Wear and Tear


Wear and Tear

Ripped jeans are not for everyone

“A total b**ch after 600 Hours of Wear” sounds like the title of an erotic thriller,but is,in fact,a smart little piece posted on a popular jeans label’s website that talked about ripped jeans. The process of ripping or distressing a pair of jeans is performed by specialists delivering all kinds of abuse to freshly dipped cotton. Experts describe these factories as S&M dungeons for denim. You can watch the process on YouTube. And if you can’t handle violence against fabrics,search for a DIY site on how to distress denims. I landed on a scary one. “Rub a steak knife,cheese grater,or scissors vertically or horizontally against the area of denim that you would like to distress. Rub gently for mild distress; rub longer and more vigorously to create more visible distress (such as holes and tears),” it said.

If you are a secret follower of Jeans Psychology,you look for hidden meanings behind the never-ending search for the elusive best fit; the self-destructive temperament of ripped jeans; the susceptible-to-makeovers nature of a paint-splashed one or the intimacy a pair of skinny jeans shares with its wearer,and you wonder what’s up with Priyanka Chopra.

She was recently spotted in a pair of peculiarly distressed jeans. A big piece of the dark blue denim had been bitten away from one thigh and the rip on the other leg appeared like a knee contusion. Ouch. Despite getting the rest of the look right—a not-so-fussy V-necked T-shirt in baby pink and white stripes,casual sneakers and aviator sunglasses with trinkets on one arm — PC came across as trying too hard. But she did it again. She wore a ripped pair to an IPL match last week with a busy ganjee. If you are a PC watcher,by now you know her obsession for torn jeans.

Ripped jeans were at their peak in the Nineties and came back when Shakira belly-danced in a snug brown pair of distressed jeans to Whenever Wherever in 2002. In the latter half of the 2000s,distressed jeans made it back to lookbooks fresh off Paris-Milan-New York-London runways as Bohemian chic,and in 2008,they were replanted in fashion magazines. Kate Moss wore a sexy pair of ripped denim shorts for a shoot for Vogue Paris,followed by a hot interpretation of the distressed trend by Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen who showed off her derriere in torn shorts. The look worked for both models,also because Europe is not squeamish about tattered clothes. In India,deliberately cut up garments (ripped jeans are mostly butchered by wearers) don’t necessarily suit everyone’s sensitivities as many find them farcical in a country riddled by poverty.

Also,torn jeans demand a certain personality. You can’t purr your way on Koffee With Karan and then wear rebellious,ripped jeans. Which is what many Indian celebrities seem to do. They literally mistake ripped jeans as a Whenever Wherever piece of fashion. It is not. It is a Salman Khan garment (he will never simper on KJo’s show). Sallubhai has worn ripped jeans on all occasions: while hosting a TV show,dancing at an awards function,distributing Ganesh Chaturthi ladoos or signing frenzied autographs at an airport. Bollywood’s bad boy likes his jeans like himself: falling apart here,a bit thready there,yet cool. It is a temperamental fit,as fashion should be.

But what about PC or SRK’s wife Gauri Khan (another ripped jeans devotee) or Deepika Padukone,who come across as women who know their bodies? PC’s legs, which get the benefit of doubt in the short dresses she wears,look flabby in ripped jeans; while Gauri Khan,loved by one and all for her style,looks like she has blundered when she wears “very ripped” jeans. Youth and rebellion,two words that lurk around torn jeans,do not suit Ms Khan’s sobriety. And while Padukone may have slender legs,allowing flesh to play hide-and-seek through frayed cloth doesn’t do her justice as much as flowing Western formals do. The fashion-forward Sonam Kapoor,who wore ripped jeans for a ramp show,smartly dumped them off it. You will seldom spot her in frayed chic. Even Kareena Kapoor,who wore them while promoting Kambakht Ishq,now doesn’t seem sure about them. That leaves us with Riya Sen and Koena Mitra — also spotted in distressed jeans. They need to go grunge all the way: get a tattoo or two and flash them,some piercings and a pinch of Sallubhai’s attitude.