The denim jacket has found its official place in contemporary wardrobes. Kicked on by our obsession with denim, the indigo-hued casual jacket takes on all those attributes we love so much about our favourite pair of jeans – hardy, effortless and masculine – and transports them to our top half.
Available in any shade nowadays, the versatility of its wash and classic cut means it goes with a variety of casual and smarter looks, used inconspicuously for layering purposes or as the main feature when worn as traditional outerwear.
Denim Jacket Style Tips
The denim jacket can easily be layered up as cold weather combatant in winter or left open and cool in spring. Whatever the season, here are some key style tips to consider:
- Keep the bottom layer of your outfit relatively fine or thin. This is particularly appropriate when layering the jacket over a knit – nothing chunky or thick-gauge, as the jacket won’t sit right.
- Vary texture between pieces, adding both depth and visual interest to your layering without the need for bold colours or prints.
- For double denim, follow the men’s style rule of going dark for the jeans and lighter for the top half. Unless you’re too cool like Zac Efron (see further down).
- Experiment with washes. Darker for night time and dressier occasions and lighter and worn out for summer and day time dressing.
#1 Rock It
From male models to men’s style icons, the denim jacket remains a key rock n roll style piece for winter this season. Off-duty models and style editors paraded the denim jacket under black casual jackets. This looked like the leather perfecto, over a black snug jeans and a red breton shirt or a waxed coated, worn in shop coat paired with a black t-shirt, chinos and matte black shades. Styled dishevelled and effortlessly, both looks defeat the Americana western vibe typically punctuated by washed blue vintage denim.
#2 Denim Chic
One of the chic-est ways to wear a denim jacket in winter is riffing on a summer nautical vibe with white chinos. Oliver Cheshire – a Brit fashion fellow alongside David Gandy and Jim Chapman – sets his denim jacket sailing between a navy roll neck sweater and dark tailored top coat, for a tonal, smarter way to wear the summer look.
Instead of vintage denim, go for a seventies-blue jacket buttoned over a burgundy knit (much like a waistcoat), layered with a navy, soft-shouldered blazer and, again, white chinos. Inject some dark shades.
#3 Corporate Cool
The denim jacket has a job to do in the relaxed office place too. Replacing a blazer, a dark selvedge denim jacket in weighty indigo teams elegantly with khaki chinos, suede chocolate derbies and a crisp cotton dress shirt – no tie necessary, to flow with the informalities of the jacket.
Elsewhere, slip a sharp shirt-and-tie combination under a vintage wash denim trucker, with wool trousers and chestnut monk shoes. It’s a great casual Friday or relaxed-dress-code-office outfit, ensuring the jacket sits snug, much like a blazer would. Goodbye, stuffy work-look.
#4 Iconic Americana
Daniel Craig and Zac Efron give a history lesson in denim jacket heritage. Enter double-denim. When he’s not playing James Bond, Craig laps up the mid-blue denim trucker jacket in a neat fit, a knit (in this case, the cardigan) breaking up the double-denim scene playing out. Notice the contrast in denim washes, Craig sticking obediently to the DD rules, light up top, dark below. The neckerchief is a set-your-look-apart touch that most men wouldn’t attempt to pull off, but pulled up right and punctuates your accessory game.
Efron goes with shearling route, the sheepskin fluff adding a softness (and winter warmth) to the ultra-washed out jacket. Colour blocking with a black polo, the actor breaks the rules like a young buck should, closely matching his jeans to his jacket. It does work, as the jacket is roomy (not fitted) is worn open. Just add white tennis shoes for a sporty vintage vibe, or nubuck boots for something rugged.
#5 Work Ready
Denim jackets inspired by Japan are for the next level denim dude. Shunning Americana truckers, traditional denim Japanese workwear or noragi is enjoying its time in the fashion spotlight. Think collarless shirts, kimono-style jackets and work shop or chore coats. Slightly oversized and long, and in rich indigo hues, it’s a classic workwear jacket which goes with the more relaxed style jean.
Team a selvedge version with a crisp cotton oxford and roll-hemmed jeans – hiker boots or high-top sneakers base out this smart street look nicely. Or, a worn out vintage shop coat with deep front pockets, layers roomily over a chunky knit and slim fit jeans. Add boots and beanie, and a cashmere scarf, for winter.