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Every guy needs a handful of the best style essentials on which he can always rely to make him look good, no matter what — we’re definitely putting one of the best denim jackets for men near the top of this list. At a minimum, this also includes a trusty pair of white sneakers, a perfectly fitted t-shirt and perhaps some of the best men’s chinos. What wears well atop all of those pieces, though? The best denim jacket for men, of course. Jean jackets for men are practical, stylish and go with virtually any casual outfit.
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Like many men’s staples today, the modern jean jacket for men was adopted into mainstream fashion over time from American workwear. We can thank Levi Strauss for that. Strauss, the immigrant and founder of the revolutionary brand that boasts his name, is credited with creating the first denim jacket in 1880.
It would grow and shift from there into an icon prized for its durability, but also for its edgy style points and real-world utility. The trucker jacket for men, for example, is the prime way the denim jacket grew into a legendary piece. If it’s good enough for the open road, it’s good enough for your wardrobe.
All these years later, Levi’s name is still synonymous with the denim jacket. It’s a piece of clothing that has been imitated countless times, and it’s one of the most recognizable and versatile pieces of men’s clothing in history. In fact, the classic Levi’s denim jacket is so iconic that you probably already have one hanging in your closet right now. Officially known as the Levi’s Trucker Jacket, it’s available in a variety of colors and washes.
A perfectly lightweight spring jacket, the trucker jacket (a sub-set of one of the best denim jackets for men, of course) can be dressed up or down as needed. Since its down-to-earth beginnings with the American labor force at the turn of the 20th century, the iconic trucker jacket for men has been adopted by dozens of music scenes, Hollywood legends and luxury fashion houses as a standard cultural touchstone. It’s even found its way into Canadian formalwear, aka the Canadian tuxedo. It’s a long-lasting style staple, but it’s hardly the only men’s denim jacket worth a second look.
Although the options we know today are typically modernized versions of the one Strauss designed in the late 19th century, the best denim jackets for men have largely stayed true to the original with:
It makes perfect sense that denim jackets have lived as long as they have at the forefront of men’s style. But with new designs and better access to technology, we’re able to cast a wide net on color, stitching, wash, hardware and so many more categories. The best trucker jackets and the best denim jackets for men are also a great alternative when you want something a bit less burly than, say, one of the best workwear jackets.
If you’re looking for the best denim jackets for men available in 2022, then you’re spoiled for options. Here are a few of the best denim jackets for men today.
1. J.Crew Rigid Denim Jacket
J. Crew does a lot of things very well, from making affordable, well-tailored suits to perfecting the art of pairing a nicely washed chambray shirt with garment-dyed chinos. Those are all style moves you should look to steal this season, but before you do that, consider picking up a classic denim jacket from the famed, everyman style brand.
The brand makes picks that just about every guy can look great in, including a dark wash denim jacket made from 100 percent cotton in an inky blue Copper shade. The pick is timeless and well-made for the price, and available in sizes up to 2XL. It’s also perfect to pair up with those other J.Crew style essentials above. The dark wash is even crisp and cool enough to be worn at the office in place of a blazer (try it with a soft-washed Oxford shirt). J.Crew checks all the right boxes in your search for one of the best denim jackets for men.
2. Levi’s The Trucker Jacket
If you don’t have a Levi’s Denim Trucker Jacket, you need one. However, if you’re looking to evolve beyond the standard denim coat, this modified version of the late-1800’s original is, hands down, the single most on-trend denim jacket in our country today. I don’t have hard stats, but next time you wander outside the house, look for the little red Levi’s tag on the breast pocket flap and see for yourself. In fact, this stylish denim jacket is so popular it’s sold out at popular retailers like Nordstrom and Levi’s itself.
Now, this specific jacket was already featured as one of our best lightweight jackets for the season on SPY. But as far as black denim jackets go, this one may be the best. Not only is it the classic Levi’s Trucker style, but it’s a great price point, sitting under $100, and its quality, versatility and durability have already been proven. Opt for this black color this time of year to match your dulled, cold-weather wardrobe if you need a relief pitcher for your blue denim jacket. It’s like giving your entire closet a facelift with just one new piece.
3. Buck Mason Denim Field Shirt
Denim jackets are most commonly seen in “true” jacket form, the kind that hits above the waist with front-button chest pockets, so this denim field shirt is a hybrid style — and your wardrobe is all the better for it. Denim works surprisingly well as a flexible, durable shirt jacket, and this one from all-American style purveyors Buck Mason still checks all the right boxes.
Note the contrast stitching, the dark wash, the substantial 10oz. denim fabric — heavy enough to wear over a simple T-shirt — and the sturdy, dark buttons. Note that this features a standard fit, so it’s able to be layered over, say, a thermal henley on especially cold days, or over a breezy Buck Mason cotton tee on days where temperatures are merely a bit cool. Use those handy pockets to store your EDC, and be ready to wear this rugged number a ton in the season ahead.
4. Taylor Stitch Long Haul Jacket in Rinsed Organic Selvage
If you want to go truly old-school with your denim jacket, turn to one of today’s best modern menswear brands. Taylor Stitch still has a deep appreciation for all things rugged and accessible menswear, starting with the fact that they modeled the company’s much-loved Long Haul Jacket off of the best trucker jackets for men, just like the old days. Although it’s been available in waxed fabrics over the years, they’ve turned the style into one of the best jean jackets for men on the market, using organic cotton indigo selvage denim for a tough, sustainable finish. It’s been rinsed so it’s less stiff than a true 100 percent selvage jacket, but that’s better anyway if you want to wear it comfortably out of the box.
Best of all, it’ll still age and break in beautifully the more you wear it. The oversized flap chest pockets are handy for EDC style moves, while they’ve also used another Taylor Stitch signature: Old San Fran map print pocketing made from 100 percent organic cotton. That’s what we call taking care of the little things.
5. Tecovas Overnight Trucker Jacket
Denim jackets don’t always have to be inky blue indigo denim (we’ve also included a pick for the best colored denim jacket further down the line if you keep scrolling). This hard-wearing, sleek and yet instantly recognizable black denim jacket takes the trucker jacket style — with reinforced stitching from the pockets to the hip, just like the classics — and flips it on its head ever so slightly.
The black denim jacket has long been an edgier style move than the more classic blue jean jacket for men, so consider adding it to your wardrobe if you favor darker colors (or if you like the contrast between a black denim jacket and tan leather boots). Note that it also features a handy shearling collar, ideal for chilly nights at the campsite or around the bonfire. Tecovas has also crafted this denim jacket to pair up nicely with its selection of the coolest Western boots on the market, so consider picking up a pair of those, too.
6. Double RL RRL Lot 271 Midweight Denim Jacket
The Double RL line of heritage goods plays off the idea that Ralph Lauren makes true style classics for those who love prep fashion, and yet, the Double RL line takes a more intensive, heritage-minded approach. That results in iconic pieces like the denim jacket getting a decidedly rich and eye-catching upgrade, best seen in this pricey yet extremely well-made washed denim jacket.
Right off the bat, from the striking Japanese denim to the contrasting buttons, it’s as visually interesting as any of the best denim jackets for men on the market. Note that it’s unlined and should fit quite trim, so consider wearing this jacket with lightweight cotton henleys or T-shirts. The light wash also makes it ideal for fitting in with the lighter tones of spring and summer. Maximize your styling potential by teaming it with olive joggers, or else, with dark blue denim for a switch-up on the all-denim look. For the price, it’s a jacket you’re going to want to wear as much as possible.
7. A.P.C. Washed Stretch Denim Jacket
We love everything about this light wash denim jacket, which comes from the French design label A.P.C. The lighter wash is perfect for casual spring and summer outfits, and this jacket offers just enough stretch to be comfortable no matter what you’re wearing underneath. The jacket comes with four front pockets, button cuffs and falls right at the belt line.
8. Levi’s Signature Denim Jacket
At first glance, you probably can’t tell much of a difference between Levi’s Signature Denim and the classic Levi’s Trucker Jacket, and that’s exactly the point. The biggest difference is the price, as the Signature line offers the classic Levi’s look at half the price. Choose from the dark wash, light wash, black or khaki as you prefer, with prices starting at just $35.
LESS THAN $40
9. Wrangler Retro Unlined Stretch Denim Jacket
Sometimes, when brands dig to the very bottom of their creative design bags, they pull out the roots. That’s what Wrangler did when developing their Retro series, a modernized line of classics inspired by the brand’s western origin. This classic denim jacket features the original Wrangler rope logo buttons as well as the “W” stitching on the chest pockets. The slant hand pockets also add a touch of class in a world of vertical openings. Modern details include Wrangler’s stretch recovery, which allows the jacket to hold its shape throughout the day. When it comes to the best denim jackets for men, Wrangler is second only to Levi’s in terms of staying power.
I’d be remiss to recommend wearing this jacket with anything other than a good pair of brown leather boots, like these ones. In days gone by, you could only find Wrangler denim jackets like this at vintage stores, so shop this look while you still can.
10. 34 Heritage Travis Jacket in Olive
Not everyone has a gym rat body, and not everyone is ready to rock themselves down a runway at a moment’s notice. Unfortunately, some brands and designers are making stuff that only looks good if you’re like 7 feet tall and weighs as much as a boneless chicken breast. 34 Heritage gets that guys come in all shapes and sizes, so when they’re creating stuff for their company, they’re making it with the idea in mind that whatever it is they make, it’ll fit everyone.
Take their Travis jacket, it’s cut and styled like a traditional denim jacket, but it has extra stretch added to the cotton so you can really move your arms and body when it’s on. Travis does come in light and dark denim as well as this khaki shade. But why grab a khaki-colored denim jacket? Khaki’s a neutral color, anything you wear with it automatically looks better. It never looks dated, you’ll never have to worry if the jacket matches your jeans too much i.e. Canadian Tuxedo, and it’s always nice to switch things up a bit.
11. G-Star Raw 5650 Jacket
MOST SUSTAINABLE STREETWEAR
G-Star Raw’s done collabs with Pharrell Williams, Jaden Smith, and Formula 1 race car driver Max Verstappen. Both Williams and Smith’s collabs utilized sustainable materials. Sustainability is the heart of this Dutch denim brand, they’re very picky when it comes to fabrication. Take for instance this raw denim jacket, it’s made from their own Cradle to Cradle Certified denim, which according to the brand “the chemistry presents 0 risk for people and planet.” This denim jacket has an interior pocket, angled front patch pockets, contrast seaming and is also 50% off the original price.
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