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.

How to Age a T-Shirt

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

About the Author

Sara Cantu has been writing fashion and lifestyle articles since 2009. As a fashion stylist, writer and blogger, she has been published in “Lady Couture” magazine and “RGV” magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from The University of Texas - Pan American.

Photo Credits

  • Scott Gries/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images