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What Is A Bomber Jacket? (Types, Photos & Advice)

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Ok, so you’re wondering what exactly a bomber jacket is?

Don’t worry because we’re going to provide a very clear explanation along with its history and all bomber jacket types so that you can make a smart choice.

Let’s start with our first question.

What is a bomber jacket? Explained

Photo by behrouz sasani

The bomber jacket is also known as the flight jacket because it is first used by the air force to withstand temperatures in high altitudes. A bomber jacket is a style of jacket that has:

  • Rib-knit collar or fur collar (collar can be very high to trim but a collar is a must in a bomber jacket)
  • Rib-knit cuffs, and
  • Waistband

If your jacket has all the above things then your jacket is a bomber jacket (with 100% surety)

Read Also: How Warm Are Bomber Jackets?

A complete history of bomber jackets?

The bomber jacket are firstly made for men of armed forces but now they have become a must-have jacket in the closet of both men and women as a outerwear from fall-to-winter and spring.

The true timeline of bomber jackets needs to be started from 1915 – the time when world war 1 is in an active phase.

That was the time when there were aircraft with cockpits that are not enclosed.

So, pilots are concerned about getting cold when flying at high altitudes with high speed.

That’s why around 1915, the Royal Flying Corps in Belgium and France started to wear long, heavy-duty leather flying coats. You can say this was the time when the bomber jackets are first invented and firstly started to refer as ‘Flight jackets’

Now being clever, the U.S Army soon noticed these functional jackets, and in September 1917 they set up the Aviation Clothing Board and make it indisputable that the leather flight jackets will be a very important part of the uniform.

Leather is the only material used back then for making the bomber or flight jacket because it is thought of as the best material available to combat really cold weather.

The main characteristic of the 1915 version is high wraparound, collars, snug cuffs, wind flaps with zip closure, snugged waist, and fur lining.

As time passes the cockpits started to become narrower and closed the flight jackets also evolved on the side.

In 1927 US Army Type A-1 was released and genuinely this was the version that provided the ground for the bomber jackets we know today because it has a knit waistband and cuffs that only insulate us from cold air but also gives the high on the waist and flattering fit.

After that, the A1 is followed by the A2 which is released by the US Army Air Corps in 1932 and the A2 is the style that is most recognized among us.

You’ll be glad to know that the original A2 jacket can still be found in pretty good condition.

The style continues to improve, so we saw a new B-15 during world war II and the MA-1 model which is an upgraded version of the B-15 launched somewhere around 1949-1950.

The most notable change made is that the fur collar was replaced by the knit collar so that it doesn’t come into the way of the parachute harness.

MA-1 is mainly in use among the American military but besides that, it can be great outerwear to wear from fall to spring because withstanding temperatures from 14 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit and is still lightweight.

During this time the MA-1 had to get the support of the nylon body for its ability to remain dry and provide some amount of water resistance.

Finally, in the mid-50s the flight jacket started to cross the line between the military functional jacket to the civilian bomber jacket as ideal outerwear from fall to winter and in spring.

To satisfy the public needs the bomber jackets saw many alterations but the easily notable was the shifting from the wool collar to an acrylic knit, from quilted to non-quilted liner.

Police officials also added the MA-1 style bomber jacket in their uniform, mainly for those who work outdoors where temperatures can drop to cold.

From the ’60s to 80’s a real revolution in bomber jackets started.

Like the bomber jackets started to be used by the British skinheads who vociferous white supremacist and neo-Nazi ideologies. They used the jacket as a “sartorial expression of the changing social conditions (Image given below).

Bomber jackets are worn by the British Skinheads in the 1960s –

Further on the same symbol was adopted by the LGBT community as a method to subvert the oppressive ideals of the skinheads.

The LGBT community of North America also started to wear the Bomber jacket so that they can use it to fetishize the hyper-masculinity to oppose the military who rejected the LGBT members.

During the same timeframe, Japan also started to love the MA-1 bomber style jacket because at that time the youth population was increasingly interested in the fashion sense of the USA.

In a nutshell, the bomber jackets were created by Dobbs Industries and only focuses on the U.S Air Force and Navy fighter pilots. It was only in the late 1950s that the bomber jackets became famous among civilians.

Still, in the 21st century, the bomber jacket hasn’t lost its craze among both men and women for its ability to keep us warm while not neglecting the fashion sense in any way.

Types of bomber jackets (with pics):

Varsity Bomber Jacket

As you can see from the image itself the varsity bomber jackets generally fit above the waist and the arms tend to be roomier.

The above design is a button-up design that features a 100% nylon shell with 100% polyester filling. To see the complete detailing you can click on the image.

Quilted/Padded Bomber Jacket

The design can be varsity, cropped, or any other if the jacket features the quilted design (Cris-cross, diamond, or horizontal lining) is known as a quilted bomber jacket.

Softshell Bomber Jacket

Softshell bomber jackets are mostly made of 100% polyester as a shell which provides some level of water-resistant.

Windbreaker Bomber Jacket

If you find any bomber jacket that is labeled as a windbreaker then be aware because that is most probably made of windbreaker material that creates certain noise while moving the body.

Track Bomber Jacket

As the name and image both imply that track bomber jackets are designed for sportspeople to shine while they are on track but removed when they are playing.

So it’s a pre-match/play jacket for outdoor sports.

The track bomber jacket generally features a full-length front zipper with the usual bomber styling.

Shirt Bomber Jacket

The above design is called a bomber shirt jacket that features a classical bomber silhouette

Leather/Faux leather Bomber Jacket

Real Leather Bomber Jacket (100% pigskin)

Note: I am not a fan of real leather as it is cruel.

As we saw in history the bomber jackets are primarily made of thick leather as it was believed to be the best material to keep the pilots of World War 1 and 2 warm.

Faux Leather Bomber Jacket (100% PU)

Though now many alternatives have come but still without any doubt thick leather bomber jackets are still in style for their warming abilities.

Satin Bomber Jacket

Satin bomber jackets are constructed in a satin weave and often it is seen that the satin bomber jackets have a slippery, soft texture and a glossy face.

The above jacket demonstrates how shiny a satin jacket can be.

Polyester Bomber Jacket

When I say polyester jacket then it means the given bomber jacket must be made up of 100% polyester like the above one.

The brands can provide you extra perks like fleece liner and 300 denier oxford waterproof/PU coating along with polyester so that the jacket can switch from being water-resistant to waterproof.

The above jacket is a pure example of that.

Cotton Bomber Jacket

The bomber jacket can only be called a cotton bomber jacket when it is made of 100% cotton.

However, the main problem with cotton bomber jackets is that they can shrink when ironed or washed in hot water.

Nylon Bomber Jacket

When a bomber style is made up of 100% nylon then it is called the nylon bomber jacket.

Though they can be also quilted in design with contrasting lining.

Cropped Bomber Jacket

Cropped bomber jackets are the ones that are shorter in body length. Such bomber jackets are short enough to sit just on the navel or above the navel.

Hooded Bomber Jacket

As the name implies these are bomber jackets that feature a hood with them. Either removable or non-removable.

MA-1 Flight Bomber Jacket

The 50’s MA-1 flight bomber jacket is still in the hearts of people. You can imagine its popularity by knowing that Alpha Industries are actively manufacturing the MA-1 jackets.

The main material of the MA-1 flight jacket is flight nylon usage in the shell and lining while polyester is filling.

B-15 Bomber Jacket

B-15 bomber jacket tends to be very roomier in sleeves but snug in cuffs and waistband.

This military style generally sits above the hip, features the core fit, and has extra room in the body.

Sherpa Bomber Jacket

Sherpa bomber jackets are made of the fabric called sherpa which is a curly piled fabric of synthetic yarns like acrylic or polyester.

The texture of such a bomber jacket is soft and fluffy.


Now, I hope you have got your answer that a bomber jacket is a jacket that has a collar, rib cuffs, and a waistband.

We also see all the major bomber jacket types and their specialties.

Personally me, I enjoyed knowing about the bomber jacket.

Read Also: Can Bomber Jackets Keep You Warm?


Read Also: Do leather jackets keep you warm?

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