Say bye-bye to buttoned-up, spiffy clothing — what’s new literally looks old right now. Thanks to sophisticated ladies like Katie Holmes and Reese Witherspoon, teenagers and trendy hipsters aren’t the only ones sporting worn and torn clothing these days. But before you pull out a pair of scissors or prepare to perforate your favorite shirt, we've found ways these laid-back looks can creep into your closet, without going to extremes.
The classic T-shirt is looking totally tattered, thanks to a “burnout” texture that causes the fabric to appear worn and uneven. Mass-market brands like Alternative Apparel ($35; alternativeapparel.com) started this craze, and celebrity favorites such as Fluxus ($63-72; fluxusbrand.com) have helped it to boom. The treatment of the tees gives them a butter soft feel and semi-sheer appearance — perfect for a peek-a-boo effect in case you want to slip a colored tank underneath.
From acid washes to rips — and even paint streaks — destroyed denim is back en vogue. Whether you want to lighten up with a pair of bleached out baby blues, or opt for jeans that are just a few holes away from needing to be patched, pulling on a pair of imperfect jeans offers an effortless edge.
Both Siwy Denim’s splatter-painted-looking Wow wash ($18 9; singer22.com), and Current Elliot’s collection of roughed up styles (shopbop.com) have become instant hits in Hollywood. Even the legendary Levi’s touts a variety of “aged to perfection” styles ($69.50-248; us.levi.com), while Express offers fabulous affordable fades ($79.50, Express.com).
Broken-in boyfriend chinos
You may want to think twice before tossing your worn weekend wear, because the distressed denim trend is transitioning into other items too. Perfectly placed holes, snags, and other simulated battle scars seem to be the accent du jour on some of springs pricey designer duds. Even preppy and proper JCrew offers a broken-in version of their ever-popular chino pant ($69.50; jcrew.com). Contrast is key to pulling off a battered piece. A soft and sweet blouse or hot pair of heels will add an unexpected chic twist.
Cutting edge accents
From frayed hems to hobo handbags and boho boots with fringe, things are rough around the edges this season. You can swing into style this season with a few of these standouts: Juicy Couture’s Woven Raffia Floppy Hat, William Rast ruffle vest, Free People's hoodie, James Perse jacket ($85-209, Nordstrom.com), Victoria's Secret beach linen trouser shorts ($34.50, VictoriasSecret.com), and Love Quotes’ Boyfriend Scarf ($88; unusualthreads.com).
While it certainly hasn't hit the mainstream yet, the latest way to wear the worn-in look is with dirty sneakers! That’s right — some sneaker companies are actually creating kicks that look beat-up before you buy them. Brands like Common Projects ($335; commonprojects.com) are amongst the first to muddy their hands with this messy-looking trick. Now if only someone would invent footwear that also feels worn in, so your feet don't hurt the first few times you wear them!