The 90’s Bomber Jacket: The Ultimate 411

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Last Updated on August 1, 2021

Few clothing items have such a rich history as the bomber jacket. They were created with practicality in mind to serve a very clear purpose: to keep pilots warm.

But, they looked so good that they were eagerly adopted as a fashion item and they have since known every type of embellishment and customization.

There are myriad ways to wear a bomber jacket, but fear not, we have done the leg work so you don’t have to.

Read ahead to get all the tidbits on how to style different types of bomber jackets to achieve amazing looks!

A Brief History

The bomber jacket was originally called the “flight jacket” and was designed in the 1950’s as uniform to in the US military air forces. There are several features of the bomber jacket that can be seen to this day, which serve as a reminder of its past function.

For example the thick, elasticated collar was implemented into the design to allow enough room for the parachute harness, and the slim silhouette encouraged body temperature increase and easy mobility in cramped conditions.

In an unlikely event, the bomber jacket was reborn into a newfound popularity in the late 80’s/early 90’s, when it could be seen worn by celebrities and movie stars such as Matthew Broderick in the iconic “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. Not to mention, the notable appearance in award winning motion picture “Top Gun”, sported by Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis.

Nowadays, the bomber jacket is not just available in its signature style, but many fast-fashion brands have designed a contemporary take on the signature look by adding hoods, using a multitude of different fabrics, and even lengthening the hem for a “trench coat” vibe.

How to Style the 90’s Bomber Jacket for Men

Dress it Up

To achieve the ultimate retro vibe, opt for an oversized, colour block bomber layered over a polo neck, and add white, loose-fit jeans. Next you want to add a few gold chains for a bit of bling – and of course, the look wouldn’t be complete without chunky sole sneakers!

You can usually find these vintage jackets at thrift stores, charity boutiques or even from Ebay or Depop for a great bargain! This look can be seen modelled perfectly by this trendy teen:

In the colder months, the regular lightweight version of the bomber may no longer be a wise choice (especially in the northern latitudes). Luckily this garment is super versatile and there are certain tips and tricks you can master in order for this one statement piece to last you all year round.

For example, you can simply layer up with a hoodie that is thin enough to not look bulky and to complete the look; throw on a beanie, scarf, and a pair of Doc Martens. It really is as easy as that!


Dress it Down

To create a more casual ensemble for those relaxed weekends at home, or a day on the beach, pair an MA1 aviator with a crisp white tee, distressed light-wash denims and chunky trainers for an effortlessly edgy vibe.

Alternatively, embrace your inner hip-hop fantasy by layering the MA1 over an unbuttoned long plaid shirt and layer over a few pieces of gold jewellery.

Going for an adventure in the big city?

Why not take style inspo from Ferris Beuller’s suave ensemble by pairing an animal print vest with a plain crew-neck tee, grey double pleated trousers and white bowling shoes. You’ll be sure to turn heads for all the right reasons!

For a vintage flair, follow the lead of young trend-setter Brooklyn Beckham, spotted at London Fashion Week wearing the Burberry Harrington Jacket. Get the look for less by investing in a tan bomber with an oversized fit, boot cut pants and a tweed flat cap.

This is a classic style that has surpassed the test of time and pays homage to some of the 90’s coolest icons.

How to Style the 90’s Bomber Jacket for Women

Dress it up

Whatever your personal style, there is guaranteed to be a way to incorporate the bomber jacket into your everyday attire.

For a night out on the town, channel “Clueless” vibes by pairing your bomber with a plaid skater skirt, kitten heels, knee high socks and a white scuba top.

To accessorize, invest in a plaid mini shoulder bag and slick your hair back into a super-high pony, or by using a black velvet head band. Check out our awesome article on styling scrunchies.

In the autumn/winter season, swap your mini skirt for baggy denims by rocking a patterned oversized shirt tucked into Levi’s balloon jeans. Check out our jeans guide for more info.

Throw on a leather belt to cinch the waist, heeled ankle booties, and you’re ready to go! Perfect for 90’s glam when you’re caught in a hurry.

Dress it Down

One girl who knows how to style a flawlessly casual look is Claudia Kishi, played by Momona Tamada in “The Baby-Sitters Club”. This show has recently been brought back to the big screen after its popularity in 1995, and it’s safe to say it gives us all the nostalgic feels!

Claudia can be seen in an array of retro bomber jackets, styled with dresses, dungarees and boiler-suit jumpsuits.

Channel your inner Claudia Kishi by playing with different patterns, colours and fabrics underneath your outerwear. Don’t be afraid to accessorize either – Claudia can be seen rocking oversized flower rings, beaded necklaces and chunky scrunchies to give every look that finishing touch.

Finally, for footwear, opt for vibrant platform boots such as the Doc Marten’s leather holographic collection.

As you now know, the bomber jacket is not only a design acquired by fast-fashion retailers, but it is a historic artefact passed down from generation to generation. Help to keep the tradition alive by incorporating it into your wardrobe today.

What’s your memories of wearing a bomber jacket? Be sure to let us know in the comment section below – we love hearing from you!