Style on Trial: Ripped jeans

Ripped_jeansThere was a time when ripped jeans were seen on just about every second person. That time was called “the 80s”. And, OK, a good part of the 90s, too. Actually, to be fair, ripped jeans have never really disappeared from the fashion radar, but as we policed the web this week, we noticed more of them than usual in stock at our usual retail haunts, which made us wonder: what do you think of them?

The ripped black skinnies in the picture above are £45 from Topshop while the blue boyfriend jeans are $215 and by What Comes Around Goes Around. Personally, if we were going to wear this look, we don’t think we’d pay for a pair of pre-ripped jeans, because we think ripped jeans look better when they happen naturally, to a soft, worn old pair of faded Levi’s, say, than they do when someone has clearly spent a lot of time creating that “I’ve had these forever” look. Not to mention the fact that it’s just way cheaper to rip your own than to buy someone else’s, no?

We also think the look is better on the jeans on the right of the picture than the ones on the left, which have been more shredded than ripped, and look a little (OK, a lot) too contrived for our tastes.

What do you think, though? Do you like ripped jeans, and if so, do you buy them pre-ripped, or do you just rip them yourself?


  • September 24, 2008


    I have a very unfortunate pair of jeans – they are ripped on the bum! Needless to say they are only for gardening – when I want my partner to help me, that is!

  • September 24, 2008


    I like them. Well, let me put it this way, I have nothing against them. Denim does cool things when ripped and I’m from the Grunge generation so I have an affinity for the look, more along the lines of the boyfriend jeans. (Those topshop jeans are just skanky!) I like clothes that you can really LIVE in. As for pre-ripping…so long as it looks naturally ripped, who cares? I’ve been to the store and seen seams stitched around a rip though…uh uh, shame on them!

  • September 24, 2008


    The topshop ones are awful..kind of scary looking if by wearing them you immediately attract some kind of psychotic beast with large teeth whos going to shred you up..ok its been a long day and im feeling a little delirious
    Prefer the others, however boyfriend jeans make me look..well, like a guy
    I have however in the past assisted my friend in ripping (and grating..ooh how her mum appreciated the denim in her cheese grater) a pair which turned out to look pretty good actually

  • September 24, 2008


    My husband – who is a paramount of propriety, mind you – ones said quite unexpectedly that the girl in ripped jeans looks intensely sexy. I didn’t think that way be4, but now I do think it’s sorta sexy. They gives you that submissive look. Maybe the same that fighting in mud, I dunno. Freshly raped look.

  • September 24, 2008

    The Fashion Police

    Glamfille – You think looking like you’ve been “freshly raped” is sexy? That’s perhaps the most disturbing comment we’ve ever had here. Seriously.

  • September 24, 2008


    I’ve got a couple pairs that have ripped au natural, and I still love ’em. They’re fine for running around in, if I pair them with the right top + shoes.
    Plus, ripped knees are a *lot* comfier–except in wintertime! 😀

  • September 24, 2008


    Glamfille–that’s really bizarre. I hope that was a poor choice of wording, and not your true intent.

  • September 24, 2008

    Rock Hyrax

    I don’t mind ripped jeans if they were ripped naturally (or at least look like it).
    Neat knee rips remind me too much of Bros fans from the eighties – now was it lace-up or slip-on shoes they attached those Grolsch tops to?

  • September 24, 2008


    Glamfille, I sincerely hope that it was an unfortunate choice of wording and not what you and your husband think, otherwise you may wish to seek some help.
    I don’t like the ripped skinny jeans look. They look skanky. I once saw a girl walking around with circular holes SEWN INTO her jeans. (the holes were cut out and then hemmed around each hole and each hole was bigger than my fist. there was a series of them down her leg) And they were skin tight. Not a good look.

  • September 24, 2008


    I don’t own a pair, but I do like the ripped boyfriend jeans. I think they’d be very casual-chic with a t-shirt and scarf.

  • September 24, 2008

    Heather Young

    Choosing to ignore the creepy bit above and move on.
    I grew up wearing ripped boyfriend jeans and am still a fan though I usually keep mine home (my favorite pair of jeans just got a run style hole which turned into a major rip just above the knee). Kind of glad the look is coming back–they are awfully comfy and look cute when not tight and overly deliberate like the topshop ones.

  • September 24, 2008


    No, anything that even vaguely reminds me of the 80s automatically induces an involuntary gag.

  • September 24, 2008


    I do like pre-ripped jeans (when they’re soft and comfy and *actually feel* like you’ve had them for years), though the ones on the left make me wince a bit. Well, ok, a lot… I’m fond of the ones on the right, though they’d make me look obscenely short.

  • September 25, 2008


    My only pair of ripped jeans are my studio jeans, which I wear in my art studio and are covered in ink, charcoal, and paint. They’re a pair of jeans I’ve had since high school (the only ones that still fit) and they’ve been well-loved. But I don’t think I’ve ever worn them outside.
    Pre-ripped jeans just seems silly to me. I don’t like the look, I think it looks lazy.

  • September 26, 2008

    paiton Goodwin

    I think there okay and i would definitly ripp them myself!!!!!!!!!!!

  • October 23, 2008


    i am a fashion designer myself and i was thinking about ripping my black skinny jeans the exact same way as the topshop one on the left of the pic up there, but just was too lazy to do it. they look sexy and funky and would spice up my clubbing wear with just a boxy or tight short sleeved or unbalanced necklined or sleeve lined t-shirt. i wanted to buy them since i was too lazy to do it myself or worried about ruining a decent normal jeans i have.. i feel sad that i only found them in topshop after it was sold out.

  • January 26, 2009


    well i really like the topshop skinny jeans.. but i will never buy them.. ill make my old pair of black skinny jeans look like those tomorrow =]

  • July 3, 2009

    i like those ripped skinnies.. but the price is WAY TOO HIGH! Id rather do mine at home 4 free..
    all you’d need are scissors and an imagination. (luckily i have both, so i know what i’ll be doing at the weekend) ..
    lots of luv,

  • July 22, 2009


    i think the top shop ones are awesome. i’m not sure why, i never thought i’d like something like that. but even though they dont look natural and there is alot of rips, i think it looks great. i would die for a pair.
    they look much better on, than in that picture.

  • September 7, 2009


    I love them, for too many reasons to type, lol!
    I buy them pre-ripped, because i’m really bad at anything craft-related. I’ve read in a magazine how to make my own ripped jeans (with sandpaper) but i’m too scared i’ll ruin the jeans!

  • September 21, 2009

    Big Jim

    As an intelligent young man who stays in shape, is attending med school in the east, and enjoys the company of many very intelligent very beautiful young ladies, I have to say that there are things that do turn me off. One of them is ripped clothing–especially jeans. I am ripped, but not tanned, because to be so is to be healthy. My women friends are not ripped, because torn clothing, while essentially thought of as chic, is considered old, worn out, shot, in poor taste, looking seedy, etc. by those of us who seem to attract the most women. The lesser men, I have heard say they don’t care. I do, and my med student or doctor friends do care. We don’t like the look at all. I would feel uncomfortable taking out a young woman who had the unmitigated gall to join me in something torn up simply because it’s trendy. Those who can think, do, and they would consider paying $75 – $150 for torn cloths not only stupid, but cxertainly a clear indication of saggy brains.

  • July 14, 2010


    let me put it this way,
    buying pre-torn/pre-ripped jeans to wear is kinda like buying food that is already (visibly) spoiled to eat (although i doubt they would sell that).

    i hope that people at least don’t wear these “distressed” jeans to a nice place/nice occasion

    what’s next? wearing an empty potato sack? a barrel?

  • October 7, 2010

    Kari Shadows

    I tried to rip my own jeans, they looked even worse than before! They were black super tight skinnies, and I believe that they couldn’t look any worse. But now they do.