How To Style a Bomber Jacket

Posted: Aug 12 2016

The bomber jacket has recently arrived back into the closets of many fashion-minded individuals, and it’s proving to be a major staple for Fall 2016. An unexpected MVP of the street-style scene, the bomber jacket is actually the perfect complement to any outfit as it’s got a touch of tomboy and streetwear edge, while still ridiculously cool. Whether it’s worn oversized with the arms rolled up, paired with a slinky dress or even shredded jeans – the bomber jacket is our go-to piece for the coming season.

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A Brief History

Fashion is cyclical, and we’re always curious to know where styles originate and what served as the source of inspiration.

Once worn exclusively by military pilots, the bomber jacket (also known as the flight jacket) has over the last century (give or take a few years) made the transition from the runway to, well, the runway.

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

United States military pilots wore an early incarnation, similar to the jacket above, from the early 1930s through World War II. This model was usually fashioned out of horsehide (for its durable material and warmth) and established the jacket’s iconic shape.

Since the above jacket was rather bulky, it was revamped at the tail end of the 1940s into the MA-1 flight jacket. The MA-1 flight jacket was sleeker in waterproof nylon, with an orange lining to increase the visibility of downed aviators; it is this model that has inspired 21st-century designers.

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Bomber jackets transitioned to fashion pieces, circling through the British punk scene in the mid 1970s, before becoming the uniform of many West Coast hip-hop artists circa early 1990s. 

Image Courtesy of Harper's Bazaar

Today, thanks to designers such as Dries van Noten and Saint Laurent, satin variations of the bomber jacket are now ever popular – especially those that are embroidered (with florals, dragons, you name it). But if those are a bit too embellished, the plain, thinly padded MA1 bomber-style jacket pairs well with anything and still exudes the effortlessly cool vibe, with its nod to utilitarian minimalism. 

How to Style a Bomber Jacket

For an easy “off-duty model” look that will keep you styling all season long, pair a bomber jacket with skinny jeans, a loose tee, and a killer pair of boots.

Image Courtesy of Sincerely Jules 
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Simultaneously sporty and sultry, bomber jackets are a great way to dress down an outfit and give it a bit of an edge.

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Image Courtesy of Fashion Lush 

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Throw your bomber jacket over a silky slip dress for a night out, or even with leggings and sneakers to nail the go-to celebrity look of the moment (à la Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid).

Image Courtesy of Harper's Bazaar

For a bit of a throwback, style an oversize bomber jacket with a skirt or black skinny jeans, tie a bandana or handkerchief scarf around your neck and add a dash of red lipstick – totally chic and retro.

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 NRFB's Favorite Bomber Jackets of the moment: