Sep '23

The Ultimate Guide to Rocking Distressed Boyfriend Jeans

Table of Contents

Boyfriend jeans have earned their place as a wardrobe staple that just won’t quit. With their relaxed, slouchy fit through the hip and thigh and their effortless, borrowed-from-the-boys vibe, it’s easy to see why they’ve stuck around for decades. Distressed detailing like shredded holes, extreme fading and whiskering only elevates their laidback appeal. If you’re looking to refresh your denim collection, let’s delve into the world of expertly ripped boyfriend jeans.

From finding the perfect pair that flatters your shape to styling them for day or night, this guide will equip you with everything you need to know to feel amazing in distressed denim. We’ll cover the top-rated boyfriend jeans on the market right now in a range of washes, share tips for choosing the right fit and amount of distressing, break down how to care for your beloved ripped jeans, and answer frequently asked questions about how to pull them off.

So whether you’re new to the slouchy jean game or have been rocking loose denim for years, stick with us to get the insider info on making boyfriend jeans work for your personal style. Let’s kick things off with the cream of the distressed denim crop – the top 5 most stylish, flattering and good-quality boyfriend jeans available now.

The Top 5 Distressed Boyfriend Jeans

1. Levi’s Ex-Boyfriend Jeans

As the OG creators of the boyfriend jean, Levi’s has perfected the art of relaxed denim. Their Ex-Boyfriend style is a fan favorite for good reason. Available in a range of vintage looking washes from light to dark, these jeans feature the ideal amount of distressing without appearing overdone. Expect flattering whiskering and fading to mimic years of wear, plus shredded holes and raw hems in all the right places. These sit low and loose through the hip and thigh with a tapered leg to balance the slouchy top half. If you want an authentic broken-in pair, Levi’s has you covered.

2. Madewell The Perfect Vintage Jean

For premium denim with an old favorite feel, Madewell’s Perfect Vintage jeans deliver. Made from hand-finished rigid denim for a quality feel, the distressing on these jeans looks like it developed naturally over time. Expect cool destruction around the knees and thighs along with raw, unfinished hem details. The waist sits slightly higher for a little more coverage while still allowing for a relaxed fit through the hip and thigh. While they run large through the hip and waist, consider sizing down for a tailored yet slouchy silhouette.

3. Abercrombie & Fitch 90s Ultra High Rise Ripped Boyfriend Jeans

Channel the 1990s with Abercrombie & Fitch’s vintage-inspired ultra high rise ripped jeans. The waist sits right at your natural waist for a flattering fit. They still maintain that signature boyfriend jean slouch through the hip and thigh. For the distressing, you’ll get an ample amount of shredding and holes for an edgy, retro vibe. The tapered leg creates balance while the built-in stretch ensures these jeans move with you. This style also utilizes Abercrombie’s Curve Love fit to sculpt your shape.

4. Lucky Brand Brooke Ripped Boyfriend Jeans

Lucky Brand’s beloved Brooke jean has that trendy vintage feel with the ideal amount of distressing. The medium wash features strategic fading and whiskering while playful, thigh-skimming rips add a dose of edge. The hip and thigh have a relaxed straight fit while the leg tapers just below the knee. This style sits lower on the hips for a slouchy, casual feel. Finish it off with an unfinished raw hem for that had-them-forever look. For the price, these are a quality pair of go-to distressed boyfriend jeans.

5. Topshop Slouchy BFF Jeans

For a relaxed pair with a cropped, ankle-grazing length, Topshop’s Slouchy BFF jeans deliver a cool, modern vibe. They’re crafted from rigid denim perfect for wearing in and breaking down even further over time. Subtle hand-sanding and distressing makes these jeans look like an old favorite after years of wear. Let the ultra slouchy fit through the hip and thigh balance out the more fitted tapered leg. The light vintage wash gives off relaxed weekend vibes for pairing with your favorite tees and tanks.

Now that you know the top distressed boyfriend jeans available today, let’s move onto the important factors that go into choosing your perfect pair.

How to Choose the Perfect Pair of Distressed Boyfriend Jeans

Investing in a quality pair of distressed boyfriend jeans you truly adore comes down to a few key considerations. Follow this advice to find options that complement your figure and personal style.

  • Mind the fit. Boyfriend jeans are designed to fit loose and slouchy, so don’t be afraid to size up from your typical jeans size, especially if you’re between sizes. Check that the hip and thigh have a relaxed roominess without sagging. Make sure any tapering through the leg is gradual.
  • Pay attention to the rise. A mid to high rise is preferable for providing ample belly and back coverage. Low rise jeans can be unflattering and show more than you bargained for when moving, bending or sitting.
  • Consider the hem length. Cropped, ankle length and full length hems are all fashionable options. Choose what flatters your frame and suits your style preferences.
  • Pick your ideal wash. Lighter washes read more casual and weekend-ready while dark indigo and black washes dress up any outfit. Acid washes offer a cool vintage vibe.
  • Determine the distressing level. Subtle to heavy distressing is completely up to you. Ensure any rips or holes still provide coverage where you want it. Remember you can always distress jeans further but it’s hard to reverse it.
  • Choose comfortable fabric. Stretch denim with a bit of give will be the most comfortable option that moves with your body. Rigid denim takes more breaking in but molds to your shape over time.
  • Find the right fit for you. Try on different boyfriend jean silhouettes and rises. Make sure the waistband lays flat, there’s no gapping at the back, and the shape complements your figure. The jeans should feel lived-in, not restrictive.
  • Pick a pair that suits your style. Whatever amount of fading or distressing makes you feel cool and confident – go for it. The jeans you choose should align with your personal aesthetic.

Now that you’ve found your perfect pair, let’s get into how to care for them so they stand the test of time.

Caring for Distressed Boyfriend Jeans

Distressed denim requires a little extra TLC. Follow these tips and tricks to keep your beloved jeans looking their best:

  • Wash minimally and when needed. Only wash jeans if they are visibly dirty or start to smell. Over-washing speeds fading and breakdown of the fabric.
  • Choose gentle cycles and cold water. When you do wash, opt for delicate cycles, wash by hand or use a specialty denim wash. Wash and dry inside out as well.
  • Let jeans air dry. Hang dry or lay flat to dry to maintain the structure of the denim and avoid shrinking. Invest in clips to hold the hem in place as they dry.
  • Secure loose threads ASAP. Catch any loose threads from distressed areas right away and knot them off to avoid further shredding holes.
  • Spot clean when possible. Use a damp cloth to dab dirt and stains instead of washing after each wear. Most stains come out easily when treated promptly.
  • Repair small holes and rips. Mend tears by sewing distressed areas or adding denim patches to the inside of holes so they don’t expand.
  • Prevent further fading. Shield jeans from sun exposure which can fade and break down the dye. Store them folded inside out as well.
  • Store properly. Folding can crack faded denim – roll up jeans or hang them instead. Keep them in breathable garment bags.

Caring for your distressed denim properly will help it hold up for countless wears. Next let’s dive into some frequently asked questions about how to wear distressed boyfriend jeans confidently.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the most common questions about rocking the distressed boyfriend jean look:

Q: How much distressing is too much?

A: There’s no definitive “too much” when it comes to distressed denim – the amount of shredding, fading, whiskering or distressing you find flattering is subjective. While heavy distressing used to be an edgier look, it’s become more mainstream and can work for casual to dressy occasions depending on the wash and style of the jean. Go for as much or little distressing as you feel comfortable in. A good rule of thumb is ensuring the jean is still structurally sound and worn in places that provide coverage where you want it.

Q: Are distressed boyfriend jeans still in style?

A: Distressed denim has remained on-trend for decades thanks to its versatility and unique character. While trends come and go, distressed boyfriend jeans have proven to have lasting power and appeal. Their relaxed fit flatters a range of body types, and the distressed details add interest to any outfit. While they may wax and wane in popularity, distressed boyfriend jeans remain a wardrobe staple season after season.

Q: How to dress up distressed boyfriend jeans?

A: The key to looking more polished in distressed boyfriend jeans is paying attention to the details. Choose a dark wash without heavy shredding or fading for a sleeker look. Tuck in a silky cami or blouse, add some delicate jewelry and slip on heeled booties or loafers. For cooler weather, pair with an oversized wool sweater and ankle boots. Keep accessories refined. A ladylike bag, like a crossbody with chain detail elevates the look. Avoid casual sneakers or flip flops if you want a dressier vibe.

Q: What tops to wear with distressed boyfriend jeans?

A: Some flattering tops to pair with distressed boyfriend jeans include:

  • Oversized blazers or button downs for contrast with the relaxed jean
  • Cropped sweaters and hoodies to show off the waistband
  • Tucked in t-shirts, tanks or blouses
  • Oversized graphic tees or vintage band tees
  • Tied up button downs or shirts to reveal a peek of skin
  • Lace bralettes or bodysuits for nighttime
  • Cropped wrap sweaters or cropped cardigans
  • Flannels, especially oversized or undone

Go for complementing loose silhouettes, fitted tanks or edgy graphic tees depending on the vibe you’re going for.

Q: What shoes to wear with oversized boyfriend jeans?

A: Oversized and distressed boyfriend jeans call for shoes with visual weight to balance the slouchy silhouette. Some flattering shoe pairings include:

  • Lug sole boots or booties
  • Chunky sneakers or dad shoes
  • Lace up military style boots
  • Heeled booties or block heels
  • Leather sandals with thick straps
  • Espadrilles or platform sandals
  • Loafers or oxfords
  • White minimal sneakers
  • Ankle boots with studs or buckles
  • Cowboy boots

Aim for substantial footwear rather than delicate shoes to complement the rugged, casual vibe of slouchy boyfriend jeans.

Q: Can I wear boyfriend jeans to work?

A: It depends on your workplace dress code, but you can often wear boyfriend jeans stylishly to work. Opt for dark washes without heavy distressing or shredding, especially on the thighs and knees. A tapered cropped boyfriend jean looks sleeker than an oversized baggy shape. Pair with polished knits or blouses tucked in, loafers or booties, and add a blazer or long coat for good measure. Keep rips minimal. For more casual offices, consider a medium wash with slight distressing paired with an untucked graphic tee and white sneakers. The key is ensuring the jeans don’t appear overly distressed or sloppy.


We hope this guide gave you the complete low-down on rocking the distressed boyfriend jean look. From slimming silhouettes to style pairings, you should now feel equipped to choose a pair that shows off your personal flair.

Remember – cuff and crop them to highlight your shoes, balance the slouchy shape with fitted tops, and elevate them from day to night with some simple styling tweaks. Most importantly, have fun with them! Distressed boyfriend jeans are versatile and comfortable while making you look cool, at ease and always effortlessly stylish. Upgrade your denim selection with a quality pair in your favorite wash and distressing, and get ready to receive compliments every time you wear them.


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