There are few spring essentials that have as much multi-year wearability as a good denim jacket. Similar to your leather jacket or a great denim jacket, a denim jacket can be one of the most useful and stylish layers you can reach for once the weather turns from winter to spring.
Whether you’re looking for a traditional cotton denim jacket, a cropped style that gives your high-waisted pants a moment to shine, or a vest with a little more fit, the best denim jackets aren’t hard to find. Even more, you don’t have to go for the traditional blue jeans. “A black denim jacket is a wardrobe essential,” says New York-based stylist Desiree Miranda. “You can get that effortless ‘off-duty cool-girl’ look by pairing it with black jeans or leather pants and a white or striped shirt underneath.”
Luckily, you don’t have to drop a ton of cash on the traditional staple to find one that’s stylish and warm. We turned to the experts—editors, stylists, and influencers who test hundreds of new items a month—to find the best denim jackets under $100 for spring. Ahead, 20 of the best to shop.
“I absolutely love the wash of this jacket,” says influencer Raeann Langas, who recently moved from Los Angeles to New York. “I would wear it as a top paired with dark jeans with a long coat on top.”
“I’m really particular about my denim jackets — the shape is so important!” says Indya Brown, stylist and editor. “I tend to go for shorter or cropped lengths as most of my trousers are high-waisted, so the proportions look really purposeful and fun.”
“The ’90s Levi’s Premium Trucker Jacket is a timeless and comfortable shape, meaning both dressy and casual ensembles are infused with effortless cool,” says influencer Mandy Madden Kelley, who also owns the jewelry brand Pager. “What makes it so special is its versatility – it looks equally great styled over a floaty dress or teamed with skinny jeans and trainers for a streetwear look. Indeed, the jacket only gets better with wear, showing age in the form of fading, torn threads and unique fades that no two pieces have in common. The combination of classic design, durable material and the fact that it goes with almost everything makes it a must-have addition to any wardrobe.”
“I’m always inspired by that classic 1970s California aesthetic,” says recent Los Angeles-to-New York transplant Kathryn Zahorak. “I blame it on growing up in the Golden State. I love a bit of a masculine oversized fit for a jacket. Dark wash denim. I love pairing it with vintage Levi’s or a bold maxi dress.”
“This one from the Topshop collection at Nordstrom is a perfect base and the slightly cropped look is sure to be a flattering style on all body types,” says Miranda.
You’ve definitely seen the denim vest’s comeback on your feed recently — and this pick from influencer and entrepreneur Alyssa Coscarelli is also a favorite of mine. Layer it over a tee for a casual vibe or on its own for a night out.
“The cropped denim jacket from Cider is my new obsession,” says Muntea Carmina, an influencer in Romania who goes by the name @carminamnt. “An essential addition to your wardrobe. I love the unique design that you don’t see every day,” says Carmina, who would pair this jacket with “a denim crop top, black cargo pants and Dr. Martens”.
Influencer Pauline Leclercq, who goes by @honeypopi, says she likes “a classic, oversized and dark denim jacket to switch it up from the classic denim jacket. I see this with a long skirt and a pair of gazelles or samba and a classic white shirt.’
Nail the ’00s revival that’s all over Instagram and TikTok with this denim shrug.
“One of my favorite denim jackets is the Opal Swing Denim Jacket from Free People,” says influencer Kooba Pardo from North Carolina. “I love how timeless and stylish this jacket is. It also features a beautiful distressed denim wash that can be worn all year round. It’s the perfect oversized fit, but it doesn’t feel baggy. Plus, it’s versatile and can be dressed up or down. It’s a great piece if you’re trying to build a capsule wardrobe at an affordable price.”
“This oversized navy denim jacket from H&M is such an easy piece to wear for transitional weather from fall to winter and spring to summer,” says Miranda. “Oversized denim jackets are great for when you want to add another piece, and not be ‘too finished’, use over athleisure for a fun look.”
This zip-up denim jacket is made from chunky spun denim, giving it that cool vintage look you’ve been seeing all over your feed.
“I also love an oversized silhouette like this denim jacket from Topshop,” says Brown. “It’s dark balloon-shaped jeans and it looks very expensive.”
“I love Everlane denim because it’s reliable and affordable,” says Abby Price, founder of Shop Abbode. “I wear this light wash style all the time,”
Los Angeles-based influencer and model Loren Thompson loves this denim jacket from Revolve because it’s perfect for transitional weather.
“I generally prefer the bomber style, but I love the way this dark suit jacket goes with everything,” says Coscarelli.
A favorite of influencers from Los Angeles to New York, Azalea Wang creates standouts and accessories that feel like unique everyday pieces. This cropped jacket is no exception.
Leclercq also recommends “a cropped denim jacket to go with all your looks – especially over a long dress on summer nights.”
“Cropped denim jackets are so versatile, you can wear them over your summer dresses or skirts in the spring,” says Miranda. “Plus, it’s so easy to pull off an overly casual look. This one from Abercrombie is a great choice as it’s mostly cotton with a bit of elastane for extra comfort.”
One of Amazon’s top denim jackets is also an influencer favorite: This sherpa-lined denim style from Levi’s.