Britain has been somewhat unfashionably late to the party this summer. With many of us having to stick rigidly to an autumn/winter wardrobe well into July, it’s thrown our seasonal divide into disarray.

Leaving the house in tweed – during what should be the height of summer – has been made worse by the release of the early phases of AW12 collections. Occasional days of fleeting sun have done nothing but create the illusion of a non-existent summer after having spent the month’s leading up to it stockpiling loafers, espadrilles and shorts. Not that we hold a grudge.

The Denim Jacket

This drab summer has, however, presented an opportunity to get even more wear out of what was already regarded by many as a spring/summer essential – the denim jacket. This classic piece of clothing has transcended decades and remained, more or less, popular throughout.

For the basics of the denim jacket, check out Matt Allinson’s fail safe guide for tips on fit, dabbling in raw variations and the Canadian tuxedo.

Men’s Denim Jackets

Before we start, as this is going to be more of a guide to getting the very most out of your denim jacket during spring/summer, below is a collection of men’s denim jackets currently available on the market. Pick your favourite and keep it in mind as we then create a variety of looks that will prove just how versatile this piece of outerwear really is:

  • American Apparel Denim JacketAmerican Apparel Denim Jacket
  • Topman Light Wash Denim WesternTopman Light Wash Denim Western
  • Paul Smith Western Denim Paul Smith Jeans JacketPaul Smith Western Denim Paul Smith Jeans Jacket
  • Levis Vintage Clothing 1967 Type 111 Trucker Dry-denim JacketLevis Vintage Clothing 1967 Type 111 Trucker Dry-denim Jacket
  • Check Detail Denim JacketCheck Detail Denim Jacket
  • Jean Shop Washed Selvedge Denim JacketJean Shop Washed Selvedge Denim Jacket
  • Paul Smith Jeans Denim JacketPaul Smith Jeans Denim Jacket
  • Topman Grey Denim Western JacketTopman Grey Denim Western Jacket
  • Topman Burgundy Denim Western JacketTopman Burgundy Denim Western Jacket
The Denim Jacket: Spring/Summer

Predominantly a casual piece, the denim jacket brings a more dressed down approach to an outfit; although it can certainly be included under the obscure umbrella of smart-casual if done right. The ruggedness of the piece instantly brings about an air of masculinity and its versatility is practically unrivalled, making it relatively easy to incorporate into your wardrobe whatever your particular taste may be:

Denim Jacket Lookbook

Men's Denim Jacket Lookbook - Spring/Summer Focused

Pair With: Shorts & Tees

There’s no easier way to rock a denim jacket in the spring/summer months than with a considered tee and short combination. You can wear the jacket louchely unbuttoned with the sleeves pushed up, or with two or three buttons fastened.

The jacket styling, footwear and accessory choice can really set the tone for the outfit and your individualism:

  • Asos Crew Neck T-shirt With PocketAsos Crew Neck T-shirt With Pocket
  • Allsaints Bloomsbury Denim JacketAllsaints Bloomsbury Denim Jacket
  • Aubin & Wills Washed-cotton Chino ShortsAubin & Wills Washed-cotton Chino Shorts
Pair With: Structured Shoes

A pair of loafers – or similar structured shoes (forgoing the socks of course) – alongside a stylishly buttoned jacket and minimal accessories will work to create a clean, more put together look suitable for a reasonable heat:

  • Hudson Tan Washed Leather Gould ShoesHudson Tan Washed Leather Gould Shoes
  • Grenson James Grey Calf Leather Sole ShoesGrenson James Grey Calf Leather Sole Shoes
  • Topman Pave Beaded AdjusterTopman Pave Beaded Adjuster
Pair With: Casual Footwear

When unbuttoned and paired with a more casual footwear option, the jacket at hand creates a very different look, one that screams off duty and is perfect for a leisurely walk in the sun.

Stamp your style on the basic canvas with a simple baseball cap – a trend tipped (apologies) to be big this coming season.

Equally, casual jewellery allows room to play and say, “this look is mine.” Try leather bands or beads, but not too many.

  • H By Hudson Orca Striped EspadrillesH By Hudson Orca Striped Espadrilles
  • Lanvin Laser-finished Leather SneakersLanvin Laser-finished Leather Sneakers
  • Topman Grey Tweed Snap BackTopman Grey Tweed Snap Back
Pair With: Prints

Mix up the classic take of the looks above by working in spring/summer’s hottest trend – prints – for a louder, cooler version. Opt for print up top in the form of a short sleeve shirt or polo (something we’ve waxed lyrical about over the spring summer period) and team them with plain shorts.

Alternatively, if you’re feeling bold, go for print downstairs with ambitiously loud shorts or trousers. Accessorise the jacket with a pocket square or neckerchief, with the latter either tied around your neck or stuffed into your pocket.

  • Volklore Banyo ShirtVolklore Banyo Shirt
  • Libertine Libertine Navy Daemon VestLibertine Libertine Navy Daemon Vest
  • Topman Burgundy Pattern ShortsTopman Burgundy Pattern Shorts
Pair With: Smart Casual Pieces

The denim jacket can also serve a more smart-casual purpose in its everyday existence. A well fitting example works great with a shirt and less-formal tie. A crisp white shirt and knitted tie (or bow tie) underneath the jacket creates a great layered outfit, aided by the differing textures of the tie and denim (texture mixing 101).

As you would with a blazer or cardigan, leave the bottom button undone and fasten the two or three above it. A pair of tailored trousers or chinos in a slim-tapered fit is essential when opting for an ‘off duty’ look. Favour summer fabrics like linen in order to add texture and ensure you don’t look like you’ve just reached for the first jacket in your wardrobe on your way to the office.

  • Burberry Brit White Check Lined Henry ShirtBurberry Brit White Check Lined Henry Shirt
  • Jean.machine J.m-4 Washed-denim JacketJean.machine J.m-4 Washed-denim Jacket
  • Reiss Dexter Bow Tie BlackReiss Dexter Bow Tie Black
  • Reiss Dusk Garment Dyed Chinos SandReiss Dusk Garment Dyed Chinos Sand
  • Undercover Low Top SneakersUndercover Low Top Sneakers
  • Asos Penny Loafers In LeatherAsos Penny Loafers In Leather
Pair With: Your Existing Wardrobe

Finally, we acknowledge the marrying of a simple denim jacket with just about any considered choice from your wardrobe to be the absolute epitome of stylish, casual, off-duty dressing.

Below are 3 individual outfits, illustrating just how versatile – and essential – this all-rounder is:

  • Allsaints Bloomsbury Denim JacketAllsaints Bloomsbury Denim Jacket
  • Topman Charcoal Marl Contrast Rib Plain SweatshirtTopman Charcoal Marl Contrast Rib Plain Sweatshirt
  • Reiss Venus Garment Dye Chinos PinkReiss Venus Garment Dye Chinos Pink
  • River Island Denim Jacket In Rebel YellowRiver Island Denim Jacket In Rebel Yellow
  • Burton Black Basic Cotton Crew Neck T-shirtBurton Black Basic Cotton Crew Neck T-shirt
  • Shore Leave Burgundy ChinoShore Leave Burgundy Chino
  • R13 Trucker Slim-fit Denim JacketR13 Trucker Slim-fit Denim Jacket
  • Acne Mens Limit T-shirtAcne Mens Limit T-shirt
  • Topman Grey Aztec Skinny Smart TrousersTopman Grey Aztec Skinny Smart Trousers
Conclusion & Part 2

What you accompany your jacket with is personal preference; adapt to your personal style, taste and existing wardrobe. Brogues, for example, will move further towards the smarter end of spectrum, while some simple sneakers will dress it down – select as you see fit.

Next time I’ll be covering the autumn/winter aspects of this all year essential, to prove just how indispensable the denim jacket is to the modern male.

So what we want to know today is…

  • How have you styled out the poor summer showing?
  • Have you made use of the denim jacket at all this season?
  • What have you worn yours with?

Let us know in the comments below…