Cheryl Shops Spring Shopping Guide: Shredded Skinny Jeans
The good news is that if you hated boyfriend jeans, they're dying a slow death. The bad news is that if you loved the slouchy, relaxed, forgiving look of boyfriend jeans, you're not going to be too happy about the shredded, skinny, light-wash jeans that are all the rage this season--slim legs are a must to wear this style, because if your jeans are too tight, your skin will ooze out of the tears like toothpaste through a tube. Also, it should be noted, some of the styles I'm about to show you are acid wash. Yes, acid wash. The man we have to thank for this perplexing--yet intriguing--trend is Balmain's Christophe Decarnin, the current darling of the French fashion magazines and those who read them religiously. I'm sure Pierre Balmain, whose aesthetic was entirely prim-and-proper feminine, is turning over in his grave, but Decarnin has completely revitalized the house, and women around the world are paying top dollar for his slightly sleazy, luxe '80s rocker look. It's by no means easy to wear, but it's sexy and, if you ask me, a step way above the scary little-girl looks that have been prevalent the past few seasons.

If you're going to spend this much on denim, it's best to go straight to the source. These motocross jeans by Balmain are the pair that inspired me to write this entire post, not so much for their cool factor, but for their price: $2165 to be exact. But before you could say, "Who's going to spend $2165 on jeans?" they sold out. In a recession. Hot? You bet.

If you find white skinny jeans a bit scary (I, for one, do), then this destroyed skinny pair, also from Balmain, should seem a bit more doable. The destruction is more understated as well, with one major hole at the knee. Of course, for nearly $2,000, one would hope that Decarnin distressed them himself, but, sadly, I don't think that's the case.

At $1825, these Balmain destroyed jeans seem like a veritable bargain. That might explain why they're almost sold out. They're also acid-washed, but before you freak out, it's a kinder, gentler acid wash than what we wore in the 80s. I hated acid wash the first time around, and yet I somehow find these appealing. Just be sure to keep whatever you're wearing on top pretty simple--i.e. no paint-splatter tees or whatever you wore in the '80s.

If $2,000 jeans kind of freak you out, the good news is that you can easily get the look for a tenth of the price. These Citizens of Humanity Avedon skinny jeans, for example, are a pretty good approximation of the first pair, from the skinny fit to the shredding along the legs. Of course, white skinny jeans are not a look that everyone can pull off.

These Current/Elliott skinny jeans have a similar look, but with a slightly darker finish that's more like super-faded denim, instead of pure white. The abrasions are also a bit more subtle, so you won't have to worry as much about the aforementioned toothpaste effect.

If you liked the third look above--and are intrigued rather than repulsed by acid wash--then these J Brand acid wash ripped jeans may be for you. I am a big proponent of J Brand jeans--I think they fit really well, and I like that they're not all decked out with logos and stitching. Which is key when you're wearing a ripped, acid-washed pair of jeans.

The wash is a bit on the dark side, but with these Levi's skinny jeans, you pretty much know what you're getting, which is a good fit and nearly indestructible quality (seriously, Levi's last years and years and years). The less extreme wash also means they'll survive long past the acid-wash trend is over.

These Harlow skinny jeans from Delia*s (not to be confused with Earnest Sewn's Harlan jeans) are, again, not quite as light as the Balmain jeans, but the cut is a bit more realistic and the wash is more flattering. In other words, you'll achieve a similar effect without looking like a fashion victim.

But, if it's Balmain you're after, these skinny jeans from Forever 21 were the closest thing I could find. I'm not too keen on the cropped length, but the wash and shredding are close, and the studded trim at the pockets adds an appropriate Balmain-ish rock-and-roll effect. For $25, really, you can't do any better than this.

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