Ask A Minnesota Expert: How To Distress Your Jeans

April 8, 2014 8:00 AM

Personal style and beauty blogger Zhenya Hutson founded over three years ago as a creative outlet, which has grown into a fashion and beauty blog. Her posts are fun, engaging and easy to read. Read on to discover how Zhenya distresses denim, one of the hottest fashion trends this Spring.

Zhenya Hutson

Russian-born, college-educated and multi-lingual, Zhenya Hutson has dedicated her life to connecting with others. She is a preschool teacher by day and a blogger by night. She shares her enthusiasm about the world of fashion and beauty, aspects of personal style, researching and writing articles on her blog. Zhenya also writes guest posts for Goodwill MN blog.

Zhenya was kind enough to share her tips for distressing jeans.

Getting Inspired

“You want to see what is in style,” says Zhenya. “What type of denim are people wearing today? Don’t overdo it. Don’t look too shabby. Distressed denim has been in style during different decades, and you want to make sure you are up to date on that and not stuck in the 1980s.” Zhenya recommends checking out American Eagle, Aeropostale or Hollister for ideas. Go on different blogs, check brands and Instagram feeds, she says. Pinterest is always full of ideas as well, and as we know, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Related: Ask A Minnesota Expert: Tips For College Style Essentials

Gathering Your Tools and Materials

Always DIY conscious, Zhenya says you should be able to find everything you need at home—even the jeans. Go through your closet to find something you don’t really wear anymore and put it to good use. Next, gather your tools. A utility knife, box cutter or just a steak knife will work great for cutting fabric. Scissors might be harder to maneuver, but you can try those as well. You will also need something with a rough edge, like sandpaper, pumice stone or even a nail file to create the distressed look.

Cut and Distress Your Jeans

“I recommend the natural wear look,” says Zhenya. “That means working on the knees and creating a little bit of fraying around the pockets and bottoms. You don’t have to do too much if you are distressing an old pair of jeans, as they will already have some natural wear and tear. Put your jeans on, and with some chalk or pen, mark areas where you want to create cuts, holes or fray. Once you have marked your spots, lay the jeans out on a flat surface and begin cutting. Always remember to insert a piece of cardboard or something thick inside the jean legs to avoid cutting through to the other side.”

Bleaching Your Jeans

“Another way to create stunning results is to bleach on top of the distressed look you have created, or bleach the entire pair of jeans. Spray bottles work great for this step, so simply fill one up with bleach and get spraying,” exclaimed Zhenya. “Just make sure not to overdo it. It’s important to know when to stop.”

Bleach Stamping Your Jeans

For this technique, you’ll need a rubber stamp or a bleach pen. You can use a dish soap sponge cut into simple shapes as a last resort. Once you’ve decided on what type of stamp and pattern you are going to use, find an old plastic container, line it with a paper towel and pour in some bleach. The paper towel will absorb the liquid and make stamping easier, especially if you are using a rubber stamp.

Distressed denim doesn’t only include jeans. Zhenya encourages readers to distress denim jackets, skirts and shorts too.

Related: Best Places For Discount Designer Jeans In The Twin Cities

Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at

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