Every generation discovers the bomber jacket at some point. It started with Air Force and Navy pilots in the 1950s. Then hardcore punk fans (and, unfortunately, skinheads too) sheathed themselves in the flight coats in the late 80s and 90s. Hip-hop also took notice around that time as well. (For completely unrelated reasons, I watched Public Enemy’s “By The Time I Get To Arizona” video while writing this and noticed Chuck D’s customized bomber.) Now, the bomber jacket is having another resurgence as streetwear and high fashion continue to intertwine. Kanye West even designed one for his Yeezus tour.
The timeless appeal of the jacket is easy to understand. It is both functional and stylish. The orange lining associated with classic models was originally created as a way for downed pilots to be more visible to rescue personnel. It also happens to provide the perfect color pop to play off the traditional sage and oxblood exteriors.
With the revival of the bomber jacket, there have been a number of new interpretations. Here are the good, better, and best ones.
Good: Zara Textured Bomber
The mesh panels on the body contrast nicely with the plain sleeves and give this jacket a sportier look. The closer you look at the jacket, the more you appreciate the detail.
Better: Alpha Industries MA-1 Blood Chit
Alpha Industries started making the MA-1 for the military in the 1960s. This version of their classic bomber features a patch that was sewn into the lining that identified the jacket’s owner as a U.S. airman in numerous languages in the event that he was shot down.
Best: McQ Alexander McQueen Leather Bomber
All of the traditional details of the traditional MA-1 bomber, down to the zippered pocket on the sleeve, have been replicated on this jacket, except they’ve been crafted with luxuriously soft lambskin leather.