Levi Strauss, the father of denimwear, created the denim jacket about a decade after inventing jeans. For him, the denim jacket was the perfect complement to the jeans worn by miners and cowboys working across the United States. The jacket has since expanded beyond its western and working-class roots to become an iconic staple of casual wear. Of course, as styles have hybridised, there are now ways to work the denim jacket look without looking dated (or worse, like a wannabe).

Here are five ways to incorporate the denim jacket look into your style playbook:

 

The Americana

There’s nothing more American than a simple white tee and denim jacket look. Of course, the crucial part of this look is actually finding the right white T-shirt – it’s not as easy as it sounds. From the fabric, the size, the colour, the sheerness, the length, the neck length and cut –all these factors into this look. Simply wearing a white undershirt won’t cut it. With a darker shade of fitted, ripped jeans, the perfect white tee and a classic denim jacket, this is a sure-fire classic look all year.

 

The Preppy

While the Americana look is great, it’s also a risky proposition, as wearing the double denim look is tough to pull off. So if you’re not as big a risk taker, it’s always a safer fashion bet to use the denim jacket as the sole denim item in the look. Khakis, with their military back story and usually cotton-twill fabric, make the perfect friend for denim. Pairing that perfect white T-shirt and denim jacket with khakis is the ideal summer look.

 

The Dapper

 

Yes, you can mix business and pleasure these days, since the rules have all changed. A button-down Oxford shirt, a knitted tie and a pair of cotton chinos is a look that works on its own, but add a denim jacket and you’ve stepped it up. You’ve brought a level of sophistication and style to an otherwise casual garment. Defy expectations and try out this look if you want to stand out.

The Sporty

 You don’t automatically link a denim jacket and sports unless, well, you’re riding a bull. But the stark contrast of the denim on top and a pair of joggers adds a layer of casualness, where the look ends up becoming its own creation. The best way to put together this look is to roll up your jacket sleeves and wear a well-fitted tee, which lets you look as ready to hit the courtyard as a casual night out with friends.

The Layered

Just like your tailored blazer, your denim jacket should be slim fitting, if you want to wear it under an overcoat. You should be able to get two fingers down it when buttoned up, and it should be narrow-necked enough that it doesn’t clash with your coat’s lapels. A camel beige overcoat with a sleek indigo denim jacket makes for a great combination. Don’t be afraid to wear a contrast. It will actually create the statement that your look was effortlessly planned.

At the end of the day, whichever look you opt for when it comes to denim jackets, remember that the fit, the colour and the place where you are sporting it matter. Like you would spend the time and energy to find the right pair of jeans, I urge you to do the same when buying a denim jacket. Try out different combinations, and make sure the jacket is as versatile as your jeans. If it is, then you’ve got yourself a winner.

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