denim/jean jacket
Articles,  Fit guide

How a Jean Jacket Should Fit (Men’s Fit Guide)

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Some people call them jean jackets. Others refer to them as denim jackets. And Levi’s fans refer to them as trucker jackets. Call it what you will but there is no denying that a denim jacket deserves a place in every man’s wardrobe. Denim jackets are incredibly versatile, masculine and rugged. They can enhance your outfit immensely but only if the fit is right. So here is a guide on how a jean jacket should fit.

How Should a Men’s Jean Jacket Fit?


A denim jacket should fit your shoulders comfortably but snugly. The shoulder seam of the jacket should lie just around where your shoulder ends. If it’s a bit snug that shouldn’t be a problem since denim tends to stretch. However if it’s too tight, then go up a size and make sure the jacket also checks the remaining fit criteria. If the jacket shoulder seams hang off of your shoulders then it’s too big and you should try a smaller size keeping in mind how it fits in other areas.

shoulders of denim jacket


Most fit guides completely ignore the importance of armholes. The size of the armhole and it’s shape plays an incredibly important role in not only how the jacket fits but also on your range of movement.  You should have room to raise your arms and move them around. Some denim jackets have low armholes and its best to avoid these jackets. Not only do they limit your range of motion but they also fit loosely through the body which detracts from the look of a fitted denim jacket.

Select a jacket with higher and smaller armholes since that will provide you with a streamlined look throughout the body. It will also give you more range of motion.

armholes of jean/denim jacket


A denim jacket should fit close to the body without being uncomfortable. In order to make sure it fits well, put on the jacket and button it all the way up. There should be a maximum of 2-3 inches and a minimum of 1-2 inches of room between your body and the jacket when you pull it taught.

You should have just enough room to wear a crew neck sweater underneath the jacket but not much more.


You should have about 2 inches of excess room in the sleeves of your jacket. This will allow you to have a trim fit but room to be comfortable. Vintage trucker jackets have huge sleeves and unless you have the arms to fill them up, it’s best to avoid such jackets. The jacket sleeve should end where your wrist ends and your hand begins.

sleeve lenght of jean/denim jacket


The length of a denim jacket is arguably one of the most important fit details to check for. Most denim jackets are cut either too long or too short. In order to determine if the length of the denim jacket is correct, wear your favourite pair of jeans with a belt. The denim jacket should end right about where you are wearing your belt. Any shorter, and it will look like you are wearing a women’s cropped denim jacket. Any longer, and it will look like you are wearing a jacket a size too big.

It’s a pain to get a denim jacket length altered without messing up the proportions so it’s best to look elsewhere if you find one failing the length test.

lenght of jean/denim jacket

Denim Jackets: Size up or down?

You might have heard the advice of sizing down when buying a new denim jacket. The advice is that if you wear a medium in men’s clothing (shirts, jackets, sweaters) then you should go for the size ‘small’ for the denim jacket. I don’t think this is good rule to follow because sizing varies a lot between brands.

For example, I usually wear a size medium for my button down shirts but the denim jacket that I am wearing in this photo (and fit guide) is actually a Gap ‘extra small’. While my Levi’s trucker jacket, which fits me just as well is actually size ‘small’. Some jackets have a relaxed fit, others a straight, and some are even slim fit jackets, so there is variation between different jackets and brands.

As such, I would recommend using this guide to determine the how a jean jacket should fit your body as opposed to just looking at the size label.

Do Denim Jackets Stretch? Caring for your Denim Jacket

Denim jackets are made from the same material (i.e. cotton or cotton blend denim) as jeans, so you can expect a jean jacket to behave the same with respect to stretch and shrinkage. As you start wearing the jacket it will naturally stretch over time and form to your body just like your jeans. You can also expect the jacket to shrink a bit when washed and dryed but this is minimal. The jacket quickly returns to its worn shape as you wear it.

How to Wash a Denim Jacket

Caring for your jean jacket is no different than caring for your favorite pair of jeans. I would recommend using a mild laundry detergent such as Woolite to maintain the fabric as much as possible. Whether you want to wash your denim by hand or in the machine is up to you. Many denim enthusiasts wash their denim jeans and jackets by simply soaking them in cold water mixed with mild detergent.

But there is nothing wrong with machine washing your denim. Just make sure you wash it in cold water and not hot because hot water can damage the fabric over time. You also don’t want to machine dry your jacket because that can cause it to shrink. Simply lay it out flat and let it dry naturally.

How to Prevent Denim from Fading

If you have dark colored denim and you want to preserve it’s color and prevent the denim from fading, use a detergent that is specially formulated to prevent fading and discoloration. Woolite All Darks is a great option for colored fabrics including denim. You can use Woolite for both handwashing and machine washing your denim.

Lastly, wash your denim jacket as infrequently as possible. Unlike jeans where there is nothing between the jean fabric and your body (except your underwear, hopefully), denim jackets are worn over shirts and sweaters so your sweat does not come in direct contact with the fabric. And as such they don’t need frequent washings. I would recommend washing a jean jacket maybe once or twice in a year (depending on how much you wear it).


So there you go; a quick and comprehensive guide on how a jean jacket should fit. Now it’s up to you to purchase the perfect fitting jacket using these tips. Denim jackets are a great item to have in your fall and spring wardrobes.

Looking for fall style inspiration? Check out ’10 Amazing Fall Outfits for Men’.