The humble bomber jacket has come a long way since its military origins, moving from the literal runway to a more fashion oriented one.
Once worn almost exclusively by fighter pilots, this wardrobe staple has since been adopted by every man and his dog, whether it be British punk rockers or pop-teen heart throbs.
However, much in the same way that its wearers have changed, so too has the style of the jacket itself. From unlined cotton iterations to high end, fine leather Varsity versions, the bomber never fails to reinvent itself season after season.
With so much choice, it helps to have a definitive guide on how to wear it and when. Here, we explain how to capitalise on every look from semi-formal through to street.
Bomber Jacket With Jeans
Love him or loathe him, Scott ‘The Lord’ Disick knows how to wear a bomber and jeans like no one else. His secret? Recognising that a bomber jacket is the equivalent of a party jacket when it comes to a night out. The perfect compromise between casual and looking smart. In one fell swoop, it can seamlessly take a crew neck tee and slim leg jeans to the next level – and probably get you past the door staff too.
But before you go and buy just any bomber jacket, there are a few pointers to consider. As with most things, not all bombers are created equal. If you’re using one to stand out from the riff raff, quality material and fit are non-negotiables. Satin bombers, for example, add an element of luxe and also provide an important counter balance to more everyday textures like cotton and denim. And leather bomber jackets take premium to a whole new level.
When it comes to fit, you want to make sure that it hits right at your waist and the sleeves are slim, otherwise you risk looking boxy and having an 80s fashion hangover.
Bomber Jacket With Trousers
Coming from the more formal school of bombers, we’re firm believers in them being a valid alternative to the traditional blazer. Paired with slim leg trousers that are cropped just on the ankle, it gives an otherwise classic look a touch of street cred.
But be warned. When pairing a bomber with proper wool trousers, there’s a risk of making yourself look top heavy if you whack on a puffy Nylon iteration. Sticking with darker colours and higher end finishes – as per the gents pictured – will counter this and also ensure that you’re looking age appropriate. Suede and cashmere are both great pairings that work just as well in the office as they do at the bar.
If you’re hunting down a stockist, the likes of Suitupply have some great options that won’t set you back a small fortune.
Bomber Jacket With Shirt
For some, the thought of a bomber jacket with anything other than a crew neck tee shirt is near impossible. And granted, the proliferation of styles with an elasticised, scooped collar lend themselves to being worn this way. But why do what everyone else is doing when you could do something better?
If anything, there’s a certain unexpectedness that comes with seeing such a casual jacket with a collared shirt. Take these gents above as examples. The addition of a coloured bomber can lend a relaxed cool to an otherwise staid shirt and tie combo.
Contrast is key here, and it pays to look for colours and fabrics that play off each other.
Bomber Jacket With T-Shirt
Kanye. Raf Simons. Need we say more? Kanye’s adoption of the bomber sparked a true renaissance of the jacket in its most utilitarian form. And for good reason. This hip-hop artist-cum-fashion designer knows his way around normcore dressing like no one else.
Pairing a graphic tee with jeans may seem passé, but put a bomber on over the top and it gives the look a whole new lease on life. More than that, it represents a certain nonchalance and street cred that most gents can only dream of.
But how to dress like Kanye when you’re, well, not, is no mean feat. If this is your first foray, a basic, neutral base is key. A well-cut white, black or grey tee will serve you well and is worth paying for.
Try Bassike or Cos for long lasting classics. What you layer on top all comes down to you though. Have fun with hardware details and experiment with colourful linings.
Bomber Jacket With A Hat
The baseball cap and bomber. Nothing hides a night on the tiles quite so well, or quite so stylishly. This is a go to for weekend brunch or a long haul flight and proves a dynamite combo when pulled off right.
While basic, there are a few ground rules to abide by. First and foremost, if you’re wearing a cap with a logo, steer clear of Varsity style bomber jackets. Logomania should strictly remain the domain of Hollywood starlets and middle school footballers.
Secondly, your jacket and cap shouldn’t be too well matched. Think about unexpected combos like navy and khaki or burgundy and camel to elevate your look above the crowd. Alternatively, you can try the other forms of headwear as shown.
Bomber Jacket Appropriate Shoes
When it comes to balancing out your bomber, shoes can make (or break) it. Go too gritty and you’ll come across like a Justin Bieber wannabe, go too polished and it’ll feel awkward. Instead, our advice is to aim in the middle ground of the formality stakes.
If you’re wearing your bomber with jeans, you can’t go past a pair of suede boots. Without the gloss and polish of leather, they say relaxed without saying informal. Plus, come Autumn, I guarantee that you’ll be wearing them with everything.
However, if boots aren’t your thing, dress sneakers are the next best option. Think Common Projects or, if you’re feeling really wild, Valentino Rockrunners. The premium finish on both adds a level of polish and keeps your laid back outfit, just the right amount of sartorial.
How To Wear A Bomber Jacket FAQ
What is a bomber jacket?
A bomber jacket is a jacket style that used to be exclusively worn by fighter pilots, and originally came in a khaki green colour and usually with a bright orange lining. Today, it simply refers to a jacket without a high collar, has minimal detailing – save from maybe a zip on the arm – and has elasticated cuffs.
How should a bomber jacket fit?
Unless you really want to go all '80s with your style, you'll want to avoid boxy, oversized fits. Instead, opt for a slim fit that hugs your body comfortably, without feeling too restrictive. As long as you can wear it comfortably over a shirt, you're in business.
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