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How To Find the Perfect Denim Jacket

How To Find the Perfect Denim Jacket

If you’re anything like me, the promise of cooler days immediately gets me itching to break out my favorite jackets. But also if you’re like me, you may find that the jacket you loved last year just isn’t doing it for you this season. Maybe your style has evolved or maybe your body has changed over the course of a year, but no matter the reason, everything just feels like a let-down when you open your closet for your fall clothes.

I have found over the years that there has been one garment over any others that has never failed me or disappointed me. It’s versatile, a bit rugged, and an all-around jacket that’s easy to style and forgiving when my weight fluctuates between seasons. I am, of course, talking about my beloved denim jacket.

During the transitional seasons when it’s not too hot and not too cold, a denim jacket is the perfect weight to style with just a t-shirt underneath without leaving you sweating by midday. Or, as the days get colder, you can play with the bulk of a denim jacket with a sleek turtleneck underneath for a ’90s vibe. Because denim jackets have been around since around 1905, there are style references from nearly every decade to take inspiration from.

What To Look For in a Denim Jacket

When looking for a good denim jacket, there are a few things to keep in mind. While nearly every brand has its own version, I recommend taking note of a few style tips to find the best possible option for you and your budget. That way, you’ll have one jacket for years to come that will over time greet you in your closet like an old friend.

When purchasing a denim jacket, remember to think of the following:

Quality of Fabric: Like your favorite pair of jeans, the denim fabric used for the jacket’s construction is crucial. Look for jackets made from high-quality denim that is durable, comfortable, and has a good weight to it. Thicker denim tends to be more durable and can withstand wear and tear.

Fit and Cut: A well-fitting denim jacket is essential. It should be snug without being too tight, allowing for comfortable movement. If you’re looking for a jacket that you can layer, size up slightly to fit over hoodies and sweaters. The jacket’s cut should complement your body shape and offer a balanced silhouette. Many jackets have a cinch back for an adjustable fit to better tailor the feel to your body.

Design and Details: The design elements of a denim jacket can greatly impact its overall appeal. Classic features like front button closures, chest pockets, and a collar contribute to the traditional denim jacket look. Pay attention to stitching quality and details like rivets, buttons, and seams.

Durability: A well-made denim jacket should be durable and able to withstand regular wear. Reinforced seams and sturdy hardware contribute to its longevity. It’s a jacket that can–should–get better with age.

Maintenance: Consider the care instructions for the jacket. A good denim jacket should be easy to clean and maintain over time. Try to follow the same rule you apply to washing jeans: do it minimally to keep the integrity of the denim intact.

No matter if you buy your jacket at a vintage store or brand new, ensuring that the quality is on-point will make for a more wearable piece that you’ll find plenty of excuses to throw into your rotation. Because of its status as an American icon, the key is to keep your overall outfit clean with minimal competition. The jacket should be the centerpiece and any accessories, sweaters, or jeans should complement the overall outfit and not detract from the rugged presence a denim jacket can have when worn and styled correctly.

And yes, before you ask, denim-on-denim is always a good idea.

Classic Denim Jackets That Will Never Go Out of Style


Levi’s Trucker Jacket: $108

Devil Dog Thunderhead Denim Jacket

Devil Dog Thunderhead Denim Jacket: $109