If you've been paying attention to the trend cycle, you're probably aware that the denim jacket is on the cusp of a big return. Having popped up on the runways of Balenciaga, Miu Miu, Chanel, Off-White, Kenzo and Vetements (the list goes on) and on the backs of Beyoncé and Blue, it's predestined to be big for fall. And yet, the piece feels so perfect for right now, as we dig into yet another English summer.
For one, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more practical, season-appropriate top layer. Let's look at the multitude of weather systems that rotated in and out of yesterday alone: chilly at 9am, drizzly and muggy at 10, boiling at noon, breezy at 6pm and sweltering again 45 minutes later. Only a denim jacket can see you through all of that drama. It's a dependable, sartorial anchor in a changeable, complicated climate.
And I mean that figuratively as well. Fashion can get tricksy. One day we're declaring the death of the skinny jean. And in the next breath, we're heralding the return of the mom jean, the raw-hem boot cut AND the cropped flare in a single breath. Things move fast.
But the denim jacket remains fairly simple and straightforward. It's kind of like a bowl of mac 'n' cheese; even when a chef tries to get showy, tricking it out with truffle or lobster, it's still a big plate of comfort food at the end of the day.
Similarly, even when the denim jacket is in an elevated, deconstructed state — as at Balenciaga, where Demna Gvasalia cut it in half and then pieced it back together or Miu Miu where Miuccia tricked it out in cheeky patches or Off-White where Virgil Abloh flipped it backward — it's still the ultimate, wearable (and functional!) piece.
On the high street, J.Crew and Topshop do some of the best. But you can never go wrong with a classic, slightly oversized men's version by Levi's. Lately, I've been using the denim jacket to temper the sweetness of my long, pleated and lace skirts or as a sporty counterpoint to anything embellished or shimmery. Here, some of my favourite takes on the timeless piece, as worn by some of your favourite fashion plates, old and new.