Break in Your Denim Jacket: Tips and Tricks

Denim jackets are a timeless fashion staple that can complete any outfit. However, breaking in a new denim jacket can be a daunting task.

The stiffness of the fabric can make it uncomfortable to wear, and washing it too soon can ruin the shape.

Step 1: Don’t Wash It (at first)

  • Most denim jackets can take up to 30-60 wears to break in, so you should avoid washing it until you feel like it’s properly broken in.
  • Denim conforms to your body, and washing it too soon can cause the shape to be lost.
  • Instead, try wearing your jacket around the house or on short outings to help it mold to your body.

Step 2: Prepare Your Jacket

  • Before washing your jacket, remove any unnecessary tags from the inside with scissors, leaving only those with specific washing and drying instructions.
  • Make sure to snip close to the threads for clean removal.
  • This step will ensure that your jacket is ready to be washed and will prevent any damage to the fabric during the process.

Step 3: Wash and Dry Your Jacket

  • Machine wash your jacket on warm to remove any stiffness.
  • Tumble dry on low heat or hang dry to prevent any shrinkage or damage to the fabric.
  • Once your jacket is dry, try wearing it around the house or on short outings to help it mold to your body.

Why Break in Your Denim Jacket?

Comfort is Key

  • Comfort: A stiff denim jacket can be uncomfortable to wear, especially if you plan on wearing it for long periods of time. Breaking in your denim jacket will make it softer and more comfortable to wear.
  • Fit: Breaking in your denim jacket will help it conform to your body shape, creating a better fit that looks and feels great.
  • Experience: Breaking in your denim jacket is a unique experience that allows you to create a one-of-a-kind look that is all your own.

Here are some tips for breaking in your denim jacket:

  • Wear it often: The more you wear your denim jacket, the softer it will become. Wear it around the house, on errands, or even to work to speed up the process.
  • Wash it: Washing your denim jacket will help soften the fabric and make it more pliable. Try washing it in warm water and tumble drying it to remove any stiffness.
  • Stretch it: If your denim jacket is too tight in certain areas, try stretching it out by pulling on the fabric in those areas. This will help the jacket conform to your body shape.
  • Use fabric softener: Adding fabric softener to your wash cycle can help soften the fabric and make it more comfortable to wear.

How to Break in Your Denim Jacket

Washing and Drying

  1. Wash your jacket in cold water with a mild detergent. Avoid using fabric softener as it can damage the fabric.
  2. After washing, hang your jacket to air dry. Avoid using a dryer as the heat can shrink and damage the fabric.
  3. Once your jacket is dry, you can put it in the dryer on low heat for a few minutes to soften the fabric. Alternatively, you can use a tennis ball or wool dryer balls to help break in the fabric.

Wear it Often

  1. Layer your denim jacket over a t-shirt or hoodie for a casual look.
  2. Wear your jacket with different outfits to see how it looks and feels.
  3. Take your jacket with you when you go out so you can wear it when the temperature drops.

Freezing Method

  1. Fold your jacket and place it in a plastic bag.
  2. Put the bag in the freezer for a few hours or overnight.
  3. Take your jacket out of the freezer and let it thaw for a few minutes.
  4. Once your jacket is thawed, wear it to help break in the fabric.

Steam Method

  1. Hang your jacket in the bathroom while you take a hot shower. The steam will help soften the fabric.
  2. Alternatively, you can use a steamer to steam your jacket.
  3. Once your jacket is steamed, wear it to help break in the fabric.

Tips for Softening a Denim Jacket

If you’re looking to soften your stiff denim jacket, there are a few methods you can try.

Vinegar Method

  1. Mix 8 cups of hot tap water with 1 cup of white vinegar in a bucket.
  2. Immerse the denim jacket in the liquid mixture.
  3. Soak the denim jacket for a couple of hours or overnight.
  4. Put your jacket in the dryer on the lowest heat setting.

Sewing Machines

  1. Set your sewing machine to a zigzag stitch.
  2. Sew along the seams of your denim jacket.
  3. Repeat this process several times until you notice a difference in the softness of your jacket.

Other Tips

  • Wash your denim jacket inside out to help protect the outer layer from becoming too stiff.
  • Always hang dry your denim jacket and avoid the dryer. The heat will cause the fibers to break apart and the denim will not last as long.
  • Use a fabric softener to the wash cycle. This will help break down the fibers of the denim and make the jacket more pliable.
  • You can also try hanging the jacket in the bathroom while you take a hot shower. The steam will help to soften the fabric.

Caring for Your Broken-In Denim Jacket

Protecting Your Jacket

  • Avoid exposing your denim jacket to direct sunlight for extended periods, as this can cause the color to fade.
  • If you’re going to be outside in the rain or snow, consider wearing a waterproof jacket over your denim jacket to protect it from moisture.
  • Be careful when carrying bags or backpacks, as the straps can cause wear and tear on the shoulders of your denim jacket.
  • When you’re not wearing your denim jacket, hang it up on a sturdy hanger to help prevent wrinkles and maintain its shape.

Washing and Drying Tips

  • Always check the care label on your denim jacket before washing it to make sure you’re following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • To help prevent shrinkage, wash your denim jacket in cold water and avoid using the dryer.
  • Hang dry your denim jacket instead of using the dryer. The heat from the dryer can cause the fibers to break apart and your denim jacket won’t last as long.
  • If you need to iron your denim jacket, use a low heat setting and iron it inside out to avoid damaging the fabric.

Other Care Tips

  • If your denim jacket gets stained, spot clean it with a mild detergent and a soft-bristled brush.
  • If your denim jacket starts to smell, try hanging it outside in the fresh air for a few hours to help remove any odors.
  • Don’t be afraid to wear your denim jacket often! The more you wear it, the more character it will develop over time.

Why a Denim Jacket is a Wardrobe Staple


Denim jackets have been a popular fashion item for decades, and their popularity shows no signs of slowing down. They are a classic piece that will never go out of style, and they can be worn by people of all ages and styles.


One of the best things about denim jackets is their versatility. They can be dressed up or down and worn in any season.

  • Layered over a t-shirt and paired with jeans for a casual look
  • Worn over a dress for a more dressed-up look
  • Paired with shorts and sandals for a summer outfit
  • Layered under a coat for added warmth in the winter


Denim jackets are typically made from high-quality denim fabric that is designed to last. They are durable and can withstand regular wear and tear, making them a great investment piece for your wardrobe.

Expert Advice on Breaking in a Denim Jacket

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  • Wear your denim jacket as much as possible to help it conform to your body shape.
  • Wash your jacket only when necessary, and always hang dry it to avoid damaging the fibers.
  • If you want to speed up the break-in process, try misting your jacket with water and then wearing it until it dries. This will help the fabric stretch and conform to your body more quickly.

Reddit Tips

  • Wear your jacket as much as possible, but don’t be afraid to take it off and let it rest if it starts to feel uncomfortable.
  • If your jacket is feeling stiff, try soaking it in warm water for 30 minutes before wearing it. This will help soften the fabric and make it more pliable.
  • If you want to speed up the process, try rubbing the areas of your jacket that feel stiff with sandpaper or a pumice stone. This will help break down the fibers and make the fabric more flexible.


  • Wear it often: The more you wear your denim jacket, the more it will conform to your body and become even more comfortable.
  • Wash it sparingly: Denim jackets do not need to be washed after every wear. In fact, washing them too often can cause the fabric to wear out faster. Only wash your jacket when it is visibly dirty or has a strong odor.
  • Hang dry your jacket: Avoid putting your denim jacket in the dryer, as this can cause it to shrink and lose its shape.
  • Store it properly: When not in use, hang your denim jacket in a cool, dry place. Avoid folding it or stuffing it into a drawer, as this can cause creases and wrinkles to form.
  • Try new styling options: Now that your denim jacket is broken in, experiment with different styling options. Layer it over a dress, pair it with jeans for a denim-on-denim look, or dress it up with a skirt and heels.
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