Much, much more could be said about skinheads and bomber jackets but, maybe frivolously, I want to get back to what prompted this post. When did women start adopting the bomber? Tight-fitting, short, blouson-style nylon jackets were of course one feature of the late 1970s, worn by men and women alike. But they are not really bombers. If my own experience, living in Germany, is anything to go by, bomber (and varsity) jackets gained popularity more generally among teenagers around 1979/80. Not many girls in my school were wearing them and my mother would have been horrified had she known I was secretly craving a blue or aubergine number (much prefer green these days). The jacket was supposed to be worn big and meant to look as if you had borrowed it from your boyfriend. No wonder Petra had a bomber jacket and my chances of ever getting hold of one were pretty slim.
The second time I was dead keen on a bomber was in the early 1990s. I was occasionally allowed to wear the green MA-1 (or copy) belonging to a flatmate’s boyfriend, whether with or without his consent or knowledge I cannot remember, but I never bought my own. I still thought that ideally it should be worn in by someone else and be slightly too large. By this time, bombers had entered high fashion, due to Jean-Paul Gaultier.