Denim jackets are most readily associated with poorly produced PSAs from the ’90s. Though we have to admit, recently, there’s been a push to reclaim the classic jean jacket from the depths of unfashionability. Plenty of designers and companies are putting out denim jackets that would fit in at a professional dinner party as well as they would at a recreational trip to the bowling alley. Below are 10 of the best denim jackets for any occasion.
What to Look For in a Denim Jacket?
When you’re buying a denim jacket, either new or used, it’s best to consider when and where you’ll be wearing them. Are you looking for a lighter denim for late summer early fall? Or a heavy, lined jean jacket for the dead of winter?
Also, think about what you’ll be wearing with your denim jacket. Few can pull off the full Canadian tuxedo so maybe go for a different wash from your favorite pair of jeans. Dark denim goes great with a pair of fall-ready corduroys and, if you’re bold, a light jean jacket could work with some tan linen pants.
Should I Buy a Used Denim Jacket?
There are few better garments to shop vintage than denim jackets. With customization and unique patchwork, you could end up with a hidden gem from decades past. You can often find great options on sites like Etsy but we’d also recommend checking out your local thrift store. Be mindful of potential rips or holes in your thrifted denim.
The Best Denim Jackets
Lot, Stock and Barrel
Perhaps the most interesting entry on this list, Lot, Stock and Barrel is a full-service design studio and customization shop that takes run-of-the-mill denim jackets for men (or women) and turns them into something completely unique with a full host of personalization services. You want custom, handmade embroidery on your jacket? LS&B can do it. Need an older jacket that you’re in love with tailored to fit your modern self? LS&B can do it. With clients ranging from Levi’s Vintage Clothing to Billykirk, LS&B is a one-stop-shop for jacket personalization. Buy: $25+
Levi’s Trucker Jacket
Do enough research about the origins of the denim jacket and eventually you’ll end up at the “working blouse,” Levi’s original piece that would eventually become the trucker jacket we all know and love. The Levi’s Trucker Jacket is the OG. The original. The one jacket that started the trend for everyone else. Often imitated, but never truly duplicated, Levi’s Trucker is the place to start when it comes to denim jackets. Buy: $90
The Gap Icon Denim Jacket
If you’re one of the guys that’s incompatible with Levi’s sizing (and we’re not shaming, we’ve all been there) the Gap has a pretty close alternative with slightly different styling in the Icon Denim Jacket. The straight, tailored fit of this jacket hits at the hip, and it’s available in a number of denim washes and styles like the original. It also features welt pockets for your hands, button-flap chest pockets, and similar style cues, but the tailoring and the fit are a little bit different from the original. Buy: $63
Carhartt Work in Progress Salinac Shirt Jac
Like everything else that comes out of the Carhartt Work in Progress office, the Salinac Shirt Jac takes a few different things that you’re familiar with and combines them to create something altogether different. Consider the Salinac a hybrid between a trucker jacket and an over-shirt. It’s light enough that you might toss on an overcoat but it can also be layered over a tee for a brisk fall day. Available in a variety of washes, the Salinac Shirt Jac features Carhartt’s classic style with a simple silhouette, two chest pockets, and a rugged sense of cool. Buy: $117+
Taylor Stitch The Long Haul Jacket
Taylor Stitch takes classic pieces and does them even better than the originals. It’s kind of their thing. Handmade in California, Taylor Stitch’s The Long Haul Jacket takes everything that made the Levi’s trucker such a classic and made it even better. 13.5 ounce Cone Mills ’68 Custom Selvage Denim. Rounded patch pockets with pen slot on the left. Interior pockets at the waist. Front welt, unadorned hand-warmer pockets. Interior, map-style lining with a Wickett & Craig leather patch. This is the kind of jacket we could see Steve McQueen wearing if he was filming a sequel to Bullitt. Buy: $198
Shockoe Atelier Denim Chore Coat
This vintage-inspired chore coat from Virginia’s Shockoe Atelier is built to handle the working day. It’s made from 11oz. rinsed Japanese denim and features three exterior pockets on the front and adjustable side tabs for a customized fit. The wash and texture recall the hard-working days of a bygone era but this denim jacket feels appropriate for the modern-day. You’ll also find small details like the leather-backed buttons and rivets along with unique stitching on the back of the arms. Cuff your sleeves on this Denim Chore Coat to give your ensemble a blast of old-school cool. Buy: $200
Rogue Territory Supply Jacket
Rogue Territory has been one of our favorite denim brands since they started almost a decade ago. And while we love everything they produce in the pants department, their Supply Jacket caught our eye this year. The 15.25oz indigo selvedge denim used in the jacket comes custom-made from Japan. And unique touches like the interior pockets, chain-stitched seams, and silk-screened care instructions on interior make this jacket feel one-of-a-kind. And the result is a denim jacket that will grow and evolve with you for years to come. Buy: $385
Ralph Lauren Denim Trucker Jacket
Ralph Lauren is a brand that requires no introduction so let’s get right to their jacket. This old-school denim trucker jacket is at home in the city or on the ranch. You’ll notice a Southwestern flannel-lined interior along with a corduroy point collar. Add to that polished metal buttons, barrel cuffs, and washed denim and you’ve got an All-American denim jacket ready for your next adventure. Buy: $286
Warehouse Lot 2000XX Denim Jacket
This unsanforized 13.5oz selvedge denim jacket from Warehouse recalls the style and fit of 1940s denim jackets. You’ll find a roomy body to the jacket and a single flap chest pocket plus all-cotton stitching, which was common at the time. As such, this particular model is part of Warehouse’s Deadstock Blue collection. As you wear it, the color will fade in unique ways creating a denim jacket that is all your own. Buy: $415
Raleigh Denim Workshop Blue Vidalia Selvedge
Available in three color options (including the undeniably cool White Heather Cone), Raleigh Denim Workshop’s Selvedge denim jackets are among the most impressive we’ve seen on the market. The limited-edition jackets feature numbered leather patches and handsome selvedge stitching throughout. The price tag might be serious, but the style is serious too. Sport this hefty and unique denim jacket out on the town this fall or pack on some layers in early winter. Buy: $525
Want to read more about the best denim jeans? Click here for Cool Material’s Guide to Denim.