How to wear the bomber jacket?

The bomber jacket is just perfect for spring.

Warm enough yet not too much, and available in an endless panel of colors and embellishments.

For the title, I chose the word “bomber”jacket, because this is how most people call it in 2016.

Yet some other may call it a “varsity jacket”

Let’s have a look at their definitions.

Bomber jacket: according to Wikipédia, the bomber jacket was first designed for the United Air force pilots (indeed real “bomber” people…). It had to be solid yet light and comfortable. This nylon coat, replaced the much heavier former coats.

It has a zipper, elasticated banded hems around the wrists and waist and a rounded shape

Varsity jacket: it is worn by students to represent their school and team pride. The fabric is casual: it can be boiled wool, jersey or nylon.

The body of the jacket is in the school’s primary color and the arms are in the school’s secondary color. Some patches representing the school letters and award may be embroidered on the jacket.

Its shape is similar to the bomber jacket. Though normally less voluminous. It is usually closed with snap buttons.

Therefore, most of what we see  in the stores nowadays are neither real bomber or varsity jackets but are inspired by both.

This comeback is not a new thing: it started in 2011 when Tisci included some in his A/W collection for Givenchy.

The same year, the movie Drive, starring a hot Ryan Gosling in a shiny bomber jacket, became cult.

Ryan Gosling Drive

Bomber jackets never really left fashion ever since.

We had sweet flower printed ones, varsity jackets like ones, transparent ones, and now satin richly embroidered ones just like… in Drive but 5 years after!

They were noticed on Saint Laurent and Gucci catwalks amongst other.

bomber Gucci


saint Laurent men 2016

Saint Laurent homme

And you can find them absolutely everywhere.

I bought my first one in september 2015: a champagne satin Gerald Darel embroidered with pastel flowers for 5€ on a yard sale (I recommend yard sales in St Germain des prés, chic parisiennes from Rive gauche have lots of stuffs in their closets). It is probably is from the eighties and looks exactly that the ones that you could buy nowadays. Fashion’s never ending circle…

Think of second hand and vintage stores, they may have what you are looking for.

I. How to choose the bomber?

As I explained the bomber is merely a shape.

So you can choose every color, every fabric and every pattern.

The choice of the shape has more consequences.

A. Oversize bomber

This is the overcool way to wear it right now.

Rihanna likes to hide her hands in it… but if you are not Rihanna, you’ll just look stupid (even if you are  actually).

I advice you to choose a bomber that stops just below your bottom and sits low on your wrists like in the Saint Laurent show.

Stopping at the largest point of your hips is also a good option.

B. Fitted bomber

This is also cool, modern and less risky to style.

The waistline can stop at your waist to the top of your hip bones.

II. How to style the bomber? 

I like eccentric bombers because they can make any boring outfit look fashionable.

I think, that, if you choose a statement bomber, you do not need to make much more effort actually.

A. What bottom? 

The bomber has a round shape.

It always looks nice when you balance it with a tight bottom.

  • Skinnies

eccentric jacket on simple outfit

Jeanne Damas

  • Fitted pants

The comeback of the hip hugging yet not so slim jeans such as the Levis 501 is a good match for the bomber jacket.

Julia Sarr Jamois bomber

Julia Sarr-Jamois

  • Tight mini-skirts or dresses

mini skirt bomber jacket

  • Pencil skirts or dresses

bomber jacket on mini skirt

  • Tight mini-shorts

Bomber Tokyobanhbao


  • Flare pants

Flare pants are tight on the hips, so they do the balance

bomber jacket flare jeans

  • Boyfriend jeans

Boyfriend jeans are actually worn very low on the hips and therefore create no volume on the hips.

I recommend to match them with a tight bomber jacket.

Otherwise, I advice to add heels (except if you are already tall and slender).

Bomber Pauline fashion blog

Pauline Fashionblog

  • Fluid mini-skirts and dresses

Yes they create volume, but your bare legs do the contrast.

You can choose either a tight or an oversize jacket

gold bomber jacket mini dress

Saint Laurent

Flounces and pleats are an option.


  • Fluid midi or long skirts and dresses

As seen on the Gucci runway, this is very tricky in terms of proportions.

The safest way is to choose a very tight bomber and to close it it order to define your waist.

streetstyle vogue bomber

  • Beware of A-line!

A-line skirts, culotte pants, harem pants, bubble skirts… and anything that creates a rigid volume directly on the hips.

If worn opened the bomber jacket acquires a triangle opening on the front which makes you look larger. (Proof that the outfit was guilty and not the girl, here she is with something flattering). Even if you are Blake L the match does not works.

If worn closed the bomber jacket modifies the shape of those bottoms and create unwanted pleats.

You can manage the mix if you wear a tight bomber which waist meets the waist of your A-line skirt.

B. What underneath? 

Anything which has a collar that does not create any fuss where the collar of the bomber sits.

Button-ups are usually a bad choice (same bomber jacket, good choice).

  • Basic T-shirts and tops

When you have no idea what to wear, pic a basic and all will be fine.

Typhaine Augusto printed bomber

Tiphaine Augusto

  • Basic sweater

Same as above.

Bomber india's insight 3


  • Romantic top

To contrast with the bomber sporty DNA. Thanks Isabel for the style lesson.

Isabel Marant bomber jacket

Isabel Marant

Be creative, find some new matchs.

C. What shoes?

I think you can wear the bomber jacket with any shoes you may fancy.

Here are some options.

  • Sneakers

The bomber is sporty, sneakers are sporty, this is easy, everyone is happy

bomber jacket funky

Dakota Johnson

  • Rock boots 

Make you look like a bad girl in a good way.

Violaine Olga Madeleine bomber

Violaine Olga Madeleine

  • Sexy heels

Nicely spices the sporty DNA of the bomber.

bomber jacket stripes 2

Barbara Martelo

  • Fancy heels

Same as above.

collage vintage bomber jacket 2

Collage vintage

III. Complementary questions

A. Do I wear it opened or closed?

As seen above, both work.

B. With a scarf? 

Well, they’ll interfer with the collar a bit, but I prefer to stay warm if needed.

I’ll pick a sixties tight scarf that reveals the collar underneath or a big scarf that hides it completely.

IV. My bomber jacket selection

Kaki nylon bomber jacket

Printed nylon bomber jacket

Shiny soft pink embroidered bomber jacket

Mini studs bomber jacket

Varsity like floral grey bomber jacket

Cream embroidered bomber jacket

Gold foil bomber jacket

Ready to be the bomb in bomber jacket? 

Collage de couverture: Belle inconnue, Karla Deras

10 Responses to “How to wear the bomber jacket?”
  1. Lily says:

    Bonjour Aloïs,

    J’aime beaucoup l’association bomber + jupe crayon+baskets cependant l’hiver arrive et je me demande si ce look passe avec des collants, disons que c’est l’association collants + baskets qui me fait hésiter. Qu’en penses-tu?

    à bientôt et merci pour tes conseils ainsi que tes articles qui sont toujours aussi agréables à lire!

  2. Alison says:

    J’ai tellement envie de craquer pour celui-ci

    Mon problème est que même si on voit en effet pas mal de bombers depuis quelque temps, c’est particulièrement la mode cette année, ce qui fait que j’ai peur d’investir de l’argent dans une pièce qui ne sera peut-être plus vraiment tendance di’ci peu. Dilemme 😀

  3. Phonography says:

    Quand la tendance a commencé, je n’aimais pas beaucoup cette pièce. Puis, en voyant le potentiel cool du bomber, je suis en train de changer d’avis. Étant enceinte, mes possibilités sont (un peu) plus limitées. Que pensez-vous de cette veste×2000/0/0/0/0/4/2/3/5/1/7/2/4235172-1.jpg

    avec une robe noire droite et moulante (chez Asos maternité : ) ?

  4. Catherine says:

    Avec cet article très tentant, j’en ai acheté un en satin noir et brodé de fleurs claires, un peu “japonisantes”. Puis-je le mettre avec un jean blanc étroit ?

  5. léontine says:

    c’est pas possible, vous m’avez entendue penser ?!! J’ai acheté deux bombers ce printemps et je ne les porte guère, j’appelais donc de mes vœux ce mode d’emploi depuis plusieurs semaines. Mais c’est bien ce que je pensais: hormis les jeans, je n’ai pas grand-chose qui convienne dans ma garde-robe. J’ai à peu près essayé tous mes vêtements pour créer des looks mais mes formes de robe et de jupe ne collent pas (pas assez droites). Je confirme avec des formes trapèze, ce n’est pas beau du tout 😉
    Je vais donc aller voir du côté des hauts romantiques pour essayer de changer des hauts basiques auxquels je cantonnais mes bombers… Je comptais surtout une paire de sandales vertes à talon chie mihara pour habiller mes petits blousons, le résultat est très chouette.

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