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There’s a fine line between stylish outerwear and a Canadian tuxedo—here’s how to stay on the right side of it
A good denim jacket is a must for every guy’s closet. But if you’re still sporting the denim jacket style Judd Nelson rocked in The Breakfast Club, it’s time for an upgrade.
In case you don’t actually own a denim jacket yet, here are a few quick pointers on what to look for in the jacket itself—particularly regarding fit.
HOW A DENIM JACKET SHOULD FIT
Forget the baggy ’80s look. It’s no longer cool and was frankly never all that flattering to begin with.
When you try a jacket on, the fit should be a little snug, with just enough room to layer a thin sweater underneath.
You can opt for something a little more robust, like Zac Efron wears, pictured above. But note that while Efron’s jacket is on the chunky side, it’s still fitted. It hits just above the hip (as a good denim jacket should) and cuts a clean silhouette.
If the combination of the restricting denim fabric and your swole biceps (we noticed) makes this look hard for you to pull off—or, rather, put on—look for a jacket that has elastane in it, like this one from Levi’s. The comfortable, stretchy fabric is a game changer.
WHAT TO WEAR WITH YOUR DENIM JACKET
Rule No. 1 when it comes to pairing pants with a denim jacket: It’s all about contrast.
Forget this rule and you’re at risk of wearing what has been affectionately dubbed the ‘Canadian tuxedo.’ (It’s not a look we recommend.)
We love the denim-jacket-and-chinos look. You can pair your denim jacket with fitted chinos in practically any color.
Darker pants will be more versatile.
Finally, yes, you can also wear your denim jacket with jeans. But as a rule of thumb, the jacket and the jeans should be roughly two shades apart. (If you’re unsure whether the two are different enough, then they aren’t.)
Another option is to pair a beaten-up, distressed jacket with a clean jeans, or vice versa. A standard blue denim jacket with ripped-up black jeans is an unexpectedly cool combo.
Ultimately, we’re talking about a piece of clothing rooted in punk rock, so there’s plenty of room for creativity. Just make sure everything fits the way it should—and stay away from the Canadian tuxedo.