Birds are singing, snow is melting, and bulky winter coats everywhere are getting sealed into storage bags and shoved back into the depths of basement closets. The saying goes “its too cold to be pretty”, which I'm sure every Canadian's thinking as we endure a typical six months of cold weather that has our fashion over function choices put on ice. Casting our trendy styles aside in order to endure tundra like windchills and snow up to our armpits, it is no surprise that as soon as the temperature climbs, parkas and puffers make way for another season staple; the Bomber Jacket.
Born in 1917 out of a need to keep early fighter pilots warm in their cockpits, the United States Army Aviation Clothing Board designed the first edition Bomber Jacket (originally known as a Flight Jacket). The jacket featured high wraparound collars, zippered closures with wind flaps, snug fitting cuffs and waistbands, and were crafted out of leather or wool. Many features that are still included in todays editions. The most historical versions of the Flight Jacket are the A-2 jacket of the United States Air Force and the G-1 of the Naval Aviators, but it is the MA-1 Bomber Jacket that is regarded as one of the earliest designs to bridge the gap between military attire and civilian fashion.
Military inspired styles have become deeply entrenched in wardrobes over the years. While not only setting a new standard for functional outerwear, the enduring popularity of bomber style jackets, cargo pants, and aviator sunglasses, is largely due to its genre-less appeal. They're comfortable and versatile, more durable than many fashion items, and most importantly gender free. Thanks to its military roots, Flight Jackets became synonymous with thoughts of honour and adventure, bolstering the wearers confidence. It didn't take long for Hollywood to adopt these designs, turning them into the ultimate symbols of glory, rebellion, and perseverance. Movies like "Top Gun" boosted sales, giving everyone that "need for speed" swagger, and truly cementing the style as a pop culture staple.
The Bomber Jacket today is a neutral fashion item with no limitations on age, gender, body shape, or personal style. Designers no longer default to leather and wool, but indulge in trendier fabrics like neoprene, silk, satin, and can be found with any number of embellishments to truly represent the wearer and allow them to express themselves. Want a version that will test the sands of time? Opt for a simple bomber style in navy, green, or black. Or let it do all the talking as the focal point of your outfit; the cherry on top of a basic tee and jeans. It is a piece that even as fashion trends come and go, will remain the ultimate combination of comfort, warmth, and style.