How to Wear a Denim Jacket with Style (Men’s Outfit Guide)

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A man in Toronto wearing a denim jacket in front of a city skyline

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Last Updated on June 29, 2021

If worn correctly, a denim jacket can become a powerful weapon in a man’s wardrobe. A go-to piece that’s a quick favorite, denim jackets are highly versatile, comfortable, and timelessly stylish.

That said, they can be intimidating to approach since they are often considered too outgoing. When styled correctly, denim jackets impress. If styled wrongly, they can make you seem like a hot mess. Read on for a detailed outfit guide on how to wear a denim jacket with style:

You’re probably wondering— How should a denim jacket fit?

Every man should own a denim jacket.

Tips to find the best fit for your denim jacket

  1. Choose a color that will go with everything in your closet. We suggest a classic dark wash blue. It rarely fails.
  2. Make sure the jacket is snug in the shoulder area. Avoid going a size up or down, and stick to your usual measurements. The bottom should not be too long.
  3. Layer garments underneath. This will allow you to use the jacket year-round. Make sure the jacket hems do not pass below your beltline.

The perfect denim jacket is fitted yet allows room for layering, is not too long, and has authentic design and features.

With different clothing

With Jeans – Denim on Denim

Create a cool, edgy look by pairing denim on denim with a pair of blue jeans; a double denim look. Denim jackets are mostly informal, so they look best when styled with other informal garments such as jeans.

Get either:

  • Light: With light wash jeans, denim jackets tend to look even more informal. Choose a denim jacket that is rugged, laidback, and also light wash—attempt to find the most similar match to the jeans you choose.
  • Black: With black jeans, choose a denim jacket that is also black. When pairing denim on denim, the safest bet is to match both colors and materials.
  • Gray: With gray jeans, style with a denim jacket that is boxy and slightly washed out. Easy and simple yet stylish.

Read: Undeniable Proof that Men’s 90s Jeans are Here to Stay

With Khakis

Khakis are a great piece to wear with denim jackets due to the contrast they create within an outfit, which is harmonious. Build the outfit from a pair of clean cut, fitted khaki trousers.

Throw on a classic white t-shirt on top, and style with clean white sneakers or any other white shoes.

A pair of sunglasses and your favorite denim jacket will finish off the look. This look is very basic, and you can choose any kind of denim jacket you prefer—none will look wrong.

With Sweatpants

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of leather jackets is how versatile they are. You can wear them with anything, including sweatpants. They make sweatpants look more presentable and allow you to wear them without feeling too underdressed.

Make sure your sweats feature no prints but instead stick to neutral unicolor options, such as gray, white, or black. Pair with a slightly oversized sweatshirt of your choice.

Throw on a light wash denim jacket on top. This look is effortless and laidback, perfect for the weekend.

With Shorts

A light wash jean jacket with the sleeves rolled up, and a pair of shorts, are a classic summer staple. Build your outfit from a denim jacket that is casual and lightweight. Neatly fold back the sleeves, and leave unbuttoned.

Underneath, wear a white top also made from a light material such as cotton. Pair with above the knee length shorts, and you can play around with different prints.

Consider a light blue and white stripped combination. Slip on some white sneakers and the look is complete.

With Button Up Shirts

You may not consider pairing a button up shirt with a denim jacket, but the combination is surprisingly stylish.

Begin with a classic, white, button up shirt with a notch collar. Leave the top buttons unbuttoned and do not mind any wrinkles—these will help create a careless aesthetic that goes very well with the denim jacket.

Next, choose a jean jacket that is slightly cropped, as to further show off the shirt beneath. Style with black trousers and accessorize with white sneakers and chained jewelry for an edgy vibe. Roll up the sleeves of both the shirt and the jacket.

With Hoodies

Hoodies and denim jackets are a classic combo that everyone loves. Easy to throw on in a hurry, yet making you look like you really tried to look stylish, this duo is iconic and will never go out of style.

Choose a denim jacket that is ultra laidback, such as one featuring a light wash denim and a fur collar. Choose any hoodie you prefer, but either white or black look great underneath a denim jacket.

Pair the look with baggy joggers and cream-colored sneakers. Pop the hood out and lay it above the back of the denim jacket. This look is essential with a denim jacket.

With Flannel

Known as the ‘layered look’, wearing a flannel button up underneath a denim jacket is the perfect outfit to wear during the fall and beginning of winter. Warm, but not too stuffy, this look is clean cut yet casual.

Choose a flannel shirt that isn’t too thick nor too thin—choose an intermediate. Opt for classic flannel colors such as navy or red, and you can play around with the style of denim jacket you want to place on top.

Black looks great during the fall and winter months as it matches a darker aesthetic.

Types of Denim Jackets

With a Fur Collar

Denim jackets with a fur collar are the perfect way to wear this trend during colder weather months. They are comfortable, stylish, and very cozy—the perfect piece to throw on over anything and to layer.

An easy way to style a fur collar denim jacket is with a simple polo shirt. Unbutton the top and pop the collar a bit for an extra touch of style. A pair of black trousers and brown loafers are the perfect compliment.

On top, place a denim jacket with a light wash jean material, and fur lining, including the collar.

Western Style

Western style denim jackets are categorized by their references to Western American style, related to the famous ‘cowboy’ fashion era. These types of denim jackets usually feature designs such as graphic interventions, dark indigo washes, and some may feature fringes.

Since these are usually stand out pieces on their own, its best to style with other simple garments. Consider a jean in the same material, a white t-shirt, and a simple leather belt.

You can find more minimalistic versions of the western style denim jackets as well, such as those featuring only a darker wash denim material, which are more contemporary and wearable.

Denim Vest

The denim vest offers an alternative to the classic denim jacket—a more outgoing option that will make you further standout. While the denim vest is not for everyone as it represents a very particular smart style aesthetic, it’s a great option to consider if you have a distinct fashion sense.

For a cool, new version of the ‘bad boy’ look, style with all black. Choose a black t-shirt, black skinny jeans, and chunky sneakers with oversized laces and graphics. Accessorize with silver chain jewelry and dark sunglasses to complete the look.

Oversized

Oversized denim jackets are very reminiscent of 90s fashion trends. If you are a fan of this decade in fashion, a denim jacket in a light wash material, that is slightly oversized on you will take you right back to this moment in fashion history.

Style with a gray t-shirt underneath, light wash jeans with the hems rolled up, and black Converse sneakers to complete the look. This style idea is disheveled and informal, yet very cool and vintage.

Read: Getting the ’90s Fashion Grunge Look for Men

Distressed

A distressed denim jacket is the perfect way to add some flare to your personal style without overdoing it. Choose a denim jacket that is not overly ripped—opt for an option that has few rips especially if your style is more classic and conservative.

Denim jackets are very informal as is, so make sure to not choose a style that is completely distressed. Pair with a chunky, turtleneck sweater underneath as the perfect winter look. Black skinny jeans and black boots will complete this look.

Denim Jacket Outfits for Occasions

Casual

For a very casual denim jacket outfit idea, we suggest going for distressed and acid wash materials. Choose a denim jacket that looks used and old, that can include a fur collar. Style with a pair of ripped jeans and a graphic t-shirt underneath.

Any kind of sneakers will finish off this look, which can be worn on the everyday and adapted to every season of the year.

Business Casual

You may be surprised yet relieved to read that denim jackets can be incorporated into business casual wear. While these jackets are usually perceived as very informal garments, certain kinds styled correctly can make for very authentic takes on business casual.

Style with a white button up, notch collar shirt. Add a tie if you wish. A pair of navy chinos and brown loafers will create a business casual look you can wear to work, and to dinner right after.

Read: 90s Men’s Suits: Get to Business with These Throwback Trends (With Iconic Photos & Styling Tips)

Street Style

Streetstyle is all about looking effortlessly chic—like it took you five minutes to throw on what you’re wearing, yet seemingly having created a masterpiece. Don’t stress this outfit idea too much; that’s the trick to perfecting streetstyle.

We recommend beginning with a crisp white hoodie, gray dress pants, white sneakers, and a classic fitted jean jacket. Style with sunglasses and play around with cool hairstyles.