Singer Alicia Keys rocks an aged tee.

How to Age a T-Shirt

by Sara Cantu

It's hard to go wrong when wearing a comfy T-shirt; they're always a sure bet for looking cool and casual. Tees have the capability to make a major style statement, and each year new trends dictate the most stylish ways to wear these garments. Distressed clothing is a look that appears to be here to stay, so taking steps to purposefully age some of your clothing may just be the one of the smartest and most budget-friendly style decisions you could make.

1. How to Age a T-Shirt

1 Select which tee you'd like to give a cool distressed look to. Band T-shirts, logo tees or plain black shirts have the right vibe for the distressed-clothing look.

2. How to Age a T-Shirt

2 Cut the sleeves off of your shirt for an added dose of tough edge.

3. How to Age a T-Shirt

3 Put the shirt in the washer and wash it several times on hot in order to stretch out the fabric and cause a bit of fading. Add fabric softener to speed up the process of wearing down the threading.

4. How to Age a T-Shirt

4 Dry your shirt in the dryer. Once you remove it, decide if you'd like to further distress it and repeat Step 3 as necessary.

5. How to Age a T-Shirt

5 Rub the shirt with a coarse object to cause fading. While you don't want to completely destroy your tee, friction will wear down the threads, giving them a softer and smoother appearance.

6. How to Age a T-Shirt

6 Cut subtle holes in your shirt with a pair of scissors if you wish to further add to the rugged, edgy feel.

7. How to Age a T-Shirt

7 Pay extra attention to the neck, sleeves and bottom of your shirt. These areas will need more distressing, so go over them with a cheese grater or tough sandpaper to weaken the threads.

8. How to Age a T-Shirt

8 Dab a hand towel in bleach and blot certain areas of your shirt that you'd like to have a washed out look. This will add to the aged, distressed feel of your garment. For a more consistent application, fill a spray bottle with bleach and spray over the entire shirt.

Items you will need

  • T-shirt
  • Washer
  • Dryer
  • Scissors
  • Sandpaper
  • Bleach


  • Use caution when applying bleach, as it can stain the area and cause irritation to skin and eyes.

Photo Credits

  • Scott Gries/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images