Ask An OC Expert: How To Distress Your Jeans

April 1, 2014 6:00 AM

(credit: AP)

(credit: istockphoto)

(credit: istockphoto)


Design your very own pair of distressed jeans this season with fun and easy tips brought to you by leading OC expert Shannon Wilkins. Shannon shows you step by step how to create your own DIY distressed jeans and various ways to rock your newly designed look.

Shannon Wilkins
Orange County, CA
www.shannonwilkinsstyle.com

Shannon Wilkins has loved fashion all of her life. After finishing fashion school in NYC and business school in London, she returned home to Los Angeles to work in the celebrity styling industry. Her resume includes PR experience at Harvey Nichols, Harrods and Stella McCartney. She learned the ropes of the celebrity styling industry working with Petra Flannery, styling such events as the Oscars and editorial shoots. She ventured off to become a personal shopper to the Orange County elite. To contact, check out her website.

(credit: istockphoto)

(credit: istockphoto)


Bleached-Out Denim
What You’ll Need:

  • Bleach solution – two parts water and one part bleach
  • Vinegar solution – two parts water and one part vinegar
  • Small plastic bucket
  • Ruler
  • Denim of choice (jacket, jeans, shorts)

Directions:

  1. Loop the ruler through the front loops of your pants/shorts. If you are bleaching a jacket, put the ruler inside as if it were a hanger. Rest the “hanger” on the bucket, letting just the arms of the jacket into the bucket.
  2. Dip the denim into the bleach to the desired depth. Rest the ruler on the top of the bucket to allow the items to hang in the bleach solution without being completely covered. Leave for 30 minutes at a time.
  3. Once the bleach has turned the denim the desired white shade (may take a few tries), remove denim from bleach solution and soak in a sink with vinegar solution for approximately 10 minutes to stop the bleaching process.
  4. Make sure the denim is completely dry, then wash one cycle in the washing machine by itself.

Style:Wear your distressed denim with a crisp white shirt, neutral shoes and bold jewelry. The piece of denim should be the highlight of the look, so everything else should be toned down and simple.

(credit: istockphoto)

(credit: istockphoto)


Destroyed Mom Jean
What You’ll Need:

  • Sandpaper
  • Scissors
  • Old-school Lee’s or Levis with ’90s fit – loose through the hips and legs with a tapered bottom

Directions:

  1. Cut holes at the knee and along the leg for a more dramatic look.
  2. Using sandpaper, rub along the cut to loosen the frays of the fabric. Continue to rub down the legs and back pockets with the sandpaper until desired effect is achieved.
  3. Wash and dry to see the finished product.
  4. Paint bleach over the frays with a paintbrush for an even more distressed look. (Optional)

Style:Roll the bottom up once, and wear with an interesting shoe – straps, colorful or a printed espadrille for summer. The top should be easy-going and casual. A thin leopard belt makes a fun fashion statement.

Related: A Shopper’s Guide To Newport Beach

Destroyed Overall with Tapered Leg
What You’ll Need:

  • Sandpaper
  • Overalls (available at your local GoodWill for under $10)
  • A tailor

Tip – When purchasing your overalls, make sure they are very plain and do not have large brand name tags anywhere. Medium wash are best. The fit should be loose, but still show some shape.

Directions:

  1. Using the sandpaper, roughly rub the knees and sides of your overalls. You can distress the overalls as little or as much as you’d like. To make even bigger holes, use a kitchen knife to cut slits and then rub the sandpaper over the holes to fray the fabric.
  2. Find a tailor and have them taper the leg from the knee down so you have a more modern shape that actually flatters.

Style:
Roll up the leg and wear with a plain pointy heel or a chunky, Birkenstock-inspired sandal. Throw on a leather jacket or a blazer with a t-shirt underneath.

Cropped Skinny Pant with Distressed Ankle
What You’ll Need:

  • Sharpie
  • Sandpaper
  • Scissors
  • Straight-leg jeans in any wash

Directions:

  1. Try on your jeans and draw a few dots with your Sharpie just below your ankle.
  2. Take off the jeans and make a straight cut right above where you drew the dots. Make sure both sides of the jeans are lined up.
  3. Brush the sandpaper along the hem to enhance the frays.
  4. Wash one cycle in the washing machine and then trim excess strings.

Style:
Oversized sweaters, blouses or coats work well with these pants. The key to keep the look chic and polished is to wear a heeled boot or flashy pump. For a casual look, wear with slip-on printed sneakers.

(credit: istockphoto)

(credit: istockphoto)


Denim Shorts with Lace Appliqué

What You’ll Need:

  • Lace bought by the yard at your local fabric store
  • An old pair of jean shorts or a pair found at a secondhand store
  • Heat’n Bond Iron-on Adhesive

Directions:

  1. 1. Cut slits on each side of the shorts.
  2. Measure out how much lace you will need for each side by lining it up along the side seams. You can cut it shorter after you have glued it on the fabric.
  3. Lay Heat’n Bond adhesive on the seams of the shorts and put the lace over it gently.
  4. Press with an iron following the heat temperature suggestions on the back of the adhesive package.
  5. Let cool and do the same to the other side.

Style:Take the 70s vibe to the next level. Wear a breezy sheer blouse, a flower headband, suede booties and minimal makeup.

Related: Best Places For Men’s Accessories In OC

Barbara Akowuah is a freelance journalist based in Southern California. As a fashion examiner who is privy to style, Barbara loves to write about fashion and how it relates to the Los Angeles scene. Barbara loves to dish out the latest trends, style tips, and inside scoop. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.

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