When spring hits, it’s hard not to want to rock your denim jacket pretty much everywhere. The good news? You absolutely can. The spring staple gives an air of cool to everything it touches, making it pair perfectly with almost everything in your wardrobe — classier duds included. But dressing up a denim jacket isn’t as simple as throwing a tie over a more laid-back outfit. Here’s how to nail one of the best looks of the season.
Choosing the right jacket First things first. Pick your denim jacket like you would a pair of jeans for the office — distressed or faded fabric will turn heads for all the wrong reasons, whereas a dark indigo piece makes for a perfect stand-in for your navy blazer. (And like a blazer, ensure it fits you perfectly across the shoulders.) From there, check that it hits no lower than just above your belt line and you’re golden.
Where to wear it I might have you playing by office rules, but don’t bring this combo anywhere near the boardroom (unless your boss is cool with that). Same goes for formal occasions. Instead, the dressed-up denim look will score you the most points on nights out, first dates and really anywhere a more formal jacket looks too stuffy — and a tie sets you apart.
Choose a shirt and tie The task of balancing a dressier look with the fun factor of a weekend staple falls to your choice of shirt and tie. A crisp, neutral-coloured broadcloth shirt provides the perfect canvas for any semi-casual neckwear — think a striped knit number or a classic skinny black tie. (If it’s loud enough to be distracting, try again.) I went for a Mad Men-style 60s throwback as a subtle nod to the denim jacket’s retro roots.
Stay smart (but not too smart) Clean and classic is the mantra for accessorizing your denim jacket. A silver tie clip or dress watch underpins the dressier aspects of the outfit without stealing the show or putting on airs. Switch out the dress belt for a solid-coloured one in braided leather to add an impromptu pop of texture. When all else fails, pop the collar and smile.
Toughen it up Details like leather Oxfords or dress boots will finish the formal look, but don’t be too precious — a few scuffs and tears won’t ruin your outfit. Hell, a few (minor) battle scars may even add some character. You’re wearing a denim jacket, remember? No matter how much you dress it up, it’s basically a hall pass to relax.