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.
Essential 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.
Denim & Leather Jacket Combo
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.
Denim Jacket With A Coat
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.
Denim Jacket With Chinos
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.
Denim Jackets & Jeans
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.
Denim Jacket & A Shirt
When an occasion requires a shirt or polo shirt, don’t be afraid to pair these with your denim jacket. The shirt will work well with contrasting denim on top and bottom or chinos (blue, green or even white… yes, white). More recently you’ll see guys pairing their denim jacket with slim fit trousers (dressy ones) and a fitted shirt. Your shirt can be plain, plaid or even printed with floral or geometric patterns. We like the khaki chino, blue denim jacket and white shirt combination, otherwise a Saint Laurent inspired printed shirt, black denim jacket and black jeans will also work nicely.
RELATED: The Best Denim Jackets For Men
Gucci has your statement denim jacket sorted. Subtle on the outset, the Italian brand’s soft blue wash carries colourful embroidery and patches on the arm and back, ranging from tigers to flowers to butterflies. Boots add a rugged edge to all that romanticism.
The Parisian brand likes to make their jackets super cropped, providing a chic fit. Monsieur Laurent was an avid fan of denim, and his legacy lives on with vintage washes (sometimes dirty) and earthy corduroy collars.
The Swedes love denim. And the darker the better. Acne’s faded black is the perfect mix of retro charm and modern cool. Pair with a cotton white t-shirt and minimal sneakers.
Our Legacy likes to push design boundaries within the minimalist aesthetic. The Harrington denim jacket features soft Italian cotton that’s lightly dyed, designed to be worn in over time. Pair with neutral chinos.
Patched back together and rearing to go, Lanvin’s two-tone panel jacket is for perfect for a sense of pattern in your denim. Cut in a slim-fit the revere collar makes perfect for tailored trousers and derbies.
For heavy duty days, A.P.C’s work jacket is laboured from raw, unwashed denim is the Parisian brand’s exacting standards of quality. It’s a winter must-have.
Rag & Bone
Summer time jacket vibes flow from Rag & Bone. In stretch denim, this lightweight, light coloured trucker is perfect with dark denim jeans or a pair of warm weather shorts and a tee.
Intent on making fashion slow (deep breath), Orslow’s collarless denim jacket features four utility pockets to the front in a workshop-look denim coat. Constructed entirely in Japan this exemplary piece of truly artisanal craftsmanship.
The OG of denim, Levi’s today offers an array of washes and jacket weights. Vintage detailing is their forte too, seen here with this boxy-fit, 1880-inspired jacket with a double-pleated front and buckled strap at the back so you can easily adjust the shape.
Mr Simple offers foolproof style staples for the modern gent. And it’s affordable. This vintage denim wash black jacket with sherpa lining for warmth is that on trend piece you need to add to your denim jacket collection.