How Long Should A Bomber Jacket Be?

Are you thinking about buying yourself a new bomber jacket? And why not! Bomber jackets have been around since 1917 and seem to never go out of style. But how exactly should they fit? Well, we've looked to the fashion experts to answer this question for you.

Bomber jackets come in different fittings for men and women.  On women, a bomber jacket looks best either cropped at the waist or below the waist (a common fit in over-sized jackets). However, for men, a bomber jacket will typically rest near the waist, either at or just below the beltline. Typically, women's bomber jackets are more slim-fitting and tend to have more leniency regarding the lengths.

Now, we'll discuss some of the general rules of thumb when it comes to sizing bomber jackets. Please keep reading because we'll also cover how to adjust your jacket, where to wear a bomber jacket, and how to style an oversized bomber jacket.

Moto biker wearing green bomber jacket, How Long Should A Bomber Jacket Be?

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The Overall Fit

Overall, the fit for men's bomber jackets should be snug but not too tight. You should be able to zip the jacket all the way to the top. If you can zip while wearing a light sweater beneath it, you have a proper fit.

Women have more leniency with jackets, as they can wear fitted jackets to accentuate their shape, or they can wear oversized jackets with slim-fitting jeans or leggings.

The Shoulder Width & Sleeves

In men's bomber jackets, the shoulder seam will typically sit directly on top of the shoulder. If the seam is any lower toward the arm of the jacket, it'll appear oversized. This isn't an issue was with women as oversized jackets are a popular, contemporary look.

Sleeve Length

When wearing a bomber jacket, there should be enough slack in the sleeves where you can move your arms comfortably, without the whole jacket pulling when you do. The cuffs of the jacket should sit right on the end of your wrists. Again, the exception to this rule will be women's oversized or 3/4-inch sleeve bomber jackets.

Wrist Bands

Bombers come with either elastic or non-elastic wristbands. Elastic wristbands should just touch the bottom of your hand, and they shouldn't be so tight that they imprint on your wrist. If the sleeves are too short, they will rise above your wrist when your arms are at your side. This goes for men's and women's bomber jackets unless the women's bomber jacket has 3/4-inch sleeves.

The Length

Bomber jackets are made to reach the waistline on men (or an inch below the beltline). If the jacket falls significantly below your belt, then it may be a tad too big. This rule goes for women as well if they are wearing waist-length bomber jackets.


Bomber jackets also come with either elastic or nonelastic waistlines. Men's bomber jackets should sit right at their beltline (or maybe an inch below), as this allows for full movement. The same goes for women's bomber jackets, except for oversized or cropped bomber jackets.

Where Can You Wear A Bomber Jacket?

For the most part, bomber jackets are worn best for casual and everyday occasions. This can include at work, sporting events, casual dates, shopping, and other day-to-day activities.

When preparing to attend get-togethers or other casual gatherings, you can add a black or brown bomber jacket over a fitted t-shirt and slacks. To dress it up a bit more, you can wear it with a pair of casual trousers or chinos.

If you are attending a more semi-formal setting and looking for a more refined look, you can try adding your jacket atop a button-down shirt with a tie (for men) and paired with a nice pair of trousers or leggings (for women). A nice pair of shoes can help to dress the outfit up even more.

How Do You Adjust A Bomber Jacket?

If your bomber jacket is too big or too small, you can adjust it to fit accordingly. Here are the quickest ways to do this (if you don't want to take it to a sewist).

Making The Jacket Smaller

You'll need a few sewing materials to reduce the size of your jacket, and really you're just reducing the size of the inner liner, as opposed to the entire jacket itself. It's always best to first pinch the material with your fingers and then sew it, as opposed to cutting and sewing at the same time. This way, if you make a mistake, you won't risk ruining the material by cutting it.

Materials you'll need:

  • Sewing string (multiple colors/sizes)
  • Sewing kit (a machine is ideal)
  • Straight edge
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Sewing pins
  • Stitch remover

Check out this sewing machine on Amazon.

Step-by-step Resizing - Smaller

  1. Identify and take measurements for the jacket's dimensions, where you'd prefer to take it in.
  2. Turn the bomber jacket inside out.
  3. Use your fingers to pinch the inside seam of the jacket that needs to be taken in and measure it with your tape.
  4. Write the measurements down on a piece of paper.
  5. Take your stitch remover and open up the stitches along the seam of the jacket's left sleeve.
  6. Separate the jacket's lining from its shell using your stitch remover. It helps to leave some slack in the lining of the arm so that you can still have ample flexibility when wearing the jacket.
  7. Next, use your fingers to pinch the amount of cloth that you plan to take in. Then take your straight edge, and while laying the cloth on the table in a straight line, place pins along the line. Also, be sure that you do not penetrate the jacket's shell with the pins but only go through the lining (otherwise, you end up creating a lot of small holes in your leather jacket, which can be very unsightly).
  8. Next, thread your needle using a string that's similar to the string in the seam that you unraveled with your stitch remover.
  9. Now it's time to sew the string into the seam. Sew the seam alongside the pins that you placed in the jacket. After you've done the left sleeve, try the jacket on to check the fit, then repeat these same steps for the right sleeve.

Making The Jacket Bigger

To make your bomber jacket bigger, you'll need the same materials and extra lining material that will be used to insert a side strip into the inside of the jacket.

Check out this sewing kit on Amazon. 

Using A Side Strip

A side strip is a small piece of material sewn into coats and jackets to give them additional space, typically around the shoulders and torso areas. Side strips usually add about half an inch to an inch of space--which can be very significant for the fit.

Step-by-step Resizing - Larger

  1. Measure the jacket to determine how much fabric you'll need to add for a comfortable fit. It helps to try the jacket on first.
  2. Turn your jacket inside out.
  3. Use your stitch remover to undo the liner's seams and then remove/cut out the dimensions then you'll be adding.
  4. Use the "pinch method" to pinch the left side of the jacket and place your side strip up against it to ensure it matches the size of the dimensions.
  5. Next, place your jacket on your sewing table and so the side strip into the lining.
  6. After you have sewn the strip in, follow the same steps for the other side of the jacket.

How Do You Shrink A Bomber Jacket?

It's important to know that while leather can be shrunken, it can cause serious damage to the fabric and the whole jacket. However, some people choose to shrink their jackets at home. The most common method used for shrinking leather bomber jackets includes either soaking the jacket in hot water or dipping the jacket in a mixture of rubbing alcohol and hot water. Doing so will typically cause your leather bomber jacket to lose its protective barriers, making it more susceptible to damage from everyday wear and tear.

Buy rubbing alcohol on Amazon. 

Worried about the weather altering the size of your jacket? Check out "Are Bomber Jackets Waterproof?"

How Do You Style An Oversized Bomber Jacket?

Oversized bomber jackets can be easily layered with crop tops, button-downs, or long sweaters. You can also try a fitted hoodie beneath the jacket to wear in the colder months. However, the most common look with oversized bomber jackets seems to be the combo of leggings or slim-fitting jeans--though a pencil skirt can also work well.

Wrapping Things Up

Bomber jackets should typically stop at the waist, and they can be used to complement a wide variety of looks. When you get the right fit, your bomber jacket will prove comfortable, no matter the season! Check out "Are Bomber Jackets Warm Enough for Winter?"

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