How many times have you started to leave the house, grabbed your regular denim jacket, then—worried that it might match the color of your jeans too closely—gone back in and changed into something else? If you’re anything like me, more than you’d like. After all, the line between disheveled rock-star and scruffy cowboy is a fine one.
Buying a black denim jacket ended this problem. On a trip home one year I realized I hadn’t brought an outer layer with me and, with the summer UK weather not being quite as sunny as I remembered it, I needed a jacket that I could wear with everything in my luggage. Looking through the racks at Zara I came across a perfect black jean jacket and it’s been my go-to ever since.
It’s not just the color of the denim that makes the jacket perfect. The one I choose is cut slightly longer than your typical high-cut denim jacket. This gives it a slightly more regular jacket shape which opens it up for wearing with slightly smarter outfits than a regular jacket.
Would I wear it to a job interview or a wedding? Probably not, but everywhere else it’s a go. The rest of this article will take a deep dive into how to style a black denim jacket and introduce some of my favorite ways to wear one.
See also: The Best Black Denim Jackets for Men, From Truckers to Modern Fits
How to Wear a Black Denim Jacket for Men
Here are 11 of my favorite black denim jacket outfits. Either copy the images exactly or use them as inspiration for your own outfits.
What Clothes Go With A Black Denim Jacket👇
Black denim jackets are super-versatile and go well with most casual items. The most common things I wear with my black jean jacket with are indigo jeans, black boots, and light t-shirts or jumpers. Chinos are a cool alternative to indigo jeans and Vans or canvas shoes will the job too.
Bear in mind that I use pieces from my own wardrobe, but the style tips will work even if your clothes aren’t exactly the same. For example, you could easily swap out skinny jeans for other fits of denim, or change the shades or colors of some of the pieces.
Outfit 1: Black Denim Jacket with Blue Jeans
The place where regular denim jackets fail hardest is arguably where the black denim jacket excels: allowing you to wear jeans with a denim jacket without looking like an 80s trucker. The reason it works is because of the difference in color means. I like to wear this combination with a simple t-shirt in a neutral color and canvas shoes to keep the casual vibes of the outfit.
What Color Jeans Go With a Black Denim Jacket? 👇
Dark blue or indigo jeans are the safest bet. But mid-and-light blue jeans can work well too in the right combination. Dark grey jeans are a good option too. The only color I’d really stay away from is white because of the extreme contrast, although off-white can work.
Outfit 2: Black Denim Jacket with Black Denim Jeans
By pairing the same color denim on top and bottom we are entering the territory of Canadian tuxedo. However, the look is far more pleasing to the eye in black denim than in lighter shades. In the above image, I went for a brand new pair of black jeans, but the look works equally well, if not better, with a pair that is more faded and worn. Complete the all-black outfit by also wearing a black sweater or t-shirt.
Can I Wear A Black Denim Jacket With Black Jeans 👇
Absolutely. The risk is that your outfit ends up too monotone, but there are several ways you can great the outfit up; such as by adding a different color top under the jacket. Also consider experimenting with different levels of wear/fade on the denim. See what colors go with back clothes here.
Outfit 3: Black Denim Jacket with Chinos
Denim jacket and chinos always go well together and it is no different with black denim. The different textures of the material mean you could pair pretty much any color combination and you’d be onto a winner. Because my chinos are navy I went for a light-colored top to break up the outfit. I also think the chunky boots and denim jacket combination in this image contrast perfectly with the slightly smarter aesthetics of chinos.
Read next: I Share Some Tips About How to Style a Denim Jacket That Work For All Shades
Outfit 4: Black Denim Jacket with a Check Shirt
A denim jacket and a check shirt is a great combination and the same is true even when the jacket is black. I went for a shirt with muted, neutral colors to give the outfit some balance. I like doing the top button up when I wear a shirt with a denim jacket to stop it from looking sloppy. Of course, this isn’t always necessary though.
Is a Black Denim Jacket Smart Casual?👇
They certainly can be. While you wouldn’t necessarily think of a denim jacket as a smart casual piece, the black shade works better for this type of outfit than other shades of denim, making it a good smart casual peice. Just make sure the rest of your outfit matches this level of formality.
Outfit 5: Black Denim Jacket with Indigo Jeans
This pairing works because while closer in tone there is still enough of a difference between the black denim of the jacket and the dark blue jeans. Wearing a lighter t-shirt or sweater underneath the jacket increases the contrast further. In the above image, I paired my outfit with a pair of brogue shoes which gave the ensemble a smarter look.
Outfit 6: Black Denim Jacket with a Turtleneck
A black denim jacket looks great when paired with a turtleneck. The turtleneck in the image above is extra thick and chunky so I finished the outfit off with a pair of thick boots. I like the overall black and white vibe of this outfit a lot.
Outfit 7: Black Denim Jacket with Chinos
Pairing a darker top with off-white chinos results in an outfit that is quite different to the others on this list. Wearing an off-white top and off-white sneakers means the jacket contrasts nicely with the rest of the outfit.
Outfit 8: Black Denim Jacket with Smart Pants
This combination is the most challenging as smart pants and denim jackets are typically at polar opposite ends of the style spectrum. I think the black denim with the extended fit goes some way to helping the two items meet in the middle. The black leather shoes and the white shirt mean the outfit is monochrome, ensuring contrast between the denim and the rest of the fit is the main feature.
What to Wear Under A Black Denim Jacket👇
You can wear many different pieces under a black denim jacket. T-shirts and sweaters are the easiest to get right, but both smart and casual shirts work well too. You can also wear hoodies and sweatshirts for a super casual yet easy-to-put-together outfit.
Outfit 9: With A Red Sweater
I really like this smart casual jacket because it’s a great example of how a denim jacket can be part of a relatively smart outfit. The shirt, grey dress pants, and red sweater give the outfit smarter vibes, while the jacket and the Vans Old Skool give the jacket a casual flair. I also really like how the colors work together with the relatively toned-down grays and blacks being elevated by the red of the sweater.
Outfit 10: With A Sweater and a Shirt
This outfit is similar to the one above except I swap out the dress pants for dark blue jeans. I like how the different shades of blue all come together with the black of the boots and the denim jacket.
Outfit 11: With Flannel, Boots, and Raw Denim
This workwear-inspired outfit showcases the more rugged side of a black denim jacket. The heavy boots and flannel shirt are the stars here, but the wider-fitting (at least compared to the other jeans in this article) raw denim brings the outfit together nicely.