If Elie Saab, master of bridal wear and all things couture, can incorporate a bomber jacket in his ready-to-wear collection at Paris Fashion Week, you know that there's no escaping it: the bomber is the official must-have outerwear style of the year. Countless designers, even those who seem unlikely to share similarities with the preppy-jacket style, have been incorporating bombers in their ready-to-wear clothing ranges for spring/summer and autumn/winter seasons.
Jackets in general have been in the limelight of late, as designers take to embellishing, embroidering and distressing them, quite extravagantly, at times. While some examples on the catwalk and hung on high-street racks mirror a cookie-cutter typical look, major fashion houses are putting their own unique stamps on the piece.
Gucci is at the forefront of the race, with stellar designs currently in store. One lavender metallic leather piece features floral appliqués and mustard-yellow striped ribbing, while another is made from silk-satin printed with bumblebees and roses, topped off with oversized butterfly emblems. Isabel Marant bombers showcase vibrant colours and large embroidered motifs on the backs, featuring creatures such as eagles and dragons. One Anna Sui design, meanwhile, is adorned with beaded embellishments in tropical shapes such as pineapples and hibiscus flowers.
You may think that the bomber jacket isn’t for everyone. But really, it is. You don’t have to be an athlete to pull it off. Current offerings in stores everywhere show styles with delicate, floral embroidery. A lot of bomber jackets these days sport patches, badges or pins, but these somehow cheapen the overall vibe. Don’t get me wrong – when tacked onto denim jackets and jeans, patches are great, and I often decorate my own denims with them. But juvenile, cartoony patches just don’t gel well with silky, shiny bomber jackets.
While you may be wondering how I can possibly be writing about outerwear while the Middle East summer heat is at its practically unbearable peak, think about your office environment. Is the air conditioning usually turned up, making the workplace feel like a refrigerator? Plus, recall your recent trip to the shopping mall, or movie theatre – didn’t you wish you had brought a cardigan? What’s great about bomber jackets is that most are lightweight and don’t have any wool or fleece linings, making them more practical for summer indoor-outdoor temperature fluctuations than cardigans or heavy denim jackets. Not to mention it’s far less mumsy than an oversized cardigan and it will take you through the coming autumn season, where you will be able to get more wear from it.
Possibly the best thing about the bomber, however, is its versatility. Pair it with a maxi dress, with a skirt and graphic tee, with leggings or with a white blouse and boyfriend jeans, and it will notably elevate your ensemble. For that fresh, fashion-girl look, shrug it over your shoulders rather than wearing it with your arms inside the sleeves. I recommend that you buy a size or two bigger than your normal size, because the bomber looks best when baggy. While longer, thigh-length versions are also available, these are probably better suited to cooler months.
If neither striped varsity styles nor embroidered feminine numbers suit your style, consider a bomber that’s absolutely plain. Silky, padded, quilted – these types are also available on the high street; I just spotted some at Zara and H&M. The latter is where I also happened to buy my own silky floral-printed bomber, for the affordable price of Dh180.