Geena Davis in a denim jacket on the phone
VICE may receive a commission if you buy products through the links on our site. Read more here.
Photo: Fotos International via Getty Images

The Best Denim Jackets for Women (Who Take No Prisoners)

Everyone needs the perfect jean jacket to take them from 90s style icon to skate-or-die cool kid. Here are our faves to take to the grave.
New York, US
September 16, 2021, 7:55pm

On the seventh day, god created denim, because she knew how much we would need a tougher, second skin for romping through life. After all, what other ‘fit can take you from jumping in silos to the family function with such ease? What better way to dress down a networking event ensemble than with a cropped denim jacket? A denim duster can take you to Fashion Week, the office, and the honky tonk. In matters of versatility, it’s simply unmatched.


The denim jacket also excels in layerability, which is what makes it the perfect summer-to-fall transition piece. Over here in New York City, the weather can’t seem to make up its mind right now between days of 89-degree sunshine, crisp autumnal breezes, and biblical floods. (So, the usual fall business, with a little climate change garnish.) A denim jacket is a great way to anchor yourself—if only sartorially—amongst those shifting tides. 

We’ve already covered the best denim for dudes (although we don't believe in hard and fast rules about "men's" and "women's" clothes; it's great for literally everyone), and now it’s time to get into the specifics of denim as it’s designed for women. That means tapered fits and cropped cuts; oversized, workwear-inspired pieces; and denim by heritage brands who really, really know what they’re doing.  

Let’s ride. 

Know your heritage brands

Wrangler, Lee, Carhartt, and Levi’s. So goes our holy denim prayer, because those are the brands that have all been around for a hundred years, give or take, and have perfected the art of le jean. If you don’t know where to start with denim and want a ride-or-die piece, any one of them will be able to take you to the grave in style and sturdy materials, because they were all crafting actual, functional workwear for mamma to wear to the steel mill. Denim, in its truest form.

Levi’s, the timeless, heritage San Francisco denim brand, makes a damn cozy jacket thanks to its fuzzy sherpa lining. Hearty, but cozy–just like you. 


Women have been deprived of pockets for eons, dude. So when we see a jacket by a beloved brand like Lee with ample pocket space for our kibbles and bits, you can bet we’ll bite. 

A 1970s collar is so horny. Did you know you’ll actually live longer and reduce your blood pressure if you buy this jacket? And even if you don’t, you’ll still look like the sexy lady version Robert Redford thanks to the 70s nostalgic, slightly pointed collar.


Women's Retro Western Denim Jacket

No one outdoes Carhartt, in my totally biased opinion, when it comes to workwear-inspired fits. They have been in the sturdy gear game for over a century, and there’s nothing quite like seeing that little swirly square logo on a jacket from afar. The denim lover’s bat signal, if ever there was one. 

The cropped fit 

Hot tip: Play with proportions to keep your silhouette. I, for example, am a long, tall bean with the body shape of a collapsible toothbrush, so any and all help that I can get to create the illusion of an hourglass shape is a blessing. Cropped jackets will also look great with high-waisted trousers, skirts, a high turtleneck—you name it.   

You’re a minimalist

Why is this jacket so gratifying? It looks like it was assembled by a team of graphic-designers-turned-surgeons or something, what with its perfectly matching white enamel buttons and stitching. It also manages to feel boxy, and tightly tailored (easier said than done).

Los Angeles Apparel

Raw Indigo Cropped Denim Jacket

A midwash crop 

As if good ‘ole denim couldn’t get more versatile. This cropped jacket is a midwash shade of blue, which means we will be wearing it to our own funeral. 


Curve 'original' denim jacket in midwash

This one does a magic trick

Leave it to Beyoncé to give us some jean jacket razzle dazzle. This jean jacket is really a two-in-one piece; it can be styled as a slightly oversized fit with a subtle pattern, or get its midriff detached to become a cropped jacket. If they allowed denim in the Magic Castle, this is definitely what we’d be wearing. 

Adidas X Ivy Park

Denim Jacket

The oversized fit 

Comfort. Puuuuure comfort. There’s something about an oversized jean jacket that feels like a 24/7 hug from Willie Nelson, accompanying you to whatever dive bar you end up in on the weekend. They’re especially great with a slinky white tank top worthy of Cameron Poe underneath.  

Because fall is also for hoods

The truest way of spotting a city slicking witch? By the hood attached to her denim jacket. Perfect for casual Fridays with the coven. 


Blair Denim Hooded Shirt Jacket

Back in black

We never stop wearing black, but as the seasons change and the nights grow longer, there’s something especially appropriate about sporting the midnight black jean jacket. Just imagine leaning over the pool table in this baby. 

Just Quella

Oversized Jean Jacket

A jean jacket duster

There’s oversized, and then there’s truly ass-covering denim jackets. This one walks the line between the two, and will protect your buns from whatever the subway seats throw (or drip) your way.  


Oversized Chore Coat in Laurelton Wash

The statement piece

Acid wash 90s horse girls, apply here for the denim jacket of your dreams. There are so many incredible vintage jean jackets online for every flavor of your personality, from unhinged horse girl to 70s flower child to the music aficionado with a jacket covered in hundreds of band pins, and more. Peep eBay, Etsy, and even 1stDibs.     


90s Hand Painted Horse Denim Jacket

Now go forth, and get your Canadian tuxedo on. 

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.