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19 trendy and timeless denim jackets to wear all year long

Upgrade your any outfit with this wardrobe staple!
Kara Birnbaum / TODAY
/ Source: TODAY

Fashion trends come and go, with very few able to transition from season to season. Still, a select few continue to stand the test of time. Topping that list: the iconic denim jacket.

When preparing our wardrobes for warmer weather, a denim jacket makes a great lightweight option for those unexpected, cooler days. Plus, it easily pairs with jeans, leggings and statement-making summer dresses.

The original denim jacket look has since expanded into different styles, colors and trends — but if you want to stick to tradition, you can go the classic route and embrace the look that has been around for more than 100 years.

Why are denim jackets a wardrobe staple?

There's simply something about the silhouette and the style that make denim jackets something we constantly reach for, says celebrity and personal stylist Basia Richard, adding that it's why almost everyone has one (or multiple!) in their closet.

"No matter what the trends are, it’s just something that we can wear no matter what," she adds.

The overall versatility of the jacket make them easy to grab in a pinch, even when looking to transform an outfit.

"It’s a very classic silhouette that we can really wear with sort of anything," Richard explains. "It goes with those clothes and looks that are a little bit dressier; that [denim] jacket is going to turn them into more casual looks."

If you don't own this wardrobe essential already — or if you're wanting to add more denim jackets to your collection — we found top-rated picks below that can easily become your year-round staples. Plus, style expert Olivia Perez, stopped by the 3rd Hour of TODAY to introduce us to the different styles of denim and how to incorporate them into our everyday wardrobe. Keep scrolling or use the links below to learn more.

What to look for | Budget picks | Best overall | Cropped picks | Distressed picks | Colored picks | Oversized picks | Plus-size picks | Editor-approved picks | How we chose | Meet our experts

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Best denim jackets

What to look for when shopping for a denim jacket?

Richard notes that there are a few key factors shoppers should keep in mind when searching for the right denim jacket:

Function. "It really depends on the function and where you’re going to wear it," Richard says. Are you going to be dressing up a casual summer outfit? Or throwing it over your shoulder to layer over an airport outfit?

Style. Are you going for a more light-washed look? Or are you looking to darken the hues of your closet with a dark-washed jacket? Do you prefer oversized or fitted? What kind of collar, sleeves or silhouette are you looking for? These are all questions Richard recommends keeping in mind.

Body type and fit. Richard also suggests evaluating your body type and how a denim jacket might feel, fit and look. "[Keep] in mind the styles overall just to make sure we don’t blindly follow the trends. ... When you pick the jacket, [make sure] it’s actually going to fit your silhouette," she says. Richard adds that those with wider hips might opt for a shorter jacket that will help accentuate their silhouette. On the other hand, those who like "boyish" oversized tees might instead go for oversized jackets that will provide a similar style and structure.

Durability. Finally, while it's difficult to determine the quality of a jacket while online shopping or viewing it on the hanger in a store, Richard says that finding one that has longevity means you won't ruin it after a wash, nor will you have to buy a new one often.

Best budget denim jackets for women

Riders by Lee Indigo Women's Stretch Denim Jacket

What we like
  • Over 20,000 five-star ratings
  • Reviewers say it's "very comfortable"
Something to note
  • Many dislike the fabric smell

Fit: Classic straight | Length: Below waist | Pockets: 4 | Fabric weight: Lightweight | Sizes: XS-XL | Care: Machine-wash cold, air-dry

This jacket comes in at under $40 and would pair well with any closet staple. Available in 10 colors and adorned with over 19,000 verified five-star ratings on Amazon, you're bound to find something that suits your style. With "just enough" stretch, reviewers rave about how comfortable and easy to wear this jacket is.

LifeShe Beaded Jean Jacket

What we like
  • Customers say it's "well made"
Something to note
  • Some say the arms are too short

Fit: Snug | Length: At the waist | Pockets: 4 | Fabric weight: Lightweight | Sizes: XS-XXL | Care: Machine-wash inside out

This adorable pick from Amazon is a budget-friendly way to enhance your denim jacket game. The pearls are attached with a metal piece, you won’t have to worry about losing any throughout the day. Dress up a casual game day outfit, stay warm at an outdoor concert or pair it with studded sneakers for an elevated look.

“This jacket is so well made and comfortable,” said one reviewer, adding, “The denim is soft and the pearls are securely placed!” Another reviewer mentioned they bought two more jackets for their friends after receiving theirs.

Best overall denim jackets for women

Wrangler Authentics Women's Denim Jacket

What we like
  • Over 15,000 five-star ratings
  • Has some stretch
  • Lightweight
Something to note
  • Some say it runs small

Fit: Slightly fitted, stretchy | Length: At the hip | Pockets: 6 | Fabric weight: Midweight | Sizes: XS-XL | Care: Machine-wash

This classic look from Wrangler can go with anything — and sometimes, the most timeless looks are the best. And it looks like plenty of shoppers agree: It's the No. 2 bestseller in Amazon's Women's Denim Jackets category.

"The price is amazing compared to what's out there," one reviewer said. Another noted that it's less boxy than other jean jackets they've tried.

Levi's Women's Original Trucker Jacket

What we like
  • The denim feels "sturdy"
  • Many say it has some stretch
Something to note
  • Some say it runs small

Fit: Straight, snug | Length: At the hip | Pockets: 4 | Fabric weight: Heavy | Sizes: XS-4X | Care: Machine-wash cold, air-dry

You can never go wrong with a good ol' Levi’s jacket. This cropped, fitted style looks great with a turtleneck, a fitted sweater or even a simple T-shirt. What's more, the brand vows it that it will "[get] better over time from natural wear with fading, stains and holes."

According to pleased reviewers, this denim jacket pick is "practical," a "great price" and "very flattering."

Best cropped denim jackets for women

Universal Thread Cropped Denim Jacket

What we like
  • Has a loose fit
  • Great quality
Something to note
  • Sleeves can run wide
  • Ideal to size down

If you need room for your bulky sweaters, this is a great option. According to reviewers, the jacket has a boxy fit and is cozy enough for those cooler days.

"I am normally an extra large, I got a large and it’s still roomy. But happy with the fit! Loose in the arms so you can move! It’s cropped so perfect to pair with high-waisted pants," said one reviewer.

Free People We the People Rumors Denim Jacket

What we like
  • Fabric feels soft
Something to note
  • "Shorter than advertised" per reviewer

Fit: Relaxed | Length: Above the hip | Pockets: 4 | Fabric weight: Lightweight | Sizes: XS-XL | Care: Machine-wash cold

This light-wash cropped denim jacket fits the bill when it comes to a traditional jean jacket, aside from its length. It comes in right above the hip, meaning you can let a longer T-shirt hang down or layer it over a sundress.

Reviewers noted that the sleeves are a bit longer than your normal denim jacket, warning that you might want to roll them up.

Best distressed denim jackets for women

Maurices Denim Jacket

What we like
  • A bit stretchy
  • Soft, lightweight fabric
Something to note
  • Some say denim is thin

Fit: Relaxed | Length: Below waist | Pockets: 4 | Fabric weight: Lightweight | Sizes: XS-XXL | Care: Machine-wash cold/gentle

Timeless with a little bit of a modern edge, this distressed, relaxed-fit denim jacket is the perfect layer to go with anything in your fall or summer wardrobe. Plus, it comes in three different washes.

According to customers, this one is versatile, features a soft material and is super comfortable. "I lift weights and have a tough time finding jackets that fit my biceps. I didn’t have to size up and was totally comfortable in this!" said one reviewer.

Old Navy Distressed Jean Jacket

What we like
  • Ideal for spring
  • Great quality for the price
Something to note
  • Length is a bit short

Fit: Relaxed | Length: Below waist | Pockets: 4 | Fabric weight: TK | Sizes: XS-4X (regular), S-XXL (tall), XS-XL (petite) | Care: Machine-wash gentle/cold, hang dry

This Old Navy pick is versatile: Cuff the long sleeves for warmer days and readjust with the button tabs at the back waist for either a loose or more fitted option.

Reviewers rave about this jacket's versatility and ability to be paired with anything within their wardrobe. With two options to choose from (either a light wash or their "birdie" darker option), select the jacket that will match your wardrobe perfectly.

"I haven't owned a jean jacket in over 15 years, and this one is amazing," said one reviewer, who also described it as comfortable and versatile.

Best color denim jackets for women

Free People Opal Swing Denim Jacket

What we like
  • It has a lower back hemline
  • Feels soft
Something to note
  • Runs big

Fit: Relaxed, oversized | Length: At the hip | Pockets: 4 | Fabric weight: Heavy | Sizes: XS-XL | Care: Machine-wash cold

With six colors to choose from, including orange, green, traditional denim blue and gray, this denim jacket can provide a pop of color to an otherwise neutral outfit.

One unique feature is that the double-breasted pockets don't include a button, meaning you can use them for keys or other smaller items.

"This was the perfect spring/summer jacket! It can be dressed up or down, and it was the most versatile jacket for our trip," said one reviewer.

Talbots Classic Jean Jacket

What we like
  • Ideal for warmer weather
  • Very comfortable
Something to note
  • No lining

Fit: Relaxed | Length: Above hip | Pockets: 4 | Fabric weight: Lightweight | Sizes: XS-XL | Care: Machine-wash cold

Perfect for a summer concert, picnics at the park or simply adding a new color to your layer lineup, this denim jacket provides a style that not many may own. Reviewers rave about the color of this jacket, saying it’s different than anything else in their wardrobe.

It comes in multiple colors that will likely match effortlessly with your existing spring and summer wardrobe.

Best oversized denim jackets for women

Cantonwalker Oversized Denim Jacket

What we like
  • Surprisingly soft denim
Something to note
  • It's a bit heavy

Fit: Baggy | Length: At the hip | Pockets: 4 | Fabric weight: Midweight | Sizes: S-XL | Care: Machine-wash cold, hang dry

If they're heading back to campus, this oversized denim jacket with more than 2,000 verified five-star ratings on Amazon will be their go-to: whether they need to run out the door, are going to Friday night lights or for days when a just a simple T-shirt won't do.

Madewell Oversized Trucker Jean Jacket

What we like
  • Great for layering
Something to note
  • Ideal to size down

Fit: Baggy | Length: At the hip | Pockets: 6 | Fabric weight: Midweight | Sizes: XXS-XL | Care: Machine-wash

For a different colored take on the classic denim jacket, opt for this oversized version from Madewell available in washed black. It's "large enough to allow for layering, without being too big," according to one reviewer, making it the perfect option for bonfires, pumpkin patch days and football games.

Best plus-size denim jackets for women

Levi's Women's Original Sherpa Trucker Jacket

What we like
  • Very warm material
Something to note
  • No inside pockets

Fit: Straight | Length: At the waist | Pockets: 4 | Fabric weight: TK | Sizes: XS-4X | Care: Machine-wash

Tackle chilly temps in this sherpa-lined, cozy jean jacket. It's perfect for those in-between days when it's too hot for a down jacket but way too cold for a cardigan.

With over 1,700 verified five-star reviews on Amazon, one reviewer reported that this jacket is "well-made, warm and looks great with a flannel shirt or sweater and boots." Other reviewers recommend sizing up for a the best fit.

Levi's Denim Hoodie Trucker Jacket

What we like
  • Gives a fitted look
Something to note
  • Arms tend to shrink

Fit: Fitted | Length: Below waist | Pockets: 4 | Fabric weight: Midweight | Sizes: XS-XL | Care: Machine-wash

Fans of hoodies will love this pick, also from Levi's. With knit sleeves and a denim body, this jacket was made for those in-between days when you don't necessarily know what to wear outside. With this, you won't have to decide!

Universal Standard Kelsey Denim Jacket

What we like
  • Plenty of pockets
  • Looks flattering
Something to note
  • A bit short in length

Fit: Fitted | Length: Below waist | Pockets: 4 | Fabric weight: Midweight | Sizes: 4XS-4XL | Care: Machine-wash cold inside out, hang dry

You probably already have a LBD in your closet, but now you need the perfect LBJ — "little black jacket." Reviewers love how this stretchy denim jacket is perfect for "not too cold" days. Plus, this size-inclusive brand makes it in sizes up to 4X.

Best denim jackets, according to editors

American Eagle Drape Stretch Cropped Denim Jacket

What we like
  • Has enough stretch
Something to note
  • Boxy cut

Fit: Drapey | Length: At the waist | Pockets: 2 | Fabric weight: Lightweight | Sizes: S-XL | Care: Machine-washable

Deputy editorial director, Alexandra Deabler wears this one and raves about the stretch of the denim

"I’ve had my cropped denim jacket from American Eagle for about a decade at this point. I love it. This is an updated version of mine. I like that it has stretch, since mine is rigid and sometimes it’s a little tight when trying to wear over a long-sleeve bulkier shirt. But I like the light wash -- I think it goes with everything -- and I like the crop, which is perfect with a dress, skirt or chinos," she says.

Tsher Oversized Vintage Washed Denim Jacket

What we like
  • Very comfortable and stylish
Something to note
  • Only goes up to size XL

Fit: Oversized, relaxed | Length: At the hip | Pockets: 4 | Fabric weight: Lightweight | Sizes: S-XL | Care: Machine-wash with cold water

"I LOVE this jacket. It’s oversized and goes perfectly over all my spring/summer dresses. I would suggest sizing up for a more oversized look," says associate editor Allie Wise.

Aside from its affordability, this is a jacket that is sturdy and will match with all your casual pieces.

Levi’s Women’s Ex-Boyfriend Trucker Jacket

What we like
  • Big inside pockets
  • Perfect fit
Something to note
  • Not ideal to wear thick items

Fit: Relaxed (but size up) | Length: At the hip | Pockets: 6 | Fabric weight: Heavy | Sizes: XS-4X | Care: Machine-wash cold and dry inside out

This denim trucker style with over 1,700 verified five-star Amazon ratings is a versatile option that will pair well with just about anything in your closet.

SEO writer Jannely Espinal loves this classic design for its functional features. "It comes with inner and outer pockets plus I can style it with dresses, jeans and jumpsuits. I personalized mine with patches but I love how efficient this jacket is and I've had it aready for four years. It hasn't disappointed," she says.

Wrangler Girlfriend Denim Jacket

What we like
  • Can wear a hoodie underneath
Something to note
  • Not the most lightweight

Fit: Relaxed | Length: Below waist | Pockets: 4 | Fabric weight: Heavy | Sizes: XS-XXL | Care: Machine-wash

A classic fit is all you need to keep it chic and comfortable. Associate editor Kamari Stewart loves this one and she says, "I always get compliments on it. I got my normal size but it’s oversized enough that I can still wear a hoodie underneath. It has a little weight to it so in the spring, I wear it alone but I can also wear it in the fall."

How we chose

We selected the most popular styles based on the expert's recommendations and asked our editors for their tried-and-truth pieces. Also, we scoured through reviews and chose denim jackets based on sizing availability and shoppers' favorites.

Meet the experts

  • Basia Richard is a freelance stylist who specializes in helping clients find professional clothing that fits their personal style and can be worn at the office. She has also styled multiple celebrities.