The Caramel Suede A-2 Bomber Jacket

The Caramel Suede A-2 Bomber Jacket

 

Cut from the same heavyweight 'crosta' suede as our Five-Pocket Chore Jackets, this A-2 bomber has a glut of terrific details, such as gold-plated Swiss hardware, genuine enamel snaps, and velvet-lined pockets. Aleks Cvetkovic has a closer look. 

 

 

If, like me, you’re the most appalling nostalgist, you will doubtless associate the flight jacket with Blackadder-esque ‘Royal Flying Corps’ swagger. It’s a garment that at its most traditional comes with long-standing connotations of heroism, cavalier bravery and the derring-do of taking to the skies.

Admittedly I’m thinking of turn-of-the-century sheepskin bombers here, complete with jolly fellows smoking pipes and downing hip-flasks full of ‘Dutch courage’, but the flight jacket has taken countless (arguably less clichéd) forms over the years; another enduring image is the ice-cool jet pilot in his khaki and orange MA-1 and aviator sunglasses, for example. Whatever the term ‘flight jacket’ conjures for you, few pieces are steeped in a richer or more stirring history.

Of course, the flight jacket managed to transcend its aeronautical origins long ago and has enjoyed a prominent place in our wardrobes for close to a century now. Varsity jackets, windbreakers and blousons can all trace their roots back to the flight jacket, and in these various guises, flight jackets have been popularised by countless youth cultures over the years; from Ivy Leaguers to greasers and punks. 

Today, the flight jacket has a beguiling low-key appeal. It’s a smart-looking casual piece and the kind of thing that will inevitably improve with age. Drake's have a new take on the classic and it is true to form; cut from the same heavy Crosta suede as the brand’s signature chore jackets, so it feels satisfyingly robust. The revere collar is on-the-money too. Some flight jackets come with simple knitted or elasticated collars, but having a proper collar to pop is infinitely preferable, I think. As you’d expect, the fit through the body is generous, designed to ‘blouse out’ (hence the interchangeable term ‘blouson’) over the jacket’s elasticated waistband when worn – as all the best bomber jackets should.

A jacket like this also plays into the reality of 2021. For better or worse, we find ourselves at a moment in time where reasons to dress up are sporadic at best, attainable only between lockdowns or curfews. With this in mind, I’ve introduced a new rule to my wardrobe this year: one piece of tailoring per outfit only. In the ‘old normal’ of 14 months ago, my go-to uniform for the working week would be a tailored jacket and flannels, but even that feels a little formal, right now.

Instead, I’ll wear a sports coat with stonewashed denim or ragged chinos for a ‘hi-lo’ contrast between jacket and pant – and I’ll do the reverse with a casual bomber and smart trousers. A suede flight jacket with pleated trousers is a great look for spring, whether said trousers are cut in washed canvas, linen or fresco. Finish with a simple crewneck t-shirt and a pair of chukka boots and you’ve got a look that feels put-together, but is relaxed enough to take you anywhere.

Perhaps that’s the flight jacket’s greatest trick – it has the power to conjure memories of generations gone by; of soldiers, subcultures and musical genres, but it is also unashamedly modern. By this logic, there’s no better piece to venture forth into the ‘new normal’ this spring.

 

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