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Ripped, torn and trendy

Balmain's worn denim has created a fashion sensation. Pair the jeans with a T-shirt or cropped jacket and sexy sandals for the look du jour.

May 17, 2009|Melissa Magsaysay

Have a hole or three in your favorite pair of jeans? You're in luck and right on trend this season, because ripped, nicked and distressed jeans have overshadowed last summer's boyfriend style as the denim du jour.

These aren't just ratty throwaways being recycled as stylish. The trend was sparked when slashed and distressed denim -- paired with a boxy, military-style jacket and killer sandals, studded and strappy -- sashayed down the Balmain spring '09 runway.

It's being called "Balmainia" and is heavily inspiring the premium denim industry to produce distressed styles in a variety of silhouettes.

Despite the $2,165 price tag for the Balmain jeans, they're in demand everywhere and have sold out on the luxury shopping site Net-A-Porter.com.

For those who want to take a stab at this trend without spending a fortune, there are several alternatives.

J Brand's Zombie skinny jeans look most like the runway original and are currently the most ubiquitous, showing up on celebrities such as Rihanna, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale. The white and light gray wash stands out when worn with a simple black T-shirt or cropped dark jacket.

If you can't let go of the boyfriend jean aesthetic, G-Star is doing a distressed hybrid called the Arc jean. It's baggier through the seat and looks better with the legs rolled. Wear these with a sexy, fitted, racer-back tank to avoid looking too shlubby.

Dipping a toe in the distressed pool is Rock & Republic, whose Berlin skinny jean in Lucky wash has just a few subtle nicks on the upper thigh. The rest is clean, which will give this version some longevity once the trend passes.

Balance the roughness of the look by wearing it the way it came down the Balmain runway -- with something clean, crisp and tailored on top. And don't forget the sexy heels. A high, strappy sandal or open-toe cage ankle boot is best. Anything with a clunky platform will look too heavy.

It's not the most polished look, but it's sexy and strong. If you're curious about it, but not quite curious enough to invest a couple of hundred dollars to get it, give it a DIY spin.

Grab some sandpaper, bleach and an old pair of jeans and get to work. When they ask what got into you, just say it was Balmainia.

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melissa.magsaysay@latimes.com

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