The Search For the Perfect Denim Jacket

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Denim jackets have been a go-to for me since, like, 1984? I haven’t covered mine with buttons these days, but you better believe I lit it up back in the ’80’s.

What do I wear with my denim jacket? Everything. I prefer a blue wash since I wear mostly black or gray jeans. (If you like your blue jeans blue, a lighter denim jacket works great.)

Jean jackets just work because they’re a great weight for most of the year and they add a casual (but structured) touch. They’re perfect with sun dresses, jeans and a tee, jumpsuits, joggers, etc. Being a denim fan in general, it makes sense that this would be my favorite jacket, but I do get particular about what I’m looking for. So I ordered a bunch to try out in person (softness counts!!), and here’s what I found:

The Comfiest

American Eagle Star Sleeve Jean Jacket – This star jacket was amazing. It was so super soft and I love the simple star embroidery detail. The two-tone paneling was really nice, too. This is a solid jacket. Fits true to size. Wearing a Small, for reference.

KUT from the Kloth – I really liked this jacket…but it fits small. It’s also really soft and I love a lighter wash for versatility. You can wear it with just about any pair of jeans. I would definitely add this to my closet in a size up. Wearing Small here, for reference.

Free People Double Weave Denim Jacket – This was so great. The sweatshirt lining makes it so comfy to wear and I love the hood for Portland weather. It was a little warmer than I’d want for this time of year and I wasn’t sure about the super raw hem on the back, but a solid choice for sure. Wearing Small, for reference.

The Most Flattering Cut

JCrew Denim Jacket – I loved this one. The wash is even better in person and the fit is so flattering. It is a great length (I’m a little short in the torso, FYI) and just felt nice and structured. It’s not the softest of the bunch if you’re concerned about that, but I love a traditional weight jean jacket and this is it. Wearing a Small.

The Best Wash

Madewell Oversize Denim Jacket – The wash on this was perfect, IMO. The fit was great, too, but I didn’t care for the longer length on me. I do like the oversized look on others though and if you’re looking for that super current fit, this is a great one to try. Wearing size Small.

The ‘Just Ok’s’

Topshop Matilda Denim Jacket – This wasn’t my favorite. It was definitely more of a retro fit and I didn’t care for the blue-er wash. I think it was just too boxy on me to be flattering. Wearing size Small.

BP Ripped Denim Jacket – I liked the softness and fit of this one, but the wash and the distressing weren’t my favorite. If you’re in the market for a super distressed jacket though, this was very comfy. Wearing a Small.

Current Favorite Denim Jackets

Are you a jean jacket fan like me? Have a favorite brand or cut? DO share below in the comments.  I asked the TME team what their favorites are – S has an ancient Joe’s denim jacket she loves (this is the closest), but recently started wearing the Abercrombie one featured above and loves it – nice and soft. Scotti actually borrows this one from her hubs (love that), Cams rocks this one in a slightly darker color, Amanda likes things a little less traditional like this denim moto jacket, Jess is all about this Levi’s number for its stretchier fit.

Follow me and my denim over on Instagram @elletrain…there’s always plenty in my world…and a puppy and a dancing 4 year old, too.

Until next time…


Be sure to follow me on Instagram @elletrain to see daily outfits, puppy updates, and of course, Sienna’s dance moves. 


About Author

Meet Laura! She's a reader turned contributor and we couldn't be happier to have her as part of the team. Her fun, creative style is, as she says, "somewhere between Madewell and Joan Jett" (YES.) and she delivers some mean dressing room selfies so keep an eye out for those. Fun fact? She loves getting her hair cut and we love to see what she has up her sleeve.  

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  1. You missed the holy grail of jean jackets: the AG Robyn jacket. I have it in both white and medium denim wash. It is soooooooooo soft and STRETCHY (like unreal) so I don’t have that terrible stiff, back/arm binding experience I get with pretty much all jean jackets. The cut is classic too. No too cropped, no long, etc. PERFECTION. You should order and review – you’ll be hooked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I was thinking the same thing as I read this – the AG Robyn jacket…it is perfection! I bought it a few years ago when I wasn’t even looking for one. The wash is beautiful, soft, stretchy, and fits in all the right places. I’ve tried on many a jean jacket since and have yet to find one that fits and feels the way the Robyn does. It is a higher price point but it was worth it to me. I do love the AE one with the stars!

  2. I love the Madewell long denim jacket. I wear it with everything. It is perfect for the days I can’t fathom making it out of leggings and a tee. I am 5’9″ but a short torso. Length is perfect. I also have the standard Madewell jean jacket which is twin to the J. Crew one you have listed. Love that one too.

  3. I live in my Gap jean jacket (at least 10 yrs old). I keep wanting to cut the cuffs off because I always have them rolled. Has anyone done this and not regretted it? I’ll still roll them, but they’ll be 3/4 sleeves- perfect for Northern California weather.

  4. I just picked up this Caslon denim jacket from Nordstrom. Love the light wash and it’s super soft! The arm length is great for those with longer arms too.

  5. I second the Gap denim jacket. Mine is light wash and I love it with everything in my wardrobe. I roll my cuffs too unless it’s cold but wouldn’t chop them! I need them buttoned closed now and then.

  6. I ordered the Liverpool denim moto jacket after seeing it in one of your other posts and am really happy with it!

  7. 80sDeminLover on

    I love my Helena from Kut. Brings me back to childhood and instantly adds some special 80s magic to any boring ol’ today outfit I sport. Instant childhood in a jacket! I occasionally pop the collar when I’m feeling extra rebellious. Yes to buttons! I had forgotten all about that! Like bumper stickers, but way radder!

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