Young people have been wearing denim for over 50 years now, although it did drop in popularity as a fashion item during the 1980s, overtaken by leather jackets or the more stylish New Romantic look (although it never lost its place completely). It was most likely the Indie scene of the nineties and noughties that saw the rebirth of denim as a jacket to be respected in. Many music acts of the era, such as Sleeper, Supergrass, Mansun, Elastica and Blur, wore denim jackets and managed to give them revived acceptance. At the same time the popularity of jeans suffered though, with the surfer, combat and cargo trousers being favoured, although this saved us from the double-denim curse that had often ruined the credibility of early denim wearers who had failed to move on.
Because the denim jacket is usually so low maintenance you'd wish you could befriend them. They need no ironing, in fact they actually improve if they're not ironed, as the just-fitting cut has the perfect amount of inherent stretch in it. In fact, if you decide to arrive at a friend's home and find them ironing a denim jacket, quickly turn around, make a hasty exit and never see them again. (But first be very sure they're not applying an iron-on Harley Davidson badge first, in that case heap extra amounts of praise on a special friend you never knew you had.)
So is wearing a denim jacket simple? Of course - do whatever you want really. But to summarise there are four options available. Initially there's the fully buttoned look. You're really wearing your jacket as a traditional shirt, so you need to think carefully about the supporting garments, most notably your choice of trousers. Next, it can be totally undone, perfect for showing off just a tease of that rock T-shirt or something else from your favourite designer. The areas between these two extremes are the V and A options. Button up the lower buttons in the cardigan arrangement and you have a cardy-type shirt jacket mash up of epic proportions. Or utilise the top few buttons for a more unusual statement of non-conformity.
This, for the denim jacket, is the look that will live forever, corset in your chest and release the bottom two or three buttons. It sounds odd to some, and it may not suit all body shapes (let's just say it could have pregnancy-type undertones), but master this style and you'll have conquered the challenge of being a lifelong hipster.
So, denim jackets in a nutshell. A simple to own, easy to wear, versatile and functional item of classic vintage clothing that offers few clues about the wearer and reveals nothing about their class or fashion preferences. It's the must-have item of any modern wardrobe.
Anna Fredwell covers fashion and style trends for a variety of online sites and magazines. She provides constructive advice, commentary and hints on styling and purchasing. Her latest initiative looks at mens denim jackets and womens denim jackets both wearing them and how they can be sourced.
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