Photographs from @streetfashions and @streetandgentle on Instagram
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Does ripped/distressed denim have a place in the modern man's wardrobe?

This is our resident style guy's attempt to make a case for ripped jeans. He could fail, but you've been warned.
Monchet Olives | Oct 25 2018

Celebrated in Hollywood by cowboys and gold rush miners, jeans or denims  carried us through the war and set the tone for the 50’s greaser culture, the 60’s hippies, the 70’s heavy metals, the 80’s punks, and the 90’s r&b. Currently,  denim is surviving millennial fickleness, and fashion follies.

Levi Strauss

The choice of jeans are simple: straightforward blues (in hues), ripped and distressed—with ripped jeans now all the rage.

Can I make case for ripped jeans? Honestly, I can’t.

I do not have a pair of ripped jeans. I just can’t get myself to wear them. The first reason being, I find it extremely irresponsible to part with hard-earned cash to purchase “manufactured-to-look-fashionable” mall store or designer threads, that are literally held together by the seams. On Mr. Porter, I saw the new Gucci dungarees in red orange for 700 pounds or about a thousand dollars, and I looked the other way.

The second reason is that it is like wearing a rag—which is inappropriate unless you are doing a new version of Oliver and playing a pickpocket. Ripped jeans, as they are described, are made to look cool with multiple skin exposure. Just like the unraveling of a mummy, perhaps. I do not like the way it exposes the skin and leaves not much for the imagination.

Ripped jeans aren’t for everyone. You need lots of cojones to wear them.  The guy who can get away with it should have a level of athleticism to his stature. And the strength of character to wear it. I have no issue with anyone who wants to experiment with chic designer jeans. But take the consequences. You need the  social capital to strut the stuff. Just because Kanye did it, it doesn’t mean you can, too. But if it fits your style, go ahead. Confidence is key.

William Stitt on Unsplash

Now, I highly recommend distressed denims. These are trousers that were worn out from use, ragged in all in the right places, and aged over time. It shows that you wore your jeans well—and that with every scrape comes a story, every hole is part of your life history.

A well-distressed pair says badass. Fading naturally, where the tears, little holes and scrapes are in all the credible spots. A well-worn pair of denims shows a sense of self-respect. And shows that you are being a true blue denim dude. 

@ralphlauren on Instagram

The argument to wearing ripped jeans reflects a fashion statement. And as I see it, claiming tatters as finery is a game not everyone can play. There is no argument to its comfort (yes, like well worn pjs) but it isn’t for the long haul. Sullied and disheveled denims are a passing choice, and I predict that those ripped jeans will see themselves in the next garage sale bin.

Distressed jeans speak lifestyle. They command the durability of either well-travelled bike rides, or trips to parts of the world unexplored. These jeans, worn well, is as good for a walk up to Machu Picchu, or for a table at a Michelin-starred cafĂ© (dress codes have simplified through the years).

@gentiluominidilusso on Instagram

Your choice is one of fashion or lifestyle. Jeans are a social fabric, and extremely democratic. The choice is yours. Maybe ripped jeans are part of your journey at the moment. So be it.