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Which Denim Jacket Is Better: Proenza Schouler vs. J.Crew

By now I've lost track of why most people are wearing denim jackets: to coat a sundress in Taylor Swift-y, twangy charm, to tame a sparkly pencil skirt in a high-low Jenna Lyons way or to echo the Americana swagger of varsity sweaters and camouflage pants a la Rihanna.

But while I don't know which incentive is the winning one, I do know that it's a victory for jean jackets overall. This summer I've seen more of those things than I did at the Montana dude ranch I visited in 1994.

And I'm part of the picture, thanks to the pool-water blue Ralph Lauren Kids jacket my parents bought me for that Montana trip eighteen years ago. Between the perfectly cropped fit I can only find in other things pilfered from kids lines (bracelet length sleeves, slim fit torso) and the smug-yet-inevitable way my lips curl when telling someone it's a legitimate '90s relic—like a Spice Girls lollipop or a snap bracelet—I fell in love with it when I rediscovered it last year, and I've worn it every which way (Taylor-y, Rihanna-y, Jenna Lyons-y).

Still, with fall coming, I kind of need another denim jacket. Preferrably one with armholes that fit more than my bare arms and a bubble of oxygen, so I can layer it over a buttondown and a thick knit novelty sweater. But while I love the two options above, I'm not sure which jacket I'd be willing to pay for: the Proenza Schouler version, on the left, or the J.Crew one, on the right.

They mark off mostly the same categories on the denim checklist: a deep, wrangler blue wash, double cowboy pockets and dark metal buttons. But while the Proenza jacket might have more of an even color and slightly boxier fit—a masculine influence that I like—it's also got a stiff price tag to match that general store vibe ($495). For the price of it, you could buy the J.Crew jacket and all of the stuff in the slideshow below, and still have enough money left over for a really good bronzer to transition your summer glow into fall along with your jacket. Which would you choose?

Proenza Schouler's denim jacket: $495

J.Crew's denim jacket, plus all of this: $465.89

Click through for shopping information.

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