Casual Friday

A good denim jacket topping off a casual look in cool weather is very appealing. There have been several jean jackets in my collection, but they do not stay with me long. They always feel stiff, boxy, and out of proportion for my shape.

While researching recently, I read about the classic Levi’s jacket and realized what I have been doing wrong. The breast pockets need to be at least four inches wide; anything less makes it look like you bought it in the Junior Department. Slash pockets at the side are handy and flattering. The jacket’s body needs to be pliable and softly faded, but not in a trendy way. The buttons should be silver-colored metal for me. Tabs are necessary at the waistline to adjust it down if needed. The collar needs to be in proportion, not too large and pointy. The sleeves need to be narrow enough to layer another jacket or roll/push the sleeves up. Wearing the jacket with a longer layer underneath helps to disguise my short thick waist.

On Saturday, we took a drive up to Watauga Lake Winery to have lunch, take a tour and learn how wines are made. It’s a tremendous amount of work, and it takes at least two years to get a good bottle of wine. The local winery has won many awards, including Double Gold for their port-style wine, Duncan Hollow, at the International Wine Festival Competition.

My Levi’s jacket is from Dillard’s. The top is from White House|Black Market. The straight leg black jeans are from Chico’s last year. Wearing more than three colors in a look overwhelms me, and I prefer solid neutrals over bright colors and prints. The shoe-boots are several years old by Franco Sarto. Wearing a structured bag and keeping the other items sleek and simply kept me from looking too sloppy. The bag is based on a classic, as are many of my selections.

The leaves are not at a peak in our area, but they started to change last week.

  1. I have a 30 year old Levi’s jacket that is my grab-and-go for this time of year. It has been one of the best cost per wear pieces in my closet.

  2. Good tips to keep in mind when buying a denim jacket. Also, it’s clear to me after much trial and error that this is a garment that was never meant to be buttoned!

  3. Great post and appreciate your tips to make the most of this look. I bought a denim jacket on sale (for a steal) about 3 years ago, after learning it was considered a wardrobe “staple” (even for mature ladies) by many fashion advisors. I rarely wore it but since moving to a colder climate, I find myself reaching for it more and definitely like it with either black or khaki pants, but never blue denim unless it is a very dark wash. It also looks good with long skirts and boots. As another commenter notes, it is really not meant to be buttoned, but when it’s windy and you’re really cold, you actually can!

  4. Jean jackets match up with many styles, fabrics, and colors of tops and pants. Plus any one of any age can look good in one.

  5. Ahhhhh fall! So lovely! I love the specifics of jean jacket flattery, thank you! I’m going to reassess my jean jackets (a minor obsession for me) and see what deserves to stay. Thanks again for the help, Susan, and have s good weekend!

  6. I just purchased a new jeans jacket! I had a cropped one that worked with dresses, but wanted a regular jeans jacket that looked good! I must have tried on 30 in the past year or two. I finally found the perfect one for me at Madewell. The color isn’t too dark, it’s not too distressed, and the fit works!

  7. Susan, great tips on choosing and wearing a denim jacket. I love mine, but this fall has been so warm that I haven’t yet had a chance to wear it. I like to put it over a solid dark red ensemble or a over a black or navy top with a brightly printed skirt. As for “double denim,” we sometimes hear that it is a good look, but to me it is too costumey. Do you have an opinion about that?

  8. Susan, do you know if the jacket is the original trucker or classic trucker. Original is cotton and elastane. Classic is cotton and spandex. One may have more stretch and thinner, which would be my preference. You look awesome in it.

    1. It is the Original Trucker Jacket Item #05040661. I washed it and tried to iron it when I got it to remove that strange new denim smell. Ironing has very little effect on it.

  9. I recently purchased a denim jacket from Chico’s at an outlet store. It fits beautifully because it has some stretch to it making it as comfortable as a sweater. Love the boots! Looking to find something like them this year.

  10. I bought a jean jacket a few years ago by Silver Jeans. I like that it has stretch but I don’t find myself wearing it much. It too had the strangest smell. I had to wash it several times and dry it outside before it was ok to wear. Maybe some packing material makes the odor.

  11. I am a somewhat obsessed denim jacket fan. I purchased my favorite light wash somewhat embroidered light wash jacket ten years ago at Chico’s. Over time, I actually managed to wear it out. I purchased several identical jackets from eBay and love the compliments I receive every time I wear it. Since I live in a rural mountain city I frequently double denim with darker wash jeans.

  12. Hi Susan, I want to say this is a very nice look and I also like the length of your hair, it appears to have been shortened a little.

  13. I have two culottes; one in grey and one in black jersey. I have sweaters and tops to go with them.

    I am on the hunt for a pair of black boots that are mid-calf. However, I can’t find them. I do have 2-inch heel leather booties which come over my ankle.

    Would it look right to wear them with my culottes that end at mid-calf?

    My look is changing thanks to you 🙂

    Glenna Sweeney
    Brea, CA

  14. What is your opinion of wearing a cross shoulder bag either for casual or dressy events?

    Because of my “dropped” shoulder, a cross bag is more comfortable, but I feel less “dressed”.

    Love your fall pics…..our leaves down in Houston, Tx, turn in Dec-Jan and then spring comes along quickly.

  15. Will you let us know as soon as the new purses come it? I love the purse you have on in today’s Casual Friday, hoping to get one when the new purses arrive. I’m sure they will go out quickly. Thank you for these lovely messages, always!

  16. I can’t tell by the pictures – does this jacket have the slash pockets?

    I also agree about the proportion of the breast pockets – when they’re too small, they look totally wrong – especially if they sit on the top of the breasts.

    I’d love some tips on wearing booties and short boots with the slimmer pant legs – i cant seem to get it to look right.

    1. Yes, it has the slash pockets. Always wear shoes the same color or tone (light/dark) as your pants. Wear at least one top that stops mid-behind. (Layering tops has been my secret weapon for years!)

  17. Love your casual outfit and information on buying a jeans jacket. Your hair in the last two post looks fabulous. Enjoy the photos as always. Judy V

  18. Hi Susan. I love your web site. Could you give us an idea of what type of things you carry in your purse on a regular basis?

  19. You put my dilemma perfectly! I love the looks of denim jackets but never on me! Thanks for your advice, as it is always very relevant.

  20. I love this look, Susan!! And now I know why I don’t like the jean jacket I currently have..too stiff and the proportions are not right for me. Is the jacket the Levi´s® Classic Trucker Denim Jacket listed on the Dillards website? I’d like to get the same one.. I would also like to purchase the classic handbag when they arrive. Thanks!

  21. Love, love, love this look! Just want to mention that I use fabric softener when washing my denim jackets to make them soft.

    1. Peggy Sagers of Silhouette Patterns swears by Coka Cola to soften denim or any stiff fabric. It has to be regular coke- no diet. Put a can of it in a front loader or a quart or so in a top loader washing machine without any detergent or fabric softener and run through a complete cycle. Do it as many times as necessary to get the softness you desire, and no, it does not discolor the fabric or make it sticky.

  22. Another beautiful area!
    I must say this look is very attractive! The white shirt is a great length and contributes to a very slimming look. You look fantastic as usual!

  23. Like this look on you..have the pieces to do this other than the boots & larger faced watch. Hope you are having a great weekend..drizzling here in Eastern NC. Thanks Susan!

    1. It is the Original Trucker Jacket Item #05040661. I washed it and tried to iron it when I got it to remove that strange new denim smell. Ironing has very little effect on it.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.