Although bomber jackets have been in style for a few seasons now, the trend actually began a few decades ago. In the 1950s, the jacket (first known as MA-1) came into existence during the Second World War. It was a piece of outerwear designed to keep pilots warm as they flew their airplanes. Many of the airplanes did not have an enclosed cockpit, which constantly allowed cold air to come in direct contact with the pilots.
It wasn’t until after World War II that the jacket became popular amongst civilians. The popularity was due to the durability and the lightweight material of the outerwear. By the 1980s, the jacket became associated with the punk scene. It was seen as a symbol of rebellion and was often styled with skinny jeans, white t-shirts and Doc Martens. Then, the success of The Hunter, Top Gun and Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark really brought the jacket into popular culture.
The return of the jacket is ubiquitous. Many of this year’s famous fashion shows have featured a bomber jacket or two in a personalized way that is unique to the designer. Gucci’s 2016 Pre-Fall show featured a model wearing a floral jacket with a green and pink waistband. In 2014, Balmain presented a black and white bomber jacket in the spring/summer women’s show. It’s quite clear that bomber jackets are truly here to stay.
Another reason for the jacket’s successful return is because of Kanye West. His Yeezus Tour (2013-2014) and his high-end clothing line both feature the outerwear in neutral tones and olive green shades.
In the past, the jackets were typically black, brown or an olive green, but in 2016 you can find a bomber jacket in almost any colour. Fast fashion retailers such as Zara, TopShop, ASOS and Forever21 all carry a variety of the outerwear, which range by price, style, embroidery, and colour.
The jacket’s purpose was essentially to keep the wearer warm, but this is no longer the case. Today, Many bomber jackets are made of a thin satin or silk material with no warm lining, defeating the purpose of outerwear. However, this feature makes them much more versatile than they were in the past. They can tie an outfit together, whether you wear it during a trip to the mall or a night out on the town.
The bomber jacket’s significance lies within the fact that it has attracted both men and women. It carries a military vibe that has managed to suit everyone – regardless of the style of the wearer.