- Words by Mr Peter Henderson, Senior Fashion Writer, MR PORTER
The appeal of the denim jacket is greater than the sum of its parts. Sure, it's practical (lightweight yet rugged; warm but breathable) and is constructed from the iconic material originating from either 19th century Genoa or Nîmes (depending on which etymology you follow). But what gives the denim jacket its edge - and ensures it will always remain in our wardrobes - is its cultural associations. At its roots the denim jacket is straight from a Steinbeck novel: invented as utility wear, it speaks of the hard work and salt-of-the-earth honesty associated with the 19th- and early 20th-century US ranchers, railroad workers and gold rushers who wore them. A few decades later, advertisers would immortalise this essence in the Marlboro Man, a fictional Everyman character (who often sported a denim jacket) whose purpose was to rid filtered cigarettes of their "effeminate" image. In the second half of the 20th century, the denim jacket became indelibly associated with popular culture as it was adopted by artists, Beat intellectuals, rock stars, punks, bikers and hip-hop musicians. These days, designers produce denim jackets that remain true to their roots while having the level of quality and finishing that we have come to expect in our clothes.
Click through the gallery, above, to see a handful of men who have worn the denim jacket well, and read our tips for wearing one well, below.