The Trucker Gets A Major Makeover

Levi’s go modern with one its most recognisable jackets


By Ray Zhang

I have to admit; I have a weakness for denim jackets, especially those modelled after the Trucker, that unmistakable Levi’s top that, according to urban lore, was once called a “blouse”, and now a classic that has spawned as many competitor versions as there are 5-pocket jeans.

The first I bought was a Gap version from the 1969 line back in the early ’90s. When that no longer felt right to me (and, admittedly, when my disposable income became more disposable), I upgraded to an Helmut Lang version, which, at that time, felt terribly sleek, as it was cut slimmer and more ‘tailored’—admittedly an odd description for jeans wear of the era. This was way before Hedi Slimane was installed at Dior Homme.

I didn’t wear my denim jackets frequently enough as they were really too thick for our punishing weather. But some time during the mid-Nighties, I found what I consider the ultimate Trucker-style jacket: Levi’s X Junya Watanabe’s version made not with denim, but cotton poplin in pajama stripes! These were very light and wore like a shirt, which, to me, was a boon, considering how unfriendly our weather is to even the lightest layering.

I have not worn any of my Truckers of late since, these days, an extra piece of clothing will elicit “are you cold?”—a question that, more often than not, isn’t innocently asked. But my attraction to the Trucker has not not diminished. When I saw this version at Levi’s recently, I was, truth be told, quite smitten. This is not the classic Trucker. In fact, there is nothing classic about the Lej Knit Trucker. And therein lies the appeal.

Levi’s has made the latest iteration of their popular jacket in a technical knit that Levi’s calls “Engineered Knit”, which, I suppose is a more imaginative description (aligning, also, with the return of the Engineered jeans) than merely being technical. The jacket has a lot less seams than the original Trucker, yet it still sports the features of the old “blouse”, especially the V-shape panels that shoot down from the pocket flaps on the chest.

The knit version (62% cotton, 28% nylon, 10% elastane)—currently available in heather grey—has a semi-contrast knit pattern replacing the panel of the denim version. Together with flat snap buttons, the Lej Knit Trucker is a minimalist take that will no doubt go with anything from Lemaire that you have been acquiring. Okay, I have been!

Levi’s Lej Knit Trucker, SGD239.90, is available at select Levi’s store. Photo: Zhao Xiangji