Why Are Ripped Jeans a Thing? Here’s What We Know!

Ripped jeans are a thing for a number of reasons including personal taste, their history, and financial constraints.

Before I go deeper, I would like to stress that this is a question that almost every conservative asks, interpret ‘conservatives’ here, as the majority of millennials and Generation X.

The gaping differences in culture and fashion, as a ripple effect, is responsible for the shock and questions whose answers they never seem to grasp, hence this article.

It is understandable if you are confused as to why anyone would spare a couple of dollars to go shop for torn denim wears, especially with the way the prices of these jeans have skyrocketed in past years due to association with reputable public figures and brand logos emblazoned on them.

If I was not one of the individuals that have shopped for and rocked this style with youthful exuberance, I would probably join you to raise my brows in question.

For myself, ripped jeans are a fashion staple and that has nothing to do with the need for political activism or a wish to portray a counter-culture.

They are just a fashion trend with the “I don’t care vibe”, that appeals to my personal style and due to personal preference, it is almost impossible not to appreciate this style in myself or others.

10 reasons why ripped Jeans are a thing

Why are Ripped Jeans trendy? Why do people still wear pairs of tattered denim with sky-high confidence as they trot down the street?

Well, speaking on behalf of the rebels and misfits who appreciate this style, the holes and frays in this outfit are not annoying or as repulsive as people make it out to be.

Ripped jeans are a thing because they are a fashion piece that has been accepted by a considerable number of members of the society.

Acceptance is one of the factors that has caused the full integration of this outfit into the fashion industry. I daresay that basic human rights and freedom to wear apparel that appeals to individual style might be another

The democratic governments across nations of the world have ensured that.

There are hordes of other reasons I will be exploring below that you might want to know too.

Why Are Ripped Jeans a Thing

Source: @Becky Hillyard//Cella Jane on Instagram

  1. It is a fashion statement
  2. It has been popularised by the punk and rock culture
  3. Ripped jeans are synonymous with political activism
  4. They are comfortable
  5. It’s a fashion trend
  6. They mark the end of a denim’s life cycle
  7. Distressed jeans are very versatile
  8. Financial Constraints
  9. Personal style
  10. The price tag

It is a fashion statement

Your main male character in your favorite romance novels is more likely to be wearing worn and ripped denim, especially if he is from a middle-class or low-income family.

The author would choose to portray the main character this way in order to provoke a certain picture in your mind’s eye.

Ripped, worn and rugged denim is often used to portray a sexy and alluring look and spells rebel with a capital “R”.

For youngsters, the cool daring look that this outfit gives them is irresistible and a means of self-expression. Iggy Pop is one of the first celebrities to come up with this trend.

Unlike some of the other artists whose worn denim wears ripped of their own accord onstage, Iggy claims to have purposely torn his jeans to achieve this tattered look because he thought “it looked right.”

While celebrities and the models modeling these clothes might not necessarily fit the stereotype, it does not seem like the fashion industry is going to let go of this badass fashion statement anytime soon.

It has been popularised by the punk and rock culture

Ripped jeans are a trend that keeps resurfacing every now and then ever since punk and rock bands popularised the style to show off their rebel attitude.

Due to the popularity of this style among punk artists, musicians, and celebrities, others have been compelled to follow suit in an attempt to copy their favorite celebrities.

In reality, even before the punk community worldwide copied this style, it was associated with working-class men who had no care about the tears on the denim, knowing that they would be heading to the factory the next morning to engage in the same old vigorous activities that had destroyed the pair.

As a result, newer or more stylish denim were the last thing these men cared about.

Around 1970, the wave of rebellion against the society spread, from Great Britain to America, influenced by punks, and torn clothing became normalized including torn jeans.

Jacket sleeves were ripped off and worn as vests, slogans taped to clothing, skinny jeans got in vogue, and distressed jeans the new fad.

All of this was done to change the conservativeness of the typical Britons, I’m not sure how much success they have had with that over the years but I’m grateful for the reign of distressed denim.

Why Are Ripped Jeans a Thing
Source: Pinterest

Ripped jeans are synonymous with political activism

It might sound strange as to how individuals wearing tattered jeans across the have anything to do with activism but in reality, that is one of the factors that keyed into play and popularised this fashion trend.

Wearing ripped jeans was and still is a way of clamoring for equality and inclusivity.

For the low-income earners who could not afford to change their denim wear which doubled as work wear ever so often, the rips on their clothing were akin to a means of identifying people who had lower statuses in society.

Shopping for and wearing this style made the differences between the poor and the rich less pronounced and curbed discrimination and profiling based on appearances to an extent.

The downsides of this would be the outrageous prices ripped denim wears are being sold at. The astronomical price for a pair of jeans has defeated this purpose, however.

They are comfortable

For individuals who have no qualms about showing skin, ripped jeans are comfortable streetwear that helps them settle in just anywhere without feeling self-conscious, especially if they have ideas on how to style them properly.

While others might raise hell over the idea of dressing this way, for some of us, it is playful, fun, and sexy outfit that boosts our confidence levels.

No one wears ripped jeans to get the older folks riled up, maybe except teenagers, but the point is that this outfit has more to do with the convenience of the wearer than any other factor.

Why Are Ripped Jeans a Thing
Source: Pinterest

It’s a fashion trend

Ripped jeans is a style that has come to stay just like other fashion trends. Wearing this style automatically makes one stand out from everyone else particularly because it goes against the professional appearance and acceptable clothing that has been in vogue over the years.

This particular trend has been influenced and given a stamp of approval by the many celebrities, new and old that have adopted this style.

The political activism of the 1970s, brand marketing, the media, and all the creative explorations that have been attempted by many big designers and denim brands in the fashion industry.

The edge that it adds to any ensemble and the dramatic flair that comes with wearing or of these is the very reason why ripped jeans is a thing and why it is not likely to fade away from the fashion space anytime soon.

Distressed jeans are very versatile

This outfit is very versatile and can be styled in a number of ways for different occasions.

No matter how reserved folks shake their heads in disapproval, the truth is that distressed jeans are a wardrobe essential everyone should own, especially style hunters like myself.

From being worn to a Sunday service to the red carpet for a fashion show, there is hardly anywhere you won’t find one or more persons of different calibers wearing this comfortably despite the disapproving stares, which in some cases is our motivation for buying these in the stores.

Ripped jeans can be styled or incorporated in a formal/semi-formal outfit with dark-colored blazers and heels or boots.

For the informal style, cropped sweatshirts or wrap tops matched with colorful sneakers perfect your style.

From leather jackets, plaid shirts, and ankle boots to silk shirts, there are a multiplicity of styles you can put together with ripped jeans, from basic to chic and sophisticated.

Why Are Ripped Jeans a Thing
IG: @Style Pantry

They mark the end of a denim’s life cycle

I can assure you that not everyone heads to the department store to buy pre-ripped designer jeans for overhyped prices because they want to hop on a fashion trend. You should judge those who do either.

Ripped jeans are a thing because some people find it a bit difficult to let go of their jeans towards the end of its life cycle.

It does not help that denim is one of those fabrics that wear considerably well and the tears and holes might not start as two-inch tears that you would find irritable.

Sometimes, it begins as simple stretches that even the biggest conservative in the block would find easy to ignore till it’s time for another round of retail therapy.

Financial Constraints

The outcry over this trend sometimes does not take into consideration the realities of low-income earners, the next reason why ripped jeans is a trend that will never go out of style.

It is quite easy to ignore those tears and rips except you have a budget that includes new fashion pieces and trust me, fashion is the last thing anyone is going to worry about when the plan is just to get by every day, somehow.

Personal Style

Lots of people wear ripped jeans because it fits their personal style and preference, not necessarily because they have nothing else to wear or were in a rush and did not have enough time to make a better choice.

This style can be an individual’s conscious choice at dressing up for an occasion, though most of the time it is met with negative criticism and feedback because of the way it is styled or the onlookers’ bias.

There are fashionistas who follow the rules however and turn up in this without looking beaten up.

Looser jackets, plaid shirts, winter coats, the right footwear, and accessories fitting the occasion are tips every rebel should consider when styling their ripped jeans.

Why Are Ripped Jeans a Thing
Source: Pinterest

The price tag

As confusing as this might sound to you, people actually do buy and wear ripped jeans, not because of their spectacular design, the craftsmanship, and the quality of the material or because it fits their personal taste.

They buy and wear ripped jeans because the price tag fits their economic and social status and communicates their worth to others.

Just like is the case with other luxury products, the target audience is majorly hooked by their emotions and the promise of exclusivity to massage their self-esteem.

The feeling of accomplishment is another emotion that luxury brands tend to play on.  For others, the idea that the costlier a product, the higher its quality would also inform these decisions.

In an interesting turn of events, it is confirmed that poor and middle-class individuals are not exempted from the need to shop for luxury products.

It is very possible for denim brands to lure almost anyone by appealing to their emotions through premium advertising and brand positioning techniques to buy any of their products including ripped jeans.


Guessing from the number of reasons explained above, I don’t think that ripped denim will be going out of style soon no matter how people complain about them.

Except laws are made to prohibit its wear and I’m sure that the legislators have better things to do with their time than a debate about a fashion piece.

However, there is no debate over the fact that ripped jeans could be styled wrongly. There is a lot of pictorial evidence to back up this claim.

Wearing jeans with too many rips or rips that are wider than two inches that show provocative body parts are tacky and could be likened to a form of visual assault.


Leave a Comment