Stitched-down shoulder straps were also added to the design. Email us at service MyPilotStore. Throughout the War, as the A-2's popularity grew, so too did the demand for it.
It has two slanted flap pockets on the front, two inner pockets, and a zipped pocket with pen holders on the left sleeve. The lighter weight version of the MA-1 is known as the L-2B flight jacket, which in turn, replaced both the original L2 and L2A jackets, which all three differentiate from the MA-1 as they have snap-down epaulets and no inside pockets.
In the s and 90s flight jackets became popular with scooterboys and skinheads. In the s a baseball style bomber jacket became popular. The jacket has also caught on with several police departments across the United States for its sturdy design and heavy insulation. Flight jacket has had a resurgence in popularity during the s in street fashion, and is a notable staple of celebrities such as Kanye West.
The varsity letters were first customized by the Harvard University in and originally designed to reward baseball players in their teams as a token for exceptional performance. As the trend of letterman jackets spread amongst colleges and teenagers after WWII, the concept was expanded to award the performance of students in aspects other than sports.
Similar to the flight jacket, the letterman jackets have a loose-fitted silhouette which is genderless in style. The body of the jacket is usually made of boiled wool which provides warmth and the sleeves are generally made of leather with banded wrists and waistbands.
The letter of the belonging school is mostly constructed in chenille and felt materials and made in the school's signature color.
Since the letterman jackets represent the student's identity according to which school they come from, they are usually designed according to the school's signature color. Mostly, the school's primary signature color is applied on the body of the jacket while the sleeves are the school's secondary signature color.
For example, the Harvard letterman jackets are usually crimson on the body color and white on the sleeves. Led by Kanye West , bomber jackets became an iconic hip-hop fashion item instead of being associated with the military or colleges.
Teenagers often enjoy customizing their own bomber jackets with their favorite colors and own initials to represent themselves. With the global trend of hip hop in recent years, bomber jackets have become an essential fashion item that includes varied design elements.
And from the silhouette, colors, materials used and decorative details, there is a trend of adding the elements of femininity into bomber jackets. The bomber jacket originates from military clothing which trickled down into subcultures such as punk and has recently made its way into high fashion.
The military bomber jacket was made to be versatile for functionality as it was a lightweight jacket that kept soldiers warm. The B jacket consisted of a fur collar made of cotton which was later changed to nylon after since it was considered more suitable because it is water resistant and kept perspiration out Cruz, Bombers appeared in Europe during the late s and in , the jackets were popularized by European Air Forces and eventually the commercial consumer.
Subcultures picked up on the stylish jacket and established it as part of their uniform such as the British skinheads in the late s. Notably in , Kensuke Ishizu established his brand VAN that gave Japanese youth culture stylish clothing not found locally such as oxford shirts and slim trousers.
The silhouette of the bomber jacket has not altered a lot compared to the original, although it has an athletic and masculine silhouette with a fitted waist and more generous fit, like the bulky sleeves and extra pockets so as to be functional. The bomber jacket trend inspired a vast majority of fashion designers to reinterpret and revisit the silhouette of menswear today. The bomber jacket is a neutral fashion item with no limitations when it comes to genders, ages or styles. Shapes of the bomber jackets are modified into dress-like jackets or even one-piece dresses.
Due to high altitudes and breakneck speeds in less advanced airplanes compared to modern day, Royal Flying Corps in Belgium and France started to wear heavy leather flying jackets in the s as leather was considered as the heaviest and strongest material for jackets.
The A2 which was released by the US Army Air Corps was made with high wraparound collars, cinched cuffs and waists, and zipper closures protected by wind flaps and fur linings and had a high durability. Materials of the bomber jacket are continuously changed each season to bring unconventional styles that cater to customer's needs.
Not only do designers use leather and wool, but fabrics such as silk, neoprene, satin and gauze are used. Decorative elements like ruffles , embroidered patchwork, lace-ups are also added on the bomber jackets, making them an essential fashion item that comes in a variety of colors, fabrications, and styles. Bomber jackets originally appeared in a midnight blue hue, which was later switched to a sage green after the Korean and Vietnamese wars since it was easier for soldiers to camouflage themselves amongst the forests or countryside during the s.
Bomber jackets became popular in the non-military audience in the late s to s, especially when the English punks and skinheads started taking over the trend and changed the color into burgundy in order to distinguish themselves and their bomber jackets from the original military flight jackets.
Brown is also a classic color for leather flight jackets. Due to the popularity of the jacket, both high street and high end brands have designed the bomber jacket in a variety of hues. Other than the standard navy blue, army green and black, the bomber can be found in pastel tones such as baby pink, blue, mint, or even gold and silver.
Bomber jackets became a popular fashion trend and statement during Autumn due to celebrity support. The timeless piece was mass-produced due to the versatility of the jacket, most fast fashion stores released the style through manipulation of different materials and silhouettes. An example is the long bomber, an alternative to the classic trench coat for Winter. Being able to look effortlessly stylish and put together is a big selling point.
Due to the history behind the bomber jacket, a sense of nostalgia of the s era is brought back from the popularity of TV shows and films showing similar jackets worn by jocks. Although the actual design would vary slightly depending on the manufacturer, and even among contracts within a single manufacturer, all A-2 jackets had several distinguishing characteristics: Prior to World War II the collar was sewn to a neckband or "stand" like those found in dress shirts, a time-intensive operation.
Wartime contracts generally had "simple attached" collars, sewn directly to the back panel and rolled over, although Rough Wear and Perry continued using the collar stand throughout. Similarly, most pre-war and some wartime A-2s had inset sleeves, attached at a better attitude for body movement. This too was time-intensive and gave way to "flat attached" sleeves whose bottom seams met up with the body side seams.
A-2s were to be constructed of horsehide,  which was either vegetable- or chrome-tanned. Some original A-2's were made from goatskin as was the Navy G-1 jacket and others from cowhide which can be very difficult to tell from horse if tanned identically.
Wartime-issued A-2 jackets appear in a wide range of color tones and hues, although all are based on two distinct colors: Seal dark brown to almost black and Russet pale red-brown to medium brown. Most seal jackets were russets re-dyed during the war to cover scuffing and discoloration, although some contracts, like the Aero Leather , were dyed seal right from the start.
Original knit cuffing typically matched the leather or came close, but exceptions exist, such as Aero Leather's eye-catching rust-red cuffing on seal brown hide. A-2's were lined with cotton per the original specification.
A common misconception is that they were lined with silk. They may have been re-lined in silk, but the original makers did not use silk linings. Some Aero Leather A-2 looking jackets made from did use a spun silk lining.
The A-2 was one of the early articles of clothing designed expressly to use a zipper. Zippers were made of steel or brass , and some were nickel plated. Known zipper suppliers were Talon, Crown, Conmar, and Kwik, with Talon providing the majority of zippers used in wartime A-2 construction.
Until about , Talon zippers with riveted or grommeted metal bottoms were used. Unlike modern, loose-fitting jackets, the original A-2 looks to us today a rather trim-fitting jacket. Period photos and films reveal a jacket which could be worn fitted and sharp looking or a bit baggy and loose in the body. It was designed to fit the thinner male of the time- original A-2 jackets worn by modern men may seem a bit snug in the shoulders.
This is particularly true of pre-war contract garments such as the Werber and the and Aero Leathers. Period photos and films show that the A-2 was typically worn over a shirt or a shirt and flight suit; airmen were more likely to switch to a sheep-lined jacket or, later, an electrified flight suit for wintertime or high-altitude operations. There were many manufacturers of A-2 jackets during the s and s, whose product showed a wide range of quality, workmanship, and fit characteristics.
These included civilian clothing producers such as David D. Rough Wear manufactured the A-2 under several different contracts, each varying slightly in color and style. The A-2 jacket was awarded to an Army Air Forces officer upon completion of basic flight training, and always before graduating to advanced training. No standard system of distribution was used, though generally airmen lined up in front of boxes containing jackets of various sizes and given the appropriate size jacket by the base quartermaster.
A-2s were exclusive to commissioned officers until early in World War II, when also issued to enlisted aircrews.
The A-2 was a treasured item to the airman and was worn with as much pride as his wings. As airmen progressed through various duty stations they often added and removed squadron patches, rank marks, and occasionally elaborate artwork depicting the type of aircraft they flew or a copy of the artwork painted on their airplane. Bomber crews often added small bombs to the right front of their jackets indicating the number of missions they had flown.
As a result, many jackets ended up with numerous stitch marks as patches of various sizes were removed and replaced when the owner changed units. Unlike Navy aviators, who often wore the patches of every squadron they had ever flown with, AAF personnel could only display the patch of their current assignment. The emblem of the Army Air Forces was often sewn, painted, or applied by decal on the left shoulder, while the shield of the specific Air Force 5th, 8th, etc.
Despite the A-2's becoming a symbol of the American pilot, in General H. Needless to say, Arnold's popularity with his airmen was not improved by his decision. Even after the transition to cloth, existing units could still order replacement A-2s, keeping production going well into And it was impossible to prevent airmen from continuing to obtain and wear the style — as demonstrated by the large number of photos clearly showing Korean War pilots of F 's and F 's still wearing the original A-2 issued to them a decade earlier, or newer jackets made to fit their current sizes.
Fighter pilots, who often had heated cockpits, could wear the A-2 into combat more easily. Some jackets had a map of the mission area sewn into the lining, which could be used in theory for navigation if shot down. Some jackets famously, those from the China Burma India Theater , and of the Flying Tigers had a " Blood chit " sewn on the lining or outer back, printed on cloth, which promised certain rewards to civilians who aided a downed airman.
In certain ETO units and possibly elsewhere a prerogative of the fighter ace was a red satin lining which was added on confirmation of his fifth aerial kill. Early wartime pictures show entire bomber crews outfitted with A-2s, although at altitude in a bomber they probably weren't too useful. The pilot and copilot had primitive cabin heat on some aircraft and would wear the A-2, while the rest of the bomber crew usually wore heavier fleece-lined Type B-3 or ANJ-4 and later B-9 and B parkas which were warmer and better suited to long hours in the severe cold.
However, period photos do show A-2s worn by crew underneath heavy outer garments, and candid on-base photos often show crewmen of all ranks in A-2s. A warm and comfortable mouton collar was an addition authorized in mountainous C-B-I commands. Throughout the War, as the A-2's popularity grew, so too did the demand for it. Only aircrewmen could obtain A-2 jackets through regular channels, although a few celebrated nonflying officers like Gens.
MacArthur and Patton and Maj. Glenn Miller also procured and wore them. A small "cottage industry" soon appeared, especially in England, to make Astyle jackets for GI's including many airborne infantry troops who otherwise couldn't get one. This was especially true after the Army stopped purchasing new leather jackets in mid, and disappointed airmen were sent to war in the less desirable cloth jackets, or were unable to replace A-2's they had lost or damaged.
As a result, some war-era jackets used by World War II airmen are clearly not true to original AAF specifications, though this makes them no less historic. Original wartime issued A-2 jackets are rare but not unavailable. Tens of thousands were issued from through the vast majority in , and some old stock jackets may have been issued even into the late s long after Type A-2 was discontinued as standard AAF equipment. The value of such originals range widely depending on condition, known history, patches and artwork, and even size.
In other words, an original size 42 might be closer to a modern 40 or even a 38, depending on the manufacturer. No fewer than fifty are on display at any time throughout the Museum, including many historic jackets such as Brig.
With the exception of a very brief period from to early the U. Navy never stopped issuing its G-1 leather flying jackets to Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard flight crews. This meant that an entire generation of Air Force pilots and flight crews had missed out on an opportunity not lost to their Naval comrades. Years of effort by U.
Air Force personnel to get the A-2 jacket reissued finally succeeded when the Air Force began issuing them again in , a decision that may have been influenced by the popularity of the film " Top Gun ", and the military apparel it popularized. The modern Air Force A-2 is authorized for wear by Air Force aircrews, Missileers, and space operations personnel who have completed their mission qualifications.
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