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The Bomber Jacket Is an Outerwear Essential

Designed first for military pilots, the style's far more pedestrian now.


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

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Our Pick
Japanese Down Quilted Snap Bomber
Todd Snyder

This is exactly what we meant when we said modern designers are redoing bomber jackets in different materials. Todd Snyder made his from quilted Japanese nylon, complete with a single chest pocket and a contrasting liner. 

An upgrade
Mathieu Bonded Bomber Jacket

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. 

An affordable alternative
MA-1 Blouson Jacket

Uniqlo's MA-1 Jacket references the silhouette's original numerical military issue name, the MA-1 Bomber Jacket, while staying true to army colors, too. It does come in two others — blue and black — all made from water-repellent nylon. 

Relaxed Bomber Jacket
Abercombie & Fitch

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.

Bomber Jacket

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.

MA-1 Bomber Jacket
Alpha Industries

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.

Leather Bruiser Bomber
Buck Mason

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.

Everyday Bomber Jacket
J. Crew

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.

Zipped Bomber Jacket
Cole Buxton

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.

C.C.F. Bomber Jacket

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.

Shearling Bomber Jacket

Most bombers don't come with shearling collars. When they do, though, they're a welcome addition. They add height to the otherwise trim silhouette, and help you wear it deeper into winter.

Hemp Bomber Jacket

Made from lightweight, breathable hemp, COS' Bomber Jacket works alone when it's warm and as a largely stylistic top layer later in the year.

Quilted Bomber Jacket
Rag & Bone

Rag & Bone blends the best of fleece and bomber jackets into one unique piece of outerwear they call the Quilted Bomber Jacket. It has a funnel neck, snap buttons, and a soft hand feel.

The Sherpa Collar Bomber

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. 

OJJ Flight Jacket
Ten C

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. 

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