From being one of the most searched to one of the most popular trends with a rich history. Bomber jackets have developed into a phenomenon that knows no border, language or culture. Being versatile, gender-neutral and relevant to all ages, Leather Bomber Jackets in particular have never been more widely recognized across the world than it is now. If you often wondered about what a Bomber Jacket is, then this blog post is a must-read for you.
A Bomber Jacket Introduction
A Bomber Jacket is traditionally a short (waist-length) outerwear that has a gathered, ribbed waistband and matching cuffs. It has a zipper front and often has four functional pockets at the top and sides. Aside from leather, bombers are also made using Polyester, Nylon, and Cotton.
Through its evolution, Bomber Jackets can either have a flat round collar matching the waistband or a shirt collar that is either plain or with a Shearling lining.
Looking Back at Bomber Jackets
Bomber jackets were historically introduced during World War I, when most aeroplanes did not have an enclosed cockpit and the need for durable, warm jackets were at a high. Purely serving for function, this jacket was established as part of the uniform by the U.S Army and the Aviation Clothing Board.
During World War II, however, another variant of the Bomber Jacket was introduced called the B3. This jacket was a revised version of the Bomber Jacket style that matched the advancements made in aerospace technology. Flying at higher altitudes simply meant warmer clothing which was how the sheepskin flying jacket was created.
While the Bomber Jacket was essential for the Military, it gradually trickled into the wardrobes of civilians. The MA-1 which was made from Nylon and featuring an orange lining being one of the most popular as it crossed over various borders and civilizations.
Interestingly, Europe was one of; if not the first to adopt the Bomber Jacket style outside of the military. This was an intrinsic part of the emergence of subcultures through the 60s and early 80s.
Why is it called a Bomber Jacket?
The bomber jacket could have possibly received its name from its initial introduction as part of the military uniform. Based on history, the very first bomber jackets were worn by military pilots during World War I and II hence the name being drawn from realistic elements at the time.
What materials are used to make Bomber Jackets?
Aside from Leather, Bomber Jackets are also made of Polyester, Nylon and Cotton. It is not uncommon to find Bomber Jackets made of Suede either.
What is a Quilted Bomber Jacket?
A Quilted Jacket is typically one that has a quilted surface. This may vary with each Quilted Bomber Jacket. Some have a bit of Quilted Detail along the sleeves, front or back while others have a more elaborate form of quilting all over the jacket.
What is a Padded Bomber Jacket?
Bomber Jackets that have padding, especially along the shoulders or around the elbows are referred to as Padded Bomber Jackets. Often, the padding adds deeper functionality to the Bomber Jacket giving the wearer added protection. Though this is not always the case, some Bomber Jackets also have padding simply to add an aesthetically pleasing look to the jacket.
What is a B3 Bomber Jacket?
Designed for Aircraft Bombers going up high altitudes during WW2, B3 Bomber Jackets were originally made of a combination of Sheepskin as well as Shearling or Sheep fur for added warmth. The two distinct leather straps that enable an open collar to be held shut is one unique element that has a functional aspect to it. Unlike other types of Bomber Jackets, this particular type has no knit waist-band or slim fit.
What do you wear with a Bomber Jacket?
To reflect its true versatility, Bomber Jackets can be worn with practically anything. From denim and chinos, dresses and skirts to shorts and for some, yes; even bikinis. Bomber jacket styles enable you to dress up or dress down your look depending on where you’re going.
Types of Bomber Jackets
1. Polyester Bomber Jacket Style
Polyester is probably the most or one of the most common type of bomber jacket you can find and are the perfect spring bomber jacket for men seeking style. Available in a variety of colors and the great ability of being able to carry any print to achieve something unique, are just some of its many attributes.
The lightweight properties of these materials make them a good choice for layering of your outfit whether it’s warm or cold. A polyester bomber is also waterproof and weather resistant.
2. Wool Bomber Jacket Winters
The bomber of choice for winter months, wool will keep you from feeling the chill with its thickness and warming properties. It is also water resistant and comes in a variety of textures. Wool can be authentic or faux totally depending on your requirements.
Some bomber jackets are found with a simple yet stylish wool lining or on the collar. The creativity behind this is unlimited.
3. Sway with Suede Bomber Jackets
Suede is easily one of the higher quality fabrics, designed to give you a smart and stylish look. Starting from the texture that gives out a cool multi-tonal appearance to the incredible softness. While most tend to go for the neutrals, others crave a bit of color.
Which is why suede can be found in various colors to suit several different tastes. Suede would be one of the jacket options one would go for to achieve a more dressed up look.
4. Luxe in Leather Bomber Jackets
Leather is a traditional fabric with which many different types of bomber jackets are made. What’s interesting is that leather and suede make a great combination for those looking for a mix-match bomber jacket style.
Whether you go for a leather bomber jacket style that has a suede collar or sleeves or not, you can be sure that this combination of materials will create a uniqueness unlike any other.
5. Colorful Bomber Jackets
Perhaps one of the most popular colors in bomber jackets for men would be the green bomber jacket style. Available in a deep khaki green or a muted sage green for those who are not huge fans of color but still want to freshen up their looks without going overboard. Here’s where green gets the attention to the extent that many women too have opted for a cool green bomber jacket as well.
While green may be one of the most popular colors for bomber jackets, you will find a wide array of different colors and tones to suit every taste and trend. From white to cool blue. Brown leather bomber jackets are popular too, as are tan bombers, burgundy bombers and a deep and rich maroon bomber jacket. Khaki bomber jackets add a youthful look and how can we forget the all-time favorite, the classic black bomber jacket that will always be in style.
6. Aviator Flight Bomber Jackets
Channeling inspiring films that did a great job in incorporating timeless leather bomber jackets into complete trendsetters that are adopted even today. Raiders of the Lost Ark, Pulp Fiction, Top Gun and Drive are just a few blockbuster hits that engaged audiences with not only compelling story-lines but style elements that went on to influence fashion on a global level. The aviator or flight bomber jacket style is one such example of timelessness.
Fun Fact: Just as the bomber jacket has evolved in style, material, function and timeline, so too have the names that depict the change or revision of this timeless classic. The military bomber jacket, the navy bomber jacket, the flight jacket and the air-force jacket are examples of this timely evolution of this classic bomber jacket style.
7. Classic Embrace
Classic styled bomber jackets have an ability to mix timelessness with ease and richness that are influenced by different genres, welcomed and embraced by a variety of individuals.
Be it a totally minimalist piece or one that nods to the striking style of the past, a mix of past and present or some other form that highlights the factors that qualify as true blue classic pieces.
8. Modern Moments
With a dash of creative style elements and various options for functionality and detail, modernized bomber jackets are especially embraced by individuals seeking stylish pieces that complement their personal style or help them make a statement that depicts who they are and what they’re all about.
From young and fun pieces to dramatic, edgy bomber jackets. Each telling a different story about the wearer that makes both jacket and individual, unique.
9. Futuristic Findings
In the spirit of all things fashion forward and often times over-the-top, futuristic bomber jackets ensure utmost functionality, versatility and design that blend together to give you the feel and influence of style that is light years ahead.
From a multitude of design elements to colors, textures and detail that nod to this growing group of bomber jackets that are truly appreciated by a select, distinctive group of individuals.
What is a Bomber Style Jacket?
Easily identified as a classic piece of outerwear, this bomber jacket style includes ribbed cuffs and hem, a front zipper closure and well defined neckline. Although available in a wide range of colors, styles and fits, the standard waist, length, design often remain similar if not the same. With a few exceptions here and there that involve the addition of a hood.
What is a Flight Bomber Jacket?
A Flight Jacket Aka a flying jacket is typically a short, usually leather jacket that has a warm lining or collar or both. A Flight Jacket has several pockets and is an early style version of the bomber jacket and Letterman jacket that followed years later. The Flight Jacket was worn by pilots until it was adopted by civilians as daily outerwear. This is the reason for the revision in style, silhouette and name of this classic piece.
Flight Jacket Family Tree
A flight jacket is a piece of apparel that was originally made for pilots but with time became a fashion accessory for civilians. It has evolved into various styles and silhouettes, including the “letterman” jacket and the fashionable “bomber” jacket that is known today.
A1 Bomber Jackets (1927-1931)
Although Bomber Jackets date as far back as 1917, during WW1; little is known about this particular time. Other than the fact that it was a time when Fighter Planes were open-air and uninsulated, making it a great necessity for personnel to keep warm while flying high. The US Army Aviation Clothing Board was assigned the task which resulted in the introduction of the Bomber Jacket or Flight Jacket. Originally crafted in Horse Leather or Sealskin and lined with Fur, the first Bomber Jackets were born. Making way for many other Bomber Jacket variants that would soon follow suit based on high-level functionality.
One of these Bomber Jacket variants is The A1 Bomber Jacket. Manufactured in 1927 by different companies which resulted in this Bomber Jacket model having different product descriptions. The key elements that united them all included, a knit collar, cuffs and waistband as well as a button-up closure. Aside from Horsehide, Sheepskin and Goatskin were also used in making A1 Bomber Jackets.
A2 Bomber Jackets (1931-1943)
Mainly made of Horsehide or Goatskin, A2 Bomber Jackets were designed in the early 1930s involving heavy-duty fasteners, cuffs, knit-waists, high collars, wind flaps and zipper closure. Although closed cockpits were introduced by this time, Bomber Jackets continued to have elasticized cuffs and waists for warmth against cold temperatures. A key factor about the A2 Jackets is that the subtle changes in the design added an element of style to its appearance.
B3 Flight Jackets (1934-1943)
Amid the 1930s, the B3 Flight Jackets were introduced that was followed by a B-Series of jackets that were not only specifically referred to as ‘Flight Jackets’ as opposed to previously named Bomber Jackets, but were also known for the Sheepskin Leather and heavy-duty Sheep Fur lining which were distinct at the time. This Flight Jacket model did not have a Knit Waistband but rather; had two leather straps to hold the collar shut. While the look was appealing, these jackets were heavy in weight, designed to keep bombers warm 25,000 feet high.
B6 Flight Jackets (1939-1943)
The B6 Flight Jackets were introduced soon after the B3 design model. The key difference being a more wearable cut. This means the B6 unlike the B3 were less insulated as it no longer was a necessity that allowed for less weight and a better fit. The B6 Flight Jackets continued to be manufactured using Sheepskin Leather and Sheep Fur as well as a single latch for the collar that was also another way of distinguishing the two.
B7 Flight Jackets (1941-1942)
Also known as B7 Arctic Parkas, these Flight Jackets were introduced during WW2 between 1941-1942. This particular design model was produced; keeping in mind the crew members, those working on the ground in extremely cold climates or in far-flung undeveloped areas. The B7 jackets had a three quarter length and were composed completely of Shearling. The hood was the only element to have a different fur lining often of thick fur.
B10 Flight Jackets (1943-1944)
The introduction of the B10 Flight Jackets saw a phasing out of all the prior design models of the B series. The B10 was a cloth jacket lined with Alpaca Fur. Not only that, they also had a matching Alpaca Fur Collar, zipper closure without a wind flap. However, despite the B10 having a refined look they were no match for their Sheepskin counterparts introduced earlier. As a result, this design model wasn’t seen for very long.
B15 Bomber Jackets (1944-1954)
In 1944 the introduction of the B15 saw instant recognition as a ‘proper’ Bomber Jacket. After the phasing out of the B10, the B15 saw a revival of the knit waist and cuffs, adding further options in materials that not only included leather but also Cotton and eventually Nylon. Distinct features of B15 Bomber Jackets include pen pockets on the upper arm of the left sleeve, slash pockets on the front and leather straps for holding oxygen masks.
M422 and M422a Jacket (1941)
While the M422 and M422a Jackets were similar in many respects, the key difference between the two was the addition of a pencil slot to the left side pocket of the M422a Jacket. It was also the M422a version that was selected for use in the US volunteering assistance to the Chinese in their fight against the Japanese.
G1 Jackets (1938-Present)
In a nutshell, G1 Jackets are simply a modified version of M422a Jackets. After testing and consistent modifications to suit contemporary times, the G1 Jackets maintains the basic design as well as an expansion of materials that include Goatskin, Mouton Sheepskin and Wool knit. This design model continues to be seen among civilians of today.
MA1 Bomber Jackets (1958-Present)
Much like the G1 being a modified version of the M422a Jackets, so too were the MA1 Bomber Jackets that were introduced as an upgrade to the B15 Flight Jackets. In response to changes in climate and technology, MA1 Bomber Jackets highlight a replacement of fur collars with elastic knit collars. While the fur was no longer needed for warmth, the elastic knit collars were well-suited for parachute harnesses. At the time, the preferred fabric for this design model was Nylon, as the material was economical, easy to clean and kept the pilot warm and dry. The introduction of the MA1 Bomber Jacket also saw colour variants to the US Air Force standard Navy Blue. These jackets were also manufactured in Camouflage Green especially during the Korean and Vietnam war.
MA2 Bomber Jackets (1980-Present)
The MA2 Bomber Jackets also known as MA2 Flight Jackets or CWU-45 Flight Jackets, was a modified version of the MA1 Bomber Jackets originally designed for the US Military in the 1950s. The term MA2 was a trademark of the Cobles Clothing Company coined in the 1980s. This was a time when the CWU-45 gained popularity in street fashion. As a side-note, there is also a much lighter version known as CWU-46. The distinct differences found in MA2 Bomber Jackets, unlike their MA1 counterparts; were large cargo pockets on the front of the jacket unlike the slash pockets found in the MA1 version. A fold-down collar is another difference found in the MA2 Jackets unlike the elasticated collars of the MA1 Bomber Jackets. While the MA1 Jackets had an Orange lining, the MA2 versions have the same lining as the outer surface. As far as the cut goes, The MA2 Bomber Jackets fall a bit higher in length as opposed to the MA1 Jackets.
Irvin Flying Jacket (Battle of Britain 1940 & WW2 1940-1945)
While the Irvin Flying Jackets could have fit into the middle of our Flight Jackets’ Family Tree, a separate point was deemed necessary to underline the story of this particular design model that made history as well as suited the functionality purposes of yesteryear. The origin of the Irvin Flying Jackets were thanks to the efforts and ingenious thinking of Aviator Lesley Leroy Irvin who introduced the legendary Irvin RAF Sheepskin Flying Jacket. Also known as the inventor of the Parachute ‘Rip Cord’ system in 1919, he introduced a heavyweight Sheepskin Jacket that had a thick natural wool, providing excellent insulation properties while also being supple and comfortable to wear. The jackets had long sleeves zipped to allow gauntlets to be worn, a wide collar that could be raised to add further insulation around the neck, while a belt was fitted around the waist to ensure the chilly winds didn’t drop the pilot’s body temperature. These jackets sold like hot cakes but soon disappeared from sight after the war, only to be revived again for fans, mainly civilians who contributed to a much wider popularity of this fantastic
Are Bomber Jackets Warm?
Based on its history, bomber jackets were initially designed to keep the wearer warm in extremely cold climates. Though this feature remains unchanged to this day, many variations have been introduced over the years which is why bomber jackets today, are made from leather sheepskin or fabric.
Are bomber jackets waterproof?
Bomber jacket styles are available in both regular and waterproof options. While talking about waterproofing, there is often a misconception between waterproof and water resistant. When buying your men’s bomber jacket or bomber jackets for women, make sure to ask as to whether the piece is waterproof or not.
Waterproof means you can wear your bomber jacket in the rain without the water going through whereas water resistant only enables your jacket to repel a bit of water but isn’t safe from water passing through.
Are Bomber Jackets Hooded?
Traditionally, bomber jackets were not initially hooded. This introduction of a hoodie to bomber jackets arose much later on, when bomber jackets appeared in fabrics such as cotton and nylon. This feature, however, is more of a personal preference which is why many bomber jackets are available with detachable hoodies.
What to Consider before Buying a Bomber Jacket
Fit, fabric, fastening and color are four basic points to look for before buying a bomber jacket. Once you are able to get the fit right in a quality fabric that has good and durable hardware i.e. kippers, buttons, buckles etc. in a color that you love. You’re good to go!
Zipping up this Topic on Bomber Jackets
Not only have we learned that bomber jacket style has a rich history that goes back to fighter pilots, World Wars and sleek military uniforms, but also that bomber jackets are truly timeless.
Evolving through many decades, bomber jackets for men as well as women’s bomber jackets, are available in a variety of different fabrics, as well as colors and fits to suit everyone. Bomber jacket style has no limits or boundaries and is just as popular across the world as any other iconic fashion staple.