How to Wear It: The Denim Jacket

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Stylish Ideas for How to Wear Your Denim Jacket

We tell you how to style a basic jean jacket to look fashionable. Timur Emek/ Getty Images North America/ Getty Images

If you're like most women, you've already got a jean jacket hanging in your closet. But how many different ways to wear this wardrobe staple do you know? You may think of a denim jacket item as utilitarian, or a weekend-only item. I'm here to show you that a jean jacket is actually a stylish building block you can use to create fashionable outfits, including ones that work for dressier occasions. Take a look at my outfit gallery and learn how to style a go-to jean jacket different ways, in many cases using the closet basics you already own.

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Wear a Jean Jacket With Boyfriend Jeans

Jean jacket and boyfriend jeans outfit
Dress up a jean jacket and boyfriend jeans with a statement necklace. R13 Denim

You may have heard that boyfriend jeans are the new skinny jeans. You'll look insanely trendy now when you create a double denim outfit by matching boy-fit jeans with an upscale denim jacket, such as this Givenchy bomber style with fabric sleeves. Layer your jean jacket over a basic cotton tee in a neutral hue and you're good to go. Choosing a darker wash jean and jacket helps to create a slimmer look as well, which flatters all figures and is especially important when you're wearing relaxed cut boyfriend jeans.

Style Tip: Keep this look on the casual side by wearing sneakers, or dress it up with heels for a style upgrade. You can also layer a bold statement necklace over your top to add an extra dose of fashion to this easy outfit.

Items in This Look:

R13 Boyfriend Jeans
Givenchy Bomber Sleeves Denim Jacket
Rag&Bone Jersey T-Shirt
Leith Crystal & Fringe Necklace
MICHAEL Michael Kors Colby Textured Sneaker
Tom Ford Priscila Cat Eye White Sunglasses

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Wear a Denim Jacket With a Jean Skirt

Denim jacket and jean skirt outfit
Pair a slim denim jacket with a flared jean skirt. Lee Jeans

Jean skirts — much like denim jackets — are style staples that tend to resurface season after season. I personally love the look of pairing these denim separates in the same outfit. A jean jacket and denim skirt can be worn simply together by adding just a white t-shirt. Add a statement necklace and a quality leather satchel to pull together this denim-on-denim look.

Style Tip: When pairing a jean jacket and skirt in the cooler months, choose pieces in a similar dark wash of denim. For summer, though, try a lighter wash jacket — even an over-sized boyfriend style — to freshen up your look.

Items in This Look:

Topshop Dark Denim Skater Skirt
Lee Slim Rider Denim Jacket
Rag&Bone Concert T-Shirt
Kate Spade New York Clink of Ice Necklace
MICHAEL Michael Kors Satchel
Jack Rogers Kyle Bootie

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Wear a Jean Jacket With Plaid Pants

Jean jacket and plaid pants outfit
Wear a jean jacket with grunge-inspired plaid trousers. Gap Inc.

Want to look trendy but not like you're trying too hard? I love the way a classic jean jacket worn over plaid pants nods to the grunge fashion trend, which is all about girl-meets-boy casual styles. 

Style Tip: Bring your outfit into the now with a jaunty felt hat and biker-inspired moto boots.

Items in This Look:

Gap 1969 Heritage Denim Jacket
Rag&Bone Concert T-Shirt
Umber Cotton Plaid Pant
Steve Madden Wantagh Ankle Boot
Treasure&Bond Denim Trim Wool Panama Hat

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Wear a Faded Denim Jacket With Dark Skinny Jeans

Jean jacket and skinny jeans outfit
A cheeky sweatshirt livens up a head-to-toe denim outfit with a jean jacket. Levi Strauss & Co.

Here's a stylish look that can flatter every figure. A faded wash jean jacket is stylish for fall and brings the focus up toward your face, while dark wash jeans help to slenderize you lower body. This is a great, go-to look for curvy women who want to try skinny jeans, as it adds volume and interest up top, while keeping you looking classic and trendy. To make this look more fashionable just add a top with a cheeky message, such as this "You Had Me at Merlot" sweatshirt by Bow & Drape. Menswear-inspired oxford shoes are also a fun way to play against type in body-conscious jeans.

Style Tip: Be sure to choose the right skinny jeans for your figure. If you're curvy or plus size, a mid-rise pair can flatter while helping to hold in a tummy. Straight up-and-down figures will look best in higher-rise skinny jeans.

Items in This Look: 

NYDJ Skinny Jeans
Levi's Boyfriend Trucker Denim Jacket
Bow & Drape Sweatshirt 
Matt Bernson Sterling Open Side Flat
Kent & King Crystal Stud Earrings
Rebecca Minkoff Large Moto Satchel

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Wear a Jean Jacket Over Stripes

Jean jacket and jeans outfit with striped shirt
Stripes play well with a dark denim outfit. Mango

Here's another way to wear a jean jacket over jeans and look très chic for daytime. This go-to outfit of dark denim jeans, a striped tee and a rich, indigo-hued jacket is perfect for running errands or picking up the kids, especially when you add a textured scarf and classic black accessories.

Style Tip: You can dress this look up for a lunchtime date, by swapping out the ballet flats for high heeled pumps.

Items in This Look: 

Mango Jean Jacket
Ted Baker Ombre Jeans
Vince Striped T-Shirt
Eugenia Kim Infinity Scarf
Ivanka Trump Ballet Flats
Catherine Malandrino Yasmine Bow Tote

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Wear a Denim Jacket With a Patterned Skirt

Denim jacket and floral skirt outfit
Add a casual vibe to a flowery skirt by adding a jean jacket. Paige Denim

Here's a fashionable denim jacket outfit that would be perfect to wear on a first date. Layering a slim-fitting jean jacket over a feminine, floral-pattern skirt makes your look approachable, while still conveying a feminine vibe. 

Style Tip: You'll look sweet in this outfit from head to toe, when you wear it with high heels in a pretty shade of pink.

Items in This Look:

Paige Rowan Denim Jacket
Giamba Floral Jacquard Skirt
H&M Sleeveless Jersey Top
Saint Laurent Tribute T-Strap Sandal
Matt & Nat Robby Foldover Clutch
Kate Spade New York Make Me Blush Necklace

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Wear a Jean Jacket With a Mini Dress

Jean jacket and mini dress outfit
A jean jacket looks cute for dates over a colorful mini dress. Paige Denim

Adding a denim jacket as a top layer for a pretty mini dress is an easy way to upgrade your summer style. Strappy gladiator sandals are trendy and comfortable for wearing all day long.

Style Tip: Use your accessories to pull through accent colors from a patterned dress.

Items in This Look:

Paige Rowan Denim Jacket
Missoni Mare Wave Knit Mini Dress
Loeffler Randall Dani Gladiator Sandal
Vince Camuto Cami Crossbody Bag
Emporio Armani Aviator Sunglasses
Tory Burch Evie Stud Earrings

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Wear a Jean Jacket With Denim Shorts

Denim jacket and jean shorts outfit
A jean jacket looks cool for summer with distressed denim shorts. H&M

Summer evenings calls for easy outfits — but that doesn't mean you can't still look cutting-edge fashionable. Try matching trendy, distressed denim shorts with a cheeky message t-shirt and topping it with a vintage-inspired, trucker-style denim jacket. What makes this outfit look modern is the relaxed proportions of the denim separates, plus bringing in stylish accessories such as this drool-worthy lip purse by Red Valentino.

Style Tip: Take this outfit to the next level by wearing it with open-toe ankle boots, instead of the expected sneakers or sandals.

Items in This Look:

H&M Denim Shorts
Levi's Boyfriend Trucker Denim Jacket
Etre Cecile T-Shirt
Ray Ban Boyfriend Flat Top Sunglasses
Dolce Vita Port Open Toe Bootie
Red Valentino Handbag

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Wear a Jean Jacket With a Maxi Dress

Jean jacket and long summer maxi dress outfit
Top a summery maxi dress with a classic denim jacket. Paige Denim

A jean jacket worn over a striped maxi dress is a classic summertime look that is always in fashion. Add pretty accessories in gold tones to add polish. This is a denim jacket outfit you could easily wear for all your casual occasions in summer, from lunch to antiquing, shopping in the city or dinner with friends.

Style Tip: When everyone else will be wearing a black-and-white striped dress with their denim jacket, choosing a maxi with colorful stripes is an easy way to stand out from the crowd.

Items in This Look:

Paige Rowan Denim Jacket
DSquared2 Striped Knit Maxi Dress
Lilly Pulitzer Claws Off Necklace
Salvatore Ferragamo Miss Vara Chain Wallet
MICHAEL Michael Kors Berkley T-Strap Sandal
Persol Keyhole Sunglasses

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Shop the Look: Paige Rowan Denim Jacket

Paige Rowan Denim Jacket
Paige Rowan Denim Jacket. Paige Denim

This denim jacket from the Paige Denim designer brand features a rich, dark indigo wash that looks great with casual or dressier separates in your closet.

Price: $210.00

Buy it on Amazon

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Shop the Look: AvaCostume Boyfriend Denim Trucker Jacket

Ava Costume Boyfriend Denim Trucker Jacket
Ava Costume Boyfriend Denim Trucker Jacket. Ava Costume

The boyfriend trucker-style jacket is a great wardrobe staple, for creating a relaxed look when layered over jeans or long skirts. This style features trendy distressed details and a cool, vintage-inspired fabric wash.

Price: $50.00

Buy it on Amazon

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Shop the Look: Current/Elliott The Snap Jacket

Current/Elliott The Snap Denim Jacket
Current/Elliott The Snap Denim Jacket. Current/Elliott

This cropped dark denim jacket is perfect for layering over dresses and skirts. Made of high-quality stretch denim, with distressed details and a 10-snap front closure.

Price: $270.00

Buy it on Amazon

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Shop the Look: Gap 1969 Heritage Denim Jacket

Gap 1969 Heritage Denim Jacket
Gap 1969 Heritage Denim Jacket. Gap Inc.

The Gap brand's affordable denim jacket can be layered over dark wash jeans for a trendy double denim look. Crafted from Gap premium denim.

Price: $60.00

Buy it on Amazon