Jeans aren’t the only denim garment featuring a distressed style. You’ll also find denim jackets featuring the same aged, worn-in distressed style as jeans. During the 1990s, distressed denim became a popular alternative to new, pristine denim. While distressed denim was originally limited to jeans, it’s since become a popular style used in denim jackets.
You can find distressed denim jackets available for sale at countless retail and department stores. They usually cost the same — or about the same — as traditional denim jackets. However, another idea is to give your existing denim jacket a distressed look. By wearing down the denim fabric and “breaking it in,” you can create the same distressed appearance in which many jackets and jeans are sold. Below are seven actionable tips on how to make your denim jacket look distressed.
#1) Wear It Outdoors
The more you wear you denim jacket, the more it will look distressed. But wearing your denim jacket outdoors is particularly beneficial because it exposes your jacket to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light. Over time, sun exposure will cause your denim jacket to fade to a lighter color, which is good since fading is a telltale sign of a distressed jacket. By wearing your denim jacket outdoors, you’ll encourage it to develop a naturally faded, distressed appearance.
You can still wear your denim jacket indoors, but wearing it outdoors will have the greatest impact on creating a distressed appearance. Whether it’s spring, summer or fall or winter, put on your denim jacket before heading outdoors.
#2) Rub With a Pumice Stone
Another way to make your denim jacket look distressed is to rub it with a pumice stone. As you may know, pumice stones have a rough, coarse texture that’s akin to medium-grit sandpaper. When you run it against the surface of your denim jacket, it will wear down the fabric to create a distinct worn-in appearance.
Keep in mind, though, that you don’t want to rub it too much or too aggressively. If you aren’t careful, you could wear down the surface of your denim jacket to the point where it leaves behind large, visible holes. To safely create a distressed appearance without damaging your denim jacket, apply light pressure when rubbing the surface with a pumice stone.
#3) Wash and Dry
The more you wash and dry your denim jacket, the more distressed it will look. Washing and drying wears down fabrics, including denim, to create a more worn-in, aged appearance. Even if your denim jacket isn’t dirty, you can toss it in the washing machine to distress it. Each time you wash and dry your denim jacket, you’ll wear down the fabric a little more to create a distressed look.
For maximum effect, consider line-drying your denim jacket instead of placing it in the clothes dryer. Line-drying exposes your jacket to sunshine, which as previously mentioned, has a tendency to fade denim.
#4) Run a Lint Roller Over It
If you have a lint roller, try tolling it over the surface of your denim jacket. Consisting of one-sided taper on a cylindrical roller, lint rollers are primarily used to remove lint. When you discover lint or hair on your clothes, you can roll the surface with a lint roller to remove it. But using a lint roller can also help you achieve a more distressed look with your denim jacket. It will remove some of the micros-sized strands of denim on the surface of your jacket, creating a more aged and worn-in appearance. A lint roller alone won’t convert your denim jacket into a distressed style. When used in conjunction with the other methods listed here, however, it can certainly help you achieve a more distressed-looking denim jacket.
#5) Choose Genuine Denim Jacket
You can’t easily distress jeans or jackets made of stretch denim. Of course, stretch denim consists of both denim as well as an elastic fabric like polyester or spandex. Just a small amount of elastic fabric increases the elasticity of denim, allowing it to bend and stretch without sustaining damage. Unfortunately, stretch denim doesn’t have the same physical properties as genuine, 100% denim. While it’s able to bend and stretch, it’s not able to distress. If you’re trying to create a distressed appearance, stick with a 100% denim jacket and avoid jackets made of stretch denim.
#6) Leave the Wrinkles
Don’t try to press, iron or otherwise smooth out wrinkles in your denim jacket. Instead, leave them alone to create a more distressed appearance. Wrinkles have a naturally aged appearance, so they’ll compliment your efforts to create a distressed style. Denim jackets aren’t particularly vulnerable to wrinkles, but they’ll still develop wrinkles when bunched up. If you don’t hang your denim jacket on a clothes hanger, for example, there’s a good chance it will develop wrinkles.
Some people assume that wearing wrinkled garments is a fashion no-no. But there are times when it’s perfectly fine to wear wrinkles clothes. If you’re trying to create a distressed appearance, wrinkles can help. They add a unique visual element to your denim jacket, making it look slightly older and more distressed.
#7) Purchase a Distressed Denim Jacket
When all else fails, you can always purchase a distressed denim jacket instead. Even if you intend to keep your current denim jacket, adding a second, distressed jacket to your wardrobe will provide you with more fashion options. If you feel like changing your style, you can grab a different denim jacket. There’s no rule stating that you should only own a single denim jacket.
It’s important to note that not all distressed denim jackets are made equal. Some feature minor forms of distress, such as light fading, whereas others have more significant forms of distress, such as fraying. Determine which style is right you, and find a denim jacket that features it. And remember, denim jackets are available in more colors than just blue. While blue is the most popular color for denim jackets, you can find this classic garment in dozens of other colors.