How To Wear A Bomber Jacket: 19 Cool Outfits For 2023
Everything you need to put together good-looking bomber jacket outfits, from the styles and sizes to choose through to the pieces to fly it with.
War. Huh. Yeah. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing… except the menswear.
Sorry, we’re not trying to glorify warfare here, but a lot our favourite men’s clothes started life on the battlefield. M-65 field jackets, chinos and pea coats are some of the most famous, but the five-star general of cool military clothing is, of course, the bomber jacket.
Bringing the ineffable swagger of dashing World War II airmen to civilian life, the bomber jacket is one of those rare statement pieces that you can wear every day. Depending on the style, it can be tailored and suave or rebellious and counter-culture. It can be fitted or oversized, smart or casual.
So the question of how to wear a bomber jacket has either a short answer – anything you like – or a very long and nerdy one. Guess which option we’re going for? Below you’ll find everything you need for putting together good-looking bomber jacket outfits, from the styles and sizes to choose, right through to the pieces to fly it with.
How to wear a bomber jacket guidelines
Know your squadron
Because they were originally designed for pilots, flight jackets come in different styles and specs – all to suit the men or the mission of the day.
Early models transitioned from heavily insulated shearling styles to the US Army’s A1 jacket. This style is usually collared, with a buttoned front and ribbed hem. The A2 that followed was similar but switched the buttons for a zipper. Today this style of bomber jacket is a smart-casual coat that looks considered and textured, not least because it’s often made in wool or suede.
Many more flight jackets came and went between the 1920s and 1940s, but perhaps the most popular design first appeared in the 1950s as jet aircraft began to take flight. The MA-1, originally developed by the US Air Force, is thinner, usually made from polyester or nylon. It has a baseball collar, two slanted pockets at the front, usually an extra pencil pocket on the arm and sometimes an eye-catching orange lining.
Adopted by virtually every sub-culture you can think of from mods and punks to hip-hop and Scandi minimalists, the MA-1 look inherently more casual and works better with streetwear, denim and other casual staples.
Play with proportions
The OG bomber jackets were designed to insulate pilots at high altitudes. That meant chunky padding and an oversized fit. But let’s assume you don’t have 30,000ft temperatures to worry about. In that case you have more options with how to wear a bomber jacket today.
Some prefer a traditional baggy fit. The cropped waist combined with a balloon-like proportions gives an exaggerated silhouette that works well for streetwear-inspired looks.
For something more tailored, look at modern cuts that are straighter in the body and fit almost like a soft-shouldered blazer.
As with all jackets, the fabric of your bomber not only dictates how practical it is, but also sets the tone for your outfit. Brushed wool and suede bombers always look refined and could be worn interchangeably with smart field jackets and unstructured blazers.
MA-1 bombers more often come in cotton, nylon and polyester, making them lighter and more casual. This is the style repeatedly adopted by counterculture tribes like punk and hip-hop, and works with other streetwear essentials like denim, hoodies and statement tees.
19 cool bomber jacket outfits for men
Navy wool bomber jacket outfit
A symphony of blues here to prove that a wool A1 bomber works as a legitimate replacement for a blazer. In this smart-casual get-up, the sartorial details of the jacket – like the prominent buttons and flap pockets – chime with the pleat of the trousers to elevate the whole look.
This would work with a fine merino sweater or a dressier shirt but it’s also perfect with the more casual choice of a denim shirt and minimalist kicks.
Mid blue MA-1 bomber jacket outfit
Depending on the fabric, you can wear wear a bomber jacket almost like a cardigan. This example from Brunello Cucinelli is a mini masterclass in how it’s done: soft at the shoulders, relaxed through the body and left open as a cool summer layer.
It’s also the statement piece in this outfit, the blue looking all the richer for being paired with whites and off-whites.
Off-white bomber jacket outfit
Button up an A1 bomber jacket and it becomes the star of your fit. Keep the rest of your outfit minimal because the jacket’s details –the pockets, the buttons, the ribbed hem and funnel collar – can do all the talking. Button up the middle two buttons only to let the bomber proportions sing.
High-waisted trousers are also a good idea with this kind of jacket because they work with the crop of the bomber to create interesting proportions in your outfit.
Men’s camel bomber jacket outfit
Because bomber jackets look so good in wool and suede, they can’t be beaten in outfits where texture is king. Above, the chunky ribbed turtleneck and relaxed wool trousers are the perfect base for a sumptuous suede bomber, while the pastel shades show off the tactile fabrics.
Bonus points for grounding the cosy outfit with something different: classic black Chuck Taylors, which fly in the other direction.
Olive suede bomber jacket outfit
Echoes of the 70s are never far away when you sling on a brown suede bomber jacket, especially with a wide-fit pair of pants.
In keeping with the throwback vibe, this A2-style jacket is worn deliberately slouchy – easy in the body and hanging slightly off the shoulders.
The tucked shirt and belted trousers keep the retro look going, while the tonal blues and greys and offset with the box-fresh canvas shoes below.
Linen bomber jacket outfit
You don’t see many linen bomber jackets, but that’s a bit of a travesty because they work brilliantly as a lightweight summer layer – not unlike a linen overshirt or blazer.
A boxy-fitting A1 bomber will naturally puddle slightly in the middle but that’s part of the charm and it exaggerates the deliberately dishevelled look of crinkly linen.
Despite those wrinkles, head-to-toe sandy tones lock this down as an elegant way to spend a summer evening. Throw on some suede loafers to complete the old money look.
All-black bomber jacket outfit
Donning a black bomber jacket with a dark outfit always carries the risk that you’ll look like an angry doorman turning teenagers away from a provincial nightclub. A black bomber is a great piece of menswear, but the styling needs to be on point.
Keep your trousers straight or slim in black or a dark indigo. Pop a black tee under the jacket to keep the blackout style going and while we’re not going to enforce a no-sneakers rule, you can pep up the outfit with a smart pair of black Derby shoes.
Navy suede bomber jacket outfit
Grey, navy and white is an evergreen colour combo and one that should always be in the rotation if you have a versatile navy bomber jacket. The one above comes in a soft suede so the lighter shade of grey on the trousers works well.
A tucked-in tee is a smart move with bomber jackets because it creates some interesting horizontal lines. It’s especially good in this outfit, it plays against the vertical lines of the trouser pleats to eye-catching effect.
Navy tonal bomber jacket outfit
Navy on navy is another menswear no-brainer, walking a fine line between smart and casual. Here, a sportier cut in the jacket works nicely with smarter trousers and luxe sneakers.
The half-zipped jacket is also a nice touch, looking relaxed while also letting the base layer – in this case a lemon-yellow polo shirt – offer some contrast.
For sportier fits like this one, finishing the look with a baseball cap makes complete sense.
Green bomber jacket & khaki pants outfit
Lean into the military origins of the bomber jacket with an ever-versatile shade of olive green. Paired with some khaki pants and a white T-shirt, this would call to mind Pearl Harbour-based flying aces. It would also be a little bit fancy dress.
Which is why it’s refreshing to see the white tee replaced with something very different. Not only does the lilac Oxford shirt give an unexpected colour pop, it’s also untucked and long in the body, playing off the cropped style of the bomber.
Smart-casual bomber jacket outfit
Yet more proof of the undying versatility of a fitted navy bomber jacket. The relaxed shape and soft suede fabric make it a worthy replacement for a more formal blazer, and you don’t sacrifice any sartorial brownie points in the trade.
In this dinner-ready outfit, the smart-casual memo comes through loud and clear in the sockless penny loafers and lightweight grey sweater.
Streetwear bomber jacket outfit
Here’s what happens when you embrace a traditional, looser-fitting bomber jacket. It’s arguably a more interesting silhouette than slim-cut styles that are straight through the body: more drama, more impact and better for layering too.
Black grung-ey bomber jacket outfit
Grunge and skatewear are two more subcultures to add to the long list of bomber jacket aficionados. A staple MA-1 jacket in black fits the look, perfectly complementing a pair of rolled-up trousers and logo T-shirt. The metallic zips also work nicely with the metallic keychain on the pants.
Skaters were into white socks long before the rest of us got the memo. Worn with cropped trousers to show them off, they’re a subtle accessory to make your black bomber pop.
Grey athleisure bomber jacket outfit
Jersey fabric bomber jackets aren’t as common as other fabrics but they’re a great addition to your wardrobe if your style includes lots of sports-luxe athleisure.
Soft and loose-fitting like a sweatshirt or hoodie, it’s a great alternative to either of those pieces and looks at home with a plain tee and a smarter pair of joggers.
Unlike your hoodie or sweatshirt, you’ll want to hang this up rather than throw it over the sofa. All the better for that creaseless luxury leisurewear look.
Winter-ready bomber jacket outfit
A wool bomber is an ideal top-layer for warm, fall outfits. Complementing practical but stylish layers like roll necks and cable knits, it works for long walks, the pubs they finish in, plus casual days in the office.
Keep the jacket in a neutral tone like navy or brown and you’ll be able to wear it with everything in your knitwear and denim collections.
Casual bomber jacket outfit
Blokecore is a divisive look, inspired by football casuals and uncomplicated 90s menswear. Happy in a T-shirt, jeans and sneakers? Then this is the trend for you. And a bomber fits the bill nicely, taking the place of a more traditional Harrington jacket or track top in terrace-inspired outfits.
The best thing about it is that you don’t have to overthink it. Keep the jacket neutral and sling it on with your staple denim and box-fresh sneakers.
Tonal summer bomber jacket outfit
Lightweight bomber jackets are the breezy, underrated layers that your smart-ish summer wardrobe needs. Ideal for sun-loving date nights or dressy warm-weather parties, they give you some of the benefits of a blazer but in a more casual throw-on style.
Tonal outfits look great in the sun, so restrict your palette to a few complementary colours, like the outfit above, with some subtle contrast between top and bottom halves.
Fall bomber jacket outfit
Like Harrington jackets, bombers can handle a bolder pop of colour. If you’re tired of everything in your wardrobe being black, navy or grey, investing in a statement jacket is a good way to introduce some more vivid shades.
The deep rusty red of the design above works all year round, but you could also look at stronger tones of green, sky blue or white.
Keep the bottoms neutral to let the jacket’s bold colour sing.
Monochrome bomber jacket outfit
Black and white is always a head-turning look, and it’s a good way to get an impactful outfit from a staple black bomber. But there are a few rules to wearing monochrome.
Outside of tailoring, off-whites are easier to work with: the cream-ish ivory carpenter pants in this fit would be too harsh in a stark white.
You also want the right proportions between the black and white. Blocking out the top and bottoms in contrasting shades is a good way of doing it, and you can continue the balance by grounding the look in a pair of black and white canvas sneakers.