I don’t know if the two are connected, but for me personally, Ryan Gosling’s soon-to-be-iconic bomber jacket in the excellent Drive has kickstarted a resurgence.
The scorpion is the obvious stand-out feature of this jacket, but in my opinion it’s the combination of the white pearlescent fabric and the slimline cut of the jacket that makes me want to have one just like it. Of course, I imagine that without the physique of Ryan Gosling, this same garment wouldn’t be quite as flattering, but never fear – there are plenty of other bomber jackets and varsity jackets around on the high street and online. So hopefully I might find one that I like, and that likes me. Such as this one from ASOS:
The black sleeves and grey cable-knit body go well together, but are not typical of this type of garment, whose usual textures are either uniformly matte or shiny. Another one which mixes up the textures is this jacket with a leafy pattern on the body:
I saw this in the flesh in Zara the other day, and there’s something about the jacquard embroidery in real life that doesn’t quite work – if anything, it looks a little dull. Perhaps the busy design muddies a style of jacket that needs to maintain clean, clear lines. Zara have another jacket that is a little plainer, but achieves its aim much better:
The leather sleeves and the boiled wool of the body lend the whole jacket a sturdy look that is in contrast to the shinier, flimsier fabrics of other bomber jackets. Topman’s selection hews to the traditional bomber / varsity jacket looks, which works in its favour. With this exception:
Even this isn’t awful, to be honest, and I am pleased to be able to give my usual refrain of “Topman has got it wrong” a rest. But months ago, when I lamented the absence of animal prints in menswear, I never had in mind the proliferation of colour palette-swaps and dip-dyes and quiltings that have exploded onto the high street in the interim. It’s good that designers are trying to be inventive with animal patterns, but I have to say that I think the original colours and a uniform texture are better than most of what’s been done with it. The green sleeves here just look a bit cheap. The effort below, also from Topman, is far more successful because the colours of the sleeves and body compliment one another:
This is animal print done right. A final trend that I have noticed over the past few months is that of giant, bold architectural prints. I think that this is indebted to Givenchy and Versace’s campaigns which have utilised huge all-over prints of geometric designs and blinged-out belts, and although I don’t know if it is something that I can carry off myself, I like the very extrovert statement of it all, and the structure of the shapes within the prints works well with form-fitting garments and loose, floaty material alike. With the bomber jacket below, it is once again very busy to the extent that the usual break between body and sleeves is no longer necessary, but somehow, it works. The symmetry of the image runs along the zipline, and the focal point of the ceiling (being circular) emanates directly from the chest of the man who wears this jacket. A bit like Iron Man, no?
When I was living in Spain, I bought a black shiny bomber jacket with popper buttons that in retrospect, was a fashion mistake. Later on, I bought from H&M a zip-up jacket with white shiny sleeves and a brown shiny body and turquoise piping that also was, in retrospect, a fashion mistake (it looked a bit too much like the top half of a shell suit). I think that it is easier said than done with this kind of jacket to buy something that you think is nice at the time, but then later down the line turns out to be on the wrong side of stylish. I thus believe that despite Ryan Gosling’s placid exterior in Drive, he had to really know how cool his jacket was. And so, the next bomber jacket that I buy will be one that I nothing-less-than love.