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 — especially if it's blanket- or fleece-lined.
The designs of denim jackets are relatively similar, save for shape and pocket placement, but brands like to tweak theirs with unique washes and colors, putting out garments that range from worn and faded to incredibly saturated. Buying your own proves simple: you click your size and add it to the cart! (Kidding.) Find a hue and style that piques your interest, and invest in this wardrobe essential you'll own for eternity.
The first iteration of Levi's classic Trucker Jacket came in 1905, when the Type I Levi's Blouse debuted. The Type III celebrated its 50th birthday in 2017, signaling the style's successes (and several evolutions). Plenty of jackets on this list take cues from Levi's original cuts, but the original remains a must-buy — and, oftentimes, a bargain.
New and limited to a run of just 30, Dawson Denim's Type II Jacket combines references to the past and features designed for today. The hidden internal Hunters pocket, for example, is "perfect for iPads," the brand says. Cut from DD018 180z Red Line Selvedge Denim, this iteration is heavyweight and will fade into several new hues with wear.
Reminiscent of a classic chore coat, Rogue Territory's Supply Jacket is cut from proprietary 15.25oz Japanese indigo selvedge denim. Sized for a slim fit, the unique buttoning and side pockets give on this option give it a handmade feel.
By now, Todd Snyder's tackled almost every corner of men's Americana style. As such, of course he did a denim jacket. His version is a washed, retro-tinged type made-in-the-US from selvedge denim spun on vintage Cone Mill looms.
It's Ralph! More specifically, Ralph Lauren's RRL line, a Western-Americana referencing line the designer established in 1993. (It's named after his ranch in Colorado.) This Indigo Denim Jacket is made from 12.75oz Japanese denim, has been sanforized to minimize shrinkage and boasts double needle stitching at the seams.
The Real McCoy's make reproduction of titular American styles. A favorite of vintage enthusiasts and quality lovers alike, their 14.5oz Lot. 001XXJ Denim Jackets are the real deal. They're near-perfect replicas of deadstock 1950's denim jackets made to last even longer.
LA-based brand Mister Freedom's Cowboy Jacket cut from "Okinawa 301" is a denim top made from a mix of sugarcane fiber and 100-percent. The blend's propriety to Toyo Enterprises, a Japanese company that resurrects classic American brands. Beyond making clothing of their own with their fabric, they outsource it, too. Made in the US, this option will only get better with age.
Shockoe Atelier's 11 oz entry to this list is very clearly a chore coat. Adjustable side tabs and three front pockets populate the outside, while a Shockoe-branded stamp adorns the inside.
The 101 Rider Jacket is to Lee what the Trucker Jacket is to Levi's. It's the brand's most popular style — and for good reason. Originally debuted in 1948, the style has changed a little since then, but this iteration mixes both new and old: zig-zag stitching across the front placket from the past and high-grade selvedge fabric from Japan's legendary Kurabo Mill from the present.
Constructed from "14.75oz. Selvedge denim made from the last yardages of legendary White Oak Cone Denim," Companion Denim's Cone Denim Type III Jacket, aka the Tribute Jacket, pays homage to the now-closed mill. Using some of the final fabric available from it, they made a stylish, slim-fitting top with distinct, contrast stitching and a cognac leather patch.
Ginew also uses deadstock White Oak cone denim for their jacket, but this one features a banded collar first seen on vintage Harley Davidson coats. "The rider jacket pays homage to my grandfather who commuted weekly from the Mohican reservation to weld for Harley Davidson® during the 1950's and 1960's," founder Erik writes, citing Ginew as the US' only Native-owned denim brand.
Part chore coat, part trucker, Loyal Stricklin's Wayman Jacket features two hidden internal pockets, two hand warmer pockets, and a flat-felled construction. Constructed from 140z Redline Indigo Selvedge Denim made by Vidalia Mills, this jacket furthers an American tradition.
Taylor Stitch makes its popular The Long Haul Jacket from several different materials. There's suede, Sashiko and denim, which this one is cut from. To be specific, it's 13-oz, 100-cotton deadstock Cone Mills denim. Rigid at first but designed to form to your body, it's finished with subtle details like a map of San Francisco printed on the interior pocket.
Buck Mason's blanket-lined Trucker jacket might not be necessary in LA, where the brand is based, but it is a nice heavyweight alternative to the other unlined options on this list. Made from a blend of raw and post-consumer cotton, this is also a bit more eco-friendly.
Technically more of an overskirt although its thickness makes it work as a coat, Iron Heart's 14.7 oz blanket-lined CP Shirt will keep you warm through the transition from fall to winter. It's also cut from recycled selvedge denim, lessening the impact its production has on the environment.
Tellason's Coverall Jacket is one of the most interesting to look at on this list. A complex pocket arrangement and a defined front placket pull the eye add interest, while the 16.5 oz selvedge denim impresses with its subtlety — until creases appear with wear.
Although they've since expanded their scope, Story mfg. began as a denim brand. The Sundae Jacket pays homage to the owners' roots, combining a modern, boxy silhouette with a 100-percent organic cotton body hand-woven in Thailand.