The 5 Best Denim Jackets to Buy Now and Wear Always

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Believe what you will about Brokeback Mountain, but it has to be said that the late, great Heath Ledger was at his peak in the movie—yes, even over his turn as the Joker. That’s some serious acting he did there; a tour de force, truly. The same can be said of one of his fits in the flick: light-wash jeans, a neat button-down, and the best denim jackets I’ve seen since Martin Sheen in Badlands and Susan Sarandon and Thelma and Louise (now these are great films).

All are folks that don’t make their appearance too seriously. It is in this sense sartorial abandon that really makes their style great. The choice is not overthought. It’s effortless. And that’s exactly what a denim jacket should evoke when you wear it. When the temperature drops ever-so-slightly and you need a top layer, it really doesn’t get any better than this categorically American staple.

Since the late 1800s, the denim jacket has been making rounds among groups, but it really came to life in the 1920s, when Levi’s, the purveyor of all things denim, made it initially for railroad workers and later cowboys. The style started to gain momentum—and not just for peeps out West. Over the years, other labels started to make their own versions, from Wrangler and Gap to Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. Now, the denim jacket is permanently fixed in the firmament of fashion. It may come in different indigo dyes and silhouettes, feature prints, have a multitude of pockets and buttons (or not), or be made by European Maisons, but a short topper made out of sturdy cotton twill (that’s what denotes a denim jacket) isn’t going anywhere, at least not anytime soon.

Of course, there is a range of options on offer: peacoats, motorcycle jackets, varsity jackets, bombers, and chore coats all have rich histories and are great in their own right. But when it comes to the peak—the Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain, so to speak—the denim jacket is simply a cut above the rest. Basically, fellas, you need it in your repertoire. That’s the rule. We didn’t make it, but we’re definitely encouraging you to follow. And we have 25 options below that are ripe for the picking. All you have to do is copy the one that works best for you. From there, put it on and not worry about it. That’s what great style is all about.

Best Denim Jackets

Denim Trucker Jacket


A classic dark indigo style from a brand that consistently offers the finest denim at the most affordable price points.

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Denim Trucket Jacket


As is always the case, nothing should come between you and your Calvin’s.

Regular Blanket Lined Denim Jacket



This blanket-lined option from the ultimate cowboy brand is as close to channeling Heath as it gets.

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Classic-Fit Denim Jacket



This light-wash baby is one of the tops, man.

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Trucker Denim Jacket



Over a century in the biz, Levi’s still does it better does denim better than almost anyone else.

Photo credit Pexels 

Brian Kish

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