From humble beginnings in the skies above France and Belgium during World War I, the bomber jacket—or flight jacket as it was originally known—has travelled an incredibly long way from its violent beginnings. Having abandoned the skies of Europe for the catwalks of Milan and London, the bomber jacket is no longer the bulky, leather and fur monstrosity it once was.
Now streamlined in look and typically cut from synthetics, the modern jacket lacks much of the cumbersome bulk and drab colouring associated with its military predecessor. Though it never completely went away, for the first time since the 1980s the bomber jacket has made a sweeping return to the fashion world.
This year’s take on the jacket has designers experimenting with bold colours, patterns and prints, offering the world a whole new take on the vintage design. Both spring and summer shows were absolutely littered with fresh looks from the industry’s most creative minds. Here are some of our favourites:
Balmain—Spring Summer 2014
Salvatore Ferragamo—Spring Summer 2014
Andrea Pompilio—Spring 2014
Philip Lim—Spring 2014
Given the runway is often a departure from practicality, Gentlemen’s Division knows how helpful it can be to see real world applicability for these trending looks. In the case of the bomber jacket, we’ve taken some classic lifestyle shots from our lookbook to help provide key insight into how best to apply the jacket to everyday style.
For those seeking a more complete wardrobe prescription, here are two Key Looks every modern gentleman should add to his wardrobe before 2014 comes to a close.
Key Look 1
Start with a plain, white shirt—or other light colour—to provide a clean, crisp base.
Add flat-front pants in either a soft solid or micro-pattern that complements the shirt and pair with loafers or lace-less tennis shoes of a solid colour.
Use a dark, solid colour bomber jacket as an outer-layer to provide contrast with the lighter features of this look.
Accessorise as desired.
Key Look 2
Again, aiming with simplicity in the base-layer, take a plain white or otherwise light shirt as a foundational starting point.
Add dark slacks or jeans as well as a dark, solid bomber jacket to create stark contrast with the shirt that’s both eye catching and visually pleasing.
Runners with trimmed laces or classic loafers will make the best footwear choice.
Though it never fully disappeared, the bomber jacket has enjoyed a fabulous renaissance during 2014. Designers have embraced the jacket’s fashionable versatility, emphasizing its ability to function in a variety of colours, materials and cuts. Like any fashion trend, the bomber jacket’s ascension to the upper echelons of the fashion world will be short lived—condemned to fall out of favour with elite designers like Ferragamo and Balmain.
However, much like it’s previous peak in the 1980s the fall from the top doesn’t spell death. People will always appreciate the tactful application of a bomber jacket in everyday gentlemen’s street style, so don’t be afraid to invest in a few of the jackets—they’ll remain relevant, if not popular, for years.