My earliest memory of having a jean jacket (as we called them "back in the day") was from middle school. It was the late 80s, and I think it was stone washed (not acid washed - two totally different things, you know) and boxy, with an almost dolman-like sleeve. I seem to recall that there were panels set in the shoulder, that sported a checker-board pattern, in varying shades of washed denim blue. It may have had an elastic waste band. But I can't confirm that. I thought it was very cool. Though, I'm pretty sure that back then, I would have said, "rad" and not "cool." It was a *cough* really long time ago.
I can't remember if I wore denim jackets in high school. I don't remember jackets from high school terribly clearly. I remember wearing the letterman jackets of upperclassmen boys from time to time (I know, so high school and kinda lame, isn't it?) and eventually my own letterman jacket (I'm not telling you what I lettered in. You can't make me). But I have no other lasting memories of jackets or coats from back then. I can recall certain sweater vests, baby-doll dresses, and scrunchies. But jackets? No. Definitely fuzzy on those, for some reason.
College. Yes. I had jean jackets in college. Well, I had one I borrowed regularly from my roommate, until finally I broke down and got my own. It was a man's jacket and of course, I swam in it, it was so big on me. But I think that was the point. I think it was sort of a medium washed blue. Nothing special. Probably from the Gap or Old Navy.
In my mid to late-20's, I definitely had a denim jacket (I think by then, that's what we were calling them). I still own that one, in fact. I wore it pretty regularly and I can still remember the day at work, while living in upstate New York, that I layered it over a solid black tee with a stripy scarf (muted colors) from the J. Crew outlet store in nearby-ish Massachusetts. My supervisor and another co-worker, while stopping to talk to me about something work related, commented that I was finally "dressing like a New Yorker." I'm not entirely sure what that meant (had I, for instance, dressed recognizably like a Californian up 'til then? Was that a good or bad thing?) but I do remember feeling faintly pleased with the remarks - which I'm nearly certain were intended as compliments.
I think, before eventually moving back to California, and my current home here, in San Diego, I bought this darker-wash denim jacket. You know, to kind of switch it up with my tried-and-true older more-medium-washed one. They're both from the Gap and have a very similar cut to them, and while this darker one never really got as much play in my wardrobe as the older one (I think I found it to be sort of boring and blah, and now that I think about it, denim jackets were sort of on their way out, by then) I hung onto it anyway, along with the one that had made me a New Yorker. They've been taking up valuable real estate in my closet for about the last 5-6 years, pretty much unworn the whole time. But guess what? Guess who's been rewarded for her pack-rat tendencies? Can you guess who's back...?
Dress: Akin Tunic, Anthropologie
Necklace: Kate Spade 'Hang in There' Necklace (similar here and here; lots of eyeglass pendants on Etsy here)
Shoes: Leopard Print Sidewalk Skimmers, Madewell
Which only goes to show that maybe you shouldn't always listen to those well-meaning books and magazine articles that tell you, most earnestly and sometimes even stridently, that anything in your closet that you haven't worn in the last year or two absolutely must go.
Some things, I think, never really leave us.