Menswear inspiration, the pull toward all things sporty, and a passion for layering have converged this fall to make one of fashion's most utilitarian pieces cool - again.

The trendlet

This time around, bomber jackets are sweet popped over cuffed jeans, sweater dresses, and designer jumpsuits.

Where's it come from?

During World Wars I and II, pilots took to wearing waist-length leather jackets - with fur-trimmed collars - in fighter planes to stay warm in the open cockpits and at high altitudes. (Brrr.) In the late 1940s, the U.S. Army replaced the jacket's fur collars with knit ones and switched to canvas material because it was easier to move around in and was waterproof.

During the Vietnam War, U.S. Army-issued bomber jackets were olive green so soldiers would easily blend in with the Southeast Asian jungle.

Bomber jackets first became a part of pop culture in the 1950s, when "greasers" - so named because of their slicked-back hair - paired them with jeans and T-shirts (and sometimes motorcycles, hence bombers' role as early prototype for motorcycle jackets). Bombers became fashionable again in the 1980s thanks to Tom Cruise in Top Gun, and rappers such as Kool Moe Dee and Schoolly D. Women began wearing them, too, after Salt-N-Pepa rocked them over colorful body suits.

Military-inspired outerwear has been infiltrating women's runways a lot in the last three years. Designers like Rick Owens, Alexander Wang, Stella McCartney, and Kanye West have all worked bombers into their collections, which they pair with sporty joggers or more sophisticated pencil skirts.

Who's wearing it?

Anyone who wants to bring a bit of warmth to her feminine pieces. Kendall Jenner paired a printed bomber with liquid leggings at a recent Paris fashion show. Taylor Swift performed in a bomber jacket and metallic skirt in her "1989" tour. And socialite/blogger Olivia Palermo likes to pair her bomber with distressed jeans.

Would Elizabeth wear it?

I prefer a trench coat.

Should you wear it?

Why not? Your inner biker girl will thank you.

ewellington@phillynews.com
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@ewellingtonphl

Model: Megan Mandell of East Falls.

Hair: Stephanie Sullivan. Makeup: Toni DeCicco. Both courtesy of Suede Salon & Spa, the Promenade at Sagemore, 500 Route 73 S., Marlton, 856-985-0700, www.suedesalonspa.com.

Bombers: olive, NUDE, $78, at Alicia DiMichele, the Promenade at Sagemore, www.aliciadimichele.com; Ovo Chilliwack bomber by Canada Goose, $895, www.canadagoose.com.