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How to Wear a Denim Jacket with Confidence—14 Ways to Style One

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Want to know how to wear a denim jacket confidently with more items in your closet? Let’s discuss how to style this wardrobe essential!

how to wear a denim jacket for fall

If you’re looking for a timeless piece of outerwear to add to your wardrobe, the denim jacket is an absolute closet staple. This transitional piece seamlessly blends fashion and functionality. Whether you’re a jean jacket lover, or still trying to figure out which one to buy, let’s chat about how to wear a denim jacket and master the art of styling this classic piece with just about anything in your closet!

It’s been a go-to staple of mine for the past few years wearing it layered over sweaters in the fall, and over dresses in the spring and summer. It’s so incredibly versatile, so let’s dive in and chat about how to effortlessly incorporate a denim jacket into your personal style.

Why a Denim Jacket is a Wardrobe Staple

The denim jacket has been around for a long time, while its style has changed over the years, one thing remains true—it’s not going anywhere. I remember looking at photos from my mom in college wearing hers. It’s one of those classic pieces that will always be in style. It’s the perfect layering piece and works in nearly every season, and is great for your weekend wardrobe if you work in a more formal office setting during the week.

It took me a while to find one I love, but now that I found it, it’s on regular rotation in my wardrobe—no matter what season! Over the years, the styling and cut of the denim jackets has changed a little bit, but if you get a more classic silhouette, you’ll be able to wear this piece for years to come!

How to Wear a Denim Jacket with Confidence

Different Styles of Denim Jackets

First off, let’s talk about the different styles of denim jackets out there. Depending on your own personal style, you may gravitate towards one more than another.

Regular or Classic Fit Jean Jackets

The most obvious style is the regular or classic denim jacket, this one fits exactly like it should and is a great wardrobe staple. When you think of a denim jacket, this is probably what comes to mind!

It’s classic and will always be in style. If you get just one jean jacket, this would be an excellent option for you. Avoid styles that are cropped as this isn’t as timeless and this style will come and go and might look outdated.

Oversized Fit

An oversized denim jacket is my personal pick because I like the slouchier look of it, and it’s perfect for layering. Hello, I’m ALWAYS freezing, so the more layers, the better!

When searching for an oversized jacket, look for one that’s designed to be oversized instead of simply ordering a few sizes up. This will ensure that it still fits properly and the sleeves won’t be too long.

Sherpa-Lined Denim Jacket

For anyone who lives somewhere cold or is looking to expand their collection of denim jackets, the sherpa-lined denim jacket is so cute. I love the texture that it adds to your outfit and also the warmth it will add to your body on a chilly fall or winter day!

These are best worn during the colder months and a great addition to your coat collection. It might not be warm enough to replace a true winter coat, but it’s a good stand in on days that are cold, but not totally frigid.

Different Washes and Colors for Jean Jackets

With these 3 different styles of denim jackets, there are so many different washes available to you. There’s the super light wash that has a vintage feel. This lighter wash also tends to be more casual. Then there’s your more standard blue denim jacket that’s classic, and darker washes that can lean towards the dressier side.

When deciding on a wash, make sure to consider what types of outfits you’re typically wearing and where you plan on wearing your denim jacket, that will help you to pick the one that will get the most wear.

You may also gravitate towards a colored denim—black denim jacket, white denim jacket, army green or even bolder colors! If you’re opting for a bolder color, I’d stick with one that’s on the neural palette so you can get a ton of use out of it. Personally, I won’t buy anything if I can’t wear it with a bunch of outfits. Versatility is the name of the game!

Denim Jacket Outfits

How to Wear a Denim Jacket with Jeans & Pants

One of the easiest ways to wear a denim jacket is with jeans. While you can absolutely wear denim on denim, I personally prefer to pair my denim jacket with white jeans or black jeans that gives it more contrast and feels more chic and effortless and less Canadian tuxedo. Lately, I’ve been reaching for my straight leg jeans in different washes to pair with my jean jacket.

For a dressier look, opt for a darker wash jacket with no distressing. This clean style will instantly elevate your outfit. Throw on some heels or boots and you’ll be ready for date night or dinner. You could also even wear a polished jacket for work if your office allows denim.

I love pairing my denim jacket with my trousers and wide leg pants as well. For a casual, but cool look, I love pairing them with a simple white t-shirt, white sneakers and my jeans jacket for a casual cool vibe. Accessorize with crossbody bag and simple gold jewelry. Or layer a denim jacket over a sweater with black jeans for fall. This is ideal for casual workdays and lunch with friends. Keep scrolling for more outfit ideas!

More Outfit Ideas for How to Wear a Denim Jacket with Jeans & Pants

denim jacket with wide leg pants
Image via Natalie Borton
fall and winter outfit idea
black denim jacket outfit
Image via Seasons & Salt
trousers and a jean jacket
casual fall outfit
Image via Fashion Jackson
winter outfit idea
Image via Cella Jane Blog
black denim with a jean jacket

How to Wear a Denim Jacket with Dresses & Skirts

I absolutely love wearing my denim jacket over dresses and skirts, especially in the spring and summer. It’s the perfect layering piece, lightweight, but keeps your shoulders warm and balances out the femininity of a dress or skirt with its casual vibe. You can toss it over your shoulders, or even tie around your waist for a cool look.

I love a denim jacket over a strappy dress in the summer, and with a cozy sweater dress in the fall. You can also layer a sweater over a summer dress and add your denim jacket and a pair of boots and your summer clothes can now last you through fall and winter too.

More Outfit Ideas for How to Wear a Jean Jacket with Dresses & Skirts

how to style a denim jacket
Image via Megan’s Moda
how to wear a jean jacket with a skirt
how to wear a denim jacket with a dress
Image via Damsel in Dior
how to wear a denim jacket with a dress
casual simple outfit
Image via Stitch + Salt
how to wear a denim jacket with a skirt
Image via Fashion Jackson

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Cropped Denim Jackets

I’d avoid an overly cropped denim jacket. These definitely had a moment, but that style looks outdated right now. Opt for something that fits normally or is even oversized for a casual, stylish look. Most trends right now are definitely leaning more towards that oversized look. Some slightly cropped jackets can still work over dresses, but if you’re questioning it, it’s probably too short.

They can still work with some skirts and dresses, but in general oversized denim jackets are more in vogue right now.

Tight Layers

I’m all about layering under your jean jacket, but when your first layer is too thick and your jacket fits too tight, you’re going to look puffy and you also won’t be able to move very well. If you’re layering over sweaters in he winter, definitely opt for an oversized style!

Shopping for Denim Jackets—Top Brands & Affordable Options

There are so many places to buy denim jackets at a variety of different price points.

One of favorite place to shop for denim jackets is Able. They’re more of an investment, but since a denim jacket is such a timeless piece, I felt like it was worth it to get a quality jacket that I’d have for years to come. I have the long Merly jacket and absolutely love it! It’s my favorite denim jacket I’ve owned and I’m so surprised by how much use it gets in the spring and summer months.

Other great places to look for amazing denim jacket are Levi’s (great prices!), Gap, Loft, and Nordstrom.

If you started this post wondering how to wear a denim jacket, I hope you’re walking away with lots of ideas for new outfits and new ways to wear this iconic piece. Whether you’re wearing it with jeans, trousers or corduroys, or a midi dress or skirt, a denim jacket will pull together your look perfectly.

BTW, how to wear Adidas Gazelle sneakers, and how to curl your hair with a flat iron.



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