When the weather gets warmer and the nights get longer, the best denim jackets become our greatest wardrobe go-to.
The best denim jackets are a worthy investment, guaranteed to be worn over and over again. Created by denim legend Levi Strauss back in 1880 (having also made the first pair of jeans ten years earlier), denim jackets were originally designed to be a durable piece of clothing worn by cowboys, miners, and railroad workers. Although denim jackets have evolved since then, they certainly haven’t shaken off their cool aesthetic.
Just as trends for the best jeans come and go, denim jacket fashion varies too. From the oversized jean jackets of the 90s to the distressed styles of the ’00s, the best denim jackets have been worn by countless style icons like Meghan Markle, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Rihanna. And let’s not forget the iconic double denim trend rocked on the red carpet by Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake in 2001.
“The best thing about denim jackets is that they actually get better with age,” says Joely Chilcott, Acting Fashion Editor at woman&home. “The worn-in look gives them that cool retro finish that’s looser and comfier to wear too. Although some denim jackets can feel stiff when you first buy them, the more you wear, the comfier they get.” Consider us sold!
How to style a denim jacket
Once you’ve added a denim jacket to your capsule wardrobe, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. From throwing over your favorite summer dresses to doubling up the look by teaming it with the best jeans, denim jackets are incredibly versatile. They also have that vintage aesthetic that gives your outfit an effortlessly cool edge.
Lighter than the best winter coats or best leather jackets, the best denim jackets are a great layering tool. If you opt for an oversized style, you can layer over chunky knits for extra warmth, making them wearable nearly all year round.
“Cropped styles are great for the summer, especially in lighter washes including ecru and white for a fresher take. Finishing at the waist, they’re super flattering too,” adds Joely.
There are heaps of different styles and washes too. Whether you’re after an 80s inspired acid wash or an oversized borrowed-from-the-boys look, you’re pretty spoilt for choice when it comes to hunting down your dream denim. If you’re after something smarter, look for darker washes in a more fitted cut for a more polished evening look.
Where to shop for the best denim jackets
Short on time? No problem. These are our go-to brands for finding the best denim jackets in a hurry
- Levi’s – the original jean jacket from $79.50/£70
- H&M – affordable denim from $29.99/£19.99
- Reformation – sustainable styles from $128/£140
- Zara – fashion-forward designs from $39.90/£27.99
The best denim jackets as chosen by our fashion team
If you’re in the market for the best denim jackets, we’ve done the hard work and rounded up our favorite styles you can snap up now and wear forever.
When it comes to decent denim at affordable prices, H&M is our go-to. This jacket has an oversized fit for an extra relaxed vibe. It has a frayed hem for a raw, unfinished look, and the light wash gives it a bit of a 90s feel. Offset the casual style and wear over a pretty floral frock. Part of H&M’s Conscious collection, it’s made from partly recycled cotton, ticking that sustainable fashion brand box too.
All Saints leather jackets might be the jewel in their crown, but their denim offering is well worth exploring too. For something cosy, this sherpa-lined denim jacket will keep you toasty during chillier evenings and the winter months. It has a boxy fit and a cropped finish – perfect for highlighting a waist. Balance out the looser style and wear with high waist leather leggings or trousers for a totally rebellious look.
This boyfriend-style jacket also has a slightly oversized fit for a relaxed silhouette. An elongated hem and longer sleeves give the OG jean jacket a modern update and a cooler finish. You can even get it customized with your name embroidered on the chest for an extra personal and unique touch. Available in five different washes, it’s part of Levi’s sustainable collection too. Wear with your Levi’s jeans for a head-to-toe denim look.
If you’re looking for a smarter option, then this black cotton number is a good choice. Perfect for wearing in the evening, throw on over a fancy frock for a more laid-back vibe. It has a classic cut that fits snugly to your figure. Also available in four other colors, including bold red and fresh white, if black’s not for you.
Structured, fitted styles will also keep denim looking smart. This dark indigo jacket uses non-stretch denim and has a straight silhouette, finishing at the hip for a classic fit you’ll reach for time and time again. It’s also part of Gap’s WashWell program, which uses less water than conventional methods.
Step away from the classic button-up style, and give this trendy zip-up number a go for a modern refresh. It has dropped shoulders and a relaxed fit, adding to the casual aesthetic. The statement cargo pockets give it a bit of a utility vibe that would look great paired with khaki or camel. Crafted from 100% organic cotton, it’s lightweight and more sustainable too.
Switch up classic blue for chic cream for a summer update. Easier to wear than crisp white, this slouchy jacket looks super cute teamed with the matching skirt, or keep it tonal and pair with caramels and coffee-colored hues. A laidback fit, this Zara number has extra long sleeves, dropped shoulders, and statement pockets for a contemporary look.
This classic slim-fit style is a bestseller, and we can see why. Available in 8 different shades, we love the acid wash for an 80s-inspired look. Acid-wash denim is a bit more statement-making than classic indigo and would give a simple white tee or summer dress a cool, rock-chick finish. If you want to up the ante – go for the pink acid wash.
Shackets – that’s a shirt-jacket hybrid – are having a bit of a moment and are a great layering too. With its relaxed fit, this longline denim shacket is perfect for throwing on over knits. Nail the double denim trend and team with a pair of flared jeans for a 70s-inspired look. Just opt for a lighter wash jean and keep the rest of your outfit simple.
Patchwork denim has made a bit of a comeback on the catwalks, and this jacket is a great way of injecting some designer-worthy style into your look without the hefty price tag. The contrasting denim works well with jeans for a full-on denim-loving look. Or, for a more pared-down vibe, wear with your LBD and let the jacket take center stage.
A roomy fit in a classic light wash, this jean jacket will be one you reach for time and time again. Keep it nineties and wear over a cute cami dress or straight-leg jeans.
For a more feminine silhouette, this belted style is a winner. With a longer length and a built-in belt, it cinches you in at the waist for a flattering finish. Although it’s at the higher end of the price scale, it’s a worthy investment, and the decent quality denim will last. The more-fitted style keeps it smart – ideal for evenings and wearing over slim-fit trousers.