How to wear a bomber jacket over 40

Bomber jackets are the new mens go to for a smarter causal look. Discover how to perfect your look with our guidance.


While always on trend, bomber jackets – with their practical design, comfortable silhouette and aviation-inspired styling – are having something of a style revival. They are becoming a wardrobe staple and, as our new collection attests, a fun way to revamp your casual look if you’re over 40. 

How did the bomber jacket originate?

As with many military inspired items of clothing that have made their way into civilian life, bomber jackets were designed with pure utility in mind.

The first bomber pilots in WW1 were subject to high winds and cold temperatures in the open-air cockpits so a warm leather jacket with a soft fur collar was a necessity. By 1927, the US Army had released the first standard flight jacket – the A-1 – which featured knitted cuffs and waistband, a button closure and flap pockets. It was superseded by the A-2 in the 1930’s which used a zip instead of a button closure and had a fold-down collar. This classic silhouette was imitated frequently by Hollywood actors who wanted to convey a sense of adventure and bravery on screen (even if they’d never left the ground themselves).

By the 1940’s, styles and materials for bomber jackets had advanced to reflect the aircraft’s ability to fly faster and at higher altitudes. The original B-15 bomber jacket featured wool-knit cuffs, an outer shell made of cotton-rayon, oxygen mask straps and a mouton fur collar. It became the blueprint for the most well-known bomber jacket design, and the one fashion houses replicate to this day, the MA-1.

What is a bomber jacket?

Generally, a bomber jacket is a waist-length jacket that has a gathered or ribbed waistband and matching cuffs, a zip and functional pockets. You’ll find them with either the traditional contrasting fur (or faux fur) collar or a flat round collar that matches the waistband and cuffs.

They can be made in leather, polyester, nylon or cotton. While it’s possible to find them in a variety of colours, traditional olive green, brown or navy are the most common.

Is a bomber jacket different to a Harrington jacket?

Yes.

While it can be hard to tell at first glance, Harrington jackets have slanted flap pockets, tartan lining, a stand-up collar and cuffs in the same material as the body. The waistband of a Harrington jacket isn’t gathered or ribbed like a bomber, and you’ll find a yoke at the back to allow rain to fall away from the body.

How should I wear a bomber jacket?

Firstly, pick a bomber jacket in a neutral, goes with anything shade like olive or navy. These will pair well with white t-shirts, black, navy or burgundy knits 

Secondly, bombers are a casual jacket, so pair it with crisp, plain white t-shirts or coloured polo shirts (no logos, please) or a light sweater like our merino crew neck versions with a pair of dark jeans or chinos.                                                                                                        

For a smarter look in winter, wear one of our suedette bomber jackets with a rollneck jumper underneath, and again, a pair of dark jeans (here’s some advice on picking the right pair of jeans).

When it comes to footwear, Chelsea boots, brogues and oxfords work well, but if you’re in a t-shirt and jeans mood, smart leather fashion trainers are fine.

Style tips for wearing bomber jackets

  • Choose a sleek, simple design – bomber jackets with too many pockets, zips, embroidery or detailing look far too fussy and best left for the catwalk or noisy nightclubs.
  • Ensure that the jacket fits properly – the sleeves shouldn’t be too long or too short, and there shouldn’t be a lot of fabric around your middle.
  • Materials like suedette and leather lend themselves to a smarter look, while cotton versions are better for daytime with jeans and t-shirt.
  • Mix and match textures with your bomber jacket and knitwear for a more interesting look.

Bomber jackets are now available at Alexandra Wood

We are excited to be able to offer our customers a range of suedette bomber jackets featuring our distinct, sleek look in olive, navy and sand.

Order online or shop in store. We can also make all jacket styles, from a leather jacket, Harrington jacket to our stunning bomber jackets in made to measure –  book an appointment at our Savile Row or Bishop’s Stortford appointment only showrooms.

 

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