denim look with an elegant watch and a statement clutch, either small or oversized

Ripped denim trend fall 2013
Ripped jeans worn the sophisticated way on the streets of Milan and New York.

Although referred as a staple of the woman’s wardrobe today, the ripped denim trend is no longer limited to jeans. Aside from the cut off denim shorts, this year brings forward ripped overalls as part of the ’90s glorious revival.

Cut off denim shorts.

The cut off denim shorts are such a transseasonal staple that you won’t be surprised to see them reign supreme on the streets from early summer, all the way back into spring.  During fall, they look right on point as accompanied by thick pairs of stockings or tights. This season relishes the high waisted denim shorts where the shreds become part of the whole worn off/vintage-inspired charm.

Do yours justice by paring them with crop sweaters worn under cozy blazers, or with a plaid shirt effortlessly tied around the waist. For a rock-chic approach, style the ripped denim shorts with a sheer top and a pair of moto ankle boots, keeping the outfit all black and edgy-looking.

Ripped denim trend fall 2013
Cut off denim shorts on the streets of Milan and New York.

Ripped denim overalls.

Plaid and ripped denim make for such a great match that they seem almost destined to be worn together. Following onto the steps set by the neo-grunge trend, reinforce your shredded denim looks by choosing to build them upon sleek overalls for a change. Worn on top of basic tanks or under a plaid shirt kept unbuttoned, the ripped denim overalls come across as the embodiment of laid-back poise.

Ripped denim trend fall 2013
Ripped denim overalls on the streets of London and Milan.

Ripped denim: trend updates.

Recent evolution

To destroy something in a way that looks haphazard and rebellious can actually require a level of meticulous care. Such is the irony of ripped denim. But the careless factor is still its main appeal, no matter if you take scissors and sandpaper to a pair of jeans in your garage or pay for pre-shredded designer denim. And it’s the pursuit of effortlessness that earmarks ripped denim as sticking around for fall 2012 – just maybe not in the way you’d expected.

Ripped denim: not just for jeans

To see how ripped denim is being interpreted in 2012, you need only look to the streets. The key thing is it’s no longer just about one particular look; nor is it limited to jeans.

Other ways to inject a bit of ripped denim into your fall wardrobe:

  • Raw edges at the hems of otherwise tidy jeans
  • Raw edges on dresses or overalls
  • Ripped denim jackets
  • Layerings of different types of ripped denim

ripped denim street style
Above: street style photos from the fall 2012 fashion week season

Ripped denim: a new mood

The biggest change in how ripped denim is worn comes from a change in mood. The love of contrasts will see it move away from fully themed outfits and into an effortless mix of styles.

A perfect example: DSquared2, for their fall 2012 campaign, paired lightly ripped skinny jeans with 1950s retro glamour. It’s a subtle contrast that works wonders. Ripped denim no longer has to be about rock or grunge; marry it with any fall 2012 trends, and the more surprising the better.

ripped denim dsquared2

Cut off denim shorts

Now this is a style that truly hasn’t gone away, especially during summer. And it’s also one that’s easy enough to carry through to fall. Denim cut-offs with stockings or tights are an easy winter staple, and all you really need is a pair of scissors.

cut off denim shorts

An off-duty model look of denim shorts and a biker jacket is a fail-safe, but for fall 2012 expect to also see them contrasted by sophisticated pairings up top. A crisp shirt, statement jewellery and a tailored blazer will give new life to cut-off denim shorts in a way that’s elegant and now.

denim cut offs

Like many of the fall 2012 / 2013 trends emerging, this one is coming back around from 2008-2009. Back then it was all about neo-rock and grunge, with Kate Moss leading the way, but in time it’s moved to a more refined look. As such, we don’t expect to be seeing too many examples of bum-baring shredded shorts again – just yet.

Kate Moss and Gisele Bundchen in the Ripped Denim trend

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Written by .

Shaped by all things beautiful and feminine, Nicoleta Parascan’s first steps towards entering the captivating world of fashion were taken somewhere around the young age of six, when she received her very own first fashion magazine. Discovering an entirely new universe, filled with pretty ladies and beautiful clothes, there was not much able to ever beat or compete with the fantasy land that was suddenly opening up. Surrounded by books, constantly thinking about the next best outfit, in search of a signature style and defined by a nostalgic calling towards the past, Nicoleta believes in taking chances, in destiny and in building her own path in life. When she’s not writing, you can easily find her playing with her cat, reading an old book, watching movies, exploring the city or blogging her own daily adventures.