Six Denim DIYs That Can Turn Disastrous

Every year around Memorial Day weekend, I take an afternoon to assess and sort through my post-winter denim situation. For cooler summer days, I keep a few lighter washes and distressed pairs in my dresser; meanwhile, heavier styles go straight into storage. Anything that doesn't fall into one of those categories (i.e. jeans I haven't worn for over six months and probably won't wear for the next six, either) gets chopped into shorts.

Assuming that my co-workers had a similar system in place, I mentioned this annual ritual at work last week—and, duuuuude, was I ever wrong. Not only were they shocked and horrified by the idea of homemade cutoffs, but had no shortage of reasons as to why store-bought shorts are better: a looser, more comfortable leg opening, better distressing, no errant frayed strings that go down to your knee.

Soon the conversation shifted to denim DIYs in general and how they never, ever seem to pan out. Below are the six most disastrous repurposed jean projects they've ever encountered. So don't try them yourself. (Except maybe cutoffs, which I still make the old-fashioned way. We just won't tell them that.)

Skinny Jean Cutoffs

"Back when jeans looked like this, I think DIY cutoffs made sense. But in the age of skinnies, they just do not work. Every time I've tried to repurpose a pair of old, worn-out jeans into hip and casual cutoffs, I've ended up with the equivalent of denim spandex shorts. And I don't care if you're Kate Moss, that is not a good look for anyone. I suppose I could invest (and I use that term loosely) in a pair of oversized vintage 501s, but once I've gone to that effort—which is to say, hunted down the perfect pair of perfectly loose and perfectly blue jeans—it seems like you may as well just buy a $24 pair of pre-cut cutoffs from the Gap or American Eagle—which, incidentally, is exactly where I always buy them. Bonus: by the end of the summer, they'll look like you've had 'em forever" - Verena von Pfetten, Executive Digital Editor