Bomber Jackets

While our country's servicemen are probably not as preoccupied with style as yours truly, it's undeniable that the military is constantly influencing the fashion world. Pilots' uniforms, in particular, have served as quite a well of inspiration for everything from aviator sunglasses to my personal favorite: bomber jackets.

Over the years the bomber jacket has waxed and waned in popularity (including one very memorable appearance on a young Tom Cruise in Top Gun) and is experiencing renewed interest once again. Recently, a particular breed of the cropped flight jacket (specifically the MA-1 bomber) popped up in numerous Resort 13 collections including Givenchy and T By Alexander Wang. The trend also carries into spring as evidenced by the incredible dove gray textured versions at the Theyskens' Theory show.

Across all the runways, one thing was certain: the revamped jacket has received a much-deserved makeover in the form of beautiful prints and luxurious textures. Read on to see how I styled the new bomber three different ways.

Look 1: Contrast-Sleeve
A contrast-sleeve bomber is a street style staple right now and has been worn by everyone from fashion insiders like Miroslava Duma to singing sensation Taylor Swift. For my own version, I wanted a jacket that seamlessly blended classic military elements--slim fit, banded cuffs--with style-conscious, sporty details. This particular one by Rag & Bone fit the bill with its delightful contrast of charming blue blooms against tough leather sleeves and the traditional striped trim.

Style Notes: Although mixing prints isn't anything new, I'm a firm believer that adding multiple patterns to an outfit creates a more dimensional look. Enter my striped A.P.C. button-down. The baby blue color complements the floral print on the jacket, without feeling too busy. I finished the outfit with skinny jeans cuffed at the ankle and a pair of mirrored wedge sneakers for a playful touch.

What I Wore: Rag & Bone Cambridge Jacket ($795); A.P.C. Two-Tone Striped Shirt ($210); James Jeans Twiggy Jeans ($158) in Alpine; kate spade new york Post Street Madison Bag ($368); Boutique 9 Wykoff Sneakers ($140) in Light Gold Synthetic.

Look 2: Oversized Neutral
Please excuse me if I seem to have a perennial obsession with what to wear to the office, but keeping my style on-point at work is a never-ending labor of love. Clearly, I was game for taking the bomber to the boardroom, but picking the proper one is a delicate art. Ultimately, the name of the game is subtlety. A slightly oversized black bomber from BCBGeneration felt completely professional, almost blazer-like, while still maintaining some coolness.

Style Notes: There's something inherently sporty about this jacket, so I decided to further that vibe by incorporating a second athletic piece into the outfit. These apple green Diane Von Furstenberg track-inspired trousers do the trick, while also adding a refreshing dose of color to the ensemble. As for the rest of my outfit, I picked pieces that fit within my three key guidelines for office dressing: professional, sophisticated, and fashion-conscious. My structured alligator-print handbag feels polished, and a pair of classic nude pumps is always a faithful standby.

What I Wore: BCBGeneration Jacquard Bomber Jacket ($168); Iro Arna Blouse ($324, 914.472.4033, available now); Diane von Furstenberg Triacetate Naples Ankle Soft Canvas Pant ($298, 646.486.4800, available now); Oscar de la Renta Enamel Mosaico Bracelet ($245); Massimo Dutti Patent Leather Court Shoes ($60); Botkier Valentina Shoulder Bag ($350); Lia Sophia Unison Necklace ($148); Rose Pierre Treasure Chest Bangle Set ($85).

Look 3: Photo Print
From geometric designs to botanical patterns, I've never met a print I didn't like. So you can imagine my excitement when designers like Peter Pilotto and Mary Katrantzou spearheaded the digital print movement, infinitely expanding the possibilities for pattern. Obviously digital prints feel very modern, which makes them a choice way to make the bomber jacket feel current. I selected a Diesel iteration featuring a unique photo cityscape print, which provided the direction for my downtown look.

Style Notes: To match the edgy vibe of the bomber jacket, I chose a Jerome Dreyfuss leopard bucket bag. The slouchy shape lends my look some nonchalance, while the animal print feels slightly wild. Then, since the bomber and bag demand a fair amount of attention, I kept the rest of my outfit relatively sleek. A below-the-knee dress and classic heels add a subtle sophistication to balance the printed elements.

What I Wore: Diesel G-Casol-A Jacket ($328, available February) in Photo Cityscape Print; H&M Long Sleeveless Black Pencil Dress ($50); Jerome Dreyfuss Alain Animal-Print Calf Hair Bucket Bag ($1815); Lillian Crowe Small Flexion Necklace ($88); Adornia Fine Jewelry Donna Bracelet ($225 each); Kathryn Amberleigh K403B Black Snakeskin Pumps ($285, 323.272.3682, available now).

J.Crew Midrise Toothpick Jean ($168) in Distressed Indigo; T by Alexander Wang Neoprene Bomber Jacket ($340); Topshop Co-ord Lime Jacquard Skirt ($76).
The beauty of the bomber lies in its sheer versatility--style it feminine with a flouncy skirt or aim for a casual vibe with a pair of boyfriend jeans.

P.S.: Do you have a trend you're not quite sure how to wear? Leave a message in the comments, and I might try it out!--Kat Collings