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How To Wear a Bomber Jacket: A Guide

The bomber jacket is a wardrobe staple that you can turn to time and again. It is a classic and timeless silhouette with a rich history. It is a style that demands respect but is at the same time easily approachable. 

The versatility of the bomber jacket allows you to incorporate it into a number of outfit styles and wear it out on varying occasions from the street, to smart casual, and even to the gym. 

The right bomber jacket may actually be the perfect all-around jacket to hang in your closet, although it may not hang as much as you’ll be wearing it. Read through this guide to appreciate the history of the bomber jacket and to be inspired by the numerous ways you can style it with confidence and class. 

The History

Part of the appeal and the respect the bomber jacket demands is the history behind it. The bomber jacket, as the name might suggest, comes from a military background. Its origins go back to WWI when pilots flew in open cockpit airplanes

The flight jacket, as it was called at the time, was developed with these pilots in mind in order to keep them warm as they flew miles above the ground through freezing temperatures. 

These original variations of the jacket were made of leather, and as designs continued to develop, included shearling-lined jackets and eventually nylon-based designs. These original military-designed jackets have served as inspiration for many iterations through the years that civilians have enjoyed. 

It’s worth noting that the letterman jacket, an iconic style in its own right, was influenced heavily by the bomber jacket as well. This is apparent not in its color blocking, felt letters, or chain stitching, each of which distinguish the letterman jacket from the bomber, but by the fitted silhouette and knitted cuffs and waistband. 

Today there are countless iterations that have been inspired by the classic fit and functionality of the bomber jacket. What makes the original designs so appealing as a template for inspiration is its neutrality. 

Neutrality is also what allows the bomber jacket to fit effortlessly into your wardrobe while still maintaining the rich history that has been incorporated in many iconic looks since its inception, including one from a notable Tom Cruise film

The Black Bomber

The black bomber is a sleek and adaptable choice. It can be bold or subtle, based on how you style it. Black is a color known to go with everything, so pairing it with the universal silhouette of the bomber is truly as versatile as it gets. Here are a few ideas about how to get the most out of your black bomber.  

  • Combat Boots: Pair your black bomber with a pair of combat boots for a utility-inspired look. Any color combat boots will work. Cargo pants will add yet another layer to your tactical look. 

  • Black Out: The smooth silhouette of your bomber will work flawlessly with an all-black outfit. This look is bold but not doesn’t have to be overstated. Wear it over a black hoodie with matching sweatpants for a monochromatic look where the jacket will serve as a standout piece and push your look. 

  • Blazer Replacement: Wear your black bomber in place of a black blazer to balance a more formal look with something cool and comfortable. It may not always be appropriate to replace a blazer with a bomber, but if it’s a situation where you can dress casually it is a sophisticated way to blend styles.  

The Navy Bomber

The navy bomber is a cool way to complete any casual or smart-casual outfit. Throw it on over your heather sportswear on your way to the gym. Pair it with some chinos and deck shoes and you’ll look like you definitely know how to tie complex knots. 

Wear it with some dark wash jeans or navy chinos for a more uniform look. Wear it with light wash jeans to achieve a calming spectrum of blue that will match any of your favorite t-shirts. 

Layering Options

The versatility of the bomber allows it to make its way into your rotation all year long depending on what you wear under it. If your summer nights don’t get cool enough for your insulated bomber, a lightweight bomber will be the perfect extra layer for after the sun goes down. 

Put your bomber on over a hoodie when it’s cold out. This will give you an extra layer for warmth and allow your favorite hoodie a water-repellent layer. Not to mention, a separate hood coming out from underneath a cool jacket is a casual way to add depth to your style. 

A bomber with a t-shirt is a no-brainer move that will get you out of the house quickly and fashionably. Wear a t-shirt that is a little longer than your bomber to show off your layering game, or tuck in your tee into belted pants for a classic look.

There are all sorts of collared options to choose from. It’s hard to pick one that won’t work well with a bomber jacket. Whether you go with an oxford, a dress shirt, flannel, or polo, your bomber will compliment it with ease. 

Classic Style, Modern Tech

Technology has obviously come a long way since the first bomber jackets. The fusion between classic styling and modern technology is part of what makes the bomber jacket the staple that it is in contemporary fashion. 

Although some may prefer a more traditional, vintage design, there are some clear advantages to the modern bomber jacket that add to its appeal and versatility. 

  • Lightweight: A modern bomber is a lot lighter than its traditional counterparts. Not only will it be more comfortable to wear and layer, but it will be easier to pack in your suitcase or backpack to bring along on your travels. 

  • Water Repellant: A water repellent bomber means that it will not only be your go-to option for warmth and style, but it is suitable for rainy weather as well. 

  • Stretch: Old military jackets certainly don’t have the ability to stretch the way that some modern bombers do. A bomber jacket with some stretch will provide more comfort and mobility as you make your way around town, a warm-up at the gym, or jog through the crisp morning air.

  • 3M™ Thinsulate™: A bomber jacket equipped with 3M™ Thinsulate™ means that not only will it keep you warm, but your jacket is also quick drying and has the ability to go through your normal washing machine. The tech also happens to be incredibly sustainable

How To Style a Bomber Jacket?

Because of its timeless design and versatile silhouette, there are many occasions where you can wear a bomber jacket to perfection. The key to getting the most out of your bomber jacket is knowing what the occasion calls for. 

Another thing to note is that because the bomber jacket is a neutral piece, it tends to take on the vibes of whatever you wear with it. This is especially true of the shoes you wear. 

What Shoes Go With My Bomber?

They all do, really. Wear boots, and your bomber will appear more tactical. Wear sneakers, and it will appear more sporty. Wear loafers, oxfords, or Chelsea boots, and your bomber jacket will look smart. 

Your bomber will truly go with anything, just decide what look you’re going for and then build your outfit from the ground up. Your bomber jacket will tie it all together. 

On the Street

Your street style can be as expressive as you want it to be, and there’s nothing that the bomber jacket won’t be a perfect anchor for. Any jeans you want to wear will go well, whether you opt for straight cut jeans, torn jeans, skinny jeans, or even flared jeans—there is no denim that your bomber jacket can’t handle. T-shirts, henleys, and flannels are an easy way to complete your street-style outfit centered around your bomber jacket. 

To Work

Wearing your bomber jacket in a business casual setting will have you feeling cool and comfortable while remaining professional. Pick an oxford shirt and chinos you have in your wardrobe and your bomber jacket will bring new life to them. 

Tucking in your shirt and leaving your bomber open will show off your belt in a flattering way. Wearing your bomber zipped up halfway with a shirt and tie is a perfect balance between a casual and a professional look. 

To the Gym

A modern bomber over your workout clothes will get you to and from the gym in a warm layer that is neutral and stylish. Showing up to the gym in a bomber jacket says that you’re ready to workout; the old hoodie with holes in it says you had to drag yourself there. 

Wear it to the gym, let it help you during your warm-up routine, and then wear it on your way out, whether or not you’re a shower-at-the-gym guy. 

On the Trail

Your 3M™ Thinsulate™ equipped bomber is a jacket you can bring out hiking or camping as well because of its lightweight insulated construction. It’s easy to pack in your trail bag and you’ll be glad to have it once the sun goes down. 

Is the Bomber the Best All-Around Jacket?

It definitely has a lot going for it. Its timeless style, for one, is hard to argue with. But it’s really the versatility you get out of a good bomber jacket that might make it the best all-around jacket. 

Think about the use you get out of just one article of clothing. From wearing it casually, dressing it up, and layering with options that make it suitable for all types of weather and occasions, the bomber jacket is a staple item that everyone should keep in their wardrobe.

If you have a great bomber, you’ve already experienced this. If you don’t, what are you waiting for? Add a bomber jacket to your rotation this winter and soon enough you’ll be wondering how you ever lived without it.