Style / October 2017

The A1 Jacket: Best of the Bombers

The A1 jacket has undergone a transformation from mandatory military garment to a covetable menswear staple, reimagined in contemporary cuts and luxurious fabrics.

The Chapal A1 jacket in tobacco suede. Photograph by James Munro.

Why has the A1 jacket, once lost in the miasma of military uniform history, suddenly emerged into the spotlight? Both faithful recreations of the US Navy version as well as seductive suede and even tailoring fabric iterations are dominating the boulevards of the most well-informed urban centres.

We at The Rake ascribe the A1’s sudden rock star status to two reasons. The first is that, in the last decade, our collective thoughts have been cast back to the very Proustian remembrance of things past, and the most dedicated amongst us have been on a mission to find that archetypal garment – the Alpha and the originator of any specific style. Hence the frenzied devotion to the original 1890 button-fly Levi’s 501. Similarly, when it comes to that most evocative of garments, the leather flight jacket, we’ve realised that our passion for the iconic A2 snap collar jacket – think Steve McQueen in The Great Escape – has led us down the rabbit hole to its predecessor: the sleeker and more dressy A1. Which brings up reason number two. With its horn button front closure, its jaunty stand up ribbed wool collar and elasticised wool waist and wrist closures, it occupies that perfect position between military and sartorial. And while an A2 jacket looks costume-like when combined with a spread collar shirt and necktie, the A1’s effortless elegance pairs perfectly with a perfectly knotted knitted tie, a denim spread collar shirt or a long sleeve polo shirt, making it one of the most handsome and adaptable garments around.

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Contributor

Wei Koh

The Rake's Founder & Editorial Director.