The best denim jackets you can buy in 2021

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There is probably a science behind why the denim jacket is still so beautiful and endlessly wearable. That’s not what we’re here for. It’s just. While it can be cut, changed, pinched and tucked in season after season, the truth is it never falls out of favor in menswear. It is a piece that pops up in wardrobes almost by default as it fits almost anyone, making waists appear narrower and sleek without much effort. Then there is the thick and sturdy construction, which makes it a practical workhorse of a garment, deflecting wind and rain without overheating its wearer when the sun comes out. And anyway, who chooses to argue with the cowboys, the railway workers and the miners? Not us.

Hurry? Here are our top picks when it comes to the best denim jackets for men:

Finalist

Edwin E-Classic Jacket
Edwin E-Classic Jacket

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Founded in Tokyo in 1947, Edwin knows denim and shines through his denim jackets of exceptional quality.

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The history of the denim jacket

Elements of the garment itself can be traced back to the indigo-dyed work coats worn by 18th-century Japanese firefighters. But it was Levi Strauss in the 1880s who cut the denim jacket (or “trucker” as he called it) as we know it today, to build on the success of his already popular jeans. The workers loved it because the fabric gave the jacket a hard-wearing feel, but was still easy to move around, and the US Navy quickly decided on the same. Soon after, Elvis switched to double denim in Prison rock (1957), (literally) propelling the denim jacket into the mainstream, where it remains today. Please note, not all denim jackets are created equal. When it comes to buying one, knowing how to sort pull-on denim from throw-away denim is important. “A slim fit, good weight denim, as well as seams and rivets are the key pillars of a first-class denim jacket,” says Rachel Morgans, Topman purchasing manager. As part of this three-point checklist, make sure any jacket you pick up isn’t as thin as paper, that it doesn’t drown you (even if it’s oversized), and make sure examine the finer details such as the material (zippers marked ‘YKK’ are an excellent determinant of quality). Get it all right and you’ll have a jacket that will keep riding for as long as you can get in.

How to wear a denim jacket

The benefit of taking the time to nail down your denim jacket purchase is the number of styling options it offers. While it may have started out as grease-covered work wear (and as such looks effortless in casual outfits), it’s also possible to slip a well-fitting example under an unstructured blazer or overcoat. Morgans, however, recommends keeping it simple: “A denim jacket is a casual fashion staple, so pair it with a plain tee and opt for a pair of chinos. If you’re looking for a look that gets more attention, consider stepping up: “The double denim look is delicate, so if you’re lacking in self-confidence, wear your denim jacket with much darker jeans,” adds Morgans.

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The best brands of denim jackets for men

Levi’s

The original and still one of the best, Levi’s iconic trucker jacket is the style that spawned a thousand imitators. Current versions of the classic may have had a superficial overhaul – available in a range of washes and with details like upholstery – but they all share the same timeless design and sturdy construction.

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levis denim jacket

APC

If you like high-quality, simple wardrobe basics in a clean palette, then Parisian label APC is an obvious sartorial benchmark. Already well known for its selvedge denim jeans, the same craftsmanship has been applied to the jackets, which come in classic, easy-to-wear hues.

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apc denim jacket

Edwin

Established in Japan in 1947 and coveted by denimheads around the world ever since, it’s no surprise that EdwinDenim jackets are the perfect partner for the brand’s popular jeans. Although they cost more than the average department store option, they are ideal for lovers of premium raw denim and relaxed fits.

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black denim jacket edwin

Asos

The men’s denim offering at ASOS is (arguably) the most comprehensive on the web. With hundreds of products in one category alone, if you can think of a style – classic, contemporary, fitted, or plus size – there’s a good chance you’ll find it here.

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asos denim jacket

Acne Studios

Right now, pretty much everyone agrees that Stockholm design collective Acne Studios is the ultimate in Scandinavian cool. While leather jackets are perhaps the brand’s most famous export, its recently refreshed denim line is just as sharp as a scalpel (and far more wallet-friendly).

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ACNE STUDIOS PASS DENIM JACKET

River island

When it comes to providing quality, affordable clothing that meets men’s changing tastes, few do it like River Island. The department store’s denim jackets come in a dizzying array of color, fit and wash options, meaning you’re spoiled for choice.

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Gray Acid Wash Borg Collar Denim Jacket

Nudie Jeans

Gothenburg-based denim brand Nudie Jeans has been discreetly dressing elegant legs since the turn of the millennium. Luckily, its range of denim jackets – cut from dry denim, which deteriorates over time – are equally appealing, meaning your torso can benefit from the clean lines and high-quality design of the suede as well.

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nude denim jacket

All saints

Not content with perhaps perfecting the ultimate distressed leather jacket, AllSaints can now claim to be making a splash in the world of men’s denim. His jackets sport the British brand’s hallmark (and perfectly executed) worn in detail, making them a solid choice for more casual and grungy looks.

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allsaint denim jacket

Difference

Any brand that made a name for itself in the 90s is dedicated to producing top-notch denim. Gap might be a staple for basics, but there’s nothing basic about its denim jackets, which blend vintage design details with modern fits and colors, all without worrying about your wallet.

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Iconic Sherpa Lined Denim Jacket

Carhartt

Founded in 1889, workwear specialist Carhartt has built a name that today is shorthand for sturdy, hard-wearing clothing that can withstand a bit of roughness and drop. True to form, the American firm’s denim jackets stand for a functional design and sturdy fabric composition, while managing to look great.

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carhartt WIP denim jacket

Slow

The Japanese brand OrSlow takes pride in producing garments made from local materials on specialized machines. His line of workwear-inspired denim jackets is no different: impeccably cut, carefully crafted and endlessly elegant.

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denim jacket orslow

H&M

H&M has taken over just about every street corner and shopping center in the world thanks to its pleasant prices and a seemingly endless stream of further drops. Denim jackets are one of the strengths of the Swedish company, combining rugged construction with trendy designs.

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H&M denim jacket

The man at the top

Street giant Topman prides itself on always having its finger on what’s hot right now. So if you are looking for trendy denim, you don’t need to look any further. Whether oversized, aged, pre-faded, or embellished, the retailer’s not-so-trivial designs are hard to beat.

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Oversized black denim jacket

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