Back in the day, the bomber jacket was standard issue for the bold and the cold. Designed to make pilots as comfortable as possible while airborne in non-insulated airplanes, the jackets were available in only two sturdy materials, leather or nylon. Today, things are a bit…lighter than those uniforms of war. Modern-day bomber jackets retain the distinguishing features of their military service — the slightly shortened torso and ribbed collar, cuffs and hem, a pocket on the arm, plus the occasional collar — yet use lighter-weight fabrics for increased versatility. The bomber jackets below are optimal brisk-weather attire, capable of being layered under an overcoat, on top of a simple t-shirt, or paired with a hoodie.
Product selections made by Evan Malachosky
Just as Alpha Industries set the standard for Field Jackets, they literally invented the MA-1 Bomber Jacket. (Well, Alpha is an offshoot of Dobbs, the original inventor, but the pair became synonymous after the expansion.) They've made the new one as close to original specifications as possible, checking off all the prerequisites while adding touches like reversibility and the cool, now kind of kitschy, flight tag — plus a classic color they call Heritage Sage.
Bomber jackets of yesteryear were not made from soft, bonded beige wool. This one from A.P.C. is, though. The material gives the jacket a refined, rather than rugged, look.
Topman employs recycled polyester for its Quilted Bomber, which was stitched on an angle for a pattern that’s more interesting than your usual up-down arrangement. Plus, it comes in this earth tone color combination that pairs well with most other hues.
Made from nylon and filled with recycled polyester, Abercrombie & Fitch's relaxed-fit Bomber is wind- and water-resistant, and really, really close to something you could scoop from a modern surplus store.
Bombers can sometimes come across casual — but not Taylor Stitch’s. This luxe wool-blend bomber has the refinement of something far more formal (like a blazer) but the pricing and comfortability of a standard coat.
I think the bomber might be the ideal "gym jacket." Not one you'd necessarily work out in, no, but something you can wear there with another layer on underneath, and wear out alone, when you're warmed up by the workout. This one's a lightweight cotton-poly blend that's both water- and wind-proof.
Leather might've been the material of choice when bombers were first made, but Buck Mason's doesn't look much like it. It's simpler, more tailored, and ultimately far lighter — but luxe nonetheless.
If flight tags and color-blocking aren’t your cup of tea, Autograph’s bomber is as basic — in a good way — as they get. It’s plain black, soft yet structured, and comes with a trio of easy access pockets.
If wool alone isn’t enough to win you over, Oliver Spencer’s bomber comes with a color-blocked body that affords a designer air with the overspending. $419 isn’t bad considering this option’s made in Portugal from 100-percent wool.
The Everyday Bomber by J. Crew is lightweight enough to work as a top layer in warmer months, but relaxed enough to fit another layer underneath. It's made from cotton, looks super casual, and comes in two vintage-tinged colors.
Although this is definitely a letterman jacket, the absence of any official patches, chain-stitched embroidery or sport logos makes it the perfect bomber, too. It has the same shape but the front buttons, a stark departure from traditional zip-front ones, gives this option a luxe look.
Although trimmer and more tailored than the original silhouette was meant to be, The Kooples’ bomber comes in a color that falls in line with the classics that came before it. It has a zipper pocket on the sleeve, a contrasting orange liner and cinched cuffs.
Made in England, Cole Buxton's Zipper Bomber comes in soft cotton jersey, meaning it'll serve the purpose of a jacket while being as soft as a sweatshirt.
This jacket by Filson comes with a unique reinforced front pocket. Otherwise it's true to the original: cinched at the neck, cuffs and hem; there's a pocket on the arm; and it's wind- and abrasion-resistant.
Again, here's another bomber with a built-in collar. This one comes by way of Bonobos. The Sherpa Collar Bomber features a corded wool body, a soft collar, structured shoulders, and a quilted interior.
A staple of Ten C's collection, the OJJ Flight Jacket is cut from waterproof Japanese jersey, a rare material that's both soft, structured, and completely safe in wet settings. Plus, like leather or canvas, it'll mold to the wearer's body over time.