How to wear a denim jacket is a common query among men but a denim jacket should be in every guy’s wardrobe. Here we’re going to break down everything from how to do double denim, what alternative legwear you have to jeans and every dress code and colour you can achieve. We’ve even covered off styling for the hot and cold seasons, so no matter what you’re struggling with, this guide will have your answer. If you're after more denim style advice make sure you check out our full denim guide.
CAN YOU WEAR A DENIM JACKET WITH JEANS?
In short, yes. The days of double denim being the ultimate sartorial sin are far behind us now, you just need to follow one very simple rule. That rule? Do not, by any means, match your shades. If you’ve gone for a light wash in your jacket, go for darker jeans and vice versa. If, for some reason, you do match the same hues of denim, stick to indigo but break it up with another colour under your jacket.
Photo Credit: [Lookbook] Brandon T, Edgar V, Kevin E
WHAT TROUSERS TO WEAR WITH A DENIM JACKET
In the current climate of matching more formal pieces with casual, your options for trousers to wear with a denim jacket are wide open. We’ll go over how you can actually incorporate these trouser styles into your denim jacket outfits but here’s a very quick list of what trousers you can wear with a denim jacket.
WHAT TO WEAR WITH A DENIM JACKET – SMART
Some of the most stylish men in the business from Tom Ford to Oliver Cheshire have managed to smarten up a denim jacket. One of the biggest trends we’re seeing in menswear at the moment is the lines being blurred between what’s acceptable to pair together when it comes to smart and formal pieces.
For this look go for a shirt and tie, a mid-wash denim jacket and some smart navy trousers. Finish off with either brown brogues or monk straps. Without doubt, this is a bold look but, when worn with confidence, can look great and completely individual.
Photo Credit: [Lookbook] Kenji S, Daniel D, Dan P
WHAT TO WEAR WITH A DENIM JACKET – SMART- CASUAL
There’s no need to make such a statement when you’re going for a smart-casual approach with your denim jacket. Opt for some sand chinos with rolled cuffs, a plain white tee and an indigo jacket. You can then either go for boat shoes, plain white trainers or desert boots.
Alternatively, swap out your chinos for some black workwear trousers and add a plain white oxford shirt. Finish with either some classic runners or plain canvas trainers for a classic and minimal look. We’d probably opt for a mid to light wash denim jacket for this look.
WHAT TO WEAR WITH A DENIM JACKET – CASUAL
Not in the mood to make an effort today? Or you’re heading somewhere where a smarter appearance just won’t look right? Don’t worry, a denim jacket is perfect for this as well. Chuck on some grey joggers, a black sweat or jumper and your indigo or light wash denim jacket. Finish with some hi-top trainers and you’re good to go.
Photo Credit: [Lookbook] P J Chen, Richy K, Goodhow L
HOW TO WEAR A BLUE DENIM JACKET
Any of the above outfits will work well with a blue denim jacket, you just first need to decide what wash of blue is your favourite out of:
- Mid wash
- Light wash
- Faded effect
Once you’ve decided it’s just a case of colour matching properly. There aren’t any tight rules to follow, light jackets go well with light and dark shades and indigo jackets work well with all shades as well. Just avoid the same shades to keep the outfit interesting.
HOW TO WEAR AN OVERSIZED DENIM JACKET
Oversized denim jackets are a good option for anyone looking for a more vintage and individual look. Try pairing a light-wash denim jacket with distressed black jeans, a plain crew neck tee and either some desert boots or classic trainers. This style will work well with faded and distressed effects on the jacket to really go for the retro vibe.
Photo Credit: [Lookbook] Jimi R, Kevin E, Richy K
HOW TO WEAR A BLACK DENIM JACKET
Black denim jackets can be a great alternative if you don’t think a biker jacket is for you but you’re after a more rough round the edges finish. Try matching with a looser necked tee, distressed jeans and some Chelsea boots to nail a classic yet contemporary look. Black denim jackets also go well with Breton striped tees and roll necks, if you’re not a fan of loose fittings in your t-shirts.
HOW TO WEAR A WHITE DENIM JACKET
Not sure what to wear with a white denim jacket? Don’t worry, they’re ideal for the summer months and a lot more versatile than you’d think. Having said that, they are a little more of a statement compared to the other options we’ve covered here.
Try pairing yours with a navy Breton striped tee, navy chinos and boat shoes for that full on nautical feel. White denim jackets are also a great fit when it comes to smartening up your jean jacket so try pairing yours with a plain oxford shirt, dark indigo jeans and burgundy penny loafers.
Photo Credit: [Lookbook] Tony L, Kevin E, Hammeskane K
HOW TO WEAR A DENIM JACKET IN WINTER
It’s all about layering when you’re wearing a denim jacket in winter. Try any coloured jacket (apart from white) layered over the top of a grey hoodie. Then simply match with any style of jeans that you prefer and some winter-ready boots or trainers. This is a great look seen on some of the most stylish men around the globe at fashion weeks in London, Milan, New York and Paris.
HOW TO WEAR A DENIM JACKET IN SUMMER
Opt for a lighter denim wash here. We’ve already gone through a nautical look with the white denim jacket but why not reverse that look slightly? Go for a light wash blue denim jacket, white chinos or jeans, a Breton stripe tee and boat shoes. A slightly more daring look but will attract all the right attention at those summer parties.