5 Essential Rules when Wearing a Denim Jacket

If you’re struggling with how to wear a men’s denim jacket, this quick and easy style guide is what you need. We break it down to the fit and colour, and we let you know what to match it with. We guarantee you’ll be an expert in no time.

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Of course, we know that denim is the staple for casual looks, and here at Idle we’re big fans of the denim jacket. Worn right, denim jackets and shirts can add a rugged element to your style. In addition to this, they’re a great piece for transitioning between seasons and therefore the perfect layering jacket.

How to Wear a Denim Jacket

The beauty of a denim jacket or shirt is that it will retain its integrity for years to come. You are more likely to get bored of wearing it before it needs throwing away – although given its timeless look, we’re sure the former won’t happen. Although it seems as American as apple pie, denim actually has its origins in Renaissance Europe, although where specifically is unclear. Nimes seems a good bet, as it explains the term ‘denim’ – derived from ‘de Nimes’ or ‘from Nimes.’

The denim jacket started as a way of re-purposing old scraps from jean manufacturing, and from these casual beginnings, we have a very casual item. However, the denim jacket is a staple piece that has more to offer than casual wear. Have a go at wearing your denim jacket under a black overcoat for a smarter twist for example. Let’s start off with a quick and easy tutorial on some introductory styling options.


It’s true that the denim jacket does fall in and out of favour. What was in during the 90s felt a bit unloved at the start of the millennium. Nonetheless, the casual number has certainly made quite a comeback – pretty much screaming East London cool casual. Wearing a nice cable knit jumper underneath your jacket and pair of tan ankle boots will give a touch of urban to a Western classic.



The Fit

Denim jackets come in a variety of cuts and styles. For the most part, they are loose around the body and slightly baggy in the arms to allow room for movement. However, most denim jackets should actually fit quite snugly to your shoulders, almost like a shirt. Although you might think this sounds restrictive, it actually makes sense. It will make it easier for you to layer come the colder months and will be perfect for the summer.

The cut should sit around the waist – too long and it looks like an untucked shirt, too short and it will look feminine. A denim jacket isn’t going to yield or stretch much over time so it’s best to get the fit spot-on at purchase – it should have the same slimming effect as a sports jacket. If buttoning up your jacket look streamline with the rest of your outfit, baggy jeans or big trainers won’t work, it is better to opt for slim trousers and smart, slender shoes.

Now, baggier denim jackets are a thing and a great for creating a more relaxed ensemble. They allow you to layer an outfit really well, especially if you put a simple pullover hoodie underneath. Base tones like grey, black and white are perfect for this sort of outfit. Finish the whole thing off with a decent pair of trainers or Chelsea boots and you’re ready for anything.

The Outfit

Below is a great example of everything we’ve talked about regarding the fit of a denim jacket. Not only does it showcase the perfect denim jacket fit, it also highlights the best way to contrast your new outerwear. A simple white T-shirt with some black jeans and a dark blue jacket is a great combination. Finish the whole thing off with some Vans or a pair of boots and you’re set for date night or a night out.

white t-shirt denim jacket black jeans street style for men
A fitted denim jacket is ideal for layering as well as being a transitional piece



So now you’ve got the cut sorted, what colour do you go for? The classic light blue? The edgier and punky grey? Or the celebrity favourite black? Thankfully, we’re here to help making that decision a little bit easier for you.

Grey denim jackets are a great alternative to black. We often find ourselves wearing the same kind of jeans over and over and it can get quite monotonous. With a grey jacket, you can switch things up a bit and add a nice touch of lightness to your outfits. Grey is as versatile as black which guarantees versatility for your styling combinations.

If you’re looking for something less casual than a light blue denim jacket, a raw denim jacket is what you need. A darker shade of blue is the perfect companion for your early autumn outfits. Whilst light blue is more appropriate for spring/summer, a dark denim jacket will allow you to create looks more suitable for the colder months. Wear your dark denim jacket over a check shirt with a pair of relaxed fit jeans for the ultimate lumberjack look.

However, if you’re looking for a dressier combination, pair your dark denim jacket with a dress shirt and a pair of black trousers. Add a pair patent black formal shoes and you’ll be channelling a charming and rebellious psych-rock vibe.

A men’s black denim jacket can be a great alternative to a black blazer for a smart-casual occasion. This is also a great alternative to a black leather jacket. The versatility of black will allow you to match your jacket with just about anything in your wardrobe. However, a men’s black denim jacket will play a great part in an all-black outfit. Elevate your jacket with a black or white shirt and a pair of black jeans for a more refined double denim effect. Top everything off with a pair of black formal shoes and you’re good to go.

A light blue denim jacket, the colour of ‘working jeans’, is the staple. Darker blues shades make the jacket a little smarter, and you can find coloured denim to add a little ‘cool’ to your look.

denim jacket striped t-shirt navy chinos white trainers
A good denim jacket really can see you through almost anything


What to Wear with a Denim Jacket

Now that we have a broader range of jackets to play around with, let’s take a closer look in more detail at how to create a denim jacket outfit. Knowing what to wear with a denim jacket doesn’t have to be difficult – no matter what season you’re getting ready for, there’s a solid style combination waiting for you.


As mentioned before, because denim jackets are lightweight but durable, they work well as a layering item, therefore, they can easily be worn under another jacket to give you quite a bit more insulation. A denim jacket with fur will provide that extra layer of warmth for the colder autumn temperatures.

If you love your denim jacket as much as you should, there are high chances that you’ll want to wear it all the time. Don’t let winter create a frosty barrier between you and your favourite jacket. Make sure you get your hands on a baggy jacket so that you have enough room for the ultimate layering move.

You might think it’s strange but you can also wear a blazer over a denim jacket. It’s an ideal scenario in the winter as you can retain the formal look with a modern twist. Wear a T-shirt and a jumper underneath and your coat or blazer of choice on top of your denim jacket. As long as you don’t take it too far with the layers, you’ll be able to keep warm without giving up on wearing your jacket.

Denim jacket layering
Layer your denim jacket under a blazer for a contemporary smart casual look


More often than not we don’t pay as much attention to accessories as we should. However, details matter and can provide a polished yet understated addition to your look. If you’re looking to wear your denim jacket in autumn or winter, a beanie hat is an indispensable addition to a casual outfit for a drink with your friends.

Apart from your usual jeans and trainers combination, why not give a pair of black suede Chelsea boots a go? Thanks to suede you can add an additional textural element and they’ll work particularly well with a black denim jacket and an all black look.

How to Wear a Denim Jacket

  • Make sure that your denim jacket fits you properly. Pairing your jacket with baggy jeans will create awkward proportions. Opt for slim fit jeans or trousers instead for the perfect denim jacket fashion.
  • Integrate different colours such as grey, black or dark denim.
  • Invest in a fur lined jacket so you can wear it during autumn/winter.
  • Team up your denim jacket with a pair of chinos and desert boots for a smart casual combo.
  • For a spring casual look wear your jacket over a patterned shirt. Finish everything off with denim in a darker shade and a pair of trainers.
A Denim Jacket Is Great For Summer.

On That Note

Now that you’re the undiscussed master of denim styling, all you have to do is get yourself a brand new jacket. Even if you already own one, there are so many different types and colours out there. It’s probably time for an upgrade guys. Treat yourself and make sure you have a look at our shop for all the key additional items to complement your denim jacket outfits.


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