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Ask Belle: Thoughts on Denim Jackets

Hi Belle,

Can you do a post on denim jackets?  Are they totally out of style?  I own one but I feel a little funny wearing it, like I’m the only one who didn’t get the memo about them being uncool.  What do you think?

Thank you, Sam

Remember that scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when the Knight tells Indy that “he must choose, but choose wisely”?  Denim jackets are like that.  If you choose the right one, something fitted, in the right color, they’re a classic.  Choose wrong and you’ll wind up dressed like a hipster who shops at J.Crew and enjoys a slightly acid-wash 80s throwback.


Tommy Hilfiger Denim Jacket ($80)

I don’t wear my dark-wash denim jacket very often.  Mostly I carry it in the summer for extra warmth on chilly evenings.  Sometimes I pair it with a flirty sundress or wear it over a flowing maxi.  With a dark wash and a fitted silhouette, this Hilfiger jacket is a nice choice.

I also found this slightly lighter wash Jag Jeans denim jacket (also available in petite).  On the designer side, I like this AG jacket.  For a cheap thrill, this Old Navy jacket comes in regular, petite and tall.  Plus-size women should check out this Lucky Brand jacket on sale for under-$40.

Prefer the look of white denim?  A crisp, white jacket could be in order.  I like this J Brand jacket and this less expensive Vince Camuto jacket.  Plus-size?  Lucky also makes a jacket in white.

In my opinion, denim jackets should only be worn with casual clothing.  I sometimes see women pairing their denim jackets with black trousers or pencil skirts, and it always looks a bit disjointed to me.  But this is more of a personal preference than a hard and fast rule.  However you choose to wear your denim jacket, it does take some styling to make it look good.  So don’t just throw it on over something and hope for the best.



  1. Rachel says:

    Woo-Hoo! My stomach dropped when I read the topic. I thought “Oh no…I have a jean jacket. Do I need to get rid of it?” I feel accomplished today because I own that very jacket! Thanks Belle!

    March 11, 2014/Reply
  2. Chloe says:

    In the spring/summer I love my denim jacket … I have a dark one, similar to the one pictured. I think Belle’s tips are on point – the one thing I note when wearing the denim jacket is where it hits me on my torso. Cropped jackets look bizarre and junior with pencil skirts, something longer that hits the waist still work IMO but yes, only for super-casual work environments. I’m not a fan in general of denim jackets unless they’re a nicely fitted, full jacket. I basically rotate among my dark jean jacket, a black (p)leather moto-collar jacket and a light khaki p(leather) jacket over pretty much everything when the season’s right, mixed in with some colorful blazers if I need something dressier.

    March 11, 2014/Reply
  3. GingerR says:

    I like a white denim jacket in the summer. It’s sportier than a sweater, very sturdy and works well with floral bottoms.

    March 11, 2014/Reply
  4. Lisa says:

    What would you suggest as a stylish alternative to a denim jacket? Thanks

    March 12, 2014/Reply
    • Belle says:

      That depends on what else you are wearing. A short trench, an olive green or navy military-style anorak, an open knit, open front cardigan.

      March 12, 2014/Reply