Distressed AF

I’ve been wanting to do this DIY for a while now. This might have been a summer trend, but I cant wait to rock this tee with a yellow leather jacket or an army green parka, with black leather leggings and furry slides or a pair of strappy heels for a casual night out.

Literally all you need are 6 simple things that I’m sure you can find around your home:

  1. T-shirt
  2. Bleach
  3. Scissors
  4. Sandpaper
  5. Water bottle
  6. Safety pin

Ok, so a little back story on the Led Zeppelin tee.. we took a trip to LA one weekend and ended up in Little Tokyo. We stumbled upon a sick trendy/vintagy second-hand store, Pop Killer. I’ve heard about this little shop before and have seen it on a couple blogs and YouTube videos. Anyways – looking through the band tee rack, the last shirt on the rack was the most perfect Led Zeppelin United States of America Tour tee, in color. I instantly fell in love! I should of bought it right then and there. But I looked at the price tag and the $35 sticker was such a turnoff. That’s the thing about these trendy ass shops – the damn markup! I was not about to pay $35 for a $12 band tee brand new! I tried to hide it within the rack of tee’s and told myself, let’s go get sushi and on the way back, if I haven’t found anything else I wanted to buy, ill get it. So fast forward – sushi lunch, dessert, Sanrio, and a handful of other kawaii shops – we finally started to head back to the car, passing by Pop Killer one last time. I told myself – I’m gonna get the shirt! – I couldn’t stop thinking about it all day. I walked in and scanned the tee’s literally one by one. It wasn’t fucking there. Some other damn hipster blogger chick walked in and bought the damn shirt I wanted so bad. I was so bummed!!

Long story short, I never forgave myself for not buying the shirt when I saw it – BUT – there is a happy ending after all. I ended up finding a similar tee at  the swap meat and I scored it for a measly $5. Please do yourself a favor and don’t waste your money on eBay or a trendy hipster boutique. Seriously, the best places to look for vintage tee’s are swap meats or Goodwill! The hunt of it all is what makes it the most fun for me anyways.

Just an FYI, I got this shirt in a Men’s size L. When shopping in Goodwill, or as such, look in the men’s section and in my opinion – the more over-sized, the better.


Ok, so rant over. You can substitute the water bottle and safety pin if you have an empty spray bottle laying around. They have them in the travel section of Target or Walmart. Or if you’ve reached the end of your hair products or household cleaner bottles, you could use those too. If using a water bottle, take the safety pin and carefully poke holes in the cap of the bottle. Fill the water bottle conservatively with bleach, you wont need that much. Set the bottles aside.

Now, let’s get to the fun part!

The best part about this DIY is that you cant go wrong. Go as wild and crazy as you want, or as simple and minimal. Here are the steps I took to recreate my version of the destroyed t-shirt trend!

  1. Pinch a piece of fabric right below the hem of the neck hole. Cut a tiny slit right below the hem. Then, cut along the neckline till your desired size. Stick your hands through the hold and tug on the fabric to loosed it up and give it a more natural distress.


  2. Next, take a piece of sandpaper. I honestly don’t know what type I bought, but the rougher the better (get your head out of the gutter, nasty!). Hold onto the shirt while you swipe the sandpaper in a downward motion (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally – your choice)! I scratched the sandpaper repeatedly in the same direction, but you can go back and forth if you want larger holes.
  3. I cut a couple slits on the bottom of the shirt, right about the bottom hem. Just repeat the same as step one: pinch, cut slit, stretch hole till desired size.
  4. Honestly, get as creative as you want. Don’t be afraid of ‘making a mistake’ or following a certain pattern. The more natural, irregular, and torn the shirt becomes – the better!
  5. This part is optional, and I was actually going back and forth on this decision. You can either roll the sleeves up for a Danny Zuko vibe, or just chop off the hem and not have to worry about it. I ended up going with the later, only because I folded up the sleeves at first and they kept coming un-done (which annoyed the hell out of me).
  6. Once the distressing is done, it’s time to the bleach the f*** out of this shirt. I find this to be the funnest part only because you can see the stain happening right before your eyes.
  7. If you have a spray bottle handy, simply pour a small amount of bleach into the bottle and use as so. IF you didn’t have a spray bottle like me, I just used a water bottle and poked holes into the cap. Easy! You really don’t need that much bleach, so don’t over fill your bottle.
  8. Use your creativity and splash bleach all over the shirt. Do as little or as much as you want. My last step in creating this look, is flipping the shirt around and getting the back. I think when the back of the shirt is left black, it looks undone. Do a little less on the back side, but doing so will pull the look together and make it look a a little more legit and effortless, so to speak.


  9. Once you’ve reached your desired rocker babe vibe, throw the shirt in the washer and dryer to finish it off. A little side note: I used a black shirt and the bleach came out brownish, but if you leave the bleach soaking over night, I believe it’ll start to get lighter and almost white colored. (I’m not that patient, so I kept it as such.)


Endnote: There are so many other methods of distressing your shirt. I’ve seen people use just scissors, a grater, and even a rock (yes, a rock!). Do whichever is easiest for you. On how to style this look: I’d probably wear it with distressed jeans, messy tucked. Or with leggings. Throw on any type of jacket (leather, denim, parka) and any shoe depending on where you’re going (slides, sneakers, or heels). So effortless, so versatile, so hip, so trendy. I love it! Literally want to do this to ever single shirt I can get my hands on!





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