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Bomber Jacket Styles

BY BJTC Staff Insight

Bomber Jacket Styles: Then and Now

Bomber jacket styles have been evolving ever since the first flight jacket was created for pilots back in 1917 -- but there are a few versions that have continued to live on and are having quite a resurgence in popularity. Today’s bomber jacket styles are a reflection of what we’ve loved about the originals, but with a creative mingling of features and design. Here are the iconic bomber jacket styles that stand out and continue to influence what we wear today.

The G-1

The G-1 (a.k.a. the Top Gun Jacket) was introduced to the Army and Navy in the 1930s and became the standard jacket for Air Corps pilots in 1943. The G-1 had a zip closure, but without a wind flap, which had been present on the version before it (the A-2). Likely its most recognizable features are the bi-swing back and mouton fur collar.

brown leather bomber jacket G1

top gun leather bomber jacket

brown leather bomber jacket with fur

The B-3 & The B-6

The B-series jackets were the first flight jackets designed specifically forhigh-altitude bombers -- so, some say the B-series are the first truebomber jacket styles. At 25,000 up, pilots needed quite a bit more insulation, so when the B-3 was introduced in the mid 1930s, it was a bulky coat crafted of sheepskin and lined with heavy-duty sheep fur, and it had a straight waist rather than the knit waistband featured on the G-1 and previous flight jackets. In 1943, the B-6 replaced the B-3, maintaining much of the warmth offered by the bulky B-3, but in a more wearable cut. (Cockpit temps were improving by this time, so the B-6 could afford to lose a bit of insulation in favor of a slimmer fit.)

old school bomber jackets circa 1940

modern bomber jacket

brown leather bomber jacket inside

We decided to combine all of our favorite features of the G-1 and B-6 bomber jackets to create ourLegacy Flight Jacket. In this updated but classic take, we’ve included the bi-swing back of the G-1, but replaced the mouton collar with a leather stand up collar. We’ve kept the slim fit and straight cuffs and waist of the B-3 & B-6, but added a zip to the cuffs for added style and function. We’ve also bumped the B-6’s front zip pockets up from the midsection to the chest, and kept the side slit pockets right where they belong.

The MA-1

Introduced in 1949, the MA-1 is the most replicated of all bomber jacket styles. A fur collar was no longer necessary for warmth, so it was replaced with a knit collar to better accommodate parachute harnesses. The preferred exterior material for the original MA-1 was nylon, an easy-to-clean and cost-effective material. The interior was lined in bright orange, which could be reversed and exposed to aid rescue visibility in case of a plane crash, and the exterior was also produced in colors other than the Air Force’s standard issue dark blue, namely in camouflage green, throughout the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

korean war vietnam war bomber jackets

MA-1 jacket now

man showing inside of modern bomber jacketman getting into airplane with modern bomber jacket
man at tarmac with bomber jacket

Our take on the MA-1 is aleather bomber jacket cut in the same style as the original, but crafted of distressed, full grain leather instead of nylon. It includes a full zip closure and reintroduces the wind flap to snap over and conceal the zipper.

Inspired by the past, but infused with new creative design, the sky's the limit for today’s bomber jacket styles.

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