Men’s Style 101: The Denim Jacket, Re-imagining a Menswear Staple
by Nathan Beesley
It may sound like blasphemy in a student city where the denim jacket is something of a plague, but I only bought my first ‘Jean-Jacket’, to use that annoying americanism, in the last couple of months. I’d always born a bit of a grudge against them, or more truthfully their owners, who flock like locusts from one quirky, ironic record store to the next using, to quote an Arcade Fire song, ‘big words that they don’t understand’.
So what made me give in? The answer lies, as it often does, in James Dean. Ever since I discovered a cheap print of him in a nearby bookstore and hung it next to my mirror, he’s become the standard for both my style and grooming habits. However, unlike me, Dean was quite happy walking around in a Red Harrington and Jeans. Being, for the most part, a brogue and blazer man, I was keen to incorporate some of his more casual, and dare I say it masculine, elements into my everyday looks.
I bought said Jacket for only £20 in the Topman sale but was initially fustrated by how little I could do with it. It was great for throwing on with chinos and loafers for the pub, but I wanted to be more creative. It turns out, I wasn’t the only one…
Fashionbeans, my favourite online source for mens style, uploaded a timely article on the benefits of ‘upgrading’ your denim jacket for winter/fall. Here are some favourite looks they described:
I was more interested in trying out the latter of these variations, by using the jacket as a layering piece rather than just simply a piece of outerwear. Here’s what I came up with:
I am, though I say it myself, quite pleased with the result. I really wanted to play with texture, and the interplay between the formal and the rugged aesthetic. With that in mind, I put on a knitted burgundy tie, a thick button-down and a checked wool blazer from Calvin Klein. Though you can’t see it in the photos, I also threw on some tweed trousers in grey to really tick the boxes for the heritage trend thats made a welcome comeback this fall.
And there you have it. Inspired to put your denim jacket to new and exciting uses? Or should it remain the sole property of art students, paired with black skinny jeans and a dirty Joy Division t-shirt?