There are many levels of denim distress, from slight fading and fraying, to rips and tears and everything in-between. Each level of distress creates a particular look. I want to talk about the different levels and hear about your preferences. 

I love faded blue jeans and wear these worn denim darlings quite a bit. In fact, I bat for Team Faded Jeans and these days prefer a medium and light wash to dark denim, especially for Spring and Summer. 

I enjoy the look of a deliberate fray on the hem of denim shorts, tapered bermudas and clamdiggers. There is something about frayed denim hems that remind me of my carefree ’70s childhood, and that makes me smile.

Although I don’t personally wear this amount of distress, I also like the look of light denim that is gently shredded. But not to the extent that it has created a skin exposing hole.

Then there’s the type of denim that is distressed to the extreme, with deliberate rips, tears and holes. The look has been around for decades and is still making a fashion statement. To some extent, it’s considered extremely cool to wear denim with holes and tears. Sometimes the rips and tears are created over time by the wearer, which makes them even more cool.  And sometimes, brand new denim is purchased with ready-to-go rips and holes.

I have never worn jeans with holes, rips and tears because the look does not pull at my heart strings. Not when I was a child, teen, young adult, or even right now as a grown up adult. I don’t bat for Team RATE (Rough Around the Edges), so I guess this makes sense. 

That said, I can appreciate a torn jeans look on others in small doses, especially on those with a RATE style and youth on their side. There is something about the rugged workwear vibe that is appealing, much like how I find the look of the original workwear Dr. Marten boot appealing. However, I’m not fond of torn up, skin-baring jeans that are shredded and ripped all over on any age. But the odd tear at the knee or lower thigh, as shown in the photos here look fine to my eye. 

Although I don’t wear hectically distressed denim myself, my threshold for the look on others is quite high. How does yours  compare? Do you wear ripped jeans as a style statement?  Do torn jeans look cool? If so, when do ripped jeans look cool, and when do they look un-cool? Or do torn jeans look awful no matter who wears them, or how they are styled. Is very distressed denim age-appropriate for all ages when it is worn as a style statement?

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