Are you trying to figure out how to wear a bomber jacket? You’ve come to the right place!
Any piece of clothing trickled into the mainstream from military wardrobes is bound to become a timeless piece of menswear. When it comes to the bomber jacket, though, it’s simultaneously achieved this while maintaining a cool factor often reserved for more trend-forward pieces.
This makes it a special piece but also intimidating for some guys. Let me reassure you that a you can incorporate a bomber jacket into your wardrobe.
Also called a flight jacket, a bomber is a waist-length piece of outerwear with a zip-up front and an elastic waistband, often ribbed, along with the cuffs and collar.
A bomber is similar to a Harrington jacket, but doesn’t have flap pockets or a fold-down button collar.
Here’s how to wear this classic jacket:
How To Wear a Bomber Jacket: A Men’s Guide
Historically, bomber jackets were made of leather or fabric. So, the models made with these traditional materials, or those with the classically puffy silhouette, always have a touch of retro-ness.
Here are some common bomber styles:
- You can style a classic leather bomber a few ways. You can wear it as you would a moto jacket, and it’ll bring a less rebellious vibe and a more adult military vibe. This also makes it one of the better options when it comes to pairing with slightly more formal combinations as well.
- The suede bomber can be worn exactly like the classic leather bomber. You can even wear it with workwear pieces because of its functional, casual look.
- You can style he authentic, puffed-up silhouette bomber to lean into that retro cool vibe. Another way to wear it is by incorporating trendy and streetwear outfits.
- The minimalist bomber can be worn in place of a Harrington jacket. This is a good bomber if you like clean and formal lines, even with your casual outfits.
- The quilted bomber has a similar vibe to a quilted vest. This means you can wear it with a suit or a T-shirt and jeans.
- The athleisure bomber, strictly speaking, is the only bomber you can wear with shorts since it’s the most casual.
Here are five basic yet stylish combinations for any of these bomber jacket styles. Truly. Any of them! It’s a testament to the bomber’s versatility.
- T-shirt, blue jeans, and
- T-shirt, blue jeans, and boots or loafers. However, the suede bomber would bring out the workwear quality of the boots. It would also match loafers’ elegant yet effortless look, especially suede ones.
- Polo, chinos, and white low-profile
sneakersor loafers. If you want to keep with the smart casualness of the classic polo-and-chino combo, go for the minimalist bomber to keep a close-to-body silhouette going.
- Button-down, wool trousers, and loafers. As mentioned earlier, the minimalist bomber would have the same effect as the polo. However, a quilted bomber gives an appropriately sporty touch, the same way a quilted vest works on the professional outfits of bankers and techies.
- Henley, canvas shorts, and trainers. Of all the combinations, I’d say this is the only one that requires the athleisure bomber — or at least the minimalist bomber. They’re both understated and casual enough to avoid a potential mismatch with shorts.
Now that you know how well bombers go with most neutral combinations, let’s talk about some of the ways you can optimize them.
The Retro and Military-Leaning Approaches
You may be doing the military aesthetic and not even realizing it due to the fact so many soldier and soldier-adjacent garments are ubiquitous in menswear.
A utility shirt, khakis, and service boots, for example. This combination would look great with a leather, suede, or nylon bomber, especially if it sported the heavier, puffier silhouette. Military-inspired fashions are the bomber jacket in its natural habitat.
As such, other pieces it would pair easily with include field watches, pilot watches, GAT
This approach is related to the retro approach since servicemen and aviators have been wearing bombers since WWI.
If you really want to lean into that nostalgic-cool style, you want to pair the bigger bombers with something clean-lined, slightly formal, but still utilitarian. If you think about vintage trench uniforms, they had more formality than today’s practical, performance-forward uniforms.
Go for button-downs and slacks that are olive or khaki in color, pair them with some crepe sole chukkas, and top it off with a shearling-lined leather bomber. By the way, this is also a great winter look.
The Minimalist Approach
The minimalist approach to how to wear a men’s bomber jacket is pretty universal. It’s proof that anyone, from trads to punks, can pull off a bomber.
The question here is whether you want your jacket to blend in with your outfit or be a statement piece. Color and silhouette become really important in this context.
You can use the bomber jacket as a pop of color by having the rest of the outfit be fully or mostly monochrome. For example, take a cream cashmere sweater with tonal chinos.
For the shoes, go for low-profile white
From here, you can wear a minimalist, fitted bomber in a bright color, say blue or red, to serve as a color statement. Double-whammy it with an extra thick bomber if you want it to be a bigger statement. Not only is the jacket in an eye-catching color, but it’s the heavier part of the silhouette.
The contrasting color doesn’t have to be loud, either. You can simply go for a brown leather bomber or a grey suede one to create a quieter statement, so to speak.
If you want your jacket to blend in with the outfit for a no-statement minimalist approach, combine subtle contrasts. Say, an olive green bomber with a heathered grey shirt, khakis, and tan loafers.
The Layered Approach
Bombers look great with layers — as long as you aren’t overdoing it. The ribbing at the hems cinches the jacket so that it can easily get overstuffed.
That being the case, minimalist and athleisure bombers probably don’t have enough interior capacity to handle layering, so leave this job to the classic models in oversized, relaxed, and puffy silhouettes.
By layering, you can really bring out a specific style category you might be going for. Want to lean hard into the workwear utilitarian look? Go for a heavily woven wool shirt in forest green, a khaki utility shirt over it with the top few buttons undone, and an olive bomber over that.
For a streetwear approach, you can wear a long curved-hem cotton slub shirt with a scarf and necklace, topped off with a bomber. You can also go for a jacket with patches on it if that’s your thing.
Want something more woodsy? You can always wear a plaid flannel underneath a monochrome jacket.
For a more everyday look, wear a button-down shirt with a quarter-zip sweater, topped off with a bomber, all pieces subtly contrasting each other color-wise.
Athleisure bombers are fairly new in the history of bomber jackets. They’re like better-structured, cleaner-looking tracksuit tops.
You should partner them with well-structured pieces, not big baggy sweats and old oversized t-shirts (perhaps you should relegated those to gym wear). Fortunately, as athleisure has become more acceptable as everyday wear, clean-lined performance garments aren’t that difficult to find these days.
Cinched-hem joggers, henley shirts, and classic-fit tech shorts that land just above the knee are all good examples.
How To Wear a Black Bomber Jacket
The black bomber, specifically the traditional black bomber (not the athleisure or minimalist ones), has a particular cool guy factor that might make it more intimidating.
First, if you can wear a leather motorcycle jacket, you can wear a black bomber. Any combination you can wear a moto with, you can also wear with its aviator counterpart. As mentioned, it keeps the aforementioned cool factor that both jackets exude but is a bit more “grown up.”
The leather motorcycle jacket is the rebel, while the leather bomber is the man who served his country and knows how to pilot a helicopter.
As mentioned in our article about how to wear black, a black bomber can make you feel like you’re a star in an action movie.
Light or dark denim, even ripped jeans if you’re into that, matching leather boots,
Do you still have some questions about bomber jackets? Here are some answers!
How should a bomber jacket fit?
Depending on the model, there are looser and closer fits. In general, though, the hem of a classic bomber should sit on your hip, while the cuffs sit above your wrist bone.
What age Is appropriate for a bomber jacket?
Men and boys of all ages can wear a bomber. It’s a classic piece of outerwear. Just pick the right model for your personal style.
Conclusion: The Bomber as a Wardrobe Staple
Now you know how to wear a bomber jacket for men, no matter the style. There are even different modern bomber styles beyond the classics.
However, you can’t go wrong with the originals.
Still, extra styles do expand the jacket’s versatility. Truly, anyone can style a bomber to match their preferred aesthetic.
What’s your go-to bomber color? Leave your answer in the comments!