Vintage Denim Jackets

Showing 1–52 of 75 results

Showing 1–52 of 75 results

Sold Out Vintage Denim Jackets

New Women's Denim Jackets

New (not vintage) denim jackets for women, starting at $29.99.

Make your vintage denim jacket stand out!

Congrats, if you’re all the way down here you’ve hopefully spotted your new favorite jacket! Vintage denim jackets are great because they’re classic, versatile, and always a little bit unique. They’re also great because they’re endlessly customizable. We’ve rounded up ten of our favorite tutorials from Youtube on ways to DIY your vintage denim jacket. Want to distress your jacket to create that super lived-in look? Want to bleach your jacket or completely change your color? Maybe you’re a DIY pro and want to add fringe or a sherpa lining! Whatever your taste, click the link below to discover a treasure trove of possibilities for your vintage denim jacket! 

So, what's up with denim anyway?

When most people think of denim, they picture shades of blue. Long before denim became a popular fabric for clothing, indigo dye was used to turn other garments blue. In 19th century Japan, firemen wore oversized wool jackets dyed with different indigo patterns to distinguish which fire squad they belonged to. During the European Industrial Revolution, workers wore blue cotton jackets cut in a shape that was relatively similar to the modern denim jacket.

The word “denim” originated in this time period — “de Nimes”, meaning from Nimes, France. The fabric was actually different than what we now refer to as denim, but the term stuck.

The denim that we’re familiar with was invented by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss, who were granted a patent for their workwear fabric on May 20th, 1873. The Levis Strauss Company originally used the fabric for pants. In 1905, they produced the “Type 1” jacket, the first iteration of the modern denim jacket. The Type 1 featured a pocket with button closure in the front, and cinched with a buckle in the back. Fourteen years later in 1919, the U.S. Army made the decision to replace their uniforms with “working blues”, an outfit consisting of a denim pullover top and five pocket denim pants. In 1933, a one piece denim coverall was developed for mechanics, drivers, and other Army specialists. In 1940, the “working blues” jumper was replaced by a button up jacket with a collar, reminiscent of the Levi’s Type 1 jacket. Widespread use of denim uniforms also spread to the Navy. In WWII, sailors were issued a 12oz denim shirt jacket featuring a shawl collar and open pockets. The sheer size of the war effort — 16.1 million Americans served in WWII — meant that denim was produced on a massive scale. This helped solidify its place in post-war American culture, pushing it very much into the mainstream.

Despite its popularity, denim was still seen as something worn by the working class rather than the upper class. But that would change. In 1951, the famous singer and actor Bing Crosby was initially denied entry into a Canadian hotel because his denim jeans didn’t meet the dress code. Once they recognized him as a celebrity, he was allowed to enter, but the story was picked up by the newspapers and the Levi Strauss company heard about it. In response, Levi’s made Crosby a full denim tuxedo, which he proudly while during a publicity tour for his latest film. It was around this time, nearly fifty years after the original, that Levi released the Type II denim jacket — a new design that did away with the back cinch and added a second chest pocket.

Bing Crosby wasn’t the only celebrity to contribute to denim’s rising cool-factor. In 1955, actor James Dean wore denim in his breakout film Rebel Without A Cause. In 1957, Elvis Presley wore a denim jacket and jeans for major parts of his movie Jailhouse Rock. American teens were quick to emulate these stars, and by the end of the 1950s denim was no longer just workwear — it was a fashion statement for the young and rebellious.

In 1962, Levi’s introduced the quintessential denim jacket — the Type III. Also known as the “trucker jacket”, this design features two chest pockets with angled seams and flaps. The Type III also marked a shift to heavier 14oz denim (previous jackets were 9oz), and a slimmer fit. To this day, Levi’s continues to produce the Type III, but there are ways to distinguish what era a vintage jacket is from. The biggest tell is on the tag. While all Type IIIs have a red tag, the tags on jackets produced through 1971 read “LEVI’S” in all capital letters — these are known as “big E” jackets. The tags on pieces products in 1972 and later read “Levi’s”, and are known as “Little e” jackets.

With denim jackets more popular than ever, but still relatively pricey, Levi’s decided to release a budget version. The new jacket, released in the late 1960s, became known as the “Orange Tab” line thanks to its new tag color. Levi’s cut costs by using cheaper materials and a streamlined manufacturing process. But consumers didn’t seem to mind. The orange tab line became a huge hit, leading to large increases in the number of jackets sold both in American and worldwide.