For around past 30 years it's popular to wear ripped jeans. Was there anything similar in history, when ripped or otherwise heavily worn clothes were popular and considered fashionable?

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    30 years, LOL, you must be a young man. Just 20 years ago everyone in white collar work in the US had to wear a suit to work, imagine that. I remember when "casual Fridays" were invented around 1995. Even faded jeans did not appear until around 2000. When the Gap started selling faded jeans I thought that was pretty funny. Feb 13, 2015 at 15:31
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    @TylerDurden Some of us still wear suits to work.
    – franklin
    Feb 13, 2015 at 16:57
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    @franklin That is so passe, didn't you know you are supposed to wear ripped jeans? Feb 13, 2015 at 17:26
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    Popular among whom? The Elizabethans wore slashed/pinked doublets &c, but that was more to let underlayers show through as a statement of wealth: "I'm rich enough to wear two layers of expensive cloth!"
    – jamesqf
    Feb 13, 2015 at 20:02
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    @jamesqf i think that would qualify as an answer, because most of the "ripped" jeans are now actually sold that way, and so it has become the same thing, i bought designer clothes look you can tell because their ripped. write that up with some evidence/pics and that should probably be the right answer.
    – Himarm
    Feb 13, 2015 at 20:35

2 Answers 2


Switzerland, and the Germanies, 1500s and 1600s in the form of the Landsknecht who were given a legal dispensation from the sumptuary (clothing) laws to be so fabulous. There is a contemporary recreation community who have some colour pictures of recreated clothes draped on people, and a wide variety of pictures online, including some colour prints from later.

This image comes from the 4th edition of Meyers Konversationslexikon (1885–90). The copyrights have expired and this image is in the public domain.

From the Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landsknecht


What made the Landsknechte so conspicuous was their elaborate dress, which they adopted from the Swiss, but later took to even more dramatic excess. Maximilian I exempted them from the prevalent sumptuary laws as an acknowledgement of their "...short and brutish" lives. Doublets (German: Wams), deliberately slashed at the front, back and sleeves with shirts and other wear pulled through to form puffs of different-colored fabric, so-called puffed and slashed; particoloured hose (or Gesses); jerkins (German: Lederwams); ever-broader flat beret-type hats (German: Tellerbarrets) with tall feathers; and broad flat shoes, made them bodies of men that could not be mistaken.


Jules-Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly, in Du Dandysme et de Georges Brummel (The Anatomy of Dandyism, 1845) claims that French dandies of his day used to use a piece of broken glass to shave down the fabric of their coats until they were almost sheer, and might break through. If you want to believe him. I don't consider him very reliable, especially since a lined jacket isn't going to work like this.

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