In a lot of ways, the history of the trucker jacket is the history of America. From its utilitarian roots in hard labor to its adoption by rebellious subcultures and pop icons, the trucker jacket has evolved in lock step with the maturation of a nation, a sartorial mirror reflecting the independent gusto of the red, white, and blue.

Origins Of An Icon

Through the dawn of the twentieth century, American laborers had few options when it came to workwear, often resigning themselves to wearing beat up, threadbare dress clothes during their rigorous daily grind. But all of that changed in 1905 when Levi Strauss created the Levi Blouse (otherwise known by its production code 506). Built from the same unsanforized denim as their famed blue jeans, the jacket featured a single chest pocket, a roomier fit, and a shorter hem for comfort and mobility when riding horseback.

The denim jacket remained largely relegated to the wardrobes of ranch hands, cowboys, and farmers for nearly forty years before its first pop-culture appearance began to shift cultural outlook on the design. And for that, we have the legendary Bing Crosby to thank. The man who coined the term “Canadian tuxedo” (originating from a spat with a maitre d’ at a fancy Canadian hotel who denied him entry because of his denim-on-denim getup), Crosby could often be seen sporting his trusty denim jacket. This was the first domino in a snowball effect that would eventually see the silhouette become a ubiquitous fashion mainstay, demarcating a spirit of rebellion and bleeding edge pop-culture relevance.

Bing Crosby wearing a Canadian tuxedo
Image credit: Cool Material

Why Do We Call It A "Trucker Jacket"?

The term “trucker jacket” wouldn’t become popular nomenclature until the 1980s, long after the combustion engine replaced horse and buggy. While the reason for the name change is unclear, we’ve got a theory.

The consumerist fervor following the economic boom of the ’80s created an enormous uptick in the need for long haul truckers to transport goods across the nation. Simultaneously, American lawmakers passed the Motor Carrier Act, drastically deregulating the trucking industry in an effort to increase competition and lower the cost of goods. All of this contributed to the romanticization of the American trucker in films and TV (if you haven’t seen Stallone in “Over The Top,” treat yourself), and since the shorter hem and durable denim came in just as handy in the cab of an 18-wheeler as it did in the saddle, they were usually depicted wearing denim jackets.

cowboys wearing jeans and trucker jackets
Image credit: LastWolf

The Trucker Jackets Of Today

That original 506 jacket has spawned a profusion of iterations over the years, changing to accommodate wartime material shortages, fashion trends, and the needs of an ever-changing workforce. Each fresh version becomes a highway marker along the timeline of a nation, beholding an almost talismanic connection to a time and place in American culture.

It was through long and loving study of this record that we eventually settled on the design of our signature trucker, The Long Haul Jacket.

The Long Haul Jacket in Rinsed Organic Selvage

TS Trucker Jackets

Drawing inspiration from the pleatless designs of pre-1970’s trucker jackets, The Long Haul calls on meticulous, vintage-inspired detailing and workwear-grade build quality to pay proper homage to its historic predecessors. While we’ve added some contemporary updates and made the silhouette uniquely our own, at its core The Long Haul is a proud standard bearer in a long and storied evolution of an American icon.

We have since introduced two more silhouettes, each inspired by a different era in the timeline of the trucker jacket. Our Dispatch Jacket sees the reintroduction of the front pleats originating in the very first versions of the design (originally, the stitching of these pleats was intended to be cut away if the wearer needed to “let out” the jacket for more room), and The Ryder Jacket tips its hat to the Type II jacket of the 1950s with a pair of patch hip pockets.

Throughout our rugged roster of denim trucker jackets lies an uncompromising dedication to craftsmanship, using best-in-class materials and painstakingly tailoring each silhouette to the perfect proportions. Because here at Taylor Stitch, our truckers aren’t just another notch in the belt, they’re a continuation of a uniquely American history, a practice steeped in the heritage, ever innovating towards what’s to come.

Shop Men's Trucker Jackets

Want to dive deeper into the history of other menswear classics? Check out our other Journals: 

The History of Waxed Canvas Jackets
July 15, 2024

The History of Waxed Canvas Jackets

One of the world’s oldest water-resistant fabrics, waxed canvas offers up functionality, resilience, and a distinctive character in a way that modern synthetics could only dream of achieving. Learn about the origins of waxed canvas and explore why it remains our top choice today.

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