What’s Old is New Again

What’s Old is New Again

It’s really hard not to weigh in on my would you wear it posts. You know I have an opinion because I have one about everything, especially fashion. I keep my responses brief on Saturday because I want to hear what you think about the clothes. Since readers have asked me to share my thoughts on these mannequins I thought I’d begin with the two from yesterday.

Yesterday’s mannequins were wearing shorts and a denim skirt with raw hems. The shirt on the left was released (let down), the one on the right was frayed. In the comments, some were worried the trend wouldn’t last, some thought the threads would itch, many thought it looked unkempt and some would happily wear the look.

The recent frayed or raw hem look began several years ago. It’s almost exclusively on denim fabrics. It started with jeans, then progressed to denim skirts, jackets, and shorts.

They say if you wore something the first time around, you shouldn’t wear it the second time it’s in fashion. Who they are is inconsequential because I believe we should wear what we love that makes us happy. If I wore a look 30 years ago I may wear it differently this time but I won’t automatically dismiss it.

I wore the frayed hem in my teens. We were all cutting off our jeans which resulted in frayed hems. Mine were never very successful because I couldn’t get them symmetrical. My strongest association with frayed hems and edges are on garments designed by one of the most celebrated fashion designers of all time, Coco Chanel. Her boucle and tweed jackets often have frayed necklines, front edges, and hems.

So would I wear these outfits from yesterday? I would wear the jacket and shirt on the left because I love a great denim jacket and shirts tied at the waist slim my torso without having to tuck it in. I’m not a fan of the released hem look because it looks unfinished. If I Ioved the skirt, I would simply hem it.

The yellow blouse is not a flattering color on me and the neckline is too closed to flatter my broad shoulders. I would also skip the frayed shorts because the fray is too long and I’m just easing my way into shorts.

I resisted the frayed hem look on jeans this time until I realized it could be worn subtly and customized to my comfort level. I now have two pairs of raw hem jeans. Both have a tiny fray which I trim after I wash them, if they need it. They don’t tickle my ankles because the fray is less than 1/2 inch. I also have several tweed jackets with frayed edges that I love and never feel shabby wearing. blue plaid jacket with white shirt and French Kande bracelet

Would you feel different if the frayed edges were on a tweed jacket?

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

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  1. Angie
    July 21, 2019 / 9:14 am

    The tweed jacket looks great. But I don’t call anything with frayed edges or holes in it fashion. It is that way because the designers can’t think of anything else to do and some people will by anything in the name of fashion! IMO!! Denim jackets and skirts seen to come back every year, I have at least 8 denim jackets in my closet. Lol

  2. Lea
    July 21, 2019 / 9:22 am

    I have frayed jeans and a faux Chanel jacket and love them both. I also appreciate how you point out that even if it turns out to be a trend, we can incorporate a bit of new fashion and it can be fun!
    Last week I stopped in a small café in a small town in Vt. and a young girl complimented me on my hat adding that she had one, loved it but was “afraid” to wear it. I asked of whom she was afraid, friends or strangers and she replied strangers. I gently asked why she cared what people thought… if she loved it… this is what I want to thank you for, the encouragement to try and all of a sudden one feels naked without a hat, scarf, accessories etc. I don’t always agree with you but you do push me to try things. Thank you!

    • July 21, 2019 / 11:51 am

      Thank you Lea. I’m glad you don’t always agree with me;)

  3. Terry
    July 21, 2019 / 9:25 am

    I consider Chanel items to be fringed, not frayed, i.e. it is design, not faux “wear.” The white skirt looks like a mess; the frayed shorts are fine except for the strings hanging down, which are just ugly. The yellow blouse is a weird shade that would not flatter me (I’m a peachy cream color) but I really like the blousy cut. The denim jacket and coral striped top are fine. I, too, often tie my tops instead of tucking.

    • Exactly!
      July 21, 2019 / 6:42 pm

      Exactly! Fringeis a design detail. Frayed is not to me. And, I find frayed items limited to very casual and/or very trendy designs. That is just not the way I choose to structure my wardrobe. I think that our choices in wardrobe are also important our planets health. Changing an entire wardrobe frequently used valuable resourses. Classic, well-styled clothing is a good way to help our ecosystem. And, what’s good for the planet is good for the bank account!

  4. July 21, 2019 / 9:27 am

    I think the frayed look is a cultural evolution, just as it was in the ’70s. We have an aversion to perfection; being too “done,” too perfect, too neat, it all smacks of being artificial, snobbish or square. Hence, you get untucked shirts at the least, but also purposely faded jeans, jeans with rips in the knees from wear (a sign of a beloved pair) that reaches its logical conclusion with jeans with intentional holes in illogical places. The destroyed-jean look has played out, so how to tackle the next jean, especially when the waist is going up (because those low-waisted jeans also were slightly subversive)? Frayed hems.
    I have a pair of cut-offs, that were actually old jeans that got ripped knees, and I cut them off above the knee–I like them for gardening because they provide a pocket for my phone. I wouldn’t be caught dead in them outside the walls of my yard.
    I wouldn’t wear frayed hems because I keep my jeans for too many years. This trend is going to last just a couple, and then what? Also, I’d rather look dressier. To me, jeans already are very informal, and I don’t need to make them more so.
    And you make a clever observation about the frayed edges of the Chanel jacket. Chanel, more than anybody, was about breaking rules and pushing limits, with her borrowing of styles from menswear. I can only imagine that the frayed edges were a sly, subversive wink at the upper-crust ladies who bought her couture.

    • July 21, 2019 / 11:56 am

      Well put! Thanks for that. I agree about Chanel. She was a unique thinker.

  5. Barb
    July 21, 2019 / 10:03 am

    Love Chanel jackets and love the fringe. I would totally wear but unfortunately do not have any in my wardrobe and am always on the lookout and would totally love it if they came back into more of a trend. I also do like the frayed look on jeans but only if subtle. I have a frayed denim skirt, which is subtle, which I enjoy wearing. Also love denim jackets or really anything denim.

  6. July 21, 2019 / 10:08 am

    I agree with Terry…I think the fringe is different from the frayed. The fringe looks polished and compliments the jacket. The frayed just isn’t polished …no matter if it is a trend or not. But I know there are women who love it and that is why it keeps coming back. I am just not a fan…but I never wore cut offs when I was younger either. It is just me.

  7. Lisa
    July 21, 2019 / 10:15 am

    I recently bought a denim dress to wear to work on Friday’s ( when we dress down a bit in the corporate banking world). I didn’t try it on because I was familiar with the label and knew it would fit. When I was just about to check out I noticed it was frayed in the hem. I deliberated about buying it, but since I’m an experienced sewer, I bought it and hemmed it when I got home. I’m a woman “of a certain age” and don’t think it’s appropriate for work to wear
    an outfit that might otherwise look great on someone in their 40’s or younger. If it wasn’t for work I may have gone with it, but probably would have only worn it for shopping or hanging around on the weekend. Just my opinion. I’m a real classic (Talbots) type, so maybe if I was the Boho type, I would have felt more comfortable!

    • July 21, 2019 / 11:58 am

      Great point! Boho is much more relaxed

  8. Mary Lou Selders
    July 21, 2019 / 10:23 am

    I like the first outfit except for the released hem on the skirt. I would definitely hem it. The pieces on the second outfit just don’t go together. The shorts are off somehow, Bermuda’s with fringe? I have worn cut offs with fringe since the 70’s but now just for yard work. I did buy a pair of ankle pants with subtle fringe last year. They are casual and cute.

  9. Laurie
    July 21, 2019 / 10:45 am

    I actually like both outfits. I like the unhemmed skirt. It’s a cute skirt with cute pockets, but the frayed hem is an extra little detail that IMO elevates the outfit because it is unexpected. It would be a nice casual outfit without this detail, but the hem adds a little fun to the look. And, to me fashion should be 1. comfortable, and 2. fun. The cutoffs outfit also has an unexpected quality to it. Generally, I think you would see a t-shirt paired with cutoffs. But, the peasant blouse is a little unexpected and makes it interesting. Now, I wouldn’t wear cutoffs because I just couldn’t pull it off. But, when I was about 12 years old, I had a pair of favorite jeans that became cutoffs one summer. I wore them all the time and eventually a hole developed in the seat of the cutoffs. I repaired it with duct tape! And, continued to wear them. The cutoffs in the picture remind me of them. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  10. Sue G
    July 21, 2019 / 10:58 am

    I agree, the fabric and length of the fray make a difference. I too wore the frayed, tattered denim jeans in my teens – it was an expression of rebellion and drove my parents crazy.
    Today, I have a shirt with a frayed placket that I wear because I like the style and the fray is fairly short. I trim it after washing so it looks styled not old and worn out.

  11. Susan
    July 21, 2019 / 11:02 am

    I agree with taste of France in that I don’t like to look too neat,too done,or matchy matchy.The frayed edges don’t bother me at all

  12. Cathy justice
    July 21, 2019 / 11:04 am

    I love a faux Chanel Jacket. I’ve been looking for one. I like the skirt outfit but I would be the skirt. It looks too unfinished for the dressmaker in me. I like the shorts but I’d pair them with a classic tee.

  13. Cindi P
    July 21, 2019 / 12:07 pm

    I happen to disagree with the idea that if we wore something before in our past we shouldn’t wear it again. For me it’s important to be modern and current. Also, if I never wore things that I had worn when younger, there wouldn’t be much left. I wore midi length skirts when I was younger. My wedding dress was tea length. I wore t-shirts when younger, I wore blazers when younger, etc. When I look at the Would You Wear It blogs I try to be positive about the style and find things I like about the style. I do enjoy frayed hems on my shorts and capris. I haven’t done many jeans just because I want to be able to wear them to work on a denim day. I haven’t done holes for that reason either. I just saw a woman probably in her 70’s wearing some cropped jeans with holes and they looked elegant on her. She is a woman who is always very well dressed and put together. I think it’s more about who she is than what was on her jeans. So, for me, it’s more about how we carry off a style, than the style itself.

    • July 22, 2019 / 7:03 am

      You have a great point. I like to look modern too. Not younger, modern and current. No need to get carried away, a touch of tread helps us get there.

  14. Freda Witt
    July 21, 2019 / 12:10 pm

    I like the jacket, have a blue/ green one almost like it. I don’t like the frayed look , especially in the skirt and shorts. Jean’s with a small fringe would be ok, but I am one of the ones that think the style won’t last, and I tend to keep my clothes longer.

  15. Lisa
    July 21, 2019 / 1:17 pm

    My first impression of the skirt… “Oh, that poor girl, her hem has fallen out”. Never ever would I wear that look. I have, however, bought and enjoyed a couple of simple linen dresses from Tommy Bahama that have a fringed hem.

  16. Melissa
    July 21, 2019 / 1:29 pm

    Never!!!! What ever happened to polished and/or elegant. It’s a look that can be achieved with minimum expense and a little effort. I think we can look confident and perhaps even youthful though not trendy with this look.

  17. Eileen
    July 21, 2019 / 1:41 pm

    The details on a Channel jacket are complex, the Hem has a chain inside to keep the jacket from riding up, and the fabric quality is superior, there is a reason the style is a classic and costly. Jean ripped details will be gone. The Levi classic Jean will stay. I agree we are on a casual path culturally at the moment, and in fashion, when one direction gets oversaturated, they will design the opposite, so things look ” fresh”. It’s up to each of us, to follow, or lead in our fashion choices. Many stores are closing, and many people are thrifting…. Interesting times….

    • July 22, 2019 / 6:57 am

      Very interesting times. Brick and mortar stores are struggling everywhere. I like to think I’m adventurous with my style but lean towards conservative.

      • mrsben2
        July 28, 2019 / 11:07 am

        On the whole, I agree with your fashion sentiments Jennifer as feel, Fashion Design evolves and eventually comes full circle as so does trends. That said; Eileen made an excellent point about choosing classic ‘style/design’ and why some can be so costly (fabric & workmanship) however by the same token IMHO ‘classic’ does not necessarily mean expensive. For example like yourself I do own three jackets similar to the first photo however the most recent one purchased though well made, I did change out the buttons for vintage ones which upgraded it considerably whereas for the older two (silk & wool blend and both about fifteen+ years old) I have since replaced their original shoulder pads, yet feel that all three are somewhat equivalent (in appearance = style/design) to one that I just recently viewed online (shan’t mention the store) for the sum of $1,240.73 Cdn. funds (on sale for $827.48) which I guaranty I didn’t pay for mine.

  18. Eve
    July 21, 2019 / 3:06 pm

    I love the fringe on the jacket! I’m drawn to that one pop on an outfit that’s takes it up a notch. I like to dress in white T, black jeans, black jacket and carry a bright green purse. 😀 All my clothes are basic so looking for that little detail whether on the item itself or as an accessory is what I love about fashion.

  19. Adrienne C Kushner
    July 21, 2019 / 4:18 pm

    The skirt looks like it was cut too short and they let it down, forgetting to finish it. That is not fashion. That is a failed Jr. High School sewing project.

  20. Linda
    July 21, 2019 / 5:05 pm

    Yes! The tweed jacket makes all the difference in the world to me!

  21. Linda L.
    July 21, 2019 / 5:51 pm

    Not a fan of frayed hems on skirts at all. I wear so little blue denim here in the desert so I don’t own any frayed or torn jeans. I have 2 fringed jackets; a white with black fringe belongs to a very expensive suit I wore at my daughters rehearsal dinner almost 15 years ago & the other is a sparkly winter white one. As I trim my east coast wardrobe down to a retired, casual west coast one I donated all but 3 pairs of jeans. The 2 classic jackets made the cut.

  22. Nancy Van Nielen
    July 21, 2019 / 7:59 pm

    I was raised on a farm, worked for years as a decorative artist and recently have a part-time job in a garden center and floral shop- frayed clothing for me came with the job and often was produced by it. Even so, I tried to polish my look, I turned up frayed cut offs to become cuffs, topped tees and shirts with vests to protect and up grade them. I never feel I have to pay to have my clothes “distressed”, I can do that all by myself. Fringed edges are controlled fraying, and it often adds interesting detail. My point of view is fraying devalues clothing, fringe can adds value.

  23. July 21, 2019 / 8:14 pm

    Short neatly trimmed frayed is totally different from long strings and seeing several hem creases like the hem just opened up – like this white skirt. While I sometimes like things a little edgy (in a conservative controlled chaos sort of way), this just looks like an accident.

    • July 22, 2019 / 6:52 am

      I tend to agree about the skirt hem. I think it’s the pressed-in hem folds that do it for me.

  24. Cimmie S
    July 21, 2019 / 11:13 pm

    Ah, but your top is designer fray 😊

    • July 22, 2019 / 6:50 am

      Lol, that makes it neater too 😉

  25. Diana
    July 21, 2019 / 11:31 pm

    Yes, the tweed jacket is classic and timeless. The ‘frayed’ edges are a fringe though, not frayed. The frayed hems on jeans these days, I pass on, because as some of your readers think, they look too unfinished, (and yet I’ll wear slightly distressed jeans, go figure!), the fraying also tickles the skin as in I’m always looking for an insect landing on me. So, those I pass on.

  26. July 22, 2019 / 6:12 am

    Great post Jennifer. I like to hear you weigh in. I resisted the raw hem trend as well until I realized I liked it on jeans. I also have two pairs. Not sure about the raw hemmed skirt trend. Who knows, I never say never!

    • July 22, 2019 / 6:49 am

      I’ve learned never to say never too. I’d hate to get stuck in a fashion rut 🙂

  27. Pam
    July 22, 2019 / 10:05 am

    I have a pair of white jeans that have a very short frayed edge, and I often get compliments on them. It’s one of the few trends I can follow at my age without looking inappropriate.

    I love the tweed jacket!

  28. Anon
    July 23, 2019 / 7:25 am

    My raw-edge jeans are turned up to make a cuff. Any loose threads don’t even touch my skin. The inside seams are finished in red thread. Love it. There’s enough room to finish the hems if I want.

    The secret to even cutoffs was pulling a thread, Jennifer. My former perfectionist self did this, as taught in Home Ec class, although I’m sure the teacher thought we’d be making embroidered aprons, not cutoff shorts, denim purses and floppy hats.

  29. Phyllis Hughes
    July 29, 2019 / 9:58 pm

    The Chanel Jacket has applied trim; sometimes fringe, sometimes braid, sometimes intricately made trim. It is not a frayed, ragged edge like you see on the hem of the skirt and the shorts. It takes time and planning for that edge trim on the Chanel jacket. In my opinion, there is no comparison between the two.

    There are appropriate places for a raw edge; a ruffle on a stable knit could have a raw edge because it will not fray and may actually be more attractive than a narrow hem that never quite looks right on the back. I almost never do a seam finish on the inside of a stable knit as there is no reason because it won’t fray. My background in sewing pops up when it comes to frayed raw edges. I hope I don’t offend anyone. Raw edges just irritate me.

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