Goodwill Grunge: Tattered and Torn

Good news, dear gentlemen readers: we’ll be featuring a weekly column by GoodwillNyNj Style Icon David Morgan all about secondhand fashion and DIY style. This week: grunging up those Goodwill finds to bring out your inner hipster. Enjoy!

Look too hip to quit in your de-repaired Goodwill tank. Read on to find out how you can bring a little more grunge into your life and rough-up your wardrobe with a DIY touch.

I never would have thought this would happen, but it is undeniably true: Grunge is Back.

Plaid shirts, cut off jeans and tangled hair are virtually the daily uniform for any Brooklyn hipster or “Twilight” fan (are you a ‘Twi-hard?’). Messy is trendy at the moment, and I am completely ok with that. I’ve never been a fan of ultra-chic or high-glam. A little wrinkle here or there, a slight discoloration or a minor tear is not really a wardrobe disaster for me. These imperfections add a bit of character and personality, which is truly what makes great fashion stand above the rest.

Unlike your standard retail clothing store, Goodwill offers both the new and the used – and it’s not impossible to find pieces that look lightly worn. While many items can be easily altered or repaired, other pieces may look good just the way they are. It’s really important to try everything on that you like at Goodwill. That tear may be in just the right place, or you may feel inspired to do something extra-creative to the garment in order to make it your own.

The Goodwill tee before the shredding.

I found a great tank top a few months ago that I just loved. It is this old, 80s baby-blue exercise tee that has the phrase “Work Your Gluteus to the Maximus” on the back. Hilarious! Unfortunately, I spilled something on the front that wouldn’t come out (tea? juice? I don’t remember). Yesterday, I had the sudden urge to do a bit of de-repairing to it, grunging it up with a few holes and tears. There isn’t really a science to this, and you could you use items around the house to make your own tattered tee. Here’s what I used:

All the needed materials to transform this shirt into a Goodwill grunge masterpiece.

  • An awl: I dabble in a bit of bookbinding, and an awl is used to poke holes in stacks of paper. I used this for my shirt because it’s super-sharp and makes clean holes.
  • Knife: Instead of scissors, I decided to take a knife to my shirt in order to make it look a bit more shredded.
  • Cutting Board: You don’t want to damage your table with this project. Make sure you have a cutting board underneath when you are cutting or poking.

I started by make some holes with my awl. I love clusters, like those of pearls or grapes, so I tried to do groups of those all over. Then I cut a few slashes across the tee, and also ripped off about 4 inches of the bottom (it was really long on me). A 15-minute DIY project that turns an old tank from frumpy to rocker-chic!

I paired it with an old white tank, a handmade necklace, some Diesel jeans (I’m definitely an advocate of wearing high and low pieces, even as a Goodwill fan), and vintage shoes. I’ve never looked more hipster in my life, but it’s still a pretty cool outfit. What do you think?

Next time you’re in Goodwill, be sure to grab an old tank and try your hand at distressing it. You’ll be looking like a Nirvana groupie in no time.

4 thoughts on “Goodwill Grunge: Tattered and Torn

  1. Brandy says:

    Good job. A few months ago I had a conversation with a friend about trends. We were talking about the length of time it takes to wear an old trend. I think “Grunge” has been gone long enough to bring it back but I do not think it will be big the way it was in the 90’s. At that time there were so many bands from the northwest that it became really cool. Seattle was a “hot” city. It gave birth to “grunge”, Microsoft was cool, and Starbucks had just gone public. I think “grunge” of the new millennium will be more about repurposing than flannel shirts. Which your awesome post just demonstrated.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s