How to wear a denim jacket in 10 modern ways


You don’t have to be a transporter to get a lot of mileage from a trucker. Or a cowboy. The denim jacket (as its founding fathers call it in the United States), like a lot of basic work wear, has gone from being a trendy menswear to more dress codes than you might imagine.

“A denim jacket is a fantastic option to have on hand for its versatility, especially at this time of year,” says Daniel Rhone, stylist and personal shopper for a top Premier League football team – l he emphasis is on the “ballers”. . “I like to layer one as an intermediate level between my choice of outerwear and an underlay of a t-shirt or shirt. Especially if I underestimated the outside temperature.

You don’t have to take his word for it, although you should, because he’s a very cool guy, even when he’s warming up. But to bring out the problem, here are 10 different ways to forgive a denim jacket so you can keep rolling down the road.


With chinos

You are effectively wearing jeans on your top half and you know double denim is dangerous territory. But the same goes for going out half-naked. Enter the chinos. They can be smart, with formalizing features like pleats, pleats, and placket closure, but they can also be casual.

Their military history and their typically utilitarian cotton twill fabric nevertheless make them a reliable ally of denim; the original khaki – technically a color, not a style – is a classic accord. Add a white T-shirt (see below) and you’re Don Draper on the weekend.

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With a white t-shirt

This is another classic chord inscribed in Americana. A clean but hassle free look is not as easy as you might think.

Its success largely depends on finding the perfect white T-shirt, which can be a Goldilocks quest: neither too thin nor too baggy; not too translucent, not too bulletproof; neither too “jute” nor too modest; not too much like a dress, not too much like a crop top; not so high on the neck that it’s a garotte undershirt, not so low that it’s a deep U that exposes the collarbone.

Whoever called the white T-shirt basic was wrong.

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With joggers

A denim jacket doesn’t exactly fall into the sportswear category, unless you’re a rodeo. But it does offer a certain degree of structure to compensate for the softness of your jogging pants, as well as more prosaically simply not being another piece of jersey, so you don’t have to go over a full tracksuit or ‘ “ Tesco tuxedo ”.

It’s not a hard and fast rule (there aren’t many left in menswear), but it’s probably best to avoid cowboy details on your denim jacket. Style historians don’t see athletics as a key trend in the Old West.

With black jeans

Double denim can be doubly good even if you blatantly break the rule of “ distinct shades ”: see Martin Sheen in Badlands. It can also be very, very bad: see Justin Timberlake in your nightmares. But for a sure-fire way to splice jeans, black and blue are hard to beat.

Other colors of jeans can do the same: gray, for one, and even white, although this presents its own pitfalls, not to mention impracticalities. But like Wesley Snipes having a cheeky beat on the Rugby World Cup, always bet on black.

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With indigo jeans

A harder shade than black jeans, but still not that hard and unwashed, indigo denim will be much less likely to optically bleed in a lighter and / or aged denim jacket than lighter and / or aged jeans, for reasons which should hopefully be apparent from this sentence.

It’s not as if the indistinguishable double denim can never be done, beware: we seem to remember that Ryan Gosling looks pretty badass in Drive. But that said, he is Canadian and therefore may have an advantage in his home country.

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With a shirt and a tie

Yes, you can mix business with work clothes. Make the partnership less complicated by reducing the clothing of the other elements to align them more with your decidedly laid-back trucker: a button-down Oxford instead of a stiff colored poplin; a knitted tie instead of woven silk; chinos instead of tailored pants (although they could work too – see below).

NB, even if your denim jacket isn’t too washed out, it’s still a lot more informal than any bespoke equivalent, so it might not be SFW in your workplace.

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With a hoodie

This combo is a fallback solution for any menswear blogger trying to appear vaguely urban. Don’t let that put you off. A hoodie is a natural workout partner for a denim jacket, as they are both understated weekend basics.

In that vein, don’t overdo it. Keep the colors neutral and don’t go too square with the hoodie fit. Avoid the brash logos of the latest streetwear releases and stick to a navy or heather gray under a blue denim jacket.

With tailored pants

Similar to the shirt and tie, it helps to minimize the apparent discord between your casual jacket and your stylish pants. It could be lifting your jacket elegantly with dark, unwashed denim, as well as minimal bells and whistles such as contrast stitching or rivets.

Likewise, you can take your pants down a notch in formality with a more substantial, nubby material that’s closer to denim on the spectrum. Or opt for a relaxed fit, cropped length or cuffs.

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With a turtleneck

Anywhere you can wear a shirt, you can rock a turtleneck. Well, pretty much. But before you knit, think about the finish of your denim jacket, whether it’s immaculate indigo or stonewashed, and how that metaphorically sews with your sweater.

If the latter is too transparent and shiny, there could be a dissonance with the rough and hard denim; too big and your jacket may seem insignificant in comparison. (Generally speaking, the layers should get thicker as they move away from your body, and vice versa.)

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With an overcoat or topcoat

As with a fitted blazer, your denim jacket needs to be fitted if you want to wear it under an overcoat. You should be pretty much able to dig in two fingers when done and it should be narrow necked so it doesn’t compete with your coat lapels.

By its nature, even the smartest bespoke outerwear has a certain degree of ruggedness, so it’s not as out of place as you might think. Don’t be afraid to juxtapose, either: the camel, which normally skews the formal, can be a really good combo. Bonus points if the stitching on your jacket matches the color.

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