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The denim jacket is a classic. It can be worn any time of the year. Even in reduced "capsule wardrobes," a denim jacket is considered a staple. But what colors go with a denim jacket? We've checked with stylists' recommendations to let you know just how (and how not) to wear a denim jacket.
Denim is a wardrobe staple that's been around for years. It's a classic that works in a variety of styles. Pair it with neutrals like black, gray, or white. Set it off with a bright, warm color like yellow, orange, or red. Or, put denim with more denim and try your own "Canadian Tuxedo."
Read on to learn more. We'll cover exactly what you can wear with a denim jacket. Next, we'll explain the right way to pair denim and denim together. And finally, we'll break down some classic style options.
What Do You Wear With A Denim Jacket?
Denim is a casual material, so you'll want to pair it with something comparable. Even if you're trying to create a classy look, pair denim with something that's "casually dressy" like chinos. It just looks out of place next to something too fancy.
Many people automatically picture blue denim, but it's important to keep in mind that it can come in other colors. White and black denim jackets are fairly popular as well. Pair your jacket with something that compliments the color of your jacket.
Blue Denim With Neutral Colors
Because denim is considered a neutral color itself, it works well with other neutrals. A simple black, white, or gray shirt underneath is all you need for a simple, low-key style. You can even try various shades of brown, like tan or beige. Consider using contrast for a stronger statement—pair dark denim with a light shirt, or vice versa.
Blue Denim With Warm Colors
Any bright, bold color can really set off denim. For dark denim, pick a color that really pops out: a bright red or orange, for example. With mid-range shades, set the denim off against a darker, richer hue such as maroon. Light shades of denim look great with soft warm colors like pink or peach.
Use earth tones in similar but varying shades with a brown denim jacket. Make sure to add some contrast between shades. Pair a dark brown jacket with light tan pants.
Black works well with neutrals, especially white and gray. Or, try eye-catching, bold statement colors. Stick mostly to primary colors—colors that are rich and complex may start to look oversaturated against black.
White looks good against softer warm colors, like peach or pink. Here, you can pick more complex colors, however. Since white doesn't have the same "heaviness" that black does, you can use more complicated shades. Don't be afraid to try an emerald green or periwinkle blue.
Is It OK To Wear A Denim Jacket With Jeans?
There may have been a time when denim-on-denim would have been scoffed at. But those days are long gone. You can definitely pair a denim jacket and jeans without losing any fashion points in 2021.
Some different methods for pairing a denim jacket with jeans include:
- Try two contrasting shades of denim like a light jacket with dark jeans. This adds interest, by letting both pieces play off each other. Try rounding out the look with a neutral-heavy palette.
- Go the other way and try a matched set. When both denim shades match, it can help elongate your figure. Use a bright pop of color elsewhere in the outfit, especially in a shirt under the jacket. This will break up the similarity and make the overall look a bit more exciting.
- Switch colors completely. Remember, denim isn't always blue, even if that's what most people think of first. Mix a black denim jacket with white denim jeans.
Need more tips for pairing a denim jacket and jeans? Check out: Can You Wear A Denim Jacket With Jeans?
How Should A Jean Jacket Fit?
There are a variety of styles for modern denim jackets. But if you're going for the classic look, it's important to get the right fit. It's a sleek, streamlined style. If the jacket is too snug (or not snug enough), everything seems off.
The buttons should be able to close without the fabric noticeably stretching. The shoulder seams line up with your own shoulders. The sleeves should extend to the bottom of your wrist. If they're any longer, cuff them. And the bottom of the jacket should fall at the top of your own waist.
Of course, this only applies to the traditional, fitted jean jacket. If yours is an oversized style, this may not apply. However, typically the shoulder seams and wrists should still be in the right place.
What Are The Different Ways To Style A Denim Jacket?
There are lots of possibilities for outfits featuring a denim jacket. The look has been around for decades, so it's found a home in a lot of different fashions.
Pair With A Skirt
This makes the overall appearance a little more dressy, without becoming too formal. It's still laid-back, with a hint of class. In particular, try an A-line skirt or something loose and flowing, to send those "relaxed" vibes.
With Other Staples
To celebrate the timelessness of a good denim jacket, pair it with other eternal wardrobe staples. Wear it over a simple little black dress, or a white shirt and black pants.
With A Print
Wear your denim jacket with an eye-catching print underneath. It adds visual interest and depth to your outfit.
As we've already said, you can wear denim with denim. This look became known as a "Canadian Tuxedo" in 1951 after Bing Crosby was denied admittance to a popular Vancouver restaurant for wearing—you guessed it—a denim jacket with jeans.
Pair a denim jacket with a matching pair of pants for a smooth, monochromatic look. Then, set it off with a bright red shirt for a pop of accent color underneath.
Denim And Leather
Leather is another one of those classic looks that just seems timeless. Try putting a denim jacket over a leather skirt, for a look that never expires.
T-shirt dresses are super casual and relaxed. Toss on some funky sneakers and a jean jacket. Now you have a look that's as comfortable as sweatpants but looks higher effort.
Cute, monochromatic rompers sometimes need an extra "something" to keep from looking plain. That something can be a denim jacket! It's a fun, summery look that's lighthearted and breezy.
Add Some Texture
Try putting on a denim jacket with a textured fabric. Denim is classified as a "twill weave." Pair it with something completely different for a cutting-edge look, like satin or mesh.
But remember: If you're going to mix textures, it's best to match colors so the appearance seems cohesive rather than out of control. Denim is considered a neutral color, so keep it with other neutrals like black, white, gray, beige, or cream. This makes the opposing textures the focal point, rather than a bunch of competing colors.
Is A Jean Jacket Appropriate For An Interview?
There's almost no circumstance where a jean jacket is going to be the right choice for an interview. Sure, some interviewers may be willing to overlook a denim faux pas. But even in those cases, you'd likely be offered a job in spite of your wardrobe, not because of it. There are certainly better choices, so just skip the denim.
Jean jackets are a casual, easy-breezy sort of look. But, just like you wouldn't wear actual jeans, don't wear a denim jacket. It's too relaxed, and most employers see it as unprofessional. It's fine to avoid being too formal. In fact, it's preferred. But a denim jacket takes that a step too far.
For more interview advice, try: Should You Wear Lipstick to an Interview? [and What Color to Choose]
Denim is an evergreen wardrobe piece. It's a classic that goes well with many looks and styles. But it's a casual statement, so pair it with like-minded items for a cohesive style. Denim is considered a neutral color, so arrange an outfit of neutral colors. Or, add one bold statement color that stands out.
You can also put denim with more denim. Pick two contrasting shades of denim for a contemporary style. Conversely, you can match denim hues. Just break it up with a contrasting shirt added for visual interest. There's practically no wrong way to wear denim, as long as you stick to the "casual" look!