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If we had to guess, we’d say jean jackets were the original wardrobe hero. Effortlessly stylish denim toppers can perfectly punctuate a casual look and help you navigate transitional weather with ease. Lately, we love Marques Almeida and Isabel Marant for their fashion-forward takes, though we can always depend on heritage denim brands, like Levi’s and Wrangler, and other denim-focused brands, such as Polo Ralph Lauren and SLVRLAKE, to supply us with the most classic cuts. Since denim jackets have been and will always be a mainstay in fashion, we rest assured that whichever style we choose will be one that we can hold onto forever.
Best Overall: Levi’s Ex-Boyfriend Trucker Jacket
For under $100, Levi’s makes a jean jacket that’s everything we could ever want in one. The trucker style has an elongated hem and is just a tad oversized for a relaxed silhouette and ease of layering—an updated version of Levi’s original jean jacket style, according to the brand. It also comes in a sherpa version, which is best for those looking for extra warmth in a jean jacket. Reviewers give this style and the sherpa version five stars for their great quality and fit.
Material: 79% cotton, 21% lyocell | Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: Light Washes, Medium Washes, Black
Best Budget: Gap Factory Oversize Icon Denim Jacket
Several '90s trends made a comeback in the past year, boxy, oversized denim jackets not being the least of them. Gap's version nails it with this oversized silhouette partly made from recycled cotton for under $80. It's also part of the brand's Washwell program, which Gap explains includes products that use "at least 20 percent less water than traditional was methods." Reviewers say this style fits true to size.
Material: 95% cotton, 5% recycled cotton | Size Range: XS-XXL | Colors: Medium Wash Blue
Best Designer: Isabel Marant Dipauline Faux Fur-Lined Denim Jacket
If you're looking for something that looks and feels very luxurious, Isabel Marant has just the piece. It has an '80s-inspired cut that's complete with an off-center button closure, puffed sleeves, and waist slash pockets. And for maximum comfort and warmth, the designer lined it in plush faux-shearling material. Wear it with everything from thick black leggings to neat tailoring and tonal denim.
Material: 100% cotton exterior; 100% polyester lining | Size Range: FR34-44 | Colors: Mid Denim, Light Blue, Light Grey
Best Value: Billabong x Wrangler Ride On Jacket
To us, a jean jacket that is stylish, warm, and reasonably priced will provide wearers with the best possible value. This style by Wrangler made in collaboration with Billabong checks all of those boxes. It offers a regular fit with a classic button-up front and a sherpa lining for under $150. Reviewers say it wears well in mild weather and is well worth the price tag.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: S-L | Colors: Blue Rinse
Best Statement: Reformation Cora Shrunken Denim Jacket
Reformation’s Cora Shrunken Denim Jacket packs a strong punch for print enthusiasts. Offered in two bold motifs, the cotton-blend jacket has a cropped length and clean lines. For the most impact, pair it with the matching mini skirt.
Material: 60% organic cotton, 40% lyocell | Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: Desert Sand, Leopard
Best Classic: Polo Ralph Lauren Denim Trucker Jacket
“No one does denim quite like Ralph,” says Konrad, who is “obsessed” with the vintage appeal of this modestly oversized trucker style with a bit of stretch. “It [looks] like it’s been passed down for a generation or two. In terms of styling, he suggests going for a full-denim look by pairing it with mom or straight-leg jeans.
Material: 75% cotton, 25% lyocell | Size Range: XXS-XXL | Colors: Dark Indigo
Best Cropped: Zara Cropped Denim Jacket
You can never go wrong with a simple cropped cut, and this dark blue one from Zara, which gives us mid-aught vibes, is equal parts fashionable and functional. It’s from the brand’s Join Life collection, which is a line within the brand that’s billed to be made from eco-friendly materials and sustainable practices.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XS-XXL | Colors: Blue
Best Non-Traditional: Isabel Marant Étoile Tiolana Puff Sleeve Denim Jacket
Jean jackets take many forms, which is the premise of this very list, but the most innovative versions experiment with form and function to the point that they are sensible yet surprising. Isabel Marant Étoile’s Tiolana style is hewed from beige denim and tailored with puff sleeves, cuffs, and chest flap pockets. And it appears to serve the wearer as a thick shirt as much as it does a light denim jacket.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: FR34-44 | Colors: Beige
Best Trucker: Madewell The Oversized Trucker Jean Jacket
“Madewell makes an amazing denim jacket that can be paired with just about anything from a crisp white boyfriend shirt and trousers to a floral dress,” says Konrad. The style is also one of Byrdie’s tried-and-true favorites; it’s well-made and versatile, to be sure, but we love it most for its small and thoughtful details, like the topstitching and roomy interior pockets to store personal items, like a phone and keys.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XXS-XXL | Colors: Akenside Wash
Best Sherpa: Levi’s Original Sherpa Trucker Jacket
Levi’s married its original trucker style and signature sherpa lining for a classic piece that’s also cozy. Reviewers say they love it because the style is warm, comfortable, and never becomes passé. Since experiences with sizing vary quite a bit with this product, we recommend trying multiple sizes to determine which one will best suit you.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: Black And Black, Divided Blue, Happy Family, Light Wash
Best Hooded: Jonathan Simkhai Standard Cynthia Organic Terry-Denim Combo Jacket
Dress casually without sacrificing quality in this hooded denim jacket style by Johnathan Simkhai. The hoodie and sleeves (complete with rib knit cuffs) are made from organic cotton terry for a relaxed, borrowed-from-the-boys look and feel.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: P-XL | Colors: Shell, Black
Best Tie-Waist: Citizens of Humanity Dolly Belted Puff Sleeve Organic Cotton Denim Jacket
To show off your shape, go for a tie waist denim jacket, like this one from Citizens of Humanity, which comes in a solid light wash and a distressed version. The belt nips the waist on this oversized style that’s complete with angular flap pockets, standard cuffs, and slouchy sleeves. We especially love its mix of sharp and curved seams in the front to balance the rounded hem in the back.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XXS-XL | Colors: Rosalita, Oahu
Best Patchwork: Ganni Organic Cotton Two-Tone Denim Jacket
Ganni’s tasteful approach to patchwork denim makes it the best in this category. The brand mixes washes to create the perfect patchwork effect on a button-up form with subtle balloon sleeves. It’s made from certified organic cotton for a lower environmental impact, according to the brand.
Material: 100% certified organic cotton | Size Range: 0-14 | Colors: Denim
Best Distressed: Retrofête Ada Distressed Denim Jacket
Retrofête’s Ada jacket is more than just your average distressed jacket. Juxtaposing great tailoring with a touch of grunge, the style has puffed sleeves that are cropped to three-quarter length, a back cinch to allow for a more fitted shape, and light fading throughout. Made in Italy from stretchy blue denim, this jacket, which is cut at the waist, has just the right amount of distressing so as not to skew slovenly.
Material: 99% cotton, 1% elastane | Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: Worn Vintage Denim, Faded Black
Best Short Sleeve: SLVRLAKE Morrison Cropped Organic Denim Jacket
This boxy, cropped style by SLVRLAKE delivers the fresh feel we’re looking for in a short sleeve denim jacket. It’s cut from organic denim in a dark hue, and it offers two patch pockets and clean lines that are emphasized with contrast stitching.
Material: 100% organic cotton | Size Range: XS-L | Colors: Night Flight
Best Oversized: Mango Oversized Denim Jacket
Mango makes smart and accessible pieces that will last you a long time. Enter this oversized denim jacket: the hip-light silhouette is relaxed and has all of the makings of a classic denim style, like buttoned cuffs and breast pockets, slit pockets on each side, and a button-up front.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: Ecru, Black Denim, Medium Blue
Best Sleeveless: BA&SH Denim Vest
Female-founded French brand BA&SH has a franco-flair we can’t help but adore. This well-tailored sleeveless number in an inky black color can perfectly punctuate a myriad of ensembles (though we especially love how it’s paired with the brand’s Brydie dress here.)
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: S-M | Colors: Black
Best Utilitarian: Nili Lotan Denim Wren Jacket
Inspired by utilitarian military uniforms, Nili Lotan’s Wren jacket is gently structured to hold its shape. The relaxed silhouette is complete with four sizable flap pockets, cuffed sleeves, and a zipper closure.
Material: 98% cotton, 2% polyurethane | Size Range: XS-L | Colors: Deep Blue Wash
Best Tie-Dye: Marques Almeida Tie-Dye Denim Jacket
For a contemporary take on classic '90s sensibility, there’s this oversized denim piece by Marques Almeida, offered in two vibrant color options. It offers a spread collar, flap pockets at the chest, and press-stud fastening throughout. We love the single piece of silver-tone hardware at the top for a touch of Victorianism.
Material: 43% Refibra, 40% recycled cotton, 17% organic cotton | Size Range: UK4-14 | Colors: Pink Tie Dye, Lime Time Dye
Best Long: Dries Van Noten Oversized Denim Vest
Belgian designer Dries Van Noten is well known for his ability to balance an avant-garde aesthetic with ease of wear. So, in true form, the designer crafted an oversized denim vest with dropped shoulders and a longline hem from cotton that’s been washed for a crackled effect. Team it with leggings and knee-high boots, or pedal pushers and strappy sandals.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: FR34-44 | Colors: Blue Denim
Best Shacket: H&M Denim Shirt Jacket
Shackets have long been appreciated for being a middle ground between shirts and jackets. Like many shackets, this oversized denim style by H&M—complete with open chest pockets, dropped shoulders, and a rounded hem—is perfect for mild weather, akin to a light sweater. Reviewers say they love it for the fabric and the shape.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XS-XXL | Colors: Denim Blue
What To Look For in a Jean Jacket
In terms of material, many styles are made exclusively from cotton. All-cotton types are thick and rigid, so they’ll hold a stiff shape. Synthetic materials like elastane allow for some flexibility, which is important if you’re opting for a form-fitting style over an oversized one.
Thickness can vary from jacket to jacket, so be sure to try the style on to make sure you’re comfortable with its weight. And of course, anything lined in sherpa, faux-fur, or faux-shearling will be plush and warmer than a jacket with a denim interior.
On sustainability, fashion brands are becoming cleaner and more eco-friendly, promulgating their unique approach to responsibly producing denim products via product descriptions and mission statements on their websites. Levi’s says it’s working towards targets like 100% sustainably sourced cotton by 2025 and a 50% reduction of water use in “water-stressed areas” by 2030. Some brands carry the OEKO-TEX® Standard 100, a widely accepted label for textiles that have been tested for harmful substances.
Silhouettes have to do with the cut of the jacket. Trucker styles and other roomy or oversized silhouettes are beloved for their non-constricting natures; they’re comfortable and perfect for layering in cold weather. Meanwhile, tight-fitting or cropped styles are great for showing off curves.
Can you wear a jean jacket with jeans?
“Definitely,” says Roser, who prefers a monochromatic look, rather than trying to match different colors or tones, for its elongating effect. “For jacket silhouettes, opt for something more relaxed for that easy street style sensibility,” adds Konrad, who recommends going for straight leg denim to complete the look.
How do you style a jean jacket?
There are countless ways to style jean jackets depending on your lifestyle. You can wear them with dresses and tailoring for a bit of edge or over loungewear to add structure. “They are your layering pieces that [match] most things [and keep] the look casual,” Roser says.
How should you care for a jean jacket?
According to Roser, how to properly care for your denim jacket depends on the wash of the jacket. “The darker the wash, the less you want to wash,” she explains. “Light washes have already been through several wash cycles to get that way, so they don’t fade as quickly as the darker, more raw washes.”
For a worn-in look, “keep this baby on repeat,” says Konrad, as this will allow for natural creasing, subtle rips, and more softness. “If you really need to wash your denim jacket, machine wash cold inside out and hang dry to ensure it maintains the shape and wash you've worked hard for.”
Why Trust Byrdie
This shopping guide was written by Byrdie contributor Hayley Prokos. A seasoned commerce writer and editor, she’s constantly on the hunt for great basics. Her work has appeared in SELF Magazine, Newsweek, and the daily Greek newspaper Ekathimerini, and she holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Northwestern University. For this roundup, she spent upwards of 12 hours researching the best jean jackets on the market.