There are a few pieces of clothing hanging in your closet that never go out of style and pair with everything, and one of them is a jean jacket. The denim staple has been around since the 1800s, but really gained momentum in the 1950s. It’s popularity has continued on and today celebrities are often seen wearing the classic topper. So whether you already have a jean jacket or are in the market for a new one, we had celebrity stylists Eric Himel and Anna Katsanis share the best ways to style jean jacket outfits that work for any occasion on your calendar. Keep scrolling for all of the ways to look dazzling in denim.
What makes jean jackets so great
In a word: versatility. Jean jackets can truly be styled to suit any event on your social calendar. They can be dressed up or down and are a great transition piece between seasons. That’s because the topper will keep you warm without feeling like you’re overheating, and tossing one on can be the perfect finishing touch to an otherwise plain outfit.
Plus, with so many different denim wash options out there, you’re sure to find one that will complement your wardrobe. If you dress on the more casual side, a light wash or white jean jacket will be your best bet as it pairs well with anything from leggings and joggers to skirts and dresses. And for dressier looks, a dark wash or black jean jacket doesn’t skew as casual as it’s lighter wash counterparts.
Another thing to consider when selecting a jean jacket is the wash of denim you already own and the different colors you tend to wear. Denim-on-denim is on-trend and flattering right now as it creates a slimming column effect, but the key is to match the wash of jeans and a jacket for the most cohesive and slenderizing look.
A medium blue wash jean jacket like Amanda Holden’s above can also be slimming as it makes trouble spots recede.
And one thing to keep in mind when looking for a jean jacket is to pay attention to the fit and proportions for a balanced look. “The longer you go, the more fitted the denim jacket should be and the shorter you go, the more oversized to really play with proportions,” says Katsanis.
How jean jackets flatter everyone
“Jean jackets are the great equalizer,” says Himel. “They work on anybody no matter your age or body shape.” These jackets tend to hit right at the waist to still showcase curves and can mask trouble spots without adding bulk to the body.
Also, many jean jackets have vertical seams going down the front. Why does this matter? It visually brings the eye up and down rather than side to side, making you appear slimmer, taller and leaner from head to toe.
7 jean jacket outfits for any occasion
Here, 7 ways to style a jean jacket with tips from celebrity stylists.
1. Jean jacket outfits: For work
Yes, you can ever wear a jean jacket outfit to work! This long, tie-belt jean jacket from H&M is an elevated version of the average jean jacket. Because the fit is more loose, the belt reins in any extra fabric to ensure the body’s feminine shape and tiny waist are showcased. “A denim jacket that is longer with a belt is great for a more polished look,” says Himel. Plus, the medium wash is professional without being too dressy. Pair it over a sweater dress, such as this one that curves in at the midsection and has flattering lantern sleeves. The perfect finishing touches? Throw on black sheer tights to add coverage to bare legs, a pair of comfy loafers, simple gold hoops and a black tote.
“Oversized and long (jean jackets) are really chic — especially a long denim coat or trench coat with a tie belt,” says Katsanis.
Tip: If you’re not in the mood to put on a dress, Himel suggests swapping it out for your favorite dress pants.
Shop the look:
Tie belt jean jacket: Buy from H&M, $49.99
Sweater dress: Buy from H&M, $36.99
Black sheer tights: Buy from J. Crew, $22.50
Black loafers: Buy from Naturalizer, $89.99
Gold hoops: Buy from Amazon, $12.97
Black work tote: Buy from Amazon, $29.99
2. Jean jacket outfits: For a casual lunch date
As mentioned above, light wash denim is a great option for a casual lunch or daytime activity. And this light wash jean jacket from Old Navy is no exception and comes in the perfect length as it sits right above the hips ensures lower half curves aren’t masked. Pairing it with flare jeans in the same wash elongate legs and the entire frame for a statuesque silhouette. “Denim on denim works best when the washes are similar so it looks more seamless,” explains Katsanis. To ensure the denim stays the star of this ensemble, opt for basic add-ons like a white top or bodysuit, plain sneakers, a black bag and silver earrings (which add feminine flair to the look!).
Shop the look:
Light wash jean jacket: Buy from Old Navy, $44.99
Light wash flare jeans: Buy from Old Navy, $24.99
White bodysuit: Buy from Shapermint, $34.99
White sneakers: Buy from DSW, $69.99
Black purse: Buy from Amazon, $42.90
Silver earrings: Buy from J. Crew, $24.50
Not a fan of light wash denim? This medium wash look on Christie Brinkley above is equally as flattering.
3. Jean jacket outfits: For running errands
If you’re running errands around town and want to be comfy yet stylish, just throw on yoga pants and a light wash jean jacket over your favorite solid-colored hoodie. A hoodie in a light pink hue pops against a light blue jacket and tying in the pink with shoes creates a chic and cohesive athleisure look. Himel’s tip: Cuff the sleeves of the denim jacket and then cuff the sleeves of the hoodie over the jean jacket cuffs to add some interest that draws the eye inward to visually cinch the middle. And to stay hands-free when on the go, opt for a belt bag that can be worn around the waist or as a crossbody.
Shop the look:
Light wash jean jacket: Buy from Gap, $79.95
Pink hoodie: Buy from Amazon, $18.10
Black drawstring yoga pants: Buy from T.J. Maxx, $16.99
Pink tennis shoes: Buy from Nordstrom Rack, $49.97
Black belt bag: Buy from Lululemon, $38
Rolling up the sleeves of a denim jacket as shown on Jennifer Lopez above works well for warmer days.
4. Jean jacket outfits: For a girl’s night out
Wearing a black denim jacket is a modern take on a classic jean jacket and it works well for a night out. The dark hue is instantly slimming and conceals any trouble spots on the upper half. Also flattering: This jacket from Gap has a puff at the shoulders that optically broadens shoulder to balance out wider hips that will also appear trimmer when worn with black straight-leg jeans. And rounding out the look with a black and white striped tank, gold earrings and a pop of red with heels and a red purse will leave you looking extra gorgeous for a night on the town with girlfriends.
Shop the look:
Black jean jacket: Buy from Gap, $89.95
Black straight jeans: Buy from American Eagle, $34.96
Striped tank: Buy from Zara, $29.90
Red heels: Buy from Macy’s, $48.30
Red purse: Buy from Commense, $42
Gold earrings: Buy from J. Crew, $24.50
5. Jean jacket outfits: For a happy hour
Whether you’re meeting up with friends or coworkers for a happy hour, it’s easy to “dress down” an office look but still look put-together by adding a cropped dark wash jean jacket. A cropped jacket works for all body types as it “accentuates your waist,” says Himel. And the contrast created by wearing it with a satin top and pants detracts from any trouble spots — just tuck the top in to keep the eye moving vertically. To complete the look, toss on pointed-toe booties (they make legs look miles long) and add feminine flair with a bow clutch and magenta hoops.
Shop the look:
Dark wash jean jacket: Buy from Old Navy, $27.99
Satin top: Buy from Banana Republic Factory, $40
Black wide leg satin pants: Buy from Banana Republic Factory, $50
Black pointed toe booties: Buy from Famous Footwear, $59.99
Bow clutch: Buy from Amazon, $39
Magenta hoops: Buy from Amazon, $10.99
You can also pair a denim jacket with a pencil skirt as shown on Julie Bowen above to dress down office wear.
6. Jean jacket outfits: For a festive gathering
A party is the perfect excuse to dress up — and what better way to wow a crowd than with an embellished black jean jacket. This rhinestone-encrusted style from Chico’s doesn’t scream denim so it works well for a dressier occasion. It also has slight frayed details that adds a touch of playful pizzazz. And to polish off a party look, pair it with a plaid pencil skirt, tweed heels, pretty bow earrings and a statement clutch.
Shop the look:
Black embellished jean jacket: Buy from Chico’s Off the Rack, $53.97
Plaid pencil skirt: Buy from JCPenney, $43.20
Tweed heels: Buy from DSW, $49.98
Bow earrings: Buy from Urban Outfitters, $17
Red clutch: Buy from Amazon, $19.68
7. Jean jacket outfits: For a cozy movie date
This cozy sherpa-lined jean jacket from Old Navy is like a wearable blanket that keeps you warm when inside a chilly movie theater. And it will also fend off the chill when you’re outside, too! And just like a few of the other looks, a light wash jacket and pair of jeans is a casual and chic matching set that slenderizes the figure to boot. To boost the cozy effect, add sherpa-lined booties and a cream mockneck sweater — and a simple gold watch will let you check the time without having to reach for your phone when in a dark theater.
Shop the look:
Sherpa jean jacket: Buy from Old Navy, $30.99
Cream sweater: Buy from Venus, $49
Light wash flare jeans: Buy from Levi’s, $69.50
Sherpa booties: Buy from American Eagle, $44.95
Gold watch: Buy from Amazon, $27.99
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