How to Make The Distressed Boyfriend Jeans Your Wardrobe’s Been Missing

We’re dedicating this week to all things DIY denim, so check back each morning for more fashion girl-approved ways to customize your jeans–from personalizing with patches to acid-washing flares, distressing boyfriends jeans, and more!

How to Distress Boyfriend JeansWearing customized Forever 21 jeans, C/meo Collective tank, Local Supply sunglasses, Oscar de la Renta shoes.

Perfectly-distressed boyfriend jeans are like a fashion girl’s holy grail–and sadly, almost impossible to find in stores. Either they’re overly-ripped and worn, and look like something that’s been through the lawnmower, or they’re just not distressed enough. It’s like the Goldilocks of denim, and we’re on an endless hunt for something just right.

So why not take matters into your own hands? Because wearing down your jeans just enough is actually pretty easy to do at home. That’s where this DIY guide comes in, empowering you to go forth and make your ultimate distressed denim in just six steps.

How to Distress Boyfriend Jeans

You’ll need:

Stanley knife
Thick piece of cardboard
Boyfriend jeans (we used a pair from Forever 21)
Sandpaper block

How to Distress Boyfriend Jeans

Step one: To create a worn and distressed look, you’re going to have to destroy some of the areas of your jeans that would naturally tear with wear, starting with the knee. Begin by marking where the knee falls on the jean. Check you have the right point by folding the jean leg in half so that the cuff meets the waist band. Where the jean creases is where your knee sits in the jeans, and this will be where you want to make the ripped incisions. Use your finger to press along the crease so that it leaves a visible line to guide your incision.

How to Distress Boyfriend Jeans

Step two: Place a piece of thick cardboard inside the jeans and slide it down to the crease point to separate the front and back of your jeans. This is to protect the back of your jeans from ripping as well when you cut the front.

How to Distress Boyfriend Jeans

Step three: Use the stanley knife to make one straight, horizontal incision along the knee crease.Start at the center and cut one to two inches to the left, then go back to the center and cut the same distance to the right. Leave at least an inch of fabric between both the inner and outer leg seams and the incision as this will naturally rip with wear. Then, make similar, smaller incisions about an inch above and an inch below the crease line.

How to Distress Boyfriend Jeans

Step four: In order to make your rips look more natural, wear away at the knee area with a sandpaper block. Focus on the ripped areas to make them appear more frayed and worn.

How to Distress Boyfriend Jeans

Step five: Use the sandpaper block to wear away and distress other areas of your jeans that would naturally deteriorate and rip with time. This includes the hem of your jeans, and where your hands would fit in the pockets.

How to Distress Boyfriend Jeans

Step six: Repeat on the second leg, but be careful not to make your jeans look too symmetrical.

That’s it–just six quick steps. This is how ours turned out.

how to distress boyfriend jeans

MORE: How to Frey the Hem of Your Jeans

Photos: Tiffany Hagler-Geard