Back in the blue: The humble jean jacket has a revival

It's an integral part of the Canadian tuxedo and a staple in closets around the country — but a new generation is claiming to be making jean jackets cool again.

A new generation is snapping up denim jackets fom clothing stores and vintage shops

Are high school students helping to make jean jackets cool again? Western Canada High School students Lilian Munoz, left, and Manmeet Minhas say their classmates love their denim jackets year round, not matter what the weather. (Danielle Nerman/CBC)

It's an integral part of the Canadian tuxedo and a staple in closets around the country — but a new generation claims to be bringing the jean jacket back and making it cool again.

Jean jackets, whether blue, distressed, acid wash, with velvet embellishments and even beading or rhinestone applique are flying off the racks at clothing stores and vintage shops across Calgary.

The denim vest treasure was found at Used House of Vintage on 17th Avenue S.W. in the Beltline, where employees say jean jackets are flying off the racks. (Danielle Nerman/CBC)

"I heard from my dad that it used to be an old trend, like in the '90s or something, and now it's just kind of coming back," said Grade 10 student Sulekah Noh.

"They're putting them in stores, you see a lot of people wearing it, it's becoming cheap and easy."

  • Did jean jackets ever go out of style? Send photos of your denim duds to or tweet us @cbccalgary

Students at Western Canada High School in Calgary say all of their classmates seem to have one and they often wear them year round.

"We get cold, but we pretend it's not cold," said Lilian Munoz.

But did the denim jacket ever truly fall out of fashion?

In 2001 at the American Music Awards, then-sweethearts Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake left a blue stain on the red carpet that some say led to the demise of the humble jean jacket. (The Associated Press)

There was a definite point where denim as a fashion statement began its slow descent into tacky, says Calgary fashion designer Paul Hardy.

While Britney Spears and Justin Timerberlake's infamous 2001 twin Canadian tuxedo ensemble didn't lead to the total demise of the humble denim jacket, it was likely a contributing factor to the fabric taking a high-fashion back seat.

"From that period on, denim on denim became a bit outlawed," Hardy said.


Now, fashionistas are once again embracing denim and wearing the fabric in sophisticated ways.

"Jean jacket with a shirt and tie, or a bow tie — it's sort of creating that juxtaposition of style and how you put it together that I think maybe seems like it's a new trend, but it's really just reinventing a classic," Hardy said.

High fashion designers are also reclaiming jean jackets. Hardy says he's seen designs from Chanel, Dior and Yves St. Laurent that sell for upwards of $2,500.

"There's certainly a denim for every demographic or price point. I think it's one of those pieces that really transcends every social hierarchy," he said. 

Here's a sample of some Calgary Eyeopener listeners and their favourite denim jackets:

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener and Danielle Nerman