• The Denim Jacket

    Style  

    The denim jacket has been around almost as long as the first pairs of jeans peddled by Levi Strauss. And it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s distinctly American, yet almost always fashionably out of fashion. A wide range of subcultures, including greasers, mods, rockers, hippies, and skinheads embraced it at one point or another (I sported mine as early as 5th grade). While its Take Ivy documentation in the 60s was certainly overshadowed by varsity jackets, madras shorts, and penny loafers, the denim jacket was at home on Ivy League campuses too.

    Levi's Trucker Jacket, $68

    This summer, everyone from Gant Rugger to Abercrombie & Fitch to Michael Bastian (for Gant) turned out designer versions of the American classic at designer prices. Opt for the original Levi’s offering. It’s a fraction of the price, and what’s more, embodies an untouchable authenticity (a classic since its introduction in 1962). The updated slim fit sits closer to the body while hitting right below the belt. I tend to dress mine up like a sport coat—silk pocket square, lapel pin, etc.—to play up the high/low approach. Levi’s offers a variety of washes but stick with the medium wash for a timeless piece you’ll actually be able to pass down to your sons. And although the denim jacket isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, don’t let it get near a pair of jeans.

    Jul 26, 2011 | Permalink (23) Total Comments

    Winslow left a comment on 1/9/2012 at 3:49 PM:

    Where can I buy that awesome pocket square?


    Steven Taylor left a comment on 9/11/2011 at 10:19 AM:

    This is very Kanye West. I like that about it.


    t. left a comment on 8/4/2011 at 3:56 PM:

    What size is the jacket and what size is the shirt?

    I’m a little confused about sizing jacket vs. my shirts.


    Paul left a comment on 8/1/2011 at 5:02 PM:

    Back in the ‘80’s I wore mine with punk-rock-band pins and safety pins on it. With Khakis. And Bean Blutchers. I felt I could pull it off because Lisa Birnbach wrote about the “Prep-Punk” connection in TOPH…


    Arnaldo left a comment on 7/28/2011 at 10:08 AM:

    I always wondered how my Levis jacket would look with a pocket square. Great way of putting character into the jacket


    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 7/28/2011 at 9:21 AM:

    @Dan—This madras shirt is by Rugby (and reversible).


    Dan left a comment on 7/28/2011 at 8:24 AM:

    Who makes that madras shirt? Looks a lot like something from Rugby.


    saprof left a comment on 7/27/2011 at 4:06 AM:

    Brooks Brothers has Levi’s made in America jeans from imported fabric.


    Tyler P. left a comment on 7/27/2011 at 2:15 AM:

    I am loving the shirt underneath. The girlfriend isn’t a big fan of madras shirts, but I plan on sneaking one past her one of these days.


    Tallulah left a comment on 7/26/2011 at 11:59 PM:

    Great look, FEC. I’m especially intrigued by the lapel pin…it looks like a soccer badge…I know you play, but whom do you support?


    Seth B. left a comment on 7/26/2011 at 8:52 PM:

    This is a wonderful look, however no one pulls it off better than Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig in the Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa music video. Real class


    Kiel James Patrick left a comment on 7/26/2011 at 5:40 PM:

    Is this a 70505 Big E replication?  They did a great job on wash and details.


    Joey Dee left a comment on 7/26/2011 at 5:14 PM:

    Rethinking denim jackets now, the pairing with grey wool gentry flannel slacks appeals to me. Thanks


    Ad Ralston left a comment on 7/26/2011 at 4:22 PM:

    I looove that you’ve stuffed a pocket square in there! I’ve been doing the same for some time and I’m glad to see my swag jacked on here :) However, I disagree that one can’t wear a denim jacket with jeans. A medium wash denim jacket (preferably vintage and broken in) can look awesome w/ a pair of dark raw denim jeans. Just gotta wear other   fabrics with it like a silk tie or a tweedy sportcoat to counteract the canadian tuxedo effect.


    Emily left a comment on 7/26/2011 at 3:08 PM:

    I love denim jackets! I think they would look good with either khaki or dark washed jeans.

    -Emily (www.urbanadventurer.com/blog)


    Richard Ross left a comment on 7/26/2011 at 1:50 PM:

    I’m totally going to wear mine with jeans. Why not?

    And bro, as we’ve discussed, I can’t wait to give my kids this jacket years from now. It will be full of stories and a sense of trouble making when they slip it on.


    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 7/26/2011 at 1:22 PM:

    @Matt—My jacket is the “Ghost” wash.

    @Ad Ralston—You are certainly free to wear the denim jacket how you wish.  As I mentioned earlier, the denim jacket is tricky enough with how much it has ping-ponged throughout pop culture…pairing it with jeans sends a message I do not endorse.  You leave the prep-o-sphere when you pair it with jeans.  I’m not exactly sure how you would squeeze you, your shirt, and your denim jacket into a tweed sport coat though.

    @Tito—I don’t know if Levi’s still makes any of their products in the U.S.  If they did, this jacket probably wouldn’t be $68.  As an aside, “Made in the USA” doesn’t always mean “quality”.  It just means someone in the USA has a job making a denim jacket.  I am not too interested in sacrificing quality for the sake of an American keeping a factory job.


    Matt left a comment on 7/26/2011 at 1:02 PM:

    Loving the pairing with that madras shirt. Is this jacket the “Moulded Blue” or “Ghost” color from their selection?


    Ad Ralston left a comment on 7/26/2011 at 12:21 PM:

    I looove that you’ve stuffed a pocket square in there! I’ve been doing that for some time and I’m glad to see my swag jacked on here :) However, I disagree that one can’t wear a denim jacket with jeans. A medium wash denim jacket (preferably vintage and broken in) can look awesome w/ a pair of dark raw denim jeans. Just gotta wear other fabrics with it like a silk tie or a tweedy sportcoat to counteract the canadian tuxedo effect.


    Tito left a comment on 7/26/2011 at 12:05 PM:

    Great article Fred. I remember years ago when my 550’s just to say made in USA. Do you know of any places that Levi’s are still made in the US?


    rSl left a comment on 7/26/2011 at 11:56 AM:

    I was just looking at me denim jackets yesterday. This heatwave has killed all opportunities to wear them, and I was getting excited about the fall.

    I have a levi’s trucker in dark wash, a levi’s vintage stone wash, a surprisingly solid one from express about 10 years ago and a white levi’s. I want one with a sheerling liner.

    It’s as timeless as a pair of 501’s. You may go a year our so without them (I was very blazer exclusive last year) but it is in more often than not.  All of mine will see heavy rotation this fall, as I pair them with khakis,  colored chinos and white denim.

    I usually put a boutonniere and a button or two on the lapel as tge flap pockets don’t lend their selves to a pocket square. I love wearing it to a party or out with a tie or bow.  It’s the perfect blend of ruggedness and sophistication that I think embodies my personal style.

    There it’s something so cool and gth about a dude in khakis with a denim jacket done right.

    And I agree… Only rock n rollers and cowboys are allowed to double up on denim.


    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 7/26/2011 at 11:45 AM:

    @TJH—I pair mine regularly with chinos.  You could also easily pair them with a grey wool trouser.


    TJH left a comment on 7/26/2011 at 11:41 AM:

    Love the denim jacket, picked one up in the sales almost by accident a month ago and it’s seen some pretty heavy use and has started to fade in beautifully. What do you guys pair it with?


    image