The denim jacket is a year-round staple that should feature in every man's wardrobe. There's a reason it has stood the test of time as a classic piece of outerwear, sported by everyone from cowboys to contemporary celebrities. The versatile wardrobe hero can be teamed with just about anything — from tailoring to sweats. But there are a few tricks to nailing the look. Follow our guide on what to wear with a denim jacket (and how to find the perfect one in the first place) to ensure you always look the part.
Finding the perfect denim jacket
Style & anatomy
Your perfect denim jacket will depend on your personal style and taste, but for a fail-safe staple that you'll reach for time and again, opt for a clean look without rips, distressing or any attempts to make it look worn-in. A classic trucker-style denim jacket should have two flap chest pockets and metal button closures as opposed to zips.
Which colour should you choose?
Dark indigo: A dark indigo or raw denim jacket is a classic option that's perfect for a smarter look. Team one with tailored trousers and loafers for an effortlessly elegant take on smart-casual style.
Mid-wash: A medium blue or mid-wash denim jacket is ultra-versatile, ideal for year-round wear as it's not too dark or too light. If you're buying your first denim jacket, consider a mid-wash.
Light wash: A light wash — or bleached — denim jacket is a great go-to for spring and summer.
Black: Opt for a black denim jacket in place of a leather jacket to give your outfit a rock 'n' roll edge. Wear it with black jeans and Chelsea boots for a sophisticated tonal look.
Make sure the fit is right for you
The fit of your denim jacket can make or break an outfit. A classic workwear-style cut that finishes on your hip is often the most flattering, but a relaxed oversized denim jacket is another option that will work well over a jumper in winter. Whatever cut you go for, ensure that it feels snug but not tight when the buttons are done up.
How To Style A Denim Jacket
White t-shirt & trainers
A blue denim jacket + a crisp white T-shirt + leather trainers = an instant casual classic. This is an ensemble that has stood the test of time for good reason, so you can rest assured it won't go out of style anytime soon. Team with a pair of plain beige or navy chinos for an effortless weekend look.
Next time an invitation mentions a smart casual dress code, consider pairing a denim jacket with tailored trousers. Choose a dark denim jacket in a clean, cropped cut and wear it with a roll-neck or crew neck knit, tailored charcoal wool trousers (pleated preferably) and a pair of black dress shoes — Derbies or loafers will work perfectly. Who said smart casual had to be stressful?
Denim on Denim
Double denim (aka the Canadian tuxedo) is one of most controversial menswear moves, but when done properly, it can look seriously stylish. The key to nailing denim on denim is balancing the shades: you can't go wrong by pairing a lighter denim jacket with dark blue jeans or a dark indigo jacket with black jeans.
The best denim jackets to buy in 2023
Wax London Indigo Denim Chet Jacket
Wax London's workwear inspired denim jacket is a utilitarian staple that you'll reach for time and again. Sitting somewhere between a denim shirt and overshirt, we love its boxy silhouette and roomy pockets. Made in Portugal from 100% Portuguese fabric cotton twill, it's garment dyed for a super-soft, lived in feel.
ASKET Washed Denim Jacket
ASKET's stone bleach denim jacket is perfect for spring and summer, when warm days give way to chilly nights. Cut in a classic trucker style from 100% organic cotton Italian-made denim, it's super soft yet will withstand any wear or tear.
Axel Arigato Crew Padded Denim Jacket
Axel Arigato's unique take on the denim jacket is an ultra-cosy winter staple that features a comfy pile collar. The washed out denim will add a casual edge to any ensemble.
Closed Heritage Denim Jacket
Made from recycled cotton and recycled polyester, Closed's Heritage Denim Jacket is as sustainable as it is stylish. The relaxed fit means you can layer it over a jumper in the colder months.
Forét Denim Rowan Overshirt
Forét's organic cotton Rowan denim overshirt offers the perfect balance between chore coat and denim jacket, with embedded functionality in the form of three roomy front pockets.
Discover our pick of the best overshirts for men.