You don’t have to be a courier to get a lot of miles from a truck driver. Or a cowboy. The denim jacket, like many pieces of work wear, has gone from a reliable old menswear to a staple for more dress codes than you can imagine. But what do you associate with a denim jacket besides denim? That’s where this jean jacket outfit guide comes in.
“A denim jacket is a fantastic option to have on hand because of its versatility, especially at this time of year,” says Daniel Rhone, stylist and personal shopper for one of the top football clubs in the Premier League – l emphasis is on “players”. . “I like to wear one as a mid layer between my choice of outerwear and an under layer of a shirt or shirt. Especially if I’ve underestimated the outside temperature.
You don’t have to take his word for it, although you should, because he’s a very nice guy, even when he’s dressed up. But to drive the point home, here are 10 different ways to wear a denim jacket so you can keep cruising on the road.
You’re actually wearing jeans on top and know that double denim is dangerous territory. But also go out half naked. Enter the chinos. They can be elegant, with formal features like pleats, pleats and a tab fastening, but they can also be casual.
However, their military background and typically utilitarian cotton twill make them a reliable ally of denim; the original khaki – technically a color, not a style – is a classic accord. Add a white tee (see below) and you’re Don Draper on the weekend.
WITH A WHITE T-SHIRT
This is another classic pairing enshrined in Americana. A clean but no-nonsense look isn’t as easy as you might think.
His success is largely based on finding the perfect white tee, which could be a Goldilocks quest: not too thin, not too baggy; not too translucent, not too bulletproof; not too gunny, not too modest; not too much like a dress, not too much like a crop top; not so high on the neck as to be a garotta tank top, not so low as to be a deep U that exposes the collarbone.
A denim jacket doesn’t exactly fall into the sportswear category unless you’re a rodeo rider. But it offers a degree of structure to offset the softness of your joggers, plus, more prosaically, it’s not just another piece of knit, so you don’t have to wear a full suit or a ‘Tesco tuxedo’.
It’s not a hard and fast rule (there aren’t many left in menswear), but you’d probably be better off avoiding cowboy details on your denim jacket. Style historians do not record athleisure as a key trend in the Old West.
WITH BLACK JEANS
Double denim can be doubly good even if it blatantly breaks the “distinct shades” rule: see Martin Sheen in Badlands. It can also be very, very bad: you see Justin Timberlake in your nightmares. But for a surefire way to combine jeans, black and blue are hard to beat.
Other colors of jeans can do the same trick: gray, for example, and even white, although this has its pitfalls, not to mention practical impossibilities. But like Wesley Snipes who has a cheek about the Rugby World Cup, he always goes black.
WITH INDIGO JEANS
A harder shade than black jeans, but still not as harsh, unwashed indigo denim will be much less likely to optically bleed into a lighter and/or distressed denim jacket than a lighter and/or distressed denim jacket, for reasons that should hopefully be obvious from reading this sentence.
It’s not that double, indiscriminately dark denim can never be done, mind you: We seem to recall that Ryan Gosling looked pretty badass in Drive. But having said that, he is Canadian and therefore he may have the country of origin advantage.
WITH SHIRT AND TIE
Yes, you can mix business with work wear. Make the partnership less extravagant by toning down the attire of other elements to align more with your decidedly laid-back trucker: a button-up Oxford instead of a stiff colorful poplin; a knitted tie instead of woven silk; chinos instead of tailored trousers (although they can also work – see below).
N.B., even if your denim jacket isn’t too faded, it’s still a lot more casual than any tailored equivalent, so it might not be SFW in the workplace.
WITH A HOODIE
This combination is a stopgap for any menswear blogger looking to look vaguely urban. Don’t be put off. A hoodie is a natural workout partner for a denim jacket, as they’re both weekend essentials.
In that sense, don’t overdo it. Keep the colors neutral and don’t get too boxy with the fit of the hoodie. Avoid the cheeky logos of the latest streetwear releases and stick to a dark blue or gray heather under a blue denim jacket.
WITH TAILORED TROUSERS
Similar to the shirt and tie, it helps if you can minimize the apparent discord between your casual jacket and your dress pants. This could be by updating your jacket in style with dark unwashed denim, along with minimal bells and whistles like contrast stitching or rivets.
Likewise, you can take your pants down a notch in terms of formality with a more substantial, textured material that’s closer to denim on the spectrum. Or opt for a relaxed fit, cropped length, or cuffs.
WITH A TURTLENECK
Anywhere you can wear a shirt, you can wear a turtleneck. Well, sort of. But before you knit, consider the finish of your denim jacket—whether it’s pristine indigo or stonewashed—and how it metaphorically matches your sweater.
If the latter is too transparent and shiny, there may be a dissonance with rough and resistant denim; too big and your jacket may look bland in comparison. (In general, layers should get thicker the farther away from your body and vice versa.)
WITH AN OVERCOAT OR TOPCOAT
As with a tailored blazer, your denim jacket should be slim fitting if you want to wear it under an overcoat. You should just about be able to get two fingers down it when done up and it should be narrow-necked so it doesn’t compete with your coat’s lapels.
By its nature, even the smartest tailored outerwear has a degree of ruggedness so this is not as incongruous as you might think. Don’t be afraid to juxtapose, either: camel, which normally skews formal, can be a really nice combo. Bonus points if your jacket’s stitching matches the color.