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 Retrofête 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 Free People, to supply us with 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.
We conducted hours of research on the best jean jackets, evaluating them on material, fit, and design. After considering dozens of top-rated styles and consoling with lifestyle expert Preston Konrad and stylist Krista Roser, we landed on these best in show.
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.
Price at time of publish: $98
Material: Varies based on wash | Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: Light blue washes, medium blue washes, black
Gap Factory Icon Denim Jacket
The Gap Factory's Icon Denim Jacket lives up to its name for a quality fit and timeless design. We also love its sustainable construction, as it's part of the Washwell program, which includes products that use at least 20 percent less water than traditional was methods. Reviewers say this style fits true to size.
Price at time of publish: $35
Material: 95% cotton, 5% recycled cotton | Size Range: XS-XXL | Colors: Medium blue washes
Isabel Marant Paoleta Faux Shearling-Lined Denim Jacket
If you're looking for something that looks and feels very luxurious, Isabel Marant has just the piece. It has a boxy '80s-inspired cut that's complete with a cozy faux-shearling lining and roomy front pockets. Wear it with everything from thick black leggings to neat tailoring and tonal denim.
Price at time of publish: $890
Material: Cotton exterior, polyester/acrylic lining | Size Range: FR34-42 | Colors: Medium wash, black, ecru
Wrangler Heritage Sherpa 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 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.
Price at time of publish: $149
Material: 100% cotton exterior | Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: Medium blue, black
Best for Big Busts
Reformation Lea Denim Shirt
Reformation’s Lea Denim Shirt is roomy enough for big busts without looking or feely bulky. Offered in a geometric motif, the cotton-blend jacket has a long length and clean lines. For the most impact, pair it with the matching jeans.
Price at time of publish: $168
Material: 60% organically grown cotton, 40% TENCEL™ x REFIBRA™ lyocell | Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: Dark blue
Best to Wear with Dresses
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. Though, we love that it can just as easily balance out your favorite femme dress.
Price at time of publish: $298
Material: 75% cotton, 25% lyocell | Size Range: XXS-XXL | Colors: Medium blue
Uniqlo Denim Cropped Jacket
You can never go wrong with a simple cropped cut, and this one from Uniqlo, which sits high on the hips and gives us '90s vibes, is equal parts fashionable and functional—the perfect basic to wear with a pair of trendy, pleated trousers or cargo pants.
Price at time of publish: $39.90
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XXS-XXL | Colors: Medium blue, dark blue, black
Retrofête Ada 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. Retrofête's Ada style is hewed from classic, medium blue denim but tailored with unconventional puff sleeves that boast three-quarter-length hems. In a pinch, it could serve as a thick shirt as much as it does a light denim jacket.
Price at time of publish: $320
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XXS-XL | Colors: Medium blue
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 bold topstitching and roomy interior pockets to store personal items, like a phone and keys.
Price at time of publish: $138
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XXS-XXL | Colors: Light wash
Best Plus Size
Universal Standard Kelsey Denim Jacket
Universal Standard's dark-hued jean jacket is the epitome of classic and comes in a wide range of sizes to suit more people than the average—what could be better? Details-wise, it has contrast stitching and functional pockets. Given its close fit, you can dress it up or down for maximum versatility.
Price at time of publish: $138
Material: Cotton | Size Range: XS-2XL | Colors: Black + two dark washes
Levi’s Ex-Boyfriend 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 sizing experiences vary quite a bit with this product, we recommend trying multiple sizes to determine which one will best suit you.
Price at time of publish: $128
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: Black, black/cream, medium wash + light washes
Best for Petites
Lauren Petite Coated Denim Trucker Jacket
Leave it to Ralph Lauren to make a tailored denim jacket to perfectly fit and flatter your petite frame. The waist-cinching tie belt and the coated denim material elevate the classic trucker style.
Price at time of publish: $169.99
Material: Cotton, lyocell | Size Range: 0P-14P | Colors: Black
ANINE BING Rory Denim Jacket
ANINE BING's Rory is a classic, grunge-style jacket. The oversized, heavyweight topper boasts a light wash and is cut at the waist. Plus, it has just the right amount of distressing so as not to skew slovenly.
Price at time of publish: $300
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XXS-XL | Colors: Light wash, ecru
Veronica Beard Mikaela Denim Jacket
To show off your shape, go for a tie waist denim jacket, like this one from Veronica Beard, which comes in a medium-light wash. The belt nips the waist on this oversized style that’s complete with angular flap pockets, standard cuffs, and slim-fitting sleeves.
Price at time of publish: $398
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: Medium wash
Good American Patchwork Denim Shacket
Here, Good American takes a bold approach to patchwork denim. The brand mixes washes to create the perfect patchwork effect on an oversized, button-up form. Other pluses include its extensive size range and its upcycled denim composition for a circular approach to fashion.
Price at time of publish: $195
Material: 99% cotton, 1% elastane | Size Range: XXS/XS-4XL/5XL | Colors: Multi
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, from simple black leggings to billowy, femme dresses.
Price at time of publish: $260
Material: 100% organic cotton | Size Range: S-M | Colors: Black
Alex Mill Westin Denim Shirt
Shackets have long been appreciated for being a middle ground between shirts and jackets. Like many shackets, this oversized denim style by Alex Mill—complete with open chest pockets, a straight hem, and clean, white buttons—is perfect for mild weather, akin to a light sweater.
Price at time of publish: $175
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: Medium wash
SLVRLAKE Button-Down Denim Jacket
SLVRLAKE co-founders Louise and Gary Edgley built their brand on a promise to craft tailored denim with timeless appeal. They cast aside distressing and traditional branding like logos and instead focused on clean cuts that contour and elongate, like this tailored silhouette in white. The style is complete with buttonless flap pockets and a curved hem to show that the possibilities for a denim jacket are many.
Price at time of publish: $379
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: S-L | Colors: White
Free People Flawless Hooded Denim Jacket
With its oversized fit and comfy hood, this natural distressed jacket is an essential for those looking to create an effortless layered look. We love that its silhouette is not boxy, but tapered while still maintaining a casual, slouchy feel. It comes in three color ways and features a front button closure.
Price at time of publish: $148
Material: Cotton, denim | Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: Lucky Charm, Storm, Black Out
Best Tie- Dye
Wild Fable Women's Denim Chore Jacket
A denim jacket with a tie-dye wash is a whole vibe. This affordable jacket is designed with a collared front and full-length button-down placket. It features two patch pockets on the waist and two patch pockets on the chest with buttoned flaps. It's also available in a dark wash that's not tie-dye if that's your pleasure.
Price at time of publish: $25
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XS-XXL | Colors: Black Wash Tie Dye, Dark Wash
Meet the Expert
- Preston Konrad is a brand and lifestyle expert and the host of the BrandME! Podcast.
- Krista Roser is a fashion stylist based in Nashville, New York City, and Los Angeles.
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.
Wash refers to the color or shade of the jean jacket. Dark wash denim is considered one of the most versatile washes and can be worn during the day and at night because its hue makes it easy to match with dressier fashion. Meanwhile, medium-wash jeans are at least a shade lighter than dark washes and seen as a bit more casual than dark denim. Consider it a good middle-of-the-road wash that can pass in some work environments and certainly at your friend’s barbecue. A light wash is the last shade of blue and is a go-to pick for casual events, namely in the summertime when a strong stream of sunshine would beat down on a darker color. Black and white are also considered washes, as are more vibrant colors.
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.”
Should a denim jacket be tight or loose?
The fit of the denim jacket depends on your tastes and lifestyle. Keep in mind that oversized denim jackets tend to be more casual but are roomy enough to fit a thick sweater or hoodie underneath. Fitted styles, on the other hand, tend to be more work appropriate and can be worn as a shirt or extra layer in a chilly office setting.
What color denim jacket is the most versatile?
Dark washes, along with true neutrals like black and white, are considered the most versatile washes and can be worn during the day and at night.
How We Researched
To compile this list, we spent hours researching the best on the market in this category, evaluating the products' key features—like shade range or design—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We then used this research to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.
Why Trust Byrdie
Hayley Prokos s a Los Angeles-based writer and editor focused on fashion and lifestyle. She contributes regularly to Byrdie’s commerce section and has a passion for sourcing chic and practical pieces with long-term wearability. After hours of researching and chatting with our experts, she’s gathered enough insight to determine which jean jackets are worth buying this season.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough jean jackets from Black-owned and/or Black-founded businesses to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at email@example.com, and we will evaluate the product ASAP.