How to Choose the Perfect Denim Jacket

As we head into warmer weather, it’s handy to have a light, casual layering piece to anchor your summer wardrobe.  I always like a cute denim jacket.  Here’s why I think they are great, and how to choose the perfect denim jacket for you!

classic denim jacket | striped top | white bootcut jeans | sandals | earrings

Why are Denim Jackets a Popular Wardrobe Staple in Summer?

Denim jackets have been around forever and are still in style in 2023. They’re popular year-round, especially in summer, for a few reasons. Denim jackets:

  • Keep you warm– Sleeveless tops, air conditioning, breezy days by the water, and the occasional rain shower can all create a summer chill. A denim jacket is casual and easy to wear when cool.
  • They’re youthful: Yes, you can wear a light cardigan or jacket, but denim is a little edgy and has a cool, youthful vibe.
  • Give you a flattering shape– Denim jackets are structured, with defined shoulders and lots of seams. They taper towards the waist, highlighting your waist or helping to carve out one!
  • They’re ideal for travel.  Demin is sturdy and easy to wash. You can roll it up in a ball and throw it in your suitcase without worrying about wrinkles or wreckage.

How Old is Too Old to Wear a Denim Jacket?

One reader asked, Is 65 too old to wear a denim jacket? The answer is, of course, no. When you have the right fit and a style and color that suits you, a denim jacket is ageless. You’ll find some of the latest Best denim jackets for women over 50  in this post.


classic denim jacket | red top | white shorts | sandals | sunglasses


How Should a Denim Jacket Fit?

Like most jackets, you know you have a good fit when your shoulders line up with the shoulder seam. When the seam falls below your shoulder, the jacket is too big. When it sits above your shoulder, it is too small.

Jean jackets are meant to fit as close to the body as possible without being tight. You never want to size up since denim is a stiff fabric, and you will look bulky, large, and heavy if you wear one that is too big.

The classic jean jacket is at the top of the hip, while a cropped jean jacket ends at the waist. A cropped denim jacket makes your waist look smaller and your legs longer.


purple denim jacket pink dress

purple oversize denim jacket | pink dress (similar) (similar too) | raffia sandals | straw bag | sunglasses


Oversize Denim jackets are a fashion-forward style meant to be longer, roomier, and slightly slouchy. They’re more edgy, so they are not for everyone, and it takes a little experimentation to wear an oversized denim jacket with confidence.

Think of them like big, slouchy sweaters. They’re relaxed and usually have a drop shoulder.


yellow denim jacket with yellow striped top

yellow denim jacket | white cropped jeggings | gold sandals | striped top (similar 1 or  2) | belt |sunglasses

How to Choose a Denim Jacket- Which Denim Jacket Color is Best?

You’ve probably owned at least one Blue Denim Jacket, whether in light, medium , or dark wash. I prefer a medium-dark wash. The darker the wash, the more dressy/elegant the denim jacket, but I don’t like it so dark that it looks perfect and stiff.

The charm is in having a bit of a fade. A  light wash denim jacket tends to be popular in the summer for gals going for a beachy look.

White and Black are classic. I find black too heavy for summer unless maybe you are wearing it with white. I adore a white denim jacket. It looks fabulous with almost anything.

pink denim jacket for spring, taupe cropped pants

Colored Denim Jackets are trending. There are colored denim jackets in many shades, muted or bright. Saturated pastels in peach, pink, purple, orange, light green, and yellow are now popular.

Print Denim Jacket– You’ll find a few print denim jackets, mainly with florals. You need to be careful about these. They can look busy and “old lady.” This is a nice print denim jacket.

To find out how to style a colorful denim jacket to look modern, check out this post below.

peplum denim jacket(similar) petite | pink tee (similar) | fray hem jeans ( similar) | sneakers

What Style of Denim Jacket is Best?

As mentioned earlier, you can have classic, crop, and oversized, but style is also in the details. For example, these things make a denim jacket more interesting:

Peplum Ruffle – This is one of my favorites. A peplum detail at the bottom that creates a small ruffle is a feminine twist on a classic jean jacket.

white chicos capris jean jacket blue top

Raw edge white denim jacket  (similar)  (also here) | Blue tee (similar) | white capris | Sandals (similar) | Bag (similar) | sunglasses (similar)

Frayed Hem—These are super popular right now. A frayed or fringed denim jacket has a relaxed boho/beachy look. I love it in white or cream.

Shirt Style—This denim jacket is more like a shirt or shacket. A shirt-style denim jacket has a natural, rugged feel.

Distressed Denim Jacket – You can get a jacket with as many rips, fades, or holes as you want, but honestly, this is not a classy look at any age. If you like distress, could you make it subtle?

Three-quarter length sleeve – A variation on the denim trucker moto jacket with cropped sleeves.  Here’s a white denim trucker moto jacket I like to wear with black in the summer.

How to Wear a Denim Jacket in Summer

The great thing about denim jackets is they are versatile and work with jeans, pants, dresses, and shorts!

denim jacket | top ( similar) | black jeans | sneakers | straw bag| belt |


Jeans: Don’t be afraid to mix a white denim jacket with blue jeans or vice versa. You can also wear tan, taupe, or olive khakis with a white or traditional indigo jacket.

Colored denim jackets look great with white, black, or blue jeans. It can also look fabulous with taupe or other neutral pants. See my outfit here.

And yes, you can also wear a blue denim jacket with blue jeans.  Blue jeans + a blue coat is called a Canadian Tuxedo (That term doesn’t make sense to me, and I’m Canadian!) The key with this look, or any denim-on-denim look, is to ensure a good amount of contrast between the two types of denim.

Shorts: If you are unsure if you can pull off shorts anymore, a jean jacket is a third piece; any third piece makes a shorts or capris outfit look elevated. You get that casual chic look.


white jean jacket tropical sundress white classic denim jacket | dress | sneakers | earrings | sunglasses

Dresses: Casual sundresses look fabulous with denim jackets. They can transform a loose, flowy sundress and make it look like you have much more of a waist. Try wearing a dress with an oversized denim jacket for a sporty look like I have here.

3/4 length sleeve trucker moto denim jacket | striped dress | straw bag | sneakers | sunglasses


Do you have a favorite jacket? Join my private Fabulous After 40 Facebook group, hang out with other friendly fashionistas, and post a photo for inspiration. I’d love to see you in your denim jacket!

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