Wait! Don't throw away that moth-eaten sweater.

The trendlet

Because the more nicked, ripped, or snagged your cozy cardigan is, the more laissez faire and fashion-forward you will appear.

Stop right there with the homeless jokes.

Instead, pair your tattered pullover with wax-coated jeans or a pleated midi skirt.

Where does it come from?

Threadbare denim has been in the fashion zeitgeist since the 1970s, and we've been paying for it since the late 1980s. But our tattered sweaters were well-worn rather than brand-new. That's because shoddy sweaters were meant to show struggle. And struggle must be authentic - hence the holey sweaters Courtney Cobain wore over baby doll dresses.

In early 2014 came the rise of normcore - urbanites totally content wearing regular clothes like mom (and dad) jeans, old baseball caps, and mangy sweatshirts. UK designers like Rick Owens began sending raggedy sweaters down the runway, too.

In February, as androgyny and athleisure cemented their fashion footing, Kanye West introduced a unisex collection of neutral-toned leggings, puff jackets, cargo pants, and frayed sweaters for his Yeezy Adidas collection. The industry laughed. Memes accused West of trying to profit from slave-inspired clothing. But it didn't take long for brands from Alexander Wang to Michael Stars to copy.

Who's wearing it?

Only the most-photographed: Miley Cyrus, Jessica Simpson, Solange Knowles, and, of course, Kim Kardashian West.

Would Elizabeth wear it?

Three years ago, I bought a heather gray cashmere sweater from J. Crew. When I pulled it out in January, the moths had gotten to it. It was a sad sight. I threw it out. I wish I hadn't.

Should you wear it?

This is not the investment banker look. And I can't rightly suggest one spend hundreds of dollars on a sweater that looks like it's been through more than the ones already in your closet.

But if you've got some shabby chic already, toss it over a tank - it does have built-in air-conditioning - and commence fashionably roasting your chestnuts.




Model: Emma Fishbein. Burgundy sweater with tiny holes, Michael Stars, $98; navy cardigan, Alexander Wang, $435. Both available at Knit Wit, 1729 Chestnut St., 215-564-4760, www.knitwit.com.