The History of the Denim Jacket (Trucker Jacket)–“The New Blazer”

The Trucker Jacket (Denim Jacket)

For years, and perhaps made mainstream in the mid-1980s by the hit American television crime drama series Miami Vice, gentlemen have been trying to “casualize” the classic blazer and sport coat by pushing up sleeves to the elbow and turning up collars towards the sky. But, fortunately, none of that is any longer necessary—thanks to the rise of the trucker jacket, now being dubbed “the new blazer.”

Once regarded as the definitive counter-culture garment and worn primarily by bikers, Hippies, and gang members, the denim jacket is the modern man’s everyday “sport coat.” The trucker jacket (also called “denim jacket” or “jeans jacket”) has its origins with Levi Strauss & Co., dating to circa 1905. But it is the company’s 1960s’ interpretation of the original that serves as the archetypal denim jacket from which all modern-day trucker jackets—from Calvin Klein’s to Old Navy’s to H&M’s to Gap’s—are derived.

Very rarely does a man live long enough to see something emerge as a classic before his very eyes: The trucker jacket is one such thing. And one of the reason’s for the garment’s sustained popularity is its exceedingly practical nature. Except for in very cold regions, the denim jacket is an all-year garment, capable of serving as coat in the cooler months and as modern blazer or sport coat in the warmer months. (As such, many men have at least two trucker jackets, one of a generous fit so as to accommodate sweaters and scarves when the jacket is worn as a coat, and one of a closer fit to serve as a conventional jacket). And because of its durability, it can readily withstand the rough-and-tumble lifestyle typical of young men: backpacking across Europe; hitch-hiking across North America; or the bohemian lifestyle of an artist in Greenwich Village, Hell’s Kitchen, or Chelsea—all with only the occasional laundering. Today, while very few 20-somethings will own a conventional sport coat, practically every young man has several denim jackets, so much so that they are now being accepted by some jacket-required establishments.

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