DIY Your Own Frayed Jeans

All you need are pants and decent motor skills.


I’ve been noticing frayed edges on a lot of jeans lately. And though not by any stretch of the imagination is it a new trend, it’s feeling fairly fresh again. Blame it on Yasmin Sewell — whose lower body is pictured above as photographed by Tommy Ton wearing a pair of Nicholas Kirkwood heels and what looks like a wrap-me-up-and-let’s-take-a-nap friendly big pink sweater.

When I initially saw the photo on during London Fashion Week, I saved it to my desktop. Days later, like some sort of snail reincarnate who’s just acquired internet from the North Pole, Amelia e-mailed me with a link to the same photo accompanied by a caption that desperately read: “This! I want to be this!”

See, what’s so great about an indispensably cool style cue that resonates almost immediately but yet appears spectacularly simple to attain is that it usually is that simple to attain. And because in this case it’s coming off an aspirational street style slideshow, that sense of, “I could do this!” makes actually doing it feel, I don’t know, more “exclusive.”

When I took to copy and pasting, I realized that I had no jeans frayed at their edges and wasn’t willing to crop a pair I’d already owned so I did what any smart person would do and went to Uniqlo where I found myself knee deep in a wall (not literally inside of it, in case you’re wondering, but pretty close) of men’s jeans. I wanted them straight, not skinny, and to fit somewhat loosely which is why I didn’t even think to bother with the ladies section.

I studied the broad selection and settled on a pair of dark wash slim legs in a men’s size 28. They were obviously very long but that didn’t matter as I’d be cropping them anyway. When I took them home, I learned that they fit like a really great pair of mid-rise ladies jeans. I marked the ankles where I’d be cutting and with the same scissors I use on my hair, performed my version of The Chop.

Then I drove into my trove of clothes with a tractor and ruined everything!

All of it!

Just kidding.

I pulled out a Céline shirt that I bought at a sample sale (any oversized shirt will work to achieve this look, though — and the ones from Uniqlo are actually great) and a pink and red sweater — though, again, any bright or pastel offering should work. I paired the two layers with the jeans and those so-bad-they’re-great leopard print rhinestone pumps we’re always talking about and: paste. That was that.

I’m pretty pleased with the outcome, but what do you think?

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  • mefrocher

    Leandra you are too good looking, I just can’t handle it anymore… 😀

  • Parlor Girl

    Funny as always! Love it!!!!!

    XO Barbie

    The Parlor Girl

  • El Do

    So stylish and funny!!!
    Check out our blog! xx

  • ana

    Love it! but this look only work with bare ankles, no?
    Just so that i crop all my jeans a week before temperatures start falling and I have to wear boots or socks and can’t wear any of those dyi treasures.

  • Great look, love the frayed jeans. An oversized white shirt pretty much always works with jeans.

  • Hereshoping Themayanswereright

    Adore this look on you! I’ve been doing a lot of self cropping of bootcuts lately, I love a slight flare at the end of the crop. It is great for showing off embellished ankle boots that would otherwise disappear under a longer hem.

  • mix board

    damn those casadei shoes.. we envy you!

  • The Provoker

    The first shot just does it for me. Btw half way through your book, so many things I had no idea about you. The whole chapter on those Bermuda shorts were so sad, had no idea….

  • Anastasia
  • Hey,

    Nothing to do with the post, but it was really nice meeting you in DC. I was the second person to get my book signed! Anyway I really love the long white shirt under the sweater!

    • Leandra Medine

      I wish you’d told me that you write Eat Style Play – very clearly remember meeting but I would have also thank you for always keeping the conversation going down here!

      • I didn’t even register! haha, Hopefully if i’m in NY soon we can meet for some coffee! Anyway thanks again! Can’t wait to read my book, you’re book is next after I finish the walking dead 🙂

  • Pilar

    FANTASTICO ,me encanta este post los jaens ,los zapatos todo ideal .
    como decimos en España “eres la caña “.
    Un beso

  • Aubrey Green

    Love it and you! I use to wear this look all the time (without the heels) in high school. Which was a while ago…;).

  • Kristina

    even better

  • claudia

    Love your outfit so much! The oversized t-shirt and the shoes are awesome!

  • Miriam van Klinken

    omg, i can’t STAND it when people don’t adjust their collar properly. but i have to say…it’s a good thing that you go to the men section! men clothing is one of the few things i can’t live without anymore. Thumbs up dear Leandra!!!

  • Oh gotta love Uniqlo men’s! I ordered a denim shirt earlier this week and it’s oh so comfy <3 The jeans actually fit wonderfully on you! I wish it would do the same on me.

  • Guest

    Looks cute. But let me ask you…will the jeans look with the man repeller supertanker black velvet hi tops because they seem to be all I want to wear in between Birkenstock and boot season…

  • thank you for putting into tangible form exactly how i want to look for the next month or until the nefarious nip of winter starts to threaten my ankles with frost bite. also we’re all thinking it so i’m just gonna come right out and say it: hot damn, you done outdid yasmin.


  • Tamara

    Looks super cute…but how will the frayed jeans look with the man repeller superga black velvet hi tops because they’re all I want to wear in this season in between Birkenstocks and boots…

  • Claudia

    I haven’t been able to see the pictures that come after the first one since the website was updated 🙁

    • Leandra Medine

      Really? What browser are you using? So sorry!

      • Claudia

        I’m using Mozilla Firefox

      • anonymouse

        I’m using Chrome and have the same issue.

    • Thamsa

      maybe try clearing your cache or browsing data? I sometimes have that problem, but it’s fine now…

  • Sara Russell

    You can totally pull off those jeans xx

  • Pualana Lemelle

    so good, thanks for the inspiration!

  • LOVE IT!! Love that you worked on the uniqlo pants. I seriously must try that when attempting a DIY.

    And I really love that oversized white shirt. I bet your white shirt collection is freakin amazing. 🙂

  • Lilli

    I always dream that you and I are hanging out in NYC but i never can remember what you’re wearing…. I think this is legitimately it!

  • sara delaney

    yes, yes….but where is the original pink sweater from….? Sorry to not be on message with this…but I too saw the lovely pic & instantly required that pink sweater my mother could have knitted for me 20 yrs ago…but sadly didn’t, so ergo. am sweaterless & still aching for that very look…. suggestions on a post card please…addressed to Notes from a Stylist (london)

  • I’ve been talking about this for a couple weeks now since seeing it here on your blog and for some reason haven’t brought myself to doing it. But trust me when I say I will. I’m short and jeans very rarely come in size below-average so this cropping thing is actually a really great idea.

  • LLynda

    Nice but I reckon it would be even better without the shirt.

  • Beauty Follower
  • Little Edie

    I’ve just cropped two pairs of jeans I haven’t worn in two years, and almost cropped a pair of my husband’s rejects until I got caught in the act. Thanks for the shopping trip in my closet!

  • Jen

    I love this look, the frayed jeans make the outfit that more interesting and memorable. Please check out my fashion blog at – you won’t regret it! 🙂

  • fashion altitude

    Thanks for the tip Leandra! I will head to the men’s jeans section at Uniqulo and pick up a pair! I am not so good at chopping, cutting though:-..Hmm it will feel like going back to kindergarden. Great inspiration and I love the way you write.
    xo from Paris

  • The shoes are amazing. I don’t know what it is about denim and a pair of flashy heels, but I freakin’ LOVE it.

    I have a few pairs of jeans lying around that could use a chop (I’m short, so the bottoms always end up jacked up if I wear flats…sigh), so this might be a fun “non-project project” for this afternoon!

  • Laura

    Love this! I am very short (4’11”) and have doing this for years as even petite pants are often too long.

  • Mari Corona

    Love this share!!! 🙂 Great look

  • I, too, saw that picture and said “wow, how effortlessly chic and kind of messy is that?” i thought it was beyond awesome and I may be trying to also recreate the look…

    off to find a pair of pants to ruin, ahem, I mean make more awesome…



  • AngelCat

    Bought a pair of men jeans and corduroy straight pants at uniqlo, i tried on 28, and fitted perfeclty, now i dont want to cut them coz they look pretty good at they r :p

  • Victoria

    I love how you re-wear accessories and clothing! It makes me feel human, thanks! Seeing you this Thursday at Holts in Toronto! I’m really looking forward to it, see yah then!

  • pemora

    i just bought and cut some pinkish uniqlo jeans to do the same. i figure i can wear them with a chambray shirt? (what CAN’T one wear with a chambray shirt?)

  • Darvs

    Yasmin’s jeans are Topshop online limited edition….get them quick x

  • Amanda Day

    yes. i’m going to do this now.

  • olithee

    thats the most brilliant idea I was ever given, men jeans section. Im over skinny !

  • mubejosnd1995

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  • Anna Proffitt

    Love this, I live in jeans so definitely going to do it!

  • Anne

    Inspiring idea! I had to try this DIY out for myself. Men’s jeans are a must to achieve this look. Paired with heels and a sweater, how could you possibly go wrong?!

  • Katie Richey

    Nailed it

  • april berlin

    want that necklace!