Since the days of the Gold Rush, denim has been a foundational part of the American man's wardrobe. The fabric of our lives, as it were. And though we don't see that ending anytime soon, this spring, we should re-examine the hardworking material's place — namely, above the waist. Yes, we're talking about the classic jean jacket, a staple from the days of the Wild West right on through to the '90s grunge movement. It's still with us today, and its importance hasn't wavered — especially as spring approaches and you need something lightweight, yet sturdy, to layer on and off as things warm up.
Denim jackets, in my opinion, are one of Essentials this season - that is to say, one of the items we believe every man should own. Why? Because they are durable, rugged, have a sense of adventure about them, and, above all, have never looked more stylish. The denim jacket was born in the early 20th century, having derived from the jeans and denim overalls worn by American miners and labourers. Sometimes called ranch jackets because they were frequently worn by cowboys (as countless Western movies attest), denim jackets would go on to become embedded in popular culture. Biker gangs such as Hell's Angels (who embroidered and customised theirs, sometimes cutting off the sleeves), punks, hippies, rockers, hip-hop stars and workwear aficionados have all staked a claim on the denim jacket over the past half century. Now that it has reached classic status, interpreted as it is by contemporary designers using high-quality fabrics and construction along with sleek cuts, the denim jacket integrates seamlessly into any man's wardrobe.
Before we start, as this is going to be more of a guide to getting the very most out of your denim jacket during spring/summer, below is a collection of men’s denim jackets currently available on the market. Pick your favorite and keep it in mind as we then create a variety of looks that will prove just how versatile this piece of outerwear really is:
|DRKSHDW BY RICK OWENS|
|DOLCE & GABBANA|
|DANIELE ALESSANDRINI JEANS|
|SCOTCH & SODA|
Predominantly a casual piece, the denim jacket brings a more dressed down approach to an outfit; although it can certainly be included under the obscure umbrella of smart-casual if done right. The ruggedness of the piece instantly brings about an air of masculinity and its versatility is practically unrivalled, making it relatively easy to incorporate into your wardrobe whatever your particular taste may be:
Pulling off a denim jacket ultimately comes down to finding one that fits. When deciding on a cut, consider the jacket’s construction, and figure out what you’ll be wearing the jacket with and ultimately what kind of look you’re looking to construct. Punk? Go slim and distressed. Country? Get one with a little more room for pairing with a classic flannel shirt. And remember to consider your needs just as you consider the fit; the denim jacket is all about practicality.
Tips for wearing a denim jacket are simple:
- Never ‘double up’ on denim. If you’re wearing a denim jacket, that means no denim jeans, and definitely no denim shirts. If you’re not sure go with khaki or corduroy pants.
- If you must mix denims, mix up the washes. Extremely dark wash jeans and a faded shearling-lined jacket is a great example.
- Never wear your jacket with shorts. No exceptions.
- Try pairing your jacket with a stiff pair of khakis and a dress shirt for a casual Friday look, or ragged cords and a t-shirt for a grunge-inspired casual outfit.
- To preserve the wash, treat the jacket as you would if it were a pair of jeans. Wash infrequently, and expect some shrinkage with hot-water washes.
- Don’t wear the jacket too often, unless you want to be known as ‘that denim jacket guy’, which is a terrible thing to be known as.
Here are 7 different ways to wear a denim jacket:
1: OUT FOR DINNER:
Work this double denim look by sporting a slim selvedge shirt, under the dark denim jacket and layer under the linen blazer to give that sophisti-casual cool look.
2: THE WEEKENDER:
A basic white slim fit t-shirt is a must-have when it comes to a layered denim look. Top with a military jacket over the dark denim jacket to give an urban edge to a military feel.
3: SATURDAY SHOPPING:
The dark denim jacket at times can be the focus of your layered look, combine with a grey zip hoodie and a must to have this Spring stripes t-shirt to give that just popped out look.
4: MEN AT WORK:
Put the denim jacket to work with a slim shirt in bold stripe. Team with a jacket and finish with a silk tie in papaya stripe.
5: CITY SLICKER:
Use the dark denim jacket as a waistcoat under your black suit blazer. Opt for the spread-collar dress shirt and finish with a black skinny knit tie giving your boardroom style the ultimate street cred.
6: RAINY DAZE:
Layer it up with this four layer look as keeping warm & dry is paramount to work this laid-back style. The Slim broken-in tee now is your base layer, and then the work-wear inspired homespun knitted Henley. The beloved dark denim jacket works as a shirt under a colorful parka. Loving the plaid and denim mix.
7: QUILT IT UP:
This time our dark denim jacket is the filling between this polar quilt waistcoat/zip-in liner and nautical tee combo. A great look if you’re looking to appear bigger on the chest area!