LBD + Cape! (Rent the Runway)

Casey of Dressed to Code wears a smug expression and a one-shoulder, black dress with a cape billowing out behind her. Bold red lipstick and drop earrings add a touch of color and sparkle to this all-black look, which includes pumps, a small satin clutch, and an Apple watch.
My rented dress had a cape. You could say I was feeling pretty smug.

The Backstory

First things first, while this is not a sponsored post, I have included my referral code. That said, this experience was completely inspired by a sponsored collaboration between Julianna of Blush and Camo and Rent the Runway… influencers at work!

You’ve probably been where I was. I had an event coming up. I had a dress I could have worn, but I didn’t feel great about the option. With the event just a few days away, I was scrolling down my Instagram feed and saw Julianna in a Rent the Runway number. I’d heard of RTR before and even looked before, but I hadn’t previously needed a cocktail dress. (Additionally, I’ve also gone up a few sizes since I first looked into the concept, so I’ve actually entered their size ranges.)

It still wasn’t more than vague window shopping until I saw the dress: “Black Drama Cape Shift Dress” by Jill Jill Stuart

Yes, it has a cape. That said, it’s still a LBD conservative enough for my occasion. I know some people think black is boring, but I tend to feel more comfortable and confident in black clothing. Plus, CAPE.

Given my challenges with finding things that fit, I expected to be completely disappointed. However, as I scrolled through the comments, I saw two repeated themes: runs small, and runs short. If you’re a petite on the smaller end of the sizing scale, you know that these two “complaints” can be fantastic news for you. After looking for feedback from women around my size, I decided that there was a reasonable enough chance that the dress could fit to actually rent it.

Casey of Dressed to Code tucks hair behind her right ear, exposing Givenchy drop earrings which add a little more classic drama to an already caped LBD from Rent the Runway. This all-black look rounds out with classic pumps from Banana Republic, a small satin clutch, and an Apple watch.
The classic combination of a little black dress and a bold red lip works for almost any occasion.

The Process

I was pleasantly surprised by the contingency planning built into the Rent the Runway system. As unsure as I was that the dress I’d chosen would fit, I became increasingly confident that RTR would do their best to ensure that I had something to wear for the occasion.

Dress + Dates

The obvious first step is picking a dress and the dates of your rental. Note that the cost of a rental varies not only by the dress but by when and how long you want it. Rentals are offered in 4 or 8 day increments. I selected a 4 day rental from Thursday to Sunday for a Friday event.

Size + Backup Size

Rent the Runway allows you to receive two sizes for the cost of a single rental, and I selected sizes 2 and 4.

Backup Dress(es)

You then have the opportunity choose any number of more expensive styles for an “upgrade” in case something happens to your first choice. I selected this Black Palermo Dress by nha khanh, which lacked the drama (read: cape) of my first choice, but would have been suitable for the occasion. This Gizela Dress by Trina Turk would have been another opportunity for a caped LBD.

Checkout

Checking out was relatively uneventful, but my coupon code required a slightly higher dollar amount. Therefore, I added a pair of simple studs to my cart that got me to that higher dollar amount and dropped the overall price. (A waste on their part if you ask me, but this is one of those occasions where a little math saves you money!) Get my referral code for $30 off your first rental here.

Arrival

Rent the Runway guarantees that your dress will arrive by 8pm on the day you’d selected. My package notification system (not a RTR feature) alerted me that my package had arrived around 1pm. I was simultaneously excited and worried about wrinkles, so I asked my S.O. (who gets home earlier than I do) to pick it up and hang them up. I didn’t need to worry. The dresses arrived in individual plastic bags, fresh from the dry-cleaners and completely wrinkle-free. The pair shipped in a high-quality, zipped carrying case. A similarly nice box, tucked into a special pocket, held the earrings.

Moment of Truth

I’ll spare you my nerves and skip to the important part: it fit! I ended up going with the size 2, which was a tad tighter across the hips than I probably would have preferred. However, the size 4 would have revealed my bra at the arm holes. That’s another perk of this dress: I could wear a strapless bra with one shoulder strap on (which is significantly better than fully strapless). The tailoring was incredible, and the fabric was a beautiful weight. While the cape did pull slightly, the snug fit across the bust meant it wasn’t a problem. As I had hoped, the “short” length hit at a flattering height just above the knee.

Casey of Dressed to Code smiles in Givenchy drop earrings with a dramatic Jill Jill Stuart Black Drama Caped Shift Dress from Rent the Runway. This all-black look rounds out with classic black leather pumps from Banana Republic, a small satin clutch with silver hardware, and an Apple watch with black leather and silver band.
The fit wasn’t 100% perfect, but the black color and luxurious fabric were fairly forgiving.

The Cape

In case it wasn’t glaringly obvious, the cape makes this dress. It managed to be a playful element without getting in the way. Simultaneously, the black color kept the dress grounded and sophisticated. I wore my black Canta pumps from Banana Republic but could have also gone with a strappy black dress sandal. While some renters chose a statement necklace, I preferred long, dangling crystal earrings from Givenchy (old). I wore my silver apple watch with the black leather band (no surprise there), and carried a small black-and silver satin clutch (old). (My apologies for the lack of details shots — it was cold!)

Casey of Dressed to Code pairs Givenchy drop earrings with a dramatic Jill Jill Stuart Black Drama Caped Shift Dress from Rent the Runway. This all-black look rounds out with classic black leather pumps from Banana Republic, a small satin clutch with silver hardware, and an Apple watch with black leather and silver band.
This dress may have only been around for the weekend, but these accessories will be with me for many years.

Ready to Rent the Runway for yourself? Get my promo code here.

Would you rent clothing for special occasions? What about on a regular basis? Or would you rather save toward a purchase of your own? Let me know why in the comments below!

 

Dress like the best version of yourself.

– Casey

Find Out What’s on My Intentional Wardrobe Wishlist

Moorea Seal Black Wool Morley adjustable hat with Abercrombie satin bomber, Madewell Quincy Wash 8" Skinny Jeans, Hunter Original Refined Rain Boots from Nordstrom, and Apple Milanese Loop Watch.
In my signature black and denim, this is one of those outfits that feels like a better version of myself.

I made my pledge to focus my purchases on building an intentional wardrobe, and today I’m sharing more of my own process with you, along with two of my recent finds. Many bloggers are calling this a capsule-style wardrobe, but right now I’m more focused on cultivating a more intentional basis for my wardrobe.

If you haven’t read the other post yet, start at the beginning: Start Building A Wardrobe.

0. I put down the card and stepped away from the checkout.

I’m not the most impulsive shopper (I may even be too hesitant to hand over the money) to begin with, so this part was fairly easy for me.

1. I figured out what I like.

Trends may change, but you already know I’m drawn to black and denim looks. I’m also visually drawn to lighter colored clothing, but I tend to default toward black when buying.

Outfits that inspire me tend to contain staple colors: black, white, greys, tans, and denim blues. For accessories, I want to expand to black and cognac. See my vision here.

2. I made a list!

This is the stage that I’m sharing with you today. I’m still playing around with exactly how much I’d like, but I have a good foundational list started.

Note that this is a relatively casual list and does not include business formal workwear.

Tops

  1. Short Sleeve Tees
    • Black
    • White
    • Tan
    • Heathered Grey
    • Black & White Stripe
  2. Long Sleeve Tees
    • Black
    • Heathered Grey
    • Black & White Stripe
  3. Button Front Shirts
    • Chambray
    • White
  4. Pullover Sweaters
    • Black
    • Grey
    • Tan
  5. Cardigan Sweaters
    • Grey
    • Tan
    • Black & Grey

Dresses

  1. Black T-shirt Dress*
  2. Black Maxi Dress

Pants

  1. Dark Skinny Jeans
  2. Medium Skinny Jeans
  3. Black Chinos
  4. Black Leggings*
  5. Tan/Grey Skinny Pants
  6. Flared Jeans?
  7. Tights
    • Black Sheer Tights*
    • Black Opaque Tights*
    • Black Fleece-lined Tights*
    • Colorful Opaque Tights

Skirts

  1. Black Faux Leather Skirt
  2. Black Maxi Skirt

Outerwear

  1. Colorful Raincoat
  2. Black Shell
  3. Black Bomber
  4. Grey or Tan Trench
  5. Black Wool Coat

Shoes

  1. Black Riding Boots
  2. Black Chelsea Boots
  3. Black Flats
  4. Cognac Booties
  5. Nude Sandals
  6. Rain Boots

Accessories

  1. Scarves
    • Blanket Scarf
    • Colorful Scarf
    • Black/Grey Scarf
  2. Bags
    • Black Crossbody Purse
    • Cognac Tote
  3. Belts
    • Black & Silver*
    • Black & Gold
    • Cognac & Gold
  4. Other
    • Black Gloves*
    • Black Sunglasses
    • Black Wool Hat

Therefore, with this list, the total numbers of items in each categories are as follows:

  • Tops: 16
    • Tees: 8
    • Shirts: 2
    • Sweaters: 6
  • Dresses: 2
  • Bottoms: 8
    • Pants/Leggings/Tights: 10
    • Skirts: 2
  • Outerwear: 5
  • Shoes: 6
  • Accessories: 11

Altogether, that’s 31 articles of clothing, 6 pairs of shoes, and 11 accessories. Total, that’s 48 pieces!

3. I can now check off what pieces I already have and are in good condition.

I’ve starred (*) the pieces that I’ve already checked off my list above. You can see some of those pieces in prior posts:

  • Black short-sleeve tee, dark skinny jeans, and nude sandals here
  • Rain boots and black and grey draped cardigan here
  • Medium skinny jeans here
  • Black leather skirt and black crossbody bag here
  • Colorful raincoat here

4. Now it’s time to be patient and keep looking!

Moorea Seal Black Wool Morley adjustable hat with Abercrombie satin bomber, Madewell Quincy Wash 8" Skinny Jeans, Hunter Original Refined Rain Boots from Nordstrom, and Apple Milanese Loop Watch on Casey of Dressed to Code.
This new favorite outfit ecompasses several elements on my wardrobe wishlist, which is a good sign that I’m headed in the right direction!

The Morley Hat

I finally made it over to Moorea Seal’s gorgeous store in Belltown. If you aren’t in the vicinity, you can still shop her store online here.

Because I have a pretty tiny head, I’d all but given up on checking the wool hat off my wardrobe wishlist. Cue the Moorea Seal store, where I couldn’t help but try on this Morley hat. Imagine my delight when I was informed that it was adjustable!

The Morley hat comes in five colors, including grey and burgundy. There is a ribbon inside the brim of the hat that you can tighten and secure with velcro. However, I pinned mine with a small safety pin for extra security, and it’s nice and snug. I wouldn’t want this beautiful, handmade piece to blow away!

Moorea Seal Black Wool Morley adjustable hat with Abercrombie satin bomber and black shell from Banana Republic on Casey of Dressed to Code.
The best part of this gorgeous hat is that it’s adjustable. That means that I don’t need to hold it on.

Satin Bomber

This satin bomber was an Abercrombie piece that I initially tried on when I bought my faux leather skirt. However, I watched and waited until it went on sale before pouncing. Score!

This is more of a juniors’ fit, so the jacket is very petite-friendly and would be cropped on someone with a longer torso. I’m wearing a size XS for reference. This is not, by any means, a winter jacket, as it has the thickness of two layers of satin. That said, I’m enamored of the luxurious feel and dressed-up, dressed-down combination of the satin fabric and bomber shape. The cuffs are a thick, soft knit.

My biggest complaint by far about this jacket is that the pocket zippers are upside down! That’s right, they zip up to open and down to close. While it doesn’t sound like a big deal, it has been throwing me off. The pockets could also be bigger – I don’t think an iPhone 7 would fit! I also think that the jacket would have a cleaner look if the main zipper had a sleeker zipper.

Moorea Seal Black Wool Morley adjustable hat with Abercrombie satin bomber, Madewell Quincy Wash 8" Skinny Jeans, Hunter Original Refined Rain Boots from Nordstrom, and Apple Milanese Loop Watch on Casey of Dressed to Code.
One day, I’ll find my replacement pair of black leather riding boots. Until then, I’m wearing these Hunter rain boots.

Top

This top is my shell from Banana Republic. Find a longer description here.

Jeans

These are my Madewell 8″ skinny jeans in Quincy wash. Read more about them here.

Rain Boots

These are my Hunter Original Refined Rain Boots in black, which I snagged during Nordstrom’s annual sale. Find a glossy version here or read more about mine here.

Moorea Seal Black Wool Morley adjustable hat with Abercrombie satin bomber, Madewell Quincy Wash 8" Skinny Jeans, Hunter Original Refined Rain Boots from Nordstrom, and Apple Milanese Loop Watch on Casey of Dressed to Code.
Your wardrobe should put a smile on your face and help you stand a little taller (high heels optional).

What’s on your wardrobe wishlist? Let me know in the comments below!

To quote Albert Einstein, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

-Casey

 UPDATE: I will keep an updated version of this wishlist, complete with links, here.

Fall Feelings in Warm Weather

It almost feels almost like fall in this Banana Republic burgundy windowpane plaid skirt with Madewell radio tee and INC International Concepts boots.
It may be September, but that doesn’t mean that sweater weather has set in.

Officially, fall begins with with the fall equinox. According to the people who decorate the stores, the seasons of changing leaves begins September first, even if no one tells mother nature. As a Southern California native, I’m used to the possibility of summer weather through October. Here in Seattle, however, the fall feeling is (intermittently) in the air, and I’m already pulling out my (limited selection of) fall pieces. As a result, I wanted to quickly share this outfit with you. Here’s an easy idea for to embracing fall pieces without overheating.

Here’s the easy trick to dressing like it’s fall when the weather doesn’t quite agree: bring in the colors and textures of the new season without the warmth or layers.

To get in the spirit of autumn without melting, I opted to pair this Banana Republic skirt (a favorite from fall 2015) with my black Madewell radio tee. I added my INC International Concepts black booties, whose gold heels coordinate well with the gold zip on the skirt. I finished things off with my Fitbit Charge HR (of course), gold studs, and this gold and green pendant necklace from my great grandmother. You could throw a cropped jacked on top if the temperatures did dip after all. For sunny days, ice tea is the only thing missing from this outfit!

Get that fall feeling with this Banana Republic burgundy windowpane plaid skirt with Madewell radio tee and INC International Concepts boots.
This skirt updates the classic A-line silhouette with pleats and pockets.

You’ve seen this tee before, paired with jeans. Similarly, these black leather boots are a staple in my closet that I’ve also paired with cuffed jeans and with tights. With its high quality construction, this Banana Republic skirt is a wardrobe staple. The fabric is a beautiful weight, with a full lining. Best of all, this skirt has pockets!

 

What item are you most excited to pull out for fall? Share below!

When people tell you how incredible you are, believe them. 

– Casey

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How to Balance Black Leather

Banana Republic top, Abercrombie faux leather mini skirt, and Hinge Drea peep toe leather sandals from Nordstrom.
This black on black leather look could have gone biker chick rather than casual chic, but it’s all about balance.

As my birthday approaches each year, I start to reflect on my life thus far and the year to come. This year, even as I chase my goals, I need to simultaneously slow down and enjoy being in my early twenties. It’s so easy to keep worrying about the next steps and forget to enjoy the now. So when I spotted this faux leather mini on the sale rack at Abercrombie (and it fit at the natural waist with an A-line shape), I figured now was the time to rock a piece like this!

I know that when you hear Abercrombie, you probably think of brightly-colored, branded t-shirts. They still have some of those shirts, but they also have some great pieces, like this satin bomber in black or burgundy. They have also introduced petite and tall sizes online! I’ve actually found enough worth looking at lately to add the store back into my online rotation. If you want to avoid shipping costs, you can pick up online orders in store (and immediately make a return if it doesn’t work out).

Skirt

This fully lined, faux leather mini includes a functional full-length zipper up the front. (That could be helpful if you’re currently rocking a bootie of the medical variety). A tab snaps on either side of the zipper, so I’m not worried about accidental unzipping. I was a little worried about the length, so I put a small pair of shorts on underneath. The waist also comes down to a slight point on either side, which is an interesting touch.

Banana Republic top, Abercrombie faux leather mini skirt, and Hinge Drea peep toe leather sandals from Nordstrom.
It’s texture rather than color that really makes this look.

Top

I told you that this staple piece would be making a reappearance! In addition to sitting well under a blazer, this Banana Republic favorite looks great on its own. As I mentioned previously, I never found it online, but if you find a similar piece, let me know! (I’ll buy three more.) I like the simple, flowy top to counteract the leather skirt and add balance. With the black top and bottom, the overall outfit has a sleekness to it while relying on texture for visual interest. The soft nature of the top counteracts the potential harshness of the bottom and keeps the look firmly in my aesthetic.

Sandals

If you’ve been reading this blog since the beginning or following me on Instagram, you’ll recognize these Hinge Drea Peep-toe Leather Sandals from Nordstrom. This outfit would have also worked well with black sandals, but I love the leg-lengthening effect of the nude sandal. See a close-up here. As it gets cooler, I’ll swap out these sandals for tights and my black INC booties.

Banana Republic top, Abercrombie faux leather mini skirt, Fossil Georgia leather watch, and Danforth pewter squirrel necklace.
Black and silver (and pewter) accessories tie in nicely together and with the silver snaps on the skirt.

Accessories

I paired this outfit with my black leather, silver hardware Coach purse, which I believe is an earlier iteration of the Dinky bag. This year’s version reimagines the interior slightly with a coin-purse-style pocket, and has more pronounced topstitching in a contrasting color. A well-cared for Coach purse will last for years (my other Coach purse is approaching 40!), so buying a preowned classic is a great option.

I’m also wearing my black and silver Fossil Georgia watch for a little wrist sparkle. (A few years ago, I rarely wore anything on my wrists. Now my Fitbit tan line is pronounced enough that I almost never go without something.) As I have mentioned before, I love the large, readable face of this watch paired with the small band.

Little touches like a charming necklace add a personal element to an outfit and even serve as a conversation starter. The distinctive squirrel I’m wearing here (on an 18″ chain) is from Danforth Pewter, made in Vermont. The squirrel cast shown here is still available in a pin. You won’t find any more charms because but I bought out all their remaining stock after they discontinued production. They made great little gifts!

There are a number of other shapes of charms to choose from, and they have a warm, handcrafted quality in your hands. The best way to pick out your charm is by going through the big wooden chest with all the little drawers in store, but online shopping works as well if you aren’t planning a trip to Vermont anytime soon. (I adore this little tree frog!) I paired this necklace with simple brushed silver studs.

Where nail polish is so much less expensive than paying for a manicure, I don’t feel too guilty about picking up a new color every other trip to Target. This medium berry tone is a Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear polish in 189 – Mauve Over. The color on my screen is pretty true to the color on my nails, which makes a perfect transitional color between the fresh brights of summer and the deep tones of fall.

Banana Republic top, Abercrombie faux leather mini skirt, and Hinge Drea peep toe leather sandals from Nordstrom.
This black leather purse with shiny silver details pairs equally well with my everyday aesthetic and special occasions, with plenty of room for the essentials and more.

#onthecusp

I ended up immediately wearing this outfit for an On the Cusp event at Neiman Marcus Bellevue. Five Seattle area bloggers had pulled pieces for the fall season, including Pumps and Plaid, AikA’s Love Closet, Story of My Dress, and xxKarlieRae. While most of their gorgeous pulls won’t be joining my closet anytime soon ($$$$), it was fun to look. I had a wonderful evening meeting other bloggers and thinking about how I could incorporate some of the elements.

IRO Han Jersey-Knit Motorcycle Jacket in Pink Grey from Neiman Marcus
IRO Han Jersey-Knit Motorcycle Jacket in Pink Grey, available at Neiman Marcus

One of my unexpectedly favorite pieces was this IRO Han Jersey-Knit Motorcycle Jacket in Pink Grey pulled by Megan of  Sort of Style and paired with a crisp white shirt. This subdued, neutral pink is popular with many of the bloggers I follow, and the texture was buttery soft. While I’m not going to convert to a light-colored closet anytime soon, this pin-worthy jacket had me giving this color further consideration. If you love the light-leather moto look, this BLANKNYC Faux Leather Moto Jacket in might do this trick!

 

What are your stop-and-smell-the-roses moments? This week, mine was remembering I’ll only be in my early twenties once and rocking a (faux) leather skirt. Share yours in the comments below!

Be even more amazing than you ever thought you’d be.

-Casey

DIY Distressed Denim

Banana Republic black wool sweater with delicate silver necklace, Fitbit Charge HR, distressed Levi's jeans, and black leather INC boots (booties).
With delicate silver jewelry, a mid-weight sweater, and these black leather booties, these newly-distressed jeans fit right into my fall look.

Distressed denim is back in a big way, with rips, slits, and scuffs adding visual interest to skinny jeans. I’m normally one for dark denim, but after seeing so many cute posts from other bloggers, I wanted a distressed pair of my own! Unfortunately, the extra attention that goes into aging that denim often comes at a price. My bank account took a hit recently with pricey standardized tests, so I decided to opt for a little DIY.

If you don’t have an extra pair lying around, this is a great time to hit up those thrift stores. Quality denim is durable enough to still be great second-hand, and for the distressed look, a little pre-wear only helps. I dug into the back of my bottom drawer (where things go on their way out), and found this pair!

My canvas is a pair of Levi’s Curve ID low-rise skinny jeans in demi curve, size 25. (Side note: my all-time favorite jeans were another pair of Levi’s Curve ID skinnies in an extra low rise and 99% cotton. They did amazing things for the rear before tragically ripping in the crotch after many years. Levi’s, if you’re reading this, bring them back!) This pair was a little stretchy for my taste because I prefer a thicker, higher-cotton feel, but I appreciated the dark denim look.

Levi's demi curve curve ID jeans size 25
These Levi’s served as my canvas. The knees were already thinning, but I added some more character.

Lighter washes are typically recommended for distressing, but I figured it was better practice with what I already had (cost: $0). My mother would probably cringe at the idea of intentionally attacking a pair of jeans (her distressing and paint splatters are all 100% authentic), but this pair is already pretty thin in certain critical areas, so there aren’t too many wears left anyway.

Step 0: Know what you want

I decided to aim for a less-is-more look. I knew I could always add more distressing later if I wanted, but I wasn’t interested in a completely shredded look. Looking for inspiration online, I found these pairs from AG, Hudson Jeans, and PAIGE, all around $200. I liked the subtle knee tears and the upper thigh patch. I thought it looked odd that the distressing was restricted entirely to the front, so I decided to add a little wear to the back pocket as well. Those four elements became my todo list, and I decided to start with what I thought would be the easiest:

  1. Back pocket (right)
  2. Upper thigh (left)
  3. Knee (right)

Step 1: Get what you need

My online research suggested that you could use a number of different tools, but that sharper was better when it came to making the little slits. I opted for a box cutter as my cutting tool, and I also gathered sandpaper and tweezers. (Side note: if you don’t already have a pair of Tweezerman tweezers, do yourself a favor, and get a pair. They come in a variety of colors and also make great stocking stuffers!) It’s also important to put some material between the layers of fabric so that you don’t cut through to the back. I went for folded up paper grocery bags.

Two slits with some denim fibers removed reveal the white fibers within. Black Tweezerman tweezers rest at an angle just above the distressing.
Usually reserved for brows, these Tweezerman tweezers were perfect for this DIY because they have excellent grip, a sharp tip, and a comfortable handle.

Step 2: Make it happen

I tried the sandpaper on the edges of the pockets, but even after vigorous effort, all this produced was a soft, fuzzy effect.

The white patches are produced by making two parallel, horizontal slits with the box cutter. Make sure that you have some kind of thick buffer between the front and back of your pants. I used rolled up paper grocery bags. The bags were pretty sliced up in the end, so don’t try to use your hand or anything you like. (This should be obvious, but I’m saying it just in case.)

You want to do your best to align these cuts so as to break the fewest number of the white threads as possible. Making the cuts as close to the same length as possible will also make things easier later.

Two slits with some denim fibers removed reveal the white fibers within.
As you pull out the blue threads, you will reveal more white fibers.

Then, slowly pull out the blue vertical threads between the slits with the tweezers. For the first few, I found it helpful to look at the underside to better distinguish the blue from the white. Then it was a matter of working out from the middle until reaching the end of the cuts. You’ll notice that if you go any further, the threads won’t pull out as easily because they are still attached. This method will produce a rectangle.

Levi's jeans with DIY denim distressing
This little bit of distressing was one of my favorites and quick to do. Two short slits approximately 3/4″ apart create this elongated rectangular patch.

Up close, I love the elongated little rectangular accents. However, for the key features, the rectangles looked a little too crisp. For a more organic look, along the lines of the thigh distressing on the Hudson Jeans, I added slits of decreasing length above and below my original rectangle; pulling the threads between the new slits and the existing ones produced a staggered shape. Keeping the slits close together softens the gradation.

I won’t lie, this took longer than the 15 minutes promised in some of the tutorials I read. Be careful about pulling the blue threads without damaging (too many) white ones. I put on Netflix and good lighting and worked carefully. The results were immediately satisfying, and it would be fun to do this again.

In the end, I distressed the right knee, the upper left thigh, and the back right pocket. I also added three small elements: one to the outer right thigh, one outside the left calf, and one on the right thigh, just above the knee.

Banana Republic black merino wool sweater with DIY distressed Levi's denim jeans, INC black booties, and Fitbit Charge HR.
Per my black-and-denim uniform, I paired my newly distressed jeans with a black Banana Republic sweater, and stacked heel INC booties. You’ll also notice my near-constant accessory: a Fitbit Charge HR.

Step 3: Enjoy!

While the distressing didn’t fix the reasons I hadn’t been wearing these jeans in the first place, I now have more reason to wear these before they wear out. In short, I’ve added a pair of attractive distressed denim to my rotation without spending a dollar!

Want to recycle your denim? Bring a pair into Madewell, and they’ll give you $20 off a full-priced pair of jeans!

Have your own DIY distressed denim? Leave a pic below!

 

Reduce, reuse, recycle!

Casey