The denim jacket, 3 ways

Oct 14, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. ET

A denim jacket is just about the most versatile piece of clothing there is. Here's how to pair it with three different looks.

Keep it simple

For an easy, no-fuss approach, think basics — khakis and army greens. Pair army green shorts or pants with a classic boat neck stripped tee for a carefree and casual weekend option. Or go with a white shirt or blouse with a tan pencil skirt for the office.

Dress it up

Full knee-length skirts have steadily become a popular street style trend. Although full, '50s housewife-esque skirts evoke an otherwise girly feel, a denim jacket can bring it right back down to earth. A jacket mixes that delicate side with practicality to make "dressy" clothing individualized.

Another girly option that a denim jacket will tone down is a white summer day dress. Prolong your summer whites by throwing on a denim jacket when the air starts to get that crisp chill. Add some tough combat boots to perfectly transition an airy dress to appropriate autumn attire.

'90s Flash back

The grunge days are making a comeback. This season there were floral, "granny print" dresses everywhere, from street style to the runways — this trend's made a huge resurgence. Designers like Saint Laurent gave a nod to punk fashion by showcasing leather, lace, plaid and tiny floral patterns. To replicate the style, throw a jean jacket over an oversized plaid shirt and leather pants, or try a floral print dress and denim jacket. Even though floral dresses don't scream "fall," that's where the jacket comes into play. With black tights and a jean jacket, a dress is acceptable to wear even as the temperature starts to dip.

For more options

Sometimes a leather jacket just needs a rest. Swap it for a trusty denim jacket to get an equally grunge-worthy effect.

For more on fall fashion

Five fall fashion outfits we love
Outfit inspiration for fall
4 Must-have fashion items for fall