I'm sure you have at least one hoodie in your closet right? It's warm and comfy just the way clothing items should be for 3 season wear items (Fall, Winter, Spring). It's a very functional piece. But as a man that is always seeking to improve your image, I know you can do better! That is why I think the bomber jacket can be an integral piece in your wardrobe, and the best way to do this is to learn how to wear a bomber jacket.
Allow me to take a guess, you probably favor your hoodies because of these reasons:
- They are easy to wear, just zip them up or pull them over
- Hoodies are warm and comfortable
- There is a pocket or pockets to stick your hands in to keep warm
You may have other reasons such as showing support for a school or organization through a branded hoodie. But as you keep reading, you'll learn that the bomber jacket has most of the functions of the hoodie and then some. In addition there is an increase in aesthetic appeal that comes from the bomber jacket, something that the hoodie lacks.
The bomber jacket originates as a piece of military garment and as such instills a sense of "badassary" (yes I just made that word up!) when worn. Others around you may not know the history behind the jacket, but it immediately portrays a sense of masculinity that can't be found in the hoodie.
An example of a bomber jacket suitable for cold weather. Image courtesy of Cockpit USA.
Building off of that, it is often characteristic of a bomber jacket to have epaulets, which are straps of fabric attached to the shoulders of the garment derived from military-wear. Though they often served as a distinguishment of rank to military members, it can be used by us EveryMen as a visual enhancement of our shoulders. The extra strip of fabric serves to make our shoulders look broader and more manly.
Marlon Brando in The Wild One. Notice how the epaulets build up his shoulders.
Pockets are also a plenty in many variations of the bomber jacket, breast pockets and interior pockets adds to the serviceability of the bomber jacket. In addition, the breast pockets puff up the chest making you look buffer. On a side note, I've found all the extra pockets favorable when I travel and have extra items beyond my Every Day Carry that I want to have on my person (ie. passport, pack of gum). This has made my bomber jacket my favorite travel jacket.
Besides the added features of the bomber jacket, we must also take into consideration the materials in which it is made of. As with hoodies, bombers with materials consisting mostly of cotton can be found in addition to nylon for water resistance. But besides that, leather is also common amongst bomber jackets with the most noted example being the type A-2 worn by WWII pilots being the most notable.
The A-2 Bomber Jacket. Image courtesy of Gentleman's Gazette
If you've never put on a quality leather jacket, there is no other feeling like it. Our forefathers stretching back thousands of years have worn leather garments for their soldiering and warring duties. Men charged into battle wearing the skin of dead animals as they knew leather gave flexibility and protection which no other fabric could match. Can you think of anything more manly than that?
To sum up, here are the benefits of a leather jacket:
- Epaulets give the illusion of broader shoulders
- Additional pockets beef up the chest and add functionality
- Leather material adds a layer of manliness often lacking in other types of outerwear.
The Takeaway: Hoodies are great, but bomber jackets are better. There military heritage lends itself to enhance the masculine vibe of your wardrobe through the visual enhancement of your upper body.
If you want to learn more about the bomber jacket in pop culture, Wikipedia has some excellent information regarding this.