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The History of Bomber Jackets

Bomber jackets were originally called “flight jackets” and were created by the US Army Aviation Clothing Board in 1917 to keep WWI pilots warm in the uninsulated cockpits of early fighter planes. As aviation technology improved, the jacket’s design evolved along with it, and in 1927, the leather US Army Type A-1 was introduced. It featured a higher waist, knit waistband, collar, and cuffs. Additional updates were made over the years, culminating in the MA-1, which was worn by both military personnel and Hollywood stars. Humphrey Bogart wore one in Tokyo Joe (1949), Marlon Brando wore one in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), and James Dean wore one in Rebel Without a Cause (1955). Later, Tom Cruise famously wore one in Top Gun (1986). Today, bomber jackets have transcended their practical military origins to become versatile fashion staples that are available in a variety of materials and cuts to suit nearly any outfit or style.

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