Baseball, biker, or bomber?

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Which of the season's most trendy jackets will you opt for?

Harriet Walker says: Baseball

For every woman who wishes she'd had her boyfriend's sports jacket to drape nonchalantly around her schoolgirl shoulders, a solution: buy your own.

No, really – there's plenty of them about this spring. And there's something in this garment's timeless appeal: perfectly preppy – and, yes, bordering on geeky – on a man, but redolent of popular girl, campus living – of teenage rebellion and smoking behind the bike shed – when translated to womenswear. What could be cooler than that?

You might have read a lot about the biker and the bomber but, trust me, the baseball jacket is where it all started. And it's by far the more fashionable for being that little less obvious – the biker's a wardrobe classic, but I can't help feeling it's time to give yours a rest. The bomber, I just can't get behind: for me, it still has bailiff written all over it, even if it does cost £5,000.

Our appetites for blouson jackets have been insatiable in recent seasons – Proenza Schouler kicked it all off in autumn 2010 with relaxed and sportily cut felt jackets that came with the characteristic collegiate ribbed cuffs and collar. Then it was Parisian prepster Isabel Marant's turn to morph an all-American piece of clothing into something more obviously chic: her girlish versions came in pastel pink embroidered with delicate floral bouquets. Balmain, too, has offered a version of the style, in leather and glitzy houndstooth sequins, with a price tag of £4,725.

The new incarnations of this classic style don't simply stick to sporting colours – they're updated in the shades of the season, but by all means opt for something more traditional if you like; that authentic Americana feel is very of the moment.

At Whistles, a wintry version in myth-busting navy and black came with an optional initialling service, customised with Varsity letters to spell out your monogram – all very Frenchie from Grease. And why not? Hers was a winning look – the baseball jacket is nothing if not studiedly cool. That's just what happens when things get a little androgynous. The dropped shoulders, the volume, the casual smartness of it: all conspires to make the baseball jacket the only outerwear option this season, so forget about the little league players and take one out to the ball game with you.

Gemma Hayward says: Biker

What could be better than looking like Danny Zuko? It's probably best to steer clear of the greasy quiff, granted, but that is one perfect specimen of a jacket. Its greatness is proved as soon as he takes it off – he turns into a total dweeb with zero sex appeal. Then he slips it back on and – a-wop-bop-a-loo-mop-a-wop-bam-boom!

Looking like a Fifties high-school boy might not be your desired look, but surely the biker jacket's punk and rock associations give it extreme credibility. It's a bad boy/girl look, and everyone loves a bad-ass, don't they?

The Eighties was probably its most challenging era – George Michael and Michael Jackson, I'm pointing a fingerless glove at you. But thankfully, since then the jacket in question has been endlessly re-invented, everyone seems to have forgotten past transgressions – thankfully they provide endless fancy-dress opportunities – and they are looking towards its handsome future.

Rick Owens with his butter-soft leather draped versions and Junya Watanabe with his structured cocoon-like leathers keep the designer dream alive. Plus, just this month Christopher Kane's spring collection landed on Net-A-Porter filled with floral printed silk bikers, which might be too sugary sweet for some, but are testament that the style isn't over just yet. At London Fashion Week, the sleekest interpretation had to be by Thomas Tait, where slightly oversized wrist-grazing jackets were delivered in black and black-and-white for a thoroughly modern result.

There are not many classics that withstand a revamp, but when the biker jacket was made longer, the fashion press was not afraid of saying it worked. Elongated versions are not only ideal for keeping your bottom warm in winter but they are especially flattering too – Maje, Sandro and Zara all say so. Mix up some fabrics with a contrast sleeve and hey presto, you have the look of a Parisian lady who lunches.

Swedish label Acne is probably the most guilty of regurgitating the style season after season, but as its most celebrated design is a jacket, we can forgive it that. The designers aren't afraid to apply bold colours or adjust proportions. This season's is pea green and cut just below the bust. Wear if you dare and if you are under the age of, say 25.

Rebecca Gonsalves says: Bomber

There's something about the stiff leather and multitude of zips and hardware of a new biker jacket that makes me feel like a phony bad-girl the instant I shrug one on – truly a rebel without a cause. And so, as season after season it is heralded as the perfect trans-seasonal jacket, I feel more than a bit miffed at its stranglehold.

As a nineties teenager, however, the sight of a multitude of bomber jackets on the catwalks last September was cheering – although it stirred a long-dormant sense of injustice, the result of my mother denying me the sage green Stussy jacket (complete with orange lining) that I so desperately wanted to wear over my school uniform. In hindsight, the fact that I was a slight 12-year-old at the time and the jackets in question were more puffed than Delia Smith's all-butter pastry, saying no to me is just one of the things I have to thank my mother for.

First developed by the US Air Force in the Fifties, the MA-1 bomber jacket was designed as lightweight all-weather gear and crafted from the relatively new man-made textiles of the time. Since then it's been re-appropriated by Mods, Skinheads, Ravers and, of course, the infamous Pink Ladies, most notable of which is Michelle Pfeiffer, whose sassy attitude in Grease 2 makes her a far more appealing role model than her dull antipodean predecessor.

Thankfully, more modern interpretations retain the signatures – a slightly boxy shape with elasticated waist and cuffs – but eliminate the volume in favour of something inherently sleeker.

For this season they are sharply cut at Richard Nicoll in soft leather and whiter than white cotton – a life of luxury has steered this garment far from its practical roots, while Jonathan Saunders' electrifying collection featured collared bombers nodding to the men's Harrington jacket. Textured, holographic and bright, these are statement pieces but still sublime. A khaki version from Theyskens' Theory remains true to the original – faded patches make it appear as though it has been rescued from a former pilot's long-abandoned trunk – but with a luxury update.

An assured piece of clothing, the bomber can withstand tinkering by designers, but a complete overhaul is never necessary. Versatile to the last, it can be wrought in a range of fabrics without losing its impact. I think my mother would approve.

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - Commercial Vehicles - OTE £40,000

    £12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

    Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Leader - Plasma Processing

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...

    Day In a Page

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders