Both versatile and a good value, denim jackets are a workhorse garment. Born out of practicality and function, they’re ready for years of use, and they get better as the color fades and creases fray. As a light jacket, they can be thrown over a t-shirt or a button-down equally well, and in the cooler months, they can function as the perfect layer under your parka. The designs of denim jackets are relatively similar, but brands like to tweak washes and colors, putting out garments that range from worn and faded to incredibly saturated. Find a hue and style that piques your interest, and invest in this wardrobe essential.
Recommended picks by Gerald Ortiz.
Levi’s Trucker Jacket
This is the definitive denim jacket from the definitive jeans brand. If you’re gonna get just one, it should be this one.
Neighborhood Stockman Type-A Jacket
If you want to try your hand on some of that storied Japanese denim, Neighborhood is not a bad way to go. This version takes on the Type I style in rinsed indigo denim.
RRL Denim Zip-Front Jacket
It’s no secret that Ralph Lauren has a thing for vintage Lee denim. Perfectly broken-in using 11-ounce Japanese denim, this is the next best thing to an original.
Freenote Cloth RJ2 Denim Shearling
Freenote Cloth’s behemoth of a jean jacket weighs 20 ounces, nearly double that of the average denim jacket. And that’s just the denim. This one’s lined with real shearling and includes two hand pockets, a single chest pocket, Japanese hardware and a leather patch from the famed shoemakers at Red Wing.
Lee Barn Jacket
This vintage-inspired barn jacket looks and feels like something a hardcore reproduction brand would make, but it comes straight from Lee’s mainline. With hardy raw denim waiting for you to fade yourself, spade patch pockets and relaxed fit, it’s one of the best things they make.
Carhartt WIP Michigan Denim Chore Coat
You can’t talk about chore coats without talking about Carhartt. Tried and true, its Michigan coat is a mainstay for the brand for good reason.
Tellason Coverall Jacket
Made in San Francisco out of heavy, 16.5-ounce raw selvedge denim, Tellason’s Coverall Jacket has more pockets than you likely need. But, hey, you never know.
Buck Mason Two Pocket Field Shirt
Buck Mason’s Field Shirt feels like a trucker and a CPO shirt all in one, which only makes it more versatile.
Iron Heart 14.7oz. Eco Selvedge Denim Blanket Lined CPO Shirt
It looks like a shirt, but it’s heavier than your average pair of jeans. From the king of heavyweight denim, Japanese brand Iron Heart’s CPO Shirt really deserves to be in the jacket category, especially with the 14.75-ounce raw denim, blanket lining and hand pockets.
Veilance Cambre Jacket
Veilance’s entry into the denim world also places it in this best-of list. The futuristic jacket uses denim with polyester hollowcore fiber which makes it lighter and stronger without sacrificing denim’s natural fading properties. It has a clean silhouette and taped seam construction for a comfortable fit.
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