How to Wear the Classic Men’s Bomber Jacket This Season

by Jamie Wilson

Reviewed & updated: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA

The bomber jacket has been a classic menswear staple for years, yet there are still new, modern ways to make it work for you. Whether you’re into the sturdy leather styles or the lighter weight nylon designs, we’ll show you some of the best ways to pull off this unique jacket. 

How to Wear a Men’s Bomber Jacket

Now, there’s obviously not one single way to wear a bomber jacket, and despite its unique shape, it’s actually quite a versatile piece. However, the fit of a jacket can vary depending on what styles you go for.

The traditional shape has a slightly bulky feel and ends just above your hip bone, giving you a wide shape that’s often accentuated with the use of heavy materials. More modern interpretations can come in slim fit or longer designs, while still maintaining the iconic neckline to give it a traditional edge.

Leather Bomber Jacket

The leather bomber jacket is something that’s got a great blend of durability, versatility and style. Perfect for spring to winter due to its ability to be worn sparingly, or with a range of layers, it’s a style that’s easy to make your own. You can wear it in a classic sports-luxe look, honing in on its military background yet slick style, or go smarter and style it with a classic shirt and jeans combo.

The polished finish of the leather and the clean cut neckline makes a leather bomber jacket a surprisingly good addition to a smarter look. It’s better to go for a more modern slim fit design to ensure the finish look is as refined as possible but other than that the jacket pretty much works on its own.

Nylon Bomber Jacket

The nylon bomber jacket is probably the most recognisable version around, and with its lightweight finish it’s an easy piece to throw on or chuck into your bag when you’re on the go. Versatile, easy to work with and perfect for layering over a range of outfits, the nylon bomber is the ideal casual jacket. With massive brands such as Alpha Industries, and most recently Burberry, transforming the bomber jacket into a modern and style lead piece it’s obvious to see why people go mad for it.

You can easily achieve a sports style look with a nylon bomber jacket, with the lighter material providing a more casual finish that works perfectly with everything from joggers and jeans to T-shirt and sweaters. If you want to keep things laid back then it’s best to go for a looser fit bomber, making sure that you’ve got a decent amount of arm and chest space to create a stylised finish. To help define and accentuate the straight cut neckline try wearing a contrasting colour underneath your jacket, such as this subtle green and black combination.

Although a nylon bomber is ideal for tonnes of casual outfits, if you’ve got the right pieces, there’s no reason you can’t go for a smart look as well. The best way to create a more refined look is to tone down the colours and slim down the fit.

An intense, all black outfit is perfect for a slick, sharp look, and is easy to piece together. You can go for comfort and choose jeans and a black T-shirt, or amp up the formality with slim fit chinos and a black button up shirt. The overall look will be a clean, simplistic look that’s kept interesting with the mix of styles as well as the striking look of the bomber jacket.

Suede Bomber Jacket

If leather and nylon isn’t doing it for you and you want to go for a slicker, more fitted look, then a suede bomber jacket is the perfect modern interpretation and something that’s got a perfect smart-casual vibe. When it comes to this style of jacket it’s vital that you get one that fits closely to your body, as baggy suede just isn’t something that works.

The great thing about a suede bomber jacket is that it instantly gives a formal boost to a casual outfit, yet doesn’t look out of place mixed with informal pieces. If you’ve got a pair of slim fit joggers and T-shirt, a suede bomber will give it a smarter edge, likewise with a smart casual shirt and jeans combination.

History Of The Bomber Jacket

The bomber jacket started life out as a practical piece of clothing (like most fashion items). During the First World War many aeroplanes didn’t have enclosed cockpits which meant that the pilots were exposed to the elements whilst out flying. It wasn’t until 1917 that the U.S. army established the Aviation Clothing Board where they created a series of leather jackets that were fully lined with fur, high-collared, zippered shut and warm cuffs.

Leslie Irvin was the first to design and manufacture the first shearling flight jacket and in 1926 set up a company here in the UK. Irvin became the main supplier of clothing to the Royal Air Force during the second world war as newer planes could reach heights as high as 25,000 feet where temperatures could plummet to -50 degrees celsius (a vest freshly warmed on the radiator wouldn’t cut it up there).

Because these jackets were worn to conduct air raids on various cities across the world they were dubbed the ‘bomber jacket’. The bomber jacket took on many variations during the second world war with many divisions of various air forces adapting their own version and naming it after their division.

The famous MA-1 bomber jacket is probably the most famous branch of the bomber jacket, now an obsolete model it has stemmed from war-time practicality to fashion. Brands such as Alpha Industries have paved the way for the bomber jacket and have brought it to the 21st century and the modern version that we see today.

How to Wear a Bomber Jacket

  • A leather bomber is great for mixing into casual and smart casual outfits and has a clean, sturdy finish.
  • A nylon bomber jacket provides a more lightweight, casual finish, and is great for giving a boost to simple outfits.
  • Suede bomber jackets have the most formal look, but it’s important you get one in a slim fit design. Pair one with a casual outfit to give it a smarter edge.

On That Note

The bomber jacket is a classic piece of menswear. No matter what version of the piece you have, whether it be a leather or a nylon version, you can rest assured that you can wear it in style this and every season.

The leather bomber jacket is steeped in history and practicality. Since its birth during the second world war, when pilots used to wear them to keep warm whilst up in the air, it has gone from strength to strength. So why not give the bomber and go and see how it can work in your wardrobe?

Feature image from Pinterest

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