If there’s one must-have item for the dog days of summer, it’s a pair of ripped denim shorts. There are countless options out there, but the few that really do that vintage, worn-in look right (like that good ol’ Rag & Bone pair that’s always sold out) can set you back over $200. I have found it to be challenging to find a pair in a lower price range that does the perfect rippage – they tend to either be too scaled back and safe with one or two tiny frays, or they go way over board, with huge gaping rips making them suitable only for those under the age of 20. But there’s good news: it’s SUPER easy to make your own. Just grab the nearest pair of less-than-stellar denim boyfriend shorts (mine were $25 on sale for the 4th of July at Gap, but they have special offers pretty much daily) and a pair of sharp scissors, and let’s get started!
1. Choose the right shorts. There aren’t really any restrictions on what kind of shorts work for this project, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, go for a pair that doesn’t have a lot of stretch. The stretchy denim doesn’t fray as well as the non-stretch – a little bit is ok, but the less stretchy the fabric, the more they will fray. The rolled up cuff is big this year, so a pair with a secured roll will look fresh.
2. Start cutting. It helps to look at a picture of another pair you love for inspiration of where to cut, but definitely be sure to avoid the general crotch area first and foremost. I know that seems obvious but it’s easy to forget when you’re holding the scissors. You can make bigger cuts along the bottom of the shorts for that extra holey look. Try a few different kinds of cuts but keep it to mostly straight, horizontal slits – careful not to make them too big because the rips will naturally expand a bit over time from wearing and washing. You can also create little specs of fray by poking the end of the scissor into the fabric, which I like to do in clusters with a few cuts. Don’t forget the area over the pockets and on the bottom edge of the cuff, where you can get some added drama and hangy frays (yes, that is the technical term) without revealing something you don’t want to reveal. Be sure to keep the right and left sides different from each other, so it’s not too symmetrical. Lastly, don’t forget to give the backside a little love. I opted to keep those cuts mostly to the pockets and cuffs. This whole process should take no more than about 5 minutes. Adding bleach or white paint splatters would be a fun touch too…
3. Wash and dry em! This is where the real work is done, and all you have to do for it is catch another episode of Orange is the New Black before they’re ready to wear. It’s important that you wash AND dry them in the dryer because the majority of the fraying happens in the dryer. They will continue to fray with more washes, which is a big part of the fun.
Annnd voila! Boring shorts they are no longer! Try them on and feel free to pull on any of the holes if you want them to be a bit bigger. Let me know how your DIY ripped denim shorts turn out! I plan to wear mine nonstop this weekend and break in those rips even more.