Distress Signal: Three Ways to Wear Distressed Denim

Posted on June 02, 2014, 3:48 pm
6 mins

Distress Signal Cover

Each season I tend to have one garment or accessory that I purchase that I become a little obsessed with, and this spring is no exception. Although distressed denim is not a new concept, I love the lean, cool and flattering look of the Current/Elliott “The Ankle Skinny” Jeans in Borough Destroyed. The trim leg can be rolled or left long, and the perfectly placed distressed patches make them quite sexy. I wear them as often as I can get away with, dressing them up with heels or wearing them with my favorite pair of sneakers. This pair of denim is my Vogue A Trois for this month.

Distress Signal

Mixing high and low is a key to great style that is attainable, and so is mixing feminine pieces with edgier ones. I love the bouquet of flowers that scatter all the way around the neckline of the Jason Wu cotton blend tee, and its girlish charm meshes well with a boyish high-top sneaker. The Marc by Marc Jacobs Metallic High Top Sneakers in rose gold are a great foundation for jewelry in the same tone. The chunky “Runway” rose gold watch by Michael Kors and the House of Harlow 1960 Engraved Hoop earrings in rose gold touch on this perfectly. J.Crew’s convertible “Teddie” hobo can change into a cross-body bag with a switch of a handle, and I like its minimalist style as much as the caramel color. It’s one of those go-to bags that are timeless. I keep going back to cat-eye sunnies and for good reason: They are such a combination of cheeky and sexy and they are forever in vogue, as relevant today as in their mid-century heyday. Kate Spade’s white cat eyes have a modern take with their translucent frames.

Distress Signal #1

Need a great look for a night out on the town? Start with this gorgeous DAY birger et Mikkelsen Sequined Crepe Blazer to really make a statement. A plain silk black camisole would be beautiful underneath, or you can get a little more rock and roll with this Haute Hippie Python-Print Skull Tank peeking out. Wearing a pair of high heel shoes like these Jeffrey Campbell Sugarplum Booties dress up your distressed denim and are a strong match with the sparkly blazer. And speaking of obsessions, I have been completely in love with the Dior “mise en dior” tribal earrings since I saw them on the lovely Emma Watson at the Golden Globes. Earring trends have been on the funky side this spring, with ear cuffs, one-earring looks, and backwards style hoops popping up everywhere. These feminine yet edgy earrings have a larger pearl that is behind the earlobe, with a smaller pearl stud in the front. I love this unexpected, yet beautiful take on the classic pearl earring. Keep your handbag simple, like the sleek, yet dressy little Whistles Rivington Croc Clutch.


Distress Signal #2


Leopard has been touted as a new neutral this past year, and if that is the case, then it certainly is the least boring neutral ever. I look at leopard as another color in my wardrobe: one that can be worn with almost anything because it flatters other patterns while still making a statement of its own. The Ětre Cécile Floral Print Sweater has this amazing blue and white floral pattern that works so well with Charlotte Olympia’s sassy Capri Cats Leopard-Print Espadrille Flats. In keeping with the cat theme, wear The Row’s Cat Eye Sunglasses that have chic leather arms—so groovy. I am a big fan of bamboo handle bags, and this classy and classic Gucci Boston Bag with its creamy leather is a total winner. Adding a couple of these coveted Vita Fede Bracelets keep your look edgy.

There has been an opinion by some fashion “experts” that distressed denim is a look that is only flattering for the younger set, but I disagree. Your age or style type should never be a factor in whether or not you embrace a certain trend; it should be a choice you make yourself, not one made by others. Is it flattering and does it make you feel good? A combination of common sense, a sense of adventure and a love of great fashion means that you can make any look your own, not despite your age or who you are but because of it. As said by the aforementioned Emma Watson, “There’s nothing interesting about looking perfect—you lose the point. You want what you’re wearing to say something about you, about who you are.” Cheers.


Lisa Cole is the fashion and style writer for Vanguard Seattle, and her work includes covering fashion news and events, runway shows and boutiques. She has her own fashion and lifestyle blog, www.westfultonstreet.com, and is a member of Independent Fashion Bloggers and Fashion Group International.