Introduction

The bomber jacket is just one of many menswear pieces whose heritage is cemented within the armed forces. Similar to the pea, trench and parka coats, the bomber has a timeless appeal that transcends years, styles and trends; born out of military means and adapted to form part of popular culture.

This timeless quality makes the bomber well worth investing in if you have a penchant for classic, enduring personal style – as so many FashionBeans readers do.

Traditionally identified by its waist length, knitted waistband/cuffs and front zip closure the bomber has been reinvented and reinvigorated in various forms. From the orange lined MA-1 to the tartan lined Harrington, the basic bomber silhouette has played part in a number of classic takes that have gone down in menswear history and continue to be worn today.

The bomber’s continued popularity is not surprising, with prominent style icons both old and new having been pictured in one at some point in time. Whether it’s the inimitable Messrs Steve McQueen and James Dean, or the new kid on the block Ryan Gosling (who could forget that gold scorpion motif bomber in ‘Drive‘?), the jacket can certainly be counted among menswear royalty.

SS13 Bomber Jacket Trend

This year’s most popular iteration is almost a baseball-bomber hybrid. The jacket has retained the aforementioned characteristics of a classic bomber but a round collar is widely used in place of, say, a Harrington version that could be popped or a shearling one akin to those seen on aviator silhouettes.

The round collar, of course, is nothing ground-breaking. The classic MA-1 made use of a round collar, but the slimmed down shape and louche tailored feel echoes the sports luxe influences that have dominated menswear over the past year.

Print has also played a big part in updating the jacket’s aesthetic. Love it or loath it, camouflage has been a firm favourite of designers when it comes to decorating the piece – paying homage to its military heritage. Paisley has also been prevalent among retailers, which adds a decadent edge that belies the jacket’s militaristic roots:

Men's Bomber Jacket on the SS13 Runways

How To Wear: The Bomber Jacket SS13
Bomber Jacket Lookbook

Men's Bomber Jacket Lookbook

h&m spring 2013h&m ss13h&m ss13tesco ss13louis vuitton pre aw13j crew aw13ymc ss13allsaints ss13SUITEBLANCO aw12
Look One

A luxe bomber is a suave and sophisticated piece that will carry your casual wear from day to night. A texture-blocked version with leather sleeves in a dark or neutral colour is what you should be looking for if opting for this effect.

Keep the rest of your outfit simple and let the jacket standout as the focal point of the look. A plain white tee and bomber pairing is timelessly cool, not unlike the white tee and leather jacket equivalent.

Finish off with a pair of slim jeans and some leather boots. The brown and red hues in the versions below pick out the navy that is prevalent elsewhere in the look whilst also complementing the leather sleeves on the jacket.

Where accessories are concerned, a lightweight print scarf is perfect for bringing some individuality and flamboyance (if that echoes your personal style more accurately) to an ensemble:

  • Levis Vintage Clothing Mens 1960s Patch Pocket Cotton T-shirtLevis Vintage Clothing Mens 1960s Patch Pocket Cotton T-shirt
  • Paul Smith Leather-sleeved Textured-weave Wool-blend Bomber JacketPaul Smith Leather-sleeved Textured-weave Wool-blend Bomber Jacket
  • Allsaints Machida Iggy JeansAllsaints Machida Iggy Jeans
  • Topman Ben Sherman Ezra Desert BootsTopman Ben Sherman Ezra Desert Boots
Look Two

A printed bomber jacket can make a bold statement. With print being arguably the most prominent menswear trend of both 2012 and 2013, opting for a pattern shows familiarity with current industry influences. This style of bomber is ultimately a casual piece and works best when utilised as such.

Matching it with a simple sweatshirt, black jeans and pair of sneakers references another major trend: sports luxe, whilst the print in the bomber ensures the look is neither slovenly nor ordinary:

  • Allsaints Sprint Crew SweaterAllsaints Sprint Crew Sweater
  • Asos Bomber Jacket With Faux Leather SleevesAsos Bomber Jacket With Faux Leather Sleeves
  • Reiss Indiana Coated Denim BlackReiss Indiana Coated Denim Black
  • Nike Mens Blazer Mid Vintage SneakerNike Mens Blazer Mid Vintage Sneaker
Look Three

Add a smarter edge to your outfit by layering a plain white shirt, grey cardigan and navy knitted tie underneath a bold coloured bomber. Loosen up the tie knot slightly and undo the top button to retain a relaxed yet refined aesthetic.

Finish with slim navy chinos and brown leather Derbies to complete a great smart-casual look:

  • Orlebar Brown Flemming Linen And Cotton-blend ShirtOrlebar Brown Flemming Linen And Cotton-blend Shirt
  • Reiss 1971 Bredon Long Sleeve Logo Cardigan Marl GreyReiss 1971 Bredon Long Sleeve Logo Cardigan Marl Grey
  • Navy Knitted TieNavy Knitted Tie
  • Topman Red Aztec Trim Bomber JacketTopman Red Aztec Trim Bomber Jacket
  • Dockers Navy Stretch Cotton D0 Slim ChinosDockers Navy Stretch Cotton D0 Slim Chinos
  • H By Hudson Gould Tan Leather Derby ShoesH By Hudson Gould Tan Leather Derby Shoes
Look Four

As spring eventually turns into summer, utilise a lightweight bomber when the temperature drops at night. Equally, carry one with you on those days when you’re not quite sure how dependable the sun is feeling (i.e. most).

A printed polo provides the much needed spark beneath the jacket and serves as a standout piece when the bomber is removed. A pair of tailored shorts and loafers (tip: tassels scream dandy) finish off this casual, high summer look:

  • Asos Polo With All Over Ditsy PrintAsos Polo With All Over Ditsy Print
  • Hentsch Man Cotton And Linen-blend Bomber JacketHentsch Man Cotton And Linen-blend Bomber Jacket
  • Alexander Mcqueen Buckle Detail Shorts 141616Alexander Mcqueen Buckle Detail Shorts 141616
  • Grenson Marcel Chocolate Suede Tassel LoafersGrenson Marcel Chocolate Suede Tassel Loafers
Men’s Bomber Jackets
  • Allsaints Mandino Bomber JacketAllsaints Mandino Bomber Jacket
  • Last Night Parade Navy Ossel BomberLast Night Parade Navy Ossel Bomber
  • Topman Stone Suede Tipped Bomber JacketTopman Stone Suede Tipped Bomber Jacket
  • Reiss Vulcan Short Baseball Jacket NavyReiss Vulcan Short Baseball Jacket Navy
  • Reiss Oakland Short Suede Zip Through Jacket NavyReiss Oakland Short Suede Zip Through Jacket Navy
  • Ps By Paul Smith Cotton-blend Bomber JacketPs By Paul Smith Cotton-blend Bomber Jacket
  • Burberry Brit Harfield Boiled-wool Jacket 143652Burberry Brit Harfield Boiled-wool Jacket 143652
  • Ps Paul Smith Chocolate Soft Leather Bomber JacketPs Paul Smith Chocolate Soft Leather Bomber Jacket
  • Asos Bomber Jacket With Camo SleevesAsos Bomber Jacket With Camo Sleeves
  • Topman Navy Paisley Bomber JacketTopman Navy Paisley Bomber Jacket
  • Vintage Customised Tapestry Bomber JacketVintage Customised Tapestry Bomber Jacket
  • Asos Bomber JacketAsos Bomber Jacket
Conclusion

Having cemented their place on the runways for a number of seasons now, the bomber is a true year-round essential. Able to be dressed up or down with relative ease, this is a piece of outerwear that will see you through the transitional season and right into summer, making it a great alternative to the much revered denim jacket.

With the backing of some of the better known style icons out there, surely the bomber jacket is a worthy addition to any modern wardrobe? One thing is for sure, this military-born classic is set to take flight during SS13.

Now we want to hear your view:

  • Are you a fan of this season’s take on the bomber jacket?
  • Or do you prefer yours more akin to the Brit classic Harrington?
  • How will you be styling yours?
  • Or will you be avoiding them all together?
  • What will be your go to outerwear choice this transitional and spring period?

Let us know in the comments section below.