Reviewed & updated: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA
Popular since their WW1 beginnings, bomber jackets are a classic, statement piece that suits a range of styles. To help you understand how your bomber should look, we go over the best ways to make sure yours fits perfectly
With roots in the military (created for WWI bombing pilots, hence the name) and the masculine shape, plus its historically stylish and practical features — chiefly comfort, warmth, and ease of movement — the bomber jacket is a traditional all-year-round essential in menswear.
Overall Fit of Bomber Jacket
The fit of any piece of outerwear, bomber included, is really important, as it’s the piece that can make or break an outfit. Needing enough space to layer over a range of outfits, while being close enough keep you warm and, well, not look like a sack – a bomber’s fit is just as important as any other piece of clothing. Whether you’re going for a classic bomber jacket shape or a longline design, it’s important that you’re working with a jacket that looks its best and complements your body type. Watch out for your shoulder seam and your bomber jacket fit, especially when it comes to your sleeve length. More on that is below.
It’s universally agreed that the most crucial aspect of a perfectly fitted jacket lies first and foremost in the shoulders. If they don’t naturally fit then the jacket is a loss, as even if you’re going for an oversized style, baggy shoulders are never a good look. In this case, the fit is the same as any other jacket and it’s important that it carefully frames your shoulders, giving you a smooth, clean look.
Bomber jackets tend to be a little less streamlined than conventional jackets, with the traditional, durable style focusing on a more statement, padded look. However this ‘bulkier’ look is generally created by the materials used, with the leather outing and inner lining causing a heavier finish, and on the whole, you want to go for a fairly fitted look so you don’t run the risk of looking swamped. Because of the naturally cropped design of the jacket, you want to create a flattering V-shape when you have it zipped up, with the padded edge fitting closely around your torso.
One of the distinctive features of a flight jacket is the knitted collar that frames the neck, contrasting with the chunkier look of the jacket itself. Originally added in to protect the wearer from the high altitude winds, it’s now a distinctive part of the look, so it’s important that it fits correctly. The right bomber jacket style can be a wardrobe staple.
The collar generally extends up a little, giving a clean, streamlined look that encompasses the neck. Don’t go for a design that goes too high up the neck as you want to gain a flattering, complementary look, but not get a roll neck finish. Some bombers use the collar area to add in different styles, so this could be a main feature of the jacket.
If you’re going for a more striking, padded design made from a thick material and an inner lining, your sleeves are generally going to be a little bulkier to match the rest of the jacket. However, if you’re going for a slimmer fitting nylon design, it’s important to make sure your sleeves are fitted and have the right amount of stretch.
Bomber jacket sleeves have a unique design, with each one ending in a knitted cuff that fits snugly around your wrist. Each sleeve should end on or just above your wrist bone, with conventional designs showing a clean contrast in size between the main part of the sleeves and the cuff. You may feel like the sleeves are bulky but on the outside, this is the aesthetic you should be going for.
Bomber Jacket Outfits
Once you have the right idea of how your jacket should fit, you’ve now got to find a way to style it to suit you best. There are so many ways to incorporate a bomber jacket into your wardrobe, with everything from formal to casual outfits benefitting from the striking piece. To get a smart, sleek look, opt for a classic men’s black bomber jacket, and pair it with versatile, streamlined pieces to keep things simple and with a formal twist.
For a more casual look, try out a leather bomber jacket, with the high shine material creating a more intense, visible finish that instantly gives your outfit a more laid-back feel. Because of this style jacket, you can easily go for a smart casual look with a classic shirt and jeans combination without looking too overdressed.
Grey or green is a versatile colour that gives a less formal finish, so consider it when you’re picking a shirt for a casual outfit. If you’re not feeling a shirt or think it may look too smart, a T-shirt or roll-neck will work just as well. The green bomber style is of course a classic, so it has a very casual presence. You can easily mix it with a pair of slim-fit black jeans, then finish off with some black and white trainers, giving you a put-together yet relaxed outfit.
History of the Bomber Jacket
As we mentioned before, the bomber jacket originated in the First World War, but there’s more to this staple piece than simple military wear, and it went on a gradual transformation to gain its iconic features. When the first pilots began their skyward journeys, many of the cockpits lacked an enclosed space, meaning cold winds went straight through the drivers.
When the Second World War came around the practical need for bomber jackets returned, and they became standard wear for every Air Force pilot and crew member. Customisation became popular with pilots, often adding their squadron or more complex artwork to the back of their jackets, not only helping them stand out but creating more of an identity with their work.
Often pilots would record how many flights they’d been part of by adding designs to their jackets, showing off their skill and bravery. The bomber jacket became more iconic with the long reign of the Second World War, and with so many movies made about the war, it became a mainstream part of the culture, moving in and out of fashion ever since.
How a Bomber Jacket Should Fit
- Your bomber jacket should fit closely against your shoulders but give you enough space to move your arms freely.
- The collar should extend a little way up your neck to create a clean frame.
- Go for a fairly fitted look so you don’t run the risk of looking swamped.
- The jacket should land on the top of your trousers to elongate your torso and legs.
- The sleeves should have a knitted cuff that finishes at your wrist.
- Aim for comfy fabrics such as cotton and polyester that are both lightweight and trendy.
On That Note
So there are various ways you can dress up a bomber jacket, making them one of the more versatile jackets on the market. It’s a good idea to brush up on exactly how one should fit though, ensuring you don’t go overboard with the bulky look, or get one that’s squashing your insides. Whether you’re dressing for a casual day out or a more formal event, a bomber jacket can be incorporated into a range of looks, and suit a variety of styles.