G-Star ($250), g-star.com
It's hard to believe now, but there was once a time when everybody wanted to be Judd Nelson. Or at least John Bender from The Breakfast Club. And everyone in the country owned a jean jacket.
3.1 Phillip Lim ($375), 212-334-1160
But soon the eighties evergreen fell victim to unauthentic washes, plus-size Bon Jovi patches, and, perhaps most lamentably, the BeDazzler.
Crate ($165), 213-402-1531
After a fleeting comeback in the mid-nineties, it seemed like the denim jacket might never return to its rightful place as an American standard without the help of a time-traveling DeLorean.
Diesel ($300), diesel.com
That had a lot to do with the ascendancy of jeans as a south-of-the-waist default—we even started wearing them to work—which made the jacket seem like overkill.
Gap ($78), gap.com
Now, with the resurgence of alternatives like slim khakis and trim gray wool trousers, we're once again freed up for some rugged indigo on top. This fall's jean jackets are clean, simple, and cut close to the body.
7 For All Mankind ($375), 7forallmankind.com
Go for dark-rinsed and break it in yourself, or get a lighter-colored one thats already been broken in for you.
Photographs by Brad Bridgers