As spring is in full bloom and sunny skies are ahead, we’re ditching our winter coats for lighter layers.
One wardrobe staple is the denim jacket: a trusty, durable fabric that’s ideal for when the sun goes down but you’re not quite ready to leave the pub garden.
It can last throughout the seasons too, and is a versatile piece that can even be layered under heavier jackets later on in the year.
When looking for the right one, we’ve taken into account fit – cropped, straight or oversized – and pockets, for functionality and style purposes.
You don’t have to stick to a distressed blue denim either, with plenty of styles and colours on offer from high-end high street to budget-friendly buys.
We’ve spent weeks putting them to the test, narrowing them down to our top picks to add to your wardrobe this spring.
Whether you’re looking for something cheap and cheerful or an investment piece, we’re sure you’ll find one in our guide.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Mango belted denim jacket
Denim jackets don’t need to be restricted merely to varying shades of blue as this Mango piece proves. Its cream-coloured design is an easy way to embrace the shacket trend – a shirt-jacket hybrid. Due to its thickness, sometimes denim can feel a little stiff, so we loved the adjustable tie belt on this that meant you can cinch your waist in or wear it less fitted with a chunky jumper underneath. It’s also flattering on those with a bigger bust and has four spacious pockets, so you could easily forgo a handbag when wearing it.
Asos design recycled denim balloon sleeve jacket
This faded blue style is more trend-led, cropped in shape with an asymmetric hem that sits longer at the back. It had two roomy pockets on the front that easily, and discreetly fit our iPhone 12 in it without feeling bulky. The button fastening is easy to undo without being overly stiff too. It has quite voluminous sleeves, which may swamp a smaller frame, but the cropped hem is flattering on curvier body types as it’s quite an oversized fit.
New Look blue cropped denim jacket
If you’re looking for a more traditional style of denim jacket that’s cropped, this is a great budget-friendly find. It’s not too slim fitting nor oversized and the light-wash denim colour makes it easy to style with other denim pieces if you choose. We enjoyed wearing this with a pair of faux leather trousers and trainers and the cuffed sleeves made us feel more put together than wearing just a hoodie on our daily walks. Its only downside is that the pockets are quite small.
Free People perry hooded denim jacket
It’s springtime, but that doesn’t mean we can expect constant sunshine, as April showers are fast approaching. So this piece is great if you want to keep warm without needing a puffa. It’s an oversized fit, so if you prefer a more fitted piece, size down. The hood, made with faux suede and faux fur trim, is huge, easily covering bigger hairstyles without flattening them, all while keeping your ears cosy. The distressed denim jacket has a boxy, cropped silhouette with two large pockets on the front. If you have more money to spend, it’s a fun piece to add to your wardrobe.
Gap oversized denim jacket
This ticks all the boxes of the classic slightly oversized denim jacket. Falling just below the hip, it has two buttoned pockets that you can fit your hands into but not much else. It’s also a straight silhouette. This was the most comfortable style we tried for a bigger bust and Gap has managed to pull off an oversized style in a non-stretch denim without it drowning you in material. It’s a dark blue colour too so if you’re hoping to be clear of anything that may look like an acid wash, this is a sturdy and versatile option.
Hush calia denim jacket
This is cut in a straight finish and falls to the hips, which we found to be a form-fitting option. It worked well with a white T-shirt, joggers and a pair of trainers when going to the supermarket. It has a lightly distressed feel, just enough so that it doesn’t look like you’ve just stepped out of the Eighties. Made from 100 per cent cotton, it was soft but still retained its shape without creasing when we hastily shoved it in our bag after a rare ray of sun made an appearance.
Reiss philipa denim jacket mid blue
We loved how easy this piece was to layer, especially when the weather took a turn and in the space of a week went from minus temperatures to clear, blue skies. It could be worn easily under our longline puffer coat, but also kept us warm when we paired it with just a T-shirt. It is, however, limited on pocket size, with only two small ones on the front, which is probably why it’s so form-fitting. As versatile and durable as your favourite pair of jeans, this is a timeless style worth investing in, if your budget allows, that you’ll get plenty of use out of.
Vero Moda belted denim jacket with drop sleeves in black
We loved how versatile the tie belt made this darker denim style. You can cinch in your waist by tying it behind your back or add further detailing to the front with a double knot to keep it in place. This is a great option if you’re keen to find a denim jacket that’s a bit smarter. The press-stud pockets are pretty roomy too and will easily fit a bus card and neatly folded face covering in.
The verdict: Denim jackets for women
While the distressed blue, straight cut style is timeless, we loved Mango’s belted denim jacket that was spacious for storage and flattering in its fit. The cream colour is an easy one to introduce into your wardrobe and is a refreshing take on a classic piece. It could be layered nicely with other items in our closet and is the perfect transitional piece as we embrace spring.
We’ve found the best gold hoop earrings to pair with your new jacket
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