Fashion Friday: The Denim Jacket

Stephanie says:

For future fashion posts, I’d love to see your write about “how to choose a stylish denim jacket.” I, too, love the idea of a denim jacket, but it’s hard to pick the right kind. Some denim jackets just look way too “80’s.

Did someone say denim?  Ah, one of my favorite topics.  I heart the denim jacket.  I have several that I wear for different purposes.  What I like about the denim jacket is that you can throw it on with anything from khaki slacks to a sundress and it will give you a stylish, put-together look that is perfect for a day at the mall or a night on the town.  I often wear a denim jacket to church with a skirt or pants.  (And a shirt, of course.)  I feel like the denim jacket lends a simple, classic outfit a modern, edgy, yet effortless look.

I have 3 denim jackets, and each was an impulse purchase.  (Yes, I get the impulse to purchase quite often.)  The cool thing about impulse purchases is that they usually end up being awesome wardrobe staples because you aren’t settling for something that isn’t exactly what you want.  When you find JUST the PERFECT thing and you weren’t even looking for said item, but you just HAVE to buy it because it’s THAT perfect…  Well.  It probably IS perfect.  My point is, you may want to wait until the perfect denim jacket finds you, rather than going on a hunting expedition that will leave you frustrated and empty-handed.

I had high hopes of taking photos of myself wearing a variety of outfits with the denim jacket, but my hopes were shattered.  This is the best I could do.  Please pardon the slightly blurry photos (my camera needs a doctor) and the oddly placed black hanger sticking up out of the top of each outfit.  That’s part of my MacGyver-esque contraption to hang the skirts and pants low enough to be seen beneath the shirts and jackets.

Outfit #1 — This is an outfit I’d wear to church or out to dinner.  It’s fine without a jacket, but the denim jacket gives it a bit of an edge.  This is my more casual jacket.  For church I generally wear the one with a darker wash.


Outfit #2 — This is the darker jacket with bracelet length sleeves.  I often wear this outfit to church in the summer.


Outfit #3 — This picture no where near does this LBD justice.  I picked it up last week at the Banana Republic outlet.  It’s a cotton twill sleeveless black dress perfect for dressing up or down in the summer months. I threw the more casual black jacket over it for this photo.  Wouldn’t this be darling with red or orange sandals?


Outfit #4 — This is another outfit I’d wear to church or out to dinner.  I just picked up these pants; I haven’t even worn them yet.


Finally, I have a white denim jacket.  I love the bronze buttons.  It looks great with my brown cargo capris and a casual T or tank.  I also throw it on with dark blue jeans sometimes.


So there you go.  Several fine ways to wear a denim jacket.

There IS a knack to finding just the right denim jacket.  The secret is two-fold:  LENGTH and STRUCTURE.  If your jacket is too long or too boxy, you may as well leave it off.

As always, proportion is key.  I prefer my denim jackets to be on the shorter side.  It’s just fine if your shirt extends beneath the hem of the jacket.  In fact, I prefer it this way.

As for structure, make sure to buy a jacket that is shaped through the waist area to give you that curvy, feminine figure we are all striving to achieve or maintain.  A flattering jacket can cover a multitude of sins.  If you carry any extra weight through your midsection (that’s where all my extra weight goes!) a fitted jacket will camouflage that nicely.

One rule of thumb.  Blue jean jackets with blue jeans = NO.  Okay?  Pinky swear.

For more ideas, Wardrobe 911 has a fabulous article on How to Wear: The Jean Jacket.

And when I googled the topic, I came up with How to Wear a Jean Jacket Without Looking Like a Douchebag on stylelist.com  The title cracked me up, so I had to include it.

What’s your favorite way to rock the denim jacket?  If you don’t have one, will you be on the lookout for one now?

Join The Conversation

18 Responses

  1. I tweeted about sitting on the train this morning next to a woman who had on a blue denim jacket with blue jeans. A definite no-no.
    From April to October, I wear one of my denim jackets almost every day…

  2. I already said this in another post, but I totally forgot I owned a denim jacket til you posted about it! I only own one, but I love it. And you’re right, it found me. I was at Ross, and I was looking for a blazer when I found it. In fact, I already had a denim jacket that I didn’t really like, so I hestiated. I ended up buying it anyway of course! I like mine with a skirt usually. I love how it makes it look less dressy. Here in Idaho everyone is pretty casual, so it’s just perfect. Thanks for the great post!

  3. Ok, so I’m gonna confess that I DO wear my denim jacket with blue jeans, so long as there is a brightly colored shirt with a long hem that falls underneath the jacket to break up the colors. Sometimes it’s just out of convenience, in Texas weather the jean jacket is just SO perfect and I grab it on the way out the door often.

    Mine is a dark wash and looks like your second one. I got sooooo lucky with it, wasn’t specifically lookinig for one but found it at New York and Co for $15 and it fits so beautifully. I don’t shop there often but sometimes I find incredible deals on basics there. I also got a short black cotton jacket with those big buttons up the front and 3/4 sleeves for $15. Had zero idea how to wear it or if I could even pull it off but it has become a very stylish essential for me!

  4. I love wearing my denim jacket over a black shirt and black pants. But after seeing your dark-wash jacket, I now believe I need a new one. Just like yours. 🙂

  5. Those outfits are really really cute. I’m available for you to come and help me find some clothes. 😀

  6. I have a cropped denim jacket that I wear all year long. It is wonderful. Curves nicely and has a great rolled cuff. I love it!

  7. Thanks Jo-Lynne!! I was just wearing my denim jacket (gap staple) and wondering if I was now “out” or too 90’s? I LOVE it, it goes with all my sundresses and is just perfect for travel and a great weight for a cool night. Now I want the white one you showed because I have been wondering what to do when I wear my denim capris or jeans or denim skirt. Thus leading to the NO DENIM WITH DENIM RULE!! Yes people! When you wear denim on bottom you MAY NOT wear blue denim on top. Even if they match, especially if they match. Unless you are a cowboy. Might need to ask pioneer woman about that one.

  8. I’ve probably worn my denim jacket 2-3 times this week already, too. I use it the same way – over a sundress, with a skirt and casual top or with khaki or black pants or capris. I’m not so sure about the denim jacket (of any color) with jeans, though. I actually thought about an old post of yours yesterday b/c I had on white jeans, a bright green sleeveless top. I was having lunch in a restaurant and knew I’d probably get cold so I grabbed my jean jacket b/c I remembered you saying it was OK. I was OK with it when I was seated at the table, but had to take it off as soon as we stood to leave. Maybe I just can’t pull it off. Have a great weekend!

  9. Nikki – I’ve READ that it’s okay and I do wear the white with jeans at times but I always feel not QUITE right about it too. 🙂

  10. Yes, I will be on the lookout for a great denim jacket! Love the looks you showcased – you stylish girl!

  11. I got an awesome very fitted denim jacket at TJ Maxx last year. It was a bargain and I LOVE it.

    However, I hate that I can’t wear it with my jeans (you should have made sure that people know not to wear blue denim with blue denim).

    In the winter I have two cute cords blazers that I can wear with my jeans, but I’ve been on the lookout for a nice twill jacket (khaki or otherwise) that I could wear with my jeans, but I think I will add a white denim jacket to my wishlist as well.

    Fun post!

  12. I have to tell you, I have one denim jacket and I love it. It’s actually a dress my sister gave me to wear as a coat. It looks so good to dress up jeans.


  13. Thank you for that very insightful (and humorous) post. I love your outfits…especially the second one. I think I’m going to look for a jacket with a darker wash like that. And I *promise* I won’t ever, ever, ever wear it with blue jeans. 😉

  14. I am glad I am not the only denim jacket addict out there. I have four. My favorite is from Target, it’s a cropped, dark denim jacket. It’s a little tight in the arms (I work out) but I love it so much. I have another one with a few stitched flowers as embellishments. Another by Levis (classic) and another from Target.

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