What to wear with a denim jacket: 13 of the best outfit ideas

a collage showing clothes to wear with a denim jacket
(Image credit: Future)

Wondering what to wear with a denim jacket as the weather warms up? We’ve compiled 13 stylish outfits to get you in the mood.

With temperatures rising and days getting longer, it’s time to ditch your coat and opt for a lighter option in the form of a denim jacket. A timeless style, this is a versatile wardrobe staple that you’ll come back to year after year, just like your favourite pair of black jeans. From light denim and indigo shades to oversized fits and the classic casual cut, there’s a style for every occasion and wardrobe style.

Rivkie Baum, fashion editor for WomanandHome.com is a big fan of denim jackets: “When it comes to what to wear with a denim jacket, there’s no shortage of cool outfits that this type of jacket works with. You can throw it over your favourite dress for a brunch date or team it with your best flared jeans for equally stylish outfit options. You can also experiment with different shapes and cuts including oversized silhouettes for a cool, slightly androgynous look”.

What to wear with a denim jacket

1. Keep it simple with stripes

For an effortless outfit, try wearing your denim jacket over a classic Breton tee. Look for styles in navy or red stripes with a flattering boat neck for a nod to the nautical trend. Try adding a pair of wide-leg trousers plus your favourite sandals for a touch of Audrey Hepburn-inspired style this summer.

M&S Pure Cotton Striped Regular Fit Top|

(Image credit: Marks and Spencer)

M&S Pure Cotton Striped Regular Fit Top | Price: £8.50 | Sizes: 6-24

This Breton tee has a flattering fitted silhouette and classic round crew shape with edging detail that will look great peeking out from under the lapels of your denim jacket. The half sleeve length is ideal for wearing in the summer as it’ll provide ample upper arm coverage when worn alone and won’t make you too hot when worn layered under a denim jacket. Rivkie says “look for Bretons with a navy or red stripe for a classic nautical style.”

VIEW NOW – £8.50 | MARKS & SPENCER (opens in new tab)

2. Throw over a floral dress

If you’re heading out to brunch or doing the school run, a denim jacket is the perfect way to dress down your favourite floral frock for daytime activities. Whether you opt for overblown blooms or ditsy daisies, this is a classic combination that won’t date. Simply finish with gold hoops and knotted detail sandals for instant style.

M&Co Gypsy Yellow Midi Dress

(Image credit: M&Co)

M&Co Gypsy Yellow Midi Dress | Price: £48.99 | Sizes: 8-22

This sunny yellow floral dress will look great worn under a blue denim jacket. Featuring puff sleeves and a flattering square neckline, this dress will work hard in your wardrobe, from school runs to a night out, it’s an easy style to dress up or down.

VIEW NOW – £48.99 | M&CO (opens in new tab)

3. Suit up

Not sure you can rock double denim? Of course you can! Whether you go for a suit-like look in tonally similar denim (hello, Texan Tuxedo!), or opt for a contrasting colour such as grey or black, this is an eternally cool look – just add simple accessories to let your denim do the talking.

essential gots organic cotton denim high rise culotte

(Image credit: Thought)

Thought Essential Organic Cotton High Rise Culotte | Price: £84.95 | Sizes: 6-20

Keen to give double denim a go? Try swapping your skinny jeans for a pair of cool culottes such as these from sustainable brand Thought. Rivkie says: “The high waist and relaxed fit of these denim culottes makes them the perfect wardrobe update for spring and will elevate your denim jacket look.”

VIEW NOW – £84.95 | THOUGHT (opens in new tab)

4. All White Now

Summer is the perfect time to dig out your favourite white dress. It’s an item often reserved for holidays but why not try accessorising your look with ankle boots and a blue denim jacket for a colour combination that will remind you of sunny beaches while you’re running around town.

Nobody’s Child Mietta Mini Dress

(Image credit: Nobody's Child)

Nobody’s Child Mietta Mini Dress | Price: £55 | Sizes: 6-18

“This broderie anglaise mini dress from Nobody’s Child is the perfect summer dress to wear with a denim jacket. Equally playful and cool, the delicate eyelet design contrasts with the tough denim fabric” says Rivkie.

VIEW NOW – £55 | NOBODY’S CHILD (opens in new tab)

5. Meet at the Midi

Looking for the perfect girl about town outfit? It doesn’t get easier than teaming your denim jacket with a swishy midi skirt. Look for styles with a fun print to offset the block colour nature of your top half. Rivkie says “a colourful denim jacket is a cool alternative to blue this summer. Try pastel pink or mint green for a fresh take on a wardrobe favourite.”

Joules green striped midi skirt

(Image credit: Joules)

Joules Auriel Chevron Jersey Skirt | Price: £44.95 | Sizes: 6-20

This chic chevron stripe skirt from Joules is a clear winner for warm weather dressing – made from jersey, it has just the right amount of movement without an overwhelming amount of fabric and the stylish stripe is eternally chic.

VIEW NOW – £44.95 | JOULES (opens in new tab)

6. Don’t forget your tool belt

Denim jackets and jeans were originally designed for labourers as the blue fabric is hard-wearing but since their inception, both styles have become a fashionista favourite. Take inspiration from denim’s origin by styling your jacket with a pair of utility trousers.

River Island trousers

(Image credit: River Island)

River Island Utility Tapered Trousers| Price: £38 | Sizes: 6-18

A sophisticated update of the utilitarian trend, these camel hued trousers with cargo pockets and tapered legs have a grown up feel. For a girlish touch, Rivkie says:  “Add a silky camisole underneath and strappy heels for feminine finish to your outfit.”

VIEW NOW – £38 | RIVER ISLAND (opens in new tab)

7. Dress down your sparkle

Want to wear your favourite sequin dress, skirt or cami but not sure how to get away with it without mistletoe being involved? A denim jacket is the answer – this go-anywhere piece will dress down your glam look and help it look effortless at your next garden party.

H&M Short sequined skirt

(Image credit: H&M)

H&M Short sequined skirt | Price: £34.99 | Sizes: 4-22

This twinkly silver mini from H&M is a great way to tap into the summer sequin trend. Team it with a white tee, trainers and an oversized denim jacket for a laidback look that’s daytime appropriate.

VIEW NOW – £34.99 | H&M (opens in new tab)

8. Layer up

It can be tricky getting dressed in the mornings when it’s often cold or overcast before heating up at midday. Rivkie’s top tip for the perfect all-weather solution is “Try adding a fitted denim jacket style under your favourite trench. Roll up the sleeves on the coat to allow the cuffs of your jacket to peek through and try popping the collar for a hint of denim.”

Mango Oversize Water-Repellent Trench Coat

(Image credit: Mango)

Mango Oversize Water-Repellent Trench Coat | Price: £89.99 | Sizes: XXS-XXL

This chic mint green trench is a great addition to every summer wardrobe. Lightweight and water-repellent, it’s ideal for wearing on days where the weather is a mixed bag. Try teaming it with a fitted denim jacket in a complementary hue – wear your jacket done up underneath so it shows through under the open lapels.

VIEW NOW – £89.99 | MANGO (opens in new tab)

9. Make Ikat Count

Nothing quite evokes memories of far-flung holidays like ikat prints. From the boho beaches of Ibiza to the sandy stretches of Goa, this hippy print is the ultimate look in every bohemian babe’s wardrobe. The perfect match? A denim jacket, of course! The structured shape contrasts stylishly with the floatiest of frocks.

Monsoon Maria Pintuck Tiered Dress |

(Image credit: Monsoon)

Monsoon Maria Pintuck Tiered Dress | Price: £75 | Sizes: 8-22

This pretty rust-coloured frock from Monsoon screams summer with its tie dye print style. Make it city-friendly by adding a cool blue denim jacket. Not only will the colours work well together, the jacket will tone down the holiday style of the dress to make it the perfect outfit to wear to a barbecue or garden party. Want to keep the holiday vibe going? Rivkie says “add pretty sandals and gold hoop earrings for a reminder of holidays past.”

VIEW NOW – £75 | MONSOON (opens in new tab)

10. Go bold with brights

If you want to try an on-trend bright printed coloured frock but scared of such a bold stylistic choice, why not try wearing a denim jacket over it to tone down the bright print? Blue or cream denim works well to neutralise even the most zingy colours. Rivkie’s top tip? “Look for dresses in cotton or viscose for easy breezy style this summer.”

Next printed floral summer dress

(Image credit: Next)

Love & Roses Tiered Midi Smock Dress | Price: £46 | Sizes: 6-20

This gorgeous smock dress features a brightly coloured abstract print that might seem a little wild but teamed with a cream or light blue denim jacket, it’ll become the most worn item in your wardrobe during the summer months. Want to tone it down a little more? Rivkie suggests “add nude sandals and a woven hat for days out in the sun and glamorous heels and a clutch for garden parties this summer.”

VIEW NOW – £46 | LOVE & ROSES AT NEXT (opens in new tab)

11. Mix textures with vinyl

Leather and denim go hand in hand so give high shine vinyl or leather leggings a go with a denim jacket and you won’t regret it. The contrast in fabric textures has a definite rock chic air – add a band tee and converse for a cool girl vibe.

Missguided Vinyl Trousers

(Image credit: Missguided)

Missguided Vinyl Trousers | Price: £36 | Sizes: 4-18

Toughen up your wardrobe with a pair of cool faux leather leggings or vinyl trousers – we guarantee that once you put them on, you won’t want to take them off! For a seasonal style update, Rivkie says “This split front hem style is an update on skinny shapes and gives ample opportunity to show off your favourite heels.”

VIEW NOW – £36 | MISSGUIDED (opens in new tab)

12. Stay sweet with candy stripes

A denim jacket is the ultimate holiday away essential for cool nights once the sun sets. Throw it on over your favourite warm weather dress for a simple solution to chills from the sea air – it will work with virtually every style of dress from a simple LBD to a gorgeous tiered maxi dress.

FatFace Danielle Stripe Maxi Sundress

(Image credit: FatFace)

FatFace Danielle Stripe Maxi Sundress | Price: £65 | Sizes: 6-24

This cheerful striped maxi dress is another holiday must-have. Wear it over your bikini as you head to the beach and then throw a denim jacket over it when it’s time for sunset cocktails. The sugary sweet pastel tones of the pretty pattern are bound to get you in a sunny mood.

VIEW NOW – £65 | FATFACE (opens in new tab)

13. Play with proportions

Not all denim jackets are blue or indeed the same boxy cropped shape of the traditional style. If you’re looking for a way to balance an hour glass or pear shape, swap to a denim jacket with a waist tie. By nipping in at the waist, you’ll draw the eye to the narrowest point of your body and create balance between shoulders and hips as the jacket flares over the bottom half of your outfit – this look works well with an A-line midi skirt or wide leg trousers.

Stradivarius black tailored culottes

(Image credit: Stradivarius)

Stradivarius Tailored Culotte Trouser | Price: £27.99 | Sizes: 4-16

A versatile item for every wardrobe, a pair of black wide-leg trousers will work in the office or at the weekend with the right pieces. A denim jacket will add a touch of cool to these simple wardrobe staples. Try adding trainers and a cool head scarf for a fun brunch look.

VIEW NOW - £27.99 | ASOS (opens in new tab)

What to wear with a black denim jacket?

With your denim jacket, opt for a form-fitting cut to wear over dresses or why not try an oversized silhouette with the sleeves rolled up teamed with a t-shirt and slim cut trousers?

Rivkie says “simply think of it as a replacement for your favourite black blazer or black leather jacket”. She adds: “A black denim jacket is also a great layering piece once temperatures drop in the autumn – wear under your favourite coat to keep cosy.”

How to wear a denim jacket over 50?

You’re never too old to wear a denim jacket as they are a truly timeless piece but if you’re looking to update your look, Rivkie suggests: “Over 50 you might want to dial down on the ’90s nostalgia, and instead opt for more tailored iterations over classic trucker styles. Team over summer dresses and white shirts for a modern but grown-up feel.”

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Antonia Kraskowski
Antonia Kraskowski

Antonia Kraskowski is a freelance fashion editor with over 15 years of experience in the industry. Having started her career at Conde Nast working for titles including Easy Living, Glamour and Vogue New Markets, Antonia went on to work in the fast-paced world of newspapers and weekly magazines, becoming Fashion Editor at Express Newspapers and Magazines in 2014, a role she held for five years before going freelance. Her career has seen Antonia travel the world, shooting in 18 countries and styling campaigns for brands ranging from Ben Sherman and DKNY to Wallis.