BY NICK GRANT
It's late September, which means that, depending on where you live, winter may already be coming. But fear not: Before the cold slaps us in the face on the regular, we do get to enjoy a time known as "transitional outerwear weather"—or, "the fall," if you're one of those who prefers terms that most people actually recognize. This time around, there's one outer layer that everyone needs: a reliable, satin bomber jacket. Allow us to explain.
WHAT: There’s really no better way to describe it than the “shiny bomber.” Typically made of a polyamide-based nylon, polyester, and/or silk weave that gives it that extra sheen, today’s satin bomber takes the classic, tried-and-trued transitional piece and tszujes it up for maximum sassiness. The number of iterations you come across will be bountiful—some bulky, some slim, embroidered or with prints, lined, unlined, button or zipper. All the options make it easy to find one in the right silhouette and color for you, with all the right details and, of course, for the right price.
WHEN: Obviously, the bomber has a strong, historical background that you may be well-versed in by now. You know the bomber (aka the MA-1, the flight or the bombardier jacket) was first issued to U.S. pilots in World War I when they needed to shed their bulky shearling jackets due to cramped quarters in the cockpit. You know it was a year-round jacket with water-resistant nylon. And you know the lining was originally made orange to help stranded pilots signal for help by turning it inside out.
But the sheen and glossiness of the bomber is rarely spoken about. It really wasn’t until the rising popularity of the Sukajan jacket (or “souvenir jacket” as us Westerners have come to know it) reached Stateside that the satin application to the MA-1s really took off. The silk or satin souvenir jackets—often made from excess parachute silk—featured embroidery commemorating soldiers' time spent overseas. As they made it into the hands of the goddamn youth, they started to be associated with gang affiliation and general tomfoolery. The souvenir jacket itself became wildly popular, spawning the popularity of the non-embroidered, yet equally shiny version. And though the exploitative powers of an appropriated piece like the souvenir jacket may turn some people off, the safer, non-embroidered version may garner less sighs of disappointment. Can’t promise it won’t get you gawked at, though.
WHO: The real question is “who isn’t?” From brands like Haider Ackermann and Saint Laurent, even Supreme, to stylish celebs like Jared Leto and Future, and, of course, the Ye-meister, everyone is getting shiny. The recent resurgence in the more vivid style bomber could easily be attributed to the popularization of it by Alessandro Michele of Gucci. He has been a huge proponent of the shiny satin bomber over his past year and eight months helming the Italian fashion powerhouse, adding some variation of it in each one of his highly-lauded collections. And though Michele’s blessing grants high priase, the pop culture history of the jacket is also a source of inspiration, especially as it made its way on the fashion scene back in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Mick Jagger is often credited with popularizing the satin souvenir jacket among the masses while on tour with the Rolling Stones in the ‘60s.
WHY: Sure, bombers are nothing new. Yes, everyone probably owns some variation of a bomber jacket. It’s certainly not the reinvention of the wheel to say this is a piece everyone should have in their wardrobe—but is everyone else making the minor style upgrade of pursuing one with a bit of glossiness to it, which will inevitably make you stand out in a dull crowd?
While some haphazardly think that sheen makes a satin bomber look like a woman's jacket—and by "some," we are thinking Walmart denizens and Trump supporters—these pieces are hardly pushing the lines of gender fluidity in clothing. Even if it is outside of your comfort zone, that's the way all clothing is going at the moment. In more traditional terms, this is also the perfect His and Hers, shared outerwear piece, a mere blip on the road to complete androgyny (what up, Young Thug!). It’s a way for guys and gals to bring their collective bad bitch out in their own way. There’s no reason to be afraid of words like gloss, satin, sheen or shimmer, which are all things this everlasting style trend has brought and will continue to bring. In other words, time to get moving, before it gets too cold.