6 Tips for Elevating Your Distressed Look, for the Edgy Businessman

When you think of a businessman’s attire, the first image that springs to your mind probably consists of a classic suit-and-tie affair. However, what if you work in a relatively down-to-earth field rather than a very formal and stuffy one – think, say, graphic design rather than law? 

In that case, you could come to prefer what has been dubbed the ‘distressed’ look. Here are several ways for you to get it just right…

Dig deep into the back of your closet

What exactly is ‘distressed’ clothing? Basically, it’s clothing that is showing its age – in condition rather than style. So, slightly torn jeans and sneakers with dirt smudges would both be good examples of ‘distressed’ wear. 

You could therefore find that several pieces in your closet already fit this aesthetic bill, saving you from having to create damage or wait for damage to naturally emerge. 

Look out for deliberately distressed-looking pieces to buy

Fortunately, you don’t necessarily need to inflict damage on your clothing yourself – whether by attacking it or simply letting natural wear and tear do its thing.

That’s because you could always look for retail outlets stocking clothes that have been purposefully made to look used. For example, some jeans can come with a select number of tears as standard, while certain footwear has been designed to look like it has already collected some dirt.   

Know the differences between scrapes, shreds and holes 

Before you start ripping jeans, you should distinguish between scrapes – little scratches barely an inch long – and shreds, where the fabric is visibly torn but threads continue to cover the gaps. Then, of course, there are holes that will allow people to see right through to the leg underneath. 

Be careful with how torn your jeans actually look

FashionBeans cites the rule of thumb that you “make sure the hole is not wider than the leg underneath as this will push your limbs out of the hole whenever you bend”. 

The site adds that, if you don’t want your ripped jeans to end up jeopardizing the smartness of your overall business outfit, you should avoid slipping into jeans sporting more than two-and-a-half rips. Here, a scrape should be classed as half a rip. 

Contrast your distressed clothing with non-distressed pieces

Good examples of ‘non-distressed’ pieces that can look especially good when worn alongside distressed clothes include a leather jacket, which can give you distinctly ‘70s vibes, while you can turn the clock back even further by slipping into a 1920s-style bomber jacket.

However, since you are ultimately striving for a ‘smart’ look, you should particularly consider browsing the online range of Oxford button-down shirts for men.

Work your way up to the distressed look slowly

You might be tempted to suddenly start throwing on as many pieces as possible in a bid to master the distressed look straight away.

Alas, you are unlikely to succeed in this attempt, and would be better served by just adding one distressed piece to your outfit at a time, as GQ recommends.