11 Style Tips on How to Wear a Denim Jacket

how to wear a denim jacket mens street style

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 us, at Idle, are 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 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.

blue levis jeans mens denim jacket
Channel the old school double denim thing with selvedge jeans and a matching jacket.
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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Style

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.

mens denim jacket street style how to wear a denim jacket
A man spotted layering a denim jacket with a cream jumper
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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The Denim Jacket Fit

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/shirt look to streamline 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.

Colour

Grey Denim Jacket

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.

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 light to your outfits. Grey is as versatile as black which guarantees versatility for your styling combinations.

mens grey denim jacket allsaints grey tshirt black jeans
Go for tonal greys for a grungy look.
PHOTO CREDIT: All Saints

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Dark Denim Jacket

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.

dark blue denim jacket mens street style
Opt for darker denim for a more sleek, classic look.
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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Black Denim Jacket

A men’s black denim jacket can be a great alternative to a black blazer for a smart-casual occasion. This is 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.

zac efron black denim jacket for men
Zak Efron is a fan of a dark double denim look.
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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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 wear them. No matter what season you’re getting ready for, there’s a solid style combination waiting for you.

Beanie Hats

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.

denim jacket mens street style
Wear a denim jacket with darker jeans for a more wearable look.
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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Layering

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.

Smart Casual with Chinos

As we’ve said before, there’s no reason to limit the styling opportunities of this great jacket to the realm of strictly casual. Dress up your denim jacket with a pair of chinos to give a smarter touch to your outfit. Top everything off with a pair of desert boots for a sleek look.

man wears a navy denim jacket and beige trousers
A man wears a navy denim jacket with beige trousers and desert shoes
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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Footwear

A part 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.

Oliver Cheshire wears a white denim jacket
Oliver Cheshire wears a white denim jacket
PHOTO CREDIT: Just Jared

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Denim Jacket Outfits

Spring Classic

If you’re looking for the perfect effortlessly cool combo, there’s nothing better than throwing your denim jacket over a patterned shirt. Complete your look with your favourite pair of denim and white trainers for a fresh finish. Better yet, go for a white denim jacket for an even more vibrant outfit. If you’re big on stripes, a white jacket will always look great with a navy and white striped T-shirt underneath.

white denim jacket mens street style
A man pictured wering a white denim jacket with raw denim jeans and a camouflage bag
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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Double Denim

Sure, double denim might have a bad reputation. But it’s normally because a celebrity has turned up to something in matching shades and got papped looking ridiculous. However, as long as you know how to create this outfit, it can look really good. To get the look right, just make sure you’re pairing different shades together or get a full briefing on this.

blue double denim mens street style
Light double denim is great for a vintage, retro look.
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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Shirt and Tie

Adding a shirt and tie with a pair of sand or wash black chinos will create a great geek chic look. This way you’ll have access to yet another interpretation of the jacket. If you already wear glasses, you can easily take it to the next level. Plus, wearing a denim jacket instead of a blazer will create a more relaxed appearance. Most of all, you won’t look too stuffy.

Extra Layering

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.

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.

what to wear with a denim jacket for men
Layer your denim jacket under a blazer for a contemporary smart casual look.
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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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.
  • 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.
Denim-Jacket-Mens-Style-Summer-Blue-Shirt
A Denim Jacket Is Great For Summer.
PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man

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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