How To Get In On The Raw Denim Hem Trend

by Eliza Florendo

There's a reason denim is an All-American favorite: They can be worn casually, dressed up, to the pool, to the club — they're basically the ultimate go-to. And now, in keeping with the tattered, distressed look, the raw hem is all the rage. They were big in the early 2000s, but they're back with a vengeance, seen everywhere from runways to the storefronts of Free People.

I first saw them popping up randomly last summer — in the streets of SoHo, in a TopShop store, on my coworker. And in a world that's so put together, I loved the unruly nature, especially paired with a clean pair of pointed pumps and long duster jacket. Fast forward to the spring and summer of 2015, and New York City is teeming with them. Pretty sure I saw a pre-teen rocking this trend the other day.

But the raw hem is actually a great way to recycle denim — I had a pair of jeans in my closet that I was this close to donating, until I took a second look at it and thought about what it would look like with a raw hem. With a pair of scissors and poor measurements, I chopped off a good few inches, and instantly re-fell in love with the pair of jeans. An ankle grazer plus a raw hem is basically a dream.

A few things to consider when you do the big chop: if you're taking a significant amount of material off, think of proportions. While the denim may be more tapered at the ankle, they'll be a little looser if you cut above the ankle. So you may end up with a little flare, which is pretty on trend, anyway.

And to get the full distressed, carefree look, don't forget to agitate the fresh cut. I like to take a pair of tweezers and pull the grain down, adding more fray. For the full fringe look, throw them in the wash once before wearing, to let the threads really break up. Pro tip: Use sandpaper or a razor to break the denim just enough.

Before you toss out those jeans that have been hiding in your closet, consider a makeover. Or have a pair of jeans that you just haven't taken tailored? Do it yourself, save a few dollars, and elevate your downtown-cool-girl level.

Images: @freepeople, @caupletsanfrancisco, @houseoflolo, @shalinipapas/Instagram