It’s getting closer and closer to that special time of year where you try and decide whether it’s a sensible idea to lose one of your layers: where it might look sunny outside but it’s still pretty cold. The time of year where those thick, wool coats are maybe not the best idea, especially if you don’t look good with a sheen of perspiration on a busy commute.
The denim jacket, a staple of men’s wardrobes for decades has always been a reliable addition to solving this problem. Suitably thick, with long sleeves, and with the ability to go with almost every outfit that you need it for, this jacket is going to be your best friend for the next few months, and we’re going to show you three ways that you can wear them, while still looking as great as you are all used to looking.
Like a lot of elements of men’s fashion, the denim jacket has a military origin, coming from the US Army uniform around the turn of the twentieth century, which replaced the brown twill versions for a new, more hardy use in a new century. Denim, usually 9oz, was made into everything from shirts, dungarees and overshirts, for every occasion.
Denim jeans, already a core of a working class wardrobe, became ultra fashionable when Marlon Brando wore them in Rebel Without A Cause, but it wasn’t until 1957 that the denim jacket really moved into the modern consciousness when hips on legs Elvis Presley wore it on the set of Jailhouse Rock. Which set the stage for an inclusion in every burgeoning teenager’s wardrobe since.
From then, legends like Robert Redford (in Easy Rider), James Dean (again, in Rebel Without A Cause), John Lennon during his post-Beatles career, all the way up to Ryan Gosling (in Drive) have kept the versatility and, ultimately coolness, of the denim jacket alive.
The Casual Look
Taking a massive slice of inspiration from the 1950s, and the rocker trend, we’ve kept the palette simple with differing shades of blue, and injected a nautical style in with the striped t-shirt. This is probably the most classic, and obvious way to wear a denim jacket, and the way that you’ll probably wear it the most, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be lackadaisical about it (what a word!). You can play around with the proportions by rolling the slim leg jeans up to reveal ankle cleavage and show off how expensive your shoes are, or even push the sleeves of the jacket up to flaunt all that work you’ve been doing on your forearms in the gym.
Straight leg jeans are also good at nailing this style; you’re looking for a leg cut that will allow the leg to hang off your body and not cling to it like we cling to our iPads when the battery is down to 5%. Keep it cool, and keep it casual. Think cool 1960s Beatnik poets like Jack Kerouac and Allan Ginsberg.
The Smart/Casual Look
Personally, I am all about this look. Taking elements of a more formal look, but dressing it down with a short sleeved Oxford shirt and a snazzy tie, is a lot more suitable for my lifestyle. Taking inspiration from an Americana, laidback look, but with an 80s cool kid sensibility, this look will make you stand out in a crowd of boring parkas and generic skinny jeans. Lightening up the palette, but introducing shades of brown (from the stone of the chino, to the brown of the loafer) being gentle with your colours will allow them to blend together without you looking like someone has stuck a jigsaw piece in the wrong place.
Style it simply; having the sleeves of the jacket rolled up neatly, the cuffs of the chino turned up nicely, and the tie tied just right, it’ll give you a smarter look that can still be worn to a barbecue, or to the office during Summer. Allow yourself a play with your geekiest accessories to put an individual spin on it.
The Formal Look
This is probably the look which, although might be the easiest to nail, is the most adventurous. You’re basically going to wear your denim jacket like an overshirt, but underneath a formal blazer. So it’ll give you a flash of blue, against the white of your shirt, and underneath the navy of your suit.
Maintain your usual standards of fit for your suit (don’t go any size up, or choose a different leg cut) your silhouette should be as form fitting as you can make it without getting obscene. Fasten the jacket all the way down so you create a solid block line going against your waist to compliment the drape of your blazer and make sure that your shirt, collar popped up, natch, is tucked safely into your trousers. This is a look of utmost cleanliness and direction. Everything should be in it’s rightful place and not hanging out somewhere making you look like a total idiot.
Again, keep the shoes as a stark white and flash that ankle, and put a pop of fancy colour into your breast pocket. We’ve gone for red with a white spot because we love navy and red together; you can alternatively go for an ivory to match your suit, just stay away from colours that would draw the eye away, or blue tones that will blend in with the suit.
If you’re feeling very adventurous, why not layer another coat on top, like a stone trench coat, just be ready for a sweaty back when you get to work.
What do you think? Are you a more casual, or formal look yourself? Comment below, or tweet Us