Denim jackets are back on runways and in wardrobes

After appearing in this season's collections of the biggest names in menswear including Tom Ford and Louis Vuitton, the denim jacket is once again the must-have item for the stylish man's wardrobe.

Made famous by the likes of John Wayne, James Dean and every rock band worth their salt in the '90s, the denim jacket has evolved from working class uniform to cult-status staple.

But on top of its street cred and rich cultural history, the jacket's primary appeal comes from its versatility.

Whether it's teamed with jeans and a tee on the weekend for a classic rock look or thrown over your shirt and tie to give your work wear a more urban edge, denim jackets ooze an effortless style.

Blue jean baby

Lightweight yet hardwearing; warm, but breathable enough to accommodate the most erratic climate, the denim jacket is the perfect solution to Australia's weather during transitional seasons.

But before you reach into your closet and dust off your favourite acid wash bomber, the modern denim jacket comes with a few tweaks to give it a contemporary appeal.

So what's the best way to rock the modern classic this autumn?

Sydney-based stylist Dale McKie says the answer is to keep it fitted and tailored.


Fit but you know it

"A modern denim jacket should fit snug to the body," explains McKie.

"It should be fitted enough to allow for outer layering, so you can throw a blazer or trench coat over the top without it looking bulky. But it should still have enough room to layer a few pieces underneath like a sweater or shirt."

When it comes to picking the perfect hue for the season, the creative director of Australian denim label Neuw Denim, Par Lundquist, says you can't go past the classic pre-washed blue.

"A modern denim jacket is about subtle details," says Lundquist.

"Choosing a more refined wash up to a rich, mid-shade of indigo will keep it looking masculine and modern." 

Washed up

Where black or raw denim has a heavier and more formal feel, the appeal of pre-washed denim lies in its already worn-in aesthetic. It also adds a much-needed touch of colour to what can often become a monochrome seasonal wardrobe.

A great example of this modern tailored look is from French label A.P.C. Or, if you're after a traditional indigo wash and need a little more room in the shoulders without being too bulky, Neuw Denim's Eddie Rebel jacket is a good option.

As far as upkeep goes, Par recommends treating a denim jacket exactly like you would your favourite jeans.

"Never wash it," explains Par.

"That way, the character of the life lived in the jacket develops over time and you end up with a jacket that's completely unique to you."

However, if the idea of not washing your jacket leaves you feeling a touch queasy, a handy shortcut is Shannon Lush's lavender/water mixture.

Give the jacket a light spray and then hang it in out in sunshine, inside out, for a quick and easy freshen-up.

Double time

It would be remiss to discus denim jackets without touching on the ever-divisive double denim look.

While images of Bing Crosby and his infamous Canadian Tux made by denim giant Levis probably comes to mind, pulling off a successful double denim look is a hurdle that can be easily jumped.

"I think, generally, denim jackets work best with denim," says Dale.

"A good way to avoid getting that Canadian Tux look is to make sure your jacket sits on or above the waistline of your jeans, allowing your shirt to break up the line. Alternatively, clash different tones and washes, such as a lighter jacket with darker jeans to add some variation."

Will you be joining the denim jacket revival?