Distressed, Destroyed, Polished: How To Wear Distressed Items Without Looking Sloppy

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Our infatuation with casual elegance and je ne sais quoi has dug us neck deep into a distressed trend, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a pair of jeans without some kind of distressing these days. Denim with knee holes, tees with seam rips, sweaters with pulls. All made to look as if we don’t care, however, it couldn’t be further from the truth. We buy these items because we do care. We care about being perceived as the kind of person who doesn’t care so much, she’s effortlessly stylish. Fashion is weird, isn’t it?

But now that you have your destroyed denim and holey tees, wearing them without looking or feeling sloppy can be a challenge. For instance, feeling the urge to wear this distressed ‘tomboy’ tee one day, I tossed it on with whatever current favorite pair of jeans I had in heavy rotation expecting to look cool and hip. But what I saw in the mirror was a disheveled mess. My shirt had holes, my jeans had holes, and I looked like a slob. Not even my best shoes could save it.

After avoiding that little combo again for quite some time, I approached it again with a much better outcome…

A simple rule of thumb for wearing your distressed/destroyed items is to have them enhanced by polished elements. Similar to fashion bookends, by capping two distressed items with a polished blazer and luxe suede ankle booties, the look is steered clear of sloppy territory and closer to that casual elegance I was shooting for.

Other ideas: a leather jacket and similarly edgy boots, or a pair of luxe pumps. An open or drapey trench. A well-cut duster cardigan.

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Blazer J.Crew (similar <–on sale) (similar)
Shirt Amo (similar) (similar)
Jeans Banana Republic (old)
Shoes Rag & Bone (also here)
Bracelet vintage (similar & similar)
Watch thanks to Nicole Vienna (similar)
Rings LittleFeathers Jewelry & Catbird
Belt Linea Pelle

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Bracelet has been shortened

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