Bomber Jackets: Unique Advice to Help You Look Great | Part 1

Updated: May 27

The bomber jacket's versatility make it an essential piece for any capsule wardrobe. Remember, you are always conveying nonverbal messages to others through your posture and the way you dress.


Getting to Know the Bomber Jacket

When putting on a bomber jacket, you may not be able to help but think of Hollywood legends like James Dean, Brad Pitt, Steve McQueen and Marlon Brando. All have worn bomber jackets in iconic roles in films like Rebel Without a Cause and The Great Escape.

Shouldn't you be carrying that same type of presence? Okay, not all of us are as cool as James Dean was, but adding a few staple bombers to your rotation will definitely increase the power of your personal presence.

A Brief History of the Bomber Jacket

The fashion industry is coming out with new trends every year. As of late, society has taken a step back and brought back a piece of fashion that is timeless - the bomber jacket! The bomber jacket is commonly mistaken for a puffer jacket and shearling jacket because of their fur, but let us be the first to tell you that there is so much more to this jacket than what other jackets can offer. It's more comfortable than a moto or parka and more stylish than a puffer jacket. With many different styles, this jacket is extremely versatile, and every person should have one in their wardrobe.

A man wearing a bomber jacket and jeans sits in a window

Where were bomber jackets first created?

Although the bomber jacket has only recently made a splash into our social media pages, this stylish jacket has been around for many decades. This jacket was established during World War II for those who were pilots. Originally called “flight jackets”, bomber jackets were created by the US Army Aviation Clothing Board in 1917 to help combat the cold. The early jacket design was made to keep the pilots warm, so they were lined with fur to keep the cold out.

As society advanced, so did the bomber jacket. New styles and features were released such as a zip closure, knitted cuffs and waistbands. It wasn't until around the 1960s that the bomber jacket made it out to the public. Since then, brands have adopted the bomber jacket, making it the popular piece of clothing that it is today.

A Comprehensive Overview of Bomber Jacket Styles

As with any fashion trend, there are a variety of styles when it comes to bomber jackets. There are men's bomber jackets and bomber jackets for women. There are options with faux fur or faux leather. A lot of people are making debuts in their denim bomber jackets, and even camo seems to be making a comeback. There are constantly new arrivals with this type of jacket. Here we discuss the basics of flight jackets, better known as bomber jackets these days.

Classic Styles: The OG Flight Jackets

  • A-1 Jacket - The most famous jacket of them all is the A-1 jacket which was issued in 1927. The A-1 jacket was the first to feature a waistband and cuffs made of knitted wool. This design set the standard for all bomber jackets moving forward. Today, the A-1 jacket can still be found with a knitted collar, cuffs, and waistband with two large flap pockets on each hip.

  • A-2 Jacket - The A-2 jacket is very similar in design to the A-1 however it was given shoulder epaulettes, a zipper closure and a leather collar. Since then, this jacket has been simplified by removing the epaulettes giving it a more modern feel.

  • MA-1 Jacket - In the 1950s, the MA-1 rewrote the rules in the flight jacket handbook. This jacket was designed by the US Air Force which acted as a lightweight flight jacket. The MA-1 was made from very high-quality nylon fabrics and polyester. This bomber jacket is the most recognizable style on the market today featuring slanted flap pockets, a zip in the front and a zip arm pocket.

Modern Styles: Bomber Jacket Styles

Since first appearing in 1917, the bomber jacket has come a long way, with many different styles available on the market! As the supply chains evolve, so do the styles. Each bomber jacket is unique in its own way with characteristics distinguishing itself from other jackets.

  • Flight Bomber - the flight bomber jacket is the most popular of all bombers on the market today. With the design most similar to the flight jackets used in the military, these jackets come in various materials including suede, leather and nylon. Suede bomber jackets can boast a smart and casual look. They may not be ideal for less than sunny weather, but suede is very stylish. When choosing the right suede bomber, keep in mind which colors will look best on you. Colors such as beige, brown and stone make a great suede bomber to pair with your look.

  • Leather Bomber Jackets - can be used for a casual or dressed up occasion. When opting for a leather bomber, you will want to aim for top quality to ensure it lasts a long time.

  • Nylon Bomber Jackets - a top choice for their lightweight material. Nylon jackets typically have few frills, and help you keep a trim silhouette.

  • Varsity Bomber - The varsity bomber jacket grew in popularity when colleges began to refashion these jackets into varsity jackets. The varsity bomber is comfy and sporty, usually featuring a stripe pattern on the sleeves, waistband and cuffs of the jacket. Similar to the silhouette of the flight bomber worn by the US military, this varsity jacket is worn proud by students, sporting their university’s colors.

a laughing man in a black monochromatic outfit

The Bottom line

A bomber jacket is an excellent choice for many occasions because of its versatility. For casual occasions, a bomber jacket looks amazing paired with jeans or trousers. Sneakers tend to be a great choice to complete this casual look. For more upscale occasions, select a bomber jacket that is neutral in color. You will want to pair it with a collared shirt, trousers, and a pair of loafers.

In the next post, we’ll break down some styling tactics and how to wear your bomber jacket in more detail.

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