The Item I Wear to Death: My Gap 1969 Denim Jacket

I'm basic. So sue me.

Eyewear, Orange, Sunglasses, Outerwear, Street fashion, Jacket, Glasses, Recreation, Fashion accessory, Drink,
Courtesy of Danielle McNally

In our biweekly series, our editors will be sharing "the item they wear to death," whether it be a basic white tee or a super-trendy jumpsuit. Prepare yourself (and your credit card) for some guilt-free shopping.

I never leave home without my jean jacket. At this point the light-wash Gap 1969 denim topper is essentially an extension of my body. I’ve had it for a good six years now—well, in some version; I left its predecessor hanging on a hook under the bar in a Manhattan restaurant, realized 20 minutes later I didn’t have it, returned to said restaurant to retrieve it, cried when it wasn’t there, and purchased a new one the very next day—and in that time it’s criss-crossed the continent from Massachusetts to California, and been to every country I have, including Norway and Guatemala. And why wouldn’t I pack it every time? It’s the perfect travel companion: It goes with everything and never wants to sightsee when you want to sleep in. (I kid. Kinda.)

Here, the jean jacket appears alongside a maxi dress, an oversized scarf, and my friends at our hotel in Antigua, Guatemala.
Here, the denim jacket tops off a tank-and-skirt combo for dinner at the beach in Sicily, Italy.

This particular style has tabs at the hem that can be buttoned in two different places to accentuate the waist and a little interior pocket that fits my phone (maybe all jackets have this, but I only recently discovered it in mine and it’s been a game-changer). The outerwear is the right weight for all weathers. AC blasting at dinner? Throw on your denim jacket. A bit breezy after sunset? Grab your denim jacket. Not cold enough to warrant a puffer? That denim jacket will do. It looks stylish just hanging from my hand, which means I’m never annoyed if I carry it around all day without ever putting it on. (As my father always says, “better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”)

At left, the jacket paired with a navy shift dress and tan heels for the office #HearstElevatorSelfie. At right, the jacket layered over a hoodie and under a very chic orange lifevest for boating in Balestrand, Norway.

But it's not just a travel piece. The jacket has the all-important Very First Spot in my closet because I reach for it—I'd estimate—once a week. I wear it winter, spring, summer, and fall. I wear it to the office, over cocktail dresses, with minis, maxis, shorts, and pants. Name a thing it can’t be worn with. You can’t. Because even a Canadian tuxedo is no longer a faux pas.

At this point, I wear it so often, it’s become a thing my boyfriend teases me about. But I don’t care, the jacket and I have more history. If I’ve convinced you that you, too, need a jacket like this in your life, you can go ahead and purchase your own right here. I promise you won’t regret it.


Gap icon denim jacket, $70 SHOP IT

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