Denim Jackets: Beyond The Cropped Denim Jacket

As with skirts, designers have come a long way from the traditional cropped denim jacket. The classic Levi’s jacket is just no longer your only option. With a new found freedom in design and all of the choices in novel fabrics, finishes and embellishments, it’s not likely that the denim jacket will fall in and out of fashion as much as it has in the past.

Premium denim lines have some fabulous options to offer us, some much more appropriate for dressier occasions than the “cowboy” traditional. They are applying fabric finishes and embellishments, as well as distressed and destroyed looks with a blatant, almost impertinent display of creativity. Add to this an unabashed styling freedom, and the results are just hot!

Nevertheless, the principles of fit according to your body type apply here as well, so here are some simple observations:

  • Rectangular/Straight: To add to the illusion of more curves, shoulder pads and a slightly contoured jacket can be magical. You need to create the effect of in indented waist line, a fitted jacket should help. Avoid boxy jackets. Some cropped denim jackets come with more tailoring than the traditional Levi’s jean jacket, and may be a good option.
  • Pear Shape: You could wear shoulder pads to broaden your shoulders and balance the hips. Choose longer jackets, ending below the hips, slightly tailored at the waist, but not so much that the lower part of the jacket flares out on your hips. It should gently fall down your side, lessening the proportion change from your waist to your hip. By all means avoid cropped denim jackets, they will inevitably draw attention to your hips.
  • Hourglass: You can portray a slender elegant look with a waist length cropped denim jacket. Long slightly fitted jackets that sweep over the hips will look great on you too. Unless you have very narrow shoulders, avoid pads.
  • Inverted Triangle: Avoid jackets with wide lapels, they will make you look “top heavy”. Also pass on the shoulder pads. A long tailored and flared jacket should emphasize your slim hips while at the same drawing attention to your waist.
  • Round: A fitted, structured jacket, tailored and long, will be most flattering to your figure. If you are not too broad shouldered, add some emphasis with shoulder pads.
  • Diamond: As with the rounded body, a long, tailored jacket with shoulder pads will be your best bet.

As you can tell, a fitted denim blazer is one of the most flattering options for most body types, as the tailoring by design emphasizes the “smaller waist than hips and shoulders” proportion. Be aware of length, amount of tailoring at the waist, and lapel width. The longer the jacket, the more it can conceal. Remember too that darker colors are slimming, just as with your choice of pants, so consider adding a black denim jacket to your basics.

A Note on Unmatched Denim:

Wearing a cropped denim jacket with a skirt or pants that don’t match is totally acceptable, if not totally hot! Just be careful not to make it look like you tried to match them, and came close.

You don’t want to wear the same color jacket and pants, or denim skirt anyway. A denim “suit” will make you look like a cowboy or a convict! Colors of the same family but of varying shades will usually work very well together.

A close match of two related colors, or two different colors of denim will also do the trick. The look should be one of “carefree disregard” for the match, not like a failed attempt for a match. It will portray a casual, relaxed look. If in doubt, however, just don’t do it.

What About Other Looks?

You’re right, we’re getting too narrowly focused on denim, when in fact jeans coordinate beautifully with jackets and blazers made of many other materials.

Leather and corduroy are classic match-ups for denim. No matter what material you prefer, don’t forget that the suggestions for fit don’t change. A well tailored blazer paired with designer jeans creates a sharp and casual look. If you opt for one in a heavier fabric, such as a microfibre suede or corduroy, it could become an essential part of your wardrobe and, with proper care, should last a long time.

Now, as far as men’s outerwear is concerned, the traditional Levi’s jean jacket is a staple. There are hundreds of new variations on the cropped denim jacket theme, so I think you’ll agree with me that here too, the cat has been let out of the bag.

As noted above, jeans have been traditionally matched with leather, corduroy, and a host of other materials. Dress up or dress down, the jacket can make the difference. What about jeans with a tuxedo jacket? The guy won an Oscar, but not for his fashion sense! Anyway, you get the picture, there’s almost no limit for the choice of outerwear with jeans.

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