The bomber jacket is always meant to appear on the runway during autumn and winter, both as a true testament to its iconic status as a piece of menswear, and to its versatility taking many forms. But it’s the dark leather bomber that stormed the runway this fall / winter 2013 season with many designers enforcing its timeless shape and cropped length. After the break, we take a closer look at the menswear classic, its history and its appearance on the runway.

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mens bomber jacket

History of the men’s bomber

The leather bomber can be traced back to WW1, where the Americans developed a jacket that could protect their pilots from the inclement weather when flying in the open cockpits at the time. That jacket was standardized to what is known as the Type A-2. According to specifications, the jacket featured horsehide leather (in seal or russet), knitted wristlets and waistband, zipper front and hidden snap fasteners. Shearling was added for especially cold climates. Retired during the 60’s and the 70’s, it was reissued in 1988 due to the many requests of servicemen after the surging popularity of the film Top Gun. It’s still worn today in the Air Force.

WWII A-2 bomber jackets

WWII U.S. Air Force Squadron all wearing their customised A-2 bomber jackets

The bomber jacket for winter 2013

Shape and proportion

While there were plenty of dark bombers on the runway this season, the standouts opted for clean forms, complimentary silhouettes, leather inserts and quilted detailing. The naturally cropped length of the bomber jacket maintained its relevance as it is known for elongating the legs, making it very flattering for men hoping to gain that extra few abstract inches.

The proportions were the ones to assure plenty of variety as they went from super-fit and super-cropped, to the more classic bomber renditions, and all the way to the fully relaxed silhouettes.

Mens bomber jacket fashion trend fall 2013
Bomber jackets on the runway at Christopher Kane, Paul Smith and Duckie Brown, F/W ’13


If there’s one thing that manages to tie together the multitude of bomber jackets envisioned for this winter, than the dark palette of colours must be it. From deep burgundies and rich browns, to midnight blues, dark grays and black, there’s a a clear return to the basics marking the season ahead.

Mens bomber jacket trend fall 2013
Bomber jackets on the runway at Missoni, Hermes and Calvin Klein, F/W ’13

And while a classic bomber jacket is more likely to become a timeless investment, a jacket in an unexpected colour is the alternate option to eventually mark a bold style statement. In the sea of dark hues, there were also bright hints of explosive orange and playful pink ready to make the use of colour exciting this winter.

Mens bmber jacket trend fall 2013
Coloured bomber jackets at John Lawrence and Paul Smith, F/W ’13


As to prepare the territory for the upcoming spring season, there were also bold and vivid prints shaping up the men’s bomber jackets for fall / winter 2013. From delicate florals, to checks and aztec patterns, the prints seen on the runway served as a refreshing reenvisioning of the perennial bomber trend.

Mens bomber jacket trend fall 2013
Bomber jackets at Carven, Moschino and John Lawrence, F/W ’13

How to wear the bomber jacket this winter

New styles, shapes and colours may emerge, but the bomber jacket is most likely to maintain its classic appeal. That’s why the proper styling is important in translating the bomber into a modern, sleek and relevant look. This season pair the bomber with:

  • A pair of pleated pants, effortlessly rolled up at the ankle for a classic meets sports look;
  • A V-neck sweater, a classic white shirt and a tie for even more contrast;
  • A pair of coloured trousers for a louder statement of winter style.

Mens bomber jacket trend fall 2013
Bomber jackets at Christian Pellizzari, Viktor & Rolf and Paul Smith, F/W ’13

The bomber jacket for spring 2014

Look out for the familiar shape come spring 2014, when the bomber is set to morph into the blouson. Perceived as the winter bomber’s cousin, the blouson comes in a variety of light fabrics and colours for spring, in order to offer a refreshing sportier take on the bomber during the warmer months.

Mens bomber jacket trend fall 2013
Bomber jackets at Calvin Klein, Diesel Black Gold and DSquared2, S/S ’14

During the upcoming spring season, the lightweight bomber jackets are set to explode in a myriad of vivid prints, colliding with bright blocks of colours and interesting patterns altogether. This is the season that allows you to go wild in mixing and matching your garments, clashing your favourite prints and juxtaposing your choices of fabric without the fear of looking too flamboyant.

Mens bomber jacket trend fall 2013
Bomber jackets at 3.1 Phillip Lim, Vivienne Westwood and Viktor & Rolf, S/S ’14

Parts of this article were authored by Giang Cao.

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