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Three ways to wear a bomber jacket

Three ways to wear a bomber jacket

If it feels like the bomber jacket fell straight from the heavens into your wardrobe, you’re not far off. The cold-weather mainstay was essentially born in the sky. Before it became a fixture of youth subcultures (see punk and skinheads) and a hallmark of off-duty style, it was worn by European and U.S. air forces as a functional piece that helped men endure the windy and cold cockpit conditions. 

When it comes to the bomber’s appeal today, style has hopped into the pilot’s seat. The wardrobe staple now serves as a go-to from the first frost to the last chilly spring day. As we enter into prime bomber season, we’re putting its versatility into practice, proving there are multiple ways to pull off the cold-weather MVP – even with two feet firmly on the ground.

The classic 

If you’re going to invest in one bomber jacket, the nylon MA1 bomber is the obvious choice. “It never goes out of style,” says Thread stylist Alexander McCalla. “If you’re buying into it, you’ll always be able to find a place for it in your wardrobe, whether you reach for it tomorrow or in 10 years.” The most popular colour is the classic olive green with orange lining, but you’ll also find plenty of options in navy, tan, and camo – if you want to pack more of a punch. 

“What’s great about this style is that you don’t have to put much thought into it,” Alexander says. “It will go equally well with jeans and a t-shirt as it will with a button down and tapered trousers, so you can go from streetwear-inspired to creative professional with very little effort.”

The unexpected choice 

Don’t be afraid to break free of conventions when wearing a bomber. The jacket has gone through countless iterations since it was first created, and a fleece style is an example of one of its newer transformations. “A fleece bomber is the perfect example of breaking the mold,” Alexander says. “It’s also an easy way to have fun with the bomber. I’d recommend styling it casually and loose – anything too buttoned-up will look out of place.” 

If fleece hasn’t traditionally been your fabric of choice, this bomber might change your mind. It blends the warmth of a classic half-zip fleece with a cool silhouette. Fleece and cool in the same sentence? You read that correctly. 

The sophisticated layer 

If you want to break conventions even more, opt for a bomber in moleskin or suede. “It will tackle the idea that you can only wear bombers with casual look,” Alexander says. “By choosing an elevated fabric, you have the ability to dress the bomber up with knitted polos, chunky knits, and looser-fitting dress trousers.” And unlike other smart and versatile jackets, like the classic Harrington jacket or trench, it will add an edge to your look. “What’s great about an elevated bomber is you don’t need to style it with anything too wild because the piece is already playing against expectations.” So if you're a rule breaker with finer tastes, this one is for you. 


Words: Allison Pavlick
Photography: Jake Millers
Styling: Alexander McCalla