Have you seen our other Five Ways To Wear One articles?

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The start of fall means, for me, a simple return to one key thing I love about men’s style: layering.

And for those of us lucky enough (I suppose?) to live in climates with changing seasons, that’s great news, particularly when it comes to your style game.

Great outerwear can be a game-changer in terms of an outfit. Take, for example, the classic bomber jacket.

There are almost too many iterations to dive into in this post, and many are cut from beautiful leather—like the options detailed in this site’s recent leather jackets feature.

But there’s a style curveball you can throw everyone this fall, and that involves ditching the fastball leather jacket for a more unique suede bomber—as James Bond will reportedly do in SPECTRE.

This is, by definition, a luxe item that can get spendy when made by high-end brands.

But the great thing is that if you do decide to invest in such a piece, there are plenty of ways (at least five!) to get your money’s worth out of it.

And it’s a silhouette that lends itself to plenty of unique styles. Check out how to scope out the right suede jacket for you.

What To Look For

There are plenty of places to start your suede bomber search, but notable brands like Club Monaco are really bringing it strong when it comes to the style, along with venerable heavyweights like Golden Bear.

Frank & Oak of monthly Hunt Club fame, is also likely to introduce some unique suede bomber jacket options –in fact, they worked with Golden Bear on a run of jackets for their October collection.

At any rate, the pool does narrow when searching for a jacket without a four-figure price tag.

Most of those options, too, seem to be a zipper-front style—so that makes the J. Crew buttoned suede bomber featured here all the more unique; the patch pockets and standing collar add to that uniqueness.

But the same principles of fit still apply. Look for a jacket that fits somewhat snug across the shoulders and chest while still leaving room for a few layers (say, a casual Oxford shirt and slightly thicker sweater at the most).

The sleeves should taper to your wrist from the shoulder, but still allow for some movement. And the jacket should hit just below your belt, with some slimness through the body.

That helps the jacket look undeniably more modern than if it were to fit looser. How to care for a suede jacket is another matter entirely.

Caring for Your Outerwear

When it comes to suede shoes, care is often relatively straightforward.

Shoes can be sprayed with waterproof protector and then cleaned with a suede brush and eraser, time after time.

You can and should follow those same principles though and pre-treat the jacket with waterproofing spray. Of course, water damage is a perpetual worry when it comes to suede items—especially jackets—so tread carefully given impending weather.

The best remedy, perhaps, is to take the jacket to the dry cleaners should any serious stains happen.

But those are all things to worry about later—on to everyone’s favorite part, the outfits themselves!

1. Rugged High-Low Style

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This outfit combines the best of both worlds in terms of fall style. You get the fall-appropriate color and texture of a caramel suede bomber, plus the rugged, versatile cool of a great long-sleeve henley and some solid dark denim… always an excellent pick.

When the bomber stands out a bit, something as grounded as denim and a henley is the way to go.

The leather high-top sneakers, from the quality-focused and price-conscious team at Brooklyn’s GREATS add some sporty flair to the look, and it just seems right that high-top sneakers fit right in with a leaf-crunching fall stroll.

Because a suede bomber and henley ensemble is modern yet old-school at the same time, some retro-inspired square frame sunglasses with a hint of a traditional tortoiseshell pattern mix things up from a typical aviator style (which would also be a solid sunglasses pick should that fall sun peek through the clouds).

2. Lean, Mean, & Tailored

fiveways_bomber2

This outfit again plays off a bit of high-low style, what with classic staples like a chambray shirt and wool tie paired with a slick pair of cargo trousers.

As military styles swing back into vogue in the fashion world, traditionally sloppy styles like the cargo pant have been slimmed down and made to fit your like favorite dress pants.

It’s a divisive style that not all will be in favor of, but it’s a way to visually mix things up. Simple styling, with dark brown dress shoes, a minimal watch and a fall-appropriate tie, also help to dial things in atop a patterned chambray shirt.

3. Casual Yet Crisp

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For those times you feel like mixing in high-low style and maybe staying a bit cooler should the temperature shoot up a bit, a short-sleeve henley is a great pick.

Grab one in an olive shade and combine it with the caramel color of the coat, and you’ve got yourself an unexpected color pairing that pops thanks to the neutral navy chinos (although that long-sleeve white henley would work, too).

Houndstooth socks add a small jolt of pattern in an extremely soft fabric, while brown wingtip boots further accentuate that high-low style pairing (and man, those boots are something, aren’t they?).

Because you’re doing away with a typical fall sweater here, you could even add in a scarf for a bit of continental style.

And although it’s early on before snow hits for most of us, the gloves are still an extremely worthy investment piece for the rest of the season.

4. Simple and Sporty

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Sportswear has come back in a big way in the past few years, and this outfit is one way to nod to that trend while still remaining polished.

The jacket bumps up the cool factor of the ensemble, and it’s surprising what you can do when mixing and matching so many of the same pieces—like the high-top sneakers and cargo trousers.

There’s a bit of a monochromatic look going on between the sweatshirt and those kicks, too—plus the timepiece.

While there’s definitely lots of texture in this outfit, a herringbone watch strap plays right off the standout fabrics of the season and looks still at home in terms of contrast against the sweater and the suede jacket.

5. Keep It Simple

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In case those other outfit combinations were too much, we return to a more simple offering for this last entry.

A classic white Oxford should already be in your rotation, and a suede bomber presents one more way to style it.

Grey selvedge denim is a twist on that dark blue denim you should (also) already have, and it matches nicely with some navy chukkas.

Suede works here on the shoes again thanks to the physical distance between the jacket and your footwear—and the grey denim breaks up the outfit visually. A classic dive watch also works to ground this outfit.

Wrapping up

Although it might not seem like it at first glance, a suede bomber can go both more casual and more dressy directions.

It’s a style that’s simultaneously sporty and yet, quite simply, rugged and badass. And it’s one investment piece that manages to be of-the-moment and yet entirely classic. That’s all the more reason to invest in one, and care for it well.

Tell me—how would you style a suede bomber jacket?

All images via their respective brands.

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PUBLISHED October 20, 2015


A Michigan State University alumnus, Beau works in the fashion division at New York City's Coyne PR. In addition to writing for Effortless Gent, Beau's menswear writing has appeared on Dappered, VOUCH Mag, and GearHungry. He also runs his own blog, The Style Guide.