The best denim jacket

Jean jackets have been around for over 100 years and even predate jean pants. In the early 1900s, workmen such as firefighters would wear denim jackets on the job. It wasn’t until the mid 80s that the jean jacket took the trendier fashion world by storm.
Jean jackets have been around for over 100 years and even predate jean pants. In the early 1900s, workmen such as firefighters would wear denim jackets on the job. It wasn’t until the mid 80s that the jean jacket took the trendier fashion world by storm. (BestReviews)

Denim jackets are a staple in the closet of men and women around the world. There is the classic jean jacket style with a button-up closure, chest pockets and a waist-length cut but there are many variations. Denim is a fabric that goes with just about anything — much like the color white or black — so jean jackets are the perfect thing to throw on when you need a little extra warmth and can't find anything else that matches your apparel. A jacket like the Levi's Women's Premium Original Trucker Jacket is timeless and goes with just about any garment.

What to know before you buy a denim jacket

They can be casual or trendy

Jean jackets might have once just been for a rugged outdoor lifestyle, paired with classic all-American jeans from Levi's or Wrangler. But over the years, the fashion world has accepted the denim jacket as a multifaceted garment that can be worn with just about anything. It certainly can go with your standard t-shirt and jeans, but you can also wear a jean jacket over a summer dress, with a pair of leather pants, over a date-night outfit, with a romper or even with shorts and a bathing suit for a beach day. It's one of the most versatile items of clothing there is.


They’re good for layering

Because denim goes with nearly anything, jean jackets are excellent for layering. You can layer all sorts of clothes beneath your jacket like a hoodie or flannel shirt. It’s common to see a person wear a long-sleeve shirt beneath a denim jacket, with the jacket sleeves rolled up to show the shirt beneath. It’s also popular to wear a hoodie under a jean jacket, with the hood sticking out. Denim provides good wind resistance, too, so it’s great for layering over a cozier material like cashmere or wool for two types of protection from the cold.

They’re durable

Denim is incredibly durable, which is why it’s a favorite fabric of farmers, ranchers and anyone who needs to put their clothing through a lot of conditions. Denim is not only thick and highly resistant to holes and snags, but it also holds up well in the wash. Even when your jean jacket does start to show a little weathering, distressed denim is in fashion so it will still look good.


Denim jacket features

The fit

Decide whether you want a fitted denim jacket or a loose jacket. Both are in style and serve different purposes. A fitted jacket will be best for dressier outfits like with a little black dress for date night or with a pair of slacks and a shirt. However, looser-fitting jean jackets are ideal for layering and have a distinct 1980s-90s fashion aesthetic.

The style

Denim jackets come in so many designs — as many as any other fabric. While you might think of the classic four-pocket, button-up jean jacket when you hear the term, you can find nearly any style of jacket in denim. There are bomber-style denim jackets, denim trench coats, long denim jackets, denim utility jackets and more. Depending on your personal style and what sort of functions you have to attend, there is a denim jacket for almost any occasion.

Pure denim or blended fabric

Decide whether you want a 100% denim jacket or a denim blend. Many denim jackets have a small percentage of spandex to give them a bit of stretch. If you want a fitted jacket that you can still comfortably close and move around in, a denim/spandex blend is a good choice. However, if you like the durability of an all-denim jacket, skip the blend.

Denim jacket cost 

When it comes to denim jackets, the label determines the price tag. Many generic brands sell denim jackets for as little as $20 while some designers sell denim jackets for $200.

Denim jacket FAQ

How do you wash a denim jacket?

A. The good news is that denim jackets can go in the washing machine. Be sure to button or zip up the jacket before throwing it in the machine, and turn it inside out so that the buttons or zippers don't become damaged in the cycle. It's best to set it to a gentle cycle. Don't put your denim jacket in the dryer — flat dry on a towel.

Are denim jackets good for cold weather?

A. Denim jackets can be worn as your only outer layer in moderately cold temperatures such as those in the 50s. Any colder and you'll likely want to layer up with a sweater or sweatshirt beneath your denim jacket. You can also look for a denim jacket that has a flannel or sherpa lining.

Which denim jacket should I get?

Best of the best denim jacket

Levi's Women's Premium Original Trucker Jacket: Available at Amazon 

Our take: This is a classic denim jacket that will never go out of style and goes well with almost anything.

What we like: This denim jacket comes from the brand synonymous with great denim and has a classic jean jacket design that goes well with a casual daytime outfit or a trendier date night get-up. It's available in several washes ranging from distressed to dark.

What we dislike: The sleeves are a little tight.

Best bang for your buck denim jacket

Allegra K Women's Asymmetrical Denim Moto Jacket: Available at Amazon

Our take: The biker-style cut of this jacket gives it a slightly dressy look that makes it versatile.

What we like: Perfect for date night or a night on the town, this jacket is fitted and fashionable. It comes in several colors so you can opt for the standard blue denim or something bolder like the red or green. It has two front-zip pockets and a full-length zipper closure.

What we dislike: The sizing runs small.

Honorable mention denim jacket

Wrangler Men's Rugged Wear Flannel Lined Denim Jacket: Available at Amazon

Our take: This flannel-lined jacket is warm enough to be the only top layer in chilly temperatures.

What we like: This timeless jean jacket has a warm flannel lining, making it great for winter weather, and an adjustable waist that makes it easy to get a good fit. It comes from a brand known for its high-quality denim and is a classic dark blue.

What we dislike: It is too short for tall wearers.

Julia Austin is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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