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Style Advice

Why you need a flight jacket

Why you need a flight jacket

Lined flight jackets are one of the easiest ways to stay warm while making a statement during the cold-weather season – no pilot’s license required. Boasting an uber-cool, cosy feel, the flight jacket is a classic piece of outerwear and the centrepiece of any cold-weather outfit.

And what gives them even more of a cool factor is their storied roots. Flight jackets were originally designed to be worn by military pilots in open cockpits. The classic leather and shearling version made popular in World Wars I and II kept in warmth against sub-zero temperatures, but more modern styles of flight jacket come in varied styles, and are often associated with fashion subcultures.

Take, for example, a lighter version of the flight jacket – the MA1. This 1950s and 60s army-style bomber jacket typically comes in green nylon with an orange lining and is typically associated with the punk scene of the 1970s and 80s. Today, it makes for a cool alternative to a classic cotton bomber or Harrington jacket if you want to give your look a military-inspired edge.

But when you think of a classic flight jacket, it’s probably the leather aviator style that springs to mind. Whether you opt for black or tan, smooth leather or suede, matching or contrasting shearling lining, the flight jacket is one of the best practical and effortlessly cool winter pieces out there, thanks to the doubling up of two of winter’s warmest materials – leather and shearling. 

Shearling-lined flight jackets are the menswear equivalent of a sports car – an investment piece that could last you a lifetime, so make sure the style suits you and works with the rest of your wardrobe. They tend to be slim-fitting and short-cut with front patch pockets, which along with chunky shearling, can be unforgiving if you don’t get the fit right. Avoid pairing it with anything too eye-catching, as the statement style speaks for itself. 

So style instead with slim-fit jeans, leather boots, and a half-zip or rollneck knit for a simple, warm look that’s rooted in aviation history, but still effortlessly cool for those of us keeping our feet firmly at ground-level.

Words: Ella White
Photography: Angus Williams
Styling: Freddie Kemp