If you swore off acid wash jeans after surviving the fashion of the ’80s, we regret to inform you that the trend has returned.
The style gods have decided to reach back into the decade of excess and pull out acid wash as the trend to resurrect 20 years later. Look at it this way: at least they did not bring back shoulder pads, leg warmers, or, heaven forbid, mullets!
Gabriela strikes a pose in her trendy acid-washed jeans, expertly cuffed at the hem, showcasing her love for this retro-inspired fashion statement (Credit: Kolorowa Dusza)
Another thing to be thankful for is that the latest resurrection of acid wash jeans is more refined, soft, and sophisti-chic than its predecessor. They’re not meant to be worn with neon colors and baggy jackets like in the ’80s. Instead, they should be the main focus of an outfit. They’re meant to spice up basic articles of clothing or be toned down by streamlined pieces.
But don’t just let us tell you — let these celebrities wearing acid wash jeans show you how. Scroll through for 11 things to try, and to watch out for, when it comes to styling acid wash.
1. TRY: ’80s Throwback
Subtly stir up nostalgia and wear acid wash jeans with other ’80s-style clothes. Ashley Tisdale is an expert at this: see how she paired a Transformers graphic tee and red wayfarers with her acid wash jeans.
With the same acid wash jeans, Ashley also tried a layered look with a cutoff muscle tee and ’80s-style neon pink bra. Note the very Jem and the Holograms tinge of purple on the tips of her blond hair.
Ashley Tisdale effortlessly blends ’80s nostalgia with modern style, pairing her acid wash jeans with iconic accessories for a timeless look (Credit: WENN)
WATCH OUT FOR: Creating a Dated ’80s Look
The keyword here is “subtle”. Be careful about going overboard with the ’80s throwback.
Kelly Osbourne wore her shoulder-padded tuxedo jacket, “Like a Virgin” Madonna lace corset, and acid wash denim skirt to a themed event, and it should remain that way. On no other everyday-life occasion should a literal ’80s outfit like hers be worn.
Kelly Osbourne embraces the ’80s theme to the fullest, sporting an acid wash skirt with unmistakable era-specific fashion flair at a themed event (Credit: WENN)
2. TRY: Oversized Sweaters
Wear an oversized sweater with acid wash jeans, just like they did back in the ’80s. We love how Sienna Miller pulled together a simple sweater + acid wash jeans + sneakers look by choosing a monochromatic color scheme.
WATCH OUT FOR: Too Big, Too Bulky, Sack-Like Sweaters
You want to look comfy, not frumpy. Fearne Cotton’s sweater isn’t actually that baggy, but the bulky knit fabric coupled with the socks with leopard-print pumps are too ’80s for her own good.
“Sienna Miller and Fearne Cotton demonstrate contrasting styles with acid wash jeans – Sienna opts for a monochromatic, oversized sweater while Fearne experiments with a bold, bulky knit (Credit: WENN)
3. TRY: Rocker Chic Style
Bring acid wash jeans back to their heavy metal roots and style them a la rocker chick. It’s studded bracelets and bad boots for Christina Aguilera, biker jeans and spiked Louboutins for Elle Macpherson, and a ripped black graphic tee for Ashley Tisdale.
Christina Aguilera, Elle Macpherson, and Ashley Tisdale each bring their unique rocker chic twist to acid wash jeans, merging attitude with fashion (Credit: WENN)
WATCH OUT FOR: Going Overboard with the Rock Elements
Audrina Patridge’s nearly-see-through tank top, overly holey and ripped jeans, and oddly mismatched slouchy suede boots are just too much.
Audrina Patridge of “The Hills” leaving The Viper Room on Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, California, on August 18, 2009 (Credit: WENN)
4. TRY: High Waist
Another way of throwing back to the ’80s acid wash jeans is by wearing them high-waisted. We’ve got our own do’s and don’ts on how to wear high-waisted jeans.
WATCH OUT FOR: Wrong Proportions
You can see in the picture below that Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jasmin Walia’s looks are nearly identical, but the latter’s high-waisted acid wash jeans are a lot more flattering. Leigh-Anne’s straight-across-the waist jeans make her look like she has a paunch and wider hips than actual.
Jasmin Walia and Leigh-Anne Pinnock showcase how high-waisted acid wash jeans can create dramatically different impacts on style and silhouette (Credit: WENN)
5. TRY: New Update to Acid Wash
The Kates have it: Kate Bosworth‘s faded acid wash jeans are ultra-chic, and Kate Beckinsale’s streaked black acid wash jeans are copy-worthy.
Kate Bosworth and Kate Beckinsale update acid wash jeans with their own chic interpretations, proving the versatility of this denim trend (Credit: WENN)
WATCH OUT FOR: Atrocious Acid Washes
Not all acid washes are made the same. Britney Spears‘ bleached and spot-faded jeans are over-the-top.
Britney Spears leaving a spa in Westlake Village in Los Angeles on February 10, 2013 (Credit: WENN)
6. TRY: Mixing and Matching with Different Styles
Bohemian babe, biker chick, or posh momma, different styles can look great with acid wash jeans. Ashley Tisdale, Kate Hudson, Ashley Benson, and Gwyneth Paltrow all found a way to incorporate acid jeans into their own personal styles to great success.
Ashley Tisdale, Kate Hudson, Ashley Benson, and Gwyneth Paltrow each incorporate acid wash jeans into their diverse personal styles with great success (Credit: WENN)
WATCH OUT FOR: Clashing Looks
As you experiment, you’ll realize that not all styles go with acid wash jeans. Fearne Cotton in a confused country western look and Chantelle Tagoe in a tired belted denim skirt look learned that the hard way.
Fearne Cotton leaving Celeb Juice Recording held at Riverside Studios in London, England, on April 2, 2014; Chantelle Tagoe at the premiere of “Toy Story 3” held at the Empire cinema in London, England, on July 18, 2010 (Credit: WENN)
7. TRY: Boyfriend Jean-Cut
Selena Gomez and Heidi Klum reinvent the acid wash trend by pairing it with the relaxed cut of boyfriend jeans, creating a modern, casual look (Credit: WENN)
WATCH OUT FOR: Unflattering Cut and Fit
Rita Ora not only chose atrocious acid wash boyfriend jeans but also paired them with an ill-fitting denim jacket. Stephanie Jory likewise added too much bulk to her bleached boyfriend jeans with a long coat and strappy biker boots.
Rita Ora catching a flight out of the Narita International Airport in Japan on September 30, 2012; Stephanie Jory shopping at The Grove in Los Angeles, California, on December 19, 2012 (Credit: WENN)
8. TRY: Pairing with Modern Accessories
Fun accessories like a brightly colored handbag and cute shoes perk up the fuzzy finish of acid wash jeans.
Sienna Miller and Fearne Cotton accessorize acid wash jeans with modern touches, showing how the right details can elevate a retro look (Credit: WENN)
WATCH OUT FOR: Mismatching Accoutrements
Just like styles and cuts, not all accessories will go well with acid-wash jeans. Fearne Cotton’s boho-print jacket and fringed handbag look too soft for her edgy jeans.
Similarly, Teyana Taylor’s military jacket, a graphic tank, and gladiator sandal booties with her biker acid wash jeans were a bit too all over the place.
Fearne Cotton at BBC Radio 1 studios in London, England, on August 11, 2014; Teyana Taylor at the premiere of “Halloween II” held at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California, on August 24, 2009 (Credit: WENN)
9. TRY: Double Denim
Yes, you can do double denim with the acid wash. Just pair it with colored denim like Kate Hudson, or do a complete contrast with a faded acid wash and raw denim like Rihanna.
Kate Hudson and Rihanna showcase the art of double denim, skillfully combining acid wash jeans with contrasting denim pieces for a cohesive look (Credit: WENN)
WATCH OUT FOR: Too Much Denim
Miley Cyrus leaving her hotel in London, England, on September 11, 2013; Nicki Minaj leaving her hotel in London, England, on October 31, 2012 (Credit: WENN)
10. TRY: Wearing with Stilettos
Sass up acid wash jeans with sexy stilettos. When worn in the ’80s cigarette cut, acid wash jeans with stilettos can look super sexy even when you’re wearing a baby sling like Kate Hudson.
Christina Aguilera, Khloe Kardashian, and Kate Hudson elevate acid wash jeans with stilettos, creating a chic and sophisticated ensemble (Credit: WENN)
WATCH OUT FOR: Going Too Sexy
Some sexy looks like a belly-baring crop top with acid wash jeans and heels can only be pulled off when you’re supermodel-thin like teenaged Kendall Jenner. As for unapologetic Rihanna, her too-tight corset and low-slung jeans were too vulgar for a daytime stroll.
Kendall Jenner at the launch of the Kendall and Kylie Jenner New Holiday Collection at the PacSun store in Glendale, California, on November 9, 2013; Rihanna arriving at her hotel in New York City on May 6, 2009 (Credit: WENN)
11. TRY: Wearing Acid Wash on Denim Shorts
Cut off your acid wash jeans and turn them into shorts for a look that’s fit for an outdoor festival. Vanessa Hudgens wore her frayed pair in her much-copied boho style, while Miley Cyrus toughened hers up with a corset, a plaid shirt, and biker boots.
Vanessa Hudgens and Miley Cyrus give acid wash shorts their own unique spin, aligning them with distinct styles from boho to edgy (Credit: WENN)
WATCH OUT FOR: Butt-Revealing, Too Short Shorts
Acid wash or not, too-short shorts that have the front pockets hanging out and especially ones that show butt cheeks are never a good look.
Bella Thorne at the 2013 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, on April 12, 2013; Miley Cyrus performing on the “Today” show as part of their NBC Toyota Concert Series in Rockefeller Center in NYC on October 7, 2013; Laura Whitmore at the 2014 Glastonbury Festival in Glastonbury, UK, on June 27, 2014 (Credit: WENN)