Unraveled: DIY Frayed Denim

Frayed edges are a “thing” in fashion at the moment, with the undone edges showing up on coats, collars, shoes, shirts, and of course, denim. This isn’t really a new trend by any means, but it is a cool little detail has a big style impact because it transforms a piece by giving it, well, a bit of sass and edge.

I was determined to find some really cool frayed denim back in December on a trip to NYC, but actually had a bit of trouble finding any pieces that I loved. I found one great pair of 7 For All Mankind Ankle Skinny at Saks Fifth Avenue and bought them of course, because they are incredibly flattering even without the frayed edges. That began a rather obsessive search for fringe, fray and other fashionably unraveled pieces.

My 3x1 WM3 Fringe Denim
This trend continues to be everywhere at the moment, on everything from high-end pieces to fast fashion. The 3x1 WM3 Fringe denim pair I purchased takes the idea of fringe to the next level with their heavy fringed legs, seen on Rhianna, and well, me. They have a more rock and roll vibe to me than boho, and look as killer with flats as they do with heels. I have chatted about these before here on the blog, because I think they are incredibly unique, and that is hard to find in the saturated world of denim.

Then, last week I did a MAJOR closet clean out. It was time. There were too many ghosts of fashion past and it was hard to see what I loved.  At the end of it all I had hauled 16 bags out of there, with some things going to MB’s Finds Designer Consignment, my daughter and a couple of friends, and the rest to donate.

It can be hard to part with things which I determine are for the following reasons: 1. It was originally quite expensive so there is guilt. 2. It was quite expensive but I got it for a great price, so there is guilt. 3. It represents some occasion or person that is a happy memory, like me as a size 6. Which means guilt. 4. It was an emotional purchase and I never wore it. So guilt again.
So there you have it. Be ruthless in your closet cleanout.

My Lanvin Wool Red Jacket that looks much better in person than on this white mannequin

Before I headed to the Salvation Army donation truck I swung by Buffalo Exchange Consignment in Ballard, where they pay cash on the spot or give you a larger store credit. Buffalo is more my daughter’s style than mine, but I thought I wouldn’t hurt to see if they would take anything before I donated it. By the time it was all said and done I had made enough money, just at Buffalo, to buy a gorgeous and much coveted red Lanvin coat from MB. High five to me! I am looking forward to selling my better things at MBs Spring Sale, and every time I walk by my perfectly colorized and organized closet I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. ☺

Results of a major closet purge...space again!

In the midst of my organizational frenzy I forced myself to try on all of my denim. Every. Single. Pair. Yes, it was painful, but awesome too because I knew the results would be worth it. Like a cleanse but without the starvation and anger. It just so happened that week I had read an article by my fav blogger Leandra Medine of about a little DIY Frayed Denim project, and I got really inspired. The article was originally from 2013 and had been republished recently, most likely because this trend is back in a major way once again. My closet cleanout had produced three pair of neglected but still great jeans that would be perfect for my DIY project: one inexpensive but cute pair of distressed cropped gray denim from Zara, one pair of pristine white denim that Inès de La Fressange said I must own but seem sort of boring to me now, and one pair of Joe's boyfriend jeans that are weirdly long and I never wear. Perfect. I pressed each pair with the iron and set to work. You need a pair of very sharp scissors and a seam ripper for this little adventure.

let 'er rip

I cut each pair off so that they hit about an inch or so above my ankle. Then I took my seam ripper and picked at the raw edge all the way around each leg. Some of the how-to’s I read suggested putting them in the dryer afterwards but I NEVER dry my denim in the dryer. The washer works in distressing the edges a little bit more, and over time the more they are worn the better they will look. Or the worse they will look...you get what I mean. It was all very exciting to have at it with my neglected denim and give them a groovy new outlook on life.

The finished project

Best of all, I now have 3 new pairs of cool jeans that I love again. Another high five moment. It made me start thinking about what else I could unravel….stay tuned.

Get some scissors and get after those old jeans…and let me know how it goes.